Remembering Death

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To take out the love of the world from our hearts and prepare for the aakhirah, we should take the advice of Nabi-e-Karim (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) seriously.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: “Remember very often the cutter-off of all pleasures, that is death.”

There is no escape from death and it is certain to come, so, by us constantly thinking of death, it will easily enable us to prepare for death and the life of the hereafter and refrain from all worldly pleasures and luxuries.

Foolishly, we take so much of pain in getting the best things of this world, without even thinking that all these things, for which we are under going so much difficulty in acquiring, will have to be left behind by us one day. We try so much to make our earthly life as comfortable as possible, forgetting that tomorrow we will have to sleep on a bed of sand. From dawn to dusk, we are hankering after this world so blindly that we are completely unmindful of the fact that all this will definitely come to an end. Nabi t has said: “An intelligent person is he who holds back his desires and does actions (prepares) for what is after death, and a helpless person is he who follows his desires and hopes from Allah safety (in the aakhirah). “

A few ahaadith are mentioned, so that we can always remember death and prepare ourselves for the hereafter.

Ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) relates that someone asked Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam): “Who is the wisest and most prudent of men, O Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)?” He replied: “He who keeps death frequently in his remembrance and remains ever engaged in preparations for meeting his death, it is such people indeed who are granted honour in this life and who will be honoured in Aakhirah. ” (Targheeb)

Abu Zar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) says that once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said to him, “Visit the graves from time to time, for it serves as a reminder of the aakhirah, wash the dead for it is a cure for a person who is devoid and helps him to take heed; attend funeral prayers for it might make you feel concerned for the aakhirah and those who have this concern remain in the shade of Allah’s mercy and seek a virtuous life.”

Shaddad Ibn Aus (Radhiallaahu Anhu) says, “The agony of death is more severe than all the agonies of the world and the hereafter. It is more painful than being sawed in two, being cut into pieces with shears or being boiled in a cauldron. If the dead were to rise from the graves and tell people about the pangs of death, no man would take pleasure in this life, nor would anyone enjoy sound sleep.”

Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) asked Ka’ab (Radhiallaahu Anhu), about the agony of death and he replied: “O Amir-ul-Mo’mineen! It is as though a branch of a tree, that is all overgrown with thorns, were thrust into a mans body, so that it should entangle with every part and then the branch should be pulled out violently. Such is the anguish experienced by a dying man, in the throes of death.”

It has been reported about Uthman (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that, when he would stand over a grave, he would cry so bitterly that his beard would get wet with tears. Someone asked him, “You do not weep so sorely when you remember Jannah and Jahannam as you do when you are reminded of the grave” He replied, “I have heard Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying, “The grave is the initial stage of the aakhirah, if one escapes punishment in the grave all the next stages are much easier but if he does not escape punishment in the grave all the next stages are severer than it, ” and I have also heard him saying, “I have never seen a sight more horrifying than the grave.”

We have forgotten our graves while it has not forgotten us. As Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Not a single day passes when the grave does not call out: “I am a place of wilderness, I am a place of dust, I am a place of worms.” When a mo’min is laid in the grave it says: “Welcome to you, it is good of you to have come into me. Of all the people walking on the earth, I liked you best. Now that you have come to me, you will see how I entertain you.” It then expands as far as the occupant can see. A door from paradise is opened for him in the grave and through this door, he gets the fresh and fragrant air of paradise, But when an evil man is laid in the grave it says, “No word of welcome for you. Your coming into me is very bad for you, of all the persons walking on this earth I disliked you most. Now that you have been made over to me you will see how I treat you!” It then closes upon him so much so that his ribs of one side penetrate into the ribs of the other. As many as seventy serpents are then set upon him, to keep biting him till the Day of Resurrection. These serpents are so venomous that if one of them happened to spurt its venom upon the earth, not a single blade of grass would ever grow.”

After this, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The grave is either a garden of Jannat or a pit of Jahannam.”

Bara bin `Aazib (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) (regarding the believer): “Two angels will come to him (in his grave), make him sit and ask him: “Who is your Rabb?” He will say: “My Rabb is Allah” They then ask him: “What is your religion?” He will say: “My religion is Islaam. “They then ask him: “Who is this (man) who was sent to you?” He will say: “This is the Rasul of Allah.” Thereafter they ask: “What is your action?” He replies “I recited the book of Allah, believed therein and I acknowledged.” At this a proclaimer (of Allah) proclaims from the heaven: “My servant has spoken the truth, thus spread the heavenly bed for him, make him wear heavenly garments and fling open the doors of Jannah to him. “Thus the door to Jannah is thrown open which brings fragrance of Jannah to him. And his grave is widened so much that he sees as far as his sight goes.”

Thereafter, mentioning the unbeliever he said: “His soul is returned to his body, two angels come to him, seat him up and ask hint, “Who is your Rabb?” He replies: “Alas, I do not know.” He is again asked: “What is your religion?” He again replies: “Alas, I do not know.” He is further asked: “Who is this (man) who was sent amongst you?” He replies once again: “Alas! I do not know.” After this question – answer session is over, a proclaimer from the sky proclaims: “He has spoken a lie, spread fire under him and make him wear a garment of fire, and open the door of Jahannam.” His grave is narrowed so that his ribs are squeezed. Thereafter a blind and deaf tormenter is appointed with an iron mace. It is so heavy that if a mountain is struck with it, it will turn into dust. The person becomes dust at one stroke and is again restored to his original state.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood)

Hazrath Abu Huraira (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “When the dead is placed in the grave, two angels, dark complexioned and blue eyed come to him. One of them is called Munkir and the other Nakeer. Both of them will ask him: “What do you say about him (Who was sent to you)?” If he is a believer, he will say: “He is the servant and Rasul of Allah; I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah.” Having heard this, they say: “We were sure you will reply like this.” Thereafter his grave is widened seventy cubits and there will be light for him therein. He will then want to go and narrate his condition to his family members. The angels then tell him (he cannot go from there) but to sleep like a bride whom nobody can wake except her husband.”

When the dead person is a hypocrite (or an infidel), he will reply to Munkir and Nakeer, “I said what I have heard others say, I know nothing more than that.” The angels will then say, “We were sure that you will reply such.” Thereafter the earth is ordered to punish him by squeezing him. The earth carries out the command and he suffers punishment inside the grave till he is raised from the grave on the day of Resurrection. (Tirmizi)

Let us again and again read the above mentioned ahaadith and also narrate it to others so that it is such that never a moment passes by while we are neglectful of aakhirah and death. Also, let us make the most preparations for death, thereby not having to regret over less provisions.

[ extract 'The Book of Wealth' by Moulana Moosa Olgar ]