Aauzubillahi minash shaitan nir rajeem
Bismillah hir Rahman nir Raheem
Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barkatahu
Imagine yourself at the moment of your death.
What thoughts cross your mind? Memories of family and friends? Panic? Regrets? Remembrance of Allah? What is death? What happens to us after we die? What is life in the Hereafter like, this new and strange world after death? Do we lose consciousness of this life? Where does our soul go? Do we feel and think the same?
The ineffable feeling of crossing the boundary between this world and the next cannot be described in words, nor imagined in the mind, but can be understood only through divine revelation and inspiration. Let us for the next few moments seek an understanding of this, death, the only certainty in life.
Sometimes we may not want to know about the processes that occur after we die because we are afraid or don't want to think about it. However, this is not the attitude of a Muslim. We should be foremost in learning and understanding death, so we can live our lives accordingly. The prophet (saw) said, "Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a traveler (passing through it)." [Muslim] We are on a journey and should know about the whole journey's itinerary, not just one part.
We begin this journey in our mother's wombs. 120 days after conception the soul is blown into the fetus. Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mus'ud: "Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, '(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him'"[Bukhari]
We have no choice in who our parents are, our race, color or nationality. "He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases. There is no god but He, The Exalted in Might, The Wise." (3:6) Allah knows all of this before our birth even, but we still continue our journey to fulfill our destiny.
The next part of our trip begins after we are born. This is the life of this world, in which we now reside and are familiar with. We may stay at this station for a few seconds or as long as 100 years or more. Here we grow up and acquire the means to happiness or misery. We are given the ability to make choices after the age of puberty and we will later be punished or rewarded based upon them. Allah gives each of us the natural Fitrah, knowledge of good and bad as well as right and wrong. The rest is up to us. As the Quran says, "By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it, and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right--Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!" (91:7-10)
In this life, the soul and the body are together except during sleep when the soul may leave the body and come back in the morning or Allah may take the soul at that time. "It is Allah that takes the souls at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect." (39:42) It is indeed something to be pondered; that we die each night and Allah gives us another chance at life when we wake up the next day.
We also find continuous biological processes of life and death during this time. In every cell, organ or system of organs, life and death is occuring. There are several hundreds of thousands of enzymatic reactions that take place in the body every fraction of a second. Some of these biochemical reactions are used to synthesize living materials while others are either used to synthesize dead materials or to get rid of living materials. "You (Allah) bring the Living out of the Dead, and You bring the Dead out of the Living" (3:27)
Death is inevitable. It is the one thing that we can be certain about in life. We are born to die. Every soul shall have a taste of death no matter who they are. This is confirmed for us many times in the Quran:
"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense." (Quran 3:185)
"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good, by way of trial. To Us must you return." (21:35)
"Every soul shall have a taste of death: In the end to Us shall you be brought back." (29:57)
Death is merely movement from one world to another. It can be described as a journey through a wormhole to a separate dimension of existence.
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Allah informs of the condition at the time of death and what terrors it contains.
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(Nay, when (the soul) reaches to the collar bone (i.e. up to the throat in its exit), (26) And it will be said: "Who can cure him (and save him from death)?" (27) And he (the dying person) will conclude that it was (the time) of parting (death); (28) And one leg will be joined with another leg (shrouded) (29) The drive will be, on that Day, to your Lord (Allâh)! (30)-75-26:30)
(Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of the dying person) reaches the throat And you at the moment are looking on, but We are nearer to him than you, but you see not, then why do you not if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense, bring back the soul, if your are truthful) (56:83-87) Thus, Allah similarly says here,
(Nay, when it reaches to the collarbones. And it will be said: "Who can cure him) `Ikrimah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "Meaning, who is the person who recites divine prayers of healing so that he may come and cure him'' Abu Qilabah made a similar statement when he said, (And it will be said: "Who can cure him) "This means who is the doctor that can cure him'' Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd all have similar statements. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said concerning the Ayah,
(And one shank will be joined with another shank.) "This is the last day of the days of this world and the first day of the days of the Hereafter. So there will be hardships that will meet (more) hardships, except for he whom Allah has mercy upon.'' `Ikrimah said,
(And one shank will be joined with another shank.) "The great matter (will be joined) with the great matter.'' Mujahid said, "A test (will be joined) with a test.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said concerning Allah's statement,
(And one shank will be joined with another shank. ) "These are your two shins when they are bound together.'' In another narration from him (Al-Hasan) he said, "His two legs have died and they will not carry him while he used to walk around on them.'' Concerning Allah's statement,
(The drive will be on that Day to your Lord!) meaning, the place of return and the destination. This is that the soul ascends into the heavens and Allah says, "Return my servant to the earth, for verily, I have created them from it, I return them into it, and from it I will bring them out at another time.'' This has been reported in the lengthy Hadith of Al-Bara'. Verily, Allah says,
If you could see when the worngdoers taste the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, [saying], 'Deliver up your souls. This day you will be awarded a degrading punishment.' [6:93]
Here it is stated that death is painful for the disbelievers. Although they are ordered to surrender their souls to the angels, they are unwilling; therefore, the soul must be forced out as it does not wish to meet its punishment. [Qurtubi]
And the agony of death comes, in truth; that is what you wished to avoid. [50:19] In this verse the phrase "sakratul mawt" is used to indicate the swoon of death. This verse implies that every dying person must experience some pain and torment. [See al-Alusi's Ruh-ul-Ma'ani and Qurtubi's tafseer]
Aishah (radhiAllaahu 'anha) related: [On the occasion of his approaching death], Allaah's messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had a small vessel of water placed before him. He began to dip his hands in the water, and wiping his face with them. He said: There is none worthy of worship except Allaah. Indeed death brings with it agonies! Then he raised his hand up and kept repeating, 'In the most exalted company' until his soul was taken and his hand fell limp. [Bukhari]
Aishah (radhiAllaahu 'anha) reported: Truly, I saw the messenger of Allaah when death approached him. He had a container with some water in it into which he dipped his hand and then wiped his face. Then he said: O Allaah help me to overcome the agonies of death.
According to the hadeth of al-Bara' ibn `Aazib : The Angel of Death... [says], 'O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord.' The soul inside the disbeliever's body is overcome by terrible fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool - tearing with them the ateries and nerves.
Umm Salamah (radhiAllaahu 'anha) reported: Allaah's messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) entered upon Abu Salamah [i.e., his corpse], whose eyes were wide open. The prophet closed the lids and then said, 'When the ruh is taken out, the eyesight follows it [i.e., watches it ascend].' [Muslim & Ahmed]
According to the hadeth of al-Bara' ibn `Aazib The Angel of Death comes to the [dying] believer, sits at his head and says, 'O you good soul, come out and receive your Lord's forgiveness and pleasure.' Then the soul flows out effortlessly just as water flows from the mouth of a waterskin.
Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu 'anhu) narrated that the messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: When the soul of a believer comes out [of its body], two angels receive it and rise with it towards the heavens, whereupon the inhabitants of the heavens say, "A good soul has come from the earth. Allaah has blessed you and the body which you used to occupy." [Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu 'anhu) reported that the messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Do you not see that when a person dies his gaze is fixed intently; that occurs when his eyesight follows his nafs [as it comes out] [Both in Muslim & Qurtubi's at-Tadhkirah] Also see Siddeeq Hasan Khan's Fath-ul-Bayaan.
The experience of death: Every soul will taste death [3:185]
Appearance of Satan:
Hadeeth: Verily Satan comes to you at all circumstances and affairs of your life, even at the time of eating. [Muslim]
Al-Qurtubi mentions that a great number of pious and dependable scholars are known to have witnessed the presence of Satan at death. He relates that he heard one of his own respected teachers, Imam Abul-'Abbaas Ahmad bin 'Umar al-Qurtubi, say, "I visited the brother of our teacher, shaikh Abu Jafar Muhammad al-Qurtubi at Cordova and found him near death. It was said to him, 'Repeat Laa ilaaha illallaah,', to which he replied, 'No! No!' When he came to, we mentioned what had occurred. He said, 'Tow devils came to me, one on my left and the other on my right. One of them said, "Die as a Jew, for verily it is the best of religions," while the other said, "Die as a Christian, for truly it is the best of religions." So I answered them saying, "No! No! How dare you say such a thing to me!"
Repentance before death:
Hadeeth: When any of you completes the last tashahhud of his prayer, let him seek refuge in Allaah from four things, saying, 'O Allaah, verily I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the Hellfire and the torment of the grave; from the fitnah of life and of death; and from the evil fitnah of the false messiah.[Muslim, Nasai & others]
Allaah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as his spirit has not arrived at his throat. [Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, Ibn Hibbaan]
Their faith was of no use to themonce they saw Our doom. [40:85]
Forgiveness is not for those who continue to do evil deeds up until when death comes to one of them [and] he says, 'Truly, I repent now!' [4:18]
NOTE: The hadeth of al-Bara' ibn `Aazib is very lengthy it will be in next part inshallah
O Allaah, verily I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the Hellfire and the torment of the grave; from the fitnah of life and of death; and from the evil fitnah of the false messiah.... Ameen, Summa Ameen