Faith Friday: On Death & Dreaming of Paradise

We granted not to any man before you permanent life (on earth): if then you should die (O Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him), would they live permanently? Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good as a trial: and to Us you will be returned.
{Surah Al-Anbiya', 21 : 34-35} [Tafseer of verses 34-35]

On a Monday less than two weeks ago we buried a family member. He was a young man; my cousin's eldest son. Although I was not very close to him the news of his sudden death shook me. "Wan Radzi's son, Wawan (his nickname)! He just passed away! Today! Asthma attack...," announced my brother incoherently.

Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.

The four-hour drive to his hometown gave me more than enough time to contemplate. Wawan's death stirred up one of those hard-hitting, awakening "that could have been me" moments. Young people die everyday and in more tragic ways, I know, but Allahyarham* (may God have mercy on him) was family and he was only a year older than I am. 26 years young and lifeless because a traffic jam prevented him from arriving the hospital on time after an asthma attack. It was no one's fault but simply God's will. Fate, as they say.

We know we can die anytime and without warning too. We know every single day is a day closer towards death. But do we realise what this means?

It means we may not have seized the many opportunities that were given to us to clear our doubts and increase our conviction by seeking knowledge -  by seeking the Truth -  and returning to the Right Path because we chose to ignore His signs. It means we may not have asked for His forgiveness because we were too proud. It means we could die in a state of heedlessness despite having everything we need to awaken our hearts and consciousness. It means we could die without preparing for the most important day in our lives: Judgement Day.

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And have you ever sat for an exam without properly preparing for it? I have. I was a nervous wreck and as you can guess, I didn't do too well in that exam. Judgement Day is like the Final Exam of all exams. If we don't prepare for it we'll surely regret it and we'll lead a life of stress and anxiety. However, if we take all the necessary measures to ace this "exam" we'll enter the "examination hall" peacefully as we know that we did all we could to the best of our ability.

We live in a time when information is literally at the tip of our fingertips. People used to travel by foot for thousands of miles just to learn a single hadith from Imam Ahmad or Imam Bukhari. Young men and women contributed to society and used their energy, time and money in the cause of Allah (swt) for the sake of attaining Paradise.

We have advanced technology, ease and comfort but we do not have the same yearning as they did for spiritual enrichment. We do not live to achieve something better in the hereafter. We have everything in our lives but we lack something in our hearts.

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"Why?" I asked myself, "And how did we, as an Ummah and as humanity, get to this state?"
O mankind! Be afraid of your Lord (by keeping your duty to Him and avoiding all evil), and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, nor a son avail aught for his father. Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. {Surah Luqman, 31:33} 
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said, "One day the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sat on the minbar and we sat around him. He said, 'Part of what I fear for you after I have gone is the beauty and attraction of this world which will be opened up to you.'" [Agreed upon]

We have been deceived. Our hearts yearn for dunya. We live for dunya.

Instead of honouring and appreciating the gift of life God has given us we use it to follow the whims of our emotions and obey the desires of our egos. We walk on earth with much greed and arrogance and very little humility. We waste too much time being concerned about the things that won't help us on Judgement Day.

The life we have been given on earth is a temporary life. One day it will end and when that time comes will we be ready? We assume that we will be alive tomorrow. In fact, we don't even know if we'll make it through today. That is how fleeting life on earth is because the truth is this life is nothing more than a preparation for the eternal life of the hereafter.

A man of the Ansar stood up and said: O Prophet of Allah! Who is the wisest and the most resolute amongst people? He (peace be upon him) replied: He who remembers death the most and prepares most diligently for death before it overtakes him. Undoubtedly, these are the wisest. They have acquired the nobility of this world and the dignity of the Hereafter. {Ibn Majah, Tabarani, Majma uz-Zawaid}

So how do we prepare for death, the inevitable? While reading the Surah Al-Jathiyah yesterday it struck me that God truly intends the best for us. After all, hasn't He has told us how to get into Paradise?

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The beauty of Islam lies in the simplicity of its message: believe in the Oneness of God and the role of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as God's Final Messenger, and do good.

... And man can have nothing but what he strives for. {Surah Najm : 39}

Some of us believe but don't do good deeds and others do good deeds but don't believe. Both are incomplete ways of living which explains why we have a spiritual void in our hearts that is getting larger and larger by the day.

But it isn't too late to change this. For as long as we're breathing and our minds are conscious, Allah (swt) continues to give us time to make things right between us and Him. The choice is ours to make. The first step is ours to take. Allah (swt) has extended His "hand" to us. Will we grasp it?

{Surah Luqman verse 21}

* Allahyarham - a phrase said when addressing or remembering a deceased Muslim.

May Allah (swt) forgive those who have gone before us, ease their affairs on Judgement Day and reward them with the highest level of Paradise. Al Fatihah.

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Rahma Fateen said…
Inna Lillah WaInna Elayhi Raji'oon.
I'm really sorry, may his soul rest in peace.

But Subhanaallah!
I've been attending lectures lately about exactly the same subject, death. It really is food for thought, and your post came in the perfect timing!

May God forgive us all and have Mercy on your cousin. x
Laila said…
Inna li Allahi wa inna ilayhi Rayi'un. May Allah grant him Al-Jannah.

MashaAllah, really beautfiul and deep post, this really made me think. SubhanaAllah, keep writing :)
Naqya Kamsan said…
May Allah grant him jannah and ease his affairs.

Your entry shook me. My cousin of 26 years old passed on in December. How death always becomes a reminder for us, reminding me of a hadith narrated by Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (s.a.w) said, "I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves, now, I say, visit them for verily it will remind you of death".

I felt the same way you felt while going to my late cousin's place that day. In the car, I shed a tear or two thinking of how it could have been me and whether I am prepared for it.

May Allah grant us the istiqamah in learning and applying the knowledge daily. Thank you sis Sha.. This is a wonderful post.

Noor said…
Inna Lillah WaInna Elayhi Raji'oon. May Allah forgive him for all his sins Ameen.