Alhamdulillahi rabbil aalameen. Was salaatu was salaamu ala ashraful mursaleen sayyidina Muhammadi wa ala aali sayyidina Muhammadi wa ashaabihi ajma’een.
All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the entire universe. And the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (saw) his family and his companions.
Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an: “Kullu nafsin dhaa’iqatul mawt, thumma ilainaa turja’un – Every soul will taste death. Then you will be returned to Us (29: 57).” And the first part of this ayah, every soul will taste death, is mentioned in two other ayat of the Qur’an as well. So this is something that we all need to reflect on. We need to take some time out to think about where we are going in this life – what is our ultimate destination? Many people are so absorbed and consumed by this dunya that they spend their whole life without pondering over such matters. Their only concern is to acquire the wealth and enjoyment of this world. And this is stupidity – nothing less. Because everything contained in this world is soon to vanish. We have the enjoyment of it for only a brief while and then death will come.
Death is the destroyer of all pleasures, as Rasulullah (saw) described it, and it is one of the few certainties in life. There is absolutely no one who will be able to escape it. Allah (swt) says: “Ainamaa takoonoo yudrikkumul mawtu wa law kuntum fee buroojim mushayyadah – Wherever you are, death will catch up with you, even if you are in fortified, high towers (4: 87).” And yet we see people around us who try their utmost to escape it; they take all sorts of medication and undergo different types of surgery just so that they can prolong their life for a few short years. Why? This is because they have taken the dunya as their Paradise. For them, this life is everything and that is why they hate and fear death. But we are Muslims and we live for the Aakhirah; we live for the next world not for this one. So instead of being like them, trying to prolong life, we should accept and be content that our death is near and make provisions for it. This is why we are in this world, to do good deeds in preparation for the Hereafter.
So we do not hate and fear death, but rather prepare ourselves for it, hoping to having a better life in the Aakhirah. We know just how short the life of this world is and that the Hereafter is the true existence, as Allah (swt) says: “Wa yawma yahshuruhum ka allam yalbathoo illaa saa’atam minan nahaar – On the Day when He will gather them, (it will be) as though they had lingered but an hour of the day (10: 45).” Meaning that on the Day of Resurrection it will seem to us that all the years we spent living in this world was as short as one hour.
After death comes to us, we will eventually be buried. The Prophet (saw) spoke about this and said: “Yatba’ul mayyita thalaatha fayarji’u ithnaani wa yabqaa ma’ahu waahid; yatba’uhu ahluhu wa maaluhu wa ‘amaluhu fayarji’u ahluhu wa maaluhu wa yabqaa ‘amaluhu – Three things follow a dead person (to his grave) – two of them return and one remains with him. His family, his wealth and his good deeds follow him. Then his family and wealth return but his good deeds remain (Sahih Bukhari).” What this teaches us is that the only thing which we acquired in this world that will accompany us to the barzakh is our good deeds. All of the wealth that people are so busy chasing after will not be of any benefit to them after they die. Instead other people, their family members, will benefit from it. So why then should we as Muslims be bothering ourselves to acquire money and wealth? We spend all our effort in acquiring things which will benefit other people and then we have no time left to acquire those things will benefit ourselves. This shows a lack of understanding on our part. If the reality of death had penetrated our hearts then we would have spent much more time in acts of ‘ibadah and doing good deeds, since we would know that these are really the things which are of true benefit, and we would not be concerned so much with material things.
When one is placed in the grave then he will after that be questioned by the two angels, Munkar and Nakeer. If the person was good in this world then they will appear to him with white faces but if not then they will appear having black faces. They will ask him “Man Rabbuk? – Who is your Lord?”, “Wa maa deenuk? – And what is your religion?” and “Wa man nabiyyuk? – And who is your Messenger?”. Then the person, if he had lived his life as a proper Muslim, will give the proper answers. He would say “Allah is my Lord, my religion is Islam and Muhammad (saw) is my Messenger.” But if he was a disbeliever then he will not be able to answer these questions. Even if he knew these questions beforehand and the correct answers, he will not be able to reply because of his disbelief. Then based on the replies given to these questions the grave of the person will either become a place of comfort for him or a place of punishment. If he replied correctly then a door will be opened for him through which he will see Jannah and he will smell it’s fragrance. He will also be given clothes to wear from the clothes of Jannah. But for the disbeliever a door will be opened to the Fire and he will be made to wear clothes of fire. The grave will also become extremely narrow and restricted for him (Abu Dawud).
This torment of the grave is very severe. The Prophet (saw) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it (al-Tirmidhi).” It is also related from ‘Uthman (ra) that when he used to visit the graves he would weep so much that his beard would become wet. He was then asked why it was that he cried when remembering the grave but not when remembering Jannah and Jahannam. He replied that the Prophet (saw) said: “The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.” So we should try to remember death and the grave as much as possible and prepare ourselves for it before it is too late.
After being in the grave we will eventually be resurrected on the Day of Qiyamah and that will be the most severe day we will ever endure. That is the day you would see every woman giving milk to her child casting aside that baby. Every pregnant woman would miscarry and abort her baby due to the frightfulness of that day. On that day you would see mankind as though they are drunk, even though they are not – it is just that the punishment of Allah is so severe. This is as Allah (swt) described it in the Qur’an where He says: “Yaa ayyuhan naasuttaqoo Rabbakum; inna zalzalati saa’ati shai’un azeem. Yawma tarawnahaa tadh-halu kullu murdi’atim maa arada’at wa tada’u kullu dhaati hamlin hamlahaa wa taran naasa sukaaraa wa maa hum bisukaaraa wa laakinna ‘adhaaballahi shadeed (22: 1 – 2).” That is the day on which children will turn grey-haired out of fright, as He says in the Qur’an: “Yawman yaj’alul wildaana sheebaa (73: 17).” Its terror is so great that even though people will be naked, they will not be aware of that.
So on that day everyone will be running around looking for something – anything – to assist him and to save him from the punishment. He would go to his parents, his wife, and his children – all the people dearest to him in this world who previously would have done anything to help him. But on that day they would flee from him, caring only for their own selves. Allah (swt) mentioned this in the Qur’an in the following ayat: “Fa idhaa jaa’atis Saakhah. Yawma yafirrul mar’u min akheeh. Wa ummihi wa abeeh. Wa saahibatihi wa baneeh. Likullim ri’im minhum yawma’idhin sha’nuy yughneeh – When the deafening blast comes, on that Day each person will flee from his brother, his mother and his father, his wife and his children. Everyone on that Day will have affairs to keep him occupied. (80: 33 – 37).”
So we can see just how difficult this day is going to be, how terrible and frightening it is. This should spur us on to do more good deeds and to draw closer to Allah (swt) while we can. We should make use of the time that has been given to us to engage in acts of ‘ibadah – to recite Qur’an, to give charity to the poor, to be dutiful to our parents. We should seize every opportunity that comes to do those things which will help us on that day, which would save us from the difficulty and hardship of that day. There will be some people under the Shade of Allah’s Throne, and we should do those things which will cause us to be from amongst them. If we fail to do that, then we will suffer due to the intense heat of that day. The sun will be brought extremely close and people would sweat profusely. For some the sweat would reach to their knees; others would even drown in their own sweat. We seek His Protection from this.
Allah (swt) will then judge between the people as to their actions which they did in this world. All of their deeds, every single one even down to the minutest of actions, will be taken into account. The good and the bad, the open and the secret, they will all be weighed. Allah (swt) says: “Faman thaqulat mawaazeenuhu fa’ulaa’ika humul muflihoon. Wa man khaffat mawaazeenhu fa’ulaa’ika alladheena khasiroo anfusahum fee Jahannama khaalidoon – Those whose scales are heavy, they are the successful. Those whose scales are light, they are the losers of their selves, remaining in Hell for ever (23: 102 – 103).” And in another place in the Qur’an: “Fa ammaa man thaqulat mawaazeenuhu. Fahuwa fee ‘eeshatir raadiyah. Wa ammaa man khaffat mawaazeenuhu. Fa ummuhu haawiyah. Wa maa adraaka maa hiyah. Naarun haamiyah – As for him whose scales are heavy, he will have a most pleasant life. But as for him whose balance is light, he will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. And what will explain to you what that is? (It is) a raging fire! (101: 6 – 11).”
So those who believed and did good will be entered into Jannah. And that is the place of pure bliss and happiness. Its inhabitants will have everything that their heart desires and even more. The Prophet (saw) once described it and said: “Feehaa maa laa ‘ainun ra’at wa laa udhunun sami’at wa laa khatara ‘alaa qalbi basharin – In it is what no eye has seen, and what no ear has heard, and what no mind has imagined (Sahih Muslim).” But those who disbelieved and did evil things, they will be thrown into the Fire. And that is the worst of all destinations. Allah (swt) says about it: “Laa tubqee wa laa tadhar. Lawwaahatul lil bashar – It does not spare and does not ease up, and it burns the flesh (74: 28 – 29).”
We ask Allah (swt) to save us from the torment of the Fire, to enter us into Jannah, to guide us towards doing those deeds which are pleasing to Him, and to make us take a lesson from death and prepare for it before it comes to us.
Wa aakhiru da’waanaa ‘anil hamdu lillahi rabbil aalameen.