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February 18, 2022

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، وبعد:

تَبَـٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلۡمُلۡكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِير. ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ وَٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ أَيُّكُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلاً۬‌ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡغَفُورُ

{Blessed is the One in Whose Hands rests all authority; He is the most capable of everything. He is the One who created death and life, in order to test which of you is best in deeds; He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving.} [67:1-2]

When talking about our present worldly existence and the one beyond, almost always we say “life and death”. Subconsciously perhaps this is an allusion to which of the two we have prioritized. Not so Allah (SWT): in the second ayah of Surat al-Mulk (see above), He ”reversed” the order to draw our attention to the weightier of the two and the one we must remember frequently and prepare for - Death.

The juxtaposition of opposites, death and life, or remembering and preparing for death while living our daily lives, in a balanced and practical way, reflects beautifully the Islamic perspective on the purpose of our existence. It emphasizes that life for us does not end in this world, but that death is the start of the last leg of our journey back to Allah; and that life is not an end in itself but a means to a more greater and nobler objective in sha Allah.

Allah Almighty throughout His sacred book, commands us to live righteously and with reverence and accountability for our beliefs and actions. He says for example [2:197]:

وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيۡرَ ٱلزَّادِ ٱلتَّقۡوَىٰ‌

{Take necessary provisions (for the journey) - surely the best provision is taqwa (God-consciousness and obedience).}

The  Messenger of Allah (SAW) is also reported to have said:

لا تزول قدما عبد يوم القيامة حتى يسأل عن أربع: عن عمره فيما أفناه وعن جسده فيما أبلاه وعن علمه ماذا عمل فيه وعن ماله من أين اكتسبه وفيما أنفقه

“Every servant on the Day of Resurrection will not proceed until they are asked about 4 things: his/her life- how they lived it, his/her body - how they used it, his/her knowledge - what they did with it, and his/her wealth - how they acquired it and how they spend it.”

Believers are always conscious of death. It is a constant reminder for them to be vigilant in life and to prepare for its end. They know that there is a limit to indulgence in this worldly life and that they must not destroy or even compromise their Hereafter.

True believers who live with due diligence are indeed not afraid of death. In fact they look forward to eventually meeting Allah (SWT) and it is only death that prevents them from entry into God’s Paradise. It is in their lives that the following maxim is exemplified:

احرص على الموت، توهب لك الحياة

“Be always conscious of death and you will live a full life.”

The Prophet (SAW) so profoundly reminded us of the same, lest we overindulge in life and get caught in the snares and allurement of this world:

أكثروا من ذكر هادم اللذات

“Remember much that destroyer of worldly pleasure (i.e. death)”

There is much wisdom in this prophetic advice, as remembering death constantly leads to a few important outcomes:

  • Hastening to seek forgiveness

  • Renewed spirit in fulfilling one’s roles and responsibilities

  • A revived feeling of contentment in what Allah has apportioned in this life

  • More motivation in defeating Shaytaan, the eternal enemy, and all his plots and deception

With regard to the devil and this lowly existence, Allah commands us in the Quran:

فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّڪُمُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّڪُم بِٱللَّهِ ٱلۡغَرُورُ

{So do not let the life of this world deceive you, not let the Chief Deceiver (Satan) deceive you (about Allah)} [31:33]

Thus we live our lives as Muslims, but the thought of death is ubiquitous in our hearts and minds. Sayyidna Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA), the second Caliph of Islam is said to have worn a ring that had engraved on it:

كفى بالموت واعظاً

“Sufficient (for you) is death as an admonisher.”

There is therefore no need for any other advisor or reminder of our mortality and accountability than death itself. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

وَذَكِّرۡ فَإِنَّ ٱلذِّكۡرَىٰ تَنفَعُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ. وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ

{And continue to remind, for certainly reminders benefit the believers. I did not create jinn and humans except to worship me} [51:55-56]

Indeed this is the truth from Allah and His Messenger. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad and his illustrious family.

And may peace be with you and your family, in this world, on your demise and in the Hereafter. Ameen.

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