Death is not the absolute end. It is just the discontinuation of unity between the body and soul. It is a change from one state to another and a transition from this present life to that of the hereafter.
The purpose of our existence is the worship of Allah as mentioned in the Book of Allah:
“And I [Allaah] created not the Jinns and Men except that they should worship Me [alone]” Soorah az-Zariyat (51): 56
This life, which we are living, is the testing ground for which there shall be only two consequences, Paradise or Hellfire. Unfortunately more than often we disregard death, as we are so attached to this world and the love of which has been established in our hearts.
“Certainly, they see it as distant, but We see it as near” Soorah al-Ma’arij (70): 6-7
Death only becomes a reality when a close beloved one dies. The heart feels heavy, the eyes shed tears and there is, at that moment, a present fear of death. If we were to spend even a single moment each day thinking about death, it would bring forth many concerns? The greatest being our Hereafter:
“He Who has created death and life, that He may test you, which of you is best in deed.” Al-Mulk (67):21
So we stop and consider what we are doing with our time and where we are heading, and then realize that much of it is wasted in light talk, in laughing, in pursuing that which is not going to benefit our Hereafter.One of the Salaf said:
“Three characteristics are from Eemaan: Modesty, Chastity and Withholding of the tongue, not the with holding of the heart and actions. These are things which cause gain in the Hereafter and loss in this life, and what is gained in the next life is greater than what is lost in this world.” [Re ported by Abdur-Razzaaq in his Musannaf from A’oon ibn ‘Abdullaah]
“This World in comparison with the world to come is just like one of you putting his finger in the sea. Let him consider what it returns with.” Saheeh Muslim (eng. trans. vol.4 p.l486 no.6843
The Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) explained how this world is not even worth the wing of a mosquito! And how small is a mosquito, and then the wing of a mosquito- so what is the worth of the world we run after and are dearly attached to?
The Messenger of Allaah (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) referred to death as ‘the destroyer of desires.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah & Nasaai and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albanee in al-Mishkaat (1/1607)]
Because when each one of us remembers the awesome reality of death and what is to follow after that, our present desires and wordy concerns seem so insignificant and futile, and the life of the Hereafter becomes our goal and we become interested in the means to attain that goal. We find that the Companions of the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) excelled on this point and were not deluded by the amusements of this world, knowing that love for this world would injure their Paradise.
Hence, they faced trials and every hardship with the knowledge that a weighty judgement was yet to come and a full compensation yet to be paid – so they had hope and fear in Allaah, without exaggerated optimism or disparity.
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allaah [ie. Jihaad] you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? [Soorah at-Taubah (9):38]
Regarding the shaheed (martyr), the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) said:
“Nobody who enters Paradise will (ever like to) return to this world, even if be were offered everything on the surface of the earth, except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed ten times for the sake of the great honor that has been bestowed upon him.” [Saheeh Muslim (eng. trans. vol.3 p.1045 no.4635)]
Let us see how these words affected the hearts and lives of the Companions, as we reflect upon one Companion in particular, who was guaranteed Paradise, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullaah. .
“Whoever wishes to look upon a martyr walking the face of the earth, then let him look upon Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullaah. ” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi & al-Haakim. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaanee in his as-Saheehah ( no.126)]
The Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) said to Talhah when his fingers were struck by arrows in protecting the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) at Uhud, as he let out an exclamation of pain:
“If yow had said. ‘In the name of Allaah’, then the Angels would have raised you up while the people were looking on at you.” (And in another narration he added): until they entered you into the sky.” [Sunan an-Nasaai. The addition is from al-Baihaaqee. Authenticated by al-Albaanee in his as-Saheehah ( no.217)]
“Talhah is one who has fulfilled his term.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani in as-Saheehah (125)].
Which means that he has exhausted his allotted time in the path of Allaah there remaining nothing between him and death – thus he is as one killed already, although still alive. These are the best of people, those whose belief is manifest in their actions, to whom Allaah and His Messenger (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) are more beloved than the world and all it contains.
“But truly the home of the Hereafter is the actual life, if only they knew.” [Soorah al-Ankabut (29):64]
“We have reminder upon reminder, about how nations before us were destroyed and a common sickness which they were plagued with was ‘love of this world’. Regarding the Jews, who claim to be the best of all people and inheritors of the Promised Land, Allaah says:
“And verily you will find them the greediest of mankind and [even greedier] than those who do not believe in Resurrection [i.e. the idolaters]. Every one of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from [due] punishment. And Allaah is all-Seer of what they do.” Soorah al-Baqarah (2):96
If these people who spend their time in heedlessness and negligence, and futile desires, and the best part of their time being when they sleep or are inactive – then death is better than life. And we say to them:
‘Time is the most precious thing which you take care of, and I see it to be the easiest for you to lose”
“….. and the worst regret is regret on the Day of Resurrection. …and the fortunate one is the one who takes admonition from others..”
[From the famous khutbah (sermon) of the Companion, Ibn Mas’ood which has been recorded in al-Musannaf of Ibn Abee Shaibah (vol.7 no. 106)]
“Live in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveler.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari vol.8, p.284, no.425]
Does a traveler waste his time in gathering that which is of no benefit for his journey? Or does he immediately select that which shall facilitate him to reach his goal? In the same way, we too must get into the good habit of striving to do as much as we can today and everyday, not putting off things for tomorrow, or after exams, or marriage, or the age of sixty. . !
“If you survive till the evening do nor expect to be alive in the morning and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening. And take from your health for your sickness and [take] from your life for your death.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari vol.8, p.284, no.425]
“And die not except in a state of Islaam” Soorah al-Imran (3):102
So we keep our hearts moistened and alive with remembrance of Allaah, and we remember death in order to remember the Hereafter, and finally we close with a citation from Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee
“O my soul, it is not except a few days patience, As if her extent were a few dreams.
O my soul pass quickly on through this world, And leave it, For indeed life lies ahead of it.
Please remember me in your prayers
Your brother in Islam