(from: National Geographic.com)
This has been a difficult subject for me to write. I have read about it and listened to many scholars on this subject, yet it remains personally challenging.
Listening to the Surah Al Anaam in the middle of a storm, isolated in a gym far away from home at the retreat had a way of bringing it to me so picturesquely that it made it possible for me to share it with you.
I pray for myself and I ask you to pray for me that I die a Momin, and that no muslim be put through what non-Momins are put through at death.
6:61 He is the irresistible, (watching) from above over His worshippers, and He sets guardians over you. At length, when death approaches one of you, Our angels take his soul, and they never fail in their duty.
Wahuwa alqahiru fawqa AAibadihi wayursilu AAalaykum hafathatan hatta itha jaa ahadakumu almawtu tawaffathu rusuluna wahum la yufarritoona
وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُم حَفَظَةً حَتَّىَ إِذَا جَاء أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لاَ يُفَرِّطُونَ (6:61)
6:62 Then are men returned unto Allah, their protector, the (only) reality: Is not His the command? and He is the swiftest in taking account.
Thumma ruddoo ila Allahi mawlahumu alhaqqi ala lahu alhukmu wahuwa asraAAu alhasibeena
ثُمَّ رُدُّواْ إِلَى اللّهِ مَوْلاَهُمُ الْحَقِّ أَلاَ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَهُوَ أَسْرَعُ الْحَاسِبِينَ (6:62)
(The tafseer is primarily from Sheikha Farhat Hashmi and some from the retreat and some for the CDs “The Hereafter”)
Allah SWT introduces Himself. He commands us to know Him (SWT) and to look into ourselves and His (SWT) signs around us.
SLEEP: The cycle of life and minor death is repeated every night. Our body continues to function at the level of basic subsistence and the soul (Haivani) remains with the body.
Our spiritual soul (for the lack of a better translation) is taken from the body and it reviews the day’s activities, and then it is returned upon awakening. Every night this cycle is repeated and then we are awakened to carry on the activities of the next day. We are being given a chance to prepare every night for death, and review our life every morning and to make decisions of obedience to Allah.
Our spiritual soul leaves at night but our physically body retains our Haivani soul that continues to function in the physicality of the body i.e. vital function of life (breathing, heart beat etc
We have been sent to this world for an appointed time. Thus the spiritual soul is returned to the body and we awaken to fulfill our appointed time in this world.
Allah SWT gives an example of sleep being a minor death because it is something fathomable by the human brain. However one day at an appointed time this cycle of the minor death (sleep) followed by awakening will end, and our loved ones will grieve at our departure.
At that time we cannot return to this earth to improve our actions and or erase our regrets of good deeds undone. Our book of actions will close and the first phase of questioning about our actions on this earth will begin.
Allah has control over everything and watches over all of us. He does allow us free will in some areas, but some areas we do not have free will (e.g. our choice of our face, our parents, and need of food, sleep and the progress of age from infancy to old age. Etc)
We are independent in many areas and we become accountable for our actions in these areas.
ALLAH DESIGNATES ANGELS FOR US IN LIFE & IN DEATH
In life each one of us have a designated set of angels, they have no emotions or feelings (unlike what the movies depict) they are allocated to us to keep watch over us in two ways:
1. One set is for life (our assigned time in dunya) and they watch over us to protect us from harm and to keep a detailed record of our actions. They have no way to record our intentions….. that only Allah knows.
2. The second set arrive at death and come prepared for removal of the soul from the body depending on whether we are Momin, Kaafir and or Munafiq and I presume all the levels in between.
RasoolAllah (PBUH) said (related by Abu Huraira RA): and I paraphrase: We are assigned several angels in our life; they have two shifts. Some watch over us in the day and some in the night. There are two times when all the angels of the Day and Night assigned to each one of us meet. The first time is between fajr and Ishraaq and the second time is between Asar and Maghrib.
The departing angels return to Allah SWT at this window of time take our record of the day or night (Tahajud) with them to Allah SWT who asks them ‘How was my abd and what was he or she doing?’ even though He (SWT) knows. (Al Aleem)
The angels are accurate in their reporting. If we are praying then they report, “Your abd was in prayer” and if we are sleeping at fajr then that is what they report.
Thus at all times in life and in death, we have angels with us. (It is recommended that when you enter your house even if there is no human there, extend your salaam, as there are angels in your house who greet you).
ANGELS OF PROTECTION & DOCUMENTATION
We have a fixed and appointed time in this world and the angels appointed to us protect us during this time. One example given by RasoolAllah is that seven angels protect just our eyes.
THE QUALITY OF THEIR WORK is mentioned in these ayahs. They continue their job diligently both of protection and recording till the time of death comes, then the angels of life stand aside for the angels of death (several).
Our soul is removed from our body by the angels of death never to be returned to it again (as was done after sleep).
THE DEPARTURE OF THE MOMIN
At the death of the Momin, the angels of death come and extend salaam to the Momin, at this time the Momin in the throes of death……. smiles. (Perhaps some of you may have seen this in a pious relative) The angels of death then gently call for the soul to come out.
From another reference (The Hereafter by Anwar Awlaki): When the soul of a believer who is righteous and innocent is removed, it comes out of the body like a drop of water sliding off the tip of the spout of a jug. However the soul of a disobedient person fights back and refuses to leave the body. His soul is removed forcibly and comes out torn and fragmented like a piece of cloth being pulled off a thorny bush.
It is also reported that when the soul of the innocent leaves the body voluntarily when called by the angels of death, the eyes of the dying watch it leave. (I remember being perplexed at the peaceful look in Tariq’s eyes in death: as if he was watching something going far away that he liked, his face in repose…at peace)
If the person is a Kafir or Munafiq then the angels of death look frightening to him and the dying person is terrified at the time of death.
PERFECTION OF THEIR TASK.
At the time of death the angels, both those of life and those of death complete their task perfectly, neither excessive nor less. And fulfill their duty completely towards their Lord as ordered.
When the soul is removed it is returned to Allah SWT.
THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL OF THE MOMIN
This description is from a Hadith related by Abu Huraira (RA)
The angels of death arrive with a coffin for the soul of the Momin, perfumed with the fragrance of Jannah. The soul of the Momin is wrapped in the perfumed silk coffin and the angels ascend with it towards Allah SWT traversing the seven heavens.
At each Level of Heaven the door is opened with a welcome, and the angel guards ask “ who is this pure (paak) soul that lived in a pure (paak) body? (The importance of remaining in taharah at all times is thus extremely important) until it reaches Allah SWT. (I am not sure what happens there)
The spirit is then returned to earth to remain with the body and it asks to be buried quickly (thus the muslim injunction to bury the body as quickly as you can)
In the grave, the soul is returned to the body and the Munkar Nakeer begin their interrogation.
Who is your Rab? The Momin says Rabi Allah
What is your deen? The Momin says Deen e Islam
Who is your Nabi? The Momin gives shahada of Prophet Muhammad as Allah’s Rasool
When the same questions are asked fron the Kafir and the Munafiq he or she says:
“I don’t know” or “I said what ever other people said”
The momin is then put to sleep gently and with respect and told that he or she will wake up on the Day of Judgment.
As for the disobedient and those who deny Tawheed of Allah:
Surah al Annam Allah SWT warns:
006.093 Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or saith, “I have received inspiration,” when he hath received none, or (again) who saith, “I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed”? If thou couldst but see how the wicked (do fare) in the flood of confusion at death! – the angels stretch forth their hands, (saying),”Yield up your souls: this day shall ye receive your reward,- a penalty of shame, for that ye used to tell lies against Allah, and scornfully to reject of His signs!” (Translation by Yusuf Ali)
Barzakh is an Arabic word derived from the Persian word” Pardah”: The hijab between the world and the Day of Judgement
In summary: These ayahs underline the following:
1. Allah is Al Qahir, Al Haqq ,Al Hakim & Al Hasib, four powerful attributes of Allah in these ayahs!
2. We are assigned a fixed time in this dunya
3. We are accountable for our voluntary actions in this dunya: based on our declaration and implementation of Tawheed in ourselves and our behavior accordingly with our fellow human beings.
4. Sleep is a minor death, and is used as an example of death and resurrection on the Day of Judgment.
5. What happens at death and immediately after is alluded in these ayahs and explained in more detail by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
6. We have a team of angels protecting us in life and caretaking us in death exactly as per orders of Allah no less and no more.
The lessons from these ayahs are self-evident and are an incentive to prepare us.
What do you do daily to prepare yourself to meet your Maker? Please share.
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Few days back i have lost my dearest grandmother. She was everything to me as she only bought me up and loved me more than my parents. She was having urinary tract infection and was in hospital recovering. She suddenly got Cardiac arrest and expired in another half an hour after doctors tried their best to save her.
I am very much disturbed as she loved me a lot and i also loved her a lot. I have spent 32 years of my life with her since my birth. Although i have wife and a 3 month old son but i am even not paying attention on them.
i have a feeling of guilt that if i should have shown her to a good doctor few days before she must have not left me. Although doctors told me that she was recovered and was going to be discharged next day. She was 74-75 years old.
Please guide me how to recover from this depression and guilt phase. Although i am regularly praying for her.
May Allah grant her Jannat-ul-firdaus.
Mohammad Rehan Ansari
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Allah talla apke father ko jannat naseeb farmaye. My father has also passed away on 25th of Feb 2012. He was suffering form Heart problem from last nine years. Routinely medicine was taken by him. he has passed away due to Sudden heart attack in presence of whole family. No body is able to notice that next morning he will be passed away. I missing him alot. Thinking that might heart opreation at right time could save his life. But as per quran date of death is fixed no body can chang it. It always feel me guilt that i am not able to treat him in big hospital. Allah give me the right thinking to satisfy myself. Please put your reply on my mail id
Asa, May Allah give you saber and He subhanawataala has given you the capability to gift him with duas, good deeds, including reciting the Quran, giving sadaqa and being a good son fi sabillallah! May Allah accept you as a sadiq son of your father! amen
Assalam O alaicum,
It’s a beautiful and very informative article, may Almighty Allah SWT reward success and blessings to writer of this article in this world and on the day judgement, Ameen.
My father also passed away early in the morning on November 16,2012, even though he got discharged from Hospital on same night of November 15,2012, I was sleeping in front of his bed on ground, and my mother was sleeping in beside of him, I wake up at Fajar, I went for Fajar prayer passing just in front of him, after paying prayer in masjid I came back and even then I didn’t noticed that he has left us for forever…, after an hour when I went to wake him for the breakfast and I hold his hand ..i found his hand cold and when I tried to I turned him around, I found his eyes opened and his face calm, there was no symptom of breath on stomach, but even then his face was not looking like a dying person, his face was full of life and noor like he is still alive, It’s the unforgettable moment of my life …my father was a Parkinson’s patient and spent his life last 07 years suffering from Parkinson’s,
It is very hard to forget love and kindness of father, it’s my wish when ever I will leave this world, I will get honor to meet first with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and then my beloved father.
Walaikum asalaam wa rahmatullahe wa barakatahu!
Inna lil lahi wa innah elayhe rajaown. May ALllah Subhanawtaala give you saber and give him Jannat ul Firdous and may your wish come true in the Akirah, Ameen.
Thank you for your duas, they mean a lot to me.
salaam, all brothers and sisters pls remmember in your prayers Allah accept my all good deeds and forgive my sins and give all of us power (toufiq) to read kalma while departuring from the world and make us able to recieve prophet`s intercesstion on the day of resurrection.
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I am a sinner. I pray, Allah forgives us all.
may allah forgive our sins and protect us from wrongs……
Lailaha illal lah,mohammdur rasul allah….salaal lahu alyhi wasallam….
Jazaik ALlah Khair, May Allah reward you now and in the Hereafter for being so mindful of the Akhirah.
Please keep me in your prayers.
SubhanAllah I am not quite prepared. and am not scared of death but rather meeting Allah unprepared coz i don’t know if i have done enough to make him happy with me. SubhanaAllah may Allah have mercy on all muslems the ones who past and us who are still alive. and grant us ease in death and by mentioning shahada InshaAllah and live peacefully in our graves till the day of judgment and may Allah S.W.T make yawmal qiyama the best day of our lives amiin. brother jazakaAllah for this reminder my heart is trembling. please my dearest sister and brothers in Islam pray for me and InshaAllah i will do the same. jazakaAllah kheir.
thanx 4 this gr8 article it will reawake islam in muslims thank u once again . . . .
Alhamdollillah! Our Sustenance and our time of death is predetermined when we were in the womb of our mothers.
What means we use to get our sustenance and how we live our life while we are in this dunya determines how we will live in the Hereafter and with whom.
Allah knows best!
This is also addressed in :
do we meet again in the hereafter and our time in the dunya is fixed
is our time of death fixed according to quran
JazakAllahu khair for this beneficial reminder..May Allah swt make us die as true mumins and May He swt forgive us for our many shortcomings and bless us all with the highest of jannah..ameen
Inshallah, may we all remember to say the above, without fear and with confidence.
Please keep me in your prayers
i hope i dnt forget 2 say dis wen i die. Who is your Rab? The Momin says Rabi Allah
What is your deen? The Momin says Deen e Islam
Who is your Nabi? The Momin gives shahada of Prophet Muhammad as Allah’s Rasool
i am very scared of judgement day
Walaikum Asalaam wa barakatahu, Inshallah your dear son will be waiting at the gates of Jannah for you.
May Allah SWT give you the path of the righteous and may you find your child in Jannah!
Al Salamu Alykoum
I lost my beloved son and I always wonder where is he I pray daily for mercy for him hope that we will meet again one day in shaa Allah
may Allah give your son place in jannah ul fardoos ameen
The death of any loved one is very pain ful but Subhan Allah “to forget” is such a blessing of Alllah SWT it helps to overcome pain, other wise it is so hard to control yourself. When my son was sick it was hard for me to accept he is going to die when I was reading surah Kausar, when prophet ‘s (PBUH) son “Ibrahim” died he (PBUH) had no control on himself then Allah SWT send it to comfort him. Imagine he was His (SWT) Prophet (PBUH) and dearest prophet. who are we ? May Allah swt make us strong in our deen ,and make us die on nothing except true and strong Iman Inshallah .Ameen
may Allah give your son place in jannah ul fardoos ameen sum ameen
Thank you for your duas brother Khan, it means a lot to receive them!
Nothing to be very honest. Sometimes, especially at night I am gripped by this fear, I am not scared of dying but I am definitely scared of what will happen to me once I am gone. I’m not prepared.
Good article for our reminder.
I try my best according my way of life…, but very rare fasting sunnah now and dhuha not regularly done like before.
If i imagine i were death tomorrow, i am not yet good enough to meet my Maker. But i won’t give up try my best and hope for His rahman and His mercy, as long as i am still breathing. 🙂
Thank you Asqfish!
The picture is from Tariq’s collection (National Geographic) titled: THE CLERIC’S SON.