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Death is only the beginning…

By Muhammadrasul Saaduev : Imam of Central Jum`ah Mosque | Makhachkala / 16 Sept 2011

“Your Time is up, Move out of This House!”

Death is an unpleasant topic for many. It is the subject that a lot of people avoid, and even hate hearing about. But how can a sincere believer stop thinking or talking about death?

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Remember often the destroyer and cutter off of delights, which is death.” And then the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Every time you mention death on small occasions (i.e. good deeds), it will magnify them; and every time you mention death on great occasions (i.e. sins), it will lessen them.”

Mentioning death and an understanding its essence humbles a person, overcomes his arrogance and pride. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “If you mention death having numerous sins, your sins will dwindle. If you mention it when lacking worship, your worship will grow.”

When a sinner remembers death, he stops sinning. If people remembered more about death, about their last hour on earth, there would be less sins, crime, cruelty, injustice and arrogance in their hearts.

That is why the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Remember death frequently.” If you do not worship Allah enough, you will start to worship Him more, do goodly deeds more often. If you are sinful, you will sin less and then stop sinning at all. This is the meaning of this Hadith of the Allah’s Messenger (PBUH).

Therefore, a Mu’min, a sincere believer in Allah, has no fear of death and thoughts about it.

Allah says in the Qur'an: “Say (O Muhammad), the death from which you are running away, will surely overtake you!” In another verse Allah says: “Every soul shall have the taste of death.” Allah said to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his lifetime: “You are dead, and they are dead too.” Death will certainly overtake everyone!

So what is death and why do most people turn a deaf ear to it and avoid mentioning it? Why do many shun the topic? A lot of people associate death with non-existence. A person dies, the light goes out and he does not exist anymore. That is what most people think.

This view is, of course, the result of the atheistic brainwash, which has left its trace in our minds, and the Western influence on our society. In other words, it is the cult of the modern world, the cult of wealth, the cult of pleasure. All this adds up and makes to an insincere believer think of death as non-existence.

Actually this is a very fallacious belief. Death is only the third stage of the overall human evolution.

The first stage is the prenatal life, when each of us was still in the womb.

The second stage is the life in this world, where we are now and whose pleasures we enjoy.

The third stage is the life in the so-called Al-Barzakh, where souls dwell after death. This is the realm which will exist until the Judgment Day.

Afterwards goes the fourth stage – Akhirat, the Eternal Life.

Each next stage is a step up. Each subsequent form of life, out of these four, is closer to perfection, than the last.

For example, the earth life is more evolved, than the prenatal form. Science has proven, that a person is two-fold. He consists of a physical body and a soul. When a man moves to the Al-Barzakh stage after death, his soul is set free. It gets the highest freedom from all the restraints associated with the body. In this world the soul is subject to the body, and in Al-Barzakh the body is subordinate to the soul. As you see, death brings a more evolved and perfect form of life.

In Al-Barzakh the soul is separated from the body and yet stays connected to it, for example, like the Earth and the Sun. The Sun is a physical body far off the Earth. At the same time the Earth goes round the Sun. Hence, they are interconnected, but at the same time separated.

In the same way the soul does not lose the connection with the body, whatever state it is in; no matter, if it is reduced to dust or torn into pieces. At the same time the soul bears the penalty or enjoys the pleasures, the Almighty gave it. That is the state the soul abides in, when we move to the third stage of life.

Surah YaSin tells us about a man, to whose soul the Almighty says: “Enter thou the Garden.” And in the Al-Barzakh the man says: “Ah me! Would that my People knew (what I know)! For that my Lord has granted me Forgiveness and has enrolled me among those held in honour!” The Holy Qur’an has a lot of similar Ayahs showing that the soul after leaving the body either rejoices or is punished in Al-Barzakh.

Now let us answer the question, if death is grievous or not. The Almighty says in the Qur’an: “Death is grievous.” If Allah calls death grievous, He means a trial; and we are not talking about the deceased here. This is about the people who lived with him, about the closest ones, who miss their beloved. For the deceased person himself death is not grievous, of course, if he is a Mu’min and he had often been preparing for this transition to the other world. As for the mentioned ordeal of death, it is about the people who have to bear the burden of parting with their closest ones.

What a person’s life in Al-Barzakh will look like depends on the person, who goes to Al-Barzakh after his death. He is the architect of the city and the site he will dwell in after death. If he had been doing good deeds, had repented his sins to get closer to the Almighty, he should not fear death. He goes to Al-Barzakh as his home place. He gets there pleasure and peace, joy and happiness.

If a person did not do it, was neglectful of the laws of the Almighty or did not obey them at all, Allah will severely punish him after death.

A Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) says: “Allah wants to meet anyone who wants to meet Him. Allah is averse to meeting anyone who is averse to meeting Him.”

Whoever wants to meet the Almighty, has prepared for the life in Al-Barzakh and consequently in Akhirat. Why? Because the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “The man, who was prepared for the other world in this one, is given the good news when he dies.”

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “Oh Messenger of Allah, we dislike death.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “When the believer is given the good news of the mercy of Allah and His pleasure and His garden, he wants to meet Allah”.

The best example is the story with Abu Hazim (may Allah be pleased with him), a great preacher of Islam. One day he was visited the Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, a great Umayyid caliph. The ruler came and sat before him, as a Murid sits before his Ustaz, as astudent sits before his teacher, and asked: “Oh Abu Hazim, why do we hate death?” Abu Hazim (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “You have decorated and embellished this world, and turned your habitation in the other world into a desert. Naturally, you don't like to leave a flourishing city for a desert.” Then Sulayman asked: “What would it be like when we appear before Allah tomorrow?” Abu Hazim (may Allah be pleased with him) replied: “The man who has been doing good deeds will appear before Allah like the man who returns from a travel to his loved ones, while the man who has been doing evil deeds will appear like the runaway slave who has now been brought back to his master.” That is what happens when we return to the Almighty!

Why are we unwilling to hear or to remember death? We have fallen too much for this world and do not get ready for Akhirat.

Here is an example of two people. The first one laid the basement and rented a house for ten years near the land lot until the end of the construction works. He had ten years only. The house he rented is fairly good and comfortable with a garden, and everything. So he settled in this house. A year went by, but he forgot about the ten-year deadline and did nothing on the construction site. He built nothing, but the base, but he went on having fun, drinking, enjoying the good time. Then suddenly the house owner came and said: “Your time is up, move out of this house!” Where could he go to live? He could only go to live in the wasteland… He was a fool, wasn’t he? But he had a chance, he had money, and he had time. He spent everything on pleasure.

The other is an example of a smart man. He rented a simple apartment and did not pay attention to its walls and the decorations, because he only rented it for ten years. What is the use of putting on the ritz? Day and night he thought about leaving the place and finishing his own house in due time. Time came, so did the landlord and said: “That’s it. Your time is out!” The man moved to the house, he had been building hard for the past ten years. There is no difference between this world and these tenants.

The same is true today about us, who are temporarily in this world.

While weare here, the Almighty does not forbid us to enjoy His permissible blessings. In the Qur’an Allah says: “Do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee.” In other words, Allah gave us life, gave the pleasures in this world. “And seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land.” This means no adultery, no leading people to all kinds of disasters, etc. You need to forget this and prepare for the Eternal life.

Allah also reminds us: “Nor forget thy portion in this world.”Today nobody tends to forget about their share. Everyone remembers and seeks it. Our greed destroys us, because we forget about the Eternal life, where we will certainly be at some point. We have to seek the balance between this world and the eternal life.

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:“If the son of Adam had possessed a valley filled with gold, he would want a second. If he were to be given a second, he would want a third.” What does this mean? We create our problems ourselves, though – praise be to Allah! – most of us have enough, some are even wealthy, and wealth distracts from worship. And the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “The belly of the son of Adam will only be filled by earth.”

Therefore, let Allah guide us to understand death. May none of us fear it, but instead prepare for the Eternal life. And may we return to Allah as close family does after a long separation, and not otherwise! Ameen.