However, after Islamic education and further understanding, which came with age, I began to learn that death was not associated with illness or age. Death can come to anyone at any time and no one is excluded from death.
Nevertheless, the human mind always has a feeling that death will never reach him or he will die when he is old. When a person is young and strong he feels that death is far from him and will not come to him for at least another few years; whilst still having this notion in mind that he will reach his old age.
Whilst I was standing in Salaah today I felt slightly dizzy and thought that I would collapse on the spot due to my knees becoming weak. At once I remembered the football player I had read about that died on the football pitch during a match; one minute he was standing the next minute ‘thump’ and he was on the ground… Dead. It made me realise that even before starting this Salaah I was fully confident that I would complete it and return home and complete my tasks which I had set for the day.
Our life is such that we plan not each day as it comes, but we plan years ahead and have this ‘false’ confidence that we will complete these plans and maybe one day ‘retire’ after which death will come to us.
“Live in this word as though you are a stranger or a passer-by”
Live in this world like a traveller lives in a hotel or a country he does not reside in; always keeping in mind that this is not his permanent place of residence and therefore not getting too attached or comfortable. Our home is the hereafter whilst this world is a temporary station.
“The world is a prison for the believer and paradise for the disbeliever”
The world is full of restrictions for a believer just like a prison has restrictions for a prisoner. However, once we are free from this ‘jail’ (world) we will have no restrictions, Insha Allah.
The prison is a place where a prisoner is unable to unite with his beloved; it acts as a barrier and obstacle between a person and his beloved. In the same manner, a believer is deprived from meeting his beloved, Allah, due to the barrier of this world.
“The gift of a believer is death”
Death, if seen with an open mind, is a gift not only to believers but to entire mankind. However, it is the believers that realise and appreciate this. Death allows this world to have enough space for its residence; otherwise the world would be overcrowded. Furthermore, it relieves people from old age and the illnesses and weaknesses that come with it.
Death is the only obstacle between a lover (believer) and his Beloved (Allah). Therefore, a believer sees death as a gift from Allah as it is a call from the Beloved to the lover. Moreover, it is the bridge that takes a lover to his beloved, Allah.
Our beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم has taught us that death can come at any time to anyone. In fact, he صلي الله عليه و سلم has taught us that death is so sudden that when we say one ‘Salaam’ in Salaah we should know in our hearts that it may not be possible to say the other ‘Salaam’ though the interval between the two may be of a few seconds.
In Islam, when a child is born, the call to prayer (Adhan) is given in the child’s right ear whilst the call to gather the congregation (Iqaamah) is given in the left ear and there is no Salaah that is performed thereafter.
However, the teaching of Islam is that after the Adhan and Iqaamah immediately prayer (Salaah) is commenced. Therefore, in this case, the ‘Ulamaa (scholars) have explained that the prayer that follows is the Salaatul Janaaza (prayer upon the deceased) to show that the life of a person, in reality, is extremely short, so much so, that it seems there is a short interval between the Iqaamah recited in the child’s ear and the Janaaza Salaah which takes place at the time of their death. Furthermore, they explain that this is the reason why there is no Adhan or Iqaamah for the Janaaza prayer.
O Allah, give us all the true understanding of death and give us the wisdom to accept that it could occur at any time. Give us the courage, time and importance of remembering death at all times. Keep us alive until that time which life is better for us and give us death when death is better for us. Make our lives ones that are long and filled with good deeds. O Allah, make us from those who see death as a gift and this world as a prison and make not death ‘sudden’ upon us and keep us ever ready for it.
O Allah, save us from the pangs of death and make death easy upon us. Do not attach our hearts to this world to such an extent that we feel sorrow, grief and pain at the time of our death. O Allah, we seek from you your mercy and that you send upon us the angels of mercy to remove our soul. O Allah, make us pleased with death for indeed it is death that will unite us with our Creator. O Allah, make us happy to see you and make us such that you are happy to see us. Aameen.