passportThe nature of this world’s creation is such that it is temporary; therefore, it can only offer a temporary visa to anyone who enters and resides within it. For this reason an appointment is binding upon every single individual who has had a soul breathed into him or her while s/he was in his or her mother’s womb. This appointment is the meeting of death with al-Malakul-Mowt (the Angel of Death) which will inevitably come to pass upon every single individual that has come into this world because the one who has come into it… must one day inevitably depart from it.

Today, depending on the sort of life we are living in this world, we are either looking forward to this meeting or we are denying it by making ourselves believe that it won’t really come to pass, or we are fearfully dreading it as we know it is approaching but we have not prepared well enough for it. Whatever the case, each one of us, as the minutes continue to pass us by, is unavoidably drawing closer to that final stage in our lives. We can either unsuccessfully try to run away from it or work for the day when it will come, just as many of us in the past had to sit exams, regardless of whether or not we were ready for them or wanted to undertake them, the fact of the matter was that we still had to sit them. In the same way, regardless of the fact whether we are poor or rich, healthy or sick, old or young, leader or led…none of us can escape that particular year, that certain hour, that specific minute and that unrelenting second when our souls will be extracted by this Angel of our Lord, the Most High. Allah (Almighty) has said,


“Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you
even if you are in a fortress built up strong and high.” (An-Nisaa, 4: 78)

Unlike other meetings, we cannot fit this appointment into our busy schedules as we wish, we cannot choose to cancel it, we cannot postpone it, nor can we combine or fit it into our other busy tasks. In fact, it will come upon us all of a sudden and this is when we will have to resign our very selves to our fate. Actions will then cease and the recompense for our deeds, whether good or bad, will begin. The feeling of the egoistic “free-will”, so easily expressed in the statement “it’s my life” will then cease to hold any real worth as our bodies will be left lifeless… without a life. The fact of the matter is, we came into this world involuntarily and we will depart from it involuntarily and the time is now, before it’s too late, to work for Islaam by giving up our souls, hearts and very lives for it.

Without a doubt, the Prophet’s Companions were ever ready to sacrifice and they forfeited all that was dear to them in this life for the spread of the Divine Message of Islaam. Thus, the Prophet (peace be upon him) guaranteed many of them unconditional entrance into Paradise… yet they still feared. They feared that they did not have enough provisions for the hereafter – out of their sincere humility and modesty. They were not boastfully proud of the many feats they successfully achieved in the way of Allah; they did not allow their minds to falsely claim and believe that somehow they owned Paradise, for they knew that it belongs to Allah, and Allah alone, and if He wills, He will allow them to enter into it; if He wills He has no one to stop Him from entering any of His creation into the Hellfire. This is why it is not surprising that the great Companion, Salmaan al-Faarsi (may Allah be pleased with him) was found weeping just before his death. When he was asked as to why this was so, he said:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded us to have sufficient provisions for the hereafter”.{footnote}Mukhtasar Minhaj Al-Qadisin (towards the hereafter) by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi. Translated by Wa'il 'A.Shihab{/footnote}

For those who have read the biography of Salmaan al-Faarsi (which can be accessed here), each page from his biography testifies to the difficult and painful terrain he traversed for the truth. He sacrificed his comforts, loved ones and homeland and jumped into a journey full of difficulties, foreign people and unknown lands. Yet, he still cried over whether he had sufficient provisions for the hereafter. Then how much more should we be crying over our states, our bankruptcy, with regards to the scale of our good deeds.

Similarly, the following is narrated on the authority of Ibn Shamasa Mahri regarding another Companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said: “We went to Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) and he was about to die. He wept for a long time and turned his face towards the wall. His son said: ‘Didn’t the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) give you tidings of this?’ He (the narrator) said: He turned his face (towards the audience) and said:


‘The best thing which we can count upon is the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him). Verily I have passed through three phases. 

(The first one) in which I found myself averse to none else more than I was averse to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and there was no other desire stronger in me than the one that I should overpower him and kill him. Had I died in this state, I would have been definitely one of the denizens of Fire.

When Allah instilled the love of Islaam in my heart, I came to the Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: “Stretch out your right hand so that I may pledge my allegiance to you.” He stretched out his right hand (and then) I withdrew my hand. He (the Prophet, peace be upon him) said: “What has happened to you, O 'Amr?” I replied: “I intend to lay down some condition.” He asked: “What condition do you intend to put forward?” I said: “I should be granted pardon.” He (the Prophet, may peace be upon him) observed:

“Are you not aware of the fact that Islaam wipes out all the previous (misdeeds)? Verily migration wipes out all the previous (misdeeds), and verily the pilgrimage wipes out all the previous (misdeeds).”

And then there was no one dearer to me than the Messenger of Allah and none was more sublime in my eyes than he. Never could I pluck up the courage to catch a full glimpse of his face due to its splendor. So if I am asked to describe his features, I cannot do that for I have not eyed him fully. Had I died in this state then I would have had every reason to hope that I would be among the dwellers of Paradise. Then we were responsible for certain things (in the light of which) I am unable to know what is in store for me. When I die, let neither female mourner nor fire accompany me. When you bury me, fill my grave well with earth, then stand around it for the time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that I may enjoy your intimacy and (in your company) ascertain what answer I can give to the messengers (angels) of Allah.’"{footnote}Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 220{/footnote}







Many of us have also heard of the great Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee, one of the leading Jurists of his time and one of the Imams of the four popular juristic schools of thought. When he was on his deathbed al-Mazini (rahimahullah) visited him. Al-Mazini narrates what happened next: “I asked him, ‘How are you?’ He replied,

”I am leaving this world, leaving my brothers, meeting my sins, drinking the cup of death, and returning to the Almighty. But I do not know whether to Hell or Paradise my spirit will be admitted”.”{footnote}Mukhtasar Minhaj Al-Qadisin (towards the hereafter) by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi. Translated by Wa'il 'A.Shihab{/footnote}

This was a person who spent his life seeking knowledge, practicing and implementing it, and in turn teaching it to the masses. This is a person whose teachings and works spread when he was alive and even until now are taught, cited and referred to…yet he still worried whether he would be admitted in the Paradise of Delights.

In truth, now is the time to take heed from the words of Hamid al-Qasyrasi (rahimahullah) when he said:

“Though we know death is certain, we have not prepared ourselves for it. Though we know paradise is definite, we have not worked for it. Though we know the hell fire is sure, we have not feared it. So why are you delighted? What are you waiting for? Death is the first visitor from the Almighty bringing good or evil tidings… get closer to your Lord.”{footnote}Ibid{/footnote}


In fact, the righteous before were mentally prepared for the hereafter as they constantly worked towards it. For example, Habib Ibn Muhammad’s (rahimahullah) wife said that Habib used to tell me,

“If I die today get so-and-so to bathe me”.{footnote}Ibid{/footnote}

She was asked if he had seen a dream of his death. She replied that he used to tell her likewise every day.



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