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The Angels Present at the Time of Death (17)

By Bintus Sabeel.

treeblueMany people have famously heard about the Angel of Death and that he is in charge of taking out the souls of the children of Adam at the time of death. Yet, many of us have not heard or come across the fact that there will also be other angels present at this crucial and critical time. This is proven by many Prophetic Narrations which mention that angels, other than the Angel of Death, will also come near the dying person. Depending upon whether the soul is good or evil and in accordance with what the dying person deserves, these angels will either have a good, delightful appearance or a bad, scary and frightening one. They will either bring good news and glad tidings to the dying person or will announce bad, painful and distressing news to him. In fact, these angels will be so well-equipped that they will be carrying with them necessary items of transportation which will be used for the soul’s journey up towards the heavens and towards the meeting with its Lord…and indeed what a journey it will truly be, unlike any other.

Let’s first look into how the soul of the righteous, obedient and believing servant is welcomed and treated by these special angels of Allah (Almighty), the very angels that have been delegated for the specific and momentous task of taking out a pure, believing soul. And we pray that such a reflection will push us towards performing more righteous and sincere deeds, abandoning evil and sin, thereby purifying ourselves before it’s too late.

A Heavenly Welcome

Many of us may have witnessed, whether in real life or by way of any of the various media outlets available, the royal and grand processions and feasts arranged and prepared in welcome of Kings, Queens, politicians, government officials and delegates around the world. The bright red carpet, the special spotlights, the expensive furniture, exquisite upholstery and fine robes…

But nothing can match the grand welcome and special treatment that the pious, righteous and pure soul will receive at the time of death. We have already covered how the soul will witness amazing, delightful spectacles which will instil within it eagerness and readiness to quickly jump out from its constricted cage of the physical body into a completely different life of the Barzakh.

Let’s now try and depict this unparalleled spectacle using authentic Prophetic Narrations as our guide and our imagination as our wings.

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The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “La ilaaha illa Allaah (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah). Verily death comes with agonies.” (Al Bukhari and Ahmad)

The Arabic term used for the agonies, throes and pains felt at the moment of death by the dying person is ‘Sakaraat’. No human is spared from it, not even the Prophets of Allah who would have been the most deserving of a concession from it if this was to be the case. Therefore, it is not surprising that the believer will want to get through this difficult stage as soon as possible, as he will know that that which is soon awaiting him and is to come next will be much, much easier and will in fact contain complete, pure and untainted bliss.

Many angels, the number being as numerous as far as the eye can see and the vision can extend, will come at the time when the righteous soul’s last moments will draw near in this life. The faces of these angels will be emblazoned by a fabulous glow and a sun-like shine. The Prophet (peace be upon him) in fact referred to them as the “Angels of Mercy” and indeed, they are dispatched by the permission of Allah which shows His abounding Mercy for the slave who will at that time and moment be in utmost and dire need of Allah’s Help, Kindness and Forgiveness.

Let’s now imagine how it will feel to receive such guests of honour, the very travelling companions that will, Allah Willing, accompany us right up into the magnificent wide heavens! As mentioned before, these Angels of Mercy will be prepared for this momentous task and will be carrying with them a shroud, a piece of cloth unlike any other found in this tainted world.

Bring to mind all the times you were gifted with clothes that you really liked and appreciated. Then think about these special guests that will bring a cloth unlike any cloth gifted to you in this world, unlike any gift given to you by your close and loved ones – a cloth from Paradise. How beautiful this cloth must surely be! Let’s bring our imagination to life. Think about the most beautiful, fine, soft, delicate and elegant piece of cloth that you have seen and felt in this life… then know that this Jannah-silk-cloth will be far, far better; it will be unseen by any human eye in this world, something which won’t wear away, wont tear, wont crease, won’t discolor or become dirty …yes, it won’t have any such worldly, finite attributes and characteristics attached to it.

It will only be the soul of the believer that will be worthy of being placed within it. This is because a pure soul that strived to be pure deserves the most pure. In fact in a Prophetic Narration reported by the Prophet’s respected Companion Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), he recounted that the Prophet (peace be upon him) specifically mentioned that this cloth will be a white cloth. (The Hadeeth is mentioned by Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh, a similar hadeeth is narrated by Ibn Maajah with a Saheeh Isnaad. See al-Albaani, Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb.)

We also find that in another narration he specifically mentioned that it will be white silk{footnote}ibid.{/footnote} and we know that white signifies purity and cleanliness. As for the specific mention of the term ‘silk’, then this elucidates how comfortable and easy the ride up into the heavens will be for the believer and what a delightful experience and special treatment he will be gifted with within its delicate folds. For, the width of the heavens is great and the distance that will have to be covered will be long and the destination will be far, which will make this gift and ride even more special for the special slave of Allah. For, being special is only in following and obeying the Lord, Most Special and Unique, and in this sense the believer will have truly gained an everlasting success.

Not only will the believer’s soul be emitting an amazing aroma of musk, but the angels will also bring with them a special embalmment, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) referred to as “Hunoot” from Paradise.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When the believing slave is reaching the end of his time in this world, and starting out in the hereafter, angels with white faces which look like the sun come down to him from heaven, bringing one of the shrouds of Paradise and some of its Hunoot (embalmment)…” (This lengthy hadith narrated by al-Baraa ibn Aazib is reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tayalisi, and al-Hakim who said it is according to the standards of Bukhari and Muslim.)

 

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