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Remembering Death : Sumayyah Bint Joan  


Let us not ever forget that this moment could be our last, and not put off until tomorrow what can, and should be done today.

Remembering Death

Prior to accepting Islam, many things were happening in my life prompting me to change my ways. One such thing was a dream I had – well it was more like a nightmare actually. It started with my bed being placed in the middle of an abandoned warehouse. As I looked around, I suddenly became aware of two huge, robed figures standing at the foot of my bed. They took me by the hand and all of sudden we were at the base of a mountain. As we climbed they did not speak, just kept walking with quick, sure steps. When we reached the summit, they both pointed for me to look over the edge. As 1 did, a wave of scorching-hot air blasted me in the face. Beneath me was a sea of fire and blood. People, naked and piled on top of each other, were screaming in agony. They were imploring me to pull them out of the sea. But I was transfixed. I could do nothing but stand in horror at what I was seeing and hearing. When I awoke, I was shaken and utterly terrified. The only thought on my mind was I did not want to end up there.

Alhamdulillah, Allah guided me to Islam and the Sunnah of His Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the lesson of that dream, which was not dying in a state displeasing to Allah. Life and death belong to Allah alone. But if we look at our actions and how we spend our time, it seems that we think that we own both. We plan out our days, weeks and months, as if we were given guarantees that any of these days, weeks or months will come. We plan for life, while we do not plan for death. We live as if we would live in this world forever. We forget that this life is fleeting and that we all have an appointment with death that must be kept. It is a promise from Allah, subhanahu wataala, and whatever Allah promises must come to pass.
 

 

"Every soul shall taste death, and only on the Day of Judgment will you be given what you earned. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of deception." Holy Qur'an (3:185)

 

He, subhanahu wata'ala, says, "Every soul shall taste death, and only on the Day of Judgment will you be given what you earned. So, he who is prevented from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained his desire. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of deception ."[3:187] Death brings with it the true reality of our situations. About his the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "When one of you dies, he is shown his place (in the Hereafter) morning and evening. If he is from the people of Heaven, then he is among the people of Heaven. And if he is from the people of Hell, then he is among the people of Hell. And it will be said to him, 'this is your place until Allah resurrects you on the Day of Judgment." (Muslim). Knowing this, arc we prepared to meet the Angel of Death?

If we knew we only had today to live, how would we live it? What would we do with our day? Are there bridges that need mending? Do we have grudges or misunderstandings that need to be set aright? Would we spend it in front of the television or in reading the book of Allah? Would we spend our final moments chasing down this worldly life or seeking the next life? Would we repent to our Lord? Would we be careful with every word, every deed, every glance and every thought? Would we safeguard our salah? Would we spend it in fasting and in giving charity? Would we spend our day with our families and our children? Would we tell them how much we love and appreciate them? Would we cry out of fear for what is about to befall us? If so, then why don't we do so every day? Every day is some-body's last day and today might be ours.

When death was approaching Umar after he had been stabbed, Abdullah ibn Abbas said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful! You accepted Islam when others disbelieved; you struggled along with the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, when others deserted him; the Prophet, sallallahu alavhe wa sallam, died while he was pleased with you; no two people have disagreed on you and you are about to die a martyr." Umar replied, "The flattered is the one whom you flatter. By Allah, if I had what ever the sun rose upon I would give it away in order to protect myself from what is about to rise [upon me]."(TanbeehulGhafileen).

Umar was more pleasing in the sight of Allah than any of us can ever hope to be. Yet, he was fearful of what death brought. We, on the other hand, are secure in our false hopes and delusions. As we heedlessly zip though our days, we say, tomorrow, tomorrow. Unfortunately for most of us tomorrow never comes. So let us strive to do our best today. Let us resolve to remember death. When we purchase a new outfit, let us remember the burial shroud that will serve as our final outfit. When we arc outfitting our new homes and domiciles, let us remember the smallness of the grave. Let us remember to ask ourselves, will our deeds make it a place of rest or a place of torment?

Death, as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhewa sallam, said is the robber of desires. By remembering death, the servants of Allah purify themselves and their actions. They acknowledge their feebleness and helplessness before the Lord of the Worlds and walk through this life with caution and hope. We should live as the companions of the Messenger o f Allah, sallallahu alavhe wa sallam, lived. If they lived to pray the Fajr, they did not hope to see the Isha; and if they made the Isha, they did not hope to see the Fajr. Let us not ever forget that this moment could be our last, and not put off until tomorrow what can, and should be done today.

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"Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided."

Holy Qur’an 16:125


"Narrated Aishah (radhi-yallaahu 'anhaa): The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise.” They asked, “Even you, O Allah's Messenger?” He said, “Even I, unless and until Allah protects me with His pardon and His Mercy."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith No. 474