- Religion and Philosophy
At the time of death – as a Believer
I’d like to start this hub ‘Time of Death for a Believer’ with the following quote:
“The only thing guaranteed in life is death we all know this fact and yet have not prepared ourselves for it.
As believers in the divine revelations we know paradise is undeniable, yet we do not work for it. The hell fire is a certainty, yet we do not fear it. Why is that we pursue only worldly gains?
Do not waste your valuable time in this world chasing only material possessions. Your death brings the life in this world to an end… so get closer to your Lord!”
We all prepare extremely hard for all the worldly gains and material possessions we desire, many of us go to much pain in planning holidays, weddings, buying a new home and many of the other things we choose to apply a lot of effort and energy in doing. The worrying trend is that far fewer people spend anything close to what we should normally do to think about our soul and how it is affected by our actions and deeds in this life. We spend much less time and effort in thinking about the life hereafter even less thinking about what it would be like during death or in the grave.
English translation of the last chapter of Al-Ghazali's Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din). After expounding his Sufi philosophy of death and showing the importance of the contemplation of human mortality to the mystical way of self-purification, Ghazali takes his readers through the stages of the future life: the vision of the Angels of the Grave, the Resurrection, the Intercession of the Prophet, and finally, the torments of Hell, the delights of Paradise and—for the elect—the beatific vision of God's Countenance.
The spiritual life in Islam begins with riyadat al-nafs, the inner warfare against the ego (Jihad). Distracted and polluted by worldliness, the lower self has a tendency to drag the human creature down into arrogance and vice. Only by a powerful effort of will can the sincere worshipper achieve the purity of soul which enables him to attain God's proximity.
Marvels of the Heart is thought to be the key volume of the 40-book Ihya' 'Ulum-Al Din—Revival of the Religious Sciences—, the most read work in the Muslim world after the Qur’an. These traditional teaching stories, which use the theme of the heart as a mirror, illustrate key tenets of Islam on the requirements of religion, living in society, and the inner life of the soul.
The Messenger of Allah (SWT), Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) stated:
“Seek protection from the distress of the grave.” Why did Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) say this?
If only we could communicate with the dead and ask them how they are treated in Barzakh the life in the grave. Only then would we understand why we have been told to seek refuge from the torment of the grave. Grave is a very lonely place, once we are dead, there is no coming back, our dearest family members and friends will hurry to send us off one final time.
What materialises at the time of death for those who believe?
During the stages of death a believer moves toward the Hereafter sometimes referred to as Life after death, for a pious person angels come to greet the dying person. They carry fragranced Heavenly cloak with them. It is said that the angels arrive in such large numbers that the person in the process of transitioning from this life to the life of the grave will see them sitting far as his eyes could see. It is then that the Angel of Death (Hazrat Izra’il) arrives and sits down near the dying person and proclaims “O pure and virtuous soul! Move towards the forgiveness and favour of Almighty Allah (SWT).”
If it is a pious person the soul will come out of the body very easily, the Angel of death then takes the soul and all the sitting angels go with him towards the heaven. AS the angels ascend the heavens, enquiries are made by other groups of angels on the way regarding the virtuous soul the take upwards, in answer to the queries the angels reply in the nicest way that the soul they carry is the son of so and so.
At the first layer of the heaven, they request for the door to be opened for they want to enter, in this way they go up to the seventh heaven. Once they reach that level Almighty Allah (SWT) commands the Angels to write the dead person’s name in the Book of the Virtuous. Then the angels are again commanded to take the dead person back to earth, Allah says “I will take him out from the same earth”. The soul is returned to the dead body for it will be buried and commence its new journey in Barzakh (life in the Grave).
Once the dead body has been buried two angles come to him in the grave and ask him a number of questions:
The pious person will answer all the questions correctly, it is then declared from the heaven ‘My servant spoke the truth’.
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At this point the grave in which the person is buried in is enlarged as far as he could see with his eyes. It is then a handsome man in fine clothes and fragrance appears in the grave and conveys good news of it being the day which was once promised for those who believe and practice their religion.
The dweller of the grave will then ask the man “What are you?” The man will reply, “I am your righteous deeds.”
Out of greatest joy the dead person will exclaim, “O Lord! Bring about the Day of Resurrection so that I come in contact with my family and goods.”
I end this hub with the following saying from Hazrat Ata al-Khurasani (Allah’s mercy be on him) is reported to have said:
“When a Believer lays in prostration on a piece of land, it will weep after his death and bear witness for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Ta’eem)
To many people this hub may seem like just another story, if that is what you think then thank you for reading and may Allah give you the ability to see beyond the story. If you are from those who believe that we have been created by God (Allah) then you may consider doing some more research on this very important topic of the “Time of Death”.