Preparation For Death (Part I)

Discreet men and women who have iman [1] and who have reached the age of puberty are termed mukallaf [2]. It is sunnat [3] for those who are mukallaf to remember death very often. For remembering death urges to hold fast to the commands and to avoid the prohibitions. It reduces the temptation to commit haram [4]. Our Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) declared: "Remember death very often; it ruins tastes and terminates amusements!" Some men of tasawwuf [5] made it a habit to remember death once every day. Muhammad Bahauddin-i Bukhari (quddisa sirruh) would imagine himself dead and interred twenty times every day.

To die does not mean to cease to exist. It is an event that does not annihilate existence. Death is the termination of the soul's attachment to the body. It is an act of the soul leaving the body. Death is a matter of man's changing from one state into another. It is to migrate from one home to another. 'Umar bin Abdul'aziz (rahmatullahi 'aleyh) said, "You have been created only for eternity, for endlesness. Only, you will migrate from one home to another!"

Death is a blessing, a gift for the Believer. It is a disaster for the sinful. It is relief for the poor, and torment for the rich. Wisdom is a gift endowed by Allahu ta'ala. Ignorance is the cause of straying from the right way. Cruelty is man's ugly aspect. Worship brings good humour, joy, and a sacred light to the eyes. Weeping with fear of Allah polishes the heart. Laughter dopes the heart with venom. Man does not wish death. Yet, in fact, death is more useful than mischief. Man likes to live. Yet, in fact, death is better for him. With death the true Believer gets disentangled from the torment and exertion of this world. With the death of the cruel, countries and peoples attain relief. It will be pertinent to quote an old couplet of poetry, which was inspired by the death of a cruel enemy of the religion:

Neither he had comfort, nor did people see peace with him.
He's at last tumbled down; patience, o you, who'll be with him!

[1] iman: faith, belief, beliefs of Islam; kalam, i'tiqad.
[2] mukallaf: a person who is discreet and has reached the age of puberty [the age when he or she has begun to become junub and must perform the ablution of ghusl].
[3] sunnat: i) act, thing that was, though not commanded by Allahu ta'ala, done and liked by the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam) as an 'ibada (there is thawab if done, but no sin if omitted, yet it causes sin if continually omitted and disbelief if disliked; the Sunna; i) (with fard) all the sunnas as a whole; ii) (with the Book or Qur'an al-karim) the Hadith ash-sharif; iii) (alone) fiqh, Islam.
[4] haram: an action, word or thought prohibited by Allahu ta'ala.
[5] tasawwuf: (Islamic sufism as defined by Islam) knowledge and (after adapting oneself to fiqh) practice of the manners of the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam) which strengthens iman, makes the practice of fiqh easy and provides one to attain ma'rifa; 'ilm at-tasawwuf. [See the book Maktubat by Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sirhindi (rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaih)].