Reality of Death
1. People are heedless and do not take admonition from those who die around them
2. The transitory nature of life
3. The evil effects of the wishing to live longer
4. The advice for continuous remembrance of death and the effect of that
5. The obligation of immediate repentance and preparation to face death
O People! I advise myself and you to fear Allah, for he who does not fear Allah will go astray. Allah says that which means:
"O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion," [Noble Quran 8:29], to judge between right and wrong.
Servants of Allah! He who fears punishment, then the furthest thing to him becomes within his reach and he who harbors false hopes and wishes to live long, his performance and actions become weak. Indeed, the future is near. Your Lord did not create you in vain and will not leave you unavailing, so take provision from this life by which you can protect yourself tomorrow.
The time of death is concealed and wishes are deceiving. Funerals pass by people, and they prepare them, pray over the deceased, accompany them and carry them to their final abode. You see people viewing them causally and perhaps they might get slightly saddened or grieved, but very soon they become overwhelmed again with the ravishment of this life and the heedlessness of living.
Respected brothers! Life is evidence against those who are heedless and their days lead them to wretchedness. How can one hope for the reward in the Hereafter without righteous deeds? How can someone wish to repent while being heedless and hoping to live longer?
Woe to the people of heedlessness! When they are given something, they are not satisfied and when they are deprived of anything, they become discontent. They enjoin that which they do not do themselves and forbid what they do not refrain from. They continuously criticize others and compromise with themselves.
O people of heedlessness! How many people trusted life but it betrayed them and how many were assured by it, that were let down? How many swindlers got deceived in it? And, how many arrogant people became degraded and honorable ones humiliated by it? Power in this life alternates, it is never stable. Its sweetness soon becomes bitter and its bitterness sweet. People of might become overpowered. Life is short, the great things in it are few in number and this life very soon turns out to be as though it never even existed. Its happiness eventually turns into sorrow, health into sickness, and wealth into poverty. Its days are deceiving and it commands people with evil. It consists of vanishing pleasures, afflicting adversities or death. Its structure is soon destroyed, people unite but soon separate, and everything on earth turns into dust.
People of heedlessness are never satisfied, regardless of how much they may accumulate. They do not achieve all they wish for and are not prepared for what they are approaching. They collect but do not benefit from it, build that which they will not live in and hope for things that they will never achieve. Allah says that which means:
"Let them eat and enjoy themselves and be diverted by (false) hope, for they are going to know." [Noble Quran 15:3]
One who wishes to live long, builds and demolishes and estimates but with a wrong estimation. He says something but does not do it, plans but does not implement them, and things happen which are the opposite to that which has been planned. He does wrong and delays repentance, then death comes and then he will not benefit from his deeds; his family and friends leave him and there are no longer any excuses. Allah says that which means,
"Then have you considered if We gave them enjoyment for years. And then there came to them that which they were promised? They would not be availed by the enjoyment which they were provided." [Noble Quran 26:205-207]
Oh people of heedlessness! O Muslim brothers and sisters! The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in a Hadith:
"Abundantly remember the destroyer of pleasures (meaning death)". [An-Nasa'i]
This is the advice of your Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which consists of a few words but is concise; short but effective. Indeed, he who remembers death as it should be remembered will hold himself accountable and question himself about his deeds and aspirations. But one who has a heedless heart, as Imam Al Qurtubi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "Needs long speeches and embellished statements." Abundantly remember the destroyer of pleasures, which will separate those who are united:
"None will remember it (meaning death) while in hardship but will feel ease and while at ease but will feel disturbed". [Tabarani]
I swear by Allah! Each one of us will come to an end, and each soul will die. The earth will eat our flesh and drink our blood - just as we walk over it, eat from its fruits and drink from its water. Then it becomes like Allah says, which means:
"And the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will fall dead except whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown again, and at once they will be standing, looking on.". [Noble Quran 39:68]
Your Prophet (peace be upon him) stood at the edge of a grave and cried as related in a Hadith; he then said:
"O my brothers! For this, prepare yourselves". (Ibn Majah) A man asked the Messenger: "Who is the most wise of people O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "The one who remembers death most often and the one who is well-prepared to meet it; these are the wise; honorable in this life and dignified in the Hereafter." [Ibn Majah & Tabarani]
In another Hadith, he, (peace be upon him) said:
"The wise one is he who reproaches himself and acts in preparation for what is after death." [Ahmad]
Al Hasan, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
"Death has exposed the reality of life and left no reason for one with a sound mind to be happy in it."
Yunus Ibn 'Ubayd said:
"The remembrance of death deprived us from enjoying our families and wealth."
Also, Mutarrif said:
"Death spoils for the people of pleasure, their enjoyment. So look for pleasure in which there is no death. The people of Paradise do not die, so their lives will become comfortable, and they do not become sick, so they live a pleasant, eternal life."
O Muslims! Remember death and all its hardships, the rattling of ones soul in the throat and remember the terrifying screams one will give; for he who remembers death often, Allah will bless him with three things: immediate repentance, contentment of the heart, and vigor for worship. Moreover, he who forgets death will be afflicted with three things: delay in repentance, discontentment, and laziness in worship.
Death is enough of a reason to break hearts, shed tears, destroy pleasures, divide people and ruin all hopes. The dead are made to be lonely after having lived with their families; they live in darkness after having been in the light; in tightness after having lived in wide space, and under the soil after having walked the earth. They become bare-footed, naked and alone. The grave is their dwelling, dust is their shroud, and mortal remains are their neighbors, who cannot hear a call nor respond to it. They lived long and owned much, but it did not benefit them when the command of their Lord came. So their homes became graves and what they collected was lost. Their money went to their inheritors, their wives re-married and what they were promised came to them. Allah says that which means:
"Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?" [Noble Quran 23:115]
Have you ever thought, O servant of Allah, about the day that you will die? - The day that you cannot delay and in which regret will not benefit you? Remove the cover of heedlessness from your heart for you will soon be standing before the One who knows the whims and whispers of the hearts, Who asks about the actions of the eyes and holds one accountable for what he hears. Allah says that which means:
"That Day, you will be exhibited (for judgment); not hidden among you is anything concealed.." [Noble Quran 69:18]
Contemplate death, for it prevents one from disobedience, softens a hard heart, stops one from trusting this life and makes one feel ease at the time of hardships. Remember death so that you may be saved at the time of regret. Al Hasan, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
"O son of Adam! Fear Allah, and let two things not happen to you at the same time: the hardships and agony of death, plus sorrow and regret. Beware of agonies and regrets, for death will come to you suddenly and no one can describe to you what you will face and see. Beware, so as not to die while in a state of disobedience, otherwise you will meet Allah with no excuse."
Respected brothers! Where are those who are afraid of not having enough provision? Where is he who is terrified of the lengthy distance of the journey and hostility of the road? All he took from this life is an old garment and a morsel of food. He was chaste through life, guided, and so little provision sufficed him. He was ashamed of himself in front of his Lord, remembered death, and therefore preserved his head (meaning his senses: eyes, ears and tongue) and stomach (meaning did not eat or drink except that which is lawful). He sought the reward of the Hereafter and gave up the adornments of this worldly life. He favored that which is everlasting over that which is vanishing - this is indeed the wise and clever one.
So fear Allah, may Allah have mercy on you, and be aware of Allah, and watchful of that which He entrusted you with. Remember that you will be standing before your Lord, being judged according to your deeds and you will regret your negligence. Allah says that which means:
"Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your (full) compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained (his desire). And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion." [Noble Quran 3:185]
O Muslims, repent to Allah before death. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Hasten to do good deeds before you become busy. Are you waiting for such penury which will make you unmindful of devotion? Or such prosperity which will make you corrupt? Or such disease which will disable you? Or such senility which will make you mentally unstable? Or sudden death? Or the Dajjal (Anti-Christ), who is the worst apprehended (sign of the hour)? Or (are you waiting) for the Hour? - that will be most grievous and bitter". [At-Tirmidhi]
Now that you are aware of the suddenness of death, do not be like those who hoped for the reward of the Hereafter without performing righteous deeds, and who delayed repentance, due to the false hope of living longer.
Visit the graveyards frequently for it reminds one of the Hereafter, and take a lesson from those who are under the earth and have lost connection with their families and loved ones; death came to them at a time which they did not expect and horror came to them in a way which they did not anticipate. Let he who visits the graves ponder and think of the situation of those who have passed away from his friends. They gathered money and had a high hopes, but suddenly they lost all their wishes and their wealth did not benefit them. The soil of the earth changed the nice appearance of their faces and their bodies became scattered in their graves. Their wives became widows and their wealth and homes were all distributed. Allah said, which means:
"(It will be said to them), "And you have certainly come to Us alone (i.e., individually) as We created you the first time, and you have left whatever We bestowed upon you behind you." [Noble Quran 6:94]
So, fear Allah, may Allah have mercy on you, and work for the Hereafter, for it is a dwelling in which there is no death for its inhabitants. Its structure does not wear out, youth does not age and its pleasure is never-ending. Its beauty, enjoyment, and women do not change and its people live under the mercy of the Most Merciful. Allah says that which means: