Remembrance of Death

  • كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ  (Every one has to taste death  Part of Surah 21, Verse 35)
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said:  Excessively remember the one that will bring all pleasures to an end (death)
    • Remembering death brings our inclination towards the dunya into balance and brings our focus to our ultimate end
  • When a person dies they will be asked three questions by the angels Munkar and Nakir:  Who is your Lord?  What is your religion?  Who is your messenger?  Allah is our Lord.  Islam is our religion.  Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) is our messenger.  Our ability to answer the questions will be based on how we lived our lives.  If we recognized Allah, followed Islam, and acted upon the teachings of the Prophet (ﷺ) we will be able to answer the questions correctly.  If we didn’t, then our response will be, ‘Uf uf.  I don’t know.’
    • Salah incorporates the answer to all three questions.  When we pray, we worship Allah in the religion of Islam as the Prophet (ﷺ) taught us
    • For the believer in the grave, it will be as if he sees the sun setting and is going to pray Maghrib.  The angels will ask him who is your Lord and the believer will respond let me pray my salah.  The angels then do not need to ask him the rest of the questions
  • Funerals are a time of reflection and contemplation of how we will also one day be lowered into the grave and be questioned.  After a person was buried, the Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) would stand and make dua because the person was going to be questioned
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said:  If the animals knew about death what the children of Adam know, you would never eat a fat animal
  • Everyone will experience death
  • Aisha (RA) asked, ‘Will anybody be resurrected with the martyrs?’  The Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) replied, ‘Yes.  The person who remembers death twenty times in the morning and evening.’
  • When a believer is placed in his grave, the grave will say, ‘From all the people that dwelled the Earth, you were the most beloved to me and I was waiting for you.  Today I will show you what pleasures this grave contains’ and then the grave massages him.  When a disbeliever is placed in the grave, the grave will say, ‘From all the people that dwelled on the Earth, you were the most detestable to me.  Today I will show you what I will do’ and then the grave squeezes him until his ribs enter upon each other
    • Remembering the grave is to remember one day we are going to enter into it and pondering on what will happen
    • When we remember death, we remember this world is a deception and learn not to drown in it and we prepare for the Hereafter
    • A person who is heedless of death becomes engrossed in the pleasures of the dunya 
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said:  Death is a gift to the believers
    • The reason death is a gift is because the dunya is a jail for the believer.  While in the dunya, a person has to continuously do things that are difficult on the nafs, refrain from exercising his desires, and repel shaytan
    • Death frees a person of their worldly responsibilities and is thus a gift
  • The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:  Death is an expiation of all the sins for a Muslim
    • Death purifies a believer from all his minor sins, after he stays away from major sins and establishes those things that are incumbent upon him
  • Ata al-Khurasani (RAH) said:  The Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) passed by a gathering where the people were laughing loudly.  The Prophet (ﷺ) said to them, ‘Beautify your gathering by mentioning something that will bring an end to all pleasures.”  They asked, ‘What is going to bring an end to all pleasures?’  He (ﷺ) replied, ‘Death.’
  • Anas (RA) said:  The Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) said, ‘Excessively mention death because it purifies sins and causes one to abstain from the dunya.’
  • The Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) said:  Death is sufficient as a person who gives good counsel
  • The Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) saw some people talking and laughing and He (ﷺ) said to them, ‘Remember death.  By the One who controls my life, if you were to know what I know, you would smile less and cry more.’
  • A man was being spoken highly of in front of the Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ).  He (ﷺ) asked, ‘Does this companion you are praising mention death?’  They said, ‘We have not heard him mention death.’  The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Then your companion is not on that level you are mentioning.’
  • Abdullah Ibn Omar (RA) said:  I came to the Prophet (ﷺ) in a group of ten people.  A man from the Ansar asked the Prophet (ﷺ), ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, who is the most intelligent and the most noble of men?’  He (ﷺ) said, ‘The one who remembers death excessively and who is constant in his preparation for it is the most intelligent of people.   They will attain the honor of this World and the honor of the Hereafter.’ 
    • We do not have to leave the World.  An intelligent person stops his desires and only does what Allah SWT has allowed and refrains from what Allah has prohibited
    • Preparing for death entails engaging in what is halal and removing those things that conflict with Allah’s pleasure
    • We should adjust our schedule so that we set aside time to invest in ourselves for the pleasure of Allah
  • Hasan (RAH) said:  ‘Death exposes the reality of the Worldly life and leaves no pleasure for the one with intellect.’
  • Ar-Rabi ibn Khaytham (RAH) said:  ‘There isn’t any unseen thing that a believer waits for that is best for him than death.’
  • A wise man wrote to a friend:  ‘Oh my brother, fear death and be aware that it is going to come in this dunya before you go to an abode (the Hereafter) where you will wish for death but you will not find it.’
    • Allah SWT will bring death in the form of a ram and slaughter it.  The believers will be happy because they will dwell in Paradise for eternity.  The disbelievers will wish for death but death will not come to them
    • When death was mentioned before Ibn Sirin (RAH), a part of his body would go to sleep [because of what he understood from death]
  • Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (RAH) would gather all the jurists every night and they would discuss death, the Day of Judgement, and the Hereafter.  Then they would cry as if there was a corpse before them ready to be buried. 
    • When life overtakes you, take some time out and remember death
  • Ibrahim at-Taymi (RAH) said, ‘Two things have cut the pleasures of the dunya from me:  the remembrance of death and the thought that one day I have to stand before Allah. ‘
  • Kaa’b (RAH) said, ‘A person who recognizes death, the difficulties and sorrows of the dunya become easy upon him’
    • They realize whatever they are afflicted with is temporary
    • Death takes away all the difficulties of the world 
  • Mutarrif (RAH) said, ‘I saw in my dream a person who was standing in the middle of the masjid in Basra saying:  The mention of death has cut the hearts of those who fear.  By Allah, you will only see them constantly worried.’
  • Ash’at (RAH) said:  Every time we would visit Hasan al Basri (RAH), he would be discussing the hell fire, the Hereafter, or death
  • Safiyyah (RA) said:  A woman came to Aisha (RA) and complained she has a hard heart.  Aisha (RA) said to her, ‘Remember death excessively and your heart will become soft.’  The woman did it and her heart became soft and she came and thanked Aisha (RA)
  • When death would be mentioned before Isa (AHS), blood would come out of the pore of his skin
  • When death and the Day of Judgement were mentioned before Dawood (AHS), he would start crying until his joints would become dislocated.  When Allah’s mercy would be mentioned, his joints would come back to him
  • Ar-Rabi ibn Khaytam (RAH) dug a grave in his house.  He would sleep in the grave a few times every day so that he could continuously be in the remembrance of death.  He used to say, ‘If the mention of death was to depart from my heart for a moment, my heart would go in the wrong direction.’
  • Abu Sulayman Darani (RAH) said to Umm Haroon, ‘Do you love death?’  She said, ‘No.’  He asked her, ’Why?’  She said, ‘If I was to disobey a man, then I would not want to face him.’
    • Death will make us meet Allah SWT, who we have disobeyed
  • The wife of Farazdaq passed away.  The prominent people of Basra came for her janazah.  Hasan al-Basri (RAH) was amongst them and asked, ‘Oh Abu Firas, what have you prepared for this day?’  Abu Firas said, ‘Sixty years I have testified there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’  He stood on his wife’s grave and said, ‘[Oh Allah] If you don’t forgive me, I fear places in the Hereafter that are more vicious, hot, and tight than the grave itself.  This will happen on the day of judgement when the angels will drive people from their graves.  The person from the children of Adam who will walk to the fire of Jahannam while he has a collar around his neck has suffered a great loss.’
  • It is said:  Stand upon the edges of the graves.  How many of you are drowned in its darkness?  Who has been honored amongst you in its pit, having tasted the coolness of safety from the terrors of the grave?  A person who is guilty, rebellious against Allah, will continue to tumble in the pits trying to come back to his life of this world so that he can make amends
  • Malik ibn Dinar (RAH) said:  I came to the graves and I called to them, ‘Where are those people who considered themselves so high and deemed others so low?  Where are those who used to wax proud in their kingdom?  Where are those who used to say, ‘I don’t have a shred of arrogance in my heart’?  I heard a reply, ‘They have all vanished.  There is nobody to give a reply.  They have all died and the information regarding them has also died with them.  Morning and night comes upon those women of the grave that has eradicated the beauty of those faces.  Oh one who questions regarding those people who have passed, is there not for you in what you see a lesson?’
    • There is a lesson for us at the graves
    • If our heart is at unrest, sometimes visiting a cemetery will bring it peace because we will realize whatever we are dealing with is temporary
  • Every moment for a believer is precious because every moment the rank of a believer is increasing.  We should not ask for death because of this.  We should ask for afiyah (well-being)
  • In Paradise, we will sit in reclining chairs remembering the discussions we used to have in the dunya.  A wind will blow from the arsh of Allah and come into Paradise.  The leaves, grass, and shutters will all starting moving in sync and produce a melodious sound sweeter than anything we have heard in our life