Friday, 20 February 2015


Imagine yourself at the moment of your death. What thoughts cross your mind? Where does our soul go? Do we feel and think the same?

The ineffable feeling of crossing the boundary between this world and the next cannot be described in words, nor imagined in the mind, but can be understood only through divine revelation and inspiration.

Sometimes we may not want to know about the processes that occur after we die because we are afraid or don't want to think about it. However, this is not the attitude of a Muslim. We should be foremost in learning and understanding death, so we can live our lives accordingly. The Prophet (saw) said, "Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a traveler (passing through it)." [Hadith Muslim] We are on a journey and should know about the whole journey's itinerary, not just one part.

Death is inevitable. It is the one thing that we can be certain about in life. We are born to die. Every soul shall have a taste of death no matter who they are. This is confirmed for us many times in the Quran:

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense." (Quran 3:185)

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good, by way of trial. To Us must you return." (21:35)

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: In the end to Us shall you be brought back." (Quran 29:57)

Death is not pure annihilation, but rather both the living and dead are aware, but there is a difference that can't be compared. Death is merely movement from one world to another. It can be described as a journey through a wormhole to a separate dimension of existence.

We begin this journey in our mother's wombs. 120 days after conception the soul is blown into the fetus. Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mus'ud: "Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, '(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him'"[Hadith Bukhari]

We have no choice in who our parents are, our race, color or nationality. "He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases. There is no god but He, The Exalted in Might, The Wise." (Quran 3:6) Allah knows all of this before our birth even, but we still continue our journey to fulfill our destiny.

The next part of our trip begins after we are born. This is the life of this world, in which we now reside and are familiar with. We may stay at this station for a few seconds or as long as 100 years or more. Here we grow up and acquire the means to happiness or misery. We are given the ability to make choices after the age of puberty and we will later be punished or rewarded based upon them. Allah gives each of us the natural Fitrah, knowledge of good and bad as well as
right and wrong. The rest is up to us. As the Quran says, "By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it, and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right--Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!" (Quran 91:7-10)

In this life, the soul and the body are together except during sleep when the soul may leave the body and come back in the morning or Allah may take the soul at that time. "It is Allah that takes the souls at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect." (Quran 39:42).  It is indeed something to be pondered; that we die each night and Allah gives us another chance at life when we wake up the next day.

We also find continuous biological processes of life and death during this time. In every cell, organ or system of organs, life and death is occurring. There are several hundreds of thousands of enzymatic reactions that take place in the body every fraction of a second. Some of these biochemical reactions are used to synthesize living materials while others are either used to synthesize dead materials or to get rid of living materials. "You (Allah) bring the Living out of the Dead, and You bring the Dead out of the Living" (Quran 3:27)

This part of our journey ends as our death begins. ……(to be continued)
[3]"The Soul's Journey after Death" by Layla Mabrouk
[4]"Death and Dying" by Dr. Ahmad Sakr
[5]"The World of the Angels" by Sh. Abdul Hamid Kishk
[6]"A Treasury of Ahadith" by Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi
[7]Quran Al-Kareem trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali

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