…He gives life and causes death… Quran (9:116)
I find it so strange that people think it’s pessimistic to talk about death. Surely if we remembered death more often we would be much more realistic people? It is better than denying what is certain. Knowing that we could die tomorrow should make us change our perspective on life. Wouldn’t we live life to its fullest everyday. We wouldn’t procrastinate on things we have been meaning to do. But we forget that we will die, instead we think we will live forever. How many people regret not doing things? The biggest regret we will have is not doing enough good deeds at our death bed, and know for sure that death is your only certainty in life.
We are taught by the prophet (saw) to increase in the remembrance of the destroyer of desires; death. He also told us to visit the graveyards to remind ourselves of death. This is a reminder we need. We should remember death. But it needs to be balanced like everything else in life, if all we think about is death we won’t be able to do anything in life but if we never remember death then we may procrastinate in doing the things we need to do.
Before you are even born the angel in your mothers womb writes down when you will die. We need to just think about that for a moment. And we read these Hadiths and don’t even reflect on what it actually means, what is the purpose of us knowing this? What does the prophet (saw) want to teach us?
Even the dua we recite every morning as we wake up is about thanking Allah for giving us life after having taken it from us. This should be reminder to us every morning that Allah has given us the opportunity to do something good, to seek His forgiveness to change ourselves for the better.
It’s strange that when we travel, go on a holiday or move to a new place we meticulously plan every detail and decide what we need to take with us yet the journey that every single one of us is most definately going to take we don’t prepare for. It reminds me of the story of Dawud (as), the angel of death came to him and he was surprised, saying you came without warning. The angel of death replied, saying that he had in fact told Dawud (as) that he would come. He asked him about his fathers death , his neighbours death, his friends death. People around him had died and this was his message to Dawud (as) that he will be coming for him too. So when someone we know passes away it should remind us that one day this will be us and we need to prepare ourselves for it.
So then how should we be preparing for it? There are many things we can do, we should increase in our good deeds; give more in charity, be good to our family and friends, fast, pray our salah etc. We also should increase in our seeking forgiveness for all the sins we have committed. All the haram we indulged in, the rights of others we trampled over, slander, gossip, stealing. Whatever it was that we did we need to seek forgiveness for it. Seek forgiveness all the time as we don’t know which breath will be our last.
I will leave you with this quote from Imam Al-Ghazali: O friend, the cloth from which your burial shroud will be cut has already reached the market yet you remain unaware.