Die before you die
- The Journey
By Huma Ahmad at http://www.jannah.org/search/
Imagine yourself at the moment of your death.
What thoughts cross your mind? Memories of family and friends?
Panic? Regrets? Remembrance of Allah? What is death? What happens to
us after we die? What is life in the Hereafter like, this new and
strange world after death? Do we lose consciousness of this life?
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 revealation and
inspiration.Let us for the next few moments seek an understanding of
this, death, the only certainty in life.
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)." [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
"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." (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
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." (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
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!" (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." (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
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 occuring. 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
livingmaterials 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"
This part of our journey ends as our death begins.
No one knows where, how and when he or she will die. "Verily, the
knowledge of the hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down
rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs, nor does anyone know
what it is that he will earn on the morrow. Nor does anyone know in
what land he is to die. Verily, with Allah is full knowledge and He
is acquainted (with all things.)" (31:34) Nor does anyone have the
right to take his or her own life. If they do they will
automatically go to Hell. The One who gave life is the only one who
has the right to take life.
"We hear and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord!
To You is the journey's end." (2:285)
"Every soul shall ha! ve a taste of death: and only on the Day of
Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is
savefar from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained
the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods
andchattels of deception" (3:185)
Sources: "The Soul's Journey after Death" by Layla Mabrouk
"Death and Dying" by Dr. Ahmad Sakr
"The World of the Angels" by Sh. Abdul Hamid Kishk
"A Treasury of Ahadith"by Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi
Quran Al-Kareem trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali