By Maria Javaid.
This is a two-part series on the concept of death. This is the second part. Check out Part One here!
Having understood that death is an inevitability, what can we do to challenge the notion of death to lead a successful Muslim life?
- Make peace with death
Although no one can have the full surety of entering Jannah, it is best to lead our lives in a way that we are satisfied to a degree, by our current struggle of living in accordance to Allah’s commands. This would make us peaceful at the thought of our actions being presented to Allah (SWT) and the entire concept of accountability would seem less intimidating.
- Include Allah’s remembrance in your gatherings
It is not prohibited to enjoy fun-filled social interactions, but we must make sure that our gatherings are not completely disconnected with our deen and thus, spiritually meaningless. There should be at least some form of remembrance of our Lord within these gatherings. A useful dua for the expiation of a gathering is;
سُبْحـانَكَ اللّهُـمَّ وَبِحَمدِك، أَشْهَـدُ أَنْ لا إِلهَ إِلاّ أَنْتَ أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتوبُ إِلَـيْك
Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika, ‘ash-hadu ‘an laa ‘ilaaha ‘illaa ‘Anta, ‘astaghfiruka wa ‘atoobu ‘ilayka.
Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise is to You. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi).
Maintaining a balance between deen and dunya can be done in the form of making duas for those around you, glorfying Allah (SWT), and having such conversations that enable you to gain His pleasure. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
No people sit in a gathering without remembering Allah or sending blessings upon their Prophet except that they will earn the displeasure of Allah. If He wishes He will punish them, or if He wishes He will forgive them.(Sunan At-Tirmidhi 3380)
- Remain in a State of Dhikr
The believers that keep the Dhikr of Allah on their tongues excessively are likely to die in a state of dhikr, indeed a beautiful way to be presented to Allah. It was narrated that Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (RA) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say:
If a person’s last words are Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Paradise will be guaranteed for him.(Sunan Ahmad, 21529; Sunan Abu Dawood, 3116)
- Remain in a State of Wudu
The state in which we die is the state in which we will be presented to Allah, so it is best to remain in a state of purity, for Allah loves those who make themselves pure (Bonus: it protects us from Shaitaan’s attacks!). Since the time of death cannot be foretold, we should strive to stay in Wudu as much as we can. Additionally, this makes it easier for us to get up and pray.
- Make a habit of reciting what is promised to benefit our Akhirah
There are recitations which are light on our tongues yet highly valuable for our afterlife and reciting them brings along tidings of Jannah. One of such is Sayyidul Istighfaar (the best dua to ask for Allah’s forgiveness), regarding which our beloved Prophet mentions;
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ
Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa Anta Khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana ‘ala ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, A’udhu bika min Sharri ma sana’tu, abu’u Laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa Abu’u Laka bidhanbi faghfirli fainnahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta
O Allah! You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.
It is narrated by Shaddad bin Aus (RA),
The Prophet (PBUH) added: “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it and dies before the morning he will be from the people of Paradise.”
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 75, Number 318)
Another such dua is Ayat-ul-Kursi, i.e. Verse 255 of Surah Baqarah in the Quran, about which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mentioned:
“Whoever recites Ayat ul-Kursi immediately after each prescribed Prayer, there will be nothing standing between him and his entering Paradise except death.”
(Nasai, Ibn Hibban)
Also of note is Surah Mulk, which will be our Companion in the Grave if we recite it regularly. Surah Mulk protects the reciter and saves a person from the punishment of Allah (SWT) and intercedes for your Forgiveness.
The final word of advice is to remain in the world as a traveler, thinking of this world as a temporary abode and acknowledging the coming of death. Soon enough, it will be the guiding force of keeping our actions positive and our hearts pure. May Allah make us of those who welcome death with joy and those whose afterlife is abundantly blessed with Allah’s grace. (Ameen)