“Some Ahadith on Death”


→ Death is a fact.

→ A reality.

→ It will happen to everyone.

1. The Qur’an is clear on this when it says:

(Every person will taste death…) – The same phrase repeated three times (Q. Ali `Imran:3, al-Anbiya’:35 and al-`Ankabut:57).

The word used is dha’iqa ([ذائقة] lit. = ‘taste’) meaning it is real, painful, serious…

  • We as believers have a special relation with death: it is our warner, reminder and companion to what we are really here for – to worship Allah (SWT).

Death does not mean:

→ Utter distinction.

→ The end.

  • Death rather is a “transitional phase” (taghayyir al-hal).

2. We also know that the Prophet (SAW) mentioned much about death and the virtues (fada’il) in remembering it, such as:

A. “Make much remembrance of the destroyer of pleasures…”

([اكثروا ذكر هادم اللذات]/ikharu dhikra hadim al-ladhdhat).[1]

→ Why? Because it finishes our worldly existence.

→ Why?Because it ends the bodily and sensory world, e.g. touch, feel, sight, pleasures, appetites, enjoyments…

B. When the Prophet (SAW) was asked by `A’isha (RA) if there would be any one who would be raised up with the Martyrs (shuhada’), he (SAW) replied:

“Those who remember death day and night twenty times…”

([من يذكر الموت في اليوم والليلة عشرين مرة…]/man yadhkuru al-mawta fi ’l-yawm wa ’l-layla `ishrin marra).[2]

  • Thus:

→ Remembering death has merit.

→ Remembering death has reward.

→ Remembering death has honour as the Martyrs have one of the highest rank before Allah (SWT).

C. Ibn `Umar (RA) came to the Prophet and attended a gathering of about 10 people and a man (from the Ansar [‘Helpers’]) asked about who the most intelligent (akyas al-nas) and generous (akram al-nas) of men were and the Prophet (SAW) replied:

The one most diligent in remembering death and the one most prepared for it. Those are the diligent ones who have gained the honour of this world and the dignity of the hereafter…”

([أكثرهم ذكرا للموت و أشدهم إستعدادا له…أولائك هم الأكياس ذهبوا بشرف الدنيا و كرامة الآخرة…]/aktharuhum dhikran li’l-mawt wa ashadduhum isti`dadan lahu. Ula’ika humu l-akyaas dhahabu bi-sharafi al-dunya wa karaamat il-akhira).[3] 

  • Therefore:

→ One should prepare for death.

→ The one’s who are aware, diligent and know what is important about death will succeed.

→ Those who remember death will be honoured.

→ Those who remember death will be dignified.

And with Allah alone is all success.

[1] Tirmidhi, K. Qiyama:26 and Nasa’i, K. Jana’iz:3 and graded hasan (‘good’) according to al-`Iraqi, al-Mughni `an al-Asfar fi’l-Asfar, 4:412.

[2] al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Awsat as cited in al-Suyuti’s Sharh al-Sudur, p.20.

[3] al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Saghir, 2:87 and al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, al-Nawadir al-Usul, pp.125-126 with the first part being jayyd (‘good’) according to al-`Iraqi, al-Mughni `an al-Asfar fi’l-Asfar, 4:413.

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