Death: The Destroyer of Desires
There is no cure for death. A cure for cancer exists, a cure for AIDS exists and a cure for every other disease exists, except death. The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: 'Allāh has not created a disease except that He has created a cure for it, except for a single disease...old age"
I also advise you – O brothers – to do those actions which will be the cause of love and affection to develop between you. Many people do not truly understand the Religion of Islām. Indeed many people think that the Religion of Islām includes certain bad traits – even though Islām in reality objects to them – because some Muslims portray a false image of Islām.
Death is that harsh reality which is faced by every human who lives. It is the one thing which we will all experience - be we men, women, Muslims, Christians, Blacks, Whites or any other type of person on this earth. It is something which does not discriminate. It is that long journeys end by which the righteous will benefit from, and the unrighteous will suffer from. It is the return to the One who has created this phenomenon so that He, may judge us all for what we have done, as He says in His book:
"It is He who has created life and death, so that He may test which of you is best in deed" (Sūrah Al- Mulk 67:2).
However, death is no longer remembered amongst mankind, unless a relative or a loved one passes away. And even then, tears are shed for a brief time before we forget again about this reality . How many people has this state of forgetfulness caught unaware? Some of us believe that we will die according to the life expectancy of our nation, which the statisticians give us. We believe that it is something which will only hit us when we are old and frail. We see it as something far off in the horizon, which will not touch us for a long time to come. But whilst we enjoy the pleasures and comforts of life, death comes ever nearer to the soul. It creeps up on us like a shadow in the night, when we least expect it. Every breath we take, every move we make it comes closer:
"Indeed, they see it as distant, but We see it as near" (Sūrah Al-Maʿārij 70:6-7).
It is something which is truly in the hands of Allāh.
The Quest for Immortality
Ever since the advent of time, people have sought to 'cheat death'. However, this unachievable feat was something which was first inspired by Iblis, the Devil. In the Qurʾān we find the story of the father and mother of humanity, Ādam and Hawwa (Eve). Allāh informs us how He placed these two beings in the gardens of Paradise when they were created. In these gardens Allāh let them taste of any tree they wished to, except for one tree which He specifically forbade them from. Iblis then came to them and was the first of creation to initiate this quest for immortality:
"Then shayṭān (devil) whispered suggestions to them both ... he said; 'Your Lord only forbade you this tree so that you don't become Angels or of those who live forever"' (Sūrah Al- Aʿrāf 7:20)
We can thus see how this quest to cheat the command of Allāh, is truly a devilish deception which has confused humanity. Even after this event which occurred at the dawn of time, many people still believed that they could achieve eternal life on this earth. The Ancient Egyptians and Chinese are two classical examples of this. Both of these cultures had been blessed by Allāh with many favours, yet they still chose to try and avert His command. The Egyptians, who had their kings and queens wrapped up, believed that this was the way that they could preserve their bodies and one day come back to life. Whilst it is true that the wrapping up of these people has preserved their bodies, who can say that their souls have also been preserved after Allāh had taken them out? And how did these people eventually turn out? After their 'sacred' tombs had been raided from the 19th century onwards, they are now stuck in different museums all over the world, being viewed by thousands of people each day as common entertainment on a day out.
With the ancient Chinese, they too had themselves, their riches and hundreds of clay soldiers buried with them so that they could return once again to rule the Earth. When the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, was unearthed and opened, such dreams of immortality went flying out of the window.
Such ancient dreams of living forever, have been continued into the modern age. People believe that modern technology can find for them a cure for death. Death is ridiculed as being a mere fantasy, with the character of the grim reaper  being something used only to scare the children with. Thus, millions are spent on preserving people's bodies after they die (by freezing them) and they hope that a cure will one day be found which will bring them back to life. The famous cartoonist Walt Disney is one such example of this. Others like the singer Michael Jackson have been known to do ridiculous things such as sleep in an oxygen chamber (with his pet chimp Bubbles!) so that he can enhance his life and live forever . Such dreams are spurned by the wealth which these people have amassed. But it is as Allāh says
"He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal. No! But indeed he will he thrown into the crushing Fire" (Sūrah Al-Humazah 104:3-4).
This is the reality of what will happen to all those who think that they can buy their way out of death. From amongst the people today, the Jews are also of those who wish that they can avert the return, as Allāh says:
"And indeed, you will find them the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who ascribe partners to Allāh and do not believe in the Resurrection. Everyone of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such a life will not save him even a little from punishment. And Allāh is all seer of what they do" (Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:96).
Is this not more true then the way that the Jews cling on to the land of Palestine which they have been so oppressively occupying for the last 50 years?  Is this not true, in the light of the fact that the Jews run the interest based oppression of the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund)?  By committing such oppression these people truly wish that they could live for a thousand years. They are the lovers of life. In the Qurʾān Allāh commands His Prophet as a warning to such people:
"Say (O' Muḥammad); 'Indeed the death from which you flee will surely meet you. Then you will be sent back to (Allāh), the All-knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do" (Sūrah Al-Jumuʿah 62:8)
This life and all its desires and pleasures will indeed be cut off by death, as the Messenger of. Allāh ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam described it as: "... The destroyer of desires" . And which desire can be greater, then the false desire which all these people have of living forever on this earth.
Islām and death
So how does Islām view this reality? As Muslims, we have been told by our Messenger ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam that this world is a transitionary period. The Prophet ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam said: "Live in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveller " . This life is not meant to be an abode of settlement by which we gather all the pleasures possible and make plans for a permanent residence. Rather, it should be like a long journey on which we gather all that we need to get to our destination. This destination being the Hereafter and death the journeys end. Allāh says:
"But truly the home of the hereafter is the actual life, if only they knew" (Sūrah Al-Ankaboot 29:64).
The Prophet ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam also said: "This world in comparison to the world to come is just like one of you putting his finger in the sea. Let him consider what it returns with " . Thus, the Muslim is one who does not view death as being something unnatural and that which should be avoided. Rather, it is viewed as something which is inevitable and must take place, as Allāh says:
"Wherever you may be, death will over take you, even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high" (Sūrah Al-Nisāʾ 4:78)
There is no cure for death. A cure for cancer exists, a cure for AIDS exists and a cure for every other disease exists, except death. The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam said: 'Allāh has not created a disease except that He has created a cure for it, except for a single disease ... old age" [9,10]. So as Muslims we try to live our life as best as we can, in line with the divine injunctions which Islām has placed upon us. By doing this we attempt to die upon Islām, as Allāh says to us:
"O' you who believe fear Allāh as He should be feared, and do not die except in a state of Islām" (Sūrah Āl-Imrān 3:102).
By dying upon Islām, one dies for the last time. By dying upon other than Islām, one dies for the last time. The difference between the two is that one will live forever in bliss and happiness, whilst the other will suffer and feel pain forever. Such is the justice of Allāh, that He allows those who worshipped him sincerely and correctly to go through the process of death on this earth, only once. After this He will admit His chosen slaves into His Paradise, a place where:
"They will not taste death therein, except the first death (of this world) and He will save them from a torment of the blazing Fire" (Sūrah Al-Jāthiyah 45:56)
Between Belief and Disbelief
Every day the world witnesses thousands of deaths. In countries like Saudi al-ʿArabīa, death is a common phenomenon, and daily funeral prayers are prayed in the mosques. Likewise, here in the Western world, deaths have been occurring very frequently. What needs to be realised however, is that the death of the believer and the death of the disbeliever are not the same. You hear so many people say 'he died so peacefully' regarding disbelievers. But what really begs to be asked is, 'how do you know this?'. Were the people who make these ignorant statements present when the soul of a person was being removed at the point of death? No of course not. Such statements clearly show how astray mankind has become. In the Qurʾān Allāh describes the situation of the people who die upon disbelief.
"And if you could see when the Angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death), they smite their faces and their backs (saying); 'Taste the punishment of the blazing fire. This is because of that which your hands had forwarded. And indeed Allāh is not unjust to His slaves"' (Sūrah Al-Anfāl 8:50-51).
However despite this clear indication as to what happens to the disbelievers, we find that some Muslims believe otherwise. Over the past one and a half years, the West has witnessed many of its famous people dying suddenly.
Gianni Versace, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana have been some of the most famous people to have passed away recently. All of these people, were clearly Non-Muslims and they all died upon this. Gianni Versace was a well-known homosexual, who probably never even believed in a God. Such was the evil of his actions, that Allāh ended his days at the hands of another psychotic homosexual. Mother Teresa had been hailed as a modern day saint by Christians, Muslims and many others. Whilst it was true that she helped many orphans in Calcutta, India , it is also true that she died in a state of worshipping other than Allāh i.e. Jesus and his mother Mary, a hideous crime indeed.  As for Diana, princess of Wales, then she has received the most amount of praise from the ignorant and modernist Muslims. Simply because she had been fornicating with a Muslim, Muslims started to insist that she had died as a Muslim! Others even went to the extreme of saying publicly on TV, that she was destined for Paradise!! The reality, however, is that she, along with the above, died as a non-Muslim. There was nothing concrete to say that Diana had accepted Islām. It is for this reason that we as Muslims should refrain from praising those who clearly died upon other than Islām; for when a person dies upon other than Islām, then we should have a fear of dying in this state, and ask Allāh that this does not happen to us.
The distinction between the death of the believer and the disbeliever, is made clear when the Prophet ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam said: "...when the time of the death of a believer approaches, he receives the good news of Allāh's pleasure with him and His blessings upon him, and so at that time, nothing is dearer to him then what is in front of him. He therefore loves the meeting with Allāh, and Allāh loves the meeting with him. But when the time of death of a disbeliever approaches, he receives the evil news of Allāh's torment and His requital, whereupon nothing is more hateful to him then what is before him. Therefore, he hates the meeting with Allāh, and Allāh hates the meeting with him " . In the Qurʾān Allāh describes the statement of the disbeliever at the muʿmīnt of death, He says:
"Until death comes to one of them he says 'My Lord, send me back so that I may do good in that which I have left behind'. No! It is but a word that he speaks and behind him is a barrier until the Day when they will be resurrected" (Sūrah Al-Muʾminūn 23:99-100).
This barrier which is referred to here, is the trial of the grave which people will go through before the actual day of resurrection . For the disbeliever and the sinful Muslim, such a trial will be very heavy. For the righteous Muslim, it will not be so heavy. The Prophet ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam said: "When the deceased is put in the grave, two Black Angels having Blue eyes come to him. One of them is called Al-Munkīr and the other An-Nakīr... " . These two Angels will conduct the trial of the grave and will not hesitate in carrying out the commands of Allāh. This year, another famous Western personality, Frank Sinatra, has also met his death. Sinatra had been known in Hollywood as 'Old Blue eyes'. Without doubt, 'Old Blue eyes' Sinatra who died as a disbeliever, is now facing Blue eyed Munkīr and Nakīr. A spine-chilling thought.
The realities of death have to be established firmly in our hearts and in our minds. It is a reality which may dawn upon us at any time. We may leave this world while we are eating our meal. Maybe we may leave this world when we are in the middle of our prayer. Maybe we may never wake up from the sleep which we will go to tonight. So let us hear the advice of the Final Messenger to mankind, Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam when he said: "If you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening"  The world is limited and has an end; and this end will come. We are limited and will die; and this death will definitely come...
The righteous will die and the wicked will die...
The warriors who fight Jihad will die and those who sit at home will die...
Those who busy themselves with correct belief will die and
those who treat the people as their slaves will die...
The brave who reject injustice will die, and the cowards
who seek to cling onto this life at any price will die..
The people of great concern and lofty goals will die,
and the wretched people who live only for cheap enjoyment will die...
"Every soul shall taste death" (Sūrah Āl-Imrān 3:185)
1 When someone dies in the West these days, it has become customary to have a little party after the funeral!
2 The grim reaper is the symbol of death which appears on tarot cards, in stories and in plays. (See title heading of this article).
3 Michael Jackson is very famous for his desire to live forever and has publicly expressed this desire
4 Recently the Jews have been celebrating with great vigour in the UK and elsewhere, 50 years of the establishment of the state of Israel. However, it is indeed remarkable that the Western world somehow misses all the oppression which the Jews have meted out to the Muslim Palestinians because of their (Jews) great desire to live and love life on the soil of occupied Palestine. If anyone raises such objections to the atrocities of the Jews, then they are conveniently labelled as anti-Semitic!
5 It is Jews who run these two financial institutions which have destroyed many third world nations (especially in Africa) through their excessive amounts of interest charged on loans to these nations. Many of these nations are still paying off the interest, which constantly increases.
6 Authentic - Reported by Tirmidthī
7 Reported by Bukhārī - Eng. Trans Vol.8, p. 284, No.425
8 Reported by Muslim - Eng. Trans, Vol.4, p.1486, No.6843
9 The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam meant that nothing could cure old age and that death is inevitable
10 Authentic - Reported by Tirmidthī
11 Allāh says in the Qurʾān: "Say (0' Muḥammad); 'Shall we tell you the greatest loser in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life whilst they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds. They are those who deny the signs of their Lord and the meeting with Him. So their works are in vain, and on the Day of resurrection We shall not give them any weight" (Sūrah Al-Kahf 18:103-105). It doesn't matter how many orphans this woman cared for, she clearly rejected the signs of Allāh; the Qurʾān and Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam
12 It is amazing to think that whilst this great polytheist came from Albania, Allāh has also raised one of the greatest monotheist and scholars of Islām in our time, Shaykh Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī, also from this land. At the age of 84 he currently resides in Jordan. May Allāh continue to make him of benefit to us.
13 Reported by Bukhārī - Eng. Trans, Vol.8, p.339, No.514
14 Inshaa Allāh, this will be covered in a future article
15 Authentic - Reported by Tirmidthī
16 Reported by BukhāRī - Eng. Trans, Vol.8, p.248-5, No.425