In every Muslims mind a question should arise upon reciting or reading this verse in which Allāh the Exalted said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ ﴿١٠٢﴾
O you who believe, have taqwá of Allāh and do not die except in while you are Muslims (in a state of submission to Him).
This verse should make everyone think:
In what state will I die?
Death is something that cannot be avoided and will eventually come to every being, Allāh the Sublime said:
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ ﴿١٨٥﴾
Every soul shall taste death
He also said:
كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ ﴿٢٦﴾
Everything upon it (the earth) will perish
He also said:
أَيْنَمَا تَكُونُوا يُدْرِككُّمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنتُمْ فِي بُرُوجٍ مُّشَيَّدَةٍ ۗ ﴿٧٨﴾
Wherever you maybe death will overtake you, even if you were in towers, built high and strong
The disbelievers love this life so much that they are even willing to have their bodies frozen with the hope that in the future they may be brought back to life. It is strange that this hope and expectation does not lead them to believe in the plausibility of the resurrection. They think they can cheat that muʿmīnt of death!
Yet there are others who wish they could live for a thousand years amassing wealth, children and belongings,
Death will certainly come to them all and also to us but,
In what state will we die?
Will we die for example:
1. Bankrupt, devoid of any actions, never having done any good, or tried to do good or even had a desire to do good?
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ ﴿٩٩﴾ لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ ۚ كَلَّا ۚ إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا ۖ وَمِن وَرَائِهِم بَرْزَخٌ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ ﴿١٠٠﴾
Until when death comes to one of them he says: “O my Lord, send me back so that I may do good in that which I neglected.” But no! It is only a word that he utters and between them is a partition (barzakh) until the day that they are raised up.
2. Or will we die having gathered riches, wealth, status, power yet finding ourselves in the situation which Allāh has described:wealth, status, power yet finding ourselves in the situation which Allāh has described:
يَوَدُّ الْمُجْرِمُ لَوْ يَفْتَدِي مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِئِذٍ بِبَنِيهِ ﴿١١﴾ وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَأَخِيهِ ﴿١٢﴾ وَفَصِيلَتِهِ الَّتِي تُؤْوِيهِ ﴿١٣﴾ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ يُنجِيهِ ﴿١٤﴾ كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّهَا لَظَىٰ ﴿١٥﴾
The sinner would desire to ransom himself from the punishment of that Day by his children. And his wife and his brother. And his kindred who sheltered him. And all that are on the earth, so that it might save him. By no means, verily it will be the Fire of Hell!
أَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِشِمَالِهِ فَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُوتَ كِتَابِيَهْ ﴿٢٥﴾ وَلَمْ أَدْرِ مَا حِسَابِيَهْ ﴿٢٦﴾ يَا لَيْتَهَا كَانَتِ الْقَاضِيَةَ ﴿٢٧﴾ مَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنِّي مَالِيَهْ ۜ ﴿٢٨﴾ هَلَكَ عَنِّي سُلْطَانِيَهْ ﴿٢٩﴾ خُذُوهُ فَغُلُّوهُ ﴿٣٠﴾ ثُمَّ الْجَحِيمَ صَلُّوهُ ﴿٣١﴾ ثُمَّ فِي سِلْسِلَةٍ ذَرْعُهَا سَبْعُونَ ذِرَاعًا فَاسْلُكُوهُ ﴿٣٢﴾ إِنَّهُ كَانَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴿٣٣﴾ وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ﴿٣٤﴾ لَيْسَ لَهُ الْيَوْمَ هَاهُنَا حَمِيمٌ ﴿٣٥﴾ وَلَا طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِنْ غِسْلِينٍ ﴿٣٦﴾ لَّا يَأْكُلُهُ إِلَّا الْخَاطِئُونَ ﴿٣٧﴾
But as for the one who is given his record in his left hand, he will say: “I wish that I had not been given my record! And that I had never known, how my account is? I wish that it would have been my end (death). My wealth has not availed me. My power and arguments (to defend myself) have gone from me! It will be said: “Seize him and fetter him. Then throw him in the Blazing Fire. Then fasten him with a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits. Verily he used not to believe in Allāh the Mighty, and urged not the feeding of the poor. So no friend has he here this Day, nor any food except filth from the washing of wounds, (which) none will eat except the khaati’oon (sinners, those who fall into the wrong disbelievers etc…)
3. Or will we die in a state of negligence. Having been neglectful of our duty to Allāh and at the same time finding fault with and mocking other Muslims? Mocking at them for sticking to the commands of Allāh, the Sunnah of His Messenger, laughing at their appearance and so on…Allāh said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ ﴿٢٩﴾ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾ وَإِذَا انقَلَبُوا إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِمُ انقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ ﴿٣١﴾ وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ لَضَالُّونَ ﴿٣٢﴾ وَمَا أُرْسِلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَافِظِينَ ﴿٣٣﴾ فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ ﴿٣٤﴾
Indeed, the wicked used to laugh at the believers, wink to one another whenever they passed by, and muse ˹over these exploits˺ upon returning to their own people. And when they saw the faithful, they would say, “These ˹people˺ are truly astray,” even though they were not sent as keepers over the believers. But on that Day the believers will be laughing at the disbelievers.
Having been neglectful of our duty to Allāh and at the same time finding fault with and mocking other Muslims? Mocking at them for sticking to the commands of Allāh, the Sunnah of His Messenger, laughing at their appearance and so on…Allāh said:
أَن تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يَا حَسْرَتَىٰ عَلَىٰ مَا فَرَّطتُ فِي جَنبِ اللَّهِ وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السَّاخِرِينَ ﴿٥٦﴾
Or that the soul may say: Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allāh (i.e. I have not done what Allāh has ordered me to do) and I was indeed among those who mocked (at the truth)
4. Or will we die in the midst of the kuffār, having become like them, adopted their habits, customs and ways of behaving, having nurtured our children upon their ways and customs?
having become like them, adopted their habits, customs and ways of behaving, having nurtured our children upon their ways and customs?
And you dwelt in the dwellings of men who wronged themselves and it was clear to you how We dealt them. And we put forth many parables for you.
And ʿUmar (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) said: “Whoever lives in the land of the pagans and disbelievers and celebrates their festivals and behaves like them until he dies, he will be resurrected with them on the Day of Judgement”
5. Or will we die in a state of kufr, disbelief, or doubt?
Verily those who believe, then disbelieve then believe, then disbelieve then increase in disbelief, never will Allāh forgive them and nor guide them to a (correct) way.
This is a great danger and many Muslims have already fallen into it. Some have actually been led to and fallen into disbelief.
Believing there is a better way than Islām is disbelief
Practicing magic is disbelief
Not treating the Jews and Christians or pagans as disbelievers, or doubting in their concepts is disbelief
Acting on Islām but out of dislike in the heart is disbelief
Thinking that Islām or the Sunnah is outmoded, outdated, of no relevance to the modern times is disbelief
And there are many other such matters which constitute or lead to disbelief
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ ﴿١٦١﴾
Verily, those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers (in the state of disbelief), upon them is the curse of Allāh, the angels and the whole of mankind.
6. Or will we die for example in a state of heedlessness, oblivion, like the animals?
The Exalted said:
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا ۚ ﴿٢٢﴾
And who is more unjust than the one is reminded of the signs of His Lord and then turns away from them.
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ ﴿١٩﴾
And do not be like those who forgot Allāh so Allāh made them forget their own souls.
اقْتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمْ وَهُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مُّعْرِضُونَ ﴿١﴾
Closer and closer to mankind comes their reckoning, yet they turn away in heedlessness.
Those amongst us who couldn’t care less, never bother about learning about the dīn, or even reflecting upon the creation so that the possibility of the resurrection becomes vividly clear and certain and which in turn moves and excites the heart to Allāh’s worship. There are some Muslims who we have heard saying, upon receiving advice and admonition: “Please leave us alone , as for us we will settle our matter with Allāh when the time comes on the Day of Judgement, give us a break.”!!! Such ignorance and arrogance!!
So these are some of the ways and states in which people will die, amongst many others which have been mentioned in Allāh’s Book, and we seek refuge in Allāh from such a situation.
And worthy of contemplation is the saying: The most contemptible of people is the one who went astray in the final part of his journey, having approached his destination [Al-Fawaa’id of Ibn al-Qayyim]
We all know the story of the young boy, the priest, the sorcerer and the king. The boy was given the power to heal people from their sicknesses and ailments and when the king found out he summoned him. The king ordered him to denounce his religion but he refused to do so. The king tried a number of times to kill him by having him thrown off a mountain or drowned in the sea, but Allāh saved him each time. The boy eventually told the king how he would be able to kill him, with an arrow and by saying: In the name of the Lord of the young boy. The king followed the boys orders and was killed. But as a result the rest of the people said: We believe in the Lord of the young boy. The king ordered them too to denounce their religion but they refused and so a ditch was dug and a fire was kindled in it. They were all asked to jump in or were thrown in until there was a mother with her child in her arms. She hesitated in jumping and the little boy said to her: O mother be firm and have patience as indeed you are upon the truth.
This story is also mentioned in the Qurʾān:
قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ ﴿٤﴾ النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ ﴿٥﴾ إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ ﴿٦﴾ وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ ﴿٧﴾ وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ ﴿٨﴾
Cursed were the people of the ditch. Fire supplied abundantly with fuel. When they sat by it. And they witnessed what they were doing against the believers (the burning). They had nothing against them except that they believed in Allāh, the Almighty, Worthy of all Praise!
Listen also to the story of the sorcerers of Pharaoh who declared their belief in Allāh after having witnessed their own falsehood and the truthfulness of Mūsá (as) and Allāh’s signs:
وَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سَاجِدِينَ ﴿١٢٠﴾ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿١٢١﴾ رَبِّ مُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ ﴿١٢٢﴾ قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ آمَنتُم بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَمَكْرٌ مَّكَرْتُمُوهُ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ لِتُخْرِجُوا مِنْهَا أَهْلَهَا ۖ فَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿١٢٣﴾ لَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ ثُمَّ لَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ ﴿١٢٤﴾ قَالُوا إِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا مُنقَلِبُونَ ﴿١٢٥﴾ وَمَا تَنقِمُ مِنَّا إِلَّا أَنْ آمَنَّا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّنَا لَمَّا جَاءَتْنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسْلِمِينَ ﴿١٢٦﴾
So the magicians fell down prostrate and said: We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses. Pharaoh said: Believe you in him (Moses) before I give you permission? Verily, he is your chief who has taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of palm trees and you shall surely know which of us (i.e. Pharaoh or the Lord of Moses) can give the severe and lasting torment. They said: We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him (Allāh) who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) the life of this world.
The purpose of mentioning these stories is to illustrate how the believers in Allāh, the state in which they died. We have hundreds of examples also from the companions and the pious believers of this ummah.
One may die naturally, due to illness, due to an accident, or one can be martyred or simply murdered and tortured, like in the examples given above and in many other examples in Muslim history and even in the present times , for no other reason except holding belief in Allāh.
The question arising is that if we were to die like this, that is by being murdered, slaughtered by the enemies of Allāh, which is a possibility, even in this country where we are comfortable and satisfied [and who feels secure from the plan of Allāh except one who is destroyed?] upon what state will we die?
Like the people of the young boy?
Like the sorcerers of Pharaoh?
Bankrupt without any good deeds?
Having been neglectful of our duty to Allāh?
Satisfied with the life of this world?
Having imitated and become exactly like the kuffār?
In doubt, disbelief?
Heedlessness, ignorance of Allāh, His Dīn, the resurrection?
In what state will you die??
This is something which everyone of us should think deeply about for the next week and make preparations for.
We finish with a ḥadīth of the Messenger (as):
“One of you continues doing the actions of the People of Paradise until there is but an arms length between him and it and then what is written for him overtakes him so he does the actions of the people of Hellfire and enters it”
Therefore O Muslims:
وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ ﴿١٠٢﴾
…do not die except while you are Muslims (in a state of submission to Him)
Rabbanā afrigh ʿalayhinā ṣabran watawaffanā muslimīn