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January 17, 2011

Book: Mysteries of the Soul Expounded

by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

So many people prepare for this and that.

And so few of them prepare for death.

Allah says:

“So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” [Surah Al-Hijr (15) : 98-99]

Death is probably everyone’s least favourite topic, which is quite strange when you consider that ALL OF US will die.

What’s amazing is that the more righteous a person is, the more at ease they are with dying, and the less righteous a person is, the less at ease they are with dying.

There was a story that I heard that explained to me why that was so. One of the caliphs went to a scholar and asked him why people were so averse to death. The scholar pointed out how nobody would like to leave a house that they had built and furnished for a house that was not ready.

[That was the gist of the story. Sorry, I don’t remember the exact details.]

So, that’s why many people are averse to death. They’ve spent their lives polishing up their dunya (worldy life)  but made little effort to build their house in Paradise.

A righteous person, on the other hand, would obey Allah and focus on the hereafter rather than letting this dunya control him/her.

I mean really, brothers and sisters, let’s look at most of our lives:

Why are there so many parties and so few Islamic classes?

Why is there so much talk about useless matters and so little dhikr (remembrance)) of Allah?

Why is there so much time spent reading the news and magazines and so little time spent reading the book of Allah?

Why is there so much time spent toiling away at night for that project that is due the next day but so little time spent toiling away at night by standing up in prayer?

Why is there so much money spent on clothes, accessories, food, furniture and Allah knows what else but so little money spent on charity and helping our brethren who are in need?

Why is there so much time spent on listing other people’s flaws but so little time spent listing our own flaws?

Why is there so much time spent talking or thinking about how we can help our ummah (nation) but so little time actually spent on doing so?

Why is there so much time spent on disobeying Allah and so little time spent on obeying Allah?

Guess what?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We’re still alive, which means that we can still change before we die.

Now, you might say: “Huh, I’m too sinful! I need time to change.”

Huh?

Okay, you need to read the following two stories:

1) The murderer who went to Paradise

Abu Said al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine persons and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred. He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you). So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitant and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near. They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it. Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6662]

2) The men who started the day off as magicians and ended it as martyrs

[Firaun (Pharaoh)] said to the chiefs around him: “Verily! This is indeed a well-versed sorcerer. He wants to drive you out of your land by his sorcery, then what is it your counsel, and what do you command?”

They said: “Put him off and his brother (for a while), and send callers to the cities; To bring up to you every well-versed sorcerer.”

So the sorcerers were assembled at a fixed time on a day appointed. And it was said to the people: “Are you (too) going to assemble? That we may follow the sorcerers [who were on Firaun’s religion of disbelief] if they are the winners.”

So when the sorcerers arrived, they said to Firaun: “Will there surely be a reward for us if we are the winners?” He said: “Yes, and you shall then verily be of those brought near (to myself).”

Musa said to them: “Throw what you are going to throw!” So they threw their ropes and their sticks, and said: “By the might of Firaun, it is we who will certainly win!”

Then Musa threw his stick, and behold, it swallowed up all the falsehoods which they showed!

And the sorcerers fell down prostrate. Saying: “We believe in the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists). The Lord of Musa and Harun.”

[Firaun] said: “You have believed in him before I give you leave. Surely, he indeed is your chief, who has taught you magic! So verily, you shall come to know. Verily, I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you all.”

They said: “No harm! Surely, to our Lord (Allah) we are to return; Verily! We really hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, as we are the first of the believers [in Musa and in the Monotheism which he has brought from Allah].”

[Surah Ash-Shuara (26) : 34-51]

In Surah Taha, it says:

[Firaun] said: “Believe you in him [Musa] before I give you permission? Verily! He is your chief who 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 date-palms, and you shall surely know which of us [I (Firaun) or the Lord of Musa (Allah)] can give the severe and more lasting torment.”

They said: “We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him (Allah) Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) this life of the world. Verily! We have believed in our Lord, that He may forgive us our faults, and the magic to which you did compel us. And Allah is better as regards reward in comparison to your [Firaun’s] reward, and more lasting (as regards punishment in comparison to your punishment).”

[Surah Ta-Ha (20) : 71-73]

Imam Ibn Kathir said in his tafseer:

“Ibn Abbas, Ubayd bin Umayr, Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj commented, “They started the day as sorcerers and ended it as martyrs.””

Inspired? Let’s hope so, insha-Allah.

So, to start off our new beginning (where we start preparing for a good death), here’s a detailed book about what happens on the other side. I haven’t read the whole thing but from what I’ve read so far, it’s very professionally written just like the author’s other famous book “The Islamic Ruling on Music and Singing”.

The author Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi (rahimahullah) died when he was 39 (21 years ago) but subhan Allah, his book on music is one of the most popular books on this subject! Indeed, Allah can do all things.

[You may read that book as well as a mini-biography of the author here.]

Here’s the book on death:

Mysteries of the Soul Expounded by Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi (rahimahullah)

[Please click on the picture to download the book.]

May Allah grant us all a good end. Ameen.


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