Death — The Islamic Perspective

Nur Kose

Death Gives us Hope

Not the first thing you might say about death, but for Muslims, the statement stands true and is a beacon of optimism.

While it contrasts with popular western culture and how celebrities and the upper class alike reflect on death as a loss, Muslims having a fundamental viewpoint about the Afterlife shifts the narrative on death to one of hope, optimism, and even something to look forward to.

Many people are afraid of death or fear losing their worldly possessions and pleasures especially that of capital gain, assets, relationships, and everything that we can confirm as “real” through the 5 senses. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Remember death, the destroyer of all pleasures”. [Tirmidhi

Perhaps to a western audience, this sounds dark in translation, but to Muslims, it is a deep reminder that forces individuals to ponder upon the purpose of life and look at everything in the grand scheme of things.

The one who loves to meet his Creator, his Creator would love to meet with him. When you leave this life, few things depart from you: your family and your wealth, but what you get to carry with you is in fact, your deeds.

No one is denying that the thought of death can be scary, for it is unpredictable; however, it is the only thing universally guaranteed for every living thing regardless of creed or scripture. Even atheists and agnostics acknowledge that everyone and every living thing will die.

Read More: Dear Atheist: The Proof That God Exists is Within You

How we define what happens after, will vary upon our chosen faith and absorbed belief systems. Let’s visualize this- when someone is given the glad tidings of Paradise, the sadness of death actually departs the person, that person is now overcome with a sense of peace.

If you planted seeds in this life, surely good will come from those seeds. At the time of death when the soul leaves the body, and the angels come to give a righteous believer glad tidings, why there was nothing in worldly possession or people who could make up for the guarantee of eternal bliss!

Where Do We Go When We Die?

The truth is you will be 6ft under and rot there. Poor or rich, a grave is a grave. Our skeletal structures are the same. Without a shadow of a doubt, there is a life in the Hereafter. Whether you had paradise on earth or not, the end is undoubtedly the same.

To think critically about death is to think critically about life.

The Message of All The Prophets

The Prophet ﷺ was the last and final messenger, was the most influential man in history whether you’re Muslim or not. Just take a look at the 1978 book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History by a non-Muslim, Michael H. Hart who listed the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as the most influential person in history.

What made him so influential? He confirmed to believe in one and only one God, acknowledging previous prophets like Jesus. Looking at Jesus, who did people worship before Jesus? Who did Jesus’s mother worship? One True God. Our natural disposition (referred to as our Fitrah) is monotheism.

Moses brought the same message- worship only one God. Abraham brought the same message- worship only one God. All of these historical, real figures, encouraged monotheism, and seeking God’s forgiveness, fulfilling our life’s purpose through the tests we deal with.

Life is a Test

Speaking of tests, “this life is like a jail for the believer, a Jannah for the disbeliever”. No wonder, the wealthy, the celebrities, fear death so much. A believer has restraints, men and women have their own unique purpose and responsibilities to better the world! There is a God-given formula to life, and death.

Read More: Want to Be Happy? Islam Says Be Grateful!

Islam Brings Purpose to Life

Well by now, we have gone through the process of elimination, recognized not just why the modern western world, the rich, the wealthy fear death- but why Muslims are empowered to meet their Creator, have a beautifully written purpose with beautifully guaranteed justice, reward, and everlasting Paradise, a constant motivator.

What Islam brings- is a purpose to life, and something to live for, purpose to death, and something to die for. Where is that room for irrational fear and anger when we have the One True God guiding us? We have all this time- to fulfill the true purpose of our lives. Not only is our life crafted with signs big and small, but the overarching signs of life remain strong and pervasive.

Without a shadow of a doubt, death is a passing-off point- as a point of accountability for what we did with life, we carry today.

Perhaps this message is a lot- but start somewhere, with an open mind. Read the Quran, follow the Prophet ﷺ. Come with a humble desire to want to learn the truth. The complete details of this life to the next can only be found in Islam.

Allah forgives all sins, except associating partners with God. But here’s the catch- even the lost one can be forgiven and guided up to the moment of their own death. Like we said, “it gives us hope”.

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