death

Children of the Hereafter

It is reported from ‘Alī b. Abī Tālib –Allah be pleased with him – that he said:

The thing I fear for you most is following desires and having extensive hopes (about this worldly life). Following one’s desires blocks you from the truth, and having extensive hopes makes you forget the hereafter. Verily, this worldly life is departing and the hereafter is approaching and each of them has its children. So be children of the hereafter, not children of this world, for today there are (opportunities to do) deeds and there is no reckoning, but tomorrow there will be reckoning and no deeds.

Quoted by Al-Bukhārī, Al-Sahīh, The Book of Raqā`iq without the first sentence. Reported in its entirety by Abū Nu’aym, Hilyah Al-Awliyā` Vol.1 p40, and others.

Al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajr states in Fath Al-Bārī:

Extensive hopes (about this worldly life) give rise to lethargy when it comes to acts of obedience, procrastinating with repentance, desire for worldly things, forgetfulness of the hereafter and hardness of the heart; because the softness of the heart and its purity only comes about by remembering death, the grave, reward and punishment, and the horrors of the hereafter…for if one remembers death, he strives to do acts of obedience, his worries decrease and he is satisfied with less.

More towards the end

It is reported that before his death, Abū Mūsā Al-Ash’arī – Allah be please with him – used to exert himself intensely in worship. It was said to him, “If only you would slow down and go easy on yourself.” He replied, “When steeds are let loose and come close to the end of their course they finish by giving it all they have, and what remains of my life is less than that.”

Al-Dhahabī , Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` in his biography of Abū Mūsā Al-Ash’arī.

Abū Bakr to ʿUmar on his Deathbed

When Abū Bakr Al-Ṣiddīq was on his deathbed he called ʿUmar – Allah be pleased with them – and said:

Fear Allah o ʿUmar, and know that Allah has deeds to be done for Him in the day which He will not accept if done at night, and He has deeds to be done for Him at night which He will not accept if done during the day. He will not accept extra (nāfilah) deeds unless you fulfill the obligatory deeds. The scales of those whose scales will be weighty on the Day of Resurrection will only be weighty because they followed the truth in this life and it was weighty to them. And scales in which the truth will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be heavy. And the scales of those whose scales will be light on the Day of Resurrection will only be light because they followed falsehood in this life and it was a light matter to them. And scales in which falsehood will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be light.

Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Paradise and mentioned them in the context of their best deeds, and overlooked their evil deeds, so when I remember them I say to myself: I fear that I will not be included with them. And Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Hell and mentioned them in the context of their worst deeds and rejected their best deeds, so when I remember them I say: I hope I won’t be amongst them. Allah’s worshippers should always be in a state of hope and fear, they shouldn’t wish flimsy wishes about Allah and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.

If you keep to this advice of mine, no one who is not with you now should be more beloved to you than death – and it is sure to come to you. But if you disregard this advice, no one who is not with you now should be more hated to you than death – and you cannot escape it.

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyah Al-Awliyā` Vol.1 p18; and Ibn Al-Jawzī, Ṣifah Al-Ṣafwah.

The Cure for Death

A man once asked Ka’b, “Which illness cannot be treated?” “Death”, he replied. The son of Zayd b. Aslam [d136H] said:

My father said, “There is one treatment for death: gaining the pleasure of Allah ‘azza wa jall.”

Ibn Abī Al-Dunyā in Dhikr Al-Mawt no. 418.

Advice from Abu Darda on Thinking and Remembering

A man once asked Abū Al-Dardāʾ – Allāh be pleased with him – for advice. He said:

Remember Allāh in good times and He will mention you in hard times. When you remember those who have passed away, consider yourself like one of them. And when you think of involving yourself in some worldly matter, consider first what it will lead to in the end.

Al-Dhahabī in Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ, under the biography of Abū Al-Dardāʾ.