Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|07/26/01 at 02:37:10|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
An appointed time for death
Death may be a cause of immense worry and anxiety. It seriously troubles the mind, shaking man to the bottom of his heart. No rational human being entertains the slightest doubt that life will come to an end with death. Yet man often overlooks this fact. People may be so oblivious to it that they go about their life as though they would never die. This is a case of subconscious denial of the inevitable death. In such a case a person knows that death is bound to happen to everyone, but somehow he feels his own case is special.
Such subconscious denial, or oblivion to an undesirable inevitability, is a stratagem to which one may resort in order to overcome anxiety over such an inevitability. It is a case of burying one's head in the sand. It may not achieve a successful removal of the danger, but it keeps the danger away from the immediate domain of one's senses until the situation has been resolved, one way or the other. Great indeed is God's wisdom in concealing from all human beings the time when they are due to die. Should every one know in advance when they will die, they would soon lose hope and give way to despair. Hence, people continue to live on hope no matter how old they become. They carry on with their planning for tomorrow, exerting efforts for a better future. The Prophet [saw] says: "An old man's heart remains young in two things: love of riches and hope for the future."(Related by Al-Bukhari). He [saw] is also quoted as saying: "As a human being grows older, two things continue to grow with him: love of money and love of life." Related by Al-Bukhari).
Should human beings know in advance when they will die, most of us will delay doing good deeds. Most people would try to satisfy their immediate desires, leaving repentance until the last year, or even the last days of their lives.
A non-believer tends to think that death comes by coincidence. He may feel that a healthy body ensures continuity of life. Nevertheless, he may worry that he could be suffering unawares some sort of illness that draws him closer to the grave. Or he may worry that he may meet his death in some unforeseeable accident. Neither health nor youth is a guarantee against death. Numerous indeed are those who die at a young age. This fact is a source of much anxiety among non-believers, because they do not accept that the time of death is predetermined by the Creator. A pre-Islamic Arab poet describes death as a misfortune that strikes at random. He says: "Death moves like a semi-blind person, groping in the dark: whomever it strikes will die immediately, and whomever it misses lives to an advanced age."
This is essentially contradictory with the view of the believer who knows that death comes at its appointed time which is determined well before a person is born. God guarantees that every one will live until the time appointed for him or her. He says in the Qur'an: "And for all people a term has been set: and when (the end of) their term approaches, they can neither delay it by a single moment, nor can they hasten it." (7: 34)
He also says: "It is God who causes all human beings to die at the time of their (bodily) death, and (causes to be as dead), during their sleep, those who have not yet died. Thus he withholds (from life) those upon whom He has decreed death, and lets the others go free for a term set (by Him)." (39: 42)
Thus the time of death is determined by God, who has set for every one of us a term of life. No power on Earth or in the universe will be able to cause a person to die unless his term is over. God says in the Qur'an: "No human being will die except by God's leave, at a term pre-ordained." (3: 145)
For this reason, God has assigned to every human being angels who protect him or her against death until the time appointed for them arrives. In the Qur'an we read God's words: "He alone holds sway over His servants. And He sends forth guardians to watch over you until, when death approaches any of you, Our messengers cause him to die. They do not overlook anyone." (6: 61)
He also says: "Each has guardian angels before him and behind him, who watch him by God's command." (13: 11) And our last quotation from the Qur'an in this connection is: "For every soul there is a guardian who watches over it." (86: 4)
To know all this is bound to impart a feeling of reassurance and serenity to the believer. That is a far better state than subconscious denial or oblivion of an undesirable inevitability. Such oblivion may give a false sense of reassurance. [color=Red]True reassurance and inner peace come as a result of the realization that every thing that takes place in the universe occurs by God's command who has sway over the whole universe and all creatures living in it.[/color] Indeed neither denial nor deliberate oblivion can stand up to daily events that constantly remind us of death, particularly when we are shocked by the death of a close friend or relative. That puts us face to face with the reality of death which triggers anxiety that does not subside except through true faith.
[i]By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef - Arab News - 24 April 2000[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with 2 f's)
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