Retrospection: Death is Inevitable (Part 2)

kum-saati1It is human nature (more specific in women) that they dwell in their past, hold grudges, taunt and are sarcastic about the times that have been wronged by others; they chase luxuries, hoard wealth, and the list goes on. As much we remember all this, we must remember our death, too. Death is inevitable. We all will face it sooner or later.

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Al-Imran 3:185)

She was laid in her grave. I was more worried about what she will be facing. It is said that the grave clenches itself for the wrongdoers and spaces up itself for the righteous. It is not for us to judge, whether a person has been good or bad – Allah (swt) is the Supreme Authority, Who will decide, and His judgement would be fair. We still have time to retrospect about our own selves than to pinpoint others. Who knows whether we are going to live for the very second minute? It aches to even assume that one day it will be my own parents, my siblings, my offspring, and my spouse. Do I really love them when I claim so? Will I be able to see them burning in hellfire? Will I be able to bear the endless pain of hell?

We still have time to retrospect about our own selves than to pinpoint others. Who knows whether we are going to live for the very second minute?

“That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah: The Fire therein will be for them the eternal home, a (deserving) recompense for that they used to deny Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).” (Fussilat 41:28)

Nouman Ali Khan explains it very nicely that we get immune to constant pains at some point in this world and then we don’t feel the intensity. But in the later world, we will not get immune. We will feel the intensity the same way we felt it for the first time. Our body will not get used to it. It will be as severe and as fresh, as it was the first time we experienced it. The torment will be eternal, hence, no escape.

Am I striving to lead a righteous life? Am I contributing or trying to protect my loved ones from going astray? Am I prepared to meet my Lord? Am I bringing up my children to be happy and content to face their Lord? Why are we afraid of death? It is not because we fear losing our loved ones. It is because of the underlying fear that we ourselves have – the fear to meet our Lord, to face His wrath, to see our bad deeds leading us to hell (Astaghfirullah), to imagine ourselves alone in our dark, gloomy graves, where we will be stung by scorpions and snakes. We are aware of all this. The Quran warns us so many times, if we go through it, but we do not have time to open it and to read it, to comprehend it or to implement it. I am among those, too. We are aware, yet we are letting ourselves fall for the petty things. We know we will be questioned about our prayers, yet we are not offering any or delaying them. We associate others with Allah (swt) by believing in amulets (Taweez), going to shrines and making vows; believing that it is the doctor or red chilies that will cure the ill ones amongst us, when Allah (swt) is the One in authority to give health and recovery; doctors are just a medium.

“Hunafa’ Lillah (i.e. to worship none but Allah), not associating partners (in worship, etc.) unto Him and whoever assigns partners to Allah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.” (Al-Hajj 22:31)

“After the soul becomes in the hands of the Angel of death (Azrael – Izraeel) the other present angels take the soul and prepare it in a coffin with good fragrance of musk or the worst odor(depending on one’s deeds) and take it up on a trip across the Seven Heavens towards Allah. In the case of the soul of the person with Faith in Allah the angels in each Heaven welcome it and know it is a good soul because of its beautiful smell that has come from towards earth. But in the case of a disbelieving person, the gates of each Heaven will not easily open for it and the angels will point to its bad odor. Until the soul reaches the Seventh Heaven and Allah knows what type of person he was and Allah commands his record to be written in “Illiyeen” (in the highest place) or Sijjeen (in the lowest earth). Then Allah will command to take it back to earth. So the angels gently return back the believing person’s soul to his body. As for the unbelieving person’s soul, the angels throw it from the Heaven to go back to its body.” (Tafseer ibn Katheer)

We must pray for our deceased ones and give charity on their behalf. We must also work for our eternal abode ahead. Death is not an end but a newfangled beginning. We are going back to our home where our parents (Adam and Hawwa) were – that is Jannah. It is a moment of rejoice, if we have done well for the life hereafter.

[Poem] Du’a

dua

There’s unexplainable anguish,
And unbearable pain!
My heart feels heavy while,
I stare my surroundings in vain!

I am in a state of denial,
I am experiencing agony,
I want to escape the truth,
Oh Allah, I want to flee!

The hand that rocked my cradle,
Is not in the world, no more!
I can’t change what’s happened,
As it was your will, I know!

But the reality is killing me,
Agonizing, this pain is so much!
My heart seems to tear apart,
Nothing to console me, as such!

I feel I have lost my shelter,
I feel so insecure,
My mother was my refuge,
She was my Jannah’s door!

Her voice echoes in my ears,
I can still feel her touch,
Her beautiful smile and face,
I can’t forget, It’s really tough!

Although my ‘Ma’ has departed
To her abode that’s final,
I want to acknowledge,
The goodness of her survival ….

Her beautiful patience,
Her demeanor that was lively,
Her kind words and deeds,
Her dua’s that came timely!

“TO ALLAH WE BELONG,
AND TO HIM WE SHALL RETURN!”
Oh Ummi, I miss you badly,
While you submit to His summon!

I know you are in a better place,
You are in Allah’s perfect care,
You have finally met your Creator,
You are much happier there!

May Allah lighten up your grave,
And may He shower His mercy,
On you, O Ma, so you may,
Reach eternal bliss and be…

A resident of the Paradise,
His rewarded and blessed one,
May you be granted the highest rank,
In your journey, that has just begun!

Aameen.

Etiquette of Visiting the Graveyard

Muslim_graveyard_in_Tenovo,_MacedoniaBy Naba Basar and Laila Brence 

In Islam, death is a natural part of existence; it is a transition from this world into the Hereafter. Allah (swt) says in the Quran that every soul will taste death (Al-Ankabut 29:57). Likewise, every soul will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement to stand in front of the Creator (swt). For us, the living ones, their graves are constant reminders of death and the Hereafter.

The Prophet (sa) said: “I had prohibited you from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them, because they are a reminder of the Hereafter.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)

Although the above Hadeeth encourages Muslims to go to graveyards, we should pay attention to certain guidelines, when visiting the graves.

Sheikh Al-Albani reminds us that the primary purpose of visiting the graveyard must be that of remembering death and contemplating about the Hereafter. The intention for visiting the graves should not be to provide any comfort or benefit to the deceased. Likewise, we should refrain from praising the deceased by saying that so-and-so is in Jannah.

Also, we should not call upon the deceased ones, seeking their help instead of Allah (swt). Even though Muslims are allowed to make Duas at the grave for their deceased ones, these Duas are no more special than the Duas made for the deceased at any location other than the graveyard. Our supplications reach Allah (swt) regardless of where we offer them.

If we choose to say Duas for the deceased while in the graveyard, we should follow certain etiquettes.

First and foremost, we should be facing Kabah (not the grave) when making supplication. According to Sheikh Al-Albani, “The Prophet (sa) forbade prayer (Salah) facing graves, and Dua is the heart and soul of Salah, as is well-known, and is subject to the same rulings.

The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Dua is worship’ then he recited the Ayah: ‘And your Lord said: Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation).’ (Ghafir 40:60)”

Sheikh Al-Albani continues by saying that it is permissible to raise one’s hands, when offering supplication. Aisha (rta) has said: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) went out one night, and I sent Bareerah to follow him and see where he went. She said: ‘He went towards Baqee A-Gharqad [the graveyard in Madina], and he stood at the bottom of Al-Baqee and raised his hands, then he went away.’ Bareerah came back to me and told me, and when morning came, I asked him about it. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, where did you go out to last night?’ He said: ‘I was sent to the people of Al-Baqee to pray for them.’”

There are numerous Duas that can be recited at the grave. One of the most common supplications has been passed on by Abu Hurairah (rta): “Assalamu alaykum ahl Al-diyar min Al-mumineen wAl-Muslimeen, in sha Allah bikum lahiqoon, asal Allaha lana wa lakum Al-afiyah (Peace be upon you, O people of the dwellings, believers and Muslims, Insha’Allah we will join you, I ask Allah (swt) to keep us and you safe and sound).” (Muslim)

While visiting the graveyard, we must remember that graves are to be respected. It is not permitted to violate or cause destruction in a graveyard. A majority of scholars agree that it is by no means allowed to demolish or destroy a Muslim graveyard, unless their bones have crumbled and turned to dust. Likewise, it is strictly forbidden to build or erect anything over a grave or have Quranic inscriptions around or on them. It is unlawful to slaughter animals in the cemetery, light candles or fragrant sticks, wipe hands or kiss the grave, as all these acts are done by people belonging to non-Muslim cultures and traditions. There is also no proof that one should visit the graveyard every Friday, on Lailat-ul-Qadr, Eids or during Ramadan.

The opinions of scholars differ on the matter, whether Muslim women are allowed to visit the graveyard or not. Many say it is Makrooh (disliked) by quoting a Hadeeth that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “May Allah curse the women, who are frequently visiting the cemetery.” (At-Tirmidhi) However, if the visiting is not frequent, most scholars say it is permissible for Muslim females to visit the graveyard, provided that the sole purpose of going there is to remember death and Hereafter. If a female does visit the graveyard, she should be properly dressed (without displaying her adornments) and should abstain from wailing or any other un-Islamic behaviour.