Someone crossing the street is unaware of the fact that he can be hit by a car and killed, or crippled for life one minute later. Someone who visits the doctor is unaware that his internal organs are riddled with cancer cells. A baby opening its eyes in this world is unaware that it will be taken to Paradise by the angels in a few minutes’ time. Someone sitting quietly in his chair is unaware that he will suffer a heart attack in the very next second. A family returning from dinner at a restaurant and thinking about so many different things are unaware that they are about to have a traffic accident and lose their lives.
Death does not recognize age, position or wealth. If a person’s time has come, absolutely nobody can halt the angels of death; because the angels obey the commands given them by our Lord and will come and take away that person’s soul. Someone who is so proud and boastful, and spends hours thinking about the most unimportant things, is actually entirely helpless. He has no idea that the very next step he takes will see him pass to a very different world in which he will be unable to establish any contact with this one. The things he was so preoccupied with will remain here, while he steps into the eternal life of the hereafter.
“And you at the moment are looking on, But We (i.e. Our angels who take the soul) are nearer to him than you, but you see not.” (Al-Waqiah 56:84-85)
Nobody in the world can know the hour of his death, neither can he postpone it or bring it forward. Allah (swt) has appointed a moment of death in the destiny of every person He creates, and destiny operates down to the tiniest detail at every moment. A person carries on quietly living, goes about his daily business, talks and laughs with his friends and eats and drinks and has fun. Yet, that very day may possibly be his last in this world. After that, all contact with this world will be cut off, and everything to do with the life of this world will be left behind him.
Death does not recognize age, position or wealth. If a person’s time has come, absolutely nobody can halt the angels of death
“Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high! And if some good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if some evil befalls them, they say, “This is from you (O Muhammad(sa)).” Say: “All things are from Allah,” so what is wrong with these people that they fail to understand any word?” (An-Nisa 4:78)
So if everyone is old enough to die, should not people remember death all the time? After all, the angels of death are waiting as we sleep, walk along the road, pre-occupied with work or while we’re talking with our friends; we cannot see or hear them, but they can see us and they record all we do. If the person that died was a believer in life, if he filled his earthly ledger with good deeds, worship, patience and submission to Allah (swt), if he lived and died for Allah (swt), then he will see the angels in all their beauty and will be rewarded with Paradise. There will be no more fear for him, because then he will be one of the people of Paradise with whom Allah (swt) will be well pleased. Insha’Allah.
“They (angels) said: Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (An-Nahl 16:32)
If death is waiting just one step away, then one should not waste a single day, a minute or even a second; every new awakening in the morning is a fine opportunity given to one by Allah (swt) to earn further merit. One must live for His approval on that day too, and adorn it with prayer, worship and good deeds. Everything on that day, from the believer’s smiling face to his humility, from his training of his lower self to the moral values he exhibits at every moment, is of the greatest value because they are all recorded and will earn him merits for the Hereafter. A believer will be rewarded many times over in Paradise for his good deeds in this world. While he spends with fervour and passion in this world, the finest mansions are being prepared from him in Paradise.
The life of this world is literally no longer than a single breath. The best thing to do before that last day comes is to know “that one is always old enough to die” and live in the light of that awareness.
“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)