“Allah fully takes away the souls (of the people) at the time of their death, and (of) those who do not die, in their sleep. Then He withholds those on whom He had decreed death, and sends others back, up to an appointed term. Surely, in this, there are signs for a people who ponder.” (Surah Az Zumar, Verse 42)
The journey of the soul is one that is widely discussed. It is a fascinating concept and has been discussed in the Quran in several chapters. The idea of passing on from this life to the next is inevitable. It is the cycle of human life, where one starts this life in a certain manner, decides its course and hopes for the best end.
Though the concept of passing on is perceived to be grim in many cultures, Islam provides a complete opposite perspective towards it. In Islam, death is not pure annihilation. It is merely movement from one world to another. The other world being more vast and blissful for a believer. In fact, every person is advised to prepare for this ultimate journey. A person’s every act and deed, results in this journey turning pleasant or painful.
“O soul that are at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), So enter among My servants, And enter into My garden.” (Surah Al Fajr, Verse 27-30)
The very truth about passing on from this life to the next is what gives meaning to a believers worldly life. There are ample examples of people who when they realise that their end is near, prepare for their journey into the next phase of their existence.
In contrast, thinking that when a person dies, everything comes to an end, and he feels nothing, and that he goes from existence into absence and nonexistence, is an erroneous delusion. A delusion propagated by materialism and atheism.
In the Qur’an dying is mentioned fourteen times with the word ‘tawaffa’ which means ‘entrusting’. That is to say, after death, one will not perish and disappear, but that Allah will take His possession back – without increase, or decrease – and He will entrust it to His appointed workers.
“And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew.” (Surah Al Ankabut, Verse 64)
While diving into this concept I came across the story of a man who prepared every day for this final journey. He always saw passing on into the hereafter as a sense of relief from the anxieties and trials of this world. To make the transition smoother he would think about death and make supplication for ‘jannah’ atleast once every day. As a result, his last days were blessed and he passed away in the state of ‘sujood’ and had a pain free end.
Every moment a person has in this world is a moment to better prepare for death. Allah (swt) has given people time, which they have to make the most of. There are many ways to draw closer to Allah (swt) with charity, seeking knowledge, fasting, educating, memorising the Quran, so on and so forth. The Quran warns of the disbeliever who fails to use this time for serving Allah (swt):
“When death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back that I might do righteousness in that which I left behind’. No! It is only a word he is saying and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.” (SurahAl-Mu’minūn, Verse 99-100)
This verse makes clear that the concept of death is not one to fear, rather it is important to fear failing to prepare for it. Allah (swt) has already fixed the date of every person’s death, but He has also blessed each one of us with the time to prepare for it. Every moment that slips by is an opportunity to do good deeds and seek forgiveness, but one day these moments will run out. So, it is needed that each day be filled with peace, kindness, and remembrance of Allah (swt), knowing that the reward of a believer is greater than everything this world has to offer.