Ya ibadallah, take heed of what Allah says in the Qur'an:
"Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and good, and to Us you will be returned." [Al-Qur'an 21:35]
Indeed, Allah's promise will be fulfilled. The Death is something so inevitable, yet so very often forgotten.
Each day that passes, each day we breathe, each day we go about our lives, sinning or doing good, is but a day closer to our end, closer to our return to our Creator - Allah the All-Mighty. Many of us, have at some point in our lives, lost a close relative or a close friend. True, we shed tears, we show remorse and we show sadness - but I ask you ya IbadAllah, what did you learn? How did you reflect it upon you ownself?
Allah says in the Qur'an:
"Then why do you not [intervene] when [the soul of a dying person] reaches the throat?
And you at the moment are looking on.
But We [i.e. Our Angels that take the soul] are nearer to him than you, but you see not." [Al-Qur'an 56:83-85]
Perhaps you think that death is yet a distance from you and you will not taste it until at a later age, or perhaps when you think that you are better prepared for it's coming ... and indeed this way of thinking arises only from falsehood!
It was once said, "The night and the day are like two treasure-chests. So be careful of what you do in them."
Mujahid (d. 104H) said, "Not a day passes which does not say 'O son of Adam, I have come to you today and I will never come to you again, So be careful of what you do during my stay!' "
When the day has passed, it is folded up and sealed, never to be re-opened by anyone until Allah re-opens it on the Day of Judgement!
There is a poem that goes :
"Life is nothing other than a road,
that leads to the Garden,
or to the Fire.
Its night's are a man's workshop,
And its days are his market place,
So time is surely the servants capital."
Many a times are we told off about the death in the light of the Qur'an and Sunnah.
"It is Allah who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and [the souls] of those that do not die during their sleep. He retains those souls for which He has ordained death, whereas He releases the rest for an appointed term. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply." [Al-Qur'an 39:42]
See you not then, that Allah has already decreed the time of your death, be you going about your daily business or be you asleep - your time has been written and your soul will be taken out accordingly to your deeds.
Look to what the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said about those who disbelieved in Allah ...
"The Angel of Death says ... 'O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord'. The soul inside the disbeliever's body is overcome by terrible fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool - tearing with them the arteries and nerves." [Sahih]
But for those who believed in Allah, then ...
"The Angel of Death comes to the dying believer, sits at his head and says 'O you good soul, come out and receive your Lords forgiveness and pleasure'. Then the soul slows out effortlessly, just as water flows from the mouth of a water skin." [Sahih]
Ya ibadallah, these are but only a few reminders from the Qur'an and Sunnah. Indeed our time of leaving the dunya is but closer than we think. But are we prepared for it's coming?, have we truly been dutiful to Allah's commands in this life? Have our hearts become so hard that we shed no tears out of fear of meeting with out Lord? What will you do? What will you say? After death has come unto you? Indeed those who did wrong in this life, will surely wish they could come back to this life and to have another chance to do good, and by this time, it will be too late ...
And Allah gives us a clear warning in the Qur'an ...
"And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: 'Now I repent' Nor of those who die while they are disbeliever's. For them we have prepared a painful torment." [Al-Qur'an 4:18]
It is reported that al-Bara 'ibn 'Azib said, "We went out with the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam in order to participate in the funeral rites of a man from the Ansar. We arrived at the grave, but the inner chamber had not been prepared yet; so Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam sat down facing the direction of the Qiblah, and we sat around him so attentively that it was as if birds were sitting upon our heads. He had a stick in his hand with which he sketched upon the ground. Then he began looking alternately to the heavens and to the earth, raising his gaze and then lowering it. Finally, he said two or three times, 'Seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the grave.' Then he said, 'O Allah, verily I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave.' He repeated it three times, then he elaborated:
'Verily, when the believing servant is leaving this world and entering the next, angels from the heavens descend to him - their faces white with brightness like the sun and carrying with them burial sheets and scents from Paradise. They sit before him at a distance as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death (upon whom be peace) comes to the person, sits at his head and says, 'O good soul [and in another narration 'O confident soul'], come out to your Lord's forgiveness and pleasure.'
There upon the soul flows out of the body like water flowing from the mouth of a water skin, and all of the angels between the skies and the earth supplicate for Allays blessing upon him. The doors of the heavens are opened for him, and the keepers of these doors [i.e., the angels all plead with Allah that this soul might pass in front of them as it is being carried upward. The Angel of Death barely receives the soul in his hands, whereupon the other angels take it from him and wrap it with fragrant winding sheets. This is what is meant by Allah's saying:
'Our messengers [i.e., angels] seize his soul, and they do not fall short of their duty.' ' "
Then the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "There exudes from the soul a scent like the most beautiful fragrance of musk that one could find on the face of the earth. The angels ascend with the soul never passing a host of angels without hearing them ask, 'Who is this wonderful soul?' They reply, 'So and so, the son of so and so,' addressing him with the best names he was known by during his earthly life.
Upon reaching the first heaven, the angels request that it be opened for the soul - which is granted - the soul is then accompanied by the angels of each heaven until it reaches the one above it and finally arrives at the seventh heaven. Then Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says [to the angels], 'Place the record of My servant in 'illiyyun.' "
"And what will explain to you what 'illiyyun is? [it is] a written record, witnessed by those brought near to their Lord." [Al-Qur'an 83:19-21]
The person's record is then placed in 'illiyyun, whereupon a command is heard: "Return him to the earth, for verily I have promised mankind that having created them from the earth, I will return them to it. And l will make them come out of it, yet another time. " Then the soul is returned to the earth back into its body. Verily, the deceased hears the shuffling feet of his companions who attended his burial as they turm away and leave his grave.
Thereupon, two angels, severe in interrogation come to him, and sitting him up, they begin to ask him questions. They say, "Who is your Lord?" He replies, "Allah is my Lord." They continue, "What is your religion?" He answers, "Islam is my religion." They proceed with the questioning, saying, "Who is this man that has been sent to you?" He responds, "He is the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam." Finally, they ask him about his deeds, to which he replies, "I read Allah's Book and believed in it." [In another narration the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam indicated that the angels ask, "Who is your Lord, what is your religion and who is your prophet?"] Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam explained that this was the believer's last test, and it is what is meant when Allah says:
"Allah strengthens those who believe with a firm testimony in this worldly life and in the Hereafter."
The deceased answers, "Allah is my Lord, Islam is my religion, and my Prophet is Muhammad."
The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam then indicated, 'Upon the believer's answer to these questions, a voice is heard in the heavens, saying, "My servant has told the truth, so clothe him in the clothing of Paradise, spread for him the furnishings of Paradise, and open for him a window with a view of Paradise." Thereupon, he is engulfed by a breeze of fresh air and fragrance, while the expanse of his grave is extended before him as far as the eye can see.
There appears before him a man with a wonderful face and beautiful clothing, emitting a splendid fragrance. He says to the soul, "Rejoice at the news which will gladden you! Rejoice at Allah's pleasure and His Paradise, whose joys and delights never end. This is the day which you were promised."
The deceased says to him, "And who are you, for your face bears glad tidings.?! " The figure answers, "I represent your good deeds; by Allah, I've always known you to be quick in obedience to Allaah and slow to His disobedience. So may Allah award you with good."
Then a door to Paradise is opened, and a door to the Fire is opened, whereupon his said to him [regarding the Hell fire], "This would have been your final abode had you disobeyed Allah; however, it has been exchanged for this other abode [i.e., Paradise]. " When the soul sees what is in Paradise, he cries, "My Lord, hasten the arrival of the Hour [i.e., the Resurrection] so that I may be joined with my family and wealth." There upon it is said to him, "Rest in tranquillity."
But how many of us can call ourselves true believers? Such that we would be good enough to receive such a reward?
Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam continued, 'When the disbelieving servant [and in another narration "sinful servant"] is about to leave this world and enter the next, angels, powerful and severe, descend to him from the heavens - their faces black and carrying with them coarse strips of cloth from Hell. They sit before him at a distance as far as the eye can see.
Then the Angel of Death arrives, and sitting at the head of the disbeliever, he says, 'O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord.' The soul inside the disbeliever's body is overcome by tenable fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool - tearing with them the arteries and nerves.
Upon this, the soul is cursed by every angel between the earth and the heavens and by those inside the heavens. Then the doors of the heavens are closed to him, and every single guard at these doors begs Allah that this soul not be carried up in front of him.
The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam continued, 'The Angel of Death barely receives the soul in his hands, whereupon the other angels grasp it from him and wrap it up in coarse cloth. There emits from it the foulest odour that could be found on the face of the earth. They ascend with it, never passing a host of angels without being asked, 'Who is this ugly soul?' They reply, 'So and so, the son of so and so,' using the worst names by which he was known in this world.
When they arrive at the lowest heaven, they request that it be opened for this soul, but the request is denied.' At this point Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam recited the verse:
"The gates of the heavens will not be opened for them, nor will they enter the Garden of Paradise until a camel goes through the eye of a needle."
After that, he continued, 'Then Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says [to the angels], 'Place his record in sijjin [a book which contains all of the deeds of the devils and the disbeliever's] - in the lowest earth Return My servant to the earth, for verily I have promised mankind that having created them from the earth, I will return them to it. And I will make them come out of it, yet another time.'
Upon this command, the deceased [disbeliever's] soul is thrown down from the sky until it lands in its body.' The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam then recited the verse:
"And whoever ascribes partners with Allah, it is as though he had fallen from the sky, such that birds snatch him up or the wind throws him to a remote place."
Then he commented, 'Verily [when the soul is returned to its body], the deceased hears the sound of his companions' footsteps as they tam away from his grave.' [The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam resumed his explanation, saying 'Then two angels, severe in interrogation come to him, and sitting him up, they begin to question him, who is your Lord? He replies, 'Hah! Hah! (an expression describing a state of surprise, shock and pain) I don't know.' They continue by asking him, 'What is your religion?'He answers, 'Hah! Hah! I don't know.' So they ask, 'Then what do you say about this man who was sent to you?' [The disbeliever does not appear to understand who they are referring to, so it is said] 'Muhammad.' Again he states, 'Hah! Hah! I don't know. I only heard people talking about him.' Then it is said, 'You did not know! And you did not read!'
There upon a voice from the heavens is heard, 'He has lied! So spread out for him a place from the Fire and open for him a window to the Fire.'
The searing hot winds of Hell engulf him while his grave closes in upon him, crushing him until his ribcage is broken by the force - causing the ribs of one side to intertwine with the ribs of the other. Then there appears to him a person with an ugly face and ugly clothing and exuding a foul odour, who says, 'Tidings of evil to you, for this is the day which you were promised!' The deceased says to him, 'And you, too; may Allah give you evil tidings! Who are you, for yours is a face which portends evil.'
The person rejoins, 'I represent your wicked deeds. By Allah, I have always known you to be slow in obedience to Allah and quick in disobedience to Him. May Allah reward you with evil!'
Then one who is deaf, dumb and blind and is carrying an iron rod is sent to the deceased. If he were to strike a mountain with it, the mountain would disintegrate into rubble. He strikes the deceased with a blow, which turns him into dust. Allah returns the deceased to his original form, whereupon he is struck a second time. This causes him to shriek with such violence that it is heard by all of creation except mankind and jinn.
Then a door to the Fire is opened, and beddings of the Fire are spread for him, whereupon he cries, "Lord, do not establish the Hour!"