Are we ready for death? Why will everyone die full of regret?

…The Qur’an informs us in its last three juz’ (part) that the Day of Resurrection is a day of great upheaval. It informs us that it is a day of formidable destruction. There are many verses concerning the Day of Resurrection. There are verses inspiring dread.

But our belief here, in this life of ours, will be complete. There can be no compromise in belief. A belief mentioned at the end of Surah al-Fath, precisely such probity, an abundance of righteous deeds, and firm adherence to the Noble Sunna.

For Allah Almighty declares: “He who obeys the Messenger (thereby) obeys Allah…” (4:80)

Moreover, one of the friends of Allah says:

“The Religion (of Islam) is like a rope.” There are thousands of fibres in a single rope, he says. Abandoning one of the acts of the Sunna amounts to the breaking of one of those fibres, he says. Thus, when the Sunna is abandoned, that rope breaks fibre by fibre, and religion ultimately weakens.

Allah Almighty declares in Surah al-Ankabut:

“Do people reckon that they will be left (to themselves at ease) on their mere saying, ‘We believe,’ and will not be put to a test?”(29:2) Allah Almighty demands deeds of righteousness.

اِلَّا الَّذِينَ اٰمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ

“Except those who believe and do good, righteous deeds…”(103:3)

Of course that Resurrection, that difficult day, that day of great upheaval, is the Day that the person will flee from their own brother and sister, and those closest to them…

In another (verse) Allah Almighty refers to the heavens. In Surah al-Anbiya He declares: “The Day when We will roll up heaven as written scrolls are rolled up.” All the heavens… trillions of stars… “We will bring the creation back into existence as easily as We originated it in the first instance. This is a binding promise on Us,” He declares. (See 21:104)

He informs us of the state of the mountains, and what destruction it is…

He informs us of the seas; no water will remain…

He informs us of the condition of wild beasts and what will become of them…

He informs us of the state of human beings, the state of the wrongdoers, and states that you will see their eyes staring (in terror) before Allah’s punishment.

He informs us of the children who become children gray-headed in fear on that Day. Only those who believe and perform deeds of righteousness (will be exempt). Concerning them, Allah Almighty says:

لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

“…they will have no fear, nor will they grieve…”(2:277)

In other words, Allah Almighty demands that we are aware in this world: Why have we come to the world? Why did Allah Almighty create us? Why was the world prepared in the most perfect way for the human being? Why do those coming to the world come and where do those leaving, go? Where is this flow headed? In other words, Allah Almighty demands an understanding of this. And He rendered us a community to the greatest Prophet.

The other verse recited:

“By the fig and the olive, And Mount Sinai, And this City secure.” (95:1-3)

Here, Allah Almighty draws attention to a different point. Allah Almighty sometimes begins the Qur’anic verses with an oath. He informs us by means of an oath so that concentration is increased here. Here, Allah Almighty, makes four separate oaths. Allah Almighty informs us of the disposition He conferred upon the human being: Ahsan Taqwim. Allah Almighty declares that He created humankind in the most perfect way. That He created them of the best stature, the perfection of this stature… Allah Almighty bestows one of His attributes: “When I have fashioned him in due proportions and breathed into him out of My spirit…” (15:29) He declares. The servant is to develop this disposition that Allah Almighty has conferred upon them. The human being is to be the best of creation and become a masterpiece, as it were.

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْأِنْسَانَ فِي اَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيم

“Surely We have created human of the best stature as the perfect pattern of creation.”(95:4)

They are to display the best servanthood. Li ya’rifun: They are to become a knower, one who knows Allah Almighty intimately. They are to be a believer receiving blessings from the realms beyond. Of course, this requires effort.

فَاِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا اِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

“Then, surely, with hardship comes ease; Surely, with hardship comes ease.”(94:5-6)

Allah Almighty grants ease after every difficulty. The same is true for the world. Everything is a separate trial. Existence is a separate trial, a difficult trial. All of these will be reckoned. Mith’qāla dharra(See 99:7-8): Every atom will be accounted for. Everything will be measured on a scale more sensitive than a jeweller’s scales.

Worship is to be performed in reverent humility. Good character is to be formed. Our character is to resemble the character of Allah’s Messenger. It is to be ahsan taqwim, of the best stature. Allah Almighty demands this of us.

In other words, this world is a working period. The worst kind of waste is the waste of time. Allah Almighty declares, “By Time” (103:1).

Allah Almighty gives constant warning. He informs us of our time of death at the end of Surah al-Munafiqun. He informs us of a state that all of us will undergo:

“…before death comes to any of you and he says: ‘My Lord! If only You would grant me respite for a short while, so that I may give alms, and be one of the righteous!'”(63:10)

In short, the Messenger of Allah also says that there is no one who dies but reproaches themselves, even if righteous, as they will regret not increasing their righteousness.(See Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 59/2403)

As there is nothing to be gained or lost in the grave.

In short, Allah Almighty wants for us to be “of the best stature”. We have been created as the finest of all creation. He wants us each to be a masterpiece of humanity. He wants us to be the apple of the universe’s eye.

In the same way that Allah Almighty gives us all these flowers – we see now that Spring has arrived and flowers have blossomed everywhere. Is the human being upon whom He has bestowed all these superior qualities to be of a lower level than them? They are to be a friend to Allah Almighty in this way.

The greatest bliss is the servants being with Allah Almighty in this world, in the grave, and in the Hereafter.

اَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and whole-hearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.”(13:28)

The servant’s finding peace and repose with remembrance of Allah Almighty. What a great happiness!

فَاِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا اِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

This always comes after difficulty. Constant trials, difficulties… How much effort do we make in worldly trials. This is an eternity we’re talking about, the future. Allah forbid, if we are overcome by heedlessness, argue that we merely followed the crowd and got swept up in the vortex of carnality, then Allah Almighty declares, asfal safilin. “The lowest of the low.” (95:5) Is there a chance for making up for this? No! There is no such chance after one’s life has come to an end, after the last breath. It’s all over.

Allah Almighty again gives an example of the denizens of Hellfire in Surah al-Fatir: “And therein they will cry aloud: ‘O our Lord! Take us out, we will do good, (righteous deeds), not (the wrong) we used to do before.'”

Of course everything arises through direct experience and it is all too late.

Allah Almighty asks two things:

First, “Did We not grant you a life long enough for whoever would reflect and be mindful to reflect and be mindful?” We think of everything.

Secondly, “[Did not], a warner came to you (to warn against this punishment)?.”

“Indeed, O Lord,” they will say. But Allah Almighty will declare,

“Taste then (the consequences of your heedlessness).” (See 35:37)

In other words, everything will be over.

اِلَّا الَّذِينَ اٰمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ اَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ

“Except those who believe and do good, righteous deeds, so there is for them a reward constant and beyond measure.”(95:6)

If a person’s belief is sound, their deeds will be complete. Allah Almighty refers in various verses to how one’s belief is to be complete, unshakeable, steadfast, unfaltering, unwavering. Allah Almighty provides examples:

For instance, in four chapters, He informs us of the Pharaoh’s persecution of the sorcerers. He brought those sorcerers before Prophet Musa, upon him be peace. But the sorcerers were honoured with Islam as a result of the truths they witnessed. The Pharaoh threatened them.

“What! Do you believe in Him before I give you permission?” “But you shall come to know,” he said, threatening them with the severest of punishment.

They responded:

“We will never prefer you above the clear evidence (manifesting the truth) that has come before us, and above Him who originated us. So decree whatever you decree: you can decree only for the life of this world.” You are free to act as you please, they said to him.

The Pharaoh had their hands and feet cut off alternately and then had them crucified alive, on palm branches. Of course the place turned into a bloodbath. Terrible pain and suffering the sorcerers endured so as not to make concessions to the Pharaoh, so that their belief would not be tarnished, and so as not to be indebted to him.

رَبَّنَا اَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسْلِمِينَ

They said, “…Our Lord! Pour out upon us persevering patience, and take our souls to You as Muslims (wholly submitted to You)!” (7:126)

This scene is related in four separate Qur’anic chapters.

The People of the Trench (ashab al-ukhdud) are mentioned. How the first Christians protected their faith at the cost of burning in trenches.

On the second page of Surah al-Yasin, comes Habib al-Najjar and he is resigned to being stoned and killed. He was happy at his last breath, saying:

“Would that my people knew, that my Lord has forgiven me and made me one of those honoured (with particular favours)!” He took pity on his people. (See 36:20-27)

Allah Almighty informs us of the Makkans and the Madinans in the 100th verse of Surah at-Taubah. What great suffering they endured, purely for the sake of protecting their belief.

Similarly, at the end of Surah al-Fath, Allah Almighty refers to precisely what kind of Muslims those in the company of Messenger of Allah were. He wants for us to also be thus. They are firm and unyielding in protecting the religion against the unbelievers. They protect the religion; they protect their belief and make no concessions. The believers are compassionate and lenient among themselves. “You see them (constant in the Prayer) bowing down and prostrating,” He says.

This means to say, a single bowing movement and prostration of a Muslim causes the effusion of a separate mercy. They seek favour with Allah and His approval and good pleasure, the verse informs us. They aspire to earn His good pleasure and approval. They have marks of prostration on their foreheads, a light in their faces, a manifestation of Divine light.

Allah Almighty gives the example of a gardener here, from the Torah and the Gospel. A gardener sows a seed, the verse states, which sprouts and then strengthens its shoot, which then delights the sower of that seed. (See 48:29)

This is a believers striving for the blooming of Islam and finding peace therein. This fills the unbelievers with rage, it is stated in the verse.

Allah Almighty opens the doors of grace and forgiveness to those with the Messenger of Allah. In other words, Allah Almighty wants for us to be like this, for us to be like the Companions. We are to always follow Allah’s Messenger such that our hearts will perpetually be filled with the joy of being a community to him. The Companions forever experienced this joy. Such was their joy that they waited, saying, “O Messenger of Allah, give us a service that we can offer.”

When he asked, “Who will deliver this letter to Negus al-Asham, to Heraclius, to the emperor of Persia?” they all jumped to their feet, saying:

“Grant us this honour, O Messenger of Allah.”

How would they cross those deserts, surmount those mountains, read that letter to those kings in the presence of a host of executioners? All those executioners waited for a single look or motion from the king. The Companions cared not in the least. So long as they had a place in the heart of Allah’s Messenger.

May Allah favour us with being, Allah willing, with Allah’s Messenger in every phase of our lives, in our worship, in our business dealings, in our family lives, so that we can be with him on the Day of Judgement.

I wish to relate a single hadith at this point.

The Messenger of Allah states:

“I have been commanded with nine things, which I recommend to you.”

You too should adopt these nine states, he says to us. I have been commanded with nine things, upon which you too should act, he says.

“That when I speak, I should mention Him.” (See İbrahim Canan, Hadis Ansiklopedisi, XVI:252, no: 5838)

Allah’s Messenger always spoke clearly and distinctly and he never engaged in meaningless speech. The words of Allah’s Messenger were directed at reading the Qur’an, interpreting it, and guiding the people.

In another hadith, Allah’s Messenger states:

“Either speak good or remain silent.”(See Bukhari, Adab, 31, 85; Muslim, Iman, 74)

In another Qur’anic verse it is declared:

“They always turn away from and avoid whatever is vain and frivolous.”(23:3)

This means that a Muslim has to be very careful of their words. They must not utter a single flippant or irreverent word. Their speech must not be excessive and they must not offend or insult even in their jest. Their speech and language must entail discussions of the Qur’an and Sunna.

Again, our Lord commands us in this regard, in the exact way in which we are to speak. No expense is spared in learning a foreign language. The real task is for our heart to learn a language of the Qur’an.

Qawlan karīman,” Allah Almighty decrees, when speaking to one’s parents. (See 17:23) Use words of reverence and speak in gracious words, he says.

In relation to people in general, Allah Almighty decrees, “qawlan sadīdan“. (See 4:9;33:70) Speak the truth in every matter, He commands.

Even when speaking to a tyrant, He decrees, “qawlan layyinan.” (See 20:44) Speak with gentle words, He says, like the flow of water.

If someone who is in need approaches you and you are unable to give them anything, then it is decreed, “qawlan maysūran.” (See 17:28) Speak to them gently, in a manner which sets their spirit at rest and consoles them.

Spoils used to come to Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, one-fifth, and he could not rest until he distributed them and put his community at ease. He would give whatever he had; he would give it all. And then another poor person would come to him, standing before him destitute and forlorn. Allah’s Messenger would be ill at ease at not being able to give them anything. He would slowly turn his face in the other direction. “Qawlan maysūran,”Allah Almighty declares in Surah al-Isra’ (17:28), if you cannot give them anything. There is to be no dead end in the lexicon of a believer, there is to be no “No.” Speak a gentle, pleasing word to them and console them He decrees.

Qawlan balīghan“, declares Allah Almighty (See 4:63). Speak profound words that penetrate hearts, He commands.

Qawlan ma’rūfan” (See 33:32) He says. Speak when appropriate and in an honourable way, he says.

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, says, “My words [are] remembrance of Allah”. This means that a believer is required to speak with the language of the Qur’an when they speak. And how is this to be achieved: To the degree of one’s piety and righteousness (taqwa).

وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللّٰهُ

“…(Always) act in due reverence for Allah and try to attain piety. Allah teaches you (whatever you need in life, and the way you must follow in every matter)…”(2:282)