Chapter 1 - Death
1. Death - Introduction
Say: ‘Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you did.’ (Surat al-Jumu‘a: 8).
Death may catch up with you at any time. Who knows, perhaps this is the moment. Or, it may be much closer than you have ever expected.
These lines may be the last opportunity, the last reminder, the last warning before death comes upon you. As you proceed with these lines, you can never know that you will still be alive in the next hour. Even if it proves to be so, nothing can guarantee you another hour. Let alone an hour, not even after a single moment, is it certain that you will be still living. There is no guarantee that you will ever finish reading this book. Death will, most likely, come upon you at a time when, only a moment before, you never thought about dying.
You will most certainly die, as will all your loved ones. Before you or after you, they will certainly die. A hundred years from now, there will not be a single soul you are familiar with in this world.
Endless aims pertaining to life occupy man's minds; to finish high school, to enter university, to graduate, to have a respectable occupation, to marry, to bring up children, to lead a peaceful life… These aside, there are thousands of others devised to address one's personal circumstances.
Death is one of the few things in life certain to occur. This is a one hundred percent certainty.
After years of hard work, a student succeeds in entering the university, yet may die on the way to class. Or someone who has recently been hired for a job may lose his life on his first morning commute to his work. A traffic accident may end the lives of a newly married couple on their wedding day. A successful businessman may prefer to fly to save time, and his life may end in an unexpected way.
Leaving behind plans doomed to remain unfinished for all eternity, they head for a point of no return—and yet it is a destination they never planned for. Ironically, for years, they spent too much time detailing plans which would never be put into operation, yet never gave a thought to the one certain thing—death—that would happen.
How then should a man of wisdom and conscience establish his priorities? Does he have to make his plans for the one thing certain to happen or for something unlikely to happen? Some people give priority to goals which they can never be certain of accomplishing. No matter which phase of life they are passing through, they resolutely plan for a better and more fulfilling future.
This tendency would be quite rational, if man was immortal. Yet the fact remains that all plans are doomed to that absolute end, called death. Thus it is irrational to disregard death, which is certain to occur, and devote all one's attention to all those things which may or may not materialize.
Yet, owing to an incomprehensible heedlessness enslaving their minds, some people fail to notice this obvious fact. These people strive for the goals they have set for this world, as if they will live a very long life or even as if they will not die. They never think about their real life which is due to start with death. They do not prepare themselves for it. Once they are resurrected, they are faced with this truth and feel deep remorse because of the irrecoverable mistakes they have made all through their lives.
The intention in writing this book is to make man ponder over and warn him against an imminent and ineluctable event…
Avoiding thinking about it cannot, by any means, provide a solution.