Death is a beginning, not an end

People of poor faith, or those having no faith at all in the Hereafter, have a distorted perception of death and the life that comes after it. That is why, they consider death a calamity rather than as a blessing. They believe that when they lose someone to death they lose them for ever; therefore, according to them, in the ground he is reduced to nothingness.

The fact is, however, that death is not eternal extinguishment; on the contrary, it is a transition to the life of the Hereafter, our resting place. It is a moment we are all drawing near to, to the day we will have to give account of all that we engaged in the life of this world, that is, the Day of Judgment. Every human being, without exception, will meet the moment of death and pass to his eternal resting place. This may happen at an early age as well as later in life. Ultimately then, everyone will one day depart from this world; every day brings that predetermined date nearer. As such, to strive to escape death, or avoiding the very thought of it, or considering it as a calamity, is completely irrational.

Some among those who have faith in the truth of the Hereafter, on the other hand, still find it entirely acceptable to grieve over someone's death. But God is the All-Just. That person who dies will give an account of his deeds in this world and, based on His judgment, be rewarded or punished. For this reason, for everyone who has faith in God and the existence of the hereafter, and thus lived a life devoted to his Lord, death is a gate through which to pass to blissful eternity. But, from the point of view of the ignorant, who deny the hereafter and disregard the Day of Judgment, death is a gate to eternal torment. For this reason, to them, it is difficult to regard death as a good. For Muslims, however, it is the beginning of total salvation.
The believer's reaction to the death of another believer differs clearly from that of the type of morality or attitude of the ignorant. Because, death, perceived to be the worst thing that could happen to anyone, is, in truth, a good for believers. The attitude of the believers' towards death is clearly described in the following verse:

If you are killed in the Way of God or if you die, forgiveness and mercy from God are better than anything you can acquire. (Surah Al 'Imran: 157)

As it is with their lives, the death of the believers also brings good. In the sight of God, special degrees await those believers who meet death while striving for His cause, for martyrdom is an honour and blessing that greatly increases a believer's reward in the Hereafter. The death of a believer, who makes his sole aim to attain the hereafter, and thus lives to earn God's consent, is, thus, a glorious event. Aware of these glad tidings given in the Qur'an, believers never grieve over the death of another believer who loses his life in God's way. On the contrary, seeing the good and blessings of his death, they are joyful. Truly, the greatest reward is in gaining the pleasure of God and His paradise.A believer who had led a long life spent in the service of God is prized in God's sight. The Prophet Nuh (as), who was granted long life by God, is such an example. Because this noble man struggled every minute of his life to attain the pleasure of God, His mercy and His Paradise, his efforts improved his reward in the Hereafter.

On the contrary, there is a delusion here into which disbelieving societies tend to fall; they consider a long life a gift. The verse below exposes this falsehood:

Those who disbelieve should not imagine that the extra time We grant to them is good for them. We only allow them more time so they will increase in evildoing. They will have a humiliating punishment. (Surah Al 'Imran: 178)

Those who belong to the societies of the ignorant, who make the pursuit of the temporary pleasures of this world the sole pursuit of their lives, consider a long life as further opportunity to enjoy these worldly goods. Thus, these, who forget God and the Day of Judgement, fail to grasp the value of the time they recklessly waste. However, as mentioned in the verse above, this time granted to them, in actuality, works against them.

A person who contemplates these issues may attain a deeper understanding of how we are to determine what is "good" and what is "bad", according to the statement of God that "it may be that one hates something when it is good for him and it may be that one loves something when it is bad for him."

2009-02-26 04:36:13

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