Death does not occur by chance. As is the case with all other incidents, it happens by God's decree. Just as the birth date of a man is predestined, so also is the date of his death right down to the very last second. Man rushes towards that last moment, rapidly leaving behind every hour, every minute granted to him. The death of everyone, its location and time, as well as the way one dies are all predetermined.
Despite this, however, the majority of people assume death to be the last point of a logical sequence of events, whereas its actual reasons are known only to God. Everyday death stories appear in newspapers. After reading these stories, you probably hear ignorant comments like: "He could have been saved, if necessary precautions had been taken" or "He would not have died, if so and so had happened." Not a minute longer or less can a person live, other than the time determined for him. However, people, who are remote from the consciousness granted by faith, view death as a component of a sequence of coincidences. In the Qur'an, God warns believers against this distorted rationale which is peculiar to disbelievers:
You who have faith! Do not be like those who disbelieve and say of their brothers, when they went on journeys or military expeditions, 'If they had only been with us, they would not have died or been killed.' God will cause them to regret their words. It is God Who ordains life and death. God sees what you do. (Surah Al 'Imran: 156)
Assuming death to be a coincidence is sheer ignorance and imprudence. As the verse above suggests, this gives great spiritual anguish and irresistible trouble to man. For disbelievers or those failing to have faith in the Qur'anic sense, losing a relative or a loved one is a cause of anguish and remorse. Attributing death to bad luck or negligence, they think there could be some leeway to avoid death. This is the rationale which indeed adds to their grief and regret. This grief and regret, however, is nothing but the torment of disbelief.
Nevertheless, contrary to the received wisdom, the cause of death is neither an accident, nor a disease nor anything else. It is surely God Who creates all these causes. Once the time granted to us terminates, our life ends for these apparent reasons. Meanwhile, none of the material resources devoted to saving one from death will bring another breath of life. God underscores this divine law in the following verse:
No self can die except with God's permission, at a pre-determined time... (Surah Al 'Imran: 145)
A believer is aware of the temporary nature of the life of this world. He knows that our Lord, Who gave him all the blessings he has enjoyed in this world, will take his soul whenever He wills and call him to account for his deeds. However, since he has spent his entire life to earn God's good pleasure, he does not worry about his death. Our Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) also referred to this good character in one of his prayers:
Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated, "When God's Apostle (peace be upon him) commenced the prayer he recited: God is the Greatest; then said: Verily my prayer, my sacrifices, my life and my death are for God, the Lord of the worlds." (Al-Tirmidhi, 262)