Why is is that we fear talking about death? No one can deny the reality of death and yet we tend to avoid thinking about it and confronting it.
In the very popular hadith in which our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told his companions that a time will come when the Muslims will be large in number but so weak and insignificant like the foam of the sea, he explains that the main reason was wahan, which was defined as two things:
1- Love of dunya: This doesn’t imply that Muslims should hate this world. Rather, we should love this world and use it to plant our seeds of goodness but our primarily focus should be attached to the Hereafter and pleasing Allah.
2- Hatred of death: This is when we hate the topic of death and see it as too depressing and serious. Allah describes the hypocrites as people who would stick their fingers in their ears to avoid listening to such topics that would seem scary like thunder and lightning.
“Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps in dread of death. But Allah is encompassing of the disbelievers.” Surah Al-Baqarah 2:19
Even the Children of Israel were challenged by Allah to wish for death if in fact they were the chosen people of God. However, Allah exposes them by saying that they will never wish for death, in fact they will try to escape it because of the evil deeds they have committed but the reality is that there will be no escape when the time of death arrives.
In contrast, the Prophet gave us the good news of the one who is optimistic about meeting Allah:
“Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah will love to meet him, and whoever hates to meet Allah, Allah will hate to meet him.” ‘Aisha RA or one of his wives said: “But we all dislike the idea of death.” He said, “It is not what you are thinking. When death approaches the believer and he is given the news of Allah’s pleasure and honour, nothing will be more dear to him than what lies ahead of him, so he will love to meet Allah and Allah will love to meet him. But when death approaches the disbeliever and he is given the news of Allah’s wrath and punishment, nothing will be more disliked by him than that what lies ahead of him, so he will hate to meet Allah and Allah will hate to meet him.” Sahih Al-Bukhari
Does this mean that we should wish for death? The Prophet PBUH taught us in another hadith:
“No one of you should wish for death. Either he is a doer of good and will do more, or he is a doer of evil but perhaps he may stop.” Sahih Al-Bukhari
So the longer we live, the more good we can do and the longer chance we have to seek forgiveness for our mistakes and shortcomings.
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