Question regarding Death

Q:

Salam, I have always had a great fear of death and heard it can be painful. I’m so scared of the dying itself that I don’t even want to think about the stuff that happens after. Is it true that death is painful even for the believers? Is it true that the devil tries to fool you with water at the end? Are munkar and nakir extremely scary looking? How can I get over the fear of death especially due to the pain or even being scared I have a bad end? I know death is inevitable but I’m worried so much about the process and after including eternity, day of judgement.

A:

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Death is a fact that no one can escape. Every human being has to taste the throes of death as we read in the Quran, “Then comes the [throes of the] delirium of death, bearing the truth.” (Quran 50:19)

Even Prophets and Messengers of Allah went through the throes of death. At the time of his death, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would supplicate “O Allah, help me with the agonies of death.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The intensity of these agonies varies from one person to another. Basically, they are harder and more intense for a disbeliever than for a believer.

In a long hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) told us that a believing person at the time of death encounters white-faced angels who speak kindly to him, give him glad tidings, and then command his soul to come out. Then it comes out from his body as easy as a drop of water from the water-skin. A disbelieving person, on the other hand, encounters dark-faced angels who speak harshly to him, give him sad tidings, and then command his soul to come out. Then his soul disperses throughout his body and the angels of death pull it out as hard as pulling a spiky iron bar from wet wool.

Still the agonies of death could be intensified for a believing person to expiate his sins or increase his rewards. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) experienced such harsh death agonies that his wife `Aishah said, “I never dislike the agonies of death for anyone after [I saw the suffering of] the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).” [Al-Bukhari] But for the disbeliever, death agonies introduce his eternal suffering and torment in the other world.

As the Satan has promised and sworn to mislead the children of Adam and send them all to Hell, he attempts to take advantage of the time of death, the last opportunity for him to fulfill his promise. So, he comes at that time to cast doubts and evil thoughts hoping to win the race at the last moment ending man’s life in the way he wishes. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would seek refuge with Allah “from being led astray by the Satan at the time of death.” [Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i]  He would also seek refuge with Allah from the trials of death. Allah (exalted is He) protects true believers and helps them to keep steadfast in this situation. Allah is just and merciful and never lets down His pious servants and close friends.

Munkar and Nakir are the names of the two angels who question every human being in the grave. In an authentic prophetic narration, they are described as black, blue-eyed. There are other narrations that give them scary descriptions, but the authenticity of such narrations is rather questionable.

Allah (exalted is He) also supports His believing servants and helps them pass this trial. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When a Muslim is questioned in the grave, he bears witness that there is no true God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. This is what is meant by Allah’s statement ‘Allah sets firm those who believe with the firm word [of faith,] in the life of this world and in the Hereafter.'” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah (exalted is He) has told us about these death-related facts in His Book and at the tongue of His Prophet (peace be upon him) in order for us to prepare ourselves and be ready for these trials by cherishing strong, unshakable faith and doing righteous deeds. Instead of falling into panic, fear of death should drive us to seek the pleasure of Allah through leading a pious and righteous life, which brings us closer to Allah (exalted is He) and secures for us His help, support, and protection against the trials of both life and death.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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