Death is Created and will Perish

Death is often described as life’s greatest mystery and the biggest fear of all. That is certainly true for those who fail to understand both life and death, and who live their lives wrongly and are eventually overtaken by death.

A sage has said that he has problems understanding a wretched person’s life and how at all he can be happy.

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As a bottomless pit, he spends his entire life chasing and trying to get hold of this fleeting world, while at the same time he is being chased by death. Whereas his catching of the world will never come to pass, it is just a matter of time before death snatches such a person and thus brings the whole chase to an abrupt end.

On that score, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) described death as:

… the destroyer of pleasures.

(Jami’ al-Tirmidhi)

However, for a true believer, death is neither the greatest mystery nor the biggest fear in life.

Death is just another life reality – albeit an extra complex, elusive and impactful one – which a person must face and grapple with.

Death is an integral part of existence at the centre of which stands man as Almighty Allah’s vicegerent on earth. For the fulfilment of a heavenly ontological purpose, it is as essential and meaningful as the phenomenon of life itself.

Death is life’s twin. They operate together, complementing one another. There can be no life without death in this transitory world, just as there can be no death without life.

Death and life are two sides of the same coin. They make up the full existential reality of this earthly lifecycle.

Allah Created Death

Almighty Allah reveals in the Quran that he had created death as well as life:

… in order to test which of you is best in deeds. And He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving.

(Al-Mulk, 2)

Death has been created and it came before life. That means – and Allah knows best – that death is not a negative state identifiable with the notion of utter nothingness or non-existence. It is a subtly positive state, or actuality, without which there could be no life as we know it. Existence without death would be unimaginable.

Death in its capacity as a life-less positive state, or reality, is mentioned as created before life because Allah as the Absolute Creator and Originator of existence created life ex nihilo, that is, out of nothing.

The “nothing” here might connote the “death” mentioned before life in the preceding verse. It also might indicate the absolute nothingness or non-existence from which both death and life have been created.

At any rate, the concept of death is very important. It is crucial for understanding life in its totality. The same goes for the nothing-something dialectics, making the concepts of nothing and nothingness in philosophy, emptiness and empty space in quantum mechanics, and zero in mathematics, of equal significance. So important are they that without them life today will be hollow and virtually untenable.

Believers and Death

Every true believer – whose worldview is based on a synthesis of the revealed and conventional or acquired knowledge – knows that death is part of the heavenly plan for existence. Death is a created thing and the angels of death are but instruments of Allah’s Will.

Death is one of the most powerful and undeniable realities, as powerful and undisputable as life itself. Just like the latter, death is everywhere around us, perennially and clearly manifested as much in the smallest and least significant as in the grandest and most treasured.

Read the full article here.

About Dr. Spahic Omer
Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. He can be reached at: [email protected].