“Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-­Knower, All-­Aware (of things).” (Qur’an, 31:34)

What thoughts cross our minds on a daily basis? Thoughts about our families, jobs, what the latest fashions are, money that is owed to us, problems we are facing, but who thinks about the one thing that is guaranteed? We all continue with our everyday jobs and responsibilities, however, when was the last time we stopped to really contemplate about death? I mean people are dying every day and will continue to die, but just how much impact does it have on our lives?

As Muslims we believe that the present life is a trial for the next realm of existence. We all know people who have died and mourned them, whilst simultaneously, life continues. Death is a reality and it is the only thing that we can be sure about – there is no escaping it and no delaying it. When our appointed time draws near, the angel of death will come to take back to Allah what is rightfully His. And no one is exempted from this. Allah said:

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Qur’an, 3:185)

The prophets died and experienced the pangs of death, something that we all will face. The questioning in the grave, the squeezing of the grave and the punishment of the grave are all awaiting us. These actions are real and we need to protect ourselves so that our time in the grave is made easier.

Three questions will be asked in the grave that seem easy to answer now, but do not be fooled, as our souls will be the ones answering and it will depend upon how we have lived in this life. How much do we remember Allah? How many times do we finish reciting the Qur’an? Are we really fulfilling the obligations to our kith and kin? Do we backbite our brothers and sisters, which Allah has compared with eating the flesh of a dead brother?

These are all important questions that we need to ask. If we find that our response to these is not in accord with what is expected, then we need to make a change now. It will be too late for a change after death.

Throughout this life, when we sleep, our souls depart from our bodies and enter an unknown world.

“It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” (Qur’an, 39:42)

Knowing that, are we thankful to Allah for returning our souls to our bodies?

The Angel of Death never misses the appointed time, it will be their duly to take the soul. If the soul is that of a believer who spent the life in doing good deeds and avoiding sins, it comes out with ease, and angels give good news of the awaiting reward.

If the soul is that of some who did not believe and spent the life in sins and disobedience, it, having realized the reality, tries best to hide, but is forcefully pulled out in agony and pain.

Allah said in the Qur’an:

“Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone),” and then they stand firm , on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!” (Qur’an, 41:30)

After death, nothing will help us except three things that have been mentioned in a famous Hadith of Sahih Muslim: “If a human dies, then his good deeds stop except for three: a Sadaqa Jariah (continuous charity), a beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.”

Some things we, the living, can do for those who have passed away are: Making Du’a for them, seeking Allah’s forgiveness for them, give charity on their behalf, and do Haj or Umrah for them.

Abdullah Bin Umar’s advice is a good reminder to end this article with: “If you live until the evening, then do not expect to live until the following morning. And if you live until the morning, then do not expect to see the evening. Take from your health for your sickness and from your life for your death.” (Al-Bukhari)