Averting Fear of Death

Fear in matters is related to the future. A resolute person is the one who prepares for what they fear before they face it. They avoid excessive fear of what must inevitably befall them, because this type of fear cannot bring them benefit.

If it is illness that you fear, know that it will inevitably befall you at some point in your life, and fearing the inevitable may actually increase the harm. If it is death that you fear, know that death is inevitable and caution will not avert it. Know that Allah is able to make it death easy if He Wills, and what come after death is more disturbing than death itself. We should remember that death is a mere bridge to the Hereafter. Where will our bridge take us to?

If the thought of leaving this life saddens the heart, then the cure is to know that the world is not a dwelling of satisfaction, therefore it is not something we should compete to possess. Pleasure and satisfaction should be found in departing from this world to the eternal abode. Thus a wise person is saddened at the thought of leaving this life only because of the good deeds they will be unable to perform having left it.

Know that when death befalls a person, it is an hour of serious suffering, because it is a moment of intense pain and sorrow at leaving all the objects of one’s love. Added to this are horrors of the throes of death. At this time Shaitan comes and attempts to make the slave of Allah discontent with his Lord. He says: “Look at you! What made you die? Is it painful? You are leaving your wife, your children and you will be laid under ground!” This might cause one to become discontent with his Lord, hating Allah’s decree. In that minute Shaitan tells his assistants: “If you miss him now, you will never catch him again.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to say:

“I seek refuge in You that Shaytan flounders me at death.” (Recorded in Abu Dawood)

As for the cure for these trials, we should remember that whoever remembers Allah in good health, Allah will protect them in sickness. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:

“Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in before you. Know Him while in prosperity, He will know you in distress.” (Recorded in At-Tirmidhi)

Remember the story of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah), peace be upon him, and that his previous good deeds enabled him to be released from the trial of the belly of the whale. Allah, may he be exalted, said:

“Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, He would have indeed remained inside the belly (of the fish) till the Day of Resurrection” (Surah al-Saffat 34:143-144)

It is never too late to repent and we should use every opportunity to do this even if we are very ill, so that we meet Allah pure from sins. Know that your sickness, your suffering and even the throes of death are all purification for your soul. If we possess true belief, we should hold out hope for the everlasting Paradise and not be sad, because very the promise of Allah is true. We can take comfort from the fact that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, three days before his death:

“None of you should die except while expecting the best from Allah.” (Recorded in Muslim)

Mu’adh ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, said on his death bed:

“O Allah! You know that I did not love this world and living long in it for the beauty of the flowering rivers or for planting trees. Rather for fasting hot days, forbearing in acts of worship for hours and joining scholars in circles of Your remembrance.”

SubhanAllah! May Allah enable us to reach this lofty station. Ameen.

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