What is the solitary journey of no return?
Death, the unavoidable passage from the world of shadows to the real world, is the most difficult journey that a person will undertake on their own. It is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“You have come to Us all alone just as We created you at first, leaving behind you everything We bestowed on you.” (Al-An’am, 6:94)
Neither children, nor their wealth or possessions will accompany them on this journey. Their sole companion will be the belief in their heart and the deeds of righteousness and good works they send ahead to the Next Life.
A man of wisdom once advised a heedless person in pursuit of the world with the following words:
“O heedless one deceived by the world and proud of their fleeting fortune!
Trust not the palaces and solid dwellings you build! Do not forget that your place under the earth awaits you. Your lofty, spacious and stately mansions will remain here while you lie all alone and helpless in your place in the earth. Therein you will enter with only your deeds and the account of what you have earned.”
Wealth and possessions that cannot be turned into capital for happiness in the Next Life will be a great source of regret for a person, as indicated by another person of wisdom:
“When a slave dies, they face two trials concerning their possessions, the likes of which they have never seen before:
First is the seizure of all their possessions, and secondly, their being called to account for all of them in spite of them being taken away.”
What a quandary it is for a person to be called to account for wealth that does not avail them. As clearly described in a Prophetic narration, the only thing that will accompany a person in the grave is their deeds. If these are deeds are good, they will be a friend in the grave. They will convey glad tidings, expand and illuminate their grave and protect their owner from trial, fear and torment. If, however, these are evil deeds, they will fill their owner with dread and fear and be a cause for darkness and constriction in the grave.
Hasan al-Basri (may Allah be pleased with him) poignantly expresses this truth:
“Do not be deceived by the multitudes of people you see around you for you will die alone, be brought back to life alone and be called to account alone.”
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (may Allah be well pleased with him) also warns of heedlessness in this regard:
“Children of Adam! Know that the angel of death has been following you since the day you first came to this world and jumps over you to seize another. And so, it will continue as long as you remain in the world. But the day will come that he will jump over others so as to take your life and this may happen when you least expect it. So be prepared for death and try not to be caught unawares, for he does not forget you.
Children of Adam! Know that if you remain heedless of your own soul and do not prepare, no one else will prepare for you. You will assuredly appear before Allah, so make the necessary preparations yourself and do not leave the task to another.” (‘Ali al-Muttaqi, 42790)
 See ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Musannaf, III, 581-582.
 Bursawi, Ruh al-Bayan [Takaathur, 3].