Dying as Muslims

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How to possible dying as muslims? How to die as a muslim?

The Qur’an offers many warnings concerning our actions and behaviour, in order to avoid a pitiful end. One of these and perhaps the most important, is this:

“O you who believe! Have taqwa (fearful awareness of Allah) with the taqwa due to Him and do not die except as Muslims.” (Al ’Imran, 3:102)

We were brought into existence out of nothing, without paying a price. We were honoured with being human beings among all creation and being Muslims among mankind. The Almighty has equipped us with special qualities that allow us to attain experiential knowledge and love of Him. He created us as ahsani taqwim, or in the finest form. He has favoured us through the Books and Prophets that He has sent. Through the book of the universe – the witness to His existence, to His unity and infinite majesty and power – He has presented to us the manifestations of the divine mysteries and wisdom. These are bounties and favours for which we are incapable of showing enough gratitude.

Similarly, Allah Almighty prepared for us an endless bliss – the Garden. The Garden, however, comes at a price and is not cheap. We may have come to this world without paying a price but there is a price we have to pay for getting out of it successfully. No one has a guarantee that they will die as a Muslim.

Allah the Almighty, declares in a Qur’anic verse:

“Do people imagine that they will be left to say, ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested?” (Al-‘Ankabut, 29:2)

That is why we experience trials throughout our lives. So that we can surrender our lives to their true owner in a way that is acceptable to Him, without compromising our belief, no matter what.

By means of the command, “and do not die except as Muslims,” He declares, so to speak, “Do not, whatever you do, die without being a Muslim!” He indicates that this is the biggest danger facing a slave in this world. Allah the Almighty reveals that the last breath is an absolute finality and that a last breath taken without belief is an eternal calamity impossible to rectify.

Again, the Qur’an presents the example of heroes from among the believers like the Pharaoh’s sorcerers and the Companions of the Trench, who sacrificed their lives, possessions and all that they had in order to protect their belief. In contrast, it illustrates the fateful end of such unfortunate souls as Bal’am bin Ba’ura’ and Qarun, who lead righteous lives only to go astray towards the end of their lives.

Thus, concerning oneself with the preservation of one’s own belief at the last breath is both a requirement and the sign of a true believer. For nobody – with the exception of the Prophets and those that the Prophets confirmed – has any guarantee of salvation on the Day of Judgement. As a matter of fact, even those companions who were promised the Garden during their lives feared not being able to maintain their state and lived in a constant struggle to preserve and increase their belief up until death.

The following incident is a powerful case in point:

Two people once offered greetings of peace to the Prophet’s companion Salman al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him).

They then asked him, “Are you a companion of the Messenger of Allah?” to which he replied, “I do not know.” The men wondered if they had the wrong person.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had said of him, “Salman is of us, of the noble household.”[1] In spite of such unmistakeable favour and despite all his merits, this esteemed companion never saw his efforts as adequate. With a heart trembling and oscillating between hope and fear, he completed his words in the following way:

“Indeed, I have seen the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and have been present in his assembly. But a true companion of the Messenger of Allah is one who can enter the Garden with him.” (Haythami, VIII, 40-41; Dhahabi, Sira, I, 549)

Such is the sensitivity of the companions who are the model generation for the whole Muslim community.

Therefore, we should never forget that we are treading on slippery ground until our last breath. Just as someone who is forced to cross a minefield has to pay attention with every step, the believer must take great care throughout their life journey to avoid the actions and conduct that Allah has prohibited.

Again, our Lord shows us the truest way, in order that we remain on the straight path and not fall into error:

“You who believe! If you help Allah, He will help you and plant your feet firm.” (Muhammad, 47:7)

Thus, we cannot relegate Islam to the background at any stage of our lives. We should never forget our Lord in our homes, our workplaces, on the street, in public, or at school and must obey His commands whatever the circumstances. Our greatest objective in life is to lead such a life as to allow us to completely surrender ourselves as Muslims.

To this end, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has said:

“Whoever wishes to be delivered from the Fire and enter the Garden should die with belief in Allah and the Last Day…” (Muslim, Imara, 46; Nasa’i, Bay’at, 25; Ibn Majahh, Fitan, 9)

The crux of the matter is to live this fleeting life in line with the divine and prophetic truth.

[1] Hakim, III, 691/6541; Haythami, VI, 130; Ibn Hisham, III, 241; Ibn Sa’d, IV, 83.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş , Journey To Eternity, Erkam Publications

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