How is the companions’ contemplation of death?
Abu Bakr –Allah be well-pleased with him- once said during a sermon:
“Where are the handsome, the beautiful, who were once admired by everyone? Where are the young, gallant men of self-importance? Where are those kings who surrounded the grandiose towns they set up with high walls? Where are the invincible heroes of the battlefields? Time has eaten them away and made them level with earth. They have all been buried in the darkness of their graves. Hasten to come to your senses before it is too late and start preparing for beyond death! Save yourselves, save yourselves!” (Ibn’ul-Jawzi, Zamm’ul-Hawa, p. 668; Nadrat’un-Naim, III, 960)
Aisha –Allah be well-pleased with her- explains:
“I once thought of hellfire and began to cry. Seeing me in tears, the Messenger of Allah –blessings and peace upon him- asked, ‘What is wrong, Aisha?’
‘I was reminded of hellfire, so I cried’, I replied. ‘Will you prophets remember your family members on the Day of Judgment?’ I then asked.
‘There are three places where nobody will remember anyone. Before finding out whether the scale of deeds (mizan) will weigh in heavy or light; before knowing from which way the book of deeds will come, from the left, right or from behind, up until saying, ‘Here; read my book’ (al-Haqqa, 19); and when the Bridge of Sirat is set up, suspended above Hellfire. On both sides of the bridge, there are many hooks and hard thorns. With them, Allah catches whom He wills from among creation and throws them into Hellfire. A person cannot think of anyone else until he finds out whether he will be spared from these hooks or not.” (Hakim, IV, 622/8722)
Usayd ibn Khudayr –Allah be well-pleased with him-, of the most virtuous Companions, used to repeatedly say:
‘Had I been able to always sustain the state of mind that overtook me in either one of these three moments, I surely would have been Paradise bound: While reading the Quran or listening to someone read it, listening to the talks of the Messenger of Allah –upon him blessings and peace- and upon seeing a funeral. Yes indeed…whenever I see a funeral, I feel like it is me experiencing the things the deceased is going through, taken to where the deceased is being taken.” (Hakim, III, 326/5260)
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, Contemplation in Islam, Erkam Public.