Thursday, 23 August 2012
To be Aware That Death Approaches
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 09th October 2010.
Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) advises us to put aside some time daily to attend the swuhbah as it contains news of our akhirah. Just as we spend time daily keeping abreast of worldly news, we must also make time for the news of the hereafter.
Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) tackled the issue of narrow-minded Wahhabi scholars who were constantly on the lookout for, what they viewed as transgressions in religion. For example, at funerals, they would forbid crying, the reading of the talqin and the placing of any sort of tombstone on the grave. They liked to control people and impose their literal and shallow interpretation of Qur’an and the ahadits on people.
The Wahhabis want graves to remain unmarked, unnoticed and unvisited. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said death was the best reminder for the ummah. They should not desecrate and demolish graves when they serve as a potent reminder of the hereafter. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said death is that thing that, when mentioned, removes the pleasure of this life.
By destroying graves, they are destroying that which reminds us of death. Whenever anyone visits a cemetery, and looks at the names of loved ones on the tombstone, it is a reminder to our time eventually comes to an end. Once they walked the earth, but now they are beneath it; perhaps even the bones are no more. The reality of death sinks into us. We are reminded of our mortality.
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) was six years old, his mother, Aminah (r.a.), passed away. She told him, every living thing must die. For everyone, there is a time that is written on the Preserved Tablets, and when that time is over, the Lord of Heavens Commands the Angel of Death, Azra`il (a.s.) to bring back the soul of His servant. Everyone is going to die. Everyone must taste the bitterness of Death.
Every soul will taste of death. Then unto Us ye will be Returned. (Surah al-‘Ankabut:57)
We must remember that we are going to pass away, so prepare ourselves for life after death. Death is not going to be the end for us. We are not going to disappear into oblivion. Death brings people to a new beginning, ‘alam ul-barzakh.
For 1,400 years, no one touched the graves of the companions in Makkah and Madina. Then Wahhabis came along and destroyed all the graves there. They destroyed a legacy that had been intact for so long, one that would have served as a powerful reminder for future generations. Those ancient graves were like history books. They contained so much that would have helped Muslims remember their heritage, and to reflect about death.
We must never assume we have many years ahead of us, just as we should never believe those who believe that the earth has another thousand years to exist. The Seal of Prophets (s.a.w.) said to his Companions, when he was asked about how long his Ummah had on earth, “My Nation will be given one day by Allah, if they walk on the straight path, and half a day, if they deviated from that path.” A day in the sight of Allah (s.w.t.) is 1,000 years in this world, and given that the early Muslims did walk the straight path, whilst the latter-day Muslims have largely deviated, the age of this ummah is said to be 1,500 years. Now being the year 1431 AH, Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) says we may have between 60 and 70 years to the ajal of this ummah in dunya.
Such ahadits should be taught to the believers so that they are aware of how close they were to the inevitable end. We are now in a time of tyrants – many countries are ruled by tyrants, and many humans are oppressors to themselves, subjecting themselves to cruelty and wickedness, by leading themselves astray. All those who do not follow the shari’ah of Allah are oppressors and will be punished. We must always remember the life of the hereafter, by remembering death. That removes heedlessness and oppression. It is not merely to hear about akhirah but to have certainty, yaqin. It is important for Muslims to attain certainty of faith, for that is their strength which will take them across the swirat. We haven’t been created for that purpose. We have been created for His Divine Service.
I Created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. (Surah adz-Dzariyat:56)
A historic photo of how Ma’ala Graveyard in Makkah was before the demolition of the tombs. The main central tomb was of Umm ul-Mu’minin Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (r.a.). Others known to be resting here include ‘Abd al-Manaf, the great, great-grandfather; Hashim the great-grandfather; ‘Abd ul-Muththalib, the grandfather and Qasim (r.a.) the son of our Prophet (s.a.w.).