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Dealing With a Terminal Illness and Impending Death

Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I have a family member who is suffering from a terminal illness and does not have long to live. I would like to know what a person in this situation should focus on with regards to their Islamic worship during the last months of life e.g seek forgiveness, making up fasts???

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for your question. I ask Allah Most High to make it easy for your loved one and the family.

A person with a terminal illness should prepare to meet Allah. This means rectifying themselves and their life by doing whatever Allah has enjoined on them that they had not been doing thus far, and refraining from what He has prohibited against that they haven’t yet left off. They should keep up what good they were doing with even more sincerity and focus as best they can.

They should take account of and fulfill any outstanding duties owed to Allah (such as making up missed prayers, compensating for missed fasts, zakat, Hajj, etc) and to people (debts, trusts, borrowed items, etc). If these cannot all be fulfilled, they should still intend to do so while striving their utmost, and seek forgiveness for what remains from Allah, and from the people they owed to.

Such a person should make tawbah (repentance) from all previous sins and resolve never to return to them. They should make peace with everyone around them, apologize to those they ever hurt, and completely forgive those who ever hurt them. Not a grain of negativity against any human or selfish desire from the world should remain in their heart.

They should prepare inwardly by increasing in remembrance (dhikr), gratitude and intimate discourse with Allah. They should work to free their hearts of any bitterness or complaint against what Allah had decreed for them in life, thinking only the best of Allah, and hope for the best from Him in what is to come. They should strive to understand the wisdom behind what they are going through, and approach Allah with serenity and peace of heart.

If possible, they should not leave off being productive in their daily lives: they should continue to pursue constructive endeavors with excellence, maintain a good appearance and diet, and enjoy Allah’s blessings. We are only on this earth for some time to please Allah in whatever we do.

Finally, we must remember that everyone’s life is terminal: the end is near for all of us. Allah Most High says, “Every soul shall taste death,” [Quran 3:185] and so this is a reminder for each of us. I ask Allah Most High to make things easy for your loved one, and your family, and keep everyone strong.

Wassalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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