Answered by Ustadha Rahma Ahmed
Question: I have always been afraid from death. But now it is getting out of control. I get really scared when I take shower and put water on my head. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and shiver from fear of death. It is affecting my daily life. I pray, fast – but nothing is helping me. How to overcome this?
Answer: Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this reaches you in good health and faith.
May Allah Most High ease your worries and grant you and us protection from all evil.
Balance between fear and hope
Fear and remembrance of death are praiseworthy. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Make much remembrance of the destroyer of pleasures [i.e. death].”
However, scholars teach us that there has to be a balance between fear [khawf] and hope [raja’]. These are likened to the two wings of a bird – they are both needed to fly. We cannot progress forward with only one of them.
Our fear of Allah, His punishment, and death is what motivates us to do good deeds and make the most of our time on earth. Remembering death allows you to be present in the moment, but should be balanced with remembrance of Allah’s endless Mercy and Forgiveness.
Refuge is in Allah
Furthermore, it is important to try to understand where your fear stems from; what is it about death that scares you? Once you try to reason with yourself, you might find that your fears are grounded in baseless doubts about the unseen. When these thoughts come to you, seek refuge in Allah from shaytaan and ignore them. They are only there to prevent you from doing good works and seeking your Lord.
Increase in your recitation of the Qur’an and supplicate fervently to Allah – your Loving, Caring, and Merciful Lord. Use this opportunity to turn to Him in neediness.
In particular, be sure to read the Prophetic du’a, “A’udhu bi kalimaat illahi al-taammaati min sharri ma khalaq” (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of what He has created) three times in the morning and evening.
Glad tidings of Paradise
Remember that death for the believer is actually a gift and elevation. It is a transition from this life of turmoil and difficulty to the peace of the eternal abode.
Allah says about the believers in the Qur’an, “There will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve”(46:13).
This is because a Muslim receives news about Allah’s mercy when death approaches. We long for the moment when the angels will greet us and give us the glad tidings of Paradise and meeting our Lord.
Death is an undeniable reality
Our lifespan has already been written for us. It was decreed before we were even born. Allah Most High says in the holy Qur’an, “Every soul will taste of death” (2:185). Yet, Allah veils from us when exactly we will die out of His infinite wisdom. If we knew when we would die, perhaps we would become lazy in our striving for the Hereafter.
Therefore, focus on preparing for your meeting with your Lord. May He elevate you and your loved ones to the highest gardens of Paradise, ameen.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani