Death, Life and the Rights of Allah

This article is from the On Demand Course: Preparing for the End of Life. In Islam death is not an end state but a station on the way. Preparing for death is central to the life of a Muslim. This is the fifth article in a series. 

Allah tells us about death in the Quran:

كُلُّ نَفۡس ذَاۤىِٕقَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِۗ 

“Every living creature shall taste death.” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:185]

Every soul is tasting death. This is not just in the future sense, but your life is leaving you and death is coming ever closer at every moment. At a spiritual level, you are dying at every moment as you have no intrinsic existence in yourself. 

A Gift

Your existence is a gift from Allah. You wink into existence because Allah grants you existence. He sustains you. Were it not for Allah continuing to sustain you, you would wink out of existence. So that’s why in reality at every moment we are tasting death. 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Make much remembrance of the destroyer of pleasures.” Namely death. So how do we do this? 


Know your realities. Who are you? Who is your Creator? You are a servant of Allah, you have a Creator and you were created with a purpose. The purpose is to know and serve God through the ways of good that the Prophets have made clear to us. 

You should know your Creator. Truly, we are Allah’s, and to Allah are we ever returning. One of the amazing things about our religion is that we do not just talk about God in the abstract. Rather, we know the Attributes of God. We know the most beautiful Names of Allah. 

Revelation informs us about our life before this life. The souls were brought forth before bodies were created. And God asked them: 

أَلَسۡتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡۖ

“‘Am I not your Lord” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 7:172]

every soul bore witness:


“‘You are indeed’” [ibid]

We lived before and we will live after this life. This is just one stage in a longer journey. Your reality is not your bodily form alone, but the essence of your reality is your soul, that subtlety that makes you human. The soul lives on.  

A Transition

Death is not the end of life in an absolute sense. Death is not the end of life absolutely. It is the end of this life. 

Death is simply a transition from the life of this world to the life of the interworld (which precedes the hereafter and resurrection) There are realities that come after death. 

Daily Reflection

To reflect on death is to know what comes after this life. Practically with each prayer, incorporate reflection on death in it. There are specific Prophetic supplications about death, which one can recite within or after the prayer. 

There are a whole number of supplications that relate to connecting sleep and waking with death. When we go to sleep, say, Allahumma bismika amutu wa ahya (O Allah in your Name do I die and am I given life). Likewise, when we wake up. Reflect on the words. 


Make the most of moments of reflection. When someone passes away, pause. “I am going to die too”. 

Reflect on change. Anything that changes has an end. It necessarily has a beginning and necessarily has an end. Foolish is to believe that something changing could be eternal. 

When you notice leaves on the ground or the graying of hair reflect about yourself. 

The Graveyard

Go to graveyards. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) encouraged us to go to graveyards and reflect. It’s from Prophetic teachings also to visit one’s relatives. Plan these things for they benefit the dead as well as the living.

Pause there. Reflect on the realities of life, death, and what benefits. Attend funerals and visit the sick to learn of life’s fragility.


Praying for the deceased in your own family, of your loved ones, friends and others. One should be planning one’s spiritual life just as one plans one’s worldly life. These matters should be part of a daily or weekly routine. 

Weekly, consider praying for family members. You pray for them. Make a routine during the month as to who you are to pray for. Some people divided their days in consideration of whom to pray for. 

The Rights of Allah

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet them.” Ready yourself to die by knowing the rights of Allah upon you. Be ready to fulfill them. This is achieved by actively learning one’s religion. 

Unfulfilled rights are debts you owe Allah. If you are obligated to do something but you did not do it, it remains a responsibility. 

Make up what you have missed of the rights of Allah. This could include missed prayers, fasts and unpaid zakah. 

The Rights of Allah’s Creation

Know the rights of Allah’s creation. It is said, “The righteous servant of God is the one who fulfills the rights of God and who fulfills the rights of God’s creation.” 

One needs to learn. Do not speak ill and harshly of others. This is a critical aspect. One has no right whatsoever to harm any one of Allah’s creations.