On Death and Dying, by Ustadh Salman Younas

With the current year drawing to a close, social media has come alight repeatedly with news of the passing of yet another celebrity. Ustadh Salman Younas shares some personal thoughts on an inevitable journey all of us will embark upon: death.

I have seen many people in my wider circle of friends/acquaintances express how death has seemed so much closer to us this year than previous ones. We have witnessed the passing of many a parent, teacher, sibling, friend, and child. Some of us directly suffered these losses; others suffered through seeing these losses endured by people they knew, such as friends; yet, other losses were so global and impactful that all of us were effected by them.
I was never particularly fearful of death until my daughter was born. After her birth, the fear kicked in. It was in most ways a worldly fear. I wanted to see my little one take her first steps, speak her first words, start school, become a rebellious teenager, go to college, and have a family. I wanted to live to see my child grow.
This all changed after my father passed away. I remember standing with some of my close friends after a Quran recital telling them about how the birth of my daughter led to an increased fear of death on my part. But my attitude had changed now. I knew my father had moved into another room that was out of my sight. But I was no longer afraid to have the door to that room opened for me because I knew that he would be there. It was the first time in a long time that I was not afraid to leave the room my daughter was in for the room my father had gone too.
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The Fear Factor

This taught me an important lesson. We often understand death in negative terms: we will be questioned, there is a thing called Hell, God will take us to account for everything, and so forth. The motivating factor in death for many is the fear factor. This is important, of course. Yet, the passing of my father taught me that it is also a motivator because of a love factor, a love and desire for reunion.
This was the perspective of Fatima (God be well-pleased with her). When the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was in his final illness “he said something secretly to Fatima and she wept. Then he said something secretly to her and she laughed.” [Bukhari] When asked later why she wept, she said it was because the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was moving to the next life. But when asked what made her smile, it was because she was told that she would join him in Paradise.
This was the perspective of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In one of his final sermons, he mentioned how “God had given a slave the choice between immortality in this world or meeting his Lord, and he had chosen to meet his Lord.” He was speaking about himself. His last words according to A’isha were, “to the highest Companion!” He had chosen to move on and unite with God. [Bukhari]

A Beautiful Union

To all of my brothers and sisters who have lost someone, to those saddened by separation, and to those still grieving, do not forget the union that death brings. A union with a merciful and compassionate Lord. A union with a most beautiful and perfect Prophet who will not cease pleading to God until each and every one of his followers is in Paradise with him.
Remember that your loved ones from this community wait for you, and that you have the opportunity to be with them in a place where time has ceased, where there will be no separation, nor grief, nor sadness, nor pain. It is a place where all of you can be together in utter bliss, love, and happiness.
This is the hope and trust we place in our Lord. This is why we worship and engage in righteousness: so we can reunite with those whom we love – God, His Prophet, our parents, children, siblings, friends, and others. So, do not despair, do not lose sight of the bigger picture, and make your life a road to reunion.
We ask God to renuite us in the eternal garden with those we love in the company of our Prophet (blessings upon him) and all the righteous.

Habib Ali Al-Jifri on Madiba Nelson Mandela’s Passing

Habib Ali al-Jifri, founder of Tabah Foundation is a scholar and spiritual educator from Hadramawt, Yemen. He recently responded to the death of South African former President, Madiba Nelson Mandela.
He wrote his response in Arabic:  (Image) from his twitter account.
Reaction to Mandela’s death
Mandela has returned to his Lord and He knows best his final state.
The world has become concerned about practically benefiting from the values he embraced and successfully propagated. And some have become preoccupied with the question: “Is it permissible to say ‘God have mercy upon him’ after mentioning his name?”!
As the Arabs say, “This is not how you train and discipline the camel” (i.e. this is not how things ought to be.)
Recognising Mandela’s Efforts
The values that Nelson Mandela upheld should not be restricted to his struggle against apartheid in South Africa because he was preceded in this by the struggles of Abdullah Harun, an imam who died after being tortured in prison by the regime. Rather, the greatest value that Mandela brought to life was that he taught his people, in fact, taught the entire modern world, how a victorious leader should show amnesty and overlook those who aggress and inflict pain upon them. He showed how a leader can help his people surpass the difficulty of the past to build for a common future in a time in which we’ve forgotten the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to the non-believers of Quraysh, those who inflicted torment and harm upon him (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions, “Go, for you are free.”
Responding to his death, as Muslims
Mandela also lived the idea of a global humanitarianism. He was not confined to the affairs of his own people but sympathized with the pain of the oppressed wherever they may be, and without discriminating against them on the basis of colour, ethnicity, country, or religion. He supported the Palestinian cause, worked to resolve the conflict in Burundi, and stood against American occupation of Iraq in a time in which we’ve forgotten that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) stood for a Jewish funeral procession. When someone said, “He was a Jew,” the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “Was he not a person?”
Following the Prophetic response
And we’ve forgotten that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) commended the hilf al-fudul, a pre-Islamic treaty ratified to help the oppressed and promote justice. He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I was a witness to the ratification of an alliance in the house of Abdullah son of Jad`an that was more precious to me than a herd of red camels. If I was called to it in Islam, I would have responded.”