Death and the Afterlife

Guide Posts

GUIDE POSTS HOUR OF DEATH (Bashir Ahmad Orchard). We cannot afford to overlook or remain indifferent to the fact that sooner or later death awaits us. There is no escape from it. Generations upon generations have passed away before us. Not a single individual was exempted, nor will anyone be exempted in the future. “What man is he that liveth and shall not see death.” (Psalms 89:48) “Every soul shall taste of death.”(Quran 3:186 ) Have we given serious thought to the time of our own death ? Are we prepared for it ? It is unfortunate that many of us give little or no consideration to the matter. We are inclined to concern ourselves more with worldly interests. The Quran teaches that the purpose of our existence is to worship God through prayer and righteous conduct and to be ever mindful of the fact that this world is a preparation for the higher life in the Hereafter: “O my people this life of the world is but a temporary provision; and the Hereafter is certainly the home of permanent stay.”(40:40) “And the life of this world is only a play and a sport, but surely the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who are pious. Will you not then have sense ?”(6:33) No doubt the death of a loved person is a sad event for those left behind. They suffer grief. Also the departed souls of wrong ‘doers suffer remorse and torment. On the other hand those who worshipped God, strove to purify themselves and to do good works found death to be the door to everlasting contentment; and even the grief of their loved ones is somewhat assuaged with the knowledge that God is pleased with them and has given them everlasting rest in paradise. It should, however, be kept in mind that God is the Master of the Day of Judgement. He is forgiving and merciful and may, if He so wills, 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS choose to deal kindly even with the incorrigible inner. Nevertheless a devotee of God, which should be the aspiration of every person, is anxious to live a stainless life; and despite his numerous faults and shortcomings of which he is fully aware, he strives for the purification of his soul before the angel of death comes to take it away. Let us heed the dying Words, of Sir Walter Scott – author and historian – which he addressed to his son as he lay on his death bed: “I have a minute to speak to you. My dear, be a good man; be virtuous, be religious – be a good man. Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here.” If we lived every day as if it were the last day of our life then we would atune ourselves to God and welcome the sweetness of death. Imam Ghazali .well advised: “Treat this day as if life had already been spent and this were an extra day granted thee by special favour of the Almighty. What can be greater folly than to lose it ? Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam warned: “Always bear in mind that your death stands very near. You have no idea when that hour will come.” The sweetness of death has been beautifully expressed by Thomas A Kempis: “O death, how sweet art thou to a soul that breathes only God, and can no longer exist without possessing Him.” Our primary ambition in this world should be to pass our life in God’s favour on earth. Then would we welcome death – the doorway to heaven.