‘Death’- according to the Holy Qur’an:
In the Holy Qur’an, interesting and varied interpretations have been made, regarding death, the study of all the aspects of which, shall become very elaborate, hence we suffice by mentioning a few of the beautiful and expressive interpretations, which have appeared in some of the verses.
1. Meeting with Almighty God
The Holy Qur’an, in the last verse of the Surah Kahf, has expressed death as a meeting with Almighty
God and says:
“So whoever desires to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds and not associate anyone
in the worship of his Lord.” (Qur’an 18:110)
2. Return to Almighty God
Another interpretation which the Holy Qur’an has and which makes clear the reality of death, is “return to Almighty God”. However, the Islamic philosophers, regarding the manner of the creation of the entities (and amongst them, man) by Almighty God and after then, their return towards Almighty God, have subtle, profound and interesting theories. The Holy Qur’an says:
“Verily, we are Almighty God’s and verily to Him shall we return.” (Qur’an 2:156)
3. Seizing of the Soul
One of the beautiful interpretations of the Holy Qur’an in the matter of death is. This word means seizing a thing in its entirety. Hence, according to the verse under consideration, the reality of death is that the angels commissioned to take the soul, seize the entire personality of man at the time of death, and remove it from the captivity of the body. They, then carry it to the Divine Presence:
“Say: the Angel of Death who is given charge of you shall cause you to die, and then to your Lord you shall be brought back.” (Qur’an 32:11)
‘Death’ - according to the Traditions:
The traditions also contain beautiful, subtle, instructive and interesting interpretations regarding death, some which are mentioned.
1. The bridge of crossing
In some of the traditions, death has been referred to as a bridge, over which people, at the time of transfer from this world to the other world, shall cross and reach their goal, which is the other world. For example, Imam Husayn (pbuh) on the day of ‘Ashura’, speaking to his loyal companions said:
“Remain firm, O sons of noble people, because death is just a bridge which will cross you and transfer you from discomforts and troubles, into the extensive gardens of paradise. So which of you does not desire his freedom from prison and entering into a castle. Of course, death for your enemies is like their being transferred from a palace and a castle into prison and torture.”
Concerning this Prophet Jesus (Hazrat Esa) (pbuh) has said: “This world is like a bridge, cross it and do not build on it.”
2. Removal of clothes
In some of the traditions, death has been compared to clothes, which of course differs, with respect to a believer and an unbeliever. Death, for a believer is like dirty clothes, which he removes and frees himself from its dirtiness and unpleasant odor, whereas, death with respect to an unbeliever is also like clothes, but beautiful, costly and pleasant-smelling, which he must remove from his body at the time of transfer to the other world.
In some other traditions, death has been compared to sleep, in which the soul goes out of the body. The only fundamental difference between sleep and death is that the coming out of the soul from the body, at the time of sleep, is only for a short period of time. In addition, the connection between the body and the soul is not completely severed. On the other hand, researches pertaining to the soul have proved that the soul maintains a connection with the body in a very special manner. While, at the time of death and after that, the severance of this connection is more complete than that during sleep, although, after death too, a weak connection does exist for a certain period. Another point is that the coming out of the soul at the time of death continues up to the Universal Resurrection. This tradition says: Imam Muhammad Baqir (pbuh) was questioned as to what is death? The Holy Imam (pbuh) replied:
“Death is the very same sleep that comes to you every night. However this is a sleep, which is very long, and man shall not wake up from it until the Day of Judgment. Thus one who sees different types of pleasure and happiness in his sleep over which he, (in his wakefulness) has no power and similarly he sees the different types of fear-instilling things, while he has no power over them. Thus, how is the state of happiness and fear in the sleep? (The affairs shall be similarly so in the state of death too). This is death. So be ready and prepared for it.”
2. One who gains the love and grace of Almighty Allah (swt), always death (Ajal) will be before his eyes and he will be always worried about his death. But the one who take Satan (Shaitan) as friend and becomes evil doer (Bad-Bakht). Satan overpowers him and indulge (Giraftaar) him in long long desires and then he never remembers death.
3. Somebody asked Holy Prophet (pbuh): How to gain reward of Shahid (Martyr of Jang-e-Ohad). He replied, by remembering death twenty (20) times in the day and night.
4. Remember the destroyer of pleasures. When asked what that was, he (pbuh) replied, ‘Death’. Imam Ali (pbuh) Says:
1. How poor is the son of Adam, he knows not his length of days nor understands his sickness. The sting of a flea will make him suffer, he smelts of sweat and dies of cough.
2. Every breath is a step towards death.
3. It is truly surprising that someone forget death even as they watch other dies.
4. The result of long life is disease and weakness.
5. Who leaves long will mourn (cries) on his friend.
Imam Hussain (pbuh) Says: “The children of Adam carry the
mark of death like necklaces that adorn the neck of a bride.”