Are We Ready For Death?

How ready are we to stare death in its face? Are we ready for death? This month, the month of holy Ramadan, we will examine the topic of death.

Each and every one of us at one stage or another in our lives has had an experience related to death. Some of us, for example, have had near-death experiences, you find that some of us may have had a near-death experience, for example, with a car crash. That we felt at that moment, it is as if our soul was leaving our body. Others of us, for example, may have been told about a particular virus that has affected us or a particular disease, where at that moment we were told that there was a chance that we were going to die very shortly, and that is where you find that there are some people who have had near-death experiences.

Others, for example, may have had a particular relationship with death by losing a loved one, as in imagine losing your father or losing your mother, that experience with death is one that you will never forget. That loss of that wonderful figure in your life, maybe even a best friend, for example, is someone that will stay with you forever. The memory of their death remains with us wherever we may be.

Likewise, there are others of us who recently have had a relationship with death like we have never had before, in the sense that you find because of Covid-19 all of a sudden the reality of death can be seen in all of our lives. Because you find with Covid-19 many people who had forgotten about death or on many occasions hardly would mention death all of a sudden now are reflecting on death more than they have ever reflected before. You find that certain people now are wary that the odd sneeze, the odd cough, the odd handshake could all of a sudden be part of what leads to that death.

As in recently, how many of us have lost people we never expected to lose this year? We have lost people who we loved. We have lost people who are close friends, people who may have been acquaintances, as in our neighbors, for example, may have been those who we never expected to lose. And then all of a sudden you saw an ambulance outside of your house and you realize that that person who you thought would live for a certain age has now gone.

Because it is amazing that many people think death will never come to them. If you speak to many out there, including myself, you always imagine that I have got 40 years left to live on this earth. The average age of those who die is normally 70, 80. I am still in my 30s or you will find someone thinking they are still in their 20s or in their teens. And therefore many of us, however many deaths we witness hardly think about death.

But this has changed dramatically recently. And no doubt you find that whether a person is a believer in a religion or a non-believer, all of us have begun to reflect on what exactly is the position of death within our tradition.

Are we ready for death? If we were to face death in front of us and it was there calling us, would we be ready to leave the world now or no?

And that is why within the religion of Islam, you find that death is one of the pillars of the religion of Islam. That when you study Usul al-din [pillars of Islam] or you study Usul al-Islam or Usul al-I'tiqadat you will always find that death is mentioned in the list of pillars alongside the resurrection and the ma'aad that have to be believed in.

As in you find that when you come and look at the pillars of the religion, normally these pillars are listed at five, three are known as usul al-din, and two are known as usul al-madhhab. All in all, they normally; in many of the lists of the curriculums that we study, they come to five - Tawhid, Nubuwwah and the Ma'ad or the resurrection and the belief in life after death is always in that list.

But you find that with the majority of the others on that list, we are more acquainted. I would say the one area where the Muslim community lacks knowledge in terms of its meaning, in terms of its philosophy, in terms of its journey, is death.

[Farzand-e-Haydar, Ummid-e- Aakhar, Maw'ud-e-Aalam, Ya Mahdi]