There is one of the creation of Allah (SWT) who is never late for work, an appointment, or a commitment. He will arrive on time, every time. And will never fail in his duty.
Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-An’am, Verse 61:
He is the All-dominant over His servants, and He sends guards to [protect] you. When death approaches anyone of you, Our messengers take him away and they do not neglect [their duty].
In this verse, Allah (SWT) refers to the fact that the angel of death never neglects his duty to Allah (SWT). And yet, as humans we endeavour to escape death, either in confronting its inevitability or in believing that we can somehow avoid death.
Our understanding of death as Muslims is clearly articulated in Surah Ali-Imran, Verse 185:
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So, he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
This verse beautifully encapsulates why we should remember death and remember it often. Each and every one of us will experience death, regardless of age or health, wealth or status. It will come, at the precise time written by Allah (SWT). No psychic, signs, or other superstitions will reveal the moment of your death, as evidenced in Surah Luqman, Verse 34:
Allah (SWT) “Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things)”
Death represents the end of the test – the end of our opportunity to fulfill the purpose that Allah (SWT) has ordained for His creation. So how do we prepare for it?
It is quite simple. Turn to Allah. Repent. Obey. Fulfill your purpose.
It is only when we truly reflect on that fact that the Angel of Death will come for our soul at the precise moment written by Allah (SWT), that we can gain perspective. It is only when we confront the reality that we will one day, sooner rather than later, be alone in our grave to answer three simple questions. The answers to those questions will be reflections of how we lived our lives.
When you are asked, “Who is your Lord?”, what will your soul testify? Did you submit to Him? Did you worship Him? Or your own desires, or those of your family and friends? Was it wealth or status that you worshipped?
When you are asked, “What was your Religion?”, what will you be able to respond? Was it the religion of Allah (SWT), or that of your parents and forefathers? Was it Islam, or a distorted version of our faith?
And finally, when you are asked, “Who is this man who was sent amongst you?”, what will your answer be? Did you follow the Prophet (SAW) in his Sunnah and commandments? Did you learn about his life and his way? Or did you disregard and belittle the Sunnah?
How you live your life today matters. It is testimony and evidence for you on that day when no family or friend can help you with the answers.
Your soul will speak the truth – your truth.
The question is – will that truth be for you, or against you? Will it lead to a grave filled with gardens of paradise? Or torments from the fire? Will it illuminate your grave, or darken it further? Will it give you comfort or fear?