A Dignified Death

Mufti Abdul Rahman Waheed
February 12, 2024

A simple truth: What we have is temporary and what will happen to us is certain – we are all destined to die. As believers, we pray for a death in the state of iman and Islam, and for Allahﷻ to give us the best ending, Husn al-Khātimah.


At every turn in this momentary existence, there are numerous endings. We move through life each day finishing something we started, seeing seasons change, watching months go by and another year coming to an end – but our ultimate ending is when we reach our deathbed.

If the day ever came, our only salvation in the outcome of our finality is dependent on whether we have lived a life being devoted to Allahﷻ, or in disobedience to Him. The condition in which we leave this world, rests largely on how greatly we’ve succeeded in our existence.

Living a Fulfilling Life

The nature of this world is one of fragmentary fulfillment. Protecting our iman is something that we should try to remain alert to every day, as we cannot escape the disasters and calamities of life, and we are not preserved from risks and misfortunes that may jeopardize our deen.

Knowing that the pursuit of our desires can never be fulfilled in this world, we have to make an intention daily that is manifested in the presence of our akhirah. Without mindfulness of what’s to come, it is easy to fall captive to the pleasures of our surroundings – which are all forms of attachment to our desires.

Fulfillment in this world means dedicating our lives to Allah’s pleasures and leaving some of our desires for the akhirah. To be deprived of the pleasures of life may be the most difficult thing, but it will be the most rewarding. The heavenly pleasures that await us in the afterlife are unparalleled – so, we must never lose sight of our final destination beyond the vista of this life.

One of the ways to keep us longing for eternal fulfillment is to have an eye toward death. If we are conscious of death day and night, then we will do what it takes to forego the fleeting and we will look forward to everything which will remain. While speaking about death, the Prophet (ﷺ) advised:

أَكْثَرُهُمْ لِلْمَوْتِ ذِكْرًا وَأَحْسَنُهُمْ لِمَا بَعْدَهُ اسْتِعْدَادًا أُولَئِكَ الأَكْيَاسُ‏

“The one who remembers death the most and is best in preparing for it. Those are the wisest.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Honored at the End

Every beginning and every ending we have should be for the sake of Allahﷻ. If we live our lives in goodness, our goodbyes will be the source of comfort for those we leave behind. The grief and tears of our loved ones should be streams of gratitude and not torrents of anguish, and the only trails we leave, should be our good deeds and not sins – we must leave honored, not abhorred. 

To die an honorable death, we must strive to live an honorable life, following the ways of the most honorable human being, the Prophet(ﷺ) – this is the best way to exit this world. It is our duty to spend our time wisely with virtuous acts, making every moment until our very last breath count, before our ending unfolds before our eyes.

Ibn al-Jawzī said, “Days consist of hours and hours are made of the breaths you take. Every breath is a treasure chest, so beware of letting a breath pass by with no benefit. You do not want to find an empty treasure chest on the Day of Judgment and regret.”

When Tamīm ibn al-Dārī first illuminated the Prophet’s mosque with lanterns, the Prophet(ﷺ) became elated and exclaimed, “You have lit up Islam. May Allahﷻ enlighten you in this world and in the hereafter.” This example shows us that even if our time in this world comes to an end, our good deeds continue making their way into the next stage of our lives.

The greatest honor we can achieve in the transition to our final abode is meeting Allahﷻ. But before this joyous occasion with The Almighty can take place, we want to ensure we’ve readily packed our best deeds along with us on this important journey to our forever home, and present them in the most purified state before Him – so He will be pleased with us. At the moment of death, the Prophet(ﷺ)said, when a believer is given the glad tidings of the mercy and forgiveness of Allahﷻ, “If he loves to meet Allahﷻ, Allahﷻ loves to meet him.”

Death is a total relief and a tranquil slumber for the one who departs this world in uprightness. While the world is an uncomfortable and restless place to live in, that meaningful transition into the metaphysical realm of barzakh, will offer a deep sense of unbroken solitude for a pious soul. It finally gets what it longs for – tranquility and eternity.

In the soul’s departure from the body, the windows of Paradise are open for the honored believer, angels welcome them with divine serenity exuding the sweetest scents of the heavens – all of these delights they experience, dwell in the infinitude of the unseen, unconfined by the dimensions of this world.

Beyond our restricted vision and knowledge, there is more going on than what we can see or understand inside the space bridging the ephemeral and the eternal. For a pious soul, their resting place becomes a lush illuminated garden, and they are shown their eternal dwelling. The Prophet(ﷺ) mentioned:

إنَّ أحدَكم إذا مات عُرِض عليه مقعدُه بالغَدَاة والعَشِي، إن كان من أهل الجنة فمِن أهل الجنة، وإن كان من أهل النار فمِن أهل النار، فيُقال: هذا مقعدُك حتى يبعثك الله يوم القيامة

“When one of you dies, his seat (in the Hereafter) is shown to him in the morning and evening. If he is one of the people of Paradise, (he is shown his seat) in Paradise, and if he is one of the people of Hellfire, (he is shown his seat) in Hellfire. It will be said: 'This is your seat until Allah resurrects you on the Day of Judgment.'” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

A pious soul remains in ecstasy and in complete solace as it ascends to  the 'illiyun; a place of resplendent, eternal beauty – in the blessed gatherings of the prophets, the sincere, the martyrs and the righteous. Then finally, it comes to a standstill in the splendor of Allahﷻ. This is just a peek through the window of the everlasting for the one who dies a dignified death.

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