We are mortal but not our soul as God designed our body from dust (3:59, 30:20) and blew into it from His spirit (32:9, 38:72). When death overtakes us, we get into other dimension leaving our body on earth. Thus, the dust returns to the earth as it was and the soul returns unto God who gave it (2:156, 84:6):
[3:59] Indeed, the example of Jesus with God is similar to that of Adam; He created him from dust (min turaabin), then said to him, “Be,” and he was.
[30:20] And of His signs is that He created you from dust (min turaabin), then you are humans by reproducing.
[38:72] “Once I design him, and blow into him from My spirit (wa-nafakhtu feehi min roohi-i), you shall fall prostrate before him.”
[32:9] Then He shaped him and blew into him from His spirit (wa-nafakha feehi min roohihi). And He gave you the hearing, the vision, and the understanding (wa-ja’ala lakumu al-sam’a wal-absaara wal-afidata); rarely are you thankful.
[2:156] Those who are afflicted with adversity, they say: “Indeed, we belong to God and indeed, to Him we will return.”
[84:6] O human being, you are to go to your Lord with work as to meet Him.
God has decreed the death for us and there is no force in the world that can stop it (56:60), and wherever we may be, death will catch up with us, even if we are in a fortified tower (4:78). Not only everyone dies without any exception (6:61) but everyone also knows his/her destination at the time of death. However, the believers have only one death (44:56) while the disbelievers go through two deaths (40:11). However, our first death is a consequence of the Great Feud in the High Society (38:67- 69) triggered by the Satan when he refused to prostrate Adam (38:73-74), and subsequently Adam and Eve, the parents of the human being were evicted from Paradise being deceived by him (2:35–36):
[56:60] We have decreed the death for you, and we are not to be stopped.
[4:78] Wherever you are, the death will catch up with you, even if you are in fortified towers. If any good befalls them, they say: “This is from God,” but if any bad befalls them, they say: “This is from you!” Say: “All is from God.” So what is wrong with these people, do they not understand statement?
[6:61] And He is the Supreme over His servants, and He sends guardians over you until when the death comes to any of you, our messengers take him, and they never fail.
[44:56] They would not taste the death therein (on earth) except the first death, and He has protected them from the retribution of the Hellfire (al-jaheemi).
[40:11] They will say: “Our Lord, You have given us death twice, and You have given us life twice. Now we have confessed our sins. So, is there any way to get out?”
[38:67] Say, “Here is awesome news.
[38:68] “That you are totally oblivious to.
[38:69] “I had no knowledge previously, about the feud in the High Society.”
[38:73] The angels fell prostrate, all of them,
[38:74] except Satan; he refused, and was too arrogant, unappreciative.
[2:35] We said, “O Adam, live with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom generously, as you please, but do not approach this tree, lest you sin.”
[2:36] But the devil duped them, and caused their eviction therefrom. We said, “Go down as enemies of one another. On Earth shall be your habitation and provision for awhile.”
Moment of death
The life of the Hereafter starts with the death, which is a peaceful event for those who believed in their Lord while it is a terrible event for those who disbelieved in their Lord. Even, two different groups of angels are given responsibility to terminate the lives of people on earth. The angels those who terminate the lives of the righteous are al-naashitaat while the angels those who terminate the lives of the unrighteous are al-naazi’aat. The angels of death (al-naashitaat) invite the believers to enter Paradise with the greeting of “Peace be upon you” (16:32) when they take their souls gently (79:2), while the believers know that they have been forgiven by their Lord and made them honorable (36:26-27). On the other hand, the angels of death (al-naazi’aat) beat the disbelievers on their faces and rear ends (8:50, 47:27) giving painful retribution (6:93) when as they snatch their souls away from them (79:1) while the disbeliever says: “My Lord, send me back (23:99) so that I may do good in what I have left behind” but there is a barrier to prevent the disbelievers from going back until the day they are resurrected (23:100). The disbeliever also says: “My Lord, if You could delay this for a short while, I would then be charitable to be with the righteous (63:10)” but there will be no delay for any soul when its term has come (63:11):
[79:2] (I swear) By the angels who take (the souls of the righteous) gently.
Note: The angels who terminate the lives of the righteous on earth designated as al-naashiat
[16:32] Those whom the angels take them in a state of righteousness (tatawaffahumu al-malaa-i-katu tayyibeena) say: “Peace be upon you, enter Paradise for what you have done.”
[36:26] It was told, “Enter Paradise.” He said, “Oh, I wish my people knew.
[36:27] “That my Lord has forgiven me, and made me honorable.”
Note: This statement is the realization of the righteous at the time of his/her death when she/he was told to enter Paradise.
[79:1] (I swear) By the angels who snatch (the souls of the unrighteous) forcibly.
Note: The angels who terminate the lives of the unrighteous on earth designated as al-naazi’aat.
[8:50] And if you could only see when the angels take those who have disbelieved, striking their faces and their backs (yadriboona wujoohahum wa-adbaarahum), and (saying): “Taste the punishment of the blazing fire (wa-dhooqoo adhaaba al-hareeqi).”
[47:27] So how will it be when the angels put them to death (idhaatatawaffahumu al-malaa-i-katu), striking their faces and their backs (yadriboona wujoohahum wa-adbaarahum)?
[6:93] And who is more wicked than one who invents lies about God, or says: “It has been inspired to me,” while anything was not inspired to him; or who says: “I will bring down the same as what God has sent down.” And if you could only see the wicked at the moment of death when the angels have their arms opened: “Bring yourselves out, today you will be given the humiliating punishment for what you used to say about God without the truth, and you used to be arrogant towards His revelations.”
[23:99] When death comes to one of them (transgressors), he says: “My Lord, send me back.
[23:100] So that I may do righteous deeds in what I have left behind.” No, it is but a word he speaks, and there is a barrier before them until the day they are resurrected.
[63:10] And you shall give from what we have provided you before the death comes to you, then he says, “My Lord, if You could delay me for a short while, then I would be charitable and be among the righteous.”
[63:11] But God never delays for any soul when its term has come. And God is Cognizant of what you do.
A funeral is the ceremony that is held when the body of someone who has died is buried followed by the prayer. Thus, the funeral ceremony consists of three rituals: (1) washing and covering the dead body with the seamless clothes, (2) the Funeral Prayer and (3) the burial to put the dead body into graves. We do understand that the rituals as listed in 1 and 3 are done for the dead because of the hygienic reason while the Funeral Prayer is quite different, even though it does not change the fate of the dead. We need to understand that those who have died in a state of disbelievers or idol worshipers do not deserve this prayer, nor shall we stand by their graves (9:84). Thus, the true believers of God who have led a righteous life only deserve the Funeral Prayer and they can be recognized based on criteria given in the Quran not based on other man-made sources that make us idol worshipers.
[9:84] And you shall not observe the funeral prayer for any of them who dies (wa-laa-tusalli ‘alaa ahadin min’hum maata abadan), nor shall you stand by his grave (laa taqum alaa Qabrihi), for they have disbelieved in God and His messenger, and died in a state of wickedness.
However, the Funeral Prayer is not a Salat (Contact prayer) but just a prayer (a supplication, an invocation, “Dua’a”) for the dead person. Since it is not a Salat, it does not have the same method of the Contact Prayer. There is no bowing or prostration during the Funeral Prayer. We also need to understand that God has encouraged the believers to implore Him. The Funeral Prayer is one of these circumstances where we can implore Him. However, like Salah, the Funeral Prayer is an inherited practice that has been corrupted over the years as well. The way it is practiced by traditional Muslims today is not dedicated to God for adding the names of Muhammad and Abraham to the prayer.
We may realize that the termination of our lives on earth means the dust shall return to the earth as it was (3:59, 30:20) while the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (32:9, 38:72). But many of us have no clear understanding or have misconceptions based on man-made doctrines about where our dead are or go, during the period between death and resurrection. However, let us concentrate on what God who has taught us about this period, which has been made distinct for the believers as well as for the disbelievers.
The righteous have only one death (44:56) that they have already experienced as a consequence of the Great Feud (38:67-69). Thus, the righteous do not really die, when their lives come to an end on earth, the angels of death simply invite them to leave their earthly bodies and move on to Heaven, the same abode where Adam and Eve once lived and returned to it when died (16:32 and 36:26-27). People may think that they are dead but they are not, they are alive at their Lord and are enjoying their good provisions (3:169, 2:154 and 22:58):
[3:169] Do not think that those who are killed in the cause of God are dead; they are alive at their Lord, enjoying His provisions.
[2:154] Do not say of those who are killed in the cause of God, “They are dead.” They are alive at their Lord, but you do not perceive.
[22:58] Those who emigrate for the sake of God, then get killed, or die, God will surely provide them a good provision, and God is certainly the best Provider.
While the disbelievers go through 2 deaths (40:11). The first one that we all have already experienced as a consequence of the Great Feud (38:67-69) while the second one is only for the disbelievers and the angels terminate their lives on earth striking their faces and their backs (79:1, 8:50, 47:27). They will be shown Hell day and night as a continuous nightmare that lasts until the Day of Judgment (40:46) while Hell will be brought into existence on the Day of Resurrection (89:23, 81:12):
[40:46] The Fire, which they will be shown morning and night, and on the day when the Hour is established: “Admit the people of Pharaoh into the most severe of the retribution.”
[89:23] And Hell is brought on that day. On that day, the human being will remember but how will the remembrance benefit him?
[81:12] Hell is ignited.
Resurrection and Judgment
Final judgment will take place in accordance with a set of laws and systems so that no soul suffers least injustice (16:111, 21:47, 40:17) on the Day of Resurrection (3:185, 56:47) followed by the end of the world (20:15, 15:85). Hell is ignited, Paradise is presented and every soul will know what it has brought (81:12-14). Whoever has done atom’s weight of good will see it (99:7) and whoever has done atom’s weight of evil also will see it (99:8):
[15:85] And we have not created the heavens and the earth, and what is between them except with the truth. And the Hour (end of the world) is surely coming, so overlook with gracious forgiveness.
[20:15] The Hour is surely coming; I will keep it almost hidden that each soul will be paid with what is strived.
[3:185] Every soul will taste death, and you will be paid your exact compensation on the day of resurrection. Then whoever is protected from the Fire and admitted into Paradise, then he has indeed succeeded. The life of the world is not but the enjoyment of worthlessness.
[56:47] And they used to say: “When we die and become dust and bones, will we be resurrected?”
[16:111] The day will come when every soul will serve as its own advocate, and every soul will be paid fully for whatever it had done, without the least injustice.
[21:47] We will establish the scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection. No soul will suffer the least injustice. Even the equivalent of a mustard seed will be accounted for. We are the most efficient reckoners.
[40:17] On that day, every soul will be requited for whatever it had earned. There will be no injustice on that day. God is most efficient in reckoning.
[81:12] And when Hell is ignited.
[81:13] When Paradise is presented.
[81:14] Every soul will know what it has brought.
[99:7] Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.
[99:8] And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.
Those who are already in Paradise and those who have deserved Paradise will be invited by God Himself to enter His Paradise (89:27-30).Even they will receive their recompense in accordance with their ranks attained at God (4:49, 46:19). Some of them will be granted higher Heaven while others will be granted lower Heaven. The believing men and women who will be radiating their lights ahead of them enter higher Heaven while the believing men and women who will be radiating their lights to their right enter lower Heaven (57:12, 66:8):
[89:27] O you content soul.
[89:28] Your return to your Lord is pleased and pleasing.
[89:29] Get into My servants.
[89:30] And enter My Paradise.
[4:49] Have you noted those who exalt themselves? Instead, God is the One who exalts whomever He wills, without the least injustice.
[46:19] They all attain the ranks they have deserved, in accordance with their works. He will pay them for their works, without the least injustice.
[57:12] The day will come when you see the believing men and women with their lights radiating ahead of them and to their right. Good news is yours that, on that day, you will have gardens with flowing streams. You will abide therein forever. This is the great triumph.
[66:8] …On that day, God will not disappoint the prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will radiate in front of them and to their right…
Those who are already in Hell and those who have incurred Hell will suffer a painful and everlasting retribution precisely equivalent to their sins. Hell will have seven gates and each one will be committed to enter Hell through the gate as assigned him to suffer a specific share of his retribution in it:
[28:84] As for those who commit sins, the retribution for their sins is precisely equivalent to their works.
[4:145] The hypocrites will be committed to the lowest pit of Hell, and you will find no one to help them.
[15:42-43] ….”You (Satan) only have power over the strayers who follow you. And Hell awaits them all.”
[15:44] It will have seven gates. Each gate will get a specific share of them.”
God has designed our body from clay (dust) and placed soul into it. We are mortal but our soul is immortal and we get back to Him leaving our body on earth when our interim comes to an end on earth. Our return to Him has clearly been explained so that all of us are able to make it a successful one.
Death is a joyful event for some while it is a painful event for many. We must understand that development of souls is accomplished by the rites decreed by God not by the rites invented by people whoever he or they may be, even some of the fabrications may sound attractive to us being the Satan tricks. According to the Quran death is not a mystery but it is a divine process, which cannot be escaped.
He has clearly defined the compensation for the righteous believers and the retribution for the disbelievers from the moment of death that continues until the day of final judgment. The righteous do not really die but they directly enter Paradise while the angels of death take their souls gently. On the other hand, the angels of death pull out the souls of the disbelievers forcibly striking their faces and their backs. They enter a place of suffering and Hell is shown to them day and night until the day of the judgment.
However, there is a misconception around us that the dead will be asked in the graves about their Lord, religion and messenger. This concept is a Satanic trick to make us idol worshipers based on man-made rules, and the true believers of God should avoid it as it does not make any sense as the dead will not come back until the day of resurrection. In addition, the dead cannot be helped on behalf of their relatives and friends on earth (3:91) since a barrier will separate them until the day of resurrection (23:100).
Final judgment will take place according to a set of laws and systems so that no soul suffers least injustice on the Day of Resurrection followed by the end of the world. Whoever has done atom’s weight of good will see it and whoever has done atom’s weight of evil also will see it. The final destination of the believers is one of the two Heavens to enjoy their happiness while that of the disbelievers is one of the seven gates of Hell to suffer a specific share of their retribution in it.
However, there is a misconception about the intercession on the day of judgment which is also a Satanic trick to make us idol worshipers as well as not to make initiatives to develop our souls through practicing of God given rites in a right way. Our compensation is confirmed only through our individual’s appropriate belief and practices is so clear that there is no intercession or any other help from any other soul on the day of judgment in our God given religion.
The review may give us a clear understanding of death. Now if we can reflect to death and frequently remember it, it may be a turning point for some of us to be the allies of God being protected from the trap of the Satan and his patrons to avoid the suffering at the moment of death, interim punishment between death and the day of judgment and the everlasting punishment followed by the final judgment upon resurrection.
Therefore, death is not a mystery while our compensation begins at the moment of death that becomes eternal followed by the final judgment on the Day of Resurrection, Who would have done this supreme justice with such a precision to compensate us for our works except God! Hence, He has taught us to implore Him to grant us an honorable departure as well as an honorable admittance, and if we could do that we would see our grand success:
[17:80] And say, “My Lord, admit me an honorable admittance, and let me depart an honorable departure, and grant me from You a powerful support.”
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.