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In the Name of God بسم الله

Fear of death

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(salam) (bismillah)

Imam al Hadi (as) once went to visit one of his companions who had fallen sick. The fear of death had robbed him of all

tranquillity and calm, so the Imam addressed him as follows: "O servant of God, you fear death because you do not

understand it correctly. Tell me, if your body were soiled with dirt so that you were pained and discomforted and afflicted

with running sores, and you knew that a washing in the bathhouse would rid you of all that filth and pain, would you not

wish to avail yourself of the bathhouse to cleanse yourself of the dirt? Or would you be reluctant to do so and prefer to

remain in your polluted state?"

The sick man replied, "O descendant of the Messenger of God! I would definitely prefer to wash myself and become clean."

Then the Imam (as) responded, "Know, then, that death is exactly like the bathhouse. It represents your last chance to

rid yourself of your sins and to purify yourself of evil. If death embraces you now, there can be no doubt that you will be

freed of all sorrow and pain and attain everlasting happiness and joy."

Hearing these words of the Imam, the sick man changed completely and a remarkable tranquillity appeared on his face.

Then in dignified fashion, he surrendered himself to death, in the shroud he had drawn around himself, full of hope in God's

mercy. He closed his eyes which had now seen the truth and hastened to his eternal abode.

One day, the Commander of the Faithful, Ali entered the market of Basra. He saw people utterly absorbed in themselves

and the business of buying and selling; it was as if death and resurrection would never happen. This atmosphere of negligence

deeply disturbed him, so he wept and said, "O servants of the world, O slaves to the worldly! Throughout the day you are busy

buying and selling, swearing oaths as you do so, and your nights are spent in sleep and a state of complete unawareness. So

day and night you are unaware of the hereafter and the outcome of your affair; when, then will you prepare yourselves for the

journey that awaits you, and when will you gather the provisions you need? When will you begin to remember the hereafter and

resurrection?"

The Belief Concerning Death

A Shaykh says, The Prince of Believers, Ali was asked, "Describe death to us."

He said, "You have indeed, accidentally come to one who is well informed! It (death) brings to the person dying one of three things

- either tidings of perpetual bliss, or of ever lasting misery, or fear and dread. Or an uncertainty, if he (the dying person) does not

know to which section he belongs. Now as for our enemy and one who opposed our claim, he will be given tidings of eternal misery;

but one whose affair is doubtful, that is one who does not know his own mind, he is a believer who is prodigal regarding his own affairs,

not knowing what his condition will be. Good comes to him after doubt and dread. Then Allah will never mingle him with our enemies,

but will take him out of the Fire by our intercession. So act righteously and obey Allah and do not rely solely upon yourselves, and do

not belittle the punishment of Allah. For verily, he who does not obtain our intercession except after 300,000 years of Allah's chastisement,

is to be counted amongst the wasteful."

Imam Hasan bin Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) was asked, "What is this death, concerning which people are ignorant?"

He said, "It is the greatest joy which come upon the believers when they go from this house of affliction to eternal bliss. And it is the

greatest tribulation which comes upon the infidels when they go from their paradise (the earth) to a fire which abates not, nor is it

extinguished. "

When Imam Husayn (as) was hard pressed, those who were with him looked at him, and behold! He was totally different from them.

Because when in great difficulty their color changed and they trembled with fear, and their hearts were filled with trepidation, and their

sides began to throb, Imam Husayn (as) and some of his particular companions had bright faces, restful limbs, and complete peace of mind.

Then some of them said to others, "Look at him, he does not care for death."

Then Imam Husayn said to them, "Patience, O scions of nobility! For what is death, but a bridge by which you cross over from misfortune

and harm to spacious gardens and eternal favors? Now which of you would dislike to proceed from a prison and to a painful torment.

Verily, concerning this, my father related to me from my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ‘Forsooth, the world is a prison

for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever; and death is the bridge for the former to their gardens, and for the latter, to their hell-fire.’

And he did not lie; nor do I."

Imam Ali Zayn al Abideen (as) was asked, "What is death?"

He said, "For the believer it is like taking off clothes which are dirty and lousy; or breaking heavy shackles and fetters, and changing into

the most gorgeous and perfumed of apparel, and riding on well trained mounts, and alighting in familiar resting places. And for the

unbeliever, it is the pulling off of gorgeous apparel and changing into the most filthy and coarse clothing; and the transportation from

familiar places to the wildest resting places and the greatest torment. "

Imam Muhammad al Baqir (as) was asked, "What is death?"

He said, "It is the sleep which comes to you every night, except that it is of long duration. The sleeper does not awake from it except

on the Day of Resurrection. Some see in their sleep certain kinds of joy the worth whereof cannot be estimated; others, certain kinds

of terrors, which area beyond the pale of estimation. How then can his condition be described who may be happy or fearful in death?

This then is death, so be prepared for it."

Imam Jafar as Sadiq (as) was asked, "Describe death to us."

He said, "To the believer it is like to most perfumed breeze, which he inhales and then doses off on account of the perfume, and his

weariness and pain disappear from him. To the unbeliever it is like the biting of vipers and the stinging of scorpions; nay, it is even

more painful." He was then told, "There are some people who say that it is more painful than being sawed with a saw, or being cut by

scissors, or being crushed to death by stones, or the circular motion by the pivots of hand-mills in the pupils of the eye."

He (as) said, "Such is the travail of death on some of the unbelievers and sinners. Do you not see that among them are those who

have witnessed such calamities? Now that death is more painful than this and is more painful that all the worldly torments."

He was asked, "Why is it that we see occasionally an unbeliever, who at the moment of death is not in pain, and who dies while he

is relating stories or laughing or talking; and the same is the case with some believers? Again both among the believers and unbelievers

there are some who endure hardships during the pangs of death."

He said, "Whatever happiness the believer enjoys is part of his early reward; and whatever pain he suffers is the forgiveness of his sins,

so that he may arrive in the next world is a state of cleanliness, purity and spotlessness, fit for the reward of Allah, and without there

being anything to keep him from it. And whatever of ease it to be found in the case of some unbeliever is the compensation for his good

actions in this world, so that when he arrives in the next world, there are remains naught to him save that which brings torment on him.

And whatever of distress comes upon an unbeliever there at the moment of death, is the commencement of the punishment of Allah,

in as much as the reward of his good actions is at an end. That is because Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, is Just and does not act wrongfully."

Imam Musa al Kathim (as) visited a person while he was perspiring during the pangs of death and unable to answer anyone who called

him. Seeing this, the persons around about said, "O son of the Messenger of Allah we wish to know what the condition of

our friend is and what death is." He said, "Verily death is a purifier, it purifies the believers from sins; and it is the last pain which afflicts

upon them; whereas death separates the unbelievers form their good actions, and is the last delight of favor or comfort which reaches them.

It is the last reward in respect of their good acts. As for your companion, he is completely purged from sins, and completely purified from

crimes. He is cleansed so that he is - pure as a garment purified of its filth and is made fit to associate with us, the People of the House,

in our house, the Abode of Eternity."

One of the companions of Imam Ali al Rida (as) fell ill. Imam al Rida went to visit him and said to him,

"How do you find yourself?" He said, "I met death after you left me," meaning the severity of the pain which befell him. The Imam

said, "How do you find it?" He said, "It was a severe pain." The Imam said, "You did not meet death, but what befell you

was something to warn and acquaint you with some of its aspects. Verily, mankind may be divided into two classes: those who find rest

in death, and those who give rest to others by it. So renew your faith in Allah, in the Prophethood of Mohammed (pbuh)

and in the walaya of the Imams (as) and you will be among those who find rest in it death." The man acted accordingly.

Imam Muhammad al Taqi (as) was asked, "What is the matter with these Muslims that they dislike death?" He said, "They are ignorant of

it and therefore they dislike it. If they possessed knowledge of it, and were true friends of Allah, they would love it, and would surely

know that the other world is better for them than this." The he (the Imam) said, "O slave of God! Why does the child or the

mad man refuse to take the medicine which cleanses his body and removes his pain?" The questioner said, "Because they are ignorant

of the benefits of the medicine."

He, Imam al Taqi said, "I swear by Him Who sent Muhammad as a prophet of truth, may the peace and blessings of Allah be on him,

verily as for those who prepare themselves for death as they really should, death will be more beneficial to them for curing themselves

than the is medicine. Lo! If only they knew what blessings death would bring them, they would call out for it and desire it even more

than the wise and resolute man desires his medicine for the removal of his calamities and the recovery of his well being."

Imam Ali al Hadi (as) once visited one of his companions who was weeping and wailing for fear of death. Therefore he said,

"O slave of Allah, you fear death, because you do not possess any knowledge about it. What do you say? When you find your clothes

filthy and loathsome and you suffer form excess of filth and dirt, and are full of wounds and scabs, and you know that a bath in a public

bath will remove all these from you, would you not wish to enter it and bathe so that all that filth may disappear? And would you not

like to enter the bath so that the wounds and scabs should disappear from you?"

The man said, "Yes, O son of the Messenger of Allah." The Imam said, "This death is the hammam, and it is the last portion of what

remains against you of the forgiveness of your sins and your purification from your evil actions. For when you will enter upon it (death)

and cross over it, you will be saved from all grief and anxiety and injury, and you will have attained complete joy and gladness."

Then the man became quiet and cheerful and resigned himself, and closed his eyes and went on his way.

Imam Hasan al Askari (as) was asked concerning death and he said, "It is the verification of things that have not yet happened.

My father has reported a tradition to me concerning it. He (my father) related from his father, (who related in turn) from his grandfather,

(who related in turn) from Imam Jafar as Sadiq that he said, "Verily the true believer, when he dies, dies not in fact; it is the unbeliever

who really dies, for Allah, the Mighty and Glorious says, ‘Thou bringest the living out of the dead, and Thou bringest the dead out of the

living.’; that is, the true believer from the unbeliever, and the unbeliever from the true believer.

And he Imam Jafar said,

"There came a man to the Prophet and said, ‘I do not know what has happened to me that I do not like death.’

The Prophet said, "Have you any property?"

The man replied, "Yes."

The Prophet said, "Have you ever made offerings in charity?"

He said, "No."

The Prophet said, "It is on this account that you dislike death.

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