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Awareness of Death According to Islam and not Culture

9 March 2011 1,073 views No Comment

The Last Breath: The Fiqh of Death & Inheritance was a phenomenal seminar –a must take for every Muslim but especially students of knowledge.  It was said by our beloved Rasool (saw) that “The first of branch of knowledge which will be taken away from my Ummah will be Illmul Faraidh (the knowledge pertaining to inheritance).”  As you can see currently the extinction of this knowledge, many of us are severely unaware of the importance and benefits of the science of inheritance nor are we are aware of the consequences of un-Islamic inheritance or an un-Islamic will.  The Messenger (saw) mentioned “It is the duty of a Muslim who has something to be given as a bequest not to spend to nights except that his will is written with him.” (Al-Bukhari 2738)

It is stifling the amount of cultural beliefs and practices surrounding death that deeply mixed with our religious practices/duties/obligations.  These cultural beliefs and practices that surround death were continuously unraveled throughout the course.  Several practices that are performed during and after the time of death may appear to be ibadah (worship to Allah (SWT)) but in fact are embedded with many false beliefs, bidah (innovations) and little to no evidence within the Quran or Sunnah of Rasool (saw). A few examples of some of these innovations would be: having a long dua’a or a gathering at the home of relatives of the deceased, reciting particular verses of the Quran, expecting the family members of the deceased to prepare enormous amounts of food for the guests who visit them.  Instead, what is correct is that the Janazah prayer is in fact the dua’a for the dearly departed, if you want to perform Hajj for the deceased that is ok with the exception you performed it once for yourself, and it is the Sunnah of Rasool (saw) to bring or prepare food for the family of the deceased.

What was a real eye opener was the ‘Checklist on Death’ – how prepared today are you to die? There were quite a few questions to consider but just to mention a few…Questions pertaining to  preparing for death: 1) In 10 years after you die, what do you think you will be remembered for? 2) What would you like to be remembered for? 3) Is there anyone you owe an apology to? (Note: Because the currency on Judgment Day will not be monetary, its going to be your deeds, you may take the weight of someone’s bad deeds or you might just be giving away the good deeds that you worked hard for away to that person); Questions about who to consider to be around you: 4) Have you chosen the person who will wash your body? 5) Do you have a list of 40 people who are going to pray Janazah on you? 6) Who will be the four people who carry your body? ; Questions about your assets: 7) Do you have any debts? 8 ) Do you have the money to pay for the cost of your grave? 9) Who will you give your books to after you die? Question to consider about meeting Allah (SWT): 10) What did you do in the time of your youth? 11) Where did you earn your money from? Etc…

Another interesting and important sub-topic mentioned was performing ‘Ruqyah’ (faith healing, or recitation of prescribed Surahs/ayahs of the Quran as mentioned by our Rasool (saw)).  When it comes to any difficulty or sickness (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually) and protection we should intend to seek Allah first and foremost.  How do we do this? By requesting of him first to cure or heal us or assist in our time of difficulty. Make dua’a or sincere intention in your heart. Perform ‘ruqyah’ one basic example of this is to recite Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem three times, blow on your hands, and wipe your hands over the area of pain or discomfort. You can also recite Surah Fatihah or Ayat-ul Kursi (1x) and Surah Al-Ikhlas (3x), Surah Al-Falaq (3x) and Surah Al-Naas (3x), blow on your hands, and wipe your hands over the area of pain or discomfort (see Fortress of the Muslim). However, please keep in mind that there are many ruqyahs available but, we should only use the ones that are evident in Hadith and Quran.  And it is better to perform the ruqyah for yourself and not ask it from anyone else (to ask is considered makruh/disliked).  The evidence of this is that the 70,000 people without any hisab/reckoning will be those who did not ask for ruqyah and have strong belief in Allah (SWT) will enter into Jannah Insha’Allah.  It is also acceptable to perform ruqyah on water. There is a beautiful Hadith of Ayesha (ra) and Rasool (saw) when she assisted him in ruqyah by using his own hand to perform ruqyah on his self.  So before we see the doctor or take that next Tylenol, which should seek the Ultimate healing power in our connection with the Most High Allah Subhana Ta’ala, because he is the One who permits and gives knowledge to the doctors who assists us in a cure.

In summary, there were many beautiful, interesting and diverse topics covered in this seminar that I could not cover but I just mentioned very few things that were of interest and importance to me and I hope that they will be useful and interesting to you as well, that you are encouraged to further your interest, knowledge and studies in the topic of death & inheritance.  To sum up the main topics discussed in this seminar it ranged  from: the basic introduction to death, to the time and place of death, sickness and the manners of visiting the sick, assisting the dying person, the soul leaving the body, what to do after a person passes away, the signs of a righteous death, the actual signs of death, how to wash and care for the body, the Janazah prayer, the funeral, the burial, visiting the graves, helping others to grieve, the science of inheritance, writing a will, distributing of inheritance and the questioning in the grave.  It is evident from these headings the small amount of knowledge that we have on such a broad topic and its importance to gain knowledge and understanding in these areas, in addition to perpetuating this knowledge on to others.

If I have said anything incorrectly or to the disliking of Allah (SWT) it was of my error and I humbly request forgiveness and protection of Him.  And if I said anything praiseworthy may all due praise be to His Glory and Mercy.  And many thanks and prayers to our Sheikh and AlMaghrib crew!

by sr. Isha

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