The Importance of Reflecting on Death and the Afterlife
No matter what one’s beliefs are concerning the hereafter, everyone knows that this world will come to an end sooner or later. With each second and each breath, we get closer to the end of our life on earth. The nature of man is forgetfulness, we forget that we are here temporarily. Since we are certain that we are here for such a short time, why not take the time to reflect on what, if anything, comes next? We all carefully plan for our future. We go to school, choose a career, and work hard to make sure that our future in this world is a good one. However, the only future that is guaranteed to us is death. This is not to be morbid or depressing, but this is a fact of life. We often get stuck in the day to day rat race that we forget to ponder over the fleeting nature of this world and how our life in it will eventually come to an end.
Why Remembering Death Can Actually Help You Live a Better Life
One may choose to ignore death and live life pretending it will never happen or view it as far away, but that will not change the reality that each day death is catching up to us. One cannot escape or outrun death. Death, which you run away from, will certainly meet you. Then you will return to the One who knows the seen and the unseen (Q. 62:8). The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, encouraged people to increase their remembrance of what he called “the destroyer of pleasures.” Remembering death is not meant to prevent us from enjoying life, but to put things into perspective. Living life with death, and not running away from it, actually bring quality to life. Many people often look at death through the lens of this worldly life. However, if we look at life through the lens of death, we will make use of every moment we have in this world to do good and be better people.
The Islamic Perspective on Death: A Reminder to Live a Meaningful Life
In Islam, death is only the end of this world, but it is the beginning of an eternal life. Without a doubt, death is scary, because we fear the unknown. However, the Qurʾān reassures us that those who believe and do good deeds have nothing to fear. Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah ” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised” (Q. 41:30). Having the ability to break free from the day to day routine and immediate gratification of this world and reflect on the hereafter is a sign of intelligence. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “The intelligent person is the one who keeps himself in check and prepares for what comes after death; and the foolish person is the one who follows his desires and places false hope in Allah.” (Tirmidhi). Next time you are counting your money, planning your next career move, or preparing for your future, consider taking a moment to ponder about the purpose of life and the hereafter.
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