بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله وسلم على رسول الله وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهديه إلى يوم الدين
The reality of death does not hit an individual unless someone close to him experiences death or has a near-death experience himself. Something of the latter sort happened to me last night. The reality of death hit me very hard in the face so much so that I think I would be very sinful not to amend my ways after being given such a major warning.
The restlessness that I felt was ripping me apart from inside. This might seem melodramatic but in all honesty, I felt that way. I couldn’t sit, stand or lay on my back. I was so overcome by pain that I could not remember the different du’aas and Surahs I had learned just so that I could recite them. I only had one surah downloaded on my new iPhone and the extreme regret I had at that moment for not having any other Surah downloaded was immense. In fact, while I was going through the pain, I had regret for everything. Regret for not downloading podcasts that I could’ve just played in my last moments. Regret for not perfecting my WuDoo. Regret for not apologizing to anyone I suspected I had hurt. Regret for the prayers said without Khushoo’. Regret for not being a better daughter, sister, wife…
I felt my end had come because I felt something was tugging on my soul. As if literally pulling it out of the body and because of this the state of restless was making me breathless. Some of my body parts were numb. But I didn’t care about anything…the pain didn’t matter. What was consuming me was not the pain, rather it was a huge mountain of regrets. I just didn’t see a way out and I needn’t someone, anyone, to bail me out of this situation. It was as if the ayaat of the criminals who were going to regret which were becoming a reality.
My mom was holding my hand and rubbing it, assuring me that I’d be fine. I couldn’t even tolerate her holding it and jerked it out of her grip. I apologized, helplessly explaining that I really couldn’t tolerate anything. My tears weren’t stopping. I remembered my entire life in flash back and how many obligations I had terribly messed up in and not repented for properly. I felt extremely hopeless and my mom was reminding me constantly of Allah SWT’s Mercy but somehow the regrets were so numerous and gigantic in size that her words didn’t reach my ears.
I was coming and going out of consciousness and I was trying to repeat the Shahadah. Mumbling words. One crashing into another. I wanted to feel the peace but I just couldn’t feel it.
I recited Surat’l Fatihah as well but I felt very shaky…my mind, my soul, my body…everything. My body freezing despite the layers.
Between my period of unconsciousness and consciousness, I was telling my mother the passcode of my iPhone and what app to use to play the Qur’aan for me. I was raking my mind if I had any debts. I told her of some matters that needed settling out of helplessness. I felt I had to tell her even though me telling her this information was going to make her very worried. The thought of having your own child giving you directions for their death is a very disturbing experience. But I just had to know that my affairs would be settled. I wanted an easy accountability and there was so much that I felt that I needed to convey to my family…and so little energy to convey.
The restlessness didn’t stop for another five hours. I was in the emergency area, waiting for a doctor to see me. I had already left one nearby hospital for another which was quite far away because they only had a male technician for an ECG and other physical exams. How could a Muslim woman even tolerate such a thing when all on her mind is what if she dies in this state? Islamically, drastic circumstances make it almost obligatory on you to take the route which is generally impermissible otherwise but I didn’t think my circumstances were drastic. The nurse made us agree that whatever happened to me would be my own responsibility. She was scared that I might have a heart-related problem (hence an ECG was suggested). They do that so the patients don’t sue the hospital.
The line-up in the other hospital was huge.
As I waited to be treated, I borrowed my brother’s iPad searching for lectures. Anything that would be good to make my last moments blessed. In a state that I was in, in which everything was making me feel restless, I forced myself to listen a lecture by Sh. Ali al Timimi (may Allah SWT hasten his release) on Tawbah. I needed to know whether I was forgiven. I felt so much regret. I was trying my best to clamber out of the ditch. But subhanAllah after listening to the lecture for a few minutes, I calmed down.
I eventually fell asleep as the time for Fajr neared and the doctor quickly popped in briefly for a few minutes and said that everything was completely normal. All my tests, everything. He didn’t understand what was wrong with me and so for the medical staff, there wasn’t anything wrong with me…and so they sent me back home. And how glad I was. Alhamdolilah.
But subhanAllah I can never forget the feeling of regret I felt last night. Brothers and sisters, the feeling of helplessness that one feels is terrible. Not only that; the inability to remember proper du’aas due to being overcome by pain is crippling. Make sure you prepare for it. Make sure you make a habit to recite the Qur’aan, recite du’aas of maghfirah, Salawaat on an-Nabi SAW and recite Shahadah regularly and abundantly while alive.
It was an eye-opening experience that how suddenly within minutes things can go wrong and one can actually die…without any ‘medical’ reason. The loneliness one feels in one’s circumstances is horrifying. We, as believers, try to work hard in this world. If we end up lonely in the grave and in scary circumstances then how tragic is it! We as believers owe it ourselves that we work hard enough so that we have ease at the time of death.
I realized after all what happened to me last night that if there’s anything I want to look forward to in my life, it would be death in a state of Allah SWT’s Pleasure. I want to be able to meet Allah SWT without embarrassment. Like a sister once said, ‘don’t make your meeting with Allah SWT a strangers’ meeting! Make it a meeting of two friends. Longing to meet each other!’ SubhanAllah.
We don’t become happy at the prospect of death because we don’t prepare for it. We don’t seek death and thus Akhirah in all our matters. But we must. In everything. In our conversations with our parents, spouses, children, cousins, friends, relatives…we must seek Akhirah. We should seek it as we do our daily groceries, cooking, as we commute for work…it’s all about intentions. And we mustn’t belittle doing small good deeds such as staying in WuDoo or refreshing it regularly, doing the small daily Sunnahs, reciting adhkaar after Salah and morning/evening, making Bismillah the words before we turn on/off the lights…anything at all…and most importantly doing Istighfaar all the time. Not wasting a single second…
Watching a few youtube videos and sharing a few ‘quotes’ on facebook is not enough. We must live the words we share and learn. We must work harder because we know that even the people in Paradise will regret the times they didn’t mention Allah SWT in their gatherings on earth. That’s about people who would’ve attained success then what about others? SubhanAllah.
One night lifted my heart upside down and emptied out any wishful thinking and long hopes attached to this world. As a young woman, I have so many ambitions but the ambitions were going to become dust with me, had the Angel of Death visited me. While intentions count inshaa’Allah, overlooking small good deeds which you can do regularly in hopes to do greater good deeds may not always be wise especially if the smaller good deeds revolve around one’s obligations. This is the reality of life and this the reality of death.
The value of emotions, thoughts, attachments, activities, hobbies, interactions, and careers which busy us in a different world need to be re-evaluated. Islam doesn’t demand of us to become a monk. But we must hold ourselves accountable for what we have constructed for dunia and Akhirah – and compare the two in a truthful manner. Are the grudges and things we struggle for, worth our time and energy? Nothing should consume us to the point of sapping most of our energy and allowing us with only traces left that we can actually dedicate properly for Akhirah.
Learn to read the Quraan properly.
Understand its message enthusiastically and apply it. It’s going to be your only companion in challenging times in this world and the next.
Be just to everyone regardless how unjust they are to you. It is part of dignity and nobility of character. Being just doesn’t mean you’re being weak.
And busy yourself with your own matters, don’t interfere in others’ matters. When possible, use every opportunity as a Dawah opportunity. Silent dawah is also part of it.
Don’t join the mad chase of people psychologically competing for dunia in matters of career, money, spouse, children, house, beauty, clothing, food etc. For once you join it, you’ll have to keep running from one aspect to another with this constant fear of being trampled upon by the stampede of other thousands who are just doing the same, all hypnotized.
Please don’t delay to make repentance-appropriated lifestyle changes inshaa’Allah!
May Allah SWT grant us an easy Hisaab. Ameen.
And Allah SWT knows best.