By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam
17 June 2021
Life’s being a Journey towards Death Is Unquestioned and Unequivocally Accepted and Preached by All the Religions
1. Nothing except death is a certainty in this world of uncertainties.
2. Desire to live a life of luxuries has overtaken certain reality of death ruining the spiritual world of peace, humility, brotherhood and tranquillity.
3. It is sheer greed and a will of being superior that drives human being against human ethos, forgetting the ultimate death.
4. Every religion preaches godly acts for a better life hereafter but the followers, forget death and engage themselves in acts against the lessons of the religions.
Nothing except death is a certainty in this world of uncertainties. But the desire to live has overtaken this certain reality and ruining the spiritual world of peace, humility, brotherhood and tranquillity. Humankind is dying to live and for this goal, he is killing everything coming in its way. It is not that human being is unaware of the truth that:
‘Every soul has to taste death (Surah Ali 'Imran - 185).
'Whosoever has come shall depart; all shall have their turn.' (SGGS: 474)
“Before dust returns to the earth as it was before and the life-breath returns to God who gave it.” — Ecclesiastes 12:7
'Just as a man gives up old garments and puts on new ones, so the embodied self-abandons decrepit bodies and assumes new ones.' Gita 2.22
But to the shocking amazement of every spiritual being, almost every living being is a part of the race for worldly materialistic gains forgetting the ultimate reality.
What then is the driving force behind this mentality? It is something no human psychologist can say anything with conviction. Human psychology has studied the state of happiness, sorrow, grief and shock etc. and has quite a reliable opinion on all these mental traits but knowingly cutting the branch of the tree he is sitting (earning hell-fire for the life after death that is permanent) is unexplainable. The human being has constructed places of worship in uncountable numbers, literally on every square. He pays respect to the deities or kneels in front of Allah the All-knower, asks for His forgiveness comes out gives some pennies in alms or charity and moves forward to the realm of dream. He again acts against the ethos of humanity for his worldly purpose and again asks for the Creator’s forgiveness. It is sheer greed and a will of being superior that drives human being against human ethos, forgetting the ultimate death that has a fixed time but is unknown to the one on which it befalls.
The truth of death is not rocket science even for the man standing last in the queue. He also knows death is a reality that no power can ever fight and defeat even then, even the man standing last in the queue does not winkle a second time before taking a wrong step for his worldly materialistic gains at the expense of someone.
Life’s being a journey towards death is unquestioned and unequivocally accepted and preached by all the religions on this planet earth. Every religion preaches godly acts for a better life hereafter but almost all of us, the followers, forget death and engage in acts against the lessons of the religions.
Life hereafter is a permanent life. There is no earthly life after death. Hinduism talks of a circle of life and death. But it also says that after the completion of the circle the soul will become a part of the Creator and thus its journey to earth will cease to exist.
Consider the description of death as the ultimate goal of life in Islam and various other religions:
“If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to God.” — Romans 14:8
“Jesus replied, ‘I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.’” — Luke 23:43
“So we are always confident because we know that while we are living in the body, we are away from our home with the Lord. We live by faith and not by sight. We are confident, and we would prefer to leave the body and to be at home with the Lord.” — 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
“If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his.” — Romans 6:5
“The people who lived in the dark have seen a great light, and a light has come upon those who lived in the region and the shadow of death.” — Matthew 4:16
“I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and won’t come under judgment but has passed from death into life.” — John 5:24
“Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.” — Luke 1:78-79
“Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Quran, 31:34)
“Every self will taste death. You will be paid your wages in full on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is distanced from the Fire and admitted to the Garden has triumphed. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of delusion.” (Quran, 3:185)
“And spend [in the way of Allah) from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous. But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” (Quran, 63:10-11)
“Has the time not arrived for the hearts of those who believe to yield to the remembrance of Allah and the Truth He has sent down, and not to be like those who were given the Book before for whom the time seemed overlong so that their hearts became hard. Many of them are degenerate.” (W57:15; H57:16)
“When their specified time arrives, they cannot delay it for a single hour nor can they bring it forward.” (Quran, 16:61)
“O soul that are at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), So enter among My servants, And enter into My garden.” (Quran, 89:27-30)
“The gift to a believer is death.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1609)
“Allah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as his spirit has not arrived at his throat.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
“When death comes to the seeker of knowledge whilst he is in that state [of seeking knowledge], he dies as a martyr.” (al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib, v. 1, p. 97, no. 16)
“The most sagacious one from among you is he who remembers death the most, and the most prudent one from among you is he who is the most prepared for it.” – (Alam al-Din, no. 333)
“Do not abuse the dead, for they have reached the result of what they have done.” – (Sahih Bukhari)
“When a man dies, his good deeds come to an end, except three: Ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, and a righteous son who will pray for him.” – (Sahih Muslim, 3084)
“Indeed charity extinguishes the Lord’s anger and protects against the evil death.” – (At-Tirmidhi, 664)
“Remember often the destroyer of all pleasures.” – (At-Tirmidhi)
Ibn Mas’ud said, “The Prophet Muhammad Pbuh, drew lines making a square and then drew a line in the middle which extended beyond it. He drew some small lines up to this middle line from the side within the square and said, ‘This is man, and this is the end of his lifespan which encircles him – or by which he is encircled – and this which goes beyond it is his hope and these small lines are things that happen. If this one misses him, that one gets him, and if that one misses him, this one gets him.’” (Al-Bukhari)
Abu Huraira reported the Messenger of Allah, (pbuh), said, “Race to good actions as fast as you can. What are you waiting for except delayed poverty, oppressive wealth, debilitating illness, dottering senility, a swift death or the Dajjal? Or are you waiting for an unseen evil or the Last Hour? The Last Hour will be most bitter and terrible.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah, Pbuh, took me by the shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller on the road.”
Ibn ‘Umar used to say, “In the evening, do not anticipate the morning, and in the morning do not anticipate the evening. Take from your health for your illness and from your life for your death.” (Al-Bukhari)
"Controlling all the openings of the body, with the mind established in the heart, fixing the Prana in the self at the top of the head establishing oneself in the Yoga, uttering the monosyllable AUM, which is Brahman, who leaves the body remembering Me, he achieves the highest goal. (8.12-13)
Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance (materialism) and into greater darkness those who worship knowledge (spirituality) alone. Distinct they say is the result of knowledge and distinct they also say is the result of ignorance. This is what we heard from the wise who explained these matters to us. He who knows both knowledge and ignorance together crosses death through ignorance and attains immortality through knowledge. - Isa Upanishad
Those who see me ruling the cosmos, who see me in the Adhibhuta, the Adhidaiva, and the Adhiyajna, are conscious of me even at the time of death. (Bhagwad Gita)
Every creature in the universe is subject to rebirth, Arjuna, except the one who is united with me (Bhagwad Gita)
The One who leaves the body, at the hour of death, remembering Me attains My abode. There is no doubt about this. (Bhagwad Gita)
For that which is born death is certain, and for the dead birth is certain. Therefore grieve not over that which is unavoidable (Bhagwad Gita)
One’s inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work. Death in carrying out one’s natural work is useful. Unnatural work produces too much stress (Bhagwad Gita)
But of others (i.e. those who have not performed sacrifices etc.) the ascent is to the abode of Yama, and after having experienced (the results of their evil works) the descent (to the earth again takes place). On account of such a passage (for the evil-doer) being declared by the Sruti. (Brahma Sutra Sankara Bhasya 3.1.13)
The Sruti passage referred to in the above Shloka is:
The Hereafter never reveals itself to a person devoid of discrimination, heedless, and perplexed by the delusion of wealth. "This world alone exists," he thinks," and there is no other." Again and again, he comes under my sway. (Yama speaks in Katha Upanishad I.2.6)
'With their death already preordained, mortals come into this world. How can they remain here? They have to go to the world beyond.' (SGGS1022)
'Death does not ask the time; it does not ask the date or the day of the week.' (SGGS1244)
'Everyone comes here at the Lord's command, leaves in His will and remains merged, too, in the Lord's will.' (Guru Nanak Dev. SGGS: 940)
'We are a human being of a single breath; we do not know the appointed time (of our departure).
Prays Nanak, serve the One, to whom our soul and breath of life belong'. (Guru Nanak Dev. SGGS: 660)
Neither the kings nor the nobles will remain; neither the rich nor the poor will remain. When one's turn comes, no one can stay here.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – Panaa 936
Only Gurmukhs are called to the court of the Lord and they come to the world only when the Lord sends them. (14) Pannaa 19
Shalok, Second Mehl:
How can we speak of Him? Only He knows Himself. His decree cannot be challenged; He is our Supreme Lord and Master. By His Decree, even kings, nobles and commanders must step down. Whatever is pleasing to His Will, O Nanak is a good deed. By His Decree, we walk; nothing rests in our hands. When the Order comes from our Lord and Master, all must rise up and take to the road.
As His Decree is issued, so is His Command obeyed. Those who are sent, come, O Nanak; when they are called back, they depart and go. ||1||
What do I know? How will I die? What sort of death will it be? If I do not forget the Lord Master from my mind, then my death will be easy. The world is terrified of death; everyone longs to live. By Guru's Grace, one who dies while yet alive understands the Lord's Will. O Nanak, one who dies such a death, lives forever. ||2||
Tilang, Ninth Mehl:
Sing the Lord's Praises, O mind; He is your only true companion.
Your time is passing away; listen carefully to what I say. ||1||Pause||
You are so in love with property, chariots, wealth and power.
When the noose of death tightens around your neck, they will all belong to others. ||1||
Know this well, O madman - you have ruined your affairs. You did not restrain yourself from committing sins, and you did not eradicate your ego. ||2||
So listen to the Teachings imparted by the Guru, O Siblings of Destiny.
Nanak proclaims: hold tight to the Protection and the Sanctuary of God. ||3||3|| Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl:
Arising each day, you cherish your body, but you are idiotic, ignorant and without understanding. You are not conscious of God, and your body shall be cast into the wilderness. Focus your consciousness on the True Guru; you shall enjoy bliss forever and ever. ||1||
Sheikh Farid says:
'Freed, the crane perches on the river bank, playing joyfully.
While it is playing, a hawk suddenly pounces upon it.
When the Hawk of God attacks, playful sport is forgotten.
God does what is not expected or even not foreseen'. (SGGS1383)
The day of the bride's (mortal’s) wedding (death) is pre-ordained. (Sheikh Farid...SGGS; 1377)
... The time of death is uncertain but the truth of death is not. All who are born will certainly die. (Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (1930–2002))
…. knowing death is looming offshore, we shouldn't wait until it overpowers us before developing the meditative skills necessary to achieve the great potential of the mind at the moment of death. (Rinpoche C.T. Life in relation to death. Padma Publishing, Junction City, CA2003)
"Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected." (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
The Buddha himself described death as the 'the greatest of all teachers', 'the sickness' and 'the most important manifestation of impermanence'.
Buddhism has stressed the importance of death, since awareness of death is what prompted the Buddha to perceive the ultimate futility of worldly concerns and pleasures. Realizing that death is inevitable for a person who is caught up in worldly pleasures and attitudes, he resolved to renounce the world
His concern with death was so great that when he was meditating in a cave his tattered clothes fell apart, but he decided not to mend them, saying, "If I were to die this evening, it would be wiser to meditate than to do this useless sewing." (Chapter 10 of 'Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers)
Akama Marana which refers to someone who has attachment to life and doesn't want to die but dies when his life is over. Therefore, he has died helplessly and not on his own accord. According to Jainism, this person is often one who is willingly or unwillingly ignorant to the concepts of rebirth, other worlds, and liberation of the soul.
Sakama Marana which refers to someone who is not afraid of death and who accepts it willingly and at ease. They understand that there is no way to avoid death and that it is a natural process. Sakama Marana can be further divided into 4 types. These are Samadhi Marana, Anasana, Santharo, and Sallekhana. (Death in Jainism/ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia)
Jainism has taught the art of choosing death. Jain Acharyas have spoken of 17 types of death for ordinary souls.
Islam Recommends Visiting of Graves
Islamic teachings recommend ‘visiting graves to remember the life after death and the final destination that is the gateway to the life hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) says to remember the good deeds of the departed soul and say what he used to say on his visits to Al-Baqi:
"Peace be upon you, dwellers of these graves of the Muslims and the believers. We will join you when Allah wills. You are our predecessors and we will be your followers. We ask Allah's forgiveness for us and for you. O Allah, forgive them and have mercy on them." [Muslim]
Consider other Ahadees on visiting the graves:
Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW), said, “I prohibited you from visiting graves, but visit them now. Verily, they will weaken your attachment to the world and remind you of the Hereafter.” Sunan Ibn Mājah 1571
The departed souls have to be remembered in good words, their good deeds have to be discussed but the graves or tombs are not to be respected as being worshipped. Consider the following Hadees:
“Allah condemned the Jews because they make the graves of their prophets as mosques.” (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Daud)
Spiritualism and spiritual leaders of the world have a duty at hand to spread the message that this life is not the ultimate and hence all the race and fight should not be for the materialistic achievements but for the spiritual treasure that will go with the departed souls. Humankind had come to the world with his future in his closed hands and will depart for his heavenly abode leaving all that he had acquired during his journey from life to death. The philosophers and the scholars also ditto the same feelings. Consider the following:
Birth in the physical is death in the spiritual. Death in the physical is the birth in the spiritual. (Edgar Cayce)
Death is nothing else but going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity. (Mother Teresa)
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond. (Khalil Gibran)
Allah, the Most Gracious and All-Knower creator of the universe has commanded the people to live a life like a traveller and earn His blessings before departing to his final abode. Consider what Allah the Most Gracious says in the Holy Quran:
You have come to Us all alone, just as We had first created you, and you have left behind you what We had bestowed on you, and We do not see your intercessors with you - those whom you claimed to be (Our) partners in (managing) your matters. In fact, all ties between you are now severed, and all that you presumed has totally failed you. (Surah Al-An'am - 94) — Mufti Taqi Usmani
And Allah Knows the Best.
Arman Neyazi is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.
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