An-Nadhr ibn Ismaa’eel said, “I heard Aboo Dharr 1 saying in one of his speeches, “Concerning Death –then it has been announced to you such that you are looking at it every day and night.
It appears to the one it takes away –who was dear to his people, noble amongst his clan, obeyed and followed among his folk — taking him to a dry arid pit, and to a place of massive hard rocks of stone. The people there have no cushions – except cushions that are mixed and stuffed with poisonous reptiles and vermin – for their cushions on that Day will be [as a result] of their [evil] deeds.
And it appears to those who are filled with concern and are like strangers, those whose concern is just this worldly life, who have striven long for it and their bodies have toiled hard for it. But then death overcomes them before they can attain their goal, for it has taken them by surprise.
And so Death appears to the young boy who is still being suckled, the sick man who is afflicted with pain, and the one who is a hostage of evil, being hell-bent on doing such deeds. Death has been allocated to all these people, and so they are all overtaken by it.
Have not the slaves taken heed of what the admonishers have said?!
Sometimes I say: Indeed Allaah is far from any imperfection, and exalted is His Splendour, for He has given you respite to the extent that it is as if He has left you to your own devices. Then I consider His Forbearance and His Complete Ability and Power. And so I say: Rather He has simply deferred us to our appointed times. Indeed He is far from any imperfection. And hence we are left until a Day during which the eyes will be transfixed and the hearts will be dry and withered:
مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لاَ يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاء
(They will be) hastening forward with their necks outstretched, their hands raised up (towards the sky), their gaze not returning towards them and their hearts empty (from thinking, due to extreme fear). [Soorah Ibraaheem 14:43]
O Lord! You have indeed given notice and warned us to be on guard, and so You have established the proof against your creation.
Then he recited:
وَأَنذِرِ النَّاسَ يَوْمَ يَأْتِيهِمُ الْعَذَابُ فَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ رَبَّنَا أَخِّرْنَا إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ
Warn (O Muhammad salAllahu alayhi wasallam) mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them. Then the wrong doers will say, “Our Lord! Give us respite for a little while …” [Soorah Ibraaheem 14:44]
Then he continued…
“O wrong-doing oppressor! You are within your appointed time – which you have tried to postpone. So seize the opportunity before your time takes place and hurry up before it escapes. The close of this deadline is when one witnesses it with one’s own eyes – and that is when Death descends. And when that happens, then being sorry and regretful will be of no benefit.
Indeed, the son of Aadam is nothing but averse to and distressed about Death, for whomever Death fires its arrow at, it never fails to hit its target, and it will not hit anyone else.
O indeed, the greatest good is the good of the Hereafter which lasts forever and never dwindles. It always remains and never perishes, and it is extensive and is not cut short.
The honoured slaves will be in the proximity of Allaah the Most High, living amongst all the things that the souls desire and the eyes find pleasure in, exchanging visits upon the excellent ones, meeting each other and recollecting what they used to do in the world.
There is nothing but ease and comfort for these people. They have indeed found their objective and have obtained what they requested, since they asked for and craved for the Master, the Noble One, the One who confers all favours [i.e. Allaah].” 2
1 – He is ‘Umar ibn Dharr ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn Zuraarah al-Hamdaanee al-Murhibee, being one of the trustworthy followers of the Taabi’oon. He died in 135H. His biography is found in Tahdeeb at-Tahdheeb (7/444), Hilyah al-Awliyaa (5/108) and other books.
2 – Reported by Aboo Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (5/115-116)
- Transcribed from: Words of Advice from the Salaf – Compiled by: Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee