Journey

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The Journey


By Huma Ahmad

Imagine yourself at the moment of your death.

What thoughts cross your mind? Memories of family and friends?
Panic? Regrets? Remembrance of Allah? What is death? What happens to
us after we die? What is life in the Hereafter like, this new and
strange world after death? Do we lose consciousness of this life?
Where does our soul go? Do we feel and think the same?

The ineffable feeling of crossing the boundary between this world and
the next cannot be described in words, nor imagined in the mind, but
can be understood only through divine revealation and inspiration.
Let us for the next few moments seek an understanding of this, death,
the only certainty in life.

Sometimes we may not want to know about the processes that occur
after we die because we are afraid or don't want to think about it.
However, this is not the attitude of a Muslim. We should be foremost
in learning and understanding death, so we can live our lives
accordingly. The prophet (saw) said, "Live in this world as though
you are a stranger or a traveler (passing through it)." [Muslim] We
are on a journey and should know about the whole journey's itinerary,
not just one part.

Death is inevitable. It is the one thing that we can be certain
about in life. We are born to die. Every soul shall have a taste of
death no matter who they are. This is confirmed for us many times in
the Quran:

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of
Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense." (Quran 3:185)

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and
by good, by way of trial. To Us must you return." (21:35)

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: In the end to Us shall you
be brought back." (29:57)

Death is not pure annihilation, but rather both the living and dead
are aware, but there is a difference that can't be compared. Death
is merely movement from one world to another. It can be described as
a journey through a wormhole to a separate dimension of existence.

We begin this journey in our mother's wombs. 120 days after
conception the soul is blown into the fetus. Narrated 'Abdullah bin
Mus'ud: "Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, '(The
matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb
of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick
blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar
period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four
things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's)
deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be
blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into
him'"[Bukhari]

We have no choice in who our parents are, our race, color or
nationality. "He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases.
There is no god but He, The Exalted in Might, The Wise." (3:6) Allah
knows all of this before our birth even, but we still continue our
journey to fulfill our destiny.

The next part of our trip begins after we are born. This is the life
of this world, in which we now reside and are familiar with. We may
stay at this station for a few seconds or as long as 100 years or
more. Here we grow up and acquire the means to happiness or misery.
We are given the ability to make choices after the age of puberty and
we will later be punished or rewarded based upon them. Allah gives
each of us the natural Fitrah, knowledge of good and bad as well as
right and wrong. The rest is up to us. As the Quran says, "By the
Soul, and the proportion and order given to it, and its enlightenment
as to its wrong and its right--Truly he succeeds that purifies it,
and he fails that corrupts it!" (91:7-10)

In this life, the soul and the body are together except during sleep
when the soul may leave the body and come back in the morning or
Allah may take the soul at that time. "It is Allah that takes the
souls at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep:
those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from
returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a
term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect."
(39:42) It is indeed something to be pondered; that we die each night
and Allah gives us another chance at life when we wake up the next
day.

We also find continuous biological processes of life and death during
this time. In every cell, organ or system of organs, life and death
is occuring. There are several hundreds of thousands of enzymatic
reactions that take place in the body every fraction of a second.
Some of these biochemical reactions are used to synthesize living
materials while others are either used to synthesize dead materials
or to get rid of living materials. "You (Allah) bring the Living out
of the Dead, and You bring the Dead out of the Living" (3:27)

This part of our journey ends as our death begins.

No one knows where, how and when he or she will die. "Verily, the
knowledge of the hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down
rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs, nor does anyone know
what it is that he will earn on the morrow. Nor does anyone know in
what land he is to die. Verily, with Allah is full knowledge and He
is acquainted (with all things.)" (31:34) Nor does anyone have the
right to take his or her own life. If they do they will
automatically go to Hell. The One who gave life is the only one who
has the right to take life.

When someone begins to die the Angel of Death or Izraeel comes to
take the soul out of the body and puts it in a place called the
Barzakh. "Say: 'The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly)
take your souls. Then shall you be brought back to your Lord."
(32:11) "Wherever you are, Death will find you out, even if you are
in towers built up strong and high! " (4:78)

For those who led a life of evil, the removal of the soul is tough
and difficult. Sometimes, more than one angel has to work together to
beat the face and back of the deceased. But for those who lived a
good life, the soul yearns to meet its Lord and leaves the body with
ease, like a drop of water pouring out. A light like the sun's ray
and a sweet fragrance come out to the soul. Then it ascends amid
rows of angels, but those who are there cannot see or smell this.
The deceased is questioned, punished, beaten, and wails, and cries
out. All this happens while they lie dead and their family is around
them, but they neither hear nor see it. The sleeper dreams and
enjoys their dream or is tormented by it, while someone awake at
their side is not able to perceive what is going on at all.

Allah has given inanimate objects awareness and perception by which
they glorify their Lord. The stones fall down out of fear of Him.
The mountains and trees prostrate. The pebbles, water and plants
glorify Him. All this is going on but we are not aware of it. "There
is nothing which does not glorify His praise but you do not
understand their glorification." (17:44) The Companions heard the
food that was being eaten glorifying Allah. That was because the
Companions had a transparency of heart that does not now exist among
us. All these things are part of our world and yet we are in
complete ignorance of them. It is not too much of an extrapolation
to extend this to our being unaware of the things of the Next World.

After the soul is taken, if it is a pure soul and has relatives in
the Next World who are people of the Garden, they come to meet the
soul with yearning and great joy. They ask it about the condition of
those who are still alive and 'suffering' in this world. The angels
then bear the soul from one heaven to the next until it comes into
the presence of Allah, Then it returns and sees the washing of the
body, its shrouding, and the funeral procession. It says either,
'Take me forward! Take me forward!' or 'Where are you taking me?'
The living, of course, hear none of this. The soul comes back and
stays floating above the body and when the corpse is placed in the
grave, the soul inserts itself between the body and the shroud so
that the questioning can take place.

Whenever someone died, the prophet (saw) would stand for awhile at
the burial site and then say, "Seek forgiveness for your (Muslim)
brother and pray for his steadfastness since he is now being
questioned." [Abu Dawud]

The angels pray for the soul of the believer in the heavens just as
people pray over the body on earth. The soul hears the receding
footfall of the last of the people who followed the funeral and the
earth is levelled over them. The earth or even a rock hollowed out
and sealed over with lead, would not prevent the two angels, Munkar
and Nakir from reaching it.

This is all narrated in the following sound hadith of the prophet
(saw):

"When the believer is about to depart from this world and go forward
into the Next World, angels with faces as bright as the sun descend
from the heavens and sit around him in throngs stretching as far as
the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head
and says, "Good soul, come out to forgiveness and pleasure from
Allah!" Then his soul emerges like a drop of water flows from a
water-skin and the angel takes hold of it. When he has grasped it,
the other angels do not leave it in his hand even for the twinkling
of an eye. They take it and place it in a perfumed shroud and
fragrance issues from it like the sweetest scent of musk found on the
face of the earth.'

"Then they bear it upwards and whenever they take it past a company
of angels, they ask, 'Who is this good soul?' and the angels with the
soul reply, 'So-and-so the son of so-and-so,' using the best names by
which people used to call him in this world. They bring him to the
lowest heaven and ask for the gate to be opened for him. It is
opened for him and angels who are near Allah from each of the heavens
accompany him to the subsequent heaven until he reaches to the heaven
where Allah the Great is. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says,
'Register the book of My slave in 'Illiyun and take him back to
earth. I created them from it and I return them to it and I will
bring them forth from it again.'

"His soul is then returned to his body and two angels come to him.
They make him sit up and say to him, 'Who is your Lord?' He replies,
'My Lord is Allah.' They ask him, 'What is your religion?' He
replies, 'My religion is Islam.' They ask him, 'Who is this man who
was sent among you?' He replies, 'The Messenger of Allah.' They ask
him, 'How did you come to know these things?.' He replies, 'I read
the Book of Allah, believed it, and declared it to be true.' Then a
Voice from on high declares, 'My slave has spoken the truth, so
spread out carpets from the Garden for him and open a gate of the
Garden for him!'

"Then some of its fragrance and perfume comes to him, his grave is
expanded for him as far as the eye can see, and a man with beautiful
garments and a fragrant scent comes to him and says, 'Rejoice in what
delights you for this is the day which you were promised.' He asks,
'Who are you? Yours is a face which presages good.' He replies, 'I
am your good actions.' Then he says, 'O Lord, let the Last Hour come
soon so that I may rejoin my family and my property!'

"When an unbeliever is about to depart from this world and go forward
into the Next World, angels with black faces descend from the heavens
carrying rough hair-cloth and sit around him in throngs stretching as
far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his
head and says, 'Foul soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allah!'
Then his soul divides up in his body and it is dragged out like a
skewer is pulled out of wet wool. Then the angel takes hold of it.
When he has grasped it, the other angels do not leave it in his hand
even for the twinkling of an eye. They take it and wrap it in the
rough haircloth and a stench comes out of it like the worst stench of
a corpse on the face of the earth.'

"Then they take it up and whenever they take it past a company of
angels, they ask, 'Who is this foul soul?' and the angels with the
soul reply, 'So-and-so the son of so-and-so,' using the worst names
by which people used to call him in this world. They bring him to
the lowest heaven and ask for the gate to be opened for him. It does
not get opened.'

"The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
then recited, 'The gates of heaven will not be opened to them nor
will they enter the Garden until the camel passes through the eye of
the needle.' (7:40) Then Allah the Mighty and Majestic, will say,
'Register his book in Sijjin in the lowest earth.' Then his soul is
flung down. The Prophet then recited, 'Whoever associates anything
with Allah, it is as though he has fallen from heaven and the birds
snatch him away or the wind sweeps him headlong into a place far
away.' (22:31)

"Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and say to
him, 'Who is your Lord?' He replies, 'Alas, alas, I do not know!'
Then a voice calls from on high, 'My slave has lied, so spread out
carpets from the Fire for him and open a gate of the Fire for him!'
then a hot blast from it comes to him, his grave is made so narrow
for him that his ribs are pressed together, and a man with a hideous
face and clothing and a foul odour comes to him and says, 'Grieve on
account of what has brought you disgrace for this is the day which
you were promised.' He asks, 'Who are you? Yours is a face which
presages evil.' He replies, 'I am your bad actions.' Then he says, 'O
Lord, do not let the Last Hour come!'"

This life in the grave or Interspace is the next part of our
journey. An 'interspace' is something that separates two things:
heaven and earth, this world and the Next World or the period between
death and resurrection. The bliss or punishment of the Interpsace is
not the same as that of the Herafter, but rather something that
happens between the two worlds.

In death, the body remains in the ground while the soul is in the
interspace or Barzakh between the two worlds. However, the two are
still connected and so the bliss or punishment happens to both of
them. When Allah desires bliss or punishment for the soul, He
connects it to the body. This is dependent on the will of Allah and
dependent on a person's own actions. The soul is diffused in more
than one place at the same time. The proof of this is that the
prophet (saw) saw Musa (as) on the night of the Night Journey
standing in prayer in his grave and he also saw him in the sixth and
seventh heavens.

During this life in the grave part of our journey the souls are
divided into two groups: one group is punished and the other group is
in bliss. Usually when we think of the 'grave', it is a word that
inspires fear. We are pained, but not aware of the delight it can
contain. Indeed, the bliss of the Grave is better than any delight
that this world can offer.

The liberated souls of those who are in bliss visit each other and
discuss what happened in the world they have left and the people of
that world. Allah says, "Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they
are with those whom Allah has blessed, the prophets, the sincere, the
martyrs and the righteous. Very excellent companions they are!"
(4:69)

As the hadiths narrate, if the soul was a believing one, a door onto
the fire is opened and the soul is shown it's place in the Fire had
they disobeyed Allah. Then that door is locked and another door onto
the Garden is opened and they are shown their place there. This door
will remain open until the Day of Rising. Some of the sweetness and
fragrance of the Garden reaches them and their grave is made
spacious. The believer sleeps in peace just as if they were in one
of the meadows of the Garden. Their narrow grave expands and
stretches for the soul as far as the eye can see.

This spaciousness, light and greenery in which the believer remains
from the time of his death until the Day of Rising is not the same as
we know in our world. If a living person were to open a grave, they
would not find any expanse, light or greenness there. They would not
find an open door through which they could see the Garden. They do
not see bliss or torment. It is only the dead person who is aware of
these things and sees them. Allah, through His wisdom, has the power
to veil this from the living. The proof that this is so is shown by
the fact that there are other creatures like the Jinn who live with
us on the earth. They converse in raised voices among us but we do
not see or hear them. There were angels who fought with the
believers (at Badr) and struck down the unbelievers and shouted at
them, but the Muslims did not see or hear them. Jibril came to the
prophet (saw) in the midst of the people and they did not see or hear
them.

If however the soul was a disbelieving one, a door to the Garden is
opened for the unbeliever and they are told to look at what their
place would have been in the Garden had they obeyed Allah. Then it
is locked and another door is opened and they are told to look at
their place in the fire. It stays open and the blast of hot air from
it continues to reach them until the Day of Rising. The earth
presses in on them and they are crushed to the point that their ribs
split apart.

If a righteous person were to be buried in a fiery furnace, their
portion of bliss would still reach their soul and body and Allah
would make the fire cool and peaceful for them. For the wrongdoer,
the cool air becomes fire and hot wind. The elements and the matter
of the universe obey their Lord, Originator and Creator. None of them
are able to do anything except what He wills and everything obeys His
will in humble submission to His decree.

This part of our journey in our graves is still mostly unknown
territory. Outwardly the grave is stillness and quiet while inwardly
it contains secrets and terrors which an ordinary person cannot
percieve. It is a strange fact that animals are able to hear the
punishment in the grave while human beings as a general rule cannot.
The prophet (saw) said, "They are punished and the animals hear it."

Various forms of punishment rain down on a person in the grave
according to the type of wrong actions they committed. There are
hadiths of the prophet (saw) about the Night Journey which contain
descriptions of the many types of punishment he saw in the interspace
between the two worlds.

There are those who are driven like cattle and forced to eat herbage
more bitter than aloes and the bitter fruit of Zaqqum and driven on
to the hot stones of Jahannam because they did not purify their
property by paying Zakat.

There are those who have to eat foul putrid meat because they
fornicated. Some of them have bellies as big as houses and whenever
one of them gets up, they are knocked down and say, "O Allah, do not
let the Hour come!" They are in the path of the people of Pharaoh who
come and trample them while they can do nothing but scream. These are
people who devoured usury.

Some of them are screaming with their mouths gaping open while they
devour hot coals which come out of their anuses. These are people
who consumed the property of orphans.

Some of them cut pieces from their own sides and eat their own
flesh. They are the slanderers and those about whom the prophet
(saw) said, "We saw people cutting flesh from their sides and eating
it. It was said, "As you used to consume the flesh of your brother!"


Part of the hadith of the Night Journey is as follows: "Some people
were cracking open their heads with a stone. Every time they did
this, their heads were restored to what they were like in the first
place. This went on and on without stopping. I said, "Jibril, who
are they?" Jibril replied, "They are the people who turned away from
the prayer."

All of this shows that the Punishment of the Grave is true beyond any
doubt.

"Race to forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden whose breadth is
like the breadth of the Heaven and the Earth" (57:21)

The intelligent are those who protect themselves against the evil of
this punishment before it is too late. They know with certainty that
sooner or later this day will come and maybe without any warning.
When it does, they will leave behind everything and move to another
world. Only there will they feel regret, but regret then will not
do them any good. In that place, only good actions will be of any
use. They alone will be useful currency on that Critical day. Only
with them will a person be able to purchase a magnificent mansion in
the Garden with all the luxuries and blessings it contains, an
everlasting mansion, not one which will disappear as things do in
this world. The intelligent person is the one who acts for this world
as if they were going to live forever and acts for the Next World as
if they were going to die tomorrow.

The Grave is an embrace from which neither believer or unbeliever can
escape. Our souls stay in the Barzakh and visit the grave regularly
for rewards or punishments. Afterwards, our journey continues and
the believer is relieved of its pressure while the unebliever remains
in punishment.

The next part of our journey includes the rebirth from what is left
of our bodies, the seed and its embryo, called Ajaf of the sacrum.
This method of rebirth of human beings is as simple as the rebirth of
a plant from its own seeds. Plants carry seeds that have their
genetic traits embedded on chromosomes. The genes on the chromosomes
carry everything needed to bring the plant back to its shape, height,
variety, chemical composition and other characteristics. In the same
way, the embryos of human beings germinate and the new life will
start on the Day of Rising.

Allah instructs Angel Israfeel to blow the horn twice. The first is
to ready every seed for germination. Water of Life is then poured
upon these seeds in their graves. The soul comes back from the
barzakh to join its biological entity at this time. The second blow
of the trumpet helps those seeds to germinate and produce every
person back to normal. They come out of their graves in a state of
shock, naked without any clothes or shoes.

"The trumpet will be sounded when all that are in the heavens and in
the earth will swoon except such as will please Allah (to exempt).
Then will a second one be sounded, when, behold, they will be
standing and looking on!" (39:68) "The trumpet shall be sounded,
when behold! From the sepulchres (men and women) will rush forth to
their Lord! They will say: 'Ah! Woe unto us! Who had raised us up
from out beds of repose?' (A voice will say: ) 'This is what Allah,
Most Gracious had promised, and true was the word of the messengers!"
(36:51-52)

Everyone will be raised up with the same identification features down
to our very fingerprints. "Does man think that We cannot assemble
his bones? Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the
very tips of his fingers." (75:3-4)

After our rebirth our journey continues as each of us is taken to a
place of Assembly. "On that day We shall leave them to surge life
waves on one another. The trumpet will be blown, and We shall collect
them all together. (18:99) All will be waiting for the Court of
Allah, the Court of Justice to decide for them. The Day of Assembly
is a day of fear, agony and anxiety. It is a day when each of us
will be worried about what will happen to us personally. "At length,
when there comes the Deafening Noise--that day shall a man flee from
his own brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his
wife and his children. Each one of them, that Day, will have enough
concern (of his own) to make him indifferent to the others."
(80:33-37)

With the heat of sun, sweating, and presence of too many people next
to one another, the situation will be very scary and chaotic. "O
mankind! Fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of
Judgement) will be a thing terrible! The Day you shall see it, every
mother giving suck shall forget her suckling babe, and every pregnant
female shall drop her load (unformed). You shall see mankind as in a
drunken riot, yet not drunk; but dreadful will be the Chastisement of
Allah." (22:1-2)

On this day seven groups of people will be protected by Allah, these
are mentioned in Hadith: "Seven types of people will be under the
shelter of mercy on the Day when there will be no shade other than
that of Allah's mercy: 1) a just imam, 2) a young person who kept
busy in Allah's worship, 3) a person whose heart is attached to the
masjid, 4)two people who loved each other for Allah's sake, gathered
for His sake and parted, remembering Him, 5) a man who was invited by
a beautiful and charming woman but declined her offer, saying "I fear
Allah"; 6) a person who gave charity so secretly that their left hand
did not know what was given by the right hand , and 7) a person who
remembered Allah privately, so that their eyes brimmed with tears."
[Bukhari, Muslim]

Each person shall then be grouped behind his or her leader, prophet,
messenger, mentor, celebrity, etc. All will be put in lines waiting
for the Court of Allah to take place and our journey to continue. "On
the day We shall call together all human beings with their
(respective) Imams" (17:71)

Judgement Day will be our next stop. This is the day when Allah
personally will judge everyone directly with absolute justice. Abu
Hurayrah related that the prophet (saw) said: "Every servant of Allah
will remain standing before Allah on the Day of Judgement until he
has answered five questions about five things: His life--how he spent
it; his knowledge--how much he acted upon it; his wealth--how he
acquired it and how he spent it; and his body (and health)--how he
used it." [Muslim]

Each person will then receive their book that contains each and every
thing they have done from the time of birth till death. This book
includes activites, appearance and intention. Such a book could be
similar to videotape which records all these three paramaters. It is
not unfathomable to think about this in a time in which we have
CDRoms whose glinting thin surface contains encyclopedias full of
information.

"Then he who is given his Record in his right hand, soon will his
account be taken by an easy reckoning, and he will turn to his
people, rejoicing!" (84:7-9) "And he that will be given his Record in
his left hand will say: "Ah! Would that my record had not been given
to me!" (69:25) Their faces will be in gloom and they will be
distressed with fear and anxiety. They will wish and beg to start
their life all over again on the earth

Allah will also select a third group of people: "And those Foremost
(in Faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter). These will be those
Nearest to Allah. In Gardens of bliss: a number of people from those
of old, and a few from those of later times. (They will be) on
Thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), reclining on them,
facing each other." (56:10-16)

This is where we near the end of our journey. We shall enter the
everlasting domain, which comprises of the Garden and the Fire.
There is no trip after it for it is the Domain of Eternity.

We shall pass over Hellfire, some of us remaining while others
continue on. "Not one of you but will pass over it: this is, with thy
Lord, a Decree which must be accomplished. But We shall save those
who guarded against evil, and We shall leave the wrongdoers therein,
(humbled) to their knees." (19:71-72)

The prophet (saw) said: "The mildest punishment to be inflicted upon
a person in Hell is that he will be made to wear a pair of sandals
made of fire which will be so hot that they will make his brain boil
like things boil on a stove. He will imagine that no one is
undergoing a punishment more severe although his punishment, in
reality, will be the mildest in Hell." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Others who are not qualified to enter Paradise or Hell may be taken
to a waiting station called Al- A'raf, to wait until forgiveness is
given to them through the Mercy of Allah.

Others will finally end their journey with their life in Paradise.
It is the last destination and hope of every person to arrive here.
It is reserved for believers who submitted themselves to Allah and
followed His teachings. They are the ones whose loyalty and obedience
were to Allah. Paradise has all the beauties of life to enjoy
without ever being tired. It is a life of excitement, peace and
happiness. The prophet (saw) said: "Allah, the Almighty, says, 'I
have prepared for My righteous servants that which no eyes have ever
seen, no ears have ever heard and no heart has ever conceieved.'"
[Bukhari, Muslim]

This Life After is called the Real and the True Life. The Quran
explicitly refers to the Life After as the True Life while the life
in this world is a superficial one. "What is the life of this world
but amusement and play? But verily the Home of the Hereafter -- that
is Life indeed, if they but knew." (29:64)

After completing this journey vicariously here, we should rethink our
lives and our deeds as we do them today. We can hide from each
other, and ourselves but we cannot hide from Allah. It won't be long
before we are pushed along to the next part of our journey. Time
passes quickly and is precious. Everything we do now affects our
journey at a later stage. Everything is recorded; our deeds,
appearances and even hidden intentions. As travelers, we can prepare
and change to make our journey and especially our final stop a better
one. Perhaps even one small deed or choice we make can save us if we
keep conscious.

Among the dreams of the early Muslims is one related by Yazid b
Nu'ama who said, "A girl died in the al-Jarib plague. Her father met
her in a dream after her death and asked her to tell him about the
Next World. She replied, 'My father, this is a big subject you have
raised. We know but cannot act. You can act but do not know. By
Allah, one or two acts of glorification and one or two rakats of the
prayer in the book of my actions are preferable to me than the world
and all it contains.'"

The prophet (saw) related in a true dream he had:

" He saw one of the muslims. The Angel of Death came to take his
soul but his correct behavior towards his parents came and drove the
Angel of Death away from him.'

" He saw another of the muslims surrounded by shaytans. Then his
remembrance of Allah came and made the shaytans fly from him.'

"Then he saw a thrid muslim surrounded by the angels of punishment.
His prayer came and rescued him from their hands.'

"The tongue of a fourth muslim was lolling out from thirst and
whenever he approached a pool of water, he was stopped and driven
away. Then his fasting of Ramadan came and gave him water to drink.'

" He saw another man and the prophets sitting in circles. Everytime
the muslim approached one of the circles, he was stopped and driven
away. His ghusl for janaba came, took hold of his hand, and sat him
down in the circle.'

"Another muslim had darkness in front of him, behind him, on his
right, on his left and above him. He was completely lost in it.
Then his hajj and umra came and led him out of the darkness into the
light.'

"Another muslim was being pursued by flames and sparks of fire. His
sadaqa formed a veil between him and the fire and shaded his head.'

"Another muslim was speaking to a group of believers who would not
speak to him. His upholding of kinship came and told the group of
believers that he had maintained ties of kinship and ordered them to
speak to him. Then the believers spoke to him and shook hands with
him.'

"Another muslim was surrounded by the Zabaniyya (angels of Jahannam).
His commanding the right and forbidding the wrong came and rescued
him from them and put him among the angels of mercy.'

"Another muslim was kneeling with a veil between him and Allah. His
good character came, took his hand and Allah let him enter His
presence.'

"Another muslim had received his book in his left hand. His fear of
Allah came and took his book and placed it in his right hand.'

"The scales of another muslim were light in the balance. Those of his
children who had died young came and made the scales level.'

"Another muslim was standing on the brink of Jahannam. His hope in
Allah came and rescued him from it, and he withdrew from it.'

"Another muslim had fallen into the fire. The tears that he had wept
out of fear from Allah came and rescued him from it.'

"Another muslim was standing on the Sirat trembling like a leaf in a
strong wind. His good opinion of Allah came and his terror was
allayed and he was able to go on.'

"Another muslim was crawling on the Sirat, sometimes creeping, and
sometimes just clinging on. His prayer came and put him on his feet
and rescued him.'

"Another muslim reached the gates of the Garden but they were locked
against him. His testimony that there is no god but Allah came and
opened the gates for him and let him into the garden."

Let us pray that we are among those who work to have an easy trip and
have as the end to their journey, the final abode of Paradise. O
Allah, We seek refuge with You from the punishment of the grave. O
Allah, help us to live and die as Muslims and help us to understand
the true object of this life. O Allah, grant us good in this life
and good in the life to come, and save us from the torment of the
Hellfire.

"We hear and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord!
To You is the journey's end." (2:285)
Ameen.

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of
Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is save
far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the
object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and
chattels of deception" (3:185)

Sources: "The Soul's Journey after Death" by Layla Mabrouk
"Death and Dying" by Dr. Ahmad Sakr
"The World of the Angels" by Sh. Abdul Hamid Kishk
"A Treasury of Ahadith" by Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi
Quran Al-Kareem trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Ramadan 1418, January 1998

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