What Happens at the Time of Death

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Hazrat Bara’ (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) has reported that we were attending a Janaazah with Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The grave had not been dug yet and we had already reached there. We all sat around Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as if there were birds sitting on our heads. There was a stick in the blessed hand of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with which he was scraping at the ground. Then after a while, he raised his blessed head and either twice or thrice he said, “I Seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the grave.”

Thereafter, he said, “Bright faced Angels appear to a believing servant who is about to leave the world and turn his direction towards the hereafter. Their faces are as bright as the sun. They have with them the Kafan of Jannah and fragrance of Jannah. They sit at a position where a man’s vision reaches. Malakul Maut (the Angel of Death) then arrives and sits at the head-side of the dying person and says, “O Contented Soul! Come out towards the pleasure and pardon of your Rabb.” Then his soul flows out as easily as a drop that comes out of a leather jug. The moment Malakul Maut removes his soul, these bright faced Angels immediately take the soul into their care and they wrap it in the Jannati Kafan (Heavenly Shroud) and apply Jannati Fragrance which they had brought. Then a fragrance similar to the best musk in the world emanates from him.

They then take him and ascend towards the Highest Assembly of Angels. Those Angels residing in Malaa Al A’la (The Highest Assembly) ask about this fragrance and they ask concerning whom this fragrance is emanating from, so the Angels mention the good name by which he used to be known on earth. They then ascend with it towards the sky of the earth, having the door of the sky opened, and the Muqarrab Angels (the Angels that have a special nearness to Allah Ta’ala) of every sky follow it (i.e. there is a procession of Angels) until they reach the next sky, and this continues until they reach the seventh sky. Then Almighty Allah says, “Record my servant in the register of the Illiyoon and thereafter take him back towards the earth, for I have created him from sand (dust) and I will return him towards dust, and I will raise him once again from dust.”

The soul of the deceased is then returned to his body, and two Angels come to him, making him sit. They then ask him, “Who is your Lord?” He says, “Almighty Allah.” They ask, “What is your Religion?” He says, “Islam.” They ask, “What did you have to say about this person who was sent towards you?” He will say, “It is Muhammadur Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).” They will then ask, “What is your knowledge?” He will say, “I read the Book of Allah (The Holy Qur’an) and I brought Imaan in it and I confirmed it.” Then an announcement will be made from the sky, “My servant has spoken the truth. Set for him the bedding of Jannah, adorn him in the robes of Jannah, and open for him the Door of Jannah.” He will then feel the cool and fragrant breeze of Jannah and his grave will be expanded for as far as his eyes can see. Then, a very handsome faced, elegantly dressed and fragrant person will come to him saying, “Glad tidings to you. This is the day when your promises will be fulfilled.” The deceased will ask, “Who are you, for I see goodness and virtue in your face?” He will reply by saying, “I am your good deeds.” The deceased will say, “O Allah! Establish Qiyaamat so that I may go towards my family.”

When a kaafir (unbeliever) is about to die, then those with black faces, carrying blankets descend from the sky and they sit at a position where a man’s vision reaches. Then Malakul Maut sits at his head-side and says, “O evil (cursed) soul! Come out towards the displeasure and wrath of Allah.” The soul then spreads out into the body and the Angels then pull out the soul with such force, just as a skewer is pulled from wet cotton wool. When the soul comes out, the Angels immediately take it into their control and wrap it in a blanket. It gives off a foul odour like that of a decaying corpse. The Angels then take it towards the Highest Assembly and those residing there ask, “Who is this evil (cursed) soul?” The Angels mention his worst name by which he was known on earth. They then take it towards the sky of the earth and attempt to have the door opened, but it refuses to be opened.” After mentioning this, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) recited this verse, “The Doors of the Sky will not to be opened for them.” [Surah 7, Verse 40]

Almighty Allah will then say, “Have his book recorded in the Sijjeen of the deepest level of the earth.” Then his soul will be thrown into the Sijjeen. Thereafter, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) recited this verse, “And whoever attributes partners to Allah, it is as though he has fallen from the sky, and the birds carry him away, or the wind blows him off to a far away place.” [Surah 22, Verse 31]

The soul of the deceased is then returned to his body and two Angels come to him and make him sit. They ask him, “Who is your Lord?” He says, “Alas, Alas, I do not know.” They ask, “What is your religion?” He says, “Alas, Alas, I do not know.” They then ask, “What did you have to say about this person who was sent towards you?” He will say, “Alas, Alas, I do not know.”

Then an announcement will be made from the sky, “My servant is lying. Set for him the bedding of Hell and wrap him in the garb of Hell, and open towards him the Door of Hell.” The intense heat from Hell will reach him. His grave will then become so constricted that his ribs will be crushed. Thereafter, a dreadful and unpleasant looking person will appear to him, whose clothing will be inappropriate and he will say to him, “Today you will receive the punishment which was promised to you whilst you were on earth.” He will ask, “Who are you, your face looks evil?” He will say, “I am your evil and cursed deeds.” The person will then say, “O Allah! Do not let Qiyaamat be established.”

With regard to the Illiyeen and the Sijjeen, mentioned in the Hadith above, Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) once asked Hazrat Ka’ab Al Ahbaar (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) regarding what is meant by the verse, “Indeed the record of the righteous is in the highest place, Illiyeen [Surah 83, Verse 18],” so he replied, “When the soul of a Believer is removed, it is carried towards the skies by the Angels. Then different groups of Angels come to it and give it glad tidings of Jannah, until they carry it up to the Arsh-e-Ilaahi. The Angels then bring forth a Kitaab from under the Arsh. They write something in it and then place a seal onto it, thereafter replacing the Kitaab from where they brought it, so that on the Day of Accountability, his salvation is proven by virtue of this Kitaab (Record Book).” It is this Kitaab which is being discussed in the verse, “Indeed the record of the disbelievers is in the lowest place, Sijjeen [Surah 83, Verse 7],” which means that when the soul of the evildoers will be taken towards the skies, then the sky will refuse to accept it. It will be thrown down towards the earth and the earth will also refuse to accept it, so it will be taken to the Sijjeen, which is in the seventh earth and this is the ‘Abyss of Shaitaan’. From there, a book will be brought forth, something will be written in it and a seal will be placed onto it, which will serve as confirmation of his destruction for the Day of Accountability. This will then be retained in the Abyss of Shaitaan.

May Allah Ta’ala bless us with His Mercy and Salvation and save us from His Wrath and Punishment, Ameen.

[Compiled from Sharhus Sudoor by Hazrat Imaam Jalaaluddin Suyuti Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh]

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