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Death; A Beautiful Gift For A Believer

Death; A Beautiful Gift For A Believer

Author:
Publisher: Rafed Network
English

www.alhassanain.org/english

Death; A Beautiful Gift for A Believer

Author: Cultural Rafed Foundation

www.alhassanain.org/english

Notice:

This version is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The composing errors are not corrected.

Table of Contents

Introduction 5

The Truth of the life of this world: 8

The Reality of "Departing from the World" 9

Philosophy of Death: 11

`Death'- according to the Holy Qur'an: 13

1. Meeting with Almighty God 14

2. Return to Almighty God 15

3. Seizing of the Soul 16

`Death' - according to the Traditions: 17

1. The bridge of crossing 18

2. Removal of clothes 19

3. Sleep 20

Sayings on Death: 21

Why do we fear Death? 22

Reasons for the Fear of Death 23

1. Not having a correct insight 24

2. A new and an unfamiliar path 25

3. Lack of preparation 26

The Clever King! 27

Prepare for Death. It can strike anytime at anyplace 29

Before Time Runs Out: 30

Doomsday: 31

Life's Journey 32

What Man should realize: 33

The Three Friends: 34

Man's Negligence 36

Do you know? What is Hell? 44

Introduction

"To Allah (Almighty God) we belong, and to Him is our return." (Qur'an 2:156)

Multitudes of men have walked on the surface of this Earth. They all belonged to different nations and cultures. A few of them made history for which they were remembered, whereas others were never to be mentioned again. Although each one was personally different from another - their habits, thinking and tastes differed - they all had two (2) things in common, first, they were all delivered from their mothers womb (birth) and second, they all tasted death. Who claims he has lived a thousand years?

"The Sun travels to an appointed place. This is the decree of the Mighty, the All-Knowing."(Qur'an 36:38)

Almighty God blesses us with all His gifts. The Sun gives us light during the day to help us see and it helps our crops grow so that we can eat. But the Sun also teaches us other things. The Almighty God causes the day to die with its setting and allows the night to take over, which is a time for rest.

In this way, He may be showing us that all of us will eventually have to die just like the day. And when the Sun rises in the morning again after our period of rest, it is as if Almighty God is telling us that we too will be raised to life after we have died. These are all signs of Almighty God to teach us to take care of our life.

One thing that we must remember is that death is

inevitable, and everything except the Almighty God

of course, will perish. Signs of death can be seen all around

us. At funerals we see people who were once walking

among us being buried in their graves. In the fall we see the

leaves turn from green to yellow and fall one at a time, and

in the winter we see trees, lifeless. In this way, all things in

this world will wither away and die.

According to an old fable, a man made an unusual agreement with Hazrat Izraeel (pbuh) - the angel of death. He told Izraeel (pbuh) that he would be willing to accompany him (as though he had a choice) only if Izraeel (pbuh) would send him a notice well in advance. The agreement was made. Weeks became months and the months into years.

One bitterly cold night, as the man sat alone thinking of his success in life, Izraeel (pbuh) tapped on his shoulder. "You are here too soon" the man cried out. "You sent no messenger.

I thought we had an agreement!" Izraeel (pbuh) whispered "Notice your hair, once it was full and black, now it has streaks of silver in it! Observe your face in the mirror and see the wrinkles. Yes! I have sent many messages through the years! I have kept my part. I am sorry that you are not ready for me but the order of Almighty God cannot be averted!"

Hence, hair color turning gray from black or wrinkles on the face are also the signs of nearing death, and the Almighty God is the only one who can bring the dead back to life.

Surely all men die, and just surely Almighty God give them life with His ability, and judges them on their deeds and actions. We know Almighty God is the Creator and can recreate us, because if one can do something he has the ability to do it again.

For instance, if your teacher asks you to draw a picture on the blackboard and color it. Then if after you have drawn it with beautiful colors, the teacher asks you to rub it out and do it again, could you repeat the same drawing again?

Of course you would be able to repeat the picture. It is what you created and are capable of doing again.

From this example, we can understand Almighty God is able to give life to the dead because it is He Who created us in the beginning. Almighty God can surely give life to the dead. He judges them on their deeds. On Resurrection Day He will re-create the dead for judgment, and then allow the doer of good to enter paradise but cast the evil-doer into hell.

Hatred towards death and love of the world is the outcome of an ignorant person's mind, who thinks that the happiness of this world is his prosperity and good fortune. The world beset with numerous troubles and anxieties is about to end in misery and does not enjoy eternity, perpetuity and sincerity. A poet has referred to this in the following words - "Do not give your heart to this world, for its example is of an unfaithful bride who has never loved you, even for a night.

"Imam Ali (pbuh) says: "If man will see how speedily his death is coming toward him he willabhor ambitions and will give up admiring the world."

It is of utmost importance that man should hold death dear and consider it an opportunity of meeting with his Almighty, and not hate it and consider it as evil, but should take lessons from it. He should ask forgiveness from Almighty for his sins and tame the rebellious self (Nafs). When the call of his Lord comes, he should welcome it with open arms accepting it to be a blessing from Almighty. He should be contented with the decree (Qadr) of Almighty.

He should also rejoice that shortly he would be taken to the presence of Ahlul Bait [Household of Prophet] (pbut) and meet his deceased companions and other believer brothers. He should also not be disheartened by the delay in death but should consider it as an opportunity afforded by Almighty to him to repent. This delay would give him a chance to gather provisions useful for his journey to the other world, for the journey is tiresome and full of dangerous valleys and difficult paths.

In fact a believer always remembers death, since his or her main goal is to reach the Almighty God. Hazrat Qasim (pbuh), the son of Imam Hasan Al-Mujtaba (pbuh), when asked concerning death at Karbala, answered: "death to me is sweeter than honey."

Therefore true believers, those who aresincerely devoted to the Almighty God, anticipate death since to them it signifies the long-awaited meeting with their creator.

During imprisonment, Imam Ali An-Naqi, Al-Hadi (pbuh) had a grave dug up ready by the side of his prayer mat. Some visitors expressed concern or surprise. The Imam explained, "In order to remember my end I keepthe grave before my eyes."

Before a believer approaches the final moment of his/her life and death overtakes him, it is necessary that he wakes up from the state of negligence and prepares for the final everlasting place. This way he will be able to avoid bewilderment and the fear of the so-called untimely death.

At the time of leaving this world, as attested to by the Holy Qur'an, a person will be in one of two states - either he will be of the Companions of the Right, or the Companions of the Left (Refer Holy Qur'an 56:7-56). If he is counted amongst the Companions of the Right, he will be in a good, final state, but if he is one of the Companions of the Left, he will be of those who have suffered a great loss

The Truth of the life of this world:

Once a man saw in his dream, that a Lion was chasing him! The man ran to a Tree, climbed on to it and sat on a branch. He looked down and saw that the Lion was still there waiting for him.

The man then looked to his side where the branch he was sitting on was attached to the Tree and saw that two Rats were circling around and eating the branch. One Rat was black and the other one was white. The branch would fall on the ground very soon.

The man then looked below again with fear and discovered that a big black Snake had come and settled directly under him. The Snake opened its mouth right under the man so that he will fall into it.The man then looked up to see if there was anything that he could hold on to. He saw another branch with a Honeycomb. Drops of honey were falling from it.

The man wanted to taste one of the drops. So, he put his tongue out and tasted one of the fallen drops of Honey. The Honey was amazing in taste. So, he wanted to taste another drop. As he did, he got lost into the sweetness of the Honey. Meanwhile, he forgot about the two Rats eating his branch away, the Lion on the ground and the Snake that is sitting right under him. After a while, he woke up from his sleep.

To get the meaning behind this dream, the man went to a pious scholar of Islam. The scholar said: The Lion you saw is your Death. It always chases you and goes wherever you go. The two Rats, one black and one white, are the night and the day. Black one is the night and the white one is the day. They circle around, coming one after another, to eat your time as they take you closer to Death.

The big black Snake with a dark mouth is your Grave. It's there, just waiting for you to fall into it. The Honeycomb is this world and the sweet Honey is the luxuries of this world. We like to taste a drop of the luxuries of this world but it's very sweet. Then we taste another drop and yet another. Meanwhile, we get lost into it and we forget about our time, we forget about our death and we forget about our graves.

Imam Ali (pbuh) says: "You are the game that death hunts. If you stand still it will seize(catch) you. If you ran (flee) away it will overtake you."

"What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand?" (Qur'an 6:32)

The Reality of "Departing from the World"

What is the reality of death? What is the philosophy of life and death? For answering these questions, first of all, we must clarify our perception regarding death, in other words, at the beginning we must see how exactly death is and how we must visualize it.

Usually, most of the people are alarmed and fearful upon hearing the word `death', and to them, death appears dreadful and terrifying, whereas, according to the Islamic ideology, this terminology or this subject has a different appearance and can be perceived in a different way. Basically it can be said that those who fear death, consider it to be a negative entity.

According to this insight, death is an end of life and a moment of everlasting separation of man with his life. They believe that with death, the compounded substances of the body suffer a breakdown and return to nature and man too, is nothing except this very broken-down body. Hence, with death, everything ends with no hope remaining!

Indeed, with this view and insight, death is darker and more dreadful than every other thing and perhaps, no calamity, pain, sorrow and tragedy can be greater and more painful than the tragedy of death, because death would mean the burial of all the desires, hopes, longings and in short, the termination of all things for man - that man who loved life and eternity very dearly.

Anyway, Islam does not possess such a dark and fear-instilling view of death because according to the Islamic view, death is a positive entity. The moment of death is a moment of rebirth of man and a moment of his hastening out from a confined region of this world into a world, which is wide, expansive and rapturous.

A world, wherein, man is not troubled by anxieties, sorrows and the material and natural limitations. Of course, those who have habituated themselves to worries and limitations must free themselves of such habits. In other words, becoming free from the clutches of mother nature entails some transient hardships but after that, in place of a confined and dark place, man is taken into a world which is extensive, infinite and full of luminosity and happiness.

According to this view, death is not annihilation but is inherent fallout of one stage of progress and development of man. Similar to an infant in the womb of the mother, which, after reaching a particular stage of its development, just should not and cannot stay in the confined and dark womb of the mother and obtain nourishment from her blood, but must come out and continue its development in a more extensive world.

Similarly, after a certain period, he should attain freedom from the confined and limited world of nature and hasten to another world, which is appropriate for his eternity-desiring soul.

In short, it is according to this view that life of man becomes pleasant and sweet and his death too, not only does not become a means of sorrow but also is regarded as an escape from the misfortunes, sorrows and limitations. And if his death is like the death of the champions and by his own choice and on the path of Truth and as a result, can be called martyrdom, then surely it will be more pleasant and more sweet, and in the moment of death and departure from the world he shall experience such pleasure that only the very righteous and the martyrs on the path of virtue and piety have the knowledge of, and these are the very people who can taste this pleasure. This is because, those pleasures cannot be described and if ever described, does not possess the same pleasure (which is gained by experiencing it).

The reality of death, according to the Holy Qur'an (32:11), is `Tawaffa' and not `Faut'. `Tawaffa' means the angels commissioned to seize the soul of man, seize it and release it from the captivity of the body and then transfer it to another world, towards his Lord.

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) has said: "You have not been created to perish, but toremain forever. You only transfer from one home to another when you die."

Philosophy of Death:

Why is it that man is created, and then after a certain period of time, in which he lives in this world, departs from it? If death is total annihilation and man after death becomes totally non-existent, this question is propounded with greater seriousness, meaning that, according to this assumption, the probability of the creation of man being futile and the life being vain and empty increases. But, in the event that we do not consider death to be a `negative entity' and define it to be a transfer or a renewed birth, still the question arises and seeks its answer as to why exactly do we come into the world and why exactly do we get transferred from it?

This very question can be expressed in one of the two possible ways:

i) What aim did Almighty God or the Agent possess in creating His creations, or in other words, what benefit does He wish to avail of by the life and death of man and other creations?If the question is put up in this form, it is necessary to state that the question and its answer is not related to our discussion and it must be deliberated in a discussion related and appropriate to it.

All we can say is that Almighty God is an Independent Entity, and He avails of no benefit as a result of His creating His creations. Hence, the exact answer for "Then why did He create?" is related to profound, Gnostic topics.

ii) What purpose did Almighty God or the Agent have for his action? In other words, Almighty God created His creations and among them man, that they travel along which path and to where they reach or what goal they follow? If the above question is expressed in this manner, we must say that according to the Qur'anic verse, Almighty God created the heavens and the creations so that they recognize Almighty God and worship Him:

"And I have not created the Jinn and the Men except that they worship me." (Qur'an 51:56)

In the meaning that, all the creations must, in their journey for perfection, reach a stage that they can, by means of man, become a mirror for the Divine Attributes, because it is in this stage that the worship and cognition of Almighty God can reach a stage which is befitting it.

In short, Almighty God created His creations and amongst them, man so that finally they reach the level of cognition of Almighty God and can understand His Beautiful Attributes and manifest them within themselves, because the real worship and cognizance of Almighty God can take the creation and man to a position and status, the specialties and the grandness of which must be referred to in gnostical topics.

So according to this view, the philosophy of life and death, which are part of the creation of Almighty God, become clear. The life and death and basically, the changes in the material world and the transfer from one stage of life to another of it or the transfer from one world into another world, all of these play a part in the journey of man and the creations towards perfection. Such changes or the ups and downs must be present, in the light of which, people can be tested, and the pure are separated from the impure. This is what, the Holy Qur'an says:

"Who created death and life that He may try you - which of you is best in deeds; and He is Mighty and Forgiving."(Qur'an 67:2)

According to this verse, firstly, both life and death are part of the creation of Almighty God. Thus, death is a thing which Almighty God has created and hence cannot be a `negative entity', because a negative entity is not capable of being created.

Secondly, tests and trials are considered to be the philosophy of the creation of life and death so that it can be known who is the most righteous.

Of course, it should be known that this "test" is not in its literal meaning that takes place on an appointed time and is taken from one particular group or according to a pre-determined subject-matter, but it possesses a very wide meaning. In other words, the tests and trials here, encompass all the moments of the life and death of man, his ups and downs during the span of his entire life, even during his transfer into the next world and after that too.

Basically, these changes and transfers prepare the ground for the development and progress of man. Similar to sportsmen, for whom, not only their competition is a trial and a test, but the pre-competition training is also considered as a form of test and these physic trials and tests, help to prepare them for the original competition.

Life and death and the transfer of man from one world to another world and also the bounties and at times the problems of life, according to the verses of the Holy Qur'an, are trials and tests for man which prepares him, stage by stage, for attaining his ultimate objective.

`Death'- according to the Holy Qur'an:

In the Holy Qur'an, interesting and varied interpretations have been made, regarding death, the study of all the aspects of which, shall become very elaborate, hence we suffice by mentioning a few of the beautiful and expressive interpretations, which have appeared in some of the verses.

1. Meeting with Almighty God

The Holy Qur'an, in the last verse of the Surah Kahf, has expressed death as a meeting with Almighty God and says:

"So whoever desires to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord." (Qur'an 18:110)

2. Return to Almighty God

Another interpretation which the Holy Qur'an has and which makes clear the reality of death, is "return to Almighty God". However, the Islamic philosophers, regarding the manner of the creation of the entities (and amongst them, man) by Almighty God and after then, their return towards Almighty God, have subtle, profound and interesting theories. The Holy Qur'an says:

"Verily, we are Almighty God's and verily to Him shall we return."(Qur'an 2:156)

3. Seizing of the Soul

One of the beautiful interpretations of the Holy Qur'an in the matter of death is. This word means seizing a thing in its entirety. Hence, according to the verse under consideration, the reality of death is that the angels commissioned to take the soul, seize the entire personality of man at the time of death, and remove it from the captivity of the body. They, then carry it to the Divine Presence:

"Say: the Angel of Death who is given charge of you shall cause you to die, and then to your Lord you shall be brought back." (Qur'an 32:11)

`Death' - according to the Traditions:

The traditions also contain beautiful, subtle, instructive and interesting interpretations regarding death, some which are mentioned.

1. The bridge of crossing

In some of the traditions, death has been referred to as a bridge, over which people, at the time of transfer from this world to the other world, shall cross and reach their goal, which is the other world. For example, Imam Husayn (pbuh) on the day of `Ashura', speaking to his loyal companions said:

"Remain firm, O sons of noble people, because death is just a bridge which will cross you and transfer you from discomforts and troubles, into the extensive gardens of paradise. So which of you does not desire his freedom from prison and entering into a castle. Of course, death for your enemies is like their being transferred from a palace and a castle into prison and torture."

Concerning this Prophet Jesus (Hazrat Esa) (pbuh) has said:

"Thisworld is like a bridge, cross it and do not build on it."

2. Removal of clothes

In some of the traditions, death has been compared to clothes, which of course differs, with respect to a believer and an unbeliever. Death, for a believer is like dirty clothes, which he removes and frees himself from its dirtiness and unpleasant odor, whereas, death with respect to an unbeliever is also like clothes, but beautiful, costly and pleasant-smelling, which he must remove from his body at the time of transfer to the other world.

3. Sleep

In some other traditions, death has been compared to sleep, in which the soul goes out of the body. The only fundamental difference between sleep and death is that the coming out of the soul from the body, at the time of sleep, is only for a short period of time. In addition, the connection between the body and the soul is not completely severed. On the other hand, researches pertaining to the soul have proved that the soul maintains a connection with the body in a very special manner. While, at the time of death and after that, the severance of this connection is more complete than that during sleep, although, after death too, a weak connection does exist for a certain period.

Another point is that the coming out of the soul at the time of death continues up to the Universal Resurrection. This tradition says:Imam Muhammad Baqir (pbuh) was questioned as to what is death? The Holy Imam (pbuh) replied:

"Death is the very same sleep that comes to you every night. However this is a sleep, which is very long, and man shall not wake up from it until the Day of Judgment. Thus one who sees different types of pleasure and happiness in his sleep over which he, (in his wakefulness) has no power and similarly he sees the different types of fear-instilling things, while he has no power over them. Thus, how is the state of happiness and fear in the sleep? (The affairs shall be similarly so in the state of death too). This is death. So be ready and prepared for it."

Sayings on Death:

Holy Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) Says:

1. Most intellectual of man is he who remembers the death most.

2. One who gains the love and grace of Almighty Allah (swt), always death (Ajal) will be before his eyes and he will be always worried about his death. But the one who take Satan (Shaitan) as friend and becomes evil doer (Bad-Bakht). Satan overpowers him and indulge (Giraftaar) him in long long desires and then he never remembers death.

3. Somebody asked Holy Prophet (pbuh): How to gain reward of Shahid (Martyr of Jang-e-Ohad). He replied, by remembering death twenty (20) times in the day and night.

4. Remember the destroyer of pleasures. When asked what that was, he (pbuh) replied, `Death'.

Imam Ali (pbuh) Says:

1. How poor is the son of Adam, he knows not his length of days nor understands his sickness. The sting of a flea will make him suffer, he smelts of sweat and dies of cough.

2. Every breath is a step towards death.

3. It is truly surprising that someone forget death even as they watch other dies.

4. The result of long life is disease and weakness.

5. Who leaves long will mourn (cries) on his friend.

Imam Hussain (pbuh) Says: "The children of Adam carry the mark of death like necklaces that adorn the neck of a bride."

Why do we fear Death?

The fear of death, for most of the people, is not a matter which requires any evidence because it is totally obvious and we also see that a lot of people manifest extra-ordinary sensitivity with respect to the term `death' and its reality. Thus the actual matter is self-evident. That which requires proof and an answer is the reason for this fear and alarm as to why we fear death?

Reasons for the Fear of Death

In answer to this question, it is possible to mention some reasons, which have also appeared in our traditions, and which are as follows:

1. Not having a correct insight

In the previous discussions, we had mentioned that a lot of people considered death to be an eternal destruction of themselves. Consequently, it is but natural that they fear death and visualize it dark and gloomy, because the love for permanence and eternity is one of the natural instincts of people and each one in his own way, tries to protect himself from calamities and diseases and ensure his own permanence, and death, in his view, is greater and more pain-inflicting than any disease or calamity, because it is the start of his everlasting extinction.

Nevertheless, if the alarm and fear of death is as a result of non-recognition of the reality of death, then for the removal of this fear, it is vital that its reality, which is found in the Islamic insight, be understood and with regard to it, a strong conviction be developed. If a person bases his views regarding death on correct foundations, many of his fears regarding death will cease to exist because, once he comprehends that with death, he shall enter into a world, more extensive and eternal and also that he shall be liberated from the material, natural and corporeal shackles, how then would he consider it to be abominable and hateful.

2. A new and an unfamiliar path

One of the causes due to which man tends to fear death is that man, after death, steps onto an entirely new path and embarks upon an entirely new journey. Man, usually tends to travel on frightful paths, over which he has traveled a number of times and has not encountered any trouble, better than paths which are comparatively safer, but which are totally new.

Since, the path being new and unfamiliar, it becomes reason for hesitation and anxiety, especially since no one, who has traveled this path, has brought any news about it, for the others.

Anyway, if the fear of death is due to the place and path being unfamiliar, then it is necessary that the reality of death be completely comprehended and one's conviction strengthened. In addition to this, it is necessary to obtain the necessary information by means of the Revelation and the traditions of the Infallible Imams (pbut) and the righteous people, regarding the stages, places of danger and the other particularities of death and after it, then believe in them and prepare oneself to encounter them.

Just like a person, who during the course of a journey, finds himself lonely and unaware of his whereabouts, manages to lessen his perplexity with the help of necessary information, maps and equipment's, we too must obtain the map of the way and the necessary information from authentic and reliable sources.

In a tradition from Imam Ali ibn Muhammed (pbuh), it is narrated that he (pbuh) approached one of his companions who was sick and in a state of crying and grieving and complaining due to fear of death. The Imam (pbuh) then addressed him saying: "O servant of God, you fear death because you do not comprehend it." Then the Imam (pbuh) presented an example and said: "If you had become dirty, and due to the excess of dirt and dirtiness you were in suffering and inconvenience,

and you knew that the cure for all this lay in your taking a shower, would you wish to go to a bath and clean yourself or would you wish to remain in the same state of dirtiness and as a result continue to undergo the suffering." The sick man said, "Yes, I would wish to take the shower." Then the Imam (pbuh) replied: "death (for you) is the very same shower."

The point to be considered in the above tradition is that, the sick person was one of the companions of the Imam (pbuh) and was aware of the Islamic insight regarding death, but in spite of this, was intensely fearful of death. And so, the Imam (pbuh) by presenting an example explained to him the states and circumstances after death and thus calmed him.

3. Lack of preparation

Some of the people have comprehended the reality of death and are also aware of the Islamic insight regarding death. On the other hand, they have also obtained some information regarding the stations and the journey after death, however, in spite of all this, they still fear death. This fear is not due to the two reasons previously mentioned but because they have not made available for themselves the tools and things necessary for this journey of theirs, while, on the contrary they have been paying more-than-necessary importance to their present lives;

like a person who knows that he would have to spend the rest of his life in another country, but has not collected any money for his journey. Instead, all that he has gathered is in the form of house, shop, land or other things which, presently, are neither capable of being changed, nor transferred. In other words,

he has strived and worked and collected a capital, but the capital is such that it cannot be transferred and there is also nobody who will buy it. In short, it is not useful in any way for the objective, which he had in mind. Someone asked Imam Hassan (pbuh): "Why are we reluctant to die, why don't we like death?"

"Because", replied Imam Hassan (pbuh), "You ruined your next world and developed thisone; naturally, you do not like to be transferred from flourishing to decline."

This kind of fear of death, which results from the lack of preparedness and the absence of the provisions of the journey usually occurs with the believers, which in reality is not fear of death but instead, fear of not possessing the sufficient provisions necessary for this journey.

Another point is that such a fear is usually mixed with eagerness. Because, on the one hand, a believer is eager for the Divine meeting and also for the companionship of the Righteous people. On the other hand, due to lack of sufficient piety and the necessary provisions, finds himself in a state of anxiety and fear, whereas the unbelievers do not possess such a fear and eagerness.

They fear the actual death, because they consider it to be a complete annihilation. Of course, it could be said that the fear of the unbelievers could have a universal meaning, and the causes of it could be those mentioned and also those not mentioned.

Nevertheless, death or transfer into another world is a universal law, acceptance of which or fear of which shall create no change in the law itself, and finally sooner or later, everyone shall taste the nectar or the poison of death. That, which is more important than death, is the preparation for it, and God willingly (Insha Allah); Almighty God shall bestow such a success upon us as in the next story.

The Clever King!

There was a country long time ago where the people would change a king every year. The person who would become the king had to agree to a contract that he would be sent to an island after his one year of being a king.

One king finished his term and it was time for him to go to the island and live there. The people dressed him up in expensive clothes and put him on an elephant and took him around the cities to say goodbye to all the people. This was the moment of sadness for all the kings who ruled for one year. After saying farewell, the people took the king with a boat to the remote island and left him there.

On their way back, they discovered a ship that had sunk just recently. They saw a young man who survived by holding on to a floating piece of wood. As they needed a new king, they picked up the young man and took him to their country. They requested him to be a king for a year. First he refused but later he agreed to be a king. People told him about all the rules and regulations and that how he will be sent to an island after one year.

After three (3) days of being a king, he asked the ministers if they could show him the island where all the other kings were sent. They agreed and took him to the island. The island was covered with thick jungles and sounds of vicious animals were heard coming out of them. The king went little bit inside to check. Soon he discovered the dead bodies of all the past kings. He understood that as soon as they were left in the island, the animals came and killed them.

The king went back to the country and collected 100 strong workers. He took them to the island and instructed them to clean the jungle, remove all the deadly animals and cut down all the excess trees. He would visit the island every month to see how the work was progressing. In the first month, all the animals were removed and many trees were cut down.

In the second month, the whole island was cleaned out. The king then told the workers to plant gardens in various parts of the island. He also took with himself useful animals like chickens, ducks, birds, goats, cows etc. In the third month, he ordered the workers to build big houses and docking stations for ships. Over the months, the island turned into a beautiful place.

The young king would wear simple clothes and spend very little from his earnings as a king. He sent all the earnings to the island for storage. When nine (9) months passed like this, the king called the ministers and told them:

"I know that I have to go the island after one year, but I would like to go there right now." But the ministers didn't agree to this and said that he has to wait for another three (3) months to complete the year.

Three months passed and now it was a full year. The people dressed up the young king and put him on an elephant to take him around the country to say goodbye to others. However, this king is unusually happy to leave the kingdom. People asked him, "All the other kings would cry at this moment and why are you laughing?"

He replied, "Don't you know what the wise people say? They say that when you came to this world as a baby, you were crying and everyone was smiling. Live such a life that when you are dying, you will be smiling and everyone around you will be crying. I have lived that life. While all the other kings were lost into the luxuries of the kingdom, I always thought about the future and planned for it. I turned the deadly island into a beautiful abode for me where I can stay peacefully.

"The moral lesson from this story is about how we should live our life. The life of this world is to prepare for the life hereafter. In this life, we shouldn't get lost into the deceiving and attractive things of this world and forget about what is to come in the afterlife. Rather, even if we are kings, we should live a simple life like our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and save all our enjoyments for the hereafter. May Almighty God make it easy for us. Amin.

Holy Qur'an urges us to prepare for tomorrow: "O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and let every soullook to what (provision) He has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do."(Qur'an 59:18)

Prepare for Death. It can strike anytime at anyplace

Holy Qur'an Says: "Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He Whosends down rain, and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does any one know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)." (Qur'an 31:34)

Once the angel of death (Izraeel) (pbuh) appeared in the form of a human being in the court of Prophet Solomon (Sulayman) (pbuh) and gazed continuously at a person present there for some time. That person asked Prophet Solomon (pbuh), "Who was that person?" He (pbuh) told him that, that was the angel of death. He remarked: "The angel of death had gazed at me in such a manner as if he had determined to take my life." Prophet Solomon (pbuh) asked him, "What do you want?" He requested him to take him to India.

He commanded the cloud to pick him up and drop him in India. Consequently the cloud carried him to India. The angel of death came to Prophet Solomon (pbuh) next day. Prophet Solomon (pbuh) asked him, "Why did you fix your gaze at that person?" Angel of death replied: "I wondered that the Almighty God had commanded me to take the life of this person in India whereas he was sitting here in your presence."

Hence that person reached India, his prescribe place of death, from the presence of Prophet Solomon (pbuh), so that the angel of death can perform his job as ordered by Almighty God.

After some time, Prophet Solomon (pbuh), with the staff in his hand, was viewing the kingdom around him, when he saw a young man approaching him. He was surprised and asked him, "Who are you and who gave you permission to enter the palace?"

The visitor replied: "I have come in with the permission of Almighty God, the owner of the universe. I am the angel of death and Almighty God has sent me to take your life away."

Prophet Solomon said: "Then allow me to go home to prepare for death and rest on my bed." The Angel said: "No.

"While Prophet Solomon stood leaning on his staff, his soul left him. His body remained standing for such a long time that the people and the Jinn believed him to have become a spirit or a magician. They carried on with the work entrusted to them by Prophet Solomon, until Almighty God caused the Ants to eat away the staff he was leaning on and his body fell to the ground.

Before Time Runs Out:

Man is on trial in this world. Here, everyone is being tested; if one acts rightly, one will succeed in the trial of life. Neglect of the task that lies before one is tantamount to failure. Those who do not strive to succeed in the trial of life are doomed to failure, whether they like it or not.

Man can be likened to an ice-vendor in this respect, one whose ice is continually melting and who has to sell his merchandise before it all dissolves. If he delays in selling the ice, then he will have nothing left to sell; his capital and his profits will have vanished into thin air.

This same principle applies to the life of man. Man is rapidly moving towards a sorry end. There is only one thing he can do to avoid disaster, and that is to put the time he has been allotted on earth to the best possible use.

A successful ice-vendor is one who sells his ice before it has all dissolved. Similarly a successful person is one who puts his life to good use before it ends, and prepares for the life to come before it is upon him.

The Lesson of Death:

Man desires life, but sooner or later, he has to come to terms with death. Just as he is at the peak of his career, death comes and shatters it all. Suddenly, he has to face a world for which he has made no preparation.

Man aims at establishing his own glory on earth, but death comes and demolishes all the delusions of grandeur which he had nurtured, teaching him how powerless he is before death. Man wants to be his own lord and master, but his helplessness in the hands of fate shows that he has no control over his destiny. Man wants to satisfy his desires in this world, but he is foiled by death, which constantly eludes him in this world.

We must learn from death, for the secret of life is hidden in the message it has to teach us. Death shows us that we are not our own masters; that our stay on earth is only temporary; that the world is no place for the realization of our dreams. Death teaches us how to live; it shows us the way to real success.

Doomsday:

"This world is like a serpent, so soft to touch, but so full of lethal poison. Unwise people are allured by it and drawn towards it, and wise menpoison. Unwise people are allured by it and drawn towards it, and wise menavoid it and keep away from its poisonous effects." Imam Ali (pbuh)avoid it and keep away from its poisonous effects." Imam Ali (pbuh).

People eat, drink and make merry in this world. They establish themselves in comfortable homes. They seek to win promotion in life. They believe or reject matters at will. They are free to do and say what they like. They strive to excel in whatever department of life they choose.

Man has been deluded by his worldly position. He thinks that what he owns in this world will always be his. He forgets that he is being put to the test by means of all the power, which he wields in this ephemeral world. Nothing that he has will last. Everything will be taken away from him. He will be stripped of even the most basic of the worldly amenities he used to enjoy. He will be brought before the Lord of the Universe to be judged.

All disparity between men will disappear on the "Day of Judgment." Fear of God will seal everybody's tongue. Injustice will benefit no one; truth will be inescapable. Man will stand alone, answerable for his actions.

We must foresee the coming of that day before its arrival. Those who fail to see it coming before it is upon them will have to pay dearly for their shortsightedness. They will have to endure the punishment of hell fire.