Do you think about death? I think about death…a lot. I like to listen to stories about how people die— what were they doing? Where were they at? How did they die? What was their last word or words? I like to drive by cemeteries occasionally and think about the multitude of people buried there. Coincidentally, I live nearby a cemetery and drive by it often. I know it shouldn’t be shocking but it shocks me every time.
To know that all of those graves contain the remains of people who existed in this world not too long ago—some were breathing, existing as recently as yesterday. The dead in those graves were just like us who are alive now. They too had families they loved and who loved them back. They were probably educated individuals with jobs, friends, and families. Like any one of us, they too were hardworking people who tried to maintain having a great life; and there they are—in that little hole in the ground, decomposing. Maybe they have even become bones.
Death is the only thing in our lives that’s guaranteed. It is the one thing in our lives that we know we’ll go through some day. Maybe even sooner than we think. Our health is not guaranteed, our wealth is not guaranteed, our families are not guaranteed, our beauty and youthfulness are not guaranteed: but death is. It’s inevitable. We will all die one day. It’s just a matter of when and how. So death helps me to stay humble, hopeful, grateful, fearful, and yet motivated to seek the pleasure of my Lord, Allah almighty.
“Abu Hurayra reported the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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]