A close friend of mine recently posted this:

“Last night while praying Tarawih, a man in his 50’s collapsed after 5 or so rakahs were completed. An alert was made for any Dr. in the congregation to come and see to him. He was conscious and seemed to be in a good way. He was left with the doctor and the congregation continued with the prayers. He was later taken to the nearby hospital and it was there that he was pronounced dead.”

What a beautiful way to die, and what a mighty indication of a person’s standing in Allah’s Eyes, to be taken away upon an act of worship.

The Prophet PBUH said: إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدٍ خَيْرًا اسْتَعْمَلَهُ

“If Allah wants good for a person, he puts him in action.”

The companions asked, “How is this O messenger of Allah?”

He responded: يُوَفِّقُهُ لِعَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ قَبْلَ الْمَوْتِ

“Allah inspires him to do a good deed before claiming his soul.” (AtTirmidhi)

The fact that so many started Ramadan with immense enthusiasm which then fizzled out is proof that it’s all about the endings of matters.

The thought of one’s state during their dying moments has kept awake the most righteous of people at night as they soaked their pillows with tears, thinking to themselves:

“What will my state be during that hour?”

“Will the trauma of seeing the Angel of Death push me off the track of Islām?”

“Will my burden of sins bar me from repeating the Shahādah?”

“Will I die as a Muslim?”

When the famous scholar of Islām, Sufyān Ath-Thawri, was breathing his last, he was seen weeping. He was asked whether it was his sins which induced his tears. In response, he lifted up a stick from the floor and replied:

لذنوبي عندي أهون من ذا – ورفع شيئاً من الأرض – ولكني أخاف أن أسلب الإيمانَ قبل أن أموت.

“My sins are less significant in my eyes than this stick, but I fear the prospects of having my Īmān pulled away from me moments before I die.”

Similarly, when Imām Ash-Shaafi’i was experiencing the throes of death, one of his students, Al-Muzani, entered upon him and asked, “How are you, O Imam?” He responded:

أصبحت من الدنيا راحلاً، وللإخوان مفارقاً، ولربي ملاقياً، ولا أدري أتصير روحي إلى الجنة فأهنيها، أم إلى النار فأعزيها

“It looks like I will be departing from this world today, leaving my friends and meeting my Lord. I do not know whether my soul will be taken to Paradise so that I should congratulate it, or driven to Hell so that I should mourn it.”

In fact, the closing words of the companion of the Prophet Muḥammad PBUH, Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal, were similar to this. As he lay on his death bed, he was heard saying to those around him:

انظروا هل أصبح الصباح؟

“Look outside and tell me, is it morning yet?”

They would tell him that it was still night. He asked the same question soon after, and again, they reassured him that the sun had not risen. After asking the same question a third time, he cried out saying:

أعوذ بالله من ليلة صباحها إلى النار

“I seek protection in Allāh from a night, the morning of which is in the fire.”

It may seem that these words belonged to a people who had led a life of sin, addictions, procrastination, and play. This was not the case at all, these were people who had led pious lives full of worship, teaching, and repentance, but they realised that this is when it can all go wrong.

What is the situation of a person who fasts the entire day but nibbles on something a minute before sunset? His fast is null and void.

What is the situation of a person who has stood for hours in prayer and then remembers that they aren’t in a state of Wudoo moments before giving Salām? His prayer is null and void.

Similarly, one may lead a long life of outward righteousness and worship, but during those closing moments, everything could change.

We have no guarantees on how our ending will be. We do, however, have indications.

Imām Ibnu Kathīr says:

حَافِظُوا عَلَى الْإِسْلَام فِي حَال صِحَّتكُمْ وَسَلَامَتكُمْ لِتَمُوتُوا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ الْكَرِيم قَدْ أَجْرَى عَادَتهُ بِكَرْمِهِ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَاشَ عَلَى شَيْء مَاتَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَنْ مَاتَ عَلَى شَيْء بُعِثَ عَلَيْهِ فَعِيَاذًا بِاَللَّهِ مِنْ خِلَاف ذَلِكَ

“Take care of your duties as Muslims during your times of health and well-being if you have any desire to die upon Islām. For Allāh, The Most Generous, has once again displayed to us Ḥis infinite generosity and has decreed that whosoever lives upon something will die upon it, and whosoever dies upon something will be resurrected upon it.”

On these closing nights of Ramadan, that final push really does say a lot about who this person is in Allah’s Eyes. Ensure you that remain committed right till the end;

Till the end of Ramadan, and till the end of your life.

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  • Ali Hammuda

    Ustādh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is a UK national of Palestinian origin. He gained bachelors and masters’ degrees in Architecture & Planning from the University of the West of England, before achieving a BA in Shari'ah from al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is currently based in Wales and is a visiting Imām at Al-Manar Centre in Cardiff, and also a senior researcher and lecturer for the Muslim Research & Development Foundation in London. Ustādh Ali is the author of several books including 'The Daily Revivals' and 'The Ten Lanterns", and continues to deliver sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country.