How to Pack for the Afterlife
What Have You Packed? Being Prepared to Face Death
Whenever you go on a journey you pack for it. Our most significant journey is to the Hereafter to meet Allah the Almighty, and so it is important to check what have we packed. It would be insane to go on a journey without provision. Therefore, Allah Almighty tells us to seek provisions.
The Reality of Death
‘Glorious is He who is in His hand is the sovereignty, the kingdom, who created death and life, in order to test you who is best amongst you in his conduct and He is the Almighty, the Most Forgiving’. (67:1)
Allah Almighty mentions death in the opening surah Mulk and in several other verses of the Qur’an, such as in surah al Imran that:
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. (3:185)
In surah Baqarah, He said:
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, (2:155)
Allah Almighty did not grant eternity to any being other than Himself. All of us will experience death, as even the Prophet (peace be on him) did.
Only Allah Almighty knows when death will come to us, as He kept this knowledge exclusively to Himself. So we need to ask ourselves what have we prepared for death.
Have We Prepared Ourselves for Death?
When asked: ‘When would be the Last Hour?’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) said:
‘What preparation have you made for that?’ Thereupon he said: The love of Allah and of His Messenger (that is my preparation for the Last Hour) (for the Day of Resurrection). Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘You would be along with one whom you love’ (Muslim)
Here we note that the Prophet (peace be upon him) answered the man’s question with a question, and this is what is called ustub al hakim (the wise style) in Arabic, directing the man’s attention to what he has prepared for Allah Almighty
Allah tells us the best provision is taqwa (fulfilling obligations and refraining from prohibitions).
None of us can be obedient at all times. We have ups and downs, we make mistakes, and accumulate sins, deliberately or unintentionally. Regardless, we can always keep returning to Allah Almighty – as long as we are alive we have the chance to repent.
As we are distracted by the enjoyments of this life, we do not focus on the last day, which every living human, and all of creation must face. Hence, Allah Almighty is teaching us how to plan, (which is not the best characteristic of the Muslim ummah!) not just for the dunya, but also for the Hereafter.
What is the plan? How can we be ready to meet Allah Almighty and how can we be amongst al muttaqeen, amongst al muflihoon on the Day of Judgement? By having taqwa of Allah Almighty – following the commands and refraining from the prohibitions.
Instead of focusing on something over which you have no control (the time of your death), you focus on something that you have control over (your actions).
Be productive, rather than letting time slip by.
Imagine that death is coming in an hour, what’s the list of your priorities? What if you had a week? Or a month? We used this technique once as a workshop. If you only had one hour you would be focused on what is important for your future.
Ensuring You Have Done Your Best
On the Day of Resurrection, people will be asked about other matters, including the following:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and how he disposed of it, and how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.’ (Tirmidhi)
So we need to think what we have done with our upbringing, and education. And our money – how did we earn it and spend it? Be careful how you earn your livelihood, be careful how you provide tarbiyya to your children, be careful that your rizq is halal and that you do not oppress anyone. And this goes back to the definition of taqwa: to follow the commands of Allah Almighty. Then we can avoid all hurdles Insha’Allah.
As Allah Almighty stated that He’s testing you to see who amongst us is best in conduct, to be prepared to meet Him, we should strive to be the best in our conduct, our words, our character, our professions, to our neighbours, communities, and friends.
It was narrated from Aisha that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him, and whoever hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.’ It was said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, does hating to meet Allah mean hating to meet death? For all of us hate death.’ He said: ‘No. Rather that is only at the moment of death. But if he is given the glad tidings of the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, he loves to meet Allah and Allah loves to meet him; and if he is given the tidings of the punishment of Allah, he hates to meet Allah and Allah hates to meet him.
We ask Allah Almighty to prepare all of us for the moment none of us can escape, to shower us with His mercy and His blessings and make us amongst those who are conscious, longing and prepared to meet Allah Almighty. Ameen.
Khutbah delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim
Transcribed by Sana Zuberi
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January 15, 2021