The Need to Remember Death

Sharing is Supporting Islam

Among the subjects whose discussion is deliberately avoided by liberal society is death. This is because of what emanates from their secular creed of which views the purpose of life is to attain optimum level of sensual gratification. From this perspective, many people refuse the discussion about death.

Islam directed our understanding of death as departure from world life and heading towards meeting Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:

Say, “Indeed, the death from which you flee – indeed, it will meet you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you about what you used to do.”


Nevertheless, Islam explained that nobody dies except by the will and decree of Allah (swt). Therefore, there is only one reason for death which is the end of man’s life term. A Muslim must have a decisive belief that none terminates one’s life except Allah (swt) alone.

Remembering death means remembering the Hereafter i.e. man’s realization that he has no otherwise except that one day he will meet his Lord. He was brought in this world without his choice and hence he shall leave without his will. The Messenger (saw) urged Muslims to increase their remembrance of death as reported by Tirmidhiy, An-Nasaai and Ibn Majah from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger (saw) said:

 ‘Increase your remembrance in that which ruins the taste, i.e. death.’

There is much benefit to a Muslim in remembering death but let us be satisfied in mentioning just five.

First; It hastens a Muslim in asking for true forgiveness as he recalls his sins and ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness before leaving the world.

Second; Being satisfied with what he was given by Allah (swt). Being contented at heart prevents a Muslim from rushing for the world but instead he will lead his life while cautious against transgressing the limits set by Islam. A Muslim’s life together with his provisions in this world has an end; he will leave them and head to meet his Lord where only his deeds will be accounted.

Third; It motivates the urge of doing good deeds. You will find he who remembers death striving to do every good deed while desisting from every evil. You will see him tireless in praying, reading the Qur’an, carrying the da’wah and other good deeds cognizant that his departure is anytime.

Four; A Muslim who remembers death abstains from envy as he is always seen non interfering with affairs of other people while being more concerned with his own issues that will benefit him in the Hereafter.

Fifth; It revitalizes one’s heart. The main cause that leads to activeness and softness of the heart that drives one towards doing good deeds is remembrance of death. It is reported by Abu Hurairah that the Messenger (saw) said:

‘Increase your remembrance of death since there is no servant who remembers death more except that Allah will revitalize his heart and make death pain easier for him’

To the contrary, he who does not remember death you will always see him lazy in doing acts of worship (ibadah), obsessed by worldly life as well as delaying asking for forgiveness while plunged in world amusements.

In remembering death, it is imperative that it pushes a Muslim in preparation for it by doing everything he is commanded and abstaining from anything he is prohibited. The Messenger (saw) said:

‘The clever is he who undermines his soul by disobeying his desires and doing what is good that will benefit him after death, and the lazy is he who obeys desires of his soul while hoping for good rewards from Allah.’

And in another hadith narrated by Ibn Umar (ra), he said:

‘I was with the Messenger (saw) when a man from the Ansar came to him and greeted him then he asked him. Oh Messenger of Allah! Who among the Believers is the best? The Messenger (saw) replied: ‘It is he who is best in morals’. Then he asked him: And who among the Believers is the cleverest? The Messenger (saw) said: ‘It is he who remembers death most and who prepares most for Hereafter and they are the cleverest.’

We can use the following as a reminder for death:

-Frequent tour of graveyards to ask du’a for those who have preceded us to the Hereafter.

-Looking keenly at the corpse while being washed on the deathbed, shrouded, prayed for Janazah, while in the coffin and finally during burial.

-Recall on your close relatives who are dead whom you interacted with, laughed with, planned life with, but died while most of their plans were yet to materialize.

This is how a Muslim is required to be seen remembering this huge event that is severest than any he has encountered in his life at all circumstances. He should as well remember that the death event is the easiest than what follows after it. We ask Allah (swt) to give us a good ending in our lives, blesses us with martyrdom during death, pardon after death and forgiveness before death. Ameen

Shabani Mwalimu

Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Kenya


From UQAB Magazine Issue 12