يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِرًا مِّنَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ الْآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ Surah ar-Rum, Verse 7
Ever so often our wandering minds get stuck at the thought of death. Sometimes, it is triggered by a demise of a loved one, other times by the constant bloodshed one sees happening in their surroundings, in the whole world wide, and sometimes out of pure desire to return to the asal, the reality from where we originated. As a Muslim, ideally, our lives should be so content and lived to the raza of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, that when the day to depart from this world comes, we are filled with joy and happiness, for it is the day to finally meet the Rabb of the universe, the Rabb of everything, the Rabb of our hearts.
In pursuit of wanting a life that pleases Allah ta'ala, we are plagued by questions like 'what do I need to change?', 'where do I begin?', 'there is so much I have missed, how do I bring it all together?'. While I do wish and hope most of us have our faraidh (obligations) fulfilled, it is never too late to intend and make repudiation for our missed duties, bearing in mind that once we have made our effort, our sole trust and tawwaqul is on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala: that He will accept it from us even though we were left behind due to our own shortcomings.
As Muslims we owe certain duties to ourselves, other creation, and the Creator Himself. I have tried to compile the list of all those faraidh to the best of my ability so that it may aid you and I in making up for them. Remember, when we intend to do something good, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala admires it. And in the course of fulfilling our obligations, if death finds us, let us hope that we will not be clueless, and that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will forgive our shortcomings and indolence. You can take a print of this article or alternatively, if you can not memorize it all, just jot down a checklist. Fold it and keep it in your diary, put it up your notice board, paste is somewhere you can see it daily and remind yourself — just keep yourself aware that you are going to take a step to prepare for your death, your grave, your akhirah, and in sha Allah, your meeting with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Let's get started. Bismillah.
Here's how I have printed
and pasted charts for my qadha prayers
in my diary, helps me keep track.
HajjIf you have been delaying your hajj even though had all the means to perform, make an intent right away. Allah ta'ala makes a way when you have the right intent. Rusoolullah ﷺ is reported to have said "A hajj that is free of all sins and flaws, it's only reward is Jannah and nothing but". Its a journey of love and attaining the closeness of Allah ta'ala and nothing in the world should prevent you from embarking on it. If you can not perform hajj yourself, appoint someone. If you could not perform a fardh hajj, make a will and write it down there. You can also perform Hajj-i Badal for a deceased and increase in there thawaab! It is important to understand that if you are financially not sound enough to afford Hajj, it is not fardh upon you. Especially when in this day and age, Hajj is becoming more and more expensive owing to the inflation. You can still make intention for it, because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala rewards for our intentions of good deed also! And in sha Allah, He will provide you with the means as well. If you can afford, however, start planning now for the upcoming Hajj. Save, plan, arrange expenditures for those you leave behind, learn and educate yourself on the rituals and do’s and don’t’s of Hajj — let your preparation speak for how eager you are to fulfill this blessed obligation.
Make up for your missed fasts (sawm)
The way to calculate missed fasts is the same as missed salaah. Start with the year you attained puberty (if puberty was not reached by the age of 15, then 15 will be the starting year of calculation). Multiply the number of years with thirty. Make a chart, mark off the ones you make qadha for.
Apologize from everyone
Begin with your parents. Earn their happiness. Mend ties with the ones you have broken. Seek everyone’s forgiveness who you know, who you have talked ill of, who you have hurt, or generally anyone you have interacted with because we never know which one of our act may end up in hurting another’s feelings. We don’t want to die with this burden. If you have talked ill of someone behind their back, you need not to tell it to them before seeking their forgiveness — but merely apologize, and intend to never do it again. A little remorse in our heart for the wrongs we have done can take us a long way.
It is the Islamic equivalent of a will. It does not have to be on a stamp paper or affidavit. A wasiyah should include what should be done to all the belongings you own. It is best to donate your things to people who are righteous because when they will make ibadah, you will too receive it’s reward. As per the Islamic law, you can only give away 1/3rd of your assets to charity, the remaining would go to your family or offsprings or spouse or needy relatives depending on what may be the case. This is not a comprehensive guide to making a will. In order to understand completely the structure of inheritance, always, always consult a scholar. Alternatively, you can start educating yourself from this authentic books including the Heavenly Ornaments by Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahimahullah). It's Urdu version is called Behashti Zewar. You should also mention your missed faraidh in your will and regularly update it so that in case you die before you could make up for everything, someone can pay for expiation, also known as kaffarah.
Just the way you calculated your prayers and fasts, calculate zakaat for each year in which you owned enough that renders you eligible for paying zakaat. It is best to get in touch with the Imam of your masjid to get the correct estimate, but if you have no one at your disposal, drop me an e-mail or message and I can guide you accordingly, in sha Allah.
The fiqh of death and burial
I have noticed too many a times that people tend to hush away the topic of death. In our deen, we strive our whole lives to prepare when it comes to us. Or so we should. You need to educate yourself on the rules and regulations related to death, the shroud and what it contains, how to give bath (ghusl) to the deceased, what scent to use, what scent not to use, who can give bath and who cannot, how is burial done. Even though at times of death, people call upon scholarly people to lead all these rituals but that is not an excuse for us to not educate ourselves. Once you have learnt the regulations, teach it to people around you. Because death indeed is a hard time for those left behind so the more people who are prepared for these rituals, the better. Arrange for contact details of ambulances, share them with your closed ones, also include a hospital or two. If graves and shrouds are bought in your locality, either keep enough money for them, so your family will not be troubled after you are gone, or arrange for them during your lifetime. Write it down in your will so it’s easy for your family or near ones.
Add a portion of Qur'an to your daily routine
May Allah ta'ala save us all from the torment of grave, the humiliation of day of judgment, and from His anger itself. Remember Qur'an will stand ahead of us and save us from hardships after death, Allah willingly. It is the Kalaam of Allah ta'ala Himself. It has power. Lets make it our beacon of hope and guidance for when we will need it the most.
Understand Isaal-i Sawaab
For those who have passed away before us, we can still add to their rewards by doing good, charitable things for them. We can start from praying for them, reciting Qur'an, spending on needy, giving charities, investing in masajid, paying for a child's madrissah fee, donating water facilities, investing in a well, and the list can go on and on. But remember, our best bet is to invest in the eeman of our children. Teach them and help them become better Muslims so when we are gone, they can help us attain maghfirah.
If you have pending debts, return them. Make an effort to return them. Also keep it updated in your wasiyah so in case we were not able to return it in our lifetime, our families can rid us of this burden. If people have given something to you as their amanah (trust), readily try to absolve yourself of this duty.
Restore broken ties
If you are not on speaking terms with someone, mend your relations with them. Life is very unpredictable and we never know if we will be given a chance to forgive and to apologize. Let go of grudges. Cleanse your mind and soul and heart of any bitterness towards anyone. It is not worth it. For a world that is so temporary, it is not worth it. And Allah ta'ala loves the act of forgiving someone. Do it with the sole intention that if you forgave someone in this world, if you had the zarf to do it, Allah ta'ala will forgive you of all your shortcomings too! It comes in a hadith narrated in Sahih Bukhari "The true maintainer of kinship is not one who merely reciprocates. The true maintainer is the one who reconciles ties when they are severed."
As my Shaykh says "Make sachi pakki tawbah!". When we are truly embarrassed and we repent with the intention to not do it again and with the hope that Allah ta'ala will forgive us, it is when we have made our truthful repentance. We need to make it a permanent part of our du'as, and we also need to seek constantly to have the tawfeeq to make tawbah. May Allah ta'ala divide our rooh from our body when we are chanting kaalimah-i shahada.
I will conclude with this hadith,
"Whosoever memorises and preserves for my people forty hadith relating to the sunnah and he conveys it to them, on the Day of Judgment I shall be an intercessor or a witness for him".
And another "The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who supplicate Allah more often for me".
In these times when the predictability of this life has come under a scrutiny, we should be on our toes to prepare for a life that will never end. We invest so much time on our bodies and faces but little do we care about our inner selves, our soul, our connection with Allah ta'ala. May Allah ta'ala make the day of our death the happiest day of our lives. Remember me in du'as while I am here and when I am gone.
If you feel I have missed onto something, please reach out to me and I will add it in the blog with credits to you. My blog post remains editable at all times so it can be rectified. Jazakumullah! If you need any kind of help pertaining to this post or any religious/fiqhi matter, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.