What is Death ?:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
What Is Death?
Before starting to discuss death, we have to state that life in the Sight of Allah is not worldly life, but it is the hereafter. That is because when Allah, praise and glory be to Him, created man and breathed into him the soul He created for him, He granted him immortality. That is to say, everyone who is born and brought to this life would remain everlastingly immortal, be it in paradise or hellfire, may Allah save us from such an end (hellfire). Even an infant that dies at the prime of its life will be resurrected and will be immortal in paradise. Moreover, it will accompany its parents and admit them into paradise.
When Allah, praise and glory be to Him, breathed into man the soul He created for him, He granted him immortality. Thus, he lives his destined days or years of worldly life, then dies, and then is resurrected to live eternally in the hereafter according to his deeds in adhering to the Divine Law or violating it. He is either to be blessed or tortured. The Noble Qurâ€™an expresses that meaning through the verse saying (what means):
â€œVerily, the home of the Hereafter, that is the life indeed (i.e. the eternal life that will never end), if they but knew.â€ (Al-â€˜AnkabÃ»t, 29; 64)
The abode of the hereafter is the true life that man will live. As for worldly life, it is limited no matter how long we live in it; it is manâ€™s abode of trial where there is no immortality. Allah, praise and glory be to Him, says in His Noble Book (what means):
â€œAnswer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (SAW) calls you to that which will give you life.â€ (Al-AnfÃ¢l, 8: 24)
The aforesaid speech is addressed to the believers, however, Allah, praise and glory be to Him, addressed it to them while they were still alive, so how could He say to them (what means), â€˜To that which will give you lifeâ€™, although they were actually living?
We reply by saying that this life is not the eternal life, which Allah has prepared for man. It is an abode of trial where man is to be tested in obeying the Divine Law. If he succeeded, he would be admitted into paradise, but if he were engulfed by his desires and sins, he would be cast into hellfire.
Allah, praise and glory be to Him, calls every living being in this life â€˜deadâ€™, which signifies that it is definitely destined to die. Therefore, Allah addressed His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) by saying (what means):
â€œVerily, you (O Muhammad SAW) will die and verily, they (too) will die.â€ (Az-Zumar, 39: 30)
Why did Allah, glory be to Him, address the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his Companions as being dead when the speech was addressed to them while they were still alive? Because that is their destined fate, when man is born and his life begins, the death arrow darts at the same moment and death keeps pursuing the targeted person until the appointed death term comes and the arrow pierces through.
Death is not intrinsic in the universe but a transient journey. In the immaterial existence we were dead, then we came to worldly life alive, then we would die once again, then we would be resurrected. Allah, praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œHow can you disbelieve in Allah? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.â€ (Al-Baqarah, 2:28)
The stages of manâ€™s life or the life journey that he undertakes is divided into four: the first stage is death in the immaterial existence. The second is worldly life. The third is death in the Barzakh [the grave as the barrier or the intermediate realm that separates between this world and the other world from the time of death till the time of Resurrection] life. And the fourth is eternal life, whether in paradise or hellfire. On the Day of Resurrection, death would be brought and its soul would be seized or slain as the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has informed us in his noble Hadith:
â€œDeath would be brought on the Day of Resurrection having the from of a ram then it would be slaughtered and a crier from Allah, glory be to Him, would call: â€˜O people of paradise! Immortality without death. O people of hellfire! Immortality without death.â€™â€
So, death has an end. Allah, praise and glory be to Him, says about the people of paradise (what means):
â€œThey will never taste death therein except the first death (of this world), and He will save them from the torment of the blazing Fire.â€ (Ad-DukhÃ¢n, 44:56)
We thus learn that death has an end, whereas life would remain eternally forever and that life is the one intrinsic in the universe, whereas death is incidental upon it.
Life within the grave!!
With imminence of death, the destined hour comes and is succeeded by the life of the grave, an interval that ends by Resurrection. Through close inspection, we perceive that this stage or interval is brief and cannot be compared with the life that will follow after Resurrection. The Noble Qurâ€™an expresses that meaning through the word â€˜visitâ€™ in the verse saying (what means):
â€œThe mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you, until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die).â€ (At-TakÃ¢thur, 102: 1-2)
It means that man in the grave is but a visitor and will not stay there forever. As long as he is a visitor not a habitant, then no matter how long the visit will last, there will come the time when it will end. It is a visit that will end by the Day of Crowding. Death is transition from certain laws to other different laws. Man while alive has a material being, that is the body, but at death the body returns once again to earth and is restored to its owner on the Day of Resurrection.
Death begins with drawing the last breaths, which means that the life of human choice has come to an end. Man in this worldly life has choices as well as a reasoning power to choose between alternatives. But the hour he dies, the time of free choice, set as a trial and test for him, ends and a new stage without choices and in which he is subdued begins. When man is suffering the agonies of death he knows for sure that he is dying, because he now can see the angles and sees from the Universe of Allah what has been kept veiled from him. Recite the noble Qurâ€™anic verse in which Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œ(It will be said to the sinners): â€˜Indeed you were heedless of this, now We have removed your covering, and sharp is your sight this Day!â€™â€ (QÃ¢f, 50: 22)
At those moments humanity dies down and fates are definitely decided, either to paradise or hellfire, either to see the angles of mercy or the angels of torture. Allah, praise and glory be to Him, has informed us thus in His Noble Book regarding what would happen to the inhabitants of paradise when death approaches them. The Most Exalted says, (what means):
â€œThose whose lives the angels take while they are in a pious state (i.e. pure from all evil, and worshipping none but Allah Alone) saying (to them): SalÃ¢mun â€˜Alaikum (peace be on you) enter you Paradise, because of (the good) which you used to do (in the world).â€ (An-Nahl, 16: 32)
Hence, we learn that the believers, who have done righteous deeds, see the angels of mercy at their death hour, which is the first herald of glad tidings to them of entering paradise. So, their souls are relieved and they smile joyfully because they are departing to that which is far better. If you looked at their faces after death, you would find them tranquil and peaceful for what they saw of the fulfillment of Allahâ€™s Promise, Who never breaks His Word.
As for those who disbelieved in Allah, sinned against Him, joined others in worship with Him and warred against His Religion, their meeting with death would certainly differ. The Noble Qurâ€™an informs thus in the verse saying (what means):
â€œAnd if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death), they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): â€œTaste the punishment of the blazing Fire.â€ (Al-AnfÃ¢l, 8: 50)
Allah, praise and glory be to Him, sets forth to us another picture of the disbelievers through the noble Qurâ€™anic verse saying (what means):
â€œAnd if you could but see when the ZÃ¢limÃ»n (polytheists and wrongÂdoers, etc.) are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands (saying): â€˜Deliver your souls! This day you shall be recompensed with the torment of degradation because of what you used to utter against Allah other than the truth. And you used to reject His AyÃ¢t (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) with disrespect!â€™â€ (Al-Anâ€˜Ã¢m, 6: 93)
We learn from these noble Qurâ€™anic verses that as the believer sees his blessed end and his abode in paradise while dying, the disbeliever also sees his doom and his abode in hellfire while dying. Moreover, the angels of torture disgrace the disbeliever as a retribution for his disbelief. They smite his face and back and make him taste the torment of hellfire. They defy him that if ever he possessed any power or might in worldly life to free himself from the torture and disgrace he now faces. But he would never be able to, because he neither has the power nor the might.
The power of human free choice has ended, and he became overpowered, as the rest of the species in the universe, after enjoying free will in worldly life. Amongst the signs of an evil end, we seek the Refuge of Allah from it, is to see the face of the disbeliever or the wrongdoer has gloomed, his body has convulsed and his features have contorted from the horrors he sees of the torment that awaits him.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) warn the people against such a fate by saying O people:
â€œYou have milestones so be you guided by your milestones, and you have an end so be you guided by your end. A believer is betwixt two dreads, betwixt a term that has passed knowing not what Allah will judge in it and a term that still remains knowing not what Allah will destine in it. So, let a servant takes provision for himself from his own self, and from his worldly life for his afterlife, and from hoariness before old age and from life before death. By the One in Whose Hands the soul of Muhammad is, none shall be allowed to make amends after death, nor there shall be an abode after life save paradise or hellfire.â€
The hour of death as depicted by the Noble Qurâ€™an, reveals the unknown, lifts the screening veils and renders the sight sharp. All that is hidden from us is disclosed, as verified by the noble Qurâ€™anic verse in which Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œThen why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of a dying person) reaches the throat? And you at the moment are looking on, but We (i.e. Our angels who take the soul) are nearer to him than you, but you see not.â€ (Al-WÃ¢qiâ€˜ah, 56: 83-85)
At that moment the first abodes of the hereafter begins, because the dead person is to experience the befalling of his Doomsday and learns his end. When he dies, he hears but he will not be able to answer. He sees, but he will not be able to relate what he sees. The dead have a perception of their own just as the living do.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) says to us, â€œIf you visit the graves, greet their inhabitants, and say: Peace be upon you! Abodes of believing people.â€ Since the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has ordered us to do so, then definitely the inhabitants of the grave somehow perceive that salutation, otherwise the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would not have instructed thus.
Hence, the inhabitants of the grave somehow perceive their visitors and the greeting they offer them. They have another perceiving faculty; a mental or a reasoning power that makes them distinguishes between hope and despair. Allah, praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œO you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have been in despair to receive any good in the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have been in despair about those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection).â€ (Al-Mumtahinah, 60: 13)
Reaching such a degree of despair needs some kind of perception. None can verge on despair or experience it except a perceiving person, who can distinguish between things to realize that this is a degree of despair and this is a degree of hope. Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œJust as the disbelievers have been in despair about those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection).â€ (Al-Mumtahinah, 60: 13)
The Barzakh lifeâ€¦ out of the span of time
The Barzakh [the grave as the barrier or the intermediate realm that separates between this world and the other world from the time of death till the time of Resurrection] life involves certain conceptions realized by the dead. The life of the grave is ungoverned by time. Therefore, if man were interred from the prime of worldly life and continued till the Day of Resurrection, he would think that he spent a day or a part of a day. Allah, praise and glory be to Him, set forth a vivid example for that in the story of the People of the Cave. He caused them to sleep for three hundred and nine years and when they woke up they wondered as the Noble Qurâ€™an narrates to us, saying (what means):
â€œLikewise, We awakened them (from their long deep sleep) that they might question one another. A speaker from among them said: â€˜How long have you stayed (here)?â€™ They said: â€˜We have stayed (perhaps) a day or part of a day.â€™â€ (Al-Kahf, 18: 19)
Why did they say that they stayed for a day or part of a day? Because when they looked at the faces and clothes of one another, they found them same as when they entered the cave. If, when they had woken up they found that their nails had grown long, their hair and beards had turned white and their faces had mirrored the imprints of time, they would not have remarked that perhaps they have stayed for a day or part of a day. But during those three hundred years they were out of the span of time, therefore it did not leave its imprints on them.
Similarly, the inhabitants of the grave will rise with the same appearance they had when they were buried. Hence, no human dies while still a child and is resurrected an old man, no matter how many years have elapsed. Therefore, The Patron, praise be to Him, will ask them saying (what means):
â€œHe (Allah) will say: â€˜What number of years did you stay on earth?â€™ They will say: â€˜We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account.â€™â€ (Al-Muâ€™minÃ»n, 23: 112-113)
We learn from this that amongst the laws of the Barzakh [the grave as the barrier or the intermediate realm that separates between this world and the other world from the time of death till the time of Resurrection] that no time leaves its imprints on the inhabitants of the grave because they live out of the span of time.
But is there torture for the inhabitants of the grave? No, there is no torture save after Judgment. Nevertheless, while engraved, man sees his abode whether in hellfire or paradise, but why? So that a believer senses the grace that Allah, The Most Exalted, has bestowed on him by saving him from hellfire and appreciates it even more when he sees the hellfire and its blaze versus paradise and its delights. Hence, a comparison is drawn between the good-doer and the evildoer: the one who has wronged himself thus depriving it from everlasting delight and the demeaning torture that he ended in.
The believer feels the grace and mercy that Allah has bestowed on him, that Allah has guarded him form hellfire, so his heart is relieved and he realizes the greatness of the Blessings of Allah on him.
The Truth, praise and glory be to Him, has depicted to us what would happen to the people of Firâ€˜aun (Pharaoh) while engraved through the noble Qurâ€™anic verse saying (what means):
â€œThe Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): â€˜Cause Firâ€˜aunâ€™s (Pharaoh) people to enter the severest torment!â€™â€ (GhÃ¢fir, 40: 46)
When are the people of Pharaoh are exposed to hellfire? Were they exposed to it in worldly life? If they were exposed to it and saw it but for a moment they would not have worshipped Pharaoh, surely they would have been the ones to kill him and cast him into the sea.
Exposure to hellfire regarding the people of Pharaoh did not occur in worldly life. Would it then happen in the hereafter? No, because in the hereafter there would be no exposure, rather the people of Pharaoh would be cast into hellfire to be tortured.
Hence, they were not exposed to hellfire in worldly life, and they would not be exposed to it in the hereafter because they would actually be cast into it.
There remains the Barzakh [the grave as the barrier or the intermediate realm that separates between this world and the other world from the time of death till the time of Resurrection] life or the life of the grave. The people of Pharaoh are exposed to hellfire, morning and afternoon during the Barzakh life or the life of the grave, but do the people of Pharaoh come forth twice a day to be exposed to hellfire? Or are they exposed to it while engraved?
None can tell! Except that there exists some kind of torment to which man is exposed while engraved. But true torment will not be inflicted save after Judgment on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, enough of torment that the people of Pharaoh twice see the fire wherein they will be tortured, in the morning and afternoon, because expecting distress is severer than its actual befalling. Therefore, they become certain that they will be tortured in that hellfire. Whenever they looked at it, it would afflict them with a horrible torment, perhaps severer than the torment of hellfire itself.
Your Lord, praise and glory be to Him, has decreed that whoever departs this world would never return to it again, till the Day of Resurrection. The Most Exalted says (what means):
â€œUntil, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: â€˜My Lord! Send me back, so that I may do good in that which I have left behind!â€™ No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.â€ (Al-Muâ€™minÃ»n, 23: 99-100)
What is the Barzakh? The Barzakh is the barrier between the living and the dead, whereby the dead can never return to worldly life once again. When the martyrs saw the great delights that Allah has prepared for them, they begged Allah, glory be to Him, to return to worldly life just to inform their brethren about what they have seen. But, The Almighty told them (the Sanctified Hadith): â€˜I have decreed that whoever departs from it, shall never return to it.â€™ And The Almighty pledged Himself to inform the believers about the merit of martyrdom and the elevated status that awaits martyrs.
Him Alone gives life and causes death
Allah, praise and glory be to Him, is The Originator of life and death. That is to say, Allah, The Most Exalted, is the only One Who brings man from life to death and from death to life. Therefore, amongst His Divine Names, praise be to Him, is The Giver of life and The Causer of death. The Prophet IbrÃ¢hÃ®m (Abraham, peace be upon him) said as stated in the Noble Qurâ€™an (what means):
â€œVerily! They are enemies to me, save the Lord of the â€˜AlamÃ®n (mankind, jinns and all that exists); â€˜Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again); And Who, I hope will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense, (the Day of Resurrection).â€™â€ (Ash-Shuâ€˜arÃ¢â€™, 26: 77-82)
We notice in these noble Qurâ€™anic verses that Allah, praise and glory be to Him, has emphasized the matters that some people believe that others than Almighty Allah have a hand in them. But as for the matters which man can never claim to have a hand in, He stated them without emphasis.
The Most Exalted says (in His Noble Book on the tongue of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m what means): â€˜Who has created me,â€™ as no one can claim that he creates. But The Almighty says (on the tongue of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m what means): â€˜It is He Who guides me,â€™ stating the stressed subject pronoun â€˜Heâ€™ because there are claimers of securing guidance, who practice deceit so as to induce people to follow them and adopt their course. Therefore, The Most Exalted has not stated the subject pronoun on the tongue of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m (peace be upon him) in the first part of verse 78; he did not say, â€˜It is He Who has created me,â€™ but said, â€˜Who has created me,â€™because the issue of creation is utterly decided as solely pertaining to Allah, praise and glory be to Him. The subject pronoun also recurs in the Qurâ€™anic statement of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m (peace be upon him), when he said (what means): â€˜It is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink.â€™ Here, The Almighty also stated the pronoun, â€˜Heâ€™ because man has some action to do as bringing the food or delivering water to people.
Then Allah, Whose Majesty reigns most high, says (on the tongue of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m what means): â€˜And when I am ill, it is He who cures me,â€™ where The Almighty also used the pronoun â€˜Heâ€™ so that no one claims that the doctor is the one who cures. The truth is the absolute opposite. The doctor only gives medical aid, whereas the only One Who cures is Allah, praise and glory be to Him. Moreover, the doctor can be one of the causes behind death. It may happen that the doctor prescribes to the patient a wrong medication or inject him with what he believes to be his cure, thus causes his death. Therefore, Allah, glory be to Him, placed a stress on it with the pronoun â€˜Heâ€™ that is used, as aforementioned, for emphasis, so The Almighty says (on the tongue of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m what means): â€˜It is He who cures me.â€™
But when it comes to life and death, there is no need to use a stressing subject pronoun, therefore, The Almighty says (on the tongue of IbrÃ¢hÃ®m what means): â€˜And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again).â€™ Why? Because life and death pertain to Allah alone and none can ever lay claim to them.
Nimrod and his claim of causing death and giving life
The Noble Qurâ€™an narrates to us the story of Nimrod, on whom Allah has bestowed sovereignty, but instead of showing gratefulness to Allah for His Blessings and performing righteous good deeds, he was misled by the conceit of worldly life, so he claimed that he gives life and causes death. Recite the noble Qurâ€™anic verse in which Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œHave you not looked at him who disputed with IbrÃ¢hÃ®m (Abraham) about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him the kingdom? When IbrÃ¢hÃ®m (Abraham) said (to him): â€˜My Lord (Allah) is He Who gives life and causes death.â€™ He said, â€˜I give life and cause death.â€™ IbrÃ¢hÃ®m (Abraham) said, â€˜Verily! Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; then cause it you to rise from the west.â€™ So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the people, who are ZÃ¢limÃ»n (wrong-doers, etc.).â€ ) Al-Baqarah, 2: 258)
Nimrod summoned one of his subjects, ordered his soldiers to kill him, and then he said, â€˜I caused him to die!!â€™ And just before the execution he said, â€˜Pardon him,â€™ and then he said, â€˜I caused him to live!!â€™
We say to him, â€˜You have not differentiated between the two events, and you have not differentiated between life and death.â€™ Killing is not death, but it is a destruction of the physical structure of the body so the soul departs it, because the soul does not rest except in a sound body having special characteristics. Therefore, Allah, praise and glory be to Him, says about His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) (what means):
â€œMuhammad (SAW) is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful.â€ (Ã‚l-â€˜ImrÃ¢n, 3: 144)
Therefore, death differs from killing; death is the departure of the soul from the body while the physical structure is sound and only Allah, praise and glory be to Him, causes death. But man can commit murder either by a sharp edge or firing a gunshot. In both cases the soul departs the body, but in the first case (that is death) the soul departs the body while the physical structure is perfect, whereas in murder the physical structure has to be destroyed before the soul departs the body. In both cases, the dead and the murdered shall be gathered unto Allah on the Day of Resurrection as verified by the noble Qurâ€™anic verse in which Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œAnd whether you die, or are killed, verily, unto Allah you shall be gathered.â€ (Ã‚l-â€˜ImrÃ¢n, 3: 158)
We can thus see that whatever be the end of man, whether through murder or death, he will meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection. As aforesaid death annuls life and life annuls death, therefore they never exist together in a thing. It is either life or death. Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œWho has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.â€ (Al-Mulk, 67: 2)
As if life is but a trial that is to be followed by death, then begins the first stages of the hereafter and then comes Judgment. But Allah, praise and glory be to Him, has concealed from all of us the time of death. Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œNo person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is AllÂKnower, AllÂAware (of things).â€ (LuqmÃ¢n, 31: 34)
Such concealment by Allah has a great wisdom. First, that man is to expect death at any moment and such an expectation is an awareness of death. You know that you may die the next hour, so you hasten to the performance of good deeds lest your decreed time of death does not give you respite and your soul is taken while your good deeds are but few. You also forbear from committing misdeeds lest you do wrong and fate does not give you respite to repent and you die a sinner.
So, the concealment of death time is the greatest announcement of it; at the same time it is the highest alertness to meet it any moment. Whereupon, we hasten to good deeds and abandon sin, thus prosperity prevails and sin dwindles.
We have to be absolutely certain that there is no cause behind death except the appointed term (of Allah). Never believe that sickness may kill or a bullet may shoot dead except when the term of manâ€™s life in this world has come to an end. When man falls ill he may take a tablet of aspirin or a cup of tea and he gets cured because he still has time to live. On the other hand, he may be transported to the hospital where he is surrounded by many doctors and yet dies, because death is predestined by Allah, and the Predestinations of Allah is never overpowered.
Allah, glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œSay (O Muhammad SAW): â€˜I have no power over any harm or profit to myself except what Allah may will. For every Ummah (a community or a nation), there is a term appointed; when their term is reached, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).â€™â€ (YÃ»nus, 10: 49)
Do not consider causes in death, because when death comes the entire universe is considered its cause and none can ever stop it. When â€˜Ali bin Abu TÃ¢lib (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked, â€˜Do not you fear death?â€™ He said, â€˜No, the day it comes none can stop it, and the day it does not, none can bring it.â€™
The causes of death we usually list: as sickness, senility and others are unreal, because when death comes it needs no cause. But it is truthful to say, â€˜He died because his appointed lifetime has ended.â€™
Allah, The Truth, praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):
â€œWheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!â€ (An-NisÃ¢â€™, 4: 78)
We summarize what we have detailed by saying that life and death are two antitheses; one annuls the other. That Allah, praise and glory be to Him, has granted man the aspect of perpetuity in life, but death is transient and will end and be slaughtered on the Day of Resurrection. That man is immortal in this universe, whether in paradise or hellfire; we seek the Refuge of Allah from such an end (hellfire). That life of the grave involves some kind of perception; therefore we greet the inhabitants of the grave on visiting them. That the disbelievers despair of the Mercy of Allah just as they have been in despair about those buried in the graves thinking that they would never be resurrected. That life in the grave also involves a detachment from time, because the inhabitants of the grave are neither influenced by time nor feel its passage. It also involves a sort of witnessing torment. That death is the end of the interval that Allah has granted to man and empowered him with freedom of choice during it. But when he dies the power of human choice ends and the time of trial terminates.
When the believer dies the angels of mercy receive him with the glad tidings of entering paradise, so he dies with a relieved soul because he is going to a far better place. But when the angels of torture receive the disbeliever they smite his face and back and make him taste the colors of torment so he dies with a gloomy face because he is going to a far worse place. That Allah, praise and glory be to Him, is The Creator of life and death. None can lay claim to them nor say that he can give life nor cause death, because only Allah, praise and glory be to Him, brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living.
We have discussed the manâ€™s death, but what about his immortality? What is the truth of that immortality? That is what we shall discuss in details in the next chapter, if Allah wills.