“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Last weekend, I found myself alone at home, at night. The kids were at my parents and hubby was out attending a function. The house became extremely quiet, even for Fluffy the cat. I think the quietness drove her mental because I found her seeking for my attention and companionship, when normally, she completely ignores me.
As I was getting ready for bed, I remembered something that the Wise Owl had told me a while back. He told me that when we go to sleep, it is akin to dying. Our soul is taken out from our bodies. If our time is not up then God will return our soul to our bodies and we will be awaken from our slumber the next day but if we have reached our appointed time, then our soul will be out permanently. When that happens, it is what we describe as a person who died in his sleep.
“It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed verily in this are Signs for those who reflect.”
Surah Az-Zumar 39:42
As I was pondering about the Wise Owl's words of wisdom, suddenly, a thought struck me. What if when I sleep tonight, God Al Mighty decides that I have reached my expiry date. What if tomorrow never comes for me? Am I ready to face my Maker? Will I pass the ‘grave’ test?
“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.’” And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567;”
So what is this ‘grave’ test? Is it an oral test or practical? Who will be conducting this test? Let me see….from my reading, I found out that the 'grave' test is like an exam where 2 Angels will descend upon our soul in the grave, almost immediately after friends and families have left the burial site, and ask us 3 important questions. If we pass, then the second phase of our lives, will be made easy but if we fail, then torture awaits. In a way, we are lucky because unlike any other exams on earth, where we will not know the questions until we are in the examination hall, this exam is somewhat different. We are informed of the questions that will be asked by the examiners, so that if we want to, we can thoroughly prepare the answers.
“So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’
Narrated by Abu Dawood
Oh dear! Am I prepared to answer all the questions correctly? I mean, I can answer all those questions correctly now because my tongue will obey what my brain is telling it to say but, in the grave, my soul will speak the absolute truth and the answers will be reflective of my deeds and how I lived my life. If I’m lucky, my soul will give all the right answers but if I have not been living my life as a true Muslim, then, I will be in deep trouble….
He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’
Narrated by Abu Dawood
Ooooooo….pretty scary! I really don’t know if my good deeds will speak or will it be my bad deeds? One thing I know for sure is that, no one can escape the interrogation in the grave.
The thing is, we never really do think about death. We often take for granted that we will wake up the next morning and breathe another day. Somewhere, at the back of our head, we know that death is inevitable but it just does not dawn on us that it can happen at any time. Death still seems unreal and foreign to us hence that is why we take it lightly and we often forget about it. I know I am guilty of that sometimes. I forget…….
Have you ever asked yourself, “If I die tonight, am I equipped to meet my Maker? Have I seek for forgiveness from Him? What provisions am I taking with me to Hereafter? Is my right book heavier than left or vice versa? Have I asked forgiveness from the people whom I have wronged? Have I forgiven those who have wronged me? Did I spend my time and wealth wisely? Did I share my knowledge? Was Quran my guide?.......think about it.....What if?.....
I realised that night that, in the event that I die in my sleep, I have not put my affairs in order , (despite reminding myself countless times!). My provisions for the Hereafter is quite pathetic and severely lacking! I must admit that I would be terribly ashamed to meet my Maker with my current track record. I got so distracted with worldly affairs that I forgot about death. I sincerely hope that God is extending my validity period so that I can try harder tomorrow and the day after that, but just in case tomorrow never comes for me; tonight, before I sleep, I must seek for forgiveness from God AlMighty, for all my sins and also, I must forgive everyone………Astaghfiru-Allah, (“I ask forgiveness from Allah”)
“By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.”( Bukhari)
“Prophet SAW was sitting with his companions when he SAW said that a man will enter and he will go to Jannah. The companions saw a man entered the room. Next day the prophet SAW repeated his words and the same man entered and the third day same thing happened. So Abdullah bin Umar wanted to find out what was so special about this man so he went to the man and said Can I stay with you for three days because I had an arguement with my father and made an oath I will not enter his house. The man agrees. So Abdullah bin Umar starts to observe him, during night the man prays isha and Abdullah (RA) thinks to himself that maybe he will pray throughout the night, but the man goes to sleep. So Abdullah says ok he will fast in the morning. But morning comes and the man prays fajr and he eats breakfast. So Abdullah RA says maybe today is something, let me observe him another day but the next day the man prays isha and prays fajr but does not do any nafl ibadah. And the same thing happened the third day. Abdullah (RA) became surprised because he used to finish the Quran in three days so he confronts the man after the third day and tells him that I did not really argue with my father. I heard Rasool Allah SAW say that you are a man from jannah so I wanted to see what was so special about you, but I didn't find anything special. The man then said I pray and before I go to sleep I forgive everyone. I do not have any hard feelings for anyone in my heart.”