In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

“Wish not for death on any of you; neither the doer of good works, for peradventure he may increase them by an increase of life; nor the offender, for perhaps he may obtain the forgiveness of Allah by repentance. Wish not, nor supplicate for death before its time come; for verily when you die, hope is out and the ambition for reward: and verily, the increase of a believer’s life increase his good works.” ~ Al-Hadith

“Not one of you must wish for death from any worldly affliction; but if there certainly is anyone wishing for death, he must say, “O Lord, keep me alive so long as life may be good for me, and wish me to die when it is better for me so to do.” ~ Al-Hadith

“There are two things disliked by the sons of Adam, one of them death; whereas it is better for Muslims than sinning; the second is scarcity of money; whereas his account will be small in futurity.” ~ Al-Hadith

“Death is a bridge that unite friend with friend.” ~ Al-Hadith

Verily, all praise is for Allah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls [and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, [alone and without any partner] and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” [Ali Imran 3:102]

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship) Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you).” [al-Nisa’ 4:1]

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“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth). He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (SAW) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hellfire and made to enter Paradise).” [al-Ahzaab 33:70-71]

As to what proceeds: Verily the best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). The worst of affairs are the newly-invented affairs in the religion and every newly invented affair in the religion is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the hellfire. As to what proceeds:

Servants of Allah! The subject/topic of my today’s talk is about Death. I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, for it is the provision and safety in this world and the Last Day, “the day when neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.”

Allah the Most High says:

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to Paradise he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Surah Ali Imran, 3:175)

Such is the reality of death and what comes after it. Every one of us shall taste it whether poor or rich; healthy or sick, old or young; leader or led; Muslim or non-Muslim, southerner or northerner and none of us can escape it.

Allah says:

“Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in a fortress built up strong and high.” (Surah An-Nisa, 4:78)

Death, as manifested in its character and effects is one of the mysteries that dazzles human intelligence because it has to do with the soul.

Allah says:

“And they ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the spirit. Say: ‘The spirit is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.” (Surah Al-Isra’, 17:85)

One of its mysteries is that you see a youth who was full of health and energy suddenly falls dead without warning; thereby making that youthfulness and energy fade away, bringing all his senses to a complete standstill. That youth might even be an erudite scholar, an eloquent author, a skilled physician or brilliant inventor but it is absolutely out of the question that this quality should prevent death from overtaking him when his time is due.

Allah says:

“When their term is reached, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).” (Surah Yunus, 10:49)

Amr bin Abdullah used to mount the pulpit and say:

“Many a person who has seen the beginning of a day but would not see it’s end. And many a person who has expected morning but would not live to see it. If only you had known your appointed time and how it comes to pass, you would have detested nursing hope for worldly materials and its deception.”

Brothers and Sisters! While man enjoys his good health, playing and merrymaking, moving about in haughtiness, commanding and forbidding, death and illness suddenly attacks him, weakens his body, makes his limbs lifeless and then closes his record.

How near is death! Every day it becomes closer to us and no sooner has the book reached its appointed time that we belong among the dead. Then it becomes clear that life is really like flowers that bloom then afterwards wither or like a lamp that illuminates then afterwards dies down.

Let those who crave for this world and its pleasures ponder over these scattered graves all over the place and realise that the way to pleasures and lustful things, though decorated with beautiful roses inevitably leads to the present condition of those buried in these graves. Happiness is for him whom a messenger of death has opened his eyes to reality before he died, and whoever does not heed to the warning of the Quran and death, even if mountains were to thrust one another in front of him, he would not heed.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! What we witness in the cemeteries is a great lesson for us. The carrier of the bier to the cemetery today is taken back there tomorrow (as a dead person) and is left there only with his deeds either good or evil.

It is also very unfortunate that in these days we see some among those who escort the deceased laughing and playing or attending the funeral for showing off. This phenomenon is due to the heedlessness that has hardened people’s hearts and made them forget the Last Day and the frightening conditions of the grave. May Allah awaken us from this heedlessness! Ameen.

Brothers and Sisters! It is expected of him who knows that he will die, be buried, raised up on the day of Resurrection and enter Paradise or Hell to always remember death, prepare for it and reflect on it. He is in fact expected to regard himself among the dead. This is because all that is coming is near and when the angel of death comes neither your wealth nor your people can prevent him from taking your soul.

Where are those who achieved their aims and none were comparable to them in that? They collected but could not eat what they collected; they built mansions but could not live there! We on our part are still swimming in the pool of life as if we are meant to live here forever.

Uways Al-Qarni said:

“Remember death when you sleep and always think of it when you are awake.”

Fellow Muslims! It is a fact that this world and its tribulations appear insignificant in the eyes of him who always remembers death, for, he has lofty aims and strong resolutions; he is far from hypocrisy and always yearns for the everlasting bliss in the eternal Paradise.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Remembering death does not in any way make one’s life loathsome to him; forcing him to sit in his home and leave all means of sustenance. It is rather meant to deter him from committing sins and soften his hard heart. We remember death in order to have good preparation for it and for all that follows it by doing righteous deeds, obeying Allah and increasing one’s efforts in all acts of worship.

Abdur-Rahman Ibn Mahdi said:

“If Hammad bin Salamah is told, ‘You will die tomorrow.’ He will not be able to increase anything in his deed, because his time is full of worship and remembrance of Allah.”

How do we prepare for death? We prepare for death by shunning all abominable things and returning trusts to their rightful owners. We prepare for death by eliminating hatred and enmity from our hearts. We prepare for death by being good to the kith and kin.

Ibn al-Mubarak said that Salih Al-Mariy used to say:

“If the remembrance of death leaves me for an hour my heart becomes spoilt.”

It is also said that:

“Whoever frequently remembers death is honoured with three things: quick repentance, self-contentedness and energy in doing acts of worship; and whoever forgets death is punished with three things: delaying repentance, lack of contentedness and laziness in acts of worship.”

My respected people! When will one who always follows his lustful desires and moves wantonly in his heedlessness remember death? When will one who has no regard for Allah’s injunctions in Halal or Haram remember death? When will one who deserts the Quran, prays not Fajr in congregation, usurps people’s property unlawfully, loot public treasury, takes usury, and commits fornication, remember death? How can one whose habit is slandering others and backbiting, defaming, whose heart is full of rancour and envy remember death?

Fellow Muslims! The Prophets of Allah, whenever death came to them were given a chance of choosing between remaining on this world and moving to that noble position. It is beyond doubt that every Prophet would select the everlasting bliss. This happened to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Aisha (RA) that she said:

“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to say while he was healthy, ‘No Prophet died until he saw his place in the Paradise, he was then given the choice between that place and remaining in this world.’ So when he was dying and his head was on my thigh, he fainted for a while then regained his consciousness. He stared at the ceiling, then said, ‘O Allah! I choose the Highest Companionship.’ I then said, ‘He was not preferring us.’ It was then that I understood statement he used to tell us and it was true. She said, ‘The last word he uttered was: Oh Allah, I choose the Highest Companionship.”

During death and its pain; in the grave and its darkness; and the Day of Resurrection and its horror people fall into two groups. A group shall remain firm; secured from fright and given glad tidings of Paradise while the other group shall suffer disgrace and ignominy.

Allah the Almighty says:

“Verily, those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah (alone) and then stood straight, on them the angel will descend (at the time of their death saying,) ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.” (Surah Fussilat, 41:30)

Angels shall descend upon the believers who are straight in heir religion during death in their graves and when they are resurrected in order to assure them of security and to allay their fears of the horror of the day of judgement. The angels will be telling them:

“Do not fear about what you are going to meet and do not grieve over what you will be leaving behind of children, family and wealth.”

The angels will also say:

“We have been your friends in the life of this world and (are so) in the hereafter.” (Surah Fussilat, 41:31) i.e. we will also be your friends in the hereafter, keeping your company in your graves and when the horn is blown, we will also assure you of security on the day of resurrection.

As for the wrongdoers, when death comes to them and they start suffering its agonies, they will be subjected to ignominy and disgrace.

Allah says:

“And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands saying, “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 ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) with disrespect.” (Surah Al-An’am, 6:93)

Their sorrow shall increase so much so that they will wish to go back to this world.

Allah says:

“Until when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord send me back.” (Surah Al-Mu’minun, 23:99)

Qatadah said while commenting on this verse:

“By Allah, he would not wish by this statement to go back to his family and wealth nor to collect the good things of this world and satisfy his desires. He would rather wish to go back and do acts of obedience to Allah. May Allah bless him who does in this life what the disbelievers would wish to do when he sees the torment of Hell!”

My people! How is the need of a dying Muslim to Allah’s success that his last words may be, “Laa ilaaha illa Allah.” Mu’aadh bin Jabal narrated that the Prophet said:

“Whoever has ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ as his last words will enter Paradise.”

Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

“Dictating this word to a dying man is recommended because one who is dying experiences horrors that were unknown to him before, so it is feared that forgetfulness might overtake him since Satan is close to human beings. Moreover, uttering this statement while dying has a great effect in erasing ones misdeeds because it is a testimony of a slave of Allah who believes in it and knows its meanings; for whose lustful desires are now dead and whose soul has become weak after its might. Then that testimony becomes his last utterance, it purifies him from all his sins because he meets with his Lord with a sincere testimony…”

The righteous predecessors also recommended that a dying person be reminded of his good deeds, so that he can have positive thoughts about his Lord. Jabir narrated : The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“None of you should die except in the state of having positive thoughts about Allah.” (Muslim)

The Sunnah encourages talking about good deeds of a dead person and abstaining from talking about his misdeeds. Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Aisha (RA) that she narrated:

‘The Prophet (SAW) said: “Do not abuse the dead; for they have gone to meet the consequences of their deeds.”

In Sahih Al-Bukhari, Abul-Aswad said:

“I came to Madinah while there was an epidemic there. I sat with Umar ibn al-Khattab. Then a funeral procession passed by and people praised its owner. Umar said, “It becomes incumbent.” Then another funeral procession passed by and people also praised its owner, and Umar said, “It’s incumbent;” then a third procession passed by and people spoke ill of its owner. Umar also commented, “It becomes incumbent.” Then I said, “What is incumbent, O Leader of the Faithful? Umar (RA) answered, “I said as the Prophet (SAW) said, that, “Any dead Muslim whom four persons testify in his favour, Allah will make him enter Paradise, We said, “And three persons?” He said, “And three persons.” We also said, “And two persons?” He said, “Yes, and two persons.” We did not thereafter ask him of one person.”

It should be added that those whose testimony is regarded are the people of virtue and truthfulness. The testimony of an enemy shall not be considered.

It is also recommendable that the person who washes the dead should conceal whatever defects he may see on him. It is also a right of a Muslim on his fellow Muslims to escort his funeral, pray on him and supplicate for him.

In Sahih al-Bukhari, Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Whoever attends the funeral of a Muslim faithfully and hoping for the reward of Allah and stays with him until Salah is done on him and he is buried, he will go back home with two qirats, each is as big as the size of Mount Uhud; and whoever observes Salah on him and then goes back before he is buried will get one qirat.”

As regards debts, the family of the deceased should hasten to pay it because a believer’s soul hangs on his debt until it is paid on his behalf. Debts of Allah should also be promptly paid for, it is more deserving to be paid. Ibn Mas’ud said:

“A Believer has no rest until he meets Allah.”

Servants of Allah! Allah (SWT) says in the Quran in Surah Al-Mulk:

“Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things has Power; He Who created Death and Life, that He may which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving…” (Quran 67:1-2)

Brothers and Sisters! The subject/topic of death is very important to all of us. Every one of us has to die. In this regard Allah mentioned in the Quran in Surah Al-Zumar that everyone has to die including the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) himself:

“Truly you will die (one day), and truly they (too) will die (one day)” (Quran 39:30)

Also Allah said in Surah Al-Ankabut that everyone has to die:

“Every soul shall have taste of death: In the end to Us shall you brought back.” (Quran 29:57)

Dear Muslims! No one knows when and where to die. No one even knows how he is to die. In this respect Allah says in the Quran in Surah Luqman:

“Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things).” (Quran 31:34)

Servants of Allah! It is understood that Allah alone is the One Who gives life, and it is He Who takes off life. In this regard, Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-Mumin:

“It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (Quran 40:68)

While life and death are from Allah, we have to remember that they are to take place with the permission of Allah alone. Each one’s life and death are decided by Allah. It is stated in the Quran in Surah Al-Imran the following:

“Nor can a soul die except by Allah’s leave, the term being fixed as by writing. If any do desire a reward in this life, We shall give it to him, and if any do desire a reward in the hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve us with) gratitude.” (3:145)

Dear Muslims! Allah makes us die daily at night during sleeping. He makes most of us wake up from our temporary death to praise Him and to worship Him. The Quran states in Surah Al-Zumar the following:

“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.” (39:42)

Allah has assigned an angel responsible for taking our souls out of our flesh. The angel’s name in the Quran is Angel of Death (Malakul Maut). Allah informs us in Surah Al-Sajdah:

“Say: ‘The Angel of Death put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: Then shall you be brought back to your Lord.” (32:11)

The life of a Muslim on this earth is a short one, but his deeds and actions are eternal if he knows how to channel them in the right directions. As far as the life span of a Muslim is concerned, our beloved Prophet said:

“The life span of my followers is between sixty and seventy. Very few of them do exceed this age.” (Tirmidhi)

While the life span of a Muslim is short, and while the deeds and actions do stop normally after death, a Muslim may continue to earn rewards for certain things even after his death. These are perpetual charity, a useful knowledge, a good child that prays for him, a mosque that he built, teaching Quran to another person, a house he built for public use, a water fountain or a river that he rent and made it free for people, or a charity that he gave during his life while he was in good health. All these and similar others are the ones that may follow him even while he is in the grave. In this respect, the Prophet said:

“When a child of Adam dies, his deeds are over except through three things: perpetual charity, a useful knowledge, or a good child to pray for him.”

In another Hadith in Ibn Majah, the Prophet said:

“Some of the deeds and the rewards that follow a believer after death are: knowledge that he taught or published, a good child that he left behind, a Quran that he inherited to someone, a mosque that he built, a house that he built for the wayfarer, a river that he rented (to be used free), or a charity that he gave from his wealth during his good health and his life; these are the ones that follow a person after his death.”

Brothers and Sisters! Life in this world is a temporary one. The real life is the one of the hereafter. In this respect, the Quran states in Surah Al-Ankabut:

“What is the life of this world but amusement and play? But verily the home in the Hereafter – that is life indeed, if they but knew.” (29:64)

We are here on a trial basis, we are here on a temporary basis, and we are here for a passage to heaven and paradise. The real life of an eternal rest is that of the hereafter. In this respect, Allah says in Surah Al-Mu’min:

“O my People: This life of the present is nothing but (temporary) convenience. It is the Hereafter that is the home that will last.” (40:39)

Without coming to this world, and without dying we can’t go to paradise. We can’t dream to go to paradise without tasting death. So we have to die whether we like it or not. Death is truth (haqq). It is a passage to paradise. Therefore, each has to remember death and to prepare himself for that day. Our beloved Prophet reminded us that we have to remember death, as it is the one that defeats all types of pleasures.

Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“Increase your remembrance of the One which defeats pleasures.”

While we are to remember death, we have to prepare ourselves to meet it – before it meets us. In this regard, our beloved Prophet said:

“Do for your life as if you are to live eternally, and do for the hereafter as if you are to die tomorrow.”

While we are to remember death, it is also recommended that one prepares for himself the coffin as well as the grave before he dies. It is also recommended that one may wish to die at one of the two Sacred Mosques (Ka’aba at Makkah; and the Prophet’s mosque at Madinah). It is also recommended that a person visit the graveyards with solitude, serenity and humility.

My people! Remember that death is a process of rest for both the believers and the wicked. We hope and pray that we Muslims obey Allah in our private and public life. We hope and pray that Allah will be happy with us. We pray that when death comes to us, we are ready to face it with courage. We hope that when we die, we will die as loving sincere Muslims. Ameen.

Oh Allah make our country, Nigeria safe and the other muslim countries in general, Oh Lord of the universe (jinn and mankind). Oh Allah protect our safety, our Iman and our peace in our native lands and rectify those placed in authority over our affairs (our leaders) and don’t hold us to account for that which the foolish amongst us have done, and protect us from trials the apparent and hidden of it.

Oh Allah show us the truth for the truth and help us to follow it, and show us the falsehood for falsehood and help us to stay away from it, and make Iman the most beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make disbelief, lewdness and rebellion most hated to us and make us from those who are guided.

Oh Allah rectify our leaders, Oh Allah guide them to that which is good for themselves and to that which is good for us. Oh Allah make them a means for our safety, and make them a means for our word (unity) to be one, and make them a cause for our coming together, Yaa Al-Hayyu (Oh The Ever Living, The One who cannot die), Yaa Al-Qayyum (The Self Sustainer), Yaa Saami’ (The Hearer) of the supplication.

Oh Allah safeguard our country. Oh Allah bring ease to the Nigerians from that which they face from sufferings. Oh Allah give us immediate ease. Oh Allah give us victory with a happy outcome. Oh Allah make ease for the Nigerians from every difficulty and from every suffering, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Reliever from every distress, Oh answerer of the supplication, Oh Helper of the grieving, Oh ever living, Self Sustaining, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Owner of Loftiness and Nobility! Ameen.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognize the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us, ameen.

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Al-Mighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadal Ula 19, 1438 A.H. (February 17, 2017), By Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached through: +2348038289761.