Remembrance of Death and Restraint of Wishes

Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 65
Remembrance of Death and Restraint of Wishes

Allah, the Exalted, 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 Jannah, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (3:185)

“No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die…” (31:34)

“…when their term comes, neither can they delay nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).” (16:61)

“O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers. And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you, and he says: `My Rubb! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e., return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e., Zakat) of my wealth, and be among the righteous [i.e., perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) and other good deeds].’ And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (63:9-11)

“Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: `My Rubb! Send me back. So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected. Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another. Then, those whose Scales (of good deeds) are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose Scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their ownselves, in Hell will they abide. The Fire will burn their faces, and therein they will grin, with displaced lips (disfigured). `Were not My Verses (this Qur’an) recited to you, and then you used to deny them?’ They will say: `Our Rubb! Our wretchedness overcame us, and we were (an) erring people. `Our Rubb! Bring us out of this; if ever we return (to evil), then indeed we shall be Zalimun (polytheists, oppressors, unjust, wrong-doers, etc? He (Allah) will say: `Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!’ Verily! There was a party of My slaves, who used to say: `Our Rubb! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for you are the Best of all who show mercy!’ `But you took them for a laughing stock, so much so that they made you forget My remembrance while you used to laugh at them! Verily! I have rewarded them this Day for their patience, they are indeed the ones that are successful. He (Allah) will say: `What number of years did you stay on earth?’ They will say: `We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account.’ He (Allah) will say: `You stayed not but a little, if you had only known! Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?”’ (23:99-115)

“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allah’s Reminder (this Qur’an), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] before (i.e., Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fasiqun (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allah).” (57:16)

574. `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) took hold of my shoulders and said, “Be in the world like a stranger or a wayfarer.” Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) used to say: When you survive till the evening do not expect to live until the morning; and when you survive till the morning do not expect to live until the evening. While in good health (do good deeds) before you fall sick; and while you are alive (do good deeds) before death strikes.
[Al-Bukhari].

575. `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “It is the duty of a Muslim who has something which is to be given as a bequest not to have it for two nights without executing a written will.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In the narration of Muslim it is narrated as `three nights’. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) said: Since I heard the Messenger of Allah say this, I have never spent a night without having my will with me.

576. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) drew a few lines and said, “One of them represents man and another indicates death; and a man continues like this until the nearest line (i.e., death) overtakes him.”
[Al-Bukhari].

577. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) drew up a square and in the middle of it he drew a line, the end of which jutted out beyond the square. Further across the middle line, he drew a number of smaller lines. Then he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The figure represents man and the encircling square is the death which is encompassing him. The middle line represents his desires and the smaller lines are vicissitudes of life. If one of those misses him, another distresses him, and if that one misses him, he falls victim to another.”
[Al-Bukhari].

578. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions.’‘ Then (giving a warning) he said, “Are you waiting for poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion, or prosperity which will make you corrupt, or a disease which will disable you, or senility which will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death which will take you all of a sudden, or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected, or the Hour; and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

579. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Remember more often the destroyer of pleasures – death.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

580. Ubayy bin Ka`b (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: When one-third of the night would pass, Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would get up and call out, “O people, remember Allah. The Rajifah (i.e., the first Blowing of the Trumpet which will shake the whole universe and thus cause all life to cease) has come, followed by Ar-Radifah (i.e., the second Blowing of the Trumpet which will restore life and thus mark the Resurrection Day). Death has approached with all that it comprises. Death has approached with all that it comprises.” I said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), I frequently invoke Allah to elevate your rank. How much of my supplications should I devote to you?” He said, “You may devote as much as you wish.” When I suggested a quarter, he said, “Do whatever you wish, but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I suggested half, and he said, “Do whatever you wish, but it will be better for you if you increase.” I suggested two-thirds, and he said, “Do whatever you wish but it will be better for you if you increase it.” I said, “Shall I devote all my supplications invoking Allah to elevate your rank?” He said, “Then you will be freed from your worries and your sins will be forgiven.”
[At-Tirmidhi].