Death is Beautiful, Morality Test, 7 Ways to Peace & Happiness
Issue 578 » April 23, 2010 - Jumada al-Awwal 9, 1431
Death is Beautiful
Al-Mulk (The Sovereignty) Sura 67: Verse 2
Death is not the end of a life or the removal of life from living things or beings. Rather, it is something that is created, like life. God creates death in a living thing or being and so that thing or being dies. Since God's creation is at all times beautiful, death is also beautiful. This is because all human beings have an intrinsic feeling of eternity, and so feel imprisoned in the narrow confines of the material world as they yearn for eternity. This natural inclination towards eternal happiness comes from an objective reality: the existence of eternal life and our desire for it. Death is the door that opens onto eternity.
Although death seems to bring decomposition, extinguish life, and destroy pleasure, in fact, it represents a Divine discharge from the heavy duties of worldly life. It is no more than a change of residence, a transference of the body, and an invitation to and the beginning of everlasting life. It releases us from the hardships of this worldly life, which is turbulent, suffocating, narrow dungeon that gradually becomes harder with old age and illness, and admits us to the infinitely wide circle of the mercy of Eternal, Beloved One. There we may enjoy the everlasting company of our beloved ones and the consolation of a happy, eternal life.
The world is continually enlivened through acts of creation and death. Death leads to a more perfect life. The dying of plants, the simplest level of life, proves itself a work of Divine artistry, like their lives, but one that is more perfect and better designed. When the seed of a fruit dies in the soil, it seems to decompose and rot away. But in reality, it undergoes a perfect chemical process, passing through predetermined stages of re-formation, and ultimately grows again into an elaborate, new tree. So a seed's death is really the beginning of a new tree, a new, more perfect and elaborate life. Since the dying of plants is so perfect and serves so great a purpose, our deaths, given that we are the highest form of life, must be more perfect and serve a still greater purpose. Once we have gone underground, we certainly will be brought into eternal life. Those who believe and live righteous lives will be greeted with opened windows from the places reserved for them in Paradise.
Nothing, then, comes by blind coincidence or without purpose. Thus, man should always be on the alert, considering every thought and every action. He should not be oblivious to anything. God is certainly Almighty, but He is at the same time Much-Forgiving. When a person's heart is alert, aware that this life is a test, and tries to keep on the right track, he is reassured of God's forgiveness and grace. This gives man all the rest and comfort he needs.
The truth Islam establishes in people's hearts does not depict God as chasing humans to afflict or punish them. He only wants them to be aware of the purpose behind their existence and of their true nature. He wants them to rise to the level worthy of His honour when He blew of His own spirit into them, elevating them above many of His other creations.
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, pp. 1156, 1157
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 17, pp. 134, 135
Abu Qulabah narrated:
"Some of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him) decided to relinquish the world, forsake their wives, and become like monks. The Prophet told them with asperity, People before you perished because of their asceticism; they made excessive demands on themselves until Allah brought hardships on them." (Reported by Abdur Razzaq, Ibn Jarir, and Ibn al-Mundhir).
The Messenger of Allah's (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) call bears an important message for us, which is, that morality is not the preserve of the monks, to be practised in the monasteries, nor the privilege of the mystics, to be observed within the precincts of the shrines. Morality is meant for practical application in all spheres of life. The highest spiritual and moral standards which the world sought in monks, priests and the mystics were transferred to the Prophet, to the seat of Government and the Judges' bench. He exhorted the businessmen to fear God and practise honesty in their dealings and transactions. He taught the policemen and the soldiers the lesson of piety and restraint. The Prophet dispelled man's misconception that one who renounced the world and commemorated God in the wilderness was the friend of God. He denied that true fellowship with God consisted in being a hermit. On the contrary, true saintliness consisted in participating in the affairs of the world as a ruler, magistrate, army commander, police inspector, businessman, industrialist. In fact, displaying through all other activities of the temporal life, a pious and honest character whenever one's faith is put to the test.
In this way, the Prophet retrieved morality and spirituality from the restrictions of monasticism and brought them into all spheres of practical life. He enforced morality and spirituality in economic, social and political affairs and in the conduct of peace or war, establishing the supremacy of the righteous moral code in all these fields of life.
"The Message of The Prophet's Seerah" - Syed Abul Ala Mawdudi, pp. 25, 26
Seven Ways to Peace and Happiness
Rule 1: Let's fill our minds with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, for "our life is what our thoughts make it."
Rule 2: Let's never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them. Let's never waste a minute thinking about people we don't like.
A. Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let's expect it.
B. Let's remember that the only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude - but to give for the joy of giving.
C. Let's remember that gratitude is a "cultivated" trait; so if we want our children to be grateful, we must train them to be grateful.
Rule 4: Count your blessings - not your troubles!
Rule 5: Let's not imitate others. Let's find ourselves and be ourselves, for "envy is ignorance" and "imitation is suicide."
Rule 6: When fate hands us a lemon, let's try to make a lemonade.
Rule 7: Let's forget our own unhappiness - by trying to create a little happiness for others. "When you are good to others, you are best to yourself."
"How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" - Dale Carnegie, p. 186.