What will happen to me after I die?

This is a question man has been asking ever since he became aware of the fact that life ends at some point.  Why is it important to think about this ultimate reality? Everything we do in life has a specific objective and a specific outcome, the same applies to life itself.

Almost all religions believe in the existence of life after death, which is derived from the actions taken in this life.  Islam presents a very well defined concept of death and the life after death.

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have succeeded. For the life of this world is but goods of chattels of deception" (Surah Aal-Imran, vs. 185)

"Every soul shall taste death. And We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us must you return." (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, vs. 36)

All of us believe in life after death, which means we should be hard at work to make our eternal life as good as we can.  But we fail to strive to achieve this objective during our life.  Why is it so? If we know that judgment after death is an undeniable fact, why don’t we prepare for it? Could it be because we don’t remember death?

Have we become so involved in our grand designs for life that we have practically forgotten about the thing that can end it all at any time, Death?

Why Must We Remember Death?

A straight forward response is that if we forget about it, we will not be prepared for the life after death, which is eternal.

"O you who believe let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah and whoever do this the loss is their own. And spend in charity out of the substance which we have bestowed on you before death should come to any of you and he would say `O my Lord why don't You give me a respite for a little while? I should then have given largely in charity and I will be one of the doers of good. But to no soul will Allah grant respite when the time appointed for it has come and Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." (Al-Munafiqun 63:9-11)

According to a hadith of our beloved prophet (SAW), narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), “an Ansari stood up in a gathering in the presence of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and asked him, “Who is the most intelligent and careful person?” The Prophet SAW) replied, “Those who remember death most and prepare for it most. These are people who have excelled in the nobility of this world and the honor of the Hereafter.” (Reported by Tabraani, Ibn Maajah)

How Should We Remember Death?

The best way to remember death is to read the Qur’an because it discusses the concept of death and the life after death in great detail.  This helps in developing the right perspective for death and an understanding of the importance of life after death.

Another method prescribed by the Prophet (SAW) is visiting graveyards, because nothing can remind us of the end of life better than a view of our final resting place.

I used to forbid you to visit graves, but now (go and) visit them, for this softens the heart, makes the eyes weep and reminds one of the Hereafter, and do not speak in an obscene manner,” said Prophet (SAW) (Reported by al-Haakim, 1/376; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4584)

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