The Final Moments
By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh
A person’s final moments are dependent on how he spent his life, what he lived for and what his heart remained engrossed in. Accordingly, if a person lives a life of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā and is preoccupied in worldly pursuits, his last moments will be whilst engaged in such activities. Similarly, a person living a life of obedience to Allāh ta‘ālā, in His remembrance and in striving for His Pleasure, will find his final moments in acts beloved to Allāh ta‘ālā. Many incidents are recorded in history which bear testimony to this fact, prompting us to reflect on our current state and creating a concern regarding our own preparations for departure from this world.
Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh has quoted a number of incidents:
• Rabī‘ ibn Bazzah rahimahullāh has narrated that a person was in his last moments and the people present encouraged him to recite the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh, but he kept repeating (indicating to a glass of wine), “You drink and also give me one.”
• Another person was in his final moments and the people around him were repeating the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh to prompt him, but he kept saying, “Ten ten rupees, eleven eleven rupees, twelve twelve rupees.”
Hadrat Muftī Muhammad Shafī‘ rahimahullāh has narrated:
• A salesman used to be always occupied in his business ventures, so much so that performing salāh and other acts of worship would never come to mind. During his final moments, people encouraged him to recite the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh, but his end came with him continuously mentioning and calculating his business transactions.
• An incident of another person who remained busy in his worldly pursuits, led to him in his final moments continually saying, “Have you fed my donkey.”
In contrast, we find amazing incidents of pious people who lived a life of piety, engaged in the obedience to Allāh ta‘ālā and toiling for His Pleasure, leaving the world in a manner which leaves us in amazement and wonder.
‘Umar ibn ‘Abd-ul-‘Azīz rahimahullāh is well known for his piety and steadfastness on Dīn. He established justice to such a degree, that the Ummah recognise him as the fifth rightly guided caliph. Many people were gathered around him when his final moments drew near. As he began to cry, someone consoled him and asked, “Why are you crying? Allāh ta‘ālā has revived the Sunnah and established justice through you.”
Hearing this he began to cry more and said, “Will I not be questioned regarding the rights of the people?” He then went on to say, “O Allāh! You commanded me with certain things regarding which I remained imperfect, and you prohibited certain things from which I couldn’t restrain myself, but O Allāh, I bear witness that You are One, Who has no partner and there is none worthy of worship except You.” He then requested all to leave him except his attendant saying there are such creations before him who were neither jinn nor human. After everyone had left, he left this mortal world after reciting the following verse of the Glorious Qur’ān:
This is the home of the Ākhirah, which We shall assign to those who do not desire pomp on earth nor corruption. The (best) outcome shall be for those with Taqwā. (28:83)
The great muhaddith Abū Zur‘ah rahimahullāh was an imām in the field of hadīth. Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullāh states regarding him that he knew 600,000 ahādīth. When his final moments came, the ‘ulamā present began discussing how they should encourage him to recite the kalimah, as they felt it was disrespectful to address him directly. They decided to narrate a hadīth in his presence. One person initiated the hadīth with, “Dahhāk ibn Makhlad narrated to us from ‘Abd-ul-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far who narrated from Sālih”. He then stopped at this point. Hearing this, the great muhaddith began narrating the hadīth saying, “Bundār narrated to us that Abū ‘Āsim narrated to him that ‘Abd-ul-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far narrated to him that Sālih ibn Abī ‘Arīb narrated to him that Kathīr ibn Murrah Al-Hadramī narrated to him that Mu‘ādh ibn Jabal radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrated that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam stated, ‘Whoever’s last words are lā ilāha illallāh….’.” He then passed away. The full hadīth is, ‘Whoever’s last words are lā ilāha illallāh will enter Jannah’. By departing in this manner, he practically demonstrated the glad tiding mentioned in this hadīth. What an amazing death Allāh ta‘ālā granted him!
These few incidents are a mere drop in the ocean from the many great and amazing final moments Allāh ta‘ālā has granted His special servants, who made acquiring His Pleasure the objective of their lives. The thought should not cross our minds that these were great people of the past who achieved such heights. Even in this age, Allāh ta‘ālā does not deprive His servants who lead a life of servitude to Him and remain steadfast in their duties and obligations to Him.
Just this month, my very dear and close friend in Barbados, Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi, left this mortal world. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant him forgiveness for any shortcomings and elevate his status in the hereafter and resurrect him with the Ambiyā, the Siddiqīn, the Shuhadā and the Sālihīn. Āmīn.
Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi was my host whenever I visited Barbados and was very affectionate towards me and showed me much love and affection. He was very respectful towards the ‘Ulamā and Mashāyikh and would endeavour to serve and bring comfort to them. Almost all the prominent Mashāyikh who visited Barbados during his lifetime have been his guests and his manner and behaviour towards them was such that he would win their hearts. I was very saddened and experienced much grief upon the news. However, when his sons narrated to me the details of his final moments, I was wonderstruck and experienced immense happiness for the way Allāh ta‘ālā called him to his final abode.
Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi was very steadfast and punctual with his a‘māl and ma‘mūlāt (prescribed practices). He would for the last forty years wake up for tahajjud and complete his ma‘mūlāt. In the last few years he was not very mobile, yet he remained punctual regarding his daily practices. Even in a poor state of health, he would normally wake up around 1am and engage in tahajjud salāh, dhikr and du‘ā until the beginning time of Fajr and then perform his Fajr. Thereafter, he would recite Sūrah Yāsīn and one juz from the Qur’ān. He would then awaken his wife and son for Fajr salāh.
His son, Rafeeq, narrated to me that during his father’s last night in this world, as per his usual practice he attended to his father at 1am to assist him to perform wudū and seat him in his chair for tahajjud, thereafter returning to sleep. Later in the morning, he was not awakened by the call of his father, but his mother. Worried, he got up and went to see his father to find that he had, at some point during the night, departed for the hereafter. This in itself was a great honour, that he had left this world whilst engaged in worship. However, the detail mentioned by his son is more amazing. He said that he found his father in the condition that the Qur’ān was still open and in his father’s hands. This means, according to his regular practice, Dr. Shafee must have performed his tahajjud salāh, completed all his ma‘mūlāt, performed his Fajr salāh, recited Sūrah Yāsīn and also the Qur’ān. Furthermore, when his son looked at the Qur’ān, it became apparent that he was on the last page, which indicated that he had just completed the Qur’ān. Subhānallāh! What a praiseworthy final moment Allāh ta‘ālā granted my beloved friend!
It is evident that, when a person makes Allāh ta‘ālā his objective and lives a life striving to acquire His Pleasure, then his final moments will be in the same state. We should take lesson from such incidents and reflect on how we are leading our lives, so that we can mend our ways by sincerely repenting from a life of negligence and adopting a life of piety and devotion.
May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the tawfīq to live such a life that we breathe our last when we are engaged in acts that are most beloved to Him, so that we depart with His Forgiveness, Mercy and eternal Pleasure. Āmīn.
© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 26 No. 8, August 2017)