Man is intrinsically selfish; he is extremely sensitive about issues
linked to his own interests. Ironically, he displays indifference towards
death, which ought to be a matter of paramount concern. In the Qur'an,
this state of mind peculiar to "those who do not hold firmly to Faith"
is defined by God in one word: "heedlessness".
The meaning of heedlessness is a deficiency in full comprehension of facts
owing to a blurring of awareness or even total unawareness and the resultant
failure to arrive at sound judgments and give pertinent responses. An
example of this is given in the following verse:
Mankind's Reckoning has drawn very close to them,
yet they heedlessly turn away. (Surat al-Anbiya': 1)
People feel certain that one who is afflicted by a fatal or incurable
disease will die. Yet, no less than this patient, these people who harbor
such feelings of certainty, too, will die. That this will happen some
time in the future or very soon does not change this fact. Often, heedlessness
obscures this truth. For instance, it is highly probable that someone
afflicted with HIV will die in the near future. Yet, the fact remains
that it is also highly probable -if the truth be told, it is certain-that
a vigorous person next to him will one day die. Maybe death will come
upon him long before it comes upon that "HIV-stricken patient."
This will most likely be at some quite unexpected moment.
Death, especially at an early age, seldom comes to mind. Considering this
as the end, man even escapes from the thought of it. However, just as
physical avoidance provides no cure for death; neither does avoidance
of thinking about it. Besides, it is impossible to ignore death. Every
day, newspapers run headlines about the deaths of so many people. You
frequently come across hearses or pass by cemeteries. Relatives and associates
die. Their funerals or visits to offer condolences inevitably bring death
to mind. As one witnesses the death of others, and especially the death
of beloved ones, he inevitably thinks about his own end. This thought
hurts him deep inside, making him restless.
No matter how strongly the individual resists, wherever he seeks refuge
or how he tries to escape, he may actually encounter his own death at
any moment. He has no other choice. Ahead of him, there is no other exit.
The countdown never stops, not for a moment. Wherever he returns, death
meets him there. The circle encloses constantly and finally catches up
Say: 'Death, from which you are fleeing, will
certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of
the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you did.'
(Surat al-Jumu'ah: 8)
Wherever you are, death will catch up with you,
even if you are in impregnable fortresses. (Surat an-Nisa': 78)
That is why we need to stop deceiving ourselves or disregarding facts
and strive to earn the good pleasure of God during this period predetermined
by Him. Only God knows when this time will be over.
Our Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) also said that one of the best ways to prevent
one's conscience from hardening, and attain a good character is by frequently
Abdullah ibn Umar narrated, "Gods's Messenger (peace
be upon him) said, 'These hearts become rusty just as iron does when water
affects it.' On being asked what could clear them he replied, 'A great
amount of remembrance of death and recitation of the Qur'an.'" (Al-Tirmidhi,