Contemplating death kills desire, cuts off the roots of heedlessness and strengthens the heart with Allah’s promise of life hereafter.
It refines nature, breaks the signs of passion, extinguishes the fire of greed and renders this world vile; this is the meaning of the Holy Prophet’s words: ‘To reflect for an hour is better than a year of worship.’ That hour of reflecting is the moment when you unite the ropes binding you to this world and fasten them to the next. The descent of mercy from Heaven never ceases when death is remembered in this way. If a person does not reflect on death, and on his own lack of any means to escape it, on his great incapacity, on the length of time he will spend in the grave and his bewilderment at the Resurrection, there is no good in him.
The Holy Prophet said, ‘Remember the destroyer of pleasures.’ When asked what that was, he replied, ‘Death. Whenever one of Allah’s servants remembers this when he is wealthy, this world is constricted for him. Whenever he remembers it in hardship, it is expanded for him.’ Death is the first station of the next world and the last station of this world. Blessed is he who shows himself generous and benefits at the beginning, and blessed is he who has done his best at the end.
Death is the closest thing to accompany the son of Adam, although he deems it to be the furthest away. How much man inflicts on himself? What weaker creature is there? In death lies the rescue of the sincere and the destruction of the wrongdoers.
That is why some yearn for death while others hate it. The Holy Prophet said, ‘If a person loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him; and if a person hates to meet Allah, the Allah hates to meet him.’