Read and Reflect: Imam Ahmad’s Death

I will start this post with two GRAVE REMINDERS!!

The first being:

“كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَنَبْلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَيْرِ فِتْنَةً وَإِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ”

Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned. 21:35

and the second being:

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].”  3:102

Take into account that the Shaytaan is our biggest enemy. Day and night is he planning against us. A verse to prove this is in Surah Al Araf.

“يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ”

O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe. 7:27

I sincerely hope you benefit from the below account.

Abdullah ibn Imam Ahmad said that he was there when his father was passing away. His father was going into sakaarah, the state of unconsciousness. When you are going from dunya to akhirah, it’s a very difficult change. You’ve been in this world for 60 or 70 years and now you are going to a completely different world. That change between these two stages is difficult, sometimes it doesn’t happen immediately. Sometimes you’ll find that the person goes back and forth.

To simplify this, think of sleep, because sleep is the minor death. Allah says, “And He is the One who takes your souls when you are sleeping.” Sleep is a minor death.

You go through an interface in which you’re not awake and you’re not sleeping. The same thing happens before death; you are going through this interface between life and death. There are moments where you are on the other side and on this side [living].

‘Abdullah’s father started saying, “la ba’ad. la ba’ad” [meaning] “No, not yet… no, not yet”. ‘Abdullah was worried. Imagine you hear your father saying, “No, not yet… no, not yet,” [at the time of death]. What would you interpret it to mean? I don’t want to die yet, right? You would interpret it as meaning “I do not want to die yet.” So ‘Abdullah asked his father (when he woke up), “O my father, why were you saying ‘No, not yet’?” Imam Ahmad said, “Shaytaan was standing right next to me, biting on his fingers and saying, ‘O Ahmad, you have slipped out of my hands. O Ahmad, you have slipped out of my hands.’ So I was telling him, “No, not yet. No, not yet…not until I die.’” [Meaning] The battle between me and you is happening. Not until I die will I be free from you. Shaytaan was biting his fingers, so angry and upset, thinking that Imam Ahmad had slipped out of his hands.

Look at the believer – how he keeps on fighting until the last moment. We never give up. If we were proud, we would say, “Yes, I won against you!”

If this could happen [that you lose at the last moment], it is something extremely dangerous. Ibn Taymiyyah says that the reason this happens is because shaytaan realizes that this is his last chance with you. If he misses you in the last moment, he missed you. That is why shaytaan gives special attention to the last moments of your life.

Put a criteria to yourself – if you are losing to shaytaan now, while the battle is easy, what will happen to you in the last moments, when it gets tough? If you are already losing the battle now, when shaytaan is giving you half of his attention, what will happen when he gives you his full attention?

These are the fitaan. That is why we say in our salaah, “We seek refuge in You from the fitna of life and death.”

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