Death: is it Desirable?
The Holy Prophet said: "You have not been created to perish, but to remain
for ever; only you transfer from one home to another; and the souls are
strangers on earth and are in the bodies (like) prisoners".
Hadrat Ali (a.s.), in reply to a question about death, stated: "Death is one of
the three things happening (to the dying person); Either it is good tidings of
eternal bliss, or bad tidings of eternal punishment, or there is vague
threatening suspense, so that he does not know in which group he will be
"So, the one who is our lover and obeys us, is the one who gets the good tidings
of eternal bliss. And our enemy and adversary get the news of perpetual
punishment: And the one whose position is vague, who does not know what is to be
done to him, is that believer who has done injustice to himself (i.e., has
committed sins); he does not know what is to happen to him. He gets news in
vague words which frighten him: but in the end, Allah will not treat him like
our enemies, and will take him out of Fire on our intercession. Therefore, do
good work, and obey (the commands of God), and do not rely merely on faith and
our intercession, arid do not treat the punishment of Allah as a small matter,
because there will be among the sinner (believers) those who will not get our
intercession but after three hundred thousand years".
Imam Hassan (a.s.): "(Death is) the greatest happiness which comes to the
believers, when they migrate from house of misery to the eternal bliss; and (it
is) the greatest disaster which befalls the unbelievers, when they go from their
paradise (i.e., this world) to the Fire which will never be extinguished and
will never burn itself out".
Imam Hussein (a.s.) on Ashura Day: "Patience, O Children of noble (souls),
because death is nothing but a bridge which takes you from difficulties and
troubles to the vast Paradise and everlasting bliss. So, who among you would
dislike transferring from the prison of the world to the palace of the Paradise?
But these enemies of yours will go from a palace to a prison and ever-lasting
punishment. Verily my father quoting the Messenger of Allah said that; 'Verily
the world is the prison for the believers and paradise for the unbelievers'. And
the death is the bridge for these (believers) to their Gardens and for those
(unbelievers) to their Hell. I do not tell lies, nor was I told lies".
Imam Sajjad (a.s.), in reply to a question about death, said: "It is for the
believer like removing a dirty lousy cloth, or like removing heavy shackles and
chains; and changing to the finest and best clothes, or finest horses and most
"And for an unbeliever it is like changing fine dresses and cozy abodes for
dirtiest and roughest clothes and worst and most auspicious abode and greatest
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) in reply to a question stated: "(Death) is like
sleep that comes to you every night; but this is a sleep which is very long and
there is no awakening but on the Day of resurrection."
Imam Jafer Sadiq (a.s.) was requested to explain death. He said: "It is for a
believer like fragrant breeze, by smelling which he becomes revived, and every
trouble and sorrow is removed from him. And for an unbeliever it is like
snake-bite and sting of the scorpions, and even worse".
Then he was told that some people said that death is harder than cutting by saws
and shredding by scissors and battering by stones and rotation of the axle of
mill-stone in the eyes. Imam said: "It is like this for some of unbelievers
and sinners: Don't you see that some of them undergo these tortures (at the time
of death)? So, this is the hardest punishment meted out in this world".
Then he was asked, "How is it that we find some unbelievers for whom death is
very easy; so much so that the (flame of) life is extinguished while he is still
talking and laughing and speaking? And also there are believers like this. And
there are some unbelievers as well as the believers who suffer tortures of the
death-pang?" Imam said: "Whatever ease the believer feels at the time of death,
it is his immediate reward; and if he suffers at the time of death, then it is
(for the purpose of) cleansing him from his sins, so that he would come in the
Akherat (next world) clean, pure and unblemished, deserving the eternal reward
of Allah without any hurdle between him and that (reward).
And whatever ease the unbeliever feels here (at the time of death) it is for the
purpose of completing the rewards of his good deeds in this very world, so that
he would come in Akherat and there would be nothing in his account except that
which would bring him to punishment. And whatever sufferings are undergone by
the unbeliever at the time of death, it is the beginning of his punishment from
Allah, (when his good deeds have already been rewarded). And all this is (done)
because Allah is Just, and not unjust (Therefore, He gives the rewards of the
good deeds of unbelievers by making their death easy and vice versa).
There are other traditions giving more details, but this much should be enough
for the time being.