الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ
“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Most Forgiving -” (Qur’an 67: 2)
The modern world has difficulty processing death and is obsessed with Life. Yet, Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) highlights in this verse that He created death before He created life. The time, date, and scenario of our death have been decreed by the Creator before He breathed life into our bodies. In a hadith, narrated Abdullah bin Mas’ud, RadhiAllahu Anhu, that “The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, the true and truly inspired, narrated to us:
Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for 40 days in the form of a nutfah (a drop), then he becomes an alaqah (clot of blood) for a like period, then a mudghah (morsel of flesh) for a like period. Then an angel is sent to him (by Allah) and the angel is allowed (ordered) to write four things; his rizq (sustenance), his (date of) death, his actions, and whether he will be a wretched one or a blessed one and then the soul is breathed into him.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]
This is an important reminder: The Coronavirus will not create anyone’s death beyond the decree of the Creator Himself. It will not speed up or delay our death; our death date has already been decided before our souls were breathed into us. This necessitates that we don’t panic over the Coronavirus itself. But to benefit from the pandemic as a strong reminder of the closeness of death.
When we are afraid and panicking over our lives and/or our loved ones’ life, what we can do is turn to the Creator of death and life remembering that He is The Incomparably Merciful and Compassionate. And we ask Him “O Allah, if you have decreed that this is the time for me/my parents/my children to return back to You, then descend upon us Your mercy and reassure our hearts, and make our meeting with You the best day we’ve ever lived. And if you know that it is best for us to remain alive and increase in good actions in this life, then, give us steadfastness and enable us to do what is best for us to do in this life and protect us the way You protect your closest slaves”.
Acknowledging that Death has been decided for us is to acknowledge that this life is not the end. It is a phase. And the phase must end sooner or later, so we accept that in peace and get ready and look forward to the coming eternal period. This is living with an Akhirah/Hereafter-focus.
When we die, we go back to Allah, the Creator whose Beautiful Names include The Incomparably Merciful, The Source of Beauty, Light, Peace, Affection, Generosity. Going back to Allah is not a source of panic, rather it’s the ultimate moment of peace. As the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught: “None of you should die but hoping only good from Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim]
Lesson: Be-Akhira Centered and not Worldly-Focused. When we remember that death is not created by Corona, but created by Allah, we don’t overly fear Corona, but we take the necessary precautionary measures and turn to Allah. We only need to do as much good as we can do, and surrender to Him, and He is The Most Generous and Most Forgiving towards those who surrender to Him.
‘The Coronavirus will not create anyone’s death beyond the decree of the Creator Himself. It will not speed up or delay our death; our death date has already been decided before our souls were breathed into us.’ Dina Mohamed Basiony