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 Are You Prepared for Death?1

Many people ask about life after death - this one came from S.W. He asks the question about "Preparing for Death":

"Dear Bridge to Faith:
I am trying to make a list of things to do before I die and would like some suggestions?
Could you please comment as to what Islam says about death?"
Thank You, S. W."

Answer from Sheik Yusuf Estes,
USA Chaplain (retired)

God Almighty is All Wise and Knower of All Things

It is quite interesting for me to receive a question about Islam`s view on death from someone who is not of the Islamic faith. For those who are not familiar with the teachings of Islam, we should perhaps cover a few basics before attempting to answer this most honest and in depth question.

There is a small chapter at the end of the Holy Quran called "Al Asr" and it carries a very heavy meaning which can solve a lot of the problems with the dealings of life and death of the human being. Let us consider the plus or minus translation into the English language:
{By the passage of time*1, all of the humankind are in a state of great loss*2, except for those who come to the correct belief*3 and do the deeds of righteousness; and encourage and exhort one another to Truth*4 and encourage and exhort one another to steadfast patience}
Transliteration: Wa Al-`Asri, `Inna Al-`Insana Lafi Khusrin, `Illa Al-Ladhina `Amanu Wa `Amilu As-Salihati Wa Tawasaw Bil-Haqqi Wa Tawasaw Bis-Sabri

1. Allah Almighty God, swears an oath of great consequence
2. Meaning "Hell" as a result of their dealings while on earth
3. Oneness of Allah (Tawheed or monotheism)
4. Here "Truth" means anything and everything pertaining to pure montheism (see: Islam)

From the above quoted portion of the Quran and verses related to it, the scholars of Islam have concluded the following:
A) All of us are born with a purpose to be fulfilled before death – Worship of the One True God, Alone and on His terms and conditions.
Note: Quran says: "I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me" [Adh-Dhairiat: 56]. 56].
Transliteration: Wa Ma Khalaqtu Al-Jinna Wa Al-`Insa `Illa Liya`buduni

B) All of us will die and be in the grave.
Note: Quran says: "Every soul shall taste death" [Al-Ankabut]. 57].
Transliteration: Kullu Nafsin Dha`iqatu Al-Mawti

C) All of us (believers and non-believers) will be recreated (resurrected) on the Day of Judgment.
Note: Quran says: "Surely from Allah you came and to Him is your return."
And "Do they not think that they will be resurrected, on a Great Day? The Day when all mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds?" [Al-Mutaffifin: 4-6].
(6)} : 4-6].
Transliteration: `Ala Yažunnu `Ula`ika `Annahum Mab`uthuna, Liyawmin `Ažimin, Yawma Yaqumu An-Nasu Lirabbi Al-`Alamina

D) Each person will receive his/her "Book of Record" (listing of all their deeds).
Note: Quran says:
Transliteration: Ya `Ayyuha Al-`Insanu `Innaka Kadihun `Ilá Rabbika Kadhaan Famulaqihi, Fa`amma Man `Utiya Kitabahu Biyaminihi, Fasawfa Yuhasabu Hisabaan Yasiraan, Wa Yanqalibu `Ilá `Ahlihi Masruraan, Wa `Amma Man `Utiya Kitabahu Wara`a Žahrihi, Fasawfa Yad`u Thuburaa, Wa Yaslá Sa`iraan, `Innahu Kana Fi `Ahlihi Masruraan, `Innahu Žanna `An Lan Yahura

Translation: "O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, so you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did), Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, He surely will receive an easy reckoning, And will return to his family in joy!, But whosoever is given his Record behind his back, He will invoke (his) destruction, And shall enter a blazing Fire, and made to taste its burning. Verily, he was among his people in joy!, Verily, he thought that he would never come back (to Us)! [Al-Inshiqaq: 6-14].