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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 11

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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 11

It is narrated by Muslim that the Prophet (pbuh) went to visit Abu

Salmah. He saw that his eyes were wide open and blank with the

stare of death. So the Prophet (pbuh) closed his eyes and said:

“Verily, when a soul is seized, the eyesight follows it.”

5) Cover the deceased.

‘Aishah said: “When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), he was covered

with a piece of cloth that had some designs on it.” This is reported

by Bukhari and Muslim.

The objective here is clearly to safeguard the respect and dignity of

the deceased in death against prying eyes and against the exposure

of his or her body to the idle curiosity of those looking for changes

in its physical condition and features.

There is a consensus among scholars regarding the permissibility

of kissing a dead person. The Prophet (pbuh) kissed ‘Uthman ibn

Maz’un after his death. Similarly, when the Prophet (pbuh) died,

Abu Bakr leaned over him and kissed him between his eyes saying:

“O my Prophet! O my best friend!!”

6) Prepare the body for burial without delay, as soon as death is

cofirmed (by specialists i.e., a qualified physician or the like).

The guardian of the deceased should wash, wrap, and arrange

for the burial of the body soon after the funeral prayer for the

deceased, because the body might deteriorate if burial is delayed.

This is based on a report, recorded by Abu Daw’ud from al-Husayn

ibn Wujuh that when Talhah ibn al-Bara fell ill, the Prophet (pbuh)

said: “I see that Talhah is on the verge of death. Inform me about

him (when he passes away) and make immediate preparations for

his burial, for a Muslim’s remains should not be left long with his

family after his death.”

The burial may be delayed only for the guardian, provided no

physical deterioration in the condition of the body is feared from

such delay. On the authority of Ali ibn Abu Talib that the Prophet

(PBUH) said: “O Ali, never delay three things: prayer when its time

approaches, the funeral when death is confirmed, and marrying

a widow or a divorcee when a suitable match is found for her.”

7) Settle the debt of the deceased.

Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi have recorded a hadith on the

authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

“A believer’s soul remains in suspense until all his debts are paid

off.” -Tirmidhi considers this a sound hadith.

This means that the judgment regarding a soul’s salvation or per-

dition or its entry into Paradise is held in abeyance until its debts

are fully paid off and settled. This applies to a person who leaves

some property upon his death. His debt should be paid out of the

property that he leaves behind. In the case of a person who dies

in debt which he sincerely intended to pay, but has no property

(nor leaves any behind to pay his debt), according to a confirmed

report, his debt will be settled by Allah, the Exalted. Concerning

a person who dies in debt with sufficient means to pay it and was

willing to do so, but his heirs do not pay it, Bukhari records on the

authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “If any-

one takes other people’s money with the intention to repay it and

then he or she should die without settling the debt, Allah will pay

the debt on his behalf. And if anyone takes money or property (of

others) with the intention of destroying it, Allah will destroy him.”

A hadith recorded by Ahmad, Abu Nu’aym, Al-Bazzar, and At-Taba-

rani from the Prophet (pbuh) says: “The debtor will be summoned

before Allah on the Day of Judgement. Then Allah will ask him:

‘O Son of Adam! Why did you incurdebt and infringe on others’

rights?’ The man would reply: ‘My Lord! You know I took it, but I

neither abused nor lost it. It was stolen or burned in a fire or lost

its value.’ Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, will say: ‘My slave has

told the truth, and I am more entitled (than anyone else) to settle

his debt.’ Then Allah will issue a command and something will be

placed on his scales causing his good deeds to outweigh his bad

ones. And so, by Allah’s Grace, he will enter Paradise.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “I am nearer to the nearer to the

believers than their own selves. So if someone dies leaving behind

debt, but no wherewithal to settle it, we shall pay his debt, and if

someone dies and leaves some estate behind him, it is for his heirs

(to pay his debt).” This hadith shows that the debt of a deceased

Muslim may be paid from the public exchequer out of the zakah

funds specified as the portion for the people in debt. This is one of

the prescribed categories of zakah recipients. Death by itself does

not annul one’s debt or other responsibilities to the living.




undamentals of



by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips (Islamic Monotheism) 1990, 213

pp., $12.00

Tawheed Publications, PO Box 3835, Riyadh 11481, Saudi Arabia

What is Tawheed? In his Foreword, the author explains:

...Tawheed is the very foundation of Islam on which all the other

pillars and principles depend. If one’s Tawheed is not sound, the

rest of one’s Islam becomes, in effect, a series of pagan rituals.


Despite the importance of this doctrine, there is a dearth of books

about this subject written specifically with the English-speaking

Muslim in mind. This book is a welcome remedy to this problem.

It provides a detailed discussion of a complex subject in a straight-

forward style, which with a few exceptions, is very readable. It

includes an index of the hadiths cited, as well as an informative

bibliography. Many parts of it were originally prepared as instruc-

tional materials for the Minaret ar-Riyadh English Medium Islamic

School and have been circulated in Muslim communities across

the United States and in the West Indies. Despite its apparently

simple style, it is based upon deep and thorough scholarship. The

author advises:

Although this book is based on the approach used in classical

Arabic texts on the science of Tawheed such as al-’Aqeedah at-

Tahaaweeyah, I have deliberately avoided the presentation of the

theological issues found in classical works which have little or no

relevance to modern English readers. p. vii

The foundation of the author’s exposition of Tawheed is laid out

in Chapter 1. It is devoted entirely to a detailed discussion of

the meaning of the term Tawheed (“unification”) and its three


1) Tawheed ar-Ruboobeyah (“Maintaining the Unity of Lordship)

2) Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (“Maintaining the Unit of Allah’s

Names and Attributes”)

3) Tawheed al-’Ebaadah (“Maintaining the Unity of Allah’s Wor-


He maintains that the three overlap and are inseparable to such a

degree that whoever omits any single aspect has failed to complete

the requirements of Tawheed and may be guilty of “shirk”, the

idolatrous association of partners with Allah. His arguments are

supported by citations from various hadith, the Quran, and other

sources. This method of exposition is used throughout the book.

The remainder of the book consists of discussions of diverse top-

ics in support of his view of Tawheed. Many of these topics have

seldom been discussed adequately in the Islamic literature for

the English- speaking reader until now. The appeal of the book

is further enhanced by the author’s comparative consideration of

diverse religious beliefs and practices such as Christianity, Judaism,

Shi’ism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Yoruba, Sufism,

Buddhism, Jainism. Darwinism and Marxism are even considered.

The following outline and summary of the remaining chapters of

the book point out the depth and breadth of his treatment of the

subject of Tawheed.

















Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, encourage us to

contemplate death and be ready for it with good deeds. This is

regarded as a sign of goodness.

Ibn ‘Umar reports: “I came to the Prophet (pbuh) and I was the tenth

of the first ten people (who embraced Islam). A man from among

the Ansar got up and said: “O Prophet of Allah, who is the most

sagacious and the most prudent among the people?” He replied:

“Those who are most aware of death and prepare themselves for

it. They are the wisest of people and will have honor in this world

and a generous reward in the Hereafter.”

Ibn ‘Umar also said that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “You should

remember the reality that brings an end to all worldly joys and

pleasures, namely, death.”

Ibn Mas’ud narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explained

the following words of Allah, the Exalted: “The hearts of those

whom Allah wills to guide, He opens to Islam.” This means, the

Messenger explained, that, “When the light (of truth) enters the

heart it expands and opens up.” The Companions asked: “Is there

any evidence of this (in the life of a Muslim)?” He replied: “Being

ever mindful of the eternal life of the Hereafter, and remaining at

guard in this life of delusion, and preparing oneself for death before

it comes.” (This is reported by Ibn Jarir through different chains

each of which strengthens the other.)


xcellence of







nriched with





It is reported by Abdurrahman ibn Abu Bakrah on the authority of

his father that a man asked:

“O Messenger of Allah! Who is the best of all people?” He replied,

“He who lives long and does good deeds.” The man asked, “And

who is the worst of men?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied: “He who

lives long but commits evil.” (Narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi)

Abu S’aeed Al Khudri (R.A.A.) relates that the Holy Prophet (PBUH)

said: “The world is green and sweet (i.e. it is full of riches and cap-

tivation) and Allah will appoint (as His) vicegerent in it, and will

see how you behave. Then beware of this world and the women

(i.e. shun indulgence in the world and sexual misbehavior and

licentiousness).” (Narrated by Muslim)















It is Sunnah to do the following when a person dies:

1) Advise the dying person to say: “La ilah illa-Allah” (there is no

god but Allah).

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Prophet

(pbuh) said: “Prompt your dying people to say: ‘Lailaha illah-Allah’.”

Another report on the authority of Mu’adh ibn Jabal states that the

Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “He whose last words are ‘La ilaha

illa-Allah’ shall enter Paradise.”

This prompting (talzin) is necessary only when the dying person is

unable to utter the Shahadah (La ilaha illa-Allah...). If such a person

is able to utter these words then there is no need for prompting,

but he should rather be advised to do so. Such advice is useful in

cases of persons who are in possession of their faculties of reason

and speech.

If one is already mentally impaired such advice cannot be of benefit.

But one who is unable to speak might say these words in his heart.

The scholars are of the opinion that no pressure should be put on

the dying person. So one should not say to him, “Say, ‘La ilaha

illa-Allah’,” lest he should become annoyed and utter something

improper. One might say the Shahada, however, in such a way that

the dying person might be able to hear it and repeat it. If he utters it

once, he should not be asked to repeat it unless he says some words

after it. In such a case he should be asked to repeat Shahadah to

ensure that it be his last utterance.

Most scholars are of the opinion that one attending a dying person

may repeat only the words: “La ilaha illa-Allah”, according to the

apparent meaning of the hadith. Others are of the opinion that the

dying person should be prompted to utter the two testimonies (that

is, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness

that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger”). The purpose is to

remind him of the Oneness of Allah, which includes both of the

two testimonies.

2) Lay the dying person so that the qibla is on his right side.

To this effect it is recorded that Abu Qatadah said: “Upon arrival in

Madinah, the Prophet (pbuh) inquired about a person called al-Bara

ibn Ma’rur. The people told the Prophet (pbuh) that he had died,

and had willed one-third of his property to the Prophet (pbuh), and

that his face be turned toward the Ka’bah at the time of his death.

Hearing this, the Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘He has been true to his innate

nature. I return the one-third of his property to his children.’ Then

the Prophet (pbuh) left and offered a prayer for him and prayed,

saying: ‘O Allah! Forgive him, have mercy on him, and cause him

to enter Your Paradise. Indeed, You have accepted this prayer’.”

Ahmad reported that Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet (pbuh), at

the time of her death, turned toward the Ka’bah and placed her right

hand under her head. This is the sleeping position recommended

by the Prophet (pbuh). In a grave, the dead body should also be

placed in the same position.

3) Recite Surah YaSin from the Quran.

This is reported by Ahmad, Abu Daw’ud, Nasa’i, Al-Hakim, and Ibn

Hibban, and the last two of them grade it as a sound hadith. They

report also on the authority of M’aqil ibn Yasar, that the Prophet

(pbuh) said: “Ya Sin is the heart of the Quran. Whoever recites it

seeking the pleasure of Allah and the hereafter will receive Allah’s

forgiveness. So recite it to your dead.”

Ibn Hibban observes: This hadith refers to the recitation of Yasin for

those on the eve of death and not for those already dead. This inter-

pretation is supported by Ahmad, who recorded in his Al-Musnad

that Safwan states: “The most eminent scholars say: ‘The recitation

of Surah YaSin at the time of a person’s death makes death easy for

him’.” The compiler of Musnad al-Firdaus attributes this hadith to

Abu ad-Darda and Abu Dharr. They both narrated: “The Prophet

(pbuh) said: ‘If any person is on his deathbed and YaSin is recited

to him, Allah makes his suffering easier’.”

4) Close the eyes of the deceased.


ayings of










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