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On Death & Dying

Preparing for Death

Suppose you learn that you have only one more day to live. How will you spend your last day?" This question was asked of prominent scholars and people known for their virtuous, "There is nothing that I would change in my daily schedule lives." The answers were to be compiled in a book designed to inspire its readers to virtue.

The most interesting response came from a scholar who did not provide a wish list of virtuous deeds, the great muhaddith, Abdur Rahman ibn abi Na'um. He replied, "There is nothing that I would change in my daily schedule upon learning that it is my last day. I already spend everyday in my life as if it is going to be my last."

Death is the most certain aspect of life. 6,178 people die in the world every hour, according to the latest statistics. These are people of all ages, dying of all causes. Some of these deaths make headlines, but the great majority do not. Yet, everyone will enter his grave the same way - Alone, at the time appointed by God. When it is time, science and technology can not prevent death. It is only in the Hands of The Creator.

Even though death happens all the time, we feel that it won't happen to us - at least, not anytime soon. Even though we bury our friends and relatives, we still think that we will live forever. At the same time, we plan for it in some ways. We take out life insurance policies. We may do estate planning. Businesses and governments have contingency plans to carry out their operations in case of sudden loss of their leaders. Our attitudes about death defy logic.

This inadequate recognition of death only defines it as an endpoint of this life. We fail to recognize it as the beginning of another life, a life that will never end, and a life where we will reap what we sowed here. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Truly smart is the person who controlled his desires and prepared for the life after death."

We never know when Allah will take our lives away from this world. Therefore, prepare ahead of time to leave this world and for our Akhirah. One of the important duties on Muslims is to prepare a Last Will and Testament. If someone lives in a non-Muslim environment, like in the western world, it is particularly important to make, ahead of time, arrangements for your inheritance and burial.

Some important general points on the Islamic Will follow, after which, we have provided a sample. We hope this will benefit you and your family. As always, please feel free to pass this information on to your friends and any other Muslims. May Allah always help us in preparing to meet Him. May we return to Him when He is pleased with us, and may He give us a smooth exit from this world to the next one. Ameen.

1) Read about death and dying in an Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) book. Read about washing the dead body, shrouding, burying, praying, the funeral...etc. Here we are only giving you a general guideline of the Wassiyyah (Last Will and Testament), which should be done NOW.

2) Make certain that the procedures follow the teachings of Quran and the way of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

3) Details will differ according to the individual and their gender.

4) Make a record of your debts to guarantee the rights of your creditors. Also remember, the most important debts are those to Allah SWT (i.e. prayers owed, fasting days owed, Zakat you haven't paid, etc.). It is very important that we make sure that these debts are paid after our death.

5) Those who live in non-Muslim communities and/or with non-Muslim families should prepare their families ahead of time for the requirements of their Islamic burial. Take into consideration your individual circumstances - will your family cooperate or not? Prepare ahead of time accordingly.

6) The following Will is provided for the benefit of all Muslims. Please feel free to use this information in preparation of your Last Will. Pray for the people who wrote, translated, and proof-read this sample Will that we have provided for you here. Jazakom Allaho Khairan.

Each adult Muslim is obligated to have a Will made according to the Shariah. Therefore, do not delay. Make yours and keep it current to reflect your changing family and status. Remember to sign, date, and number each page of your Last Will (eg: "Page 1 of 10", "Page 2 of 10", etc.).

To help you, in the center four pages of this publication, we have positioned for easy removal a Last Will and Testament. We encourage you to copy, share, and distribute the Will.

Islamic Last Will and Testament word format (72 KB)
Islamic Last Will and Testament pdf format (53.9 KB)


The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

September 1999
Jamada 1420
Note from the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Islamic World News
Islam in History
How I Embraced Islam
Do You Need Insurance?
The Deal of
a Lifetime
Letter from Shaytan
Duaa by the
Prophet in Taif
Judgement Day Airlines
On Death & Dying
Islamic Will & Testament
Women in Islam
Cook's Corner
Rapp Artist Embracing Islam
Wisdom of the Prophet
Stories of the Sahabah
Islamic Diet & Manners
Qur'an & Science