Al-Mundhiri on remembering death, living for Allah

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Al-Mundhiri records in his book al-Targhib wal-Tarhib:

الترغيب في ذكر الموت وقصر الأمل والمبادرة بالعمل وفضل طول العمر لمن حسن عمله والنهي عن تمني الموت

Encouragement to remember death, shorten worldly hopes, take initiative in good deeds, the virtue of a long life for good deeds, and prohibition of wishing for death.

Source: al-Targhīb wal-Tarhīb 4/117

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَكْثِرُوا ذِكْرَ هَاذِمِ اللَّذَّاتِ يَعْنِي الْمَوْتَ

Remember often the destroyer of pleasures: death.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2307, Grade: Sahih

Anas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by a group who were laughing and playing. The Prophet said:

أَكْثِرُوا ذِكْرَ هَاذِمِ اللَّذَّاتِ يَعْنِي الْمَوْتَ

Remember often the destroyer of pleasures: death.

Source: Shu’ab al-Imān 4493, Grade: Hasan

Ibn Umar reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, which of the believers is best?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا

Those with the best character.

The man said, “Which of the believers is the wisest?” The Prophet said:

أَكْثَرُهُمْ لِلْمَوْتِ ذِكْرًا وَأَحْسَنُهُمْ لِمَا بَعْدَهُ اسْتِعْدَادًا أُولَئِكَ الْأَكْيَاسُ

Those who remember death often and have best prepared for it with good deeds; those are the wisest.

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4259, Grade: Hasan

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اسْتَحْيُوا مِنْ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ

Be modest before Allah, as is His right.

We said, “O Messenger of Allah, surely we have modesty, all praise is due to Allah!” The Prophet said:

لَيْسَ ذَاكَ وَلَكِنَّ الِاسْتِحْيَاءَ مِنْ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ أَنْ تَحْفَظَ الرَّأْسَ وَمَا وَعَى وَالْبَطْنَ وَمَا حَوَى وَلْتَذْكُرْ الْمَوْتَ وَالْبِلَى وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الْآخِرَةَ تَرَكَ زِينَةَ الدُّنْيَا فَمَنْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ فَقَدْ اسْتَحْيَا مِنْ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ

It is not so. Rather, modesty before Allah, as is His right, is to guard the mind and what runs through it, to guard the stomach and what fills it, and to reflect upon death and trials. Whoever desires the Hereafter, let him abandon the embellishments of worldly life. Whoever does so has been modest before Allah, as is His right.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2458, Grade: Sahih

Al-Bara’ reported: We were with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, at a funeral and he was sitting beside the edge of the grave, weeping until the ground became wet. The Prophet said:

يَا إِخْوَانِي لِمِثْلِ هَذَا فَأَعِدُّوا

O my brethren, prepare for the likes of this.

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4195, Grade: Hasan

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

صَلَاحُ أَوَّلِ هَذِهِ الْأُمَّةِ بِالزُّهْدِ وَالْيَقِينِ وَيَهْلِكُ آخِرُهَا بِالْبُخْلِ وَالْأَمَلِ

The rightness in the beginning of this nation was by renouncing the world and attaining conviction. The destruction in the end of it is by miserliness and vain hopes.

Source: al-Zuhd li-Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal 52, Grade: Sahih

In another narration, the Prophet said:

أَوَّلُ صَلَاحِ هَذِهِ الْأُمَّةِ بِالْيَقِينِ وَالزُّهْدِ وَأَوَّلُ فَسَادِهَا بِالْبُخْلِ وَالْأَمَلِ

The beginning of righteousness in this nation is conviction and temperance, and the beginning of its corruption is miserliness and vain hopes.

Source: Shu’ab al-Imān 10350, Grade: Hasan

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

كُنْ فِي الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّكَ غَرِيبٌ أَوْ عَابِرُ سَبِيلٍ

Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler along a path.

Ibn Umar would say:

إِذَا أَمْسَيْتَ فَلاَ تَنْتَظِرِ الصَّبَاحَ وَإِذَا أَصْبَحْتَ فَلاَ تَنْتَظِرِ الْمَسَاءَ وَخُذْ مِنْ صِحَّتِكَ لِمَرَضِكَ وَمِنْ حَيَاتِكَ لِمَوْتِكَ

If you make it to the evening, do not wait for the morning. If you make it to the morning, do not wait for the evening. Take from your health for your sickness, and from your life for your death.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6416, Grade: Sahih

Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, instruct me.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اعْبُدِ اللَّهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ وَاعْدُدْ نَفْسَكَ مِنَ الْمَوْتَى وَاذْكُرِ اللَّهَ عِنْدَ كُلِّ حَجَرٍ وَشَجَرٍ وَإِذَا عَمِلْتَ السَّيِّئَةَ فَاعْمَلْ بِجَنْبِهَا حَسَنَةً السِّرُّ بِالسِّرِّ وَالْعَلَانِيَةُ بِالْعَلَانِيَةِ

Worship Allah as if you can see Him and prepare yourself for death. Remember Allah by every rock and tree. If you commit a bad deed, accompany it with a good deed, secretly in secret and publicly in public.

Source: Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah 34325, Grade: Hasan li ghayrihi

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by me while I was plastering a wall belonging to me and my mother. The Prophet said:

مَا هَذَا يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ

What is this, O Abdullah?

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is something I am repairing.” The Prophet said:

الْأَمْرُ أَسْرَعُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ أَيِ الْمَوْتُ

The matter of death will come quicker than the ruin of this wall.

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 5235, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, drew a square and in the middle he drew a line which poked out the end. Across the middle line he drew some smaller lines. The Prophet said:

هَذَا الْإِنْسَانُ وَهَذَا أَجَلُهُ مُحِيطٌ بِهِ أَوْ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِهِ وَهَذَا الَّذِي هُوَ خَارِجٌ أَمَلُهُ وَهَذِهِ الْخُطَطُ الصِّغَارُ الْأَعْرَاضُ فَإِنْ أَخْطَأَهُ هَذَا نَهَشَهُ هَذَا وَإِنْ أَخْطَأَهُ هَذَا نَهَشَهُ هَذَا

This is man and the square surrounding him is death. The middle line is his worldly hopes and the smaller lines are his troubles. If this one misses him, another will distress him. If that one misses him, another will distress him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6417, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, drew some lines in the sand and he said:

هَذَا الْأَمَلُ وَهَذَا أَجَلُهُ فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ جَاءَهُ الْخَطُّ الْأَقْرَبُ

This one is the worldly hopes of man and the other is his lifespan. A man will continue like this until the other line overtakes him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6418, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

هَذَا ابْنُ آدَمَ وَهَذَا أَجَلُهُ

This is the son of Adam and this is his lifespan.

The Prophet placed his hands on the back of his neck and then extended them outwardly, saying:

وَثَمَّ أَمَلُهُ وَثَمَّ أَمَلُهُ

And from there he hopes in the world, from there he hopes in the world.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2334, Grade: Sahih

Buraydah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

هَلْ تَدْرُونَ مَا هَذِهِ وَمَا هَذِهِ

Do you know what these are?

The Prophet threw down two pebbles. They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet said:

هَذَاكَ الأَمَلُ وَهَذَاكَ الأَجَلُ

This further one is your worldly hope and this closer one is your lifespan.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2870, Grade: Sahih li ghayrihi

Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَلَا تَزْدَادُ مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا بُعْدًا

The Hour is approaching people, yet it does not increase but in distance from their minds.

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 9787, Grade: Hasan

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الْجَنَّةُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَى أَحَدِكُمْ مِنْ شِرَاكِ نَعْلِهِ وَالنَّارُ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ

Paradise is closer to one of you than the strap of his sandal, and so is the Hellfire.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6488, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Umar reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me a teaching and make it concise.” The Prophet said:

صَلِّ صَلَاةَ مُوَدِّعٍ فَإِنَّكَ إِنْ كُنْتَ لَا تَرَاهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَرَاكَ وَأْيَسْ مِمَّا فِي أَيْدِي النَّاسِ تَكُنْ غَنِيًّا وَإِيَّاكَ وَمَا يُعْتَذَرُ مِنْهُ

Pray your prayers as if they were your last, for if you do not see Him, He surely sees you. Give up trying to acquire what people have and you will be wealthy. Beware of doing anything for which you must apologize.

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 4427, Grade: Sahih

Abu Ayyub reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, teach me and make it concise.” The Prophet said:

إِذَا قُمْتَ فِي صَلَاتِكَ فَصَلِّ صَلَاةَ مُوَدِّعٍ وَلَا تَكَلَّمْ بِكَلَامٍ تَعْتَذِرُ مِنْهُ وَأَجْمِعِ الْيَأْسَ عَمَّا فِي أَيْدِي النَّاسِ

When you stand for your prayer, pray as if you are saying farewell. Do not say anything for which you must apologize, and give up any desire to acquire what people have.

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4169, Grade: Sahih

Abu Darda reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اعْبُدِ اللهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ فَإِنْ كُنْتَ لَا تَرَاهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَرَاكَ وَاعْدُدْ نَفْسَكَ فِي الْمَوْتَى وَإِيَّاكَ وَدَعْوَةَ الْمَظْلُومِ فَإِنَّهَا مُسْتَجَابَةٌ وَمَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَشْهَدَ الصَّلَاتَيْنِ الْعِشَاءَ وَالصُّبْحَ وَلَوْ حَبْوًا فَلْيَفْعَلْ

Worship Allah as if you can see Him, for if you do not see Him, He surely sees you. Prepare yourself for death and beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for it will be answered. If one of you can attend the evening and dawn prayers, even if you must crawl, then do so.

Source: Shu’ab al-Imān 10060, Grade: Hasan li ghayrihi

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

بَادِرُوا بِالْأَعْمَالِ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا أَوْ يُمْسِي مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا يَبِيعُ دِينَهُ بِعَرَضٍ مِنْ الدُّنْيَا

Hasten to perform good deeds before a tribulation which will be like the dark part of the night, in which a man will be a believer in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening, or he will be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning. He would sell his faith for some goods in the world.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 118, Grade: Sahih

In another narration, the Prophet said:

بَادِرُوا بِالْأَعْمَالِ سِتًّا الدَّجَّالَ وَالدُّخَانَ وَدَابَّةَ الْأَرْضِ وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا وَأَمْرَ الْعَامَّةِ وَخُوَيْصَّةَ أَحَدِكُمْ

Hasten to perform good deeds before six events: the False Messiah, the smoke, the beast from the earth, the rising of the sun from the west, the general turmoil, and your demise.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2947, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ

Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.

Source: Shu’ab al-Imān 9767, Grade: Sahih

Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

التُّؤَدَةُ فِي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا فِي عَمَلِ الْآخِرَةِ

There is careful hesitation in everything but the deeds of the Hereafter.

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4810, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدٍ خَيْرًا اسْتَعْمَلَهُ

If Allah wills goodness for a servant, He puts him into action.

It was said, “How is he put into action, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said:

يُوَفِّقُهُ لِعَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ قَبْلَ الْمَوْتِ

He is guided to righteous deeds before death.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2142, Grade: Sahih

Surayj reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِعَبْدٍ خَيْرًا عَسَلَهُ

If Allah Almighty wills goodness for a servant, He sweetens him.

It was said, “What is his sweetness?” The Prophet said:

يَفْتَحُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَهُ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ ثُمَّ يَقْبِضُهُ عَلَيْهِ

Allah Almighty opens the door of righteous deeds for him before his death and then receives his soul in that state.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 17784, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِخَيْرِكُمْ

Shall I not tell you about the best of you?

They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said:

خِيَارُكُمْ أَطْوَلُكُمْ أَعْمَارًا وَأَحْسَنُكُمْ أَعْمَالًا

The best of you are those with the longest lives and best deeds.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 7212, Grade: Sahih li ghayrihi

Abu Bakrah reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, which of the people are best?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ طَالَ عُمُرُهُ وَحَسُنَ عَمَلُهُ

One whose life is long and his deeds are good.

The man said, “Which of the people are worst?” The Prophet said:

مَنْ طَالَ عُمُرُهُ وَسَاءَ عَمَلُهُ

One whose life is long and his deeds are evil.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2330, Grade: Sahih li ghayrihi

Abdullah ibn Busr reported: A bedouin said, “O Messenger of Allah, who are the best people?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ طَالَ عُمُرُهُ وَحَسُنَ عَمَلُهُ

One with a long life of good deeds.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2329, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: There were two men from the tribe of Quda’ah who embraced Islam with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. One of them was martyred and the other lived for another year. Talhah said, “I had a dream of Paradise and I saw the one who lived longer enter Paradise before the martyr. I was amazed by that and when I woke up, I mentioned it to the Prophet.” The Prophet said:

أَلَيْسَ قَدْ صَامَ بَعْدَهُ رَمَضَانَ وَصَلَّى سِتَّةَ آلَافِ رَكْعَةٍ أَوْ كَذَا وَكَذَا رَكْعَةً صَلَاةَ السَّنَةِ

Did he not fast the month of Ramadan after him and he performed six thousand or so bowings in prayer throughout the year?

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 8399, Grade: Hasan

Talhah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَيْسَ أَحَدٌ أَفْضَلَ عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنْ مُؤْمِنٍ يُعَمَّرُ فِي الْإِسْلامِ لِتَسْبِيحِهِ وَتَكْبِيرِهِ وَتَهْلِيلِهِ

There is no one better to Allah than a believer who lives long to glorify Him, exalt Him, and declare His oneness.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 1401, Grade: Sahih

Umm al-Fadl reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, entered the home of Al-‘Abbas while he was complaining and wishing for death. The Prophet said:

يَا عَبَّاسُ يَا عَمَّ رَسُولِ اللهِ لَا تَتَمَنَّ الْمَوْتَ إِنْ كُنْتَ مُحْسِنًا تَزْدَادُ إِحْسَانًا إِلَى إِحْسَانِكَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ مُسِيئًا فَإِنْ تُؤَخَّرْ تَسْتَعْتِبْ مِنْ إِسَاءَتِكَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ

O ‘Abbas, O uncle of the Messenger of Allah, do not wish for death. If you are a good-doer, your goodness will be added to your goodness and it will be good for you. If you are an evil-doer, you will be given time to make amends for your evil and it will be good for you.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 26874, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَتَمَنَّى أَحَدُكُمْ الْمَوْتَ إِمَّا مُحْسِنًا فَلَعَلَّهُ يَزْدَادُ وَإِمَّا مُسِيئًا فَلَعَلَّهُ يَسْتَعْتِبُ

Let none of you wish for death. If he is a good-doer, he might increase his good deeds. If he is an evil-doer, he might make amends.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 7235, Grade: Sahih

In another narration, the Prophet said:

لَا يَتَمَنَّى أَحَدُكُمُ الْمَوْتَ وَلَا يَدْعُ بِهِ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَهُ إِنَّهُ إِذَا مَاتَ أَحَدُكُمُ انْقَطَعَ عَمَلُهُ وَإِنَّهُ لَا يَزِيدُ الْمُؤْمِنَ عُمْرُهُ إِلَّا خَيْرًا

Let none of you wish for death, nor call for it before its time comes. When one of you dies, his deeds come to an end. Verily, the life of a believer only increases in good.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2682, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَتَمَنَّيَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ الْمَوْتَ مِنْ ضُرٍّ أَصَابَهُ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَا بُدَّ فَاعِلًا فَلْيَقُلْ اللَّهُمَّ أَحْيِنِي مَا كَانَتْ الْحَيَاةُ خَيْرًا لِي وَتَوَفَّنِي إِذَا كَانَتْ الْوَفَاةُ خَيْرًا لِي

None of you should wish for death due to a calamity that has afflicted him. Yet if he must do something, let him say: O Allah, keep me alive so long as life is good for me, and cause me to die if death is better for me.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5671, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.