Sakaraat is the state of dissolution just before death when the soul is about to abandon the body. A trance-like condition closes upon one’s senses and a kind of coma overcomes the mind. It is time for the life to pull itself out of the body. It is a period of the most agonizing pain. It is the hour of death or the mortification of the soul. Imam Ghazaali(RA) explains the severity of the agony in these words:
“If there were was a thorn in one’s side, the feeling of pain would be confined to a particular place because it hurts the living tissues at that point only. If, however, a part of one’s body is branded with red hot iron or a piece of live charcoal is placed somewhere on it, causing a wound, the impact of the burn is felt all over the body. If a burn can cause such wide-spread sensation, what will the painful process of attrition of one’s soul and extermination of life which ravages the body and mind, do, can be hardly imagined, much less described. There is not a single part or limb of the body which is not affected by the struggle between life and death during one’s final moments. It is from each and every point that life is oozing out – including every little vein and sinew, every tiny hair and tissue, every pore and part of skin, causing the most excruciating pain. One had better not ask about the severity of the pain since it is indeed most agonizing. It is the reason that it is said that as compared to being hacked by the sword and split apart by a saw or cut to pieces by a pair of scissors, the parting of the soul from the body is far more dreadful and torturous.”
SIGNS OF SAKARAAT
The signs of Sakaraat are that the veins and sinews of the body become stretched and stiff; the face becomes colorless and the complexion become dull and muddy; the bridge of the nose turns to one side; the eye-balls get displaced, moving upwards; a gurgling and choking sound emerges from the throat which become parched and the feet become cold, limp and lifeless. Observing these signs, one should realize that the throes of death(Sakaraat) have commenced. May Allah make it easy for us, Ameen.
DUTIES DURING SAKARAAT
When observing the signs of Sakaraat in a fellow Muslim, it is desirable(Mustahab) that the dying person be turned to his bed onto his right side with the face turned towards the Qiblah. This position is in keeping with the Sunnah. If it is not possible to do so, lay him on his back with feet towards the Qiblah and head raised a bit in the direction of the Qibla. If these arrangements cause inconvenience to the dying person or difficulty in carrying out this method, leave him/her as he is.
The most important duty at the time of Sakaraat is the Kalimah Shahaadat. Recite the Kalimah close to the ear of the dying one. Alternatively, Kalimah Tayyibah may be recited also. Recite the Kalimah softly repeatedly, but do not ask the dying one to recite it. Continue reciting the Kalimah until the dying person has recited it(on his/her own) or indicates by signs that he/she acknowledges it. If after having recited the Kalimah, the dying person indulges in any other talk, repeat the process of reciting the Kalimah as explained earlier. The purpose of this is to ensure that the Kalimah are the last words of the dying persons.
Besides the Kalimah, it is Mustahab for those present to recite Surah Ya Sin and Surah Rad. If the dying person is in his/her pain and anguish utters something untoward or in contradiction to Imaan, do not attach any importance to such utterance. The time of maut is indeed grave and critical. The utterance was in all probably made while the dying one was not in his proper senses. After death, arrangements for the Islamic burial of the dead should be quickly made. There should be no unnecessary delay.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Sakaraat ul-Mowt: the stupor of death. What is the meaning of it? Sakaraah is the dizziness and unconsciousness that is caused by pain. A person in the state of sakarah is going through stages of unconsciousness and dizziness caused by pain. Allah says: “And the stupor of death will come in truth. This is what you have been avoiding.” Death is true, and it will arrive even though you try to avoid it. It will happen to everyone. It happened to RasulAllah. RasulAllah had a pot of water. He would dip his hands in the water and then he would wipe his face and say “La ilaaha illallah. There is agony/stupor of death.” Even RasulAllah was feeling it.
If RasulAllah(SWS) felt that, what would you and me feel? What would the non believers feel?
Allah says: “And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death when the angels are stretching forth their hands saying ‘This day you shall be recompensed with the torment of degradation because of what you used to utter against Allah other than the truth and you used to reject His ayaat with disrespect.” Taste the pain of death.
Although everyone goes through this pain, there are levels. The non believers go through the most. There is a category that feels almost no pain – the shuhadaa
. RasulAllah says, “The shaheed feels the pain of death like one of you would feel the sting of an insect.” Allah has honoured the shaheed with many honourings. Why would anyone want to run from this honour? isha(RA), whenever she didn’t understand something, she would question it. So when she heard this, she said to the Prophet saw: “And who of us does not dislike death?” (Does disliking death mean we dislike meeting Allah?) Prophet saw said, “This is not what I meant. When the believer, he is about to die, he will be given the news that Allah is pleased with him. So that the most beloved thing to him would be his future. So he would love to meet Allah, and Allah would love to meet him. When the non believer is about to die, he is given the news that Allah is angry with him and will punish him. So he will dislike meeting Allah, and Allah will dislike meeting him.”
When man leaves this world, he desires to come back. If he’s a kaafir, he wants to become a Muslim. If he’s an ‘Aasiy (a sinner), he wants to come back to make Tawbah.
Allah says: “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” (23:99-100) They were given a chance in this world, and they didn’t take advantage of it. Now, when it’s too late, they ask to come back to repent and do good. Allah says that there is a barrier between them and going back; it’s too late. Right now, the door of opportunity is open and Tawbah will not be accepted later.
Allah says: “Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (4:17) Ibn Katheer gives the explanation of this word close. When is it soon enough to make Tawbah. You have the opportunity of making Tawbah until the moment of al-gharghara – when the soul is preparing to leave the body.
Allah says: “And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: ‘Now I repent;’ nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.” (4:18) When it’s time for death, no Tawbah is accepted. That is what Fir’awn did.
“…he [Fir'awn] said: ‘I believe that La ilaha illa (Huwa): (none has the right to be worshipped but) He, in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims (those who submit to Allah’s Will).’ Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the Mufsidun (evil-doers, corrupts, etc.).” (10:90-91). Allah did not accept his Tawbah because it was too late. So Allah will accept the Tawbah, as long as it is spoken before this time when the soul is leaving the body.
Death comes suddenly – you are not given a notice. It comes unannounced and there is no way you can change it, or no matter how much you try to convince the angel of death or no matter how busy you are. The best time for Tawbah is NOW.
The Time for Tawbah is now!
“Isn’t it time for those who believed that their hearts will soften from the remembrance of Allah?” (Qur’an) The time for Tawbah is NOW. Don’t delay and procrastinate. If you read Qur’an, you will find that the majority of the screaming of the people of hell fire is because of procrastination. They will be saying, ‘O Allah, let me go back so I may do such and such.’ They procrastinated from good deeds.
“Whoever desires or looks forward to meeting Allah, Allah would love meeting him. Whoever dislikes meeting Allah, Allah dislikes meeting him.”
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “When the janaazah is placed and the men carry it on their shoulders, if it is a righteous person, it will say ‘Go as fast as you can!’ If it is otherwise, then he will be say: ‘Woe to it! Where are you taking me?’ Everyone would hear that sound except the human beings. And if the human beings would hear it, they would die due to that shock.”
RasulAllah(SWS) says: “If it wasn’t for the fact that none of you would bury the dead, I would ask Allah to let you hear the sounds of the people in the graves.”
He would be afraid of us not burying the dead because we hear the punishments they are going through in the grave.