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Prompt your dying ones (to say): ‘laa ilaaha il-lal-laah’ and speak good words


 

Those people who are present should encourage the dying person to repeat after them the Declaration of Faith (Shahaadah) until he or she passes away confirming Allah’s unique oneness (Tawheed).

 

Both Aboo Sa ‘eed al-Khudree and Aboo Hurayrah quoted the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying

“Prompt your dying ones (to say): laa ilaaha il-lal-laah and whoever’s last words before dying are: laa ilaaha il-lal-laah, will enter paradise one day, even if he is afflicted before that by punishment.”

[ Sahih Muslim, vol.2, p.435, no. 1996]

 

This prophetic statement does not simply mean that the Shahaadah should be mentioned by others in the presence of the one who is dying. The dying person, himself or herself, should be instructed to say the Shahaadah, as is evident from the Prophet’s statement “whoever’s last words are: laa ilaaha il-lal-laah”.

 

The following hadeeth narrated by Anas indicates the Prophet’s practise in this regard:

Anas ibn Maalik reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) visited a man from among the Ansaar and said to him,“O Uncle, say : laa ilaaha il-lal-laah. The man asked, “Am I a maternal uncle or a paternal uncle?” and the Prophet (ﷺ) replied,“Indeed you are paternal.” The man then asked, “Is it better for me to say: laa ilaaha il-lal-laah? The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, ‘Yes.’”

[Collected by Ahmad and authenticated in al-Fat-h ar-Rabbaanee, vol.7, p.57, no.34 as well as in Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.11.]

 

 

Muslims are also encouraged to be present when non-Muslims are dying in order to present Islam to them, in the hope that they would accept Islam prior to their death.

 

For the acceptance of Islam at this point to be of any benefit,
it must be based on knowledge,

Know that there is no god worthy of worship besides Allah.” Chapter Muhammad, (47):19.

it must be expressed sincerely,

“The were only commanded to worship Allah, making the religion sincere for Him alone.” Chapter al-Bayyinah, (98):5.

and with certainty,

Aboo Hurayrah reported Allah’s Messenger as saying, “I testify that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Any servant who meets Allah with those two [testimonies], having no doubt in them, will enter paradise.” (Sahih Muslim, vol.1, p.20, no.41)

and it must take place before the actual throes of death begin.

The Prophet (ﷺ) was reported by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar to have said, “Allah, Most Great and Glorious, will accept His servant’s repentance until the throes of death begin.”

(Collected by at- Tirmithee and Ibn Maajah and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol.2, p.418, no.3430. See also Riyadh-us-Saleheen, vol.1, p.12, no.18, for an English translation of this hadeeth).

 

This point is evident in the Prophet’s (ﷺ) attempt to get his uncle Aboo Taalib to bear witness to Allah’s oneness when the latter was on his deathbed.( Sahih Muslim, vol.1, p.18, no.36.)

Aboo Taalib knew about Allah, Islam, and the Prophet (ﷺ) very well.

 

Similarly, the following incident involving the Prophet’s servant is one of a person who knew about Allah and the Prophet (ﷺ).

Anas also reported that,

“When a Jewish youth, who used to serve the Prophet (ﷺ) got sick, the Prophet (ﷺ) visited him. The Prophet (ﷺ) sat by his head and said to him, “Accept Islam.” The boy looked at his father who was near him and the man said, “Obey Abul-Qaasim.” So the boy accepted Islam and the Prophet (ﷺ) left saying, “All praise is due to Allah who saved him from the Fire.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.2, p.246, no.438)

(When the boy died the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Make salaah for your comrade.”)

(This addition is found in Musnad Ahmad and is authenticated in Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.11.)

 

People present may pray aloud for the dying person, letting them hear their concern and compassion for them. Those present should also avoid saying anything in the dying person’s presence which is not good. Negative words will only increase the difficulties which the sick and dying are facing. On the other hand, good words and positive thoughts will make the process of dying easier and the recovery from illness more bearable.

 

Umm Salamah reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“If you are in the presence of a sick or dying person, you should say good things for verily the angels say “Aameen” to whatever you say.”

[Sahih Muslim vol.2, p.436, no.2002]

 

When Umm Salamah asked the Prophet what should she say, he replied:

Say: Allaahumma-ghfir lee wa lahu wa a‘qibnee minhu ‘uqba hasanah [O Allah, forgive him and me, and grant me a good substitute after him.]”

[Sahih Muslim vol.2, p.436, no.2002]

 

[From: Funeral rites in Islam by Dr. Bilal Philips, pg. 3-6]

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