Video Courtesy: Eesa Ibn Roy
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (hafithahuAllah)
Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee
Presented to you by Markaz Tawheed was-Sunnah in Durham, NC
Narrated from Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, he said: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him said: Let none of you wish for death due to harm that has befallen him. And if it is a must that he wish for it then let him say: O Allah give me life as long as life is better for me, and take my soul when death is better for me. Agreed upon.
Explanation: (Let none of you wish) this is a prohibition, a prohibition emphasized from the Prophet, peace be upon him. Thus wishing is to seek, meaning let none of you seek death (due to harm) meaning due to harm that befalls him; a harm in his body such as sickness and the like, or a harm in his wealth, or in his family. Thus whoever is afflicted with harm in his wealth, or his family, or his person, it is upon him to be patient and seek the reward. And it is not permissible for him to wish for death because his life is better for him.
If he has righteous actions then he can increase (do more good deeds). And if he does not have righteous actions then it is hoped that he will repent, it is hoped that he will repent. Thus his life is better for him. This is as it relates to the believer. As for the disbeliever—and with Allah refuge is sought—then his life is detrimental to him.
إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِثْمًا
We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness. (Soorah Aali Imraan 3:178)
As for the believer if he is a sinner or an evil doer his life is better for him because it is hoped that he will repent thus meeting Allah the Exalted while he has repented. This is because his belief in Allah will drive him to repentance.
Thus this hadith contains a prohibition from wishing for death, so it is hated, or it is haram, if it is due to harm that has befallen the person.
Firstly: This is because this negates patience, wishing for death negates patience. And the Muslim is requested to be patient upon that which he is tested with.
Secondly: It prevents his life which is better for him. If he performs righteous actions then he can increase and do more and if he does evil then it is hoped that he will repent. And because he does not know what is after death. It is possible that what is after death—and with Allah refuge is taken—will be more severe than the harm he is experiencing. Thus he does not know what he will encounter. This is as it relates to the person wishing for death due worldly affairs.
As for the person who wishes for death due to the religion, he wishes for death in an effort to safeguard his religion; if it is during the times of trials and tribulations and he fears for his religion then there is no harm in wishing for death. This is based upon the supplication of the Prophet, peace be upon him: (And if You want to put Your slaves to trial and tests, then take my soul unto You without putting me to trial.)
And Mary, peace be upon her, wished for death when she feared the trial and tribulation.
يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَذَا وَكُنْتُ نَسْيًا مَنْسِيًّا
She said: “Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!” (Soorah Maryum 19:23)
This was because she feared the fitna upon her people, that they would speak and accuse her. And that which she feared occurred. Thus if death is wished for due to the religion; and in order to be safe from fitna then this is permissible.
But if death is wished for due to a worldly calamity then this is not permissible, rather it is upon the Muslim to be patient and seek the reward, and repent to Allah the Exalted.
(And if it is a must) meaning there is no other way except to wish for death, meaning this person has to wish for death, then let him entrust the affair to Allah. Thus he will say: O Allah give me life as long as life is better for me, and take my soul when death is better for me. Therefore he returns the affair to Allah the Exalted to choose for him that which is good and blessed, be it death or life.
Thus this hadith explains a number of affairs.
The first affair: The prohibition of wishing for death due to harm or calamity in worldly affairs.
Secondly: This hadith explains the concept of wishing for death for the sake of the religion and fearing from the fitna in the religion; this is permissible. This is based upon his statement: (due to harm that has befallen him) The statement “due to harm” explains that if he wishes for death for a reason other than harm, he wishes for death fearing for his religion; this is permissible.
Thirdly: This hadith entrust the affair to Allah the Exalted, so he says: (give me life as long as life is better for me, and take my soul when death is better for me) So he supplicates with this dua rather than wishing for death, he supplicates with this dua.
Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee