Good treatment of Parents (Part 4: After death)

after death

Death is an inevitability, we all come into this world with an understanding that we  will one day leave it. This understanding also applies to our loved ones, we accept that there may come a time where we will have to bury our parents, siblings, children and friends.

The first thing a person should do when their parents pass away is to make sure that the deceased has their eyes closed. This can be done by passing the fingers over the eyelids and closing them gently. The Prophet (SAW) also did this for a Companion (RA), “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) came to see Abu Salamah (RA) when his sight had become fixed (he had passed away). So the Prophet (SAW) closed his eyes and said: ‘When the soul is seized and it leaves the body, the eyes follow it.’ Some of Abu Salamah’s family wept and wailed, whereupon the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Pray to Allah only for good for yourselves, because the angels (who are present) say “amen” to whatever you utter.’ Then he said: ‘O Allah! Forgive Abu Salamah; raise his station among those who are rightly-guided; and take good care of his family that he has left behind. O Lord of the Worlds! Forgive him and us, make his grave spacious, and put light therein for him.” (Muslim) (Ahmad) 

From this narration we also learn that excessive wailing should be avoided, instead the family members should make supplication. Then they should find a cloth to cover the entire body.

They should then wash the body, if the mother has passed away the womenfolk should wash her, if the father has passed away the menfolk should wash him. Umm Atiyya (RA) reported, “The Apostle of Allah (SAW) came to us when we were bathing his daughter, and he told us: Wash her with water and (with the leaves of) the lote tree, three or five times, or more than that if you think fit, and put camphor or something like camphor in the last washing; then inform me when you have finished. So when we had finished, we informed him, and he gave to us his (own) under-garment saying:” Put it next her body.” (Muslim) 

After the washing has been completed the body should be wrapped in the Kafn (Burial clothing).  Care should be taken that the shroud is clean and enshroud the whole body, this is because we will be resurrected in these cloths, the Prophet (SAW) has stated “A deceased will be resurrected in the clothes in which he dies.” (Abu Dawud)

This cloth should cover the entire body, there are narrations where a white cloth should be used or a striped cloth. “Of the clothing available to you, wear the white, for verily it is your best form of clothing. Shroud your dead with it as well.” (Abu Dawud) (Tirmidhi) The Prophet (SAW) has mentioned striped clothing: “Whoever can afford it, let him be shrouded in a striped cloth.” (Ahmad), “When one of you dies, let him be shrouded in a striped cloth – if it is possible to find that for him.” (Abu Dawud) 

The number of cloths has been disputed by Scholars due to differing narrations, “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was wrapped in three pieces of new white sheets of cloth from Yemen, without a shirt or a turban.” (Abu Dawud) The most accepted view is that 3 pieces should be used for a male and 5 for a female. However, some Scholars hold that two cloths should be used and that one will also suffice. The best course of action is to seek help from your local Scholar and they will inform you of the best course of action. Allah knows best.

The children of the deceased should then ensure that the body has been prayed over (Janazah prayer), then the body should be buried. Normally, the Scholars and Masjids in the locality will provide funeral services so they should be used and consulted upon the death of a parent.

After the burial has been completed then children should make supplication for their parents, this will benefit the deceased in their grave. The Prophet (SAW) has stated: “When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: Sadaqah Jariyah (ongoing charity, e.g. a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him.” (Tirmidhi) Children should make a habit of mentioning their parents in every supplication that they make, you never know which one will be accepted.

Abu Usaid Saidi (RA) said: “Once we were sitting with the Prophet (SAW) when a person belonging to the tribe of Bani Salma came and said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah (SAW)! Are there some rights of my parents on me which I have to fulfill even after they have died?’ ‘Yes’, replied the Prophet (SAW) ‘(These are) to pray for mercy and forgiveness on their behalf, to fulfill the promises they may have made to anyone, to pay due regard to the bonds of relationship that are from their side, and to be respectful to their friends.'” (Abu Dawud) (Ibn Majah) Children should ensure that they keep a good relationship with their parents’ relatives and acquaintances. If their deceased parents have any outstanding debts children should strive to pay them off.

May Allah forgive our parents and give them Jannah. May he allow us to fulfill our parent’s rights. Ameen.

 

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Importance of Gratitude

gratefulWhen a favour is conferred upon a person, his/her heart is inclined toward showing affection and gratitude to the person who conveyed that favour upon them. The gratitude should increase with the amount of favours and the magnitude of such favours. Why is it we are ungrateful to the blessings showered upon us by our Lord?

The favours of Allah are perpetual and they cannot be valued or enumerated; “And if you should count the favor of Allah , you could not enumerate them.” (14:34)  How could a person even attempt to try and count the blessings that Allah has given to us in a single day let alone our entire lives? It is impossible. You are indebted to Allah, and if you are a true believer then you would extol his generosity.

If you want to be grateful to Allah then this task is burdensome, however Allah’s kindness is such that we do not need if we show gratefulness for our bounties He increase them, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” (14:7) Look at our Creator’s promise He gives to us even though we are unworthy. So the least we should do is thank Allah.

If you wish to see the epitome of being grateful to Allah then look no further than the Prophet; his pure wife Aisha reports that, “He would engage in such lengthy tahajjud salah, that his feet would swell. When she said to him, ‘You are exerting yourself so much, even though Allah has forgiven all your past and future sins [if you were to commit any]?  The Prophet replied, ‘Should I not be a grateful servant then?'” (Muslim) Who are we that we should not show gratefulness to Allah, when the greatest of creation was so particular in doing so? Have we become so degenerate? If only we understood the status of our noble Messenger we would not sleep at night, busying ourselves in prayer.

We have a chance to become among the chosen Friends of Allah, and we can distinguish ourselves through this characteristic of gratefulness.  As Allah states: “And few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13)  This verse indicates that these close people to Allah are scarce. We should exert our utmost to ensure we become like them.

Showing gratitude is not confined to only Allah, as we should be grateful to those who favour us among his servants. The Prophet has stated, “He has not expressed gratitude to Allah who does not express gratitude people [For favours received from them]. ” (Abu Dawud) It is essential to be grateful to people for the favours of Allah, which one receives through them. One cannot be regarded as grateful to Allah, if one fails to observe gratitude to people. This also prompts people to spend upon others who are more in need, as they will be enticed with the prospect of another person being grateful towards them. This is human nature. This is also an incentive to create fervour in the hearts of others to assist their fellow brothers. Gratitude in addition to all these things will create love in both the giver and receiver of the bounty.

Now the question arises, how do we create gratitude in our hearts? the greatest of teachers has counselled us; ” Look at those who are less fortunate than you, not at those who are better off than you, as this will make you consider the bounties of Allah upon you to be insignificant”. (Muslim) Look at the proficiency the Prophet has in identifying the spiritual maladies in the hearts of men.  Here, we  can learn many things, chief among them is that craving the world will have adverse effects upon our spirituality. This can be seen in many people today, who are living lavish lifestyles, but are not content as they are looking at people who are living even more hedonistic lifestyles than themselves. The only way this can be remedied is if they turn their gaze toward those who have less than them. It is because many of us do not do this that we are discontent with our situations, whereas we have colossal favours which we overlook.

There are many supplications through which person can express gratitude one has been mentioned by the Prophet:

shukr-dua

Allahumma A’inni Ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika 

 “Oh Allah, assist me in remembering you, in expressing gratitude to you, and in worshipping you in the best manner.” (Abu Dawud)

May Allah allow us to show gratitude to Him. May He increase His bounties upon us and forgive any deficiencies within us. Ameen.