By: Imam Nawawi
On the way to Mecca, Sulaiman bin Abdil Malik, ruler of the Umayyads, sent an emissary to Abu Hazim al-Makhzumi who was nicknamed al-A’raj (died 140 H / 757 AD), a hadith expert and fiqh who became a judge in Medina at that time. When Sulaiman arrived before him, he asked. “O Abu Hazim, why do we hate death?”
He replied, “Because you have devastated your afterlife and arranged your worldly life so that you do not want to move from a majestic place to a devastated place.”
This story is a very thought-provoking and at the same time gives a clear explanation of why the prophets and the companions of the Prophet Muhammad were so active in various worship and good deeds. Even further, they are very enthusiastic in jihad fi sabilillah.
Abu Bakr al-Siddiq gave all his wealth to defend Islam. When asked by the Prophet what was left for himself and his family, Ayesha’s father replied, “Allah and His Messenger.”
Umar bin Khattab, despite being the highest leader of the Muslim community, never wanted to stand by for the suffering and difficulties faced by his people. One time, information came to him that a donkey had slipped and fallen because of a hole in the road. Umar was sad and cried.
The closest person asked, “O Amir al-mu’minin, isn’t it only a donkey who dies?” With a serious tone and an angry face, Umar bin Khattab replied, “Are you able to answer before Allah when asked about what you have done when leading your people?”
The question is why the two companions of the Prophet chose such an attitude in life? Are there not many rational reasons that can be put forward to escape responsibility?
There is no other answer except because they see the world as a means to go to an eternal village, the afterlife. So, throughout their lives, they try to be aware of the life of the world. The name of death can come anytime and anywhere.
Therefore, Hasan al-Basri said, “It is not that I see a person of knowledge but I find him wary of death and grieved over him.”
In other words, humans who are intelligent, functioning with his mind as well as the guidance of Islam, will not spend energy, time, and potential, limited to building for this life alone, but furthermore, he will be “obsessed” to build the afterlife.
As for people who in his life only persevere in world affairs, diligent in deceit, fond of lust, certainly will never remember death, let alone to prepare to build the afterlife. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that the world is mortal, and then those who worship this life will live in pain and useless remorse.
“So, be willing to engage with Allah for our hereafter, namely by having faith in Allah and His Messenger, and striving in His path with treasure and soul (QS 61: 11)