By Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ibrahim Khushtar Siddiqui Qadiri Razvi
Stages of Life
Generally in life, there are three stages – childhood, youth and old age. After the passing away of these three stages, the fourth stage is only death. According to a blessed saying of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) that the age of his followers would normally range between sixty and seventy according to the Islamic calendar. Almighty Allah may of course grant whatever length of existence he desires
For every Muslim, it is necessary that he die with faith. In this connection, it is absolutely important that, in every circumstance, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) be loved and, also loves those who manifest love for the beloved prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). It is also important to keep away from all those who show enmity to the Prophet Muhammad ((Allah bless him and give him peace). This is the true scale for perfect faith [iman-e-kamil]. Anybody having such virtues may caress the hope that he will leave this world in good faith by the grace of Almighty Allah.
To please everybody in this world is mot difficult for everybody has, in some way or other, some argument to offer. Therefore, it is essential for one and all to ask for apology and, it is likewise important to the others to accept forgiveness.
An important factor of life is to have a will, regarding all moveable and immoveable property, prepared while we are still living. In that respect, our elders advise us to keep the will "underneath our head" before sleep, that is, to keep the will within easy reach so that if anything happens, action may be initiated accordingly.
Debts and distribution of property
While we are still alive, it is necessary that we settle any debt. If that cannot be done before death, the heirs must do the re-imbursement. Again, while we are still alive, it is advisable that one fourth of our property be kept aside for isale sawab [conveyance of rewards to the departed souls], for example, sadqa-o-khairaat [alms dedicated to pious uses and charity]. The remaining three fourths should be distributed equally among the children. It is not allowed to give more to the on than the daughter or vice versa and, it is not permitted to give all to one heir and nothing to the other. Accordingly to the saying of the beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) it is unjust to donate more, or less or nothing to one heir.
Signs of Death
When signs of death become manifest, it is especially recommended to read in a loud voice suras Ya'sin and Ra'd. And Kalma-e-Tayyeba must be continuously read aloud till the soul reaches the chest. At that stage, no worldly matters and no crying and weeping shall be indulged into.
When the person dies, it is recommended to:
Pass a bandage under the chin and round the head while passing the bandage on the sides of the face (cheeks) so that the mouth does not remain open
Close the eyes and
Straighten the out the arms, legs and the fingers
For ghous'l, kafan and dafan [bath, shroud and burial] no time should be lost. Immediate steps should be taken to make all appropriate arrangements. A saying of the beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) lays all emphasis thereon.
It is preferable that close relatives bathe the deceased. In their absence, or if no close relatives knows how to carry out ghousl, then, the task can be performed by anyone provided he is pious and trustworthy. After the bath and before the wearing of the shroud, the following may be written with the forefinger but without the use of any ink:
On the forehead write Bismillahhir Rahmanir Raheen, and
On the heart write La illaha Illalah Muhammadur Rasool Allah
The shroud should be of a reasonable value and according to one’s capacity. It should, preferably, be white. It is better if pious people help in the covering of the deceased with the shroud.
Ahad Naamah may be written on the shroud and was written on the shroud of Hazrat Maulana Sardar Ahmad (may Allah be pleased with him), my spiritual teacher and famous Mohaddith, the following:
Yaa Ghaus-ul-Aazam Dastageer
Janazah (coffin) and Namaz Janazah
At the same time of the lifting of the coffin and while proceeding to the cemetery, it is advisable to perform Zikr (remembrance of Allah) and to recite Kalma-e-Tayyeba and the Naat Shareef:
Kaabe ke badroodoja toom pe karoron darood
The handbarrows of the coffin should rest upon the shoulders of those who help to carry it. The latter should walk at a reasonable pace, neither too slow, nor too quickly. Those present must follow the funeral procession. And, everybody must perform namaz janazah before returning home. Namaz Janazah must not be accomplished in the Mosque for it is makroo tehrimi [forbidden practice].
Kabr (grave) and dafan (burial)
The grave must be situated in such a place where there is more chance for isaal-e-sawaab. The height of the grave should be of the same height as the deceased and width of the grave should be half of the height.
Sura Tabarakallazi (67:1/30) can be recited by a pious person who knows how to read properly.
The qualities normally required from a person who will descend into the grave are: strength, piety, faithfulness and trust.
The bodily posture of the departed should be a bit on his right and some earth should be placed on the side of the body so that the body is little turned towards the Qibla.
To place the Shajara Mubaraka and the Ahad Naamah in the grave, preferably in a small hole in front of the face, is allowed. By the way, in my humble case, I would wish that I be placed with all love:
The blessed turban [Amama] of my Spiritual Guide, Mufti-e-Azam Maulana Shah Muhammad Mustafa Raza Khan Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him), at the upper end of my head.
Two blessed hairs of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), one on each eyelid, and
Some blessed pebbles of Madina Shareef all alongside my body, from head down to the feet and up to the head again.
According to the blessed saying of the beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the following should be recited:
On the side of the head, "Alim lam meem…..mooflehoon" (2:1/5)
On the side of the feet, "Amanar Rasool……alalkowmil kaferine" (2:285/286)
Also the creed [talqin] should be pronounced three times to urge the deceased to repeat it. On his part, Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) recommends the Azan to be given 7 times loudly.
In addition, it is recommended that close relatives stay at the cemetery for about one and half hour to recite verses of the Holy Quran, Durood Shareef and Istigfar, and to make dua for the departed. And, if that is possible and there is no cause for any problem, they may stay there for three days and three nights and make recitations and duah's.
Arrangements may also be made for a Hafiz to recite the verses of the Holy Quran and make dua during forty continuous days at the grave of the deceased. It is forbidden to pay or receive any money for the recitation of the Holy Quran. However, some gift may be given to the Hafiz.
Under no circumstances should isaal-e-sawaab, for example, 70,000 times kalma-e-tayyeba, sadqa-okhairaat [alms dedicated to pious deeds and charity], tilawat-e-Quran-paak, Urs [death anniversary] fateha's, etc be neglected but its should continue according to ones capacity in conformity with the tradition of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat.