Pearl of Wisdom

'Your tongue will urge you to whatever you have accustomed it [to say], and your inner self will require you to do whatever you have made it fond of.'

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Ibid. no. 7634

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Library » Death & The Hereafter » What Is Death?
What Is Death? E-mail

Shifting of the lamp from one place to another place. For instance, suppose there is a hut having many holes. It a lamp is placed in it its light will go out through those holes. But as soon as that lamp is moved out of that hut it will make the hut dark. Similarly, so long as the lamp of soul remains in the body it manifests its existence known through the light which comes out from limbs like eyes and ears etc. But as soon as this lamp of soul is removed from the body, all its manifestations also cease and the body becomes dark. This is Death. This was an example only for making it comprehensible. Otherwise:

The Soul Neither Enters The Body Nor Gets Out Of It

It must be understood that the relation between the soul and the body is not by way of Hulool (penetrative migration). It is not like the entrance of water in a utensil or of air in vacuumed. It also cannot be said that it remains out of body or it goes out of it at the time of death because soul is essence, not matter. There is no question of its entering or vacating. The only thing is that its relation with body is such that it remains fully attentive to the body Death disconnects this relation.

It is also obligatory for us to believe that death occurs by the command of God. The same Power which had, established this relation in the womb of mother at the last moment of the worldly life, disconnects this relation between the body and soul. Only He is the bestower of life and of life. The Holy Quran says: “God gives life and only God causes death also.” (S. Zumar, V: 42) Some common people are very angry with Israel (Malak-ul-Maut- The angel of death). They do not like even to hear his name. They even condemn him though they know that this angel does not do anything of his own wish or authority. They have been employed by the Lord of the Universe and hence do everything by His order or command.

How the soul is taken

How soul is retrieved from body has been narrated in the hadiths about the Meraaj (ascension) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). In short, there is a board in front of Israel which contains names of all the people. The name of the person whose time for death arrives is removed from that board and Israel at once takes possession of his or her soul. It is also possible that names of thousands of people may be wiped out at one moment whereupon Israel takes the souls of all of them instantly. This is not astonishing. It is just like a breeze of wind blowing off thousands of lamps in a split second. All of it is with the might of the Almighty. Doubtlessly it is Israel who snatches who snatches souls but, as a matter of fact, it is only God Who causes because it is only His command and Will.

Who causes death? God, Israel or the Angels?

Here comes up a question: Who takes away soul? It is God or Israel or the angels? There are three verses about this in the Holy Quran. At one place it says: God causes Death. At another place it is mentioned that: The angel of death takes away the soul. (S. Sajdah, V: 11). On yet another occasion it is mentioned: Angels collect souls. (S. Nisa, V: 97). The fact is that all these statements are true because, the angel of death and his subordinate angels collect souls as commanded by God Almighty. Doubtlessly it is just like this: A king, through his army and its chiefs, conquers a country. It is correct to say that such and such army won such and such country. Similarly, it is also correct to mention that such and such commander captured such and such country. But in both the statement the truth remains that the country has been conquered by the king who owns and manages and directs the affairs of his state through the officers and personnel under his command. This example also is only for making the matter understandable. Otherwise such examples cannot fully describe and explain the Might of the Almighty.

 

 
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