Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّکُمْ بِشَیۡءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوۡفِ وَالْجُوۡعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡوٰلِ وَالۡاَنۡفُسِ وَالثَّمَرٰتِ ؕ وَبَشِّرِ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ﴿۱۵۵﴾ۙ

  And We shall definitely put you to test with something of fear and hunger and with some loss of wealth and lives and fruits; and give glad tidings to the patient.

 (Al-Baqarah 2, Verse 155)

Hadeeth:

وَعَنْ أنَسٍ – رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ – قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ – صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لاَ يَتَمَنَّيَنَّ أَحَدُكُمُ الْمَوْتَ لِضُرٍّ أَصَابَهُ، فَإِنْ كَانَ لاَ بُدَّ فَاعِلًا، فَلْيَقُلْ: اَللَّهُمَّ أَحْيِنِيْ مَا كَانَتِ الْحَيَاةُ خَيْرًا لِيْ، وَتَوَفَّنِيْ إِذَا كَانَتِ الْوَفَاةُ خَيْرًا لِّيْ».

مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.

Sayyiduna Anas – may Allah be pleased with him – reported that the Messenger of Allah – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated, “None of you should wish for death because of a misfortune which befalls him. If he cannot help doing so, he should say: ‘O Allah, keep me alive as long as You know that life is better for me, and cause me to die when death is better for me”.

(Bukhari, Muslim)

Commentary:

Imam Nawawi – may Allah be pleased with him – writes under its commentary as follows:

This Hadeeth clarifies that to wish for death due to an illness, poverty, hunger, fear of enemy or the worldly troubles of other kind is undesirable (Makrooh), except when one fears a religious loss or he fears that he may be tested with a great fitnah (which may destroy his spirituality), then to wish for death as per the method prescribed here, is not prohibited.  Many of our pious predecessors have wished for death due to fitnah and religious loss, so if one has insecurities of this nature, he may make the following as prescribed in the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him:

‘O Allah, keep me alive as long as You know that life is better for me, and cause me to die when death is better for me”.

(Sharh Muslim, Kitab al-Dhikr wal-Du’a(

Long Life is a Blessing for the Believer:

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:

None of you should wish for death and should abstain from asking for it before it is due, for when one dies his deeds are cut off whereas there is goodness in the lengthy life of a believer.

(Sahih Muslim Hadeeth No. 2682)

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:

None of you should wish for death, for if he is pious then hopefully his good deeds will multiply and if he is a sinner then hopefully he may return towards goodness.

(Sahih Bukhari Hadeeth No. 8235)

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:

Do not wish for death, for the agony of death is extreme.  Lengthy age of a man is a blessing, for it is possible that Allah Almighty may inspire him to return to good ways.

(Musnad Ahmed Hadeeth No. 1457)

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik – may Allah be pleased with him – said:

Had the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – not forbidden from wishing for death, I would long for it.

(Sahih Bukhari Hadeeth No. 7233)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – reported:

A man asked the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him, “Ya RasoolAllah, who is the best of people?”

He replied, “One with lengthy life whose actions are good.”

He then asked, “Who is the worst of all?”

“One with lengthy life whose actions are bad”, replied the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him.

(Musnad Ahmed Hadeeth No. 7216)

Sign of Qiyamah:

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:

Qiyamah will not come until the time when people will bass by the graves and wish they were among dead.

(Sahih Bukhari Hadeeth No. 7115)

Concluding Remarks:

Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan Na’eemi – may Allah be pleased with him – writes in the commentary of this Hadeeth as follows:

One should not wish or make Du’a for death due to the fear of illness or calamities.  It is such a beautiful method by which the permission has been granted in the Hadeeth… The way it is achieved that one at last gets to wish for death while still keeping things in perspective.

Note:  The following wishes are permissible to make:

  • Oh Allah, grant me the death of a martyr.
  • Oh Allah, bless me with death in the city of Madinah Munawwarah.

Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – made the following Du’a:

Oh Allah, grant the me the death of a martyr in the city of Your beloved – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him.

Sayyidah Hafsa – may Allah be pleased with her – asked him, “How could this be possible?”

Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – replied, “In sha Allah it will be exactly this way.”

Hence, while he was performing Salah in Masjidun Nabawi Shareef in the Arch of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him, a disbeliever – a fire worshipper – by the name of Abu lulu martyred him.  His Du’a was nothing short of a shot arrow from the bow and it happened exactly as foretold, and why would it not be, for he answered Allah’s call and Allah answered his.

(Mir’at al-Manajeeh Vol. 2, p. 436)

Hadeeth:

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:  One who is blessed with death in Madinah, should die in Madinah, for the one who dies in Madinah I will intercede for him.

(Tirmidhi Hadeeth No. 3943)

Lesson:

  • One should never desire for one’s own death in consequence of frustration created by worldly troubles and turmoil for two reasons. Firstly, desire for death is sheer impatience. Secondly, it is quite possible that remaining part of his life may be good for his religious life.
  • It is, however, permissible to desire for Shahadah or death in Madinah Munawwarah.
  • However, if one has to express wish for his own death, he should do so in the words quoted in the Hadeeth.
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