Allah has created everything with a fixed life span. The Quran states: It is not given to any soul to die save by Gods permission, and at an appointed time. [Ali Imran 3: 145.] Indeed there is no certainty in life except death. Every soul will taste death. [Ali Imran 3:185.] Not only is death itself inescapable, but the place and the very day and hour of death have been forever fixed: No person knows what he will earn tomorrow and no person knows in what land he will die. [Luqman 31: 34.] When the time arrives they cannot tarry a single moment nor can they go ahead. [an-Nahl 16: 61.]
In death, we are compelled to return to God. In life, however, we can choose to draw closer to God voluntarily by living our lives according to His will. In this way, we have the opportunity to meet Allah and gain His pleasure even before we leave this world.
Those who fail to use the bounties of Allah to earn His pleasure during this life, will forever regret their mistakes for the cessation of life brings the cessation of opportunities for redemption and salvation, as the Quran warns:
When death comes to one of them, he says, My Lord, let me return, let me return to life, so that I may act righteously in whatever I have left behind"Nay, it is but a meaningless word he utters; for behind them now is the barrier of death until the day they shall be raised up. Then, when the Trumpet will be blown, no lies of kinship will remain between them that day, neither would anyone be able to take care of another. Then, they whose weight of good deeds is heavy in the balance will attain salvation. But, they whose weight is light in the balance, will have squandered their own lives. In Hell will they abide forever. [al-Muminun 23: 99-103.]
Though death is certain, we tend to forget from time to time our meeting with our Lord. This forgetfulness, although part of human nature can make us stray from our true mission in life: If anyone withdraws himself from Allah's remembrance, Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one to be his intimate companion. [az-Zukhruf 43: 36] Forgetfulness, however, can be overcome by remembering Allah in all of life's activities, as the Quran again declares: Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Shaytan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance -whereupon, lo! They see aright. [al-Araf 7: 201.] Additionally, we are urged in the Quran to make the following supplication:
Our Lord take us not to task if we forget or make mistakes. Our Lord lay not upon us a burden like that which you laid on those before us.Know that to fear death from which there is no escape is foolish. Having no fear of what is going to happen after death, though it is within our power to change it in our favour, is reckless. Allah reminds us in the Quran, Do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands. [al-Baqara 2: 195.] For, no effort to please Allah will be left unrewarded, while every effort made to seek the pleasures of this world will come to naught. Moreover, the Prophet reminded us that nothing will go with us to our graves except our
Our Lord, make us not bear burdens which we have no strength to bear. Pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord Supreme: Help us against people who deny the truth. [al-Baqara 2: 286.]
deeds and that constant reminder of death will assist in keeping our indulgence in Dunya in perspective: `Remember often the terminator of pleasures [i.e. death]'. (Tirmidhi.) He also advised that we should take time to attend janaza or funeral prayers, as well as visit the graves of those who have made the transition into the Next-life, for these too will serve as reminders of our eventual fate: `He who expects to meet God should visit the graves for they remind us of the Hereafter'. (Muslim.)
The Prophet also wanted us that if we seek only the fulfillment of our selfish worldly desires, our lives may well become filled with frustration:
Whoever allows the world to become his biggest concern has nothing to do with Allah, and Allah will instill four qualities into his heart: anxiety which will never leave him, business which he will never be free from; poverty which he will never rid himself of, and hope which he will never fulfill. (Tabarani.)Additionally, one of the worst punishments the Quran describes is reserved for those who remain forgetful of Allah. On the Day of Judgment Allah will not speak to them. He will not even look in their direction. In this world they will claim to belong to Allah but they are heedless of His commands. On the Day that matters most, there will be a wall between them and Allah. His mercy and His compassion will be overflowing, but not for them.
Behold those who barter away their bond with Allah and their pledges for a trifling gain - they shall not partake in the blessings of the life to come; and Allah will neither speak unto them nor will He cleanse them of their sins; and grievous suffering awaits them. [Ali Imran 3: 77.]