Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ajal (lifespan) - In depth

The following is a translation from Arabic.

As for the issue of death, it is the same like the issue of sustenance (rizq). The one who brings life (al-muhyee) and causes death (al-mumeet) is Allah (swt); and life (al-hayaah) and death (al-mawt) are in the hand of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has informed us by the definitely proved (qat’iyyat ut-thuboot) and of definite indication/meaning (qat’iyyat ud-dalaalah) verses (aayaat) that the cause of death is the end of life term (intihaa’ ul-ajal), and that Allah (swt) is the one who causes death. Thus, death inevitably occurs by the end of life term (ajal), and it never fails to take place then. Therefore, the cause of death is the ajal, and the one who causes death is Allah (swt). There are many aayaat on this issue. Allah (swt) said:

وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تَمُوتَ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ الله كِتَابًا مُّؤَجَّلاً وَمَن يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَن يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الآخِرَةِ نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَسَنَجْزِي الشَّاكِرِينَ

“Nor can a soul die except by Allah’s leave, a term being fixed as by writing.” [Aali ‘Imraan: 145]

اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَى إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death.” [Az-Zumar: 42]

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَآجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رِبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِـي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِـي وَأُمِيتُ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.” [Al-Baqarah: 258]

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَقَالُواْ لإِخْوَانِهِمْ إِذَا ضَرَبُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ أَوْ كَانُواْ غُزًّى لَّوْ كَانُواْ عِندَنَا مَا مَاتُواْ وَمَا قُتِلُواْ لِيَجْعَلَ اللّهُ ذَلِكَ حَسْرَةً فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ وَاللّهُ يُحْيِـي وَيُمِيتُ وَاللّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

“O you who believe! Be not like the unbelievers who say of their brethren, when they are travelling through the earth or engaged in fighting: ‘If they had stayed with us, they would not have died, or been slain.’ This is so that Allah may make it a cause of sighs and regrets in their hearts. It is Allah that gives life and causes death, and Allah sees well all that you do.” [Aali ‘Imraan: 156]

أَيْنَمَا تَكُونُواْ يُدْرِككُّمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنتُمْ فِي بُرُوجٍ مُّشَيَّدَةٍ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ حَسَنَةٌ يَقُولُواْ هَـذِهِ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَقُولُواْ هَـذِهِ مِنْ عِندِكَ قُلْ كُلًّ مِّنْ عِندِ اللّهِ فَمَا لِهَـؤُلاء الْقَوْمِ لاَ يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ حَدِيثًا

“Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!” [An-Nisaa’: 78]

وَقَالُوا أَئِذَا ضَلَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَئِنَّا لَفِي خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ بَلْ هُم بِلِقَاء رَبِّهِمْ كَافِرُونَ

قُلْ يَتَوَفَّاكُم مَّلَكُ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ

“And they say: ‘what! When we lie, hidden and lost, in earth, shall we indeed be in a creation renewed?’ No, they deny the meeting with their Lord! Say: ‘The angel of death put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls; then shall you be brought back to your Lord.” [As-Sajdah: 10-11]

قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَ الَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلَاقِيكُمْ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

“Say: ‘The death from which you flee will truly overtake you.” [Al-Jumu’ah: 8]

وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ فَإِذَا جَاء أَجَلُهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلاَ يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ

“When their term is reached, not an hour can they cause delay, nor (an hour) can they advance (it in anticipation).” [Al-A’raaf: 34]

نَحْنُ قَدَّرْنَا بَيْنَكُمُ الْمَوْتَ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَسْبُوقِينَ

“We have decreed death to be your common lot.” [Al-Waaqi’ah: 60]

وَأَنَّهُ هُوَ أَمَاتَ وَأَحْيَا

“That it is He Who caused death and gave life.” [An-Najm: 44]

ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ

“Then He caused him to die, and put him in his grave.” [‘Abasa: 21]

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

“There is no god but He. It is He Who gives life and causes death.” [Ad-Dukhaan: 8]

إِنَّ اللّهَ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ يُحْيِـي وَيُمِيتُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ

“To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He gives life and causes death.” [At-Tawbah: 116]

كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتاً فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

“How can you reject the faith in Allah, seeing that you were without life, and He gave you life; then He caused you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will you return?” [Al-Baqarah: 28]

These aayaat, which, are definitely proved, are of definite meaning that the one who gives life and causes death is Allah (swt). These aayaat ascribed causing death to Allah (swt). This ascription is real (haqeeqee), because ascription, in origin, is real, and it is not averted to metaphor (majaaz) except with an indication (qareenah). Since there is no any indication (qareenah) here to avert the ascription of death from its real meaning, then the meaning of ascription is the action of death, i.e. He is the one who caused the death. Therefore, one must believe that man does not die except if his ajal ended; and that the one who gives life (al-muhyee) and causes death (al-mumeet) is Allah (swt). Whoever does not believe in that is kaafir, because it is disbelief in the definite evidence (ad-daleel al-qat’ee), where rejection of what contained in the definite evidence is considered kufr. Accordingly, whoever denies that death is in the hand of Allah, and that man does not die except when he reaches his ajal, he is definitely kaafir, Allah forbids.

As regards the incidents of killing and the situations from which death results, they are cases (haalaat) in which death occurs, but are not causes (asbaab). So, they are not the cause (sabab) of death; rather the cause of death is the end of life term (intihaa’ ul-ajal). The difference between the cause (sabab) and the case (haalah) is that the cause definitely produces the effect (musabbab), and the effect (musabbab) does not result except from its cause (sabab). Whereas the case (haalah) is a circumstance or a condition in which the matter takes place; however its occurrence in that case is not definite. It might or might not take place; and it might take place in other than that state. Thus, the difference is quite obvious. The one who examines many of the matters from which death takes place, and the one who examines the death itself, becomes convinced that the matters from which death takes place, such as the plague, the cancer, shooting, burning and the like, might take place without causing death. Death might also take place without the occurrence of any of these cases. As an example, a deadly stab might hit a person, and all the doctors agree that the stab is deadly, but the stabbed person does not die; he might even cure of it and recover. While death might occur without a visible reason, such as when the heart of a person suddenly stops beating and he dies immediately, without discovering, after meticulous examination, the type of case in which the heart stopped. There are many of these cases known to the doctors. Hospitals, worldwide, have witnessed thousands of incidents where a matter that usually leads definitely to death took place, but the person did not die. On the other side, death might suddenly take place, without an apparent reason for that. Therefore, all doctors might say there is no hope in the cure of a particular patient according to the medical records, he might however recover, a matter that is beyond our knowledge. They might also say, there is no danger on a particular person, he is healthy, and he passed the point of danger, but he suddenly suffered a relapse and died. All of this is a tangible reality noticed by people and doctors. This indicates that these matters, from which death occurs, are not causes of death. If they had been causes, then death would have not failed to occur, and it would have not occurred without them, i.e. it would have not occurred without a tangible cause. The fact they failed to cause death, even for one time, and the fact that death occurred without them, even for one time, definitely indicates that they are not causes of death. They are rather cases in which death occurs. They are not the true cause of death; rather the cause is definitely something else. This is because the cause must inevitably produces the effect, and it should no fail in doing that. The cases do not do that; so something else must be the cause of death.

The question that arises now is that the mind proved what death usually occurs from it is not cause of death; it is rather one of the cases of death. Accordingly, the cause of death must be something else. Shar’ has proved as well that the cause of death is the end of life term (intihaa’ ul-ajal), and the one who causes death and brings life is Allah (swt). Is not there a rational proof that the end of life term (intihaa’ ul-ajal) is the cause of death? This is because negating of what death occurs from being the cause of death is not enough to prove, by rational proof, that the end of life term is the case of death. Therefore, there must be another rational proof that explains the cause of death.

The answer to this is that the proof of what death occurs of it is a case, and not a cause, is enough to prove there is a cause other than these cases from which death usually occurs. This is because death is an action that inevitably needs a doer, and it is an effect that must have a cause. Since what is suspected to be a cause has been negated, which are the cases from which death occurs, then there must be a cause other than them. Therefore, negating that from which death occurs being a cause of death necessitates there is a cause other than them. Accordingly, negating what death occurs from as a cause of death proves death occurs from other cause. Thus, the mind had proved the presence of a cause other than those thought to be causes of death. As regards the cause is the end of life term, and that the one who gives life and causes death is Allah (swt), the evidence to that is textual (sam’ee), and not rational (‘aqlee), i.e. it is the aayaat, which are definitely proved and of definite meaning, that prove the end of life term as the cause of death, and that the one who gives life and causes death is Allah (swt). Hence, the proof that death occurs by a cause other than the cases from which death occurs is rational evidence proved by mind. However, the evidence that the cause of death is the end of life term is textual (sam’ee) evidence and not rational (‘aqlee) evidence.

1 comment:

Abu Jibreel said...

Is this article from the book fikr al-islami or shakhsiyyah islamiyyah?

wa salam