In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud [may Allaah be pleased with him] reported that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] drew a square and in the middle he drew a line which poked out the end. Across the middle line he drew some smaller lines. The Prophet said, “This is the man (or human being) and the square surrounding him is death. The middle line is his worldly hopes and the smaller lines are his troubles. If this one misses him, another will distress him. If that one misses him, another will distress him”. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree 6717]
After the above hadeeth and others were quoted, Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: These narrations contain an urge towards curtailing one’s hope (for the temporary things of this life), the remembrance of death and preparing for it. The goal is to prepare for death and being alert, not being negligent and wasting one’s (time, opportunity for doing good). This worldly abode is an abode of deception, [ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُور – The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)]. [Surah Aal Imran. Aayah 185]
The sensible person prepares for provision (of good deeds), makes death his concern and curtails his hope (for the things of this life), so that when death arrives he is prepared. Indeed, the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] mentioned the situation of the servant, his prolonged hope and the troubles he’ll encounter. He mentioned the restriction of one’s hopes and that it is incumbent upon a believer not to prolong his hopes (for the things of this worldly life), but rather he should fear death, because indeed death comes suddenly. Whilst having prolonged hopes, then suddenly his lifespan pounces (i.e. death). Therefore, it is incumbent upon a sensible person not be deceived by this life and that he prepares provision (i.e. good deeds) for his afterlife before his life span pounces on him. (1)
Allaah (The Most High) informed us that the believer amongst the people of Pharaoh said:
[يَـٰقَوۡمِ إِنَّمَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا مَتَـٰعٌ۬ وَإِنَّ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ هِىَ دَارُ ٱلۡقَرَارِ – O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever. [Surah Ghaafir. Ayah 39]
Abdullaah Ibn Umar [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said, “Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] took hold of my shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler’. The sub narrator added that Ibn Umar used to say, ‘If you survive till the evening, do not expect ti be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening, and take from your health for your sickness, and (take) from your life for your death'”. (2)
The Muslim is like a stranger in this worldly life: The stranger is one residing in a country other than his country. The worldly life is not the Muslim’s permanent place of residence; rather the Muslim’s permanent place of residence is paradise. He is in this worldly life to work for entry into Paradise. He takes what is needed from this world to aid him work for entry into paradise.
The Muslim is like a traveler in this worldly life: The traveler takes rest during his journey and then carries on travelling. He does not reside permanently in that place he stopped to take a rest. In the life of this world the Muslim is that traveler. In reality he is not a permanent resident in the worldly life because his time in it is very little. His nights and days take him towards the afterlife.
What is befitting the Muslim with regards to the days, nights, and his health etc! If you reach the morning do not delay good deeds till in the evening because it maybe that you will not reach the evening. If you reach the evening do not delay good deeds till the morning because it maybe that you will not reach the morning. Do not delay repentance and righteous deeds till another time.
As long as a person is in a state of good health and wellbeing, he is able to perform fasting, the night prayer etc; but when he becomes sick he is not able to perform fasting, the night prayer etc. Therefore, as long as Allaah has given you good health, then hasten towards righteous actions because a time will come in which you will be unable to perform them-either due to illness, old age, or senility. Prepare for death and what is to come after it. Allaah gave you this life in order that you busy yourself with what will benefit you in the afterlife. So do not spend your life in play and jest. (3)
Finally, I (Abdullah Jallow) remind myself, my brothers and sisters regarding these great supplications.
اللَّهُمَّ بِعِلْمِكَ الْغَيْبَ وَقُدْرَتِكَ عَلَى الْخَلْقِ أَحْيِنِي مَا عَلِمْتَ الْحَيَاةَ خَيْراً لِي وَتَوَفَّنِي إِذَا عَلِمْتَ الْوَفَاةَ خَيْراً لِي، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ خَشْيَتَكَ فِي الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ كَلِمَةَ الْحَقِّ فِي الرِّضَا وَالْغَضَبِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الْقَصْدَ فِي الْغِنَى وَالْفَقْرِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ نَعِيماً لَا يَنْفَذُ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ قُرَّةَ عَيْنٍ لَا تَنْقَطِعُ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الرِّضِا بَعْدَ الْقَضَاءِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ بَرْدَ الْعَيْشِ بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ لَذَّةَ النَّظَرِ إِلَى وَجْهِكَ وَالشَّوْقَ إِلَى لِقَائِكَ فِي غَيْرِ ضَرَّاءَ مُضِرَّةٍ وَلَا فِتْنَةٍ مُضِلَّةٍ، اللَّهُمَّ زَيِّنَّا بِزِينَةِ الْإِيمَانِ
وَاجْعَلْنَا هُدَاةً مُهْتَدِينَ
O Allah! By Your Knowledge of the unseen and by Your Power over creation, let me live if life is good for me, and let me die if death is good for me; O Allah! I ask You to grant me (the blessing of having) fear of You in private and public; And I ask you (to make me utter) a statement of truth in times of contentment and anger; And I ask You for moderation when in a state of wealth and poverty; And I ask you for blessings that never ceases; And I ask You for the coolness of my eye that never ends; And I ask You (to make me pleased) after (Your) decree; Aand I ask You for a life of (ease, comfort, tranquility etc) after death; I ask You for the delight of looking at Your Face (i.e. in the Hereafter) and yearning to meet You without any harm and misleading trials (coming upon me); O Allah! Adorn us with the adornment of Eemaan, and make us (from those who are) guided and guiding (others). https://atomic-temporary-194201713.wpcomstaging.com/2021/01/01/o-allaah-let-me-live-if-life-is-good-for-me-and-let-me-die-if-death-is-good-for-me/
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لِي دِينِي الَّذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِي
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي دُنْيَايَ الَّتِي فِيهَا مَعَاشِي
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي آخِرَتِي الَّتِي فِيهَا مَعَادِي
وَاجْعَلِ الْحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لِي فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ
وَاجْعَلِ الْمَوْتَ رَاحَةً لِي مِنْ كُلِّ شَرٍّ
O Allah! Rectify my religion for me, which is the safeguard of my affairs; rectify my worldly [affairs], wherein is my livelihood; and rectify my Afterlife to which is my return; and make life for me [as a means of] increase in every good and make death for me as a rest from every evil. [Saheeh Muslim Number: 2720] https://atomic-temporary-194201713.wpcomstaging.com/2020/12/29/o-allaah-rectify-my-religion-for-me-which-the-safeguard-of-my-affairs-a-tremendous-supplication/
May Allaah grant us a righteous end, grant abundant mercy to our parents, grandparents and all Muslims who have preceded us to the Afterlife Aameen.
[Ref 2: Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 6416]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Minhatur Rabbaaniyyah Fee Sharh Al-Arba’een – By Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan. pages 285-287 slightly paraphrased]