One day, after Ali bin Abu Talib (radiallaahu `anhu) followed a funeral procession, and after the corpse was placed in its grave, the family of the deceased began to weep in loud voices. Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) said to them, “What are you crying over?” He (radiallaahu `anhu) then said words to the effect of: like the deceased you are crying over, death will come upon you all, one by one, until none among you remains. He (radiallaahu `anhu) then stood and said, “O slaves of Allaah, I advise you to fear Allaah, Who has seth fortth parables for you and has decreed precise times for your deaths. He azza wa jall has given you ears so that you can absorb their meanings (the meanings of the parables He azza wa jall set forth), sight to remove anything that prevent vision, and hearts so that you can understand. Indeed, Allaah has not created you without purpose, Allaah has bestowed upon you abundant blessings and has prepared for your rewards (for your actions), so fear Allaah, O slaves of Allaah, and strive hard to achieve (lawful sustenance in this life and Paradise in the Hereafter). And do good deeds before the destroyer of pleasure (i.e death) comes upon you. Indeed, the blessings of this world will not last,and no one is safe from its vicissitudes. (The pleasure of this world) are deceptions that impede one [from remembering Allaah `azza wa jall]. Take heed from these clear lessons, O slaves of Allaah. Let the warnings (about punishment) prevent you from sinning,and benefit from sincere advice and sermons. It is as if the claws of death already have a firm hold upon you. You are guaranteed a house of dirt (i.e grave). Then you will face terrifying events when the trumpet is blown, when the graves are turned over, when you will be steered towards the gathering place for judgment, and when you will be standing for accountability – all of this is under the full control of the Almighty. Each soul will have someone steering it towards the gathering place for judgment, and each soul has a witness that will give testimony for (or against) it.
“And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord (Allaah,when He will come to judge among men) and the Book will be placed (open) and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward, and it will be judged between them with truth,and they will not be wronged.”¹
The lands will shake; the caller will call out,the beasts will be resurrected;secrets will be revealed; hearts will quake; the Hell-fire, whose fire will be blazing, will come into sight. O slaves of Allah, fear Allaah with the fear of a person who is truly afraid, who is truly cautious, who truly sees (impending doom), and who is truly deterred (from sinning), for such a person strives hard, is saved by fleeing (from sins), prepares for the return (i.e for the Resurrection), and seek help through the acquirement of provision (i.e performance of good deeds). Sufficient indeed is the Book (the Qur’an) as an adversary and as an advocate. Sufficient indeed is Paradise as a reward. And sufficient indeed is the Hell-fire in terms of its destruction (of those who enter it) and its punishment. And I ask Allaah to forgive me and you.”²