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All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly until the establishment of the Hour.
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Prompt your dying ones to say lā ilāha illallāh.” (Muslim, no. 916) So when someone is upon their deathbed, whether a Muslim or an unbeliever, they should be encouraged to utter the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allah, and that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah. This one sentence will save a person from the Hellfire and give them entry into Paradise. Mu’ādh Ibn Jabal (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever’s last words are ‘lā ilāha illallāh’ will enter Paradise.” (Abu Dawūd no. 3116, saheeh) So as a person exits this world and he senses his soul is departing from him, he should try his utmost to make his last utterance: ‘lā ilāha illallāh’. Those who are around the dying person should gently and with kind words prompt the dying person with these words. And they should not speak except with good words. Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “When one of you visits a sick person or the one who is dying, then only speak good words for indeed the angels will say ‘āmeen’ to whatever you utter.” (Muslim, no. 919)
It is reported in the Musnad from Anas (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) visited an Ansāri man and said to him: “O uncle (brother of my mother), say lā ilāha illallāh.” The man replied: “Maternal uncle, not the paternal?” So the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “No, rather a maternal uncle.” The man said: “Is it good for me that I say lā ilāha illallāh?” The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded: “Yes, it is.” (Ahmad, no. 12563, Al-Albāni in Ahkām Al-Janā’iz, p. 11, saheeh) This kalimah or sentence lā ilāha illallāh, is the loftiest of words and the greatest of terms, and it is the best of all utterances to live and die upon, it seals the deeds of this world and gives one entry into Paradise.
Abu Abdillāh Muhammad Ibn Muslim Al-Bādi said: I was alongside Abu Hātim Muhammad Ibn Idrees, and we were with Abu Zur’ah ‘Ubaydullāh Ibn Abdil-Kareem Ar-Rāzī while he was at the point of death. So I said to Abu Hātim: “Come, let us encourage him with the shahādah.” Abu Hātim said: “I am too shy in front of Abu Zur’ah that I should prompt him with the shahādah, but let us revise some hadeeth with him. Perhaps if he hears it, he will say it.” So Muhammad Ibn Muslim said: “I began and said: Abu ‘Āsim An-Nabeel narrated to us saying: Abdul-Hameed Ibn Ja’far narrated to us. Then I was unable to continue and words failed me until it was as if I had not heard the narration or read it. Then Abu Hātim began and said: ‘Muhammad Ibn Bashshār narrated to us saying: Abu ‘Āsim An-Nabeel from Abdul-Hameed Ibn Ja’far.’ Then he too was unable to continue — it was as if he had not read it or heard it. Then Abu Zur’ah began, and he was at the point of death. He said: ‘Muhammad Ibn Bashshār narrated to us, saying: Abu ‘Āsim An-Nabeel narrated to us, saying: Abdul-Hameed Ibn Ja’far narrated to us from Sālih Ibn Abī ‘Areeb from Katheer Ibn Murrah from Mu’ādh Ibn Jabal, who said that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever’s last words in the world are lā ilāha illallāh…” Then his soul left him before he could say: “…he will enter Paradise.” (Reported by Ibn Abī Dunyā in Fadlul-Tahleel was Thawābuhu Al-Jazeel, 49) May Allah grant him Paradise.
‘Uthmān (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever died and he knew that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah will enter Paradise.” (Muslim, no. 26)
Likewise, before one of us dies, we should seek Allah’s forgiveness, and His mercy, and ask Him to place us in the highest company in Jannah. ‘Ā’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) was resting against me, and was saying:
اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَارْحَمْنِي وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالرَّفِيقِ الأَعْلَى
“O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy upon me and place me in the highest companionship (in Jannah).” (Al-Bukhari, no. 5674)
Every Muslim should take the opportunities that Allah gives him to seek forgiveness and mercy, and constantly remember Allah with words of remembrance. In that way, Allah will make it easy for us to remember Him when we are on our deathbeds. May Allah show us mercy.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation.