They say today is the start of winter in Australia. Although I should have focused on my assignments, I am driven to write this entry. I guess I have delayed this post for too long, and now, it’s time to write otherwise my thoughts will disappear quickly like the short autumn that has just passed by.
The reason I have been thinking about death lately is because of the autumn in Melbourne. Because the autumn here is so glamorous, I cannot help wondering: ‘how can the time of leaves falling onto the ground be beautiful? How can seeing something in the process of dying touch my heart and give me peace? How can a departure be so beautiful?’
Death should be scary. It should make me tremble and weep; it should leave me with a sense of nostalgia and regret; it should vex me when its name is heard.
Yet, it is not what I feel towards the death this time. Rather, I feel a sense of sweetness and pleasantness when thinking of death. Or more precisely, the angel of death – Arzail (Islam). I find him glamorous and beautiful – like this autumn that I have been blessed to experience.
Death is beautiful because I know when I meet death, it means that I have finished my exam and completed my duty in this world. I know that it’s time to take a break, to leave everything behind temporarily and get them back in a much better form in a much better place.
Death is beautiful because I know it is not annihilation or nothingness. Rather, it is the door that will lead me to the hereafter, where I will be judged, where I will see the truth of everything that I did, where justice will be manifested. It is freaky to imagine yourself being interrogated and judged for every action that you take, but at the same time, the Judgement day gives me a sense of sweetness when I feel certain that nothing will be left unjust and without consequences.
Death is beautiful also because it is the door that guides me to everlasting happiness (God’s willing). Only passing through the gate of death, can I meet my God, reunite with people I treasure and things I love, and stop the pain that is caused by separation and loss.
Death is beautiful because for a believer, in death, there is an indication of resurrection, future, hope, progress, happiness and peace. Death is not an escape, an ending, an evil that opposes life. Rather, it is a gate, a temporary platform, a transition period that will guide us to a better life.
Death is also beautiful because as Ustad Nursi beautifully states, it ‘is a veil …to the dignity of dominicality so that the dignity and holiness of divine power and comprehensiveness will be preserved‘ (The Staff of Moses, 80). That is because ‘not everyone can see the aspects of wisdom, mercy and beauty in death, but only see its apparent face and start to object and complain‘. Thus, the function of death is to act as a cause, a veil, and a target of objections, so that ‘in the superficial view divine power does not appear to be in contact with base, trivial or cruel things’ (The Staff of Moses, 80). In that sense, death is created to save human beings, who are fragile, emotional and short-sighted, from insulting their Lord in moments of desperation and sadness – instead, they will focus and attack death. This not only demonstrates God’s mercy and understanding of human nature but also makes me adore angel Azrail even more. He is like a misunderstood character who, in the name of God, receives unjust attacks, who patiently waits for the day when everything will be made clear, when he will be free of all the bad myths and social stigma.
Death is beautiful because life is beautiful. Those who live their life to the fullest, who never give up, who are resilient and patient, are those whose death is most noble and heroic. That’s why autumn is glamorous. Those leaves on the trees – before falling on the ground – have lived a life to the best of their capacities, have praised God with all their tongues. They may be unnoticed by us, but their acts are recorded, and echo through eternity.
Finally, death (Azrail) is beautiful because I have faith in God. If I don’t believe in Him, all of the above things make no sense, just as creation appears so meaningless. But because I believe and trust Him, I understand that everything will be preserved and recorded, that because God exists, everything exists
And so I say: ‘All praise be to God’ (Ahamdulilah).
Joy in Death (my favorite poem)
If tolling bell I ask the cause,
‘A soul has gone to God,’
I’m answered in a lonesome tone;
Is heaven then so sad?
That bell should joyful ring to tell
A soul had gone to heaven,
Would seems to me the proper way
A good news should be given
Written by Emily Dickson in “The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson”, pg 188.
All the photos in the picture are taken by me. For more photos, you can visit my Flickr