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Islamic Studies - Death and Disease.

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Islamic Studies Coursework: Death and Disease By Yasir Al-Wakeel Death and disease occur all around us; they are universal human experiences. Muslims look upon death as a transitional phase between this life and the next. Since 'the enjoyment of the present life is but little as compared with the hereafter' a true Muslim shall not fear death. Death and disease are both necessary methods of biological control, without which problems such as overpopulation would be widespread. They also allow us to appreciate life and good health respectively, without which our society is likely to take a lot more for granted. The classic theistic view of this life being a test by God is one upheld by Muslims. In perspective of this, disease is principally viewed as one of the ways of carrying out this test - the ultimate reward for which being paradise. A practical utopia in which there is no suffering would lead to a world of automata; one in which our freedom would be undermined and thus nullifying the test for which we were placed on earth. Those of us who abuse this freedom and live for this life alone shall be punished by Allah, some remaining in hell for eternity. This can be seen by some to conflict with God's mercy as it may seem harsh, however Muslims take the view that it is necessary so as to differentiate fully between good and evil, awarding each only what they deserve. Disease can be one of the means of coming to death and is an experience that comes to us all. ...read more.


The argument put forward in surat Yasin is self-explanatory: "Does not man see that We have created him from a mere sperm drop? Yet lo! He is an open quarreller.... He says 'Who can resurrect the bones when they are decayed?" Say, 'He who created them the first time will resurrect them... Verily his command when he intends a thing is only that He says to it, 'Be' and it is." Death signifies the end of our worldly life. It is the parting of the material and non- material forms; the body and the soul. The soul, or al-Nafs, differentiates man from the rest of creation, constituting humans to be the 'crown' of Allah's creation. Muslims believe that Allah only gives to us what is just, similarly our dying is a means of justice; for us and others. Death is a necessity and not just a reality, this is highlighted in the following hadith: Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said: "A tribe once approached the prophet of their time and said, 'Pray to your Lord that death shall no longer be bestowed upon us. And so the prophet prayed and Allah no longer bestowed upon them death. As the years passed, the population grew until the houses became cramped and the generations many. Men were no longer able to go out and work as they spent their time feeding, washing and cleaning their parent, grand parents, great grand parents...... And so the tribe went back to their prophet and asked that he pray Allah return death and death was returned" Death can also be understood on different levels. ...read more.


Allah is the most merciful but only to those who actively go about seeking his mercy, for Allah only helps those who help themselves. One who disobeys Allah's orders cannot be expected to be shown as much mercy as those who are good Muslims. And yet it is not as if Allah has left us without direction and guidance. Every man and woman instinctively knows the difference between right and wrong, there are enough signs leading to Allah for "those who think and reflect" and Allah has sent down many prophets and scriptures to guide mankind. Any deviation is thus out of man's own arrogance and thus should be punished deservingly. Hell for the sinners is also justice to those who did good in life, for if those that lived for the pleasures of the worldly life too went to heaven this would be a grave injustice to the pious amongst us. As opposite's, heaven and hell serve to emphasise each other. Thus the prospect of hell acts as a deterrent preventing many from doing wrong and thus making the world a better place. Socrates goes one step further claiming that heaven comes from hell, "opposites come from opposites in the case of things which have an opposite." Although the words of Socrates seem somewhat extreme, taken in a less literal sense, what he says has bearing on all that which we have discussed; Death, disease and hell. We may ask our selves, would there be death without life? Or would there be disease without good health? Or would there be hell without heaven? All of which Allah has bestowed upon us creating a perfect natural balance. ...read more.

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