What is the reality of death? What is the philosophy of life and death? For answering these questions, first of all, we must clarify our perception regarding death, in other words, at the beginning we must see how exactly death is and how we must visualize it.
Usually, most of the people are alarmed and fearful upon hearing the word ‘death’, and to them, death appears dreadful and terrifying, whereas, according to the Islamic ideology, this terminology or this subject has a different appearance and can be perceived in a different way. Basically it can be said that those who fear death, consider it to be a negative entity. According to this insight, death is an end of life and a moment of everlasting separation of man with his life. They believe that with death, the compounded substances of the body suffer a breakdown and return to nature and man too, is nothing except this very broken-down body. Hence, with death, everything ends with no hope remaining!!
Indeed, with this view and insight, death is darker and more dreadful than every other thing and perhaps, no calamity, pain, sorrow and tragedy can be greater and more painful than the tragedy of death, because death would mean the burial of all the desires, hopes, longings and in short, the termination of all things for man— that man who loved life and eternity very dearly.
Anyway, Islam does not possess such a dark and fear-instilling view of death because according to the Islamic view, death is a positive entity. The moment of death is a moment of rebirth of man and a moment of his hastening out from a confined region of this world into a world, which is wide, expansive and rapturous. A world, wherein, man is not troubled by anxieties, sorrows and the material and natural limitations. Of course, those who have habituated themselves to worries and limitations must free themselves of such habits. In other words, becoming free from the clutches of mother nature entails some transient hardships but after that, in place of a confined and dark place, man is taken into a world which is extensive, infinite and full of luminosity and happiness.
According to this view, death is not annihilation but is inherent fallout of one stage of progress and development of man. Similar to an infant in the womb of the mother, which, after reaching a particular stage of its development, just should not and cannot stay in the confined and dark womb of the mother and obtain nourishment from her blood, but must come out and continue its development in a more extensive world. Similarly, after a certain period, he should attain freedom from the confined and limited world of nature and hasten to another world, which is appropriate for his eternity-desiring soul.
In short, it is according to this view that life of man becomes pleasant and sweet and his death too, not only does not become a means of sorrow but also is regarded as an escape from the misfortunes, sorrows and limitations. And if his death is like the death of the champions and by his own choice and on the path of Truth and as a result, can be called martyrdom, then surely it will be more pleasant and more sweet, and in the moment of death and departure from the world he shall experience such pleasure that only the very righteous and the martyrs on the path of virtue and piety have the knowledge of, and these are the very people who can taste this pleasure. This is because, those pleasures cannot be described and if ever described, does not possess the same pleasure (which is gained by experiencing it).
The reality of death can be derived from the Holy Quran, where the Qur’an in Surah 3:185 says,
“Every person (nafs) will taste death, …..” (taste can be either sweet or bitter!).
At another place (Surah 31:34) the Qur’an says,
“… no one knows (where) in what land (or place) he will die”.
Still at another place (Surah 63:11) the Qur’an says,
“Allah does not give any breather (or let up) to anyone for death when its fixed time comes.”
Therefore, one should not dread death but take it as crossing the bridge from this temporary life to the permanent, everlasting life.