The Remembrance of Death and The Afterlife Book Review

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Book Cover for Ibn Qudamah’s book

A short message for my non-Muslim subscribers

I just want to let my non-Muslim subscribers to know that sometimes (as you might have seen before) I will write a biography of a prominent Muslim figure of the past. This is because, growing up in a Muslim home this meant that I studied the history of the Muslim civilizations, Kingdoms and Empires that came before us. I didn’t study the history of western civilization as much and this means that I might write briefly about interesting Muslim figures from the past. Furthermore this might also mean that I might review Islamic books that I have read in the past as well (again due to the fact that I read a lot of Islamic books growing up in my Muslim household). I hope however, even this might be something you can enjoy.

What is the book about?

“If a person had no other distress or anguish before them except death, this would be sufficient to disturb their livelihood. Death is the reality of every soul and it is the destroyer of all pleasures. How strange is it indeed that a human is so immersed in worldly life; it’s delights, glitter, glamour, fame and power that they are heedless of a truth which is about to strike at any time, with no return.

Death is a tremendous reality however, in today’s modern era, there is lack of contemplation on it, or it is remembered with a heedless heart. It is for this reason the remembrance of death is important and preparing for it is an utmost need. Like the one who wants to travel to the edge of a dangerous desert or travels by sea or air, only thinking about the journey and how to reach with safety and security.

Hamid al-Qaysari used to say: “All of us were certain of death, yet we were not prepared for it. All of us were certain of Paradise, yet we had not performed any actions for it. All of us were certain of the Hellfire, yet we were not in fear of it. So why are you joyous? What are you waiting for? Death! It is the first visitor from Allah which brings either good or evil. O believers, travel to your Lord in a beautiful way.”

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This work will awaken every soul, shaking off the slumber of idleness, firing the spirit up to prepare for the inevitable journey which needs striving and good works in order to reach salvation. This text covers many issues related to the Hereafter, taking the reader on a journey starting from remembering death, having lengthy hopes in the worldly life and learning from the deaths of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and his companions. The text explores the true nature of death, Hellfire, the description of Paradise, virtues of loving the Messenger and ending with never losing hope in the mercy of Allah. It is a small but powerful text which gives a comprehensive overview of the Afterlife; sure to stimulate a positive change in the reader.”

-Goodreads

My Review of Ibn Qudamah’s book

I finished this book some time at the early middle part of 2020. Around April. At this period, I had just completed my exams and I was really mentally worn out by the first lockdown and so I was looking for a religious, spiritual book to pick up and read. Furthermore, another reason why I chose this genre of book was because at this point I was reading many books everyday and so I felt guilty that I wasn’t reading any religious books so I chose to pick up a religious book to read.

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Ibn Qudamah is a famous author and scholar in the Muslim world that I had heard about in the past. He died on July 7, 1223. This book was the first of his books that I read. It had a lot of theology within the book and I was definitely taken aback by some of the chapters on death and the afterlife that I read. I was particularly struck by the narration of the dreams on the two scholars Yazeed Ibn Harun (d.821 AD) and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.855 AD) and from time to time I still think about those narrations as well. I really liked the knowledge that I could benefit from within those books as its knowledge that I can’t access anywhere else.

There was nothing that I disliked about this book just aspects that I had to adapt to. It was definitely a type of book that I would not read on a day to day basis. It was unique in that regard. Since it was written over 1000 or so years ago the style of authorship wasn’t also like the books that I am used to know. This doesn’t mean that it was inferior but just different. Since it also dealt with a topic (death & the afterlife) that some people would consider harsh it did feel like I was getting a bite of reality from time to time. A bite that is very difficult.

Overall, I am not sure if I would recommend reading this book. It depends on the individual, if someone is looking for purpose in their life then this might be the book to read but I wouldn’t force anyone to read this book since it is a religious book that I chose to read myself and it also deals with a rather cold topic that is generally taboo (at least where I have lived in my life). I should mention that Ibn Qudamah is a great scholar and author of the Islamic religion who (in terms of authorship) has written many great books, this definitely being one of them.

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Published by Muaad

20. Enjoy reading, travelling, meeting people and living life to the fullest. Follow me on twitter: @theclownprinxe

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