The wish for death according to Islam and the Quran
For some people death is a wish, however for others it is something for which they never wish. Some people can wish to die but the wish for death is irrational for some others. From one hand, this school of thought believes in the immortality of the soul and says that a human will not die through the death but on the other hand like the school of Mani, it is not believed that the humans were perfect before entering this world. Accordingly it is not also believed that a perfect human was brought into this world and he was prisoned here and until finishing his term so that he could leave this world. Unfortunately, such terms have been used a lot by our poets, though they did not mean so. “Breaking the cage or prison” and “coming out of the Hole” are terms which have been used a lot by our poets, thought they were not the followers of the school of Mani.
This school of thought is based on the fact that the soul is immortal, but it does not believe that human’s soul was perfect and it was brought to this world like a prisoner and accordingly a free creature was thrown in a Hole or so-called a free bird was placed in the cage. However, it believes that the human’s soul is not perfect in this world and it implies that the soul has the potential for evolution and perfection. It means that the relation between the human and the world is like the relation between a farmer and the field or a child and the school and not a prisoner and the prison. This weak creature has started to grow from the zero point and should be evolved in this world.
This world is like a school for the student and a field for the farmer. Therefore, he has to do his homework and be aware of his responsibilities. Moreover, he should be evolved in this school so as to be a perfect human when he leaves. The farmer also labors in the desert but he knows that he should provide sustenance through this growing and harvesting. If he desires to provide himself with a good life either during farming or resting at home, he is only required to farm very well. It can also be said that the relation of a human being with the world is like the relation of a merchant with the market. For a merchant, the market is considered as his working place and a place where he can make profit.
It has to be said that what was previously mentioned were mostly the statements of Imam Ali (a.s): “This world is indeed a place for the revelation of God and a marketplace for those who are close to Him.” (Nahj al-Balagha, 131). The Holy Prophet (pbuh) also stated that: “This world is a place of cultivation for the hereafter.” (Konooz Al Haghayegh-chapter D)
According to this school of thought, is death regarded a wish or not? None of them it true. Leaving school or university for a person who has done nothing in the school or university, has no result but getting bad marks. Therefore, such a condition is not acceptable, but it is shameful and it is the same for the farmer who has not worked.
For a person who has wasted his time in the world and has spent his life doing evil deeds, death can never be a wish. According to the Quran, not only has he not done good deeds, but he also has just done evil deeds. Naturally, such people should ever be afraid of death, like Galen. Although, in terms of school of thought they are different from him, they will be like him in practice. It means that in practice for such a person life is going to be preferable to death in any condition, even if it is in the belly of a mule with its head out of the tail.
Accordingly, the Quran says: “But they will never wish for it, ever, because of what their hands have put forth. And Allah is knowing of the wrongdoers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah-verse 95).
In this regard, the translation Rumi’s poem is as follows:
He says that, O You who are afraid of death, in deed you are afraid of yourself, because anybody’s death has exactly the same color as the person has. Anybody’s death is like a mirror who shows the people’s face at the moment of their death. For example, if your face is ugly or dirty, inevitably you will be frightened when you see it. Then he says that: it was like an ugly or dirty person who was passing the desert while he had never seen a mirror in his life. The mirror had fallen on the ground and he saw only the back of it. When he picked up the mirror and looked at the other side of it he immediately broke it. He thought to himself, what an ugly object I had found, however, he never imagined that the person he had seen in the mirror was himself and there was nothing else there. In this regard there is a metaphor. Accordingly, there is a hen in the cage while there are some cats lurking around the cage. When the hen sees that the cats are looking at her and are waiting for the door of the cage to become open so as to be able to steal her, she never wishes to leave the cage. Because she knows that living in the cage is so better than living in a vast area in which the cats are waiting to kill her. For those who see the world as a field as well as, those who see it as a school and they have performed well in the school, moving into that world will be desirable. Likewise, for the student who has gone abroad for studying and there he has studied well and has worked and received his certificate, it will be a wish to return to his homeland, because he has done his responsibility in the best way. For example, for a merchant who has traveled abroad and there he has transacted and profited, returning to his country is desirable.
Accordingly, Hafiz has a poetry which is about the person whose transferring from this world to the other world is desirable for him.
Late Haj Sheikh Abdulkarim was a marja-i taqlid (Religious Reference) when he was alive. Although I had not visited him and he had passed away ten months earlier but when we traveled to Qom, I knew that he was of the really righteous and faithful scholars. It has to be said that at the same night which he passed away at half past eleven and despite the fact that he had no signs of death, he read the same poetry of Hafiz which showed that death was desirable for him.
In fact it is true that the world will no longer is like a prison for a person who has done good deeds in the world, because he has done all the good deeds he could and has fulfilled his responsibilities in the world. The Holy Quran does not say that if you are a human, you should wish for death, because death is not a wish for all human beings. In this regard the Quran says that if you are a wrongdoer or an evildoer, you could be afraid of death but if you are of those who are close to God, the death will be a wish for you.
Understanding the Quran 7, pp. 72-67