Questions for the Dead

Death is that one journey that nobody has ever returned from and most of us are afraid of it because of how little true information that we have. There is no catalogue of the places we can see in the hereafter, there are no brochures or websites that we can browse through to get an idea of the place and there are no travel guides that we can ask.

Recently, I paid a visit to the cemetery to clean and pay my respects to my late grandfather, late grandmother and my late cousin whom just passed away recently. In Singapore, Muslim graves are made out of concrete rectangular boxes giving neat rows and columns. Each empty grave will be cleared of dirt before the body is placed in. Once the body has been placed in, dirt will be used to fill the rest of the grave. Due to the nature of the graves being pre-dug and pre-built, there would be empty graves emptied of its dirt beside the filled ones. This was the case for my late cousin’s grave.

I stood there, looking at his grave and at the empty one beside it with a ladder sticking out. I began to wonder how it would be like to be lying in that empty grave. The feeling of claustrophobia, intense fear of what is to come and the thought that there is never a way out.

In Islam, we were taught that the soul will be placed back into the body once it has been successfully buried and it will exist there till the end of times in a realm called the Alam Barzakh. So, I began to think about the many questions that would want to ask my late cousin and to at least have an idea of death before I truly die.

I would want to ask questions like:

What did you feel when you realised that you are dead?

What is the reality in that realm?

How are you being treated?

How do the angels Munkar & Nakir look like?

What will you be doing till the end of time?

Being a Muslim, most of these questions have already been answered but think about it, wouldn’t interviewing a person’s experience be so much more wonderful?

I spend a lot of my free time thinking about life and how I can make mine better. However, sometimes, I would think about death. Thinking about death has made me accept the fact that death will happen to anyone at any time and prepare myself that a sudden death of a loved one will not give me a tight slap of reality.

Death is inevitable no matter what faith or beliefs that we have. It also does not matter if we believe in a hereafter or the existence of the soul, death will still come to us and only then can we truly understand the nature of it.