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The Best Send Off : Prepare Your Loved Ones For The Journey To Allah


A universal belief held by all irrespective of race, colour, or creed is that we are all going to die. Despite this, speaking about death and our impending demise is a conversation we rarely have, and it is not something discussed at many of our dinner tables. It is something we try to avoid, yet it is something that envelopes us everywhere we go. Rarely a day passes before we read the words “إنا لله و إنا اليه راجعون”, acknowledging the fact of life that we too are to follow and return to our Lord ﷻ. 

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ

Every soul shall taste death.

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Allah ﷻ tells us this in Surah al-Anbiya, al-Ankabut, and Ali ‘Imran. Despite the clarity of this statement and it being something that we all acknowledge, very rarely do people comprehend it and prepare accordingly for this reality. 

This was illustrated to me by a patient I met last week in the geriatric ward. Despite having had a stroke and lost the ability to swallow, this 80-year-old man struggled to come to terms with his own mortality. This is of course a result of a lack of imaan and belief in the hereafter to prepare for, but there are many Muslims amongst us who have not packed their bags accordingly for the eternal journey to our Rabb ﷻ. 

Likewise, it is unfortunate that many of us are unaware of how to help our loved ones when it is their time to depart. It is a skill set that most of us have yet to acquire or learn about. It may be that no one in your family has died yet, however, this is not an excuse and it is highly likely that within our lifetime people beloved to us such as our mother, father, grandparents, and siblings will depart from this world. There is no greater gift or act of love you can give them than aiding them and being a rock for them at the end of their lives. These are especially important moments, as The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: 

وَإِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالْخَوَاتِيمِ   

Indeed, actions are by their endings.1Saheeh al-Bukhari 6607

It is vital that someone is there to remove that burden from your loved ones in their final moments and it is also important to remember that you shouldn’t expect the person or those around them to know what to do, as in times of difficulty people very easily have a mind block.

Around this time in 2021, I was in a similar position having had no close relatives pass away during my life – when my Grandmother (الله يرحمها) returned to her Lord. She had a stroke and went through an increased period of difficulty in her last moments following over a decade of chronic illness. Despite this long period of illness, most of my family were unaware of how to best support her. Alhamdulillah, my teacher (حفظه الله) had given us some guidance in this area, which I will endeavour to share with you all so that we and all our loved ones are all granted a good death. 

1. Be physically present

Often our loved ones may live in different cities, countries or continents to us. In a recent palliative care teaching I had, we discussed the differences in approaching the final moments of someone’s life in the West compared to many of the countries we originate from. In countries such as the UK, the US etc. there has been an unnatural shift to death being surrounded by silence and isolation. 

It is important that we do not allow our loved ones to depart from the life of this world in this manner. If you are abroad, do your utmost to be with them in person. It may be that they say that you don’t need to come back or they downplay the extent of their illness – but still make your way to be with them. Try to find a flight that is as direct as possible and get there as soon as you can. This will of course come at a cost financially, but money is something that comes and goes but your family and the emotions attached to the decision you make do not. Likewise, if you have work, take time off and drop everything that will impact your ability to be with them as their time is limited. It is very likely that you will need to cut down on the amount you are sleeping, but that feeling of a sleep deficit for a mere number of days will pale in comparison to the regret of not being there enough in the final hours of your loved one’s life. 

As well as this, any time you spend away from their bedside – make sure that you are available and contactable. When you nip away to get a few hours of rest or to grab food for everyone, make sure that your phone is kept off silent or do not disturb. 

2. Give them hope

flower death

PC: Jess Bailey (unsplash)

It is important that even if someone is entering the final stages of their life, you remain positive in the face of the trial they are facing. 

It is narrated that whenever the Messenger of Allah ﷺ visited a sick person, he would say “‏لا بأس، طهور إن شاء الله”“No harm, it will be a purification for you (from sins) if Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wills.”2Saheeh al-Bukhari 3616

This concept of having ihtisaab (seeking reward) during times of illness or test is seen throughout the Prophetic tradition. 

He ﷺ said:

  الْبَلاَءُ بِالْعَبْدِ حَتَّى يَتْرُكَهُ يَمْشِي عَلَى الأَرْضِ مَا عَلَيْهِ خَطِيئَةٌ  

“… a calamity will continue to befall a person until he walks on the earth with no sin”3Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2398 & authenticated by him

RasulAllah ﷺ also taught us:

إِنَّ عِظَمَ الْجَزَاءِ مَعَ عِظَمِ الْبَلاَءِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ إِذَا أَحَبَّ قَوْمًا ابْتَلاَهُمْ فَمَنْ رَضِيَ فَلَهُ الرِّضَا

“When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves someone, He tests them and whoever is content, then for him is pleasure.”4Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2396 & authenticated by Ibn Muflih in al-Adaab as-Shar’iyyah (2/181) 

We are also told: 

إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لِتَكُونَ لَهُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْمَنْزِلَةُ فَمَا يَبْلُغُهَا بِعَمَلٍ فَلَا يَزَالُ اللَّهُ يَبْتَلِيهِ بِمَا يَكْرَهُ حَتَّى يُبَلِّغَهُ إِيَّاهَا

“Surely a person has a special status with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which he is unable to attain through his good deeds, so Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continues to test him with that which the person dislikes until he obtains it (the status).”5Saheeh Ibn Hibban 2908 & authenticated by al-Haitami in az-Zawajir (1/164)

Despite trying to make your loved one more positive, you will no doubt be emotional yourself. Try your best to be brave and remember that this time is about them. They come first and don’t do anything that may upset them further such as crying in front of them. I understand that it is for sure a very difficult time, so if/when you cry – try and do so in a private place away from them. 

3. The importance of the prayer

There is a bit of a misconception that someone in the final stages of life, no longer needs to perform salah. If the person is of sound mind they can and should perform salah and alhamdulillah, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has made this easier for the sick person. They can pray to the best of their ability by sitting down, lying down etc. 

The Messenger of Allahﷺ said:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلاَتُهُ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ  فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَابَ وَخَسِرَ

“The first deed for which a person is brought to account on the day of resurrection will be his prayer. If it is good then he will have prospered and succeeded, but if it is bad then he will be doomed.”6Jami` at-Tirmidhi 413 & authenticated by An-Nawawi in al-Majmu’ (4/55)

In the final days of our beloved Rasul’s life ﷺ, he was drifting in and out of consciousness. Each time he woke up, he would ask “Have the people prayed?”7Saheeh al-Bukhari 687 and when told that the people were waiting for him, he would try to get up in order to lead them. Similarly, when Ameerul mu’mineen Umar ibn al Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was bleeding to death – the first thing he did when he awoke from his state of unconsciousness was perform the prayer. 

Where needed, this can be made easier for the person. For example, if someone is unable to make wudhu with water, they can perform tayammum. This is the last moments of their life and there is no better to meet Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than having performed your salah. 

4. Help them sort out their affairs

If they are yet to sort out their inheritance and sort out their will. it is crucial that at this point you make sure that everything is in place. As well as this, it may be that they have debts. Make sure you speak to them and ask them if they have any debts, even if it is something from 30 years ago or something as small as one dollar or pound. If someone dies with debt, it is something that is not forgiven by Allah ﷻ and this was emphasised so much so that the Prophet ﷺ refused to lead the janazah of anyone who had outstanding debts.8Saheeh al-Bukhari 2289

There will also be other tasks that you can assist them with, especially as they will be very weak and unable to do as much. If they want to send messages to particular people or video call people who aren’t able to be there, help them with these tasks such as by writing the messages out or helping them send voicenotes etc. 

5. Making Tawbah

dua death

PC: Visual Karsa (unsplash)

Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) mentions in Madarij as-Salikeen that the need for tawbah is as important at the end of a believer’s life, compared to its beginning. Seeking forgiveness for our shortcomings is something that is only possible whilst we are alive. Allah ﷻ tells us in al-Hujarat:

 وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ 

“Those who do not repent are evildoers.” [ Surah al-Hujarat: 49;11]

In these crucial last moments, ask your loved one to think about all of their sins and make tawbah. Shaykh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) explained9Al-Fatwaa al-Kubra (5/279) that if someone does not remember every single sin individually, they can make a general repentance which will cover them insha’Allah – however, this is conditional on the premise that:

  1. If the sin is remembered, they will need to make tawbah for it
  2. The person doesn’t have any love or connection with the sin

There are a few steps that are needed in order to make tawbah:

  • Stopping the sin: you cannot be someone who is sincerely asking forgiveness for a sin if you are still committing the sin.
  • Regretting the sin: it’s not possible for a true tawbah to have occurred if you look back at the sin or the time of your disobedience as fond memories.
  • A strong commitment to not fall into the sin again
  • Restore the rights of others: if the sin they committed involved taking away the rights of others (this should be clear cut, rather than just asking everyone for forgiveness) such as slandering, backbiting, or taking away their possessions or wealth. 
    • If they have taken something from someone such as money or a possession, they need to return it as soon as possible. If this is something that they no longer have, give something that is equivalent to it as long as the person is happy with this substitute. If this isn’t possible to do, give money that is equivalent in value. 
      • There may be cases where the person is no longer alive, if this is the case – return the possession to their heir. 
      • If you are unable to contact them or their heir, give money to charity in their name if they are Muslim. If they aren’t, you can still give money to charity but it doesn’t have to be in their name. 
    • If they have slandered or backbitten someone and the person is aware of this
      • Directly contact them and ask them for their forgiveness. This may be an area where you as a family member can help them by drafting messages for them, etc. 
      • If you can’t contact them, make dua’ for the person and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to forgive them.
    • If they have slandered or backbitten someone and the person is not aware of this
      • It may cause a bigger problem by sharing that you have done so with the person. 
      • It is far better to clear their name to the people you slandered them in front of. i.e. if there was a particular group of friends with whom you would gossip about someone with, tell all the people in that group that actually you had gone too far and that this person is not like what you said. 
      • Again, make dua’ for the person and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)to forgive them.

Insha’Allah, if this is done correctly, your loved ones’ slate will be wiped clean and they won’t stand before Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) bankrupt of good deeds due to their sins. 

6. Thinking positively about Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) 

It is very important that in their last moments, your loved one has only positive thoughts of Allah ﷻ.

Nabi al-Rahmah, Muhammad ﷺ said only three days before his own death:

لاَ يَمُوتَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلاَّ وَهُوَ يُحْسِنُ الظَّنَّ بِاللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

“Whenever one of you is dying, they should only have the best thoughts of Allah.”10Saheeh Muslim (2877)

In reference to this narration, the ulema mention that “what is meant by thinking positively of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), is thinking that He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will have mercy on you and forgive you.”11Sharh Muslim (17/210)

There are a few different ways you can build this positive mindset with them. For example, you can speak to them about the journey they are about to embark on and what happens with the good soul. You can talk to them about the famous hadith narrated by Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib where the Prophet ﷺ told us that angels will come and visit them with perfume and white silk from Jannah, or how the angel of death will come and take their soul with words of comfort, how the angels will take their soul around, perfume it, and clothe it, etc. 

Alternatively, you can share with them the narration where RasulAllah ﷺ said “One who loves to meet Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves to meet him.12Saheeh al-Bukhari 6507 & Saheeh Muslim 2684

He ﷺ also told us that all this pain and difficulty they have gone through in this life will be forgotten completely once they enter into Jannah. He said “On the Day of Resurrection, a person who suffered the most in terms of exhaustion, pain, illnesses, oppression, being degraded, humiliation and poverty – this person suffered the most out of all of humanity from the beginning until the end of times. This person will be brought and dipped once into Paradise, and it will be said to him: ‘O Son of Adam, did you ever see anything bad? Did you ever experience any hardship?’ He will say: ‘No, by Allah, O Lord. I never saw anything bad and I never experienced any hardship.13Saheeh Muslim 2807

If despite these reassurances, and having already made tawbah they still feel worried – share with them the following beautiful narration.  The Prophet ﷺ entered upon a young man as he was dying, and said to him: How do you feel?” He said: “By Allah! O Messenger of Allah! Indeed I hope in Allah and I fear from my sins.” So the Messenger of Allah  ﷺ said: “These two will not be gathered in a worshipper’s heart at a time such as this, except that Allah will grant him what he hopes and make him safe from what he fears.14At-Tirmidhi 983 & authenticated by al-Mundhiree in at Targheeb wat Tarheeb (4/214)

7. The final moments

(a) Recite Surah Yaseen to them – if there is a particular style of recitation/ reciter that they connect especially well with try to imitate them or play a recording. This is because it makes it easier for the soul to leave the body. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said that “this surah includes mention of Tawheed and the Resurrection, and the glad tidings of Paradise for the one who dies believing in Tawheed. Within it are the verses:


“It was said (by the angels) Enter Paradise! He said, “If only my people knew of how my Lord has forgiven me, and made me of the honourable”

“And that this comforts the soul and makes it easier to come out.15Matalib Uli al-Nuha (1/837) [Surah Yaseen: 36;26-27]

(b) It is also important for someone to perform the talqeen – which is to encourage the dying person to say the shahadah. The Prophet ﷺ said:

لَقِّنُوا مَوْتَاكُمْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ

“Instruct your dying ones to say Laa ilaaha illAllah”16Saheeh Muslim 916


PC: The Dancing Rain (unsplash)

Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) commenting on this said that if a believer’s final statement is the shahadah before he died, and he intended to repent for all of his sins whilst making this statement, then it is hope all of his sins will be forgiven. This will be a noble ending to his life, he will be saved from any punishment and will be admitted into Jannah directly.17Fath al-Bari (3/110) and (10/283)

Alhamdulillah, this is a well-known sunnah that most Muslims act upon and try to encourage them to say laa ilaaha illAllah. However, it may be that they tell them to try and say it continuously and this is straining on the dying person. The scholars say that if the person has said it once, they don’t need to be told to say it again unless they say something else. 

It is narrated that when Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak (rahimahullah) was on his deathbed, a man kept prompting him to say laa ilaaha illAllah and this continued until Ibn al-Mubarak became overwhelmed. He said “What you are doing is not good, I fear that (if I don’t advise you) you may disturb a Muslim after me. When you prompt me and I respond with ‘laa ilaaha illAllah’ and I do not say anything else after, then do not prompt me further. However, if I speak after it, then prompt me again, so that ‘laa ilaaha illAllah’ may be my final words.18Siyaar A’laam an-Nubala (8/418)

(c) Shaytaan will try to attack them one last time

When Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) was dying, his son Abdullah mentioned that he would keep saying “not yet”. When he asked his father why he was saying this, he said “The Shaytaan is standing beside me, biting on his fingertips and saying: O Ahmad, you got away from me, and I am saying: Not yet, not until I die.19At-Tadkhirah (30), Imam al-Qurtubi

Some of the scholars mention that sometimes Shaytaan may impersonate someone (e.g their parents), saying that Islam is a false religion etc. Remind them that as long as they are living, Shaytaan will try to test them and take them away from Jannah. 

8. Dealing with death

Firstly, try to exercise patience and you will be rewarded by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: 

إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الأُولَ

“True patience is only at the first stroke of a calamity.”20Saheeh al-Bukhari 1283

He ﷺ also taught us:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَرْضَى لِعَبْدِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِذَا ذَهَبَ بِصَفِيِّهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ فَصَبَرَ وَاحْتَسَبَ وَقَالَ مَا أُمِرَ بِهِ بِثَوَابٍ دُونَ الْجَنَّةِ

“Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does not approve for His believing slave, if He takes away his loved one from among the people of the Earth, and he bears that with patience and seeks reward, and says that which he is commanded any reward less than Paradise.”21Sunan an-Nasa’i 1871

It is okay and natural for you to cry, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to make dua’ for the deceased. At this time there will be a large number of angels present, and we know that this is a time when dua’s are increasingly accepted. You can say:

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ، اَللَّهُمَّ أْجُرْنِيْ فِيْ مُصِيْبَتِيْ وَأَخْلِفْ لِيْ خَيْرًا مِنْهَا 

“Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and replace it for me with something better.”22Saheeh Muslim 918

Our mother, Umm Salamah (ranha) said that the Prophet ﷺ taught her this dua’ and said that there will be no one who responds to a calamity by saying this, except that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will compensate them with something better than it. 

However, this dua’ is largely for yourself. So don’t forget to make dua’ for your loved one who has just returned to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

death dua

PC: Spiritual Antidote

As well as this,  there are multiple other dua’s that you can make for them from the sunnah. You can also make dua’ for them in whatever language you speak, the most important thing is that it is a heartfelt dua’ for them. 

It is also important that you ensure their ghusl and janazah are carried out properly, and that you let as many people know as possible so they can attend. This is all outlined in the booklet linked at the end of this document that was written by my Shaykh (حفظه الله). The Prophet of Allah ﷺ said that if 40 good believers attend someone’s janazah, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will accept them as intercessors for the deceased.23Saheeh Muslim 948

There are differences of opinion on whether special times such as Jumu’ah or Ramadan are a sign of the person’s status in the next life, so definitely don’t rely on this. It is widely accepted that a good death involves an act of ibadah (i.e. on the way to do it, during it or it being the last thing they do). You can benefit them insha’Allah by creating a charity fundraising page, for example on Launchgood, to collect funds to go towards something that can be an ongoing source of good deeds for them. This could be something such as a masjid or a water well. 


As your loved one embarks on their journey to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), remember that we too are going to follow. My Grandmother (الله يرحمها) returned to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in September 2021, her last action in this dunya having been performing tayammum. I pray that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has mercy on her, forgives her of her shortcomings and that He ﷻ reunites us all with our loved ones in al-Firdaws. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grant us all a good death.

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ خَيْرَ عُمْرِي آخِرَهُ ، وَخَيْرَ عَمَلِي خَوَاتِمَهُ ، وَخَيْرَ أَيَّامِي يَوْمَ أَلْقَاكَ

“O Allah, make the end of my life the best part of my life, my best deeds my last ones, make the best of days the day in which I meet you.”24Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 10 pg. 158


For further details including what to do after your loved one has passed away such as dua’s you can make for them, how to perform the funeral prayer and the content provided in this article in a whole host of languages from Bangla, to Urdu to Tamil and Malay – please visit You can find this in the “Muslims’ COVID-19 Handbook” and the translations in the more section.




Podcast: The Prophet ﷺ and Secrets To A Good Death | Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter

The Forgotten Sunnah Of Raising Stepchildren: Reflections On The Death Of My Stepson

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Jakir Ahmed is currently a medical student at University College London. He is active in university based projects, previously serving as a Head brother at University College London Islamic society and is currently serving as a Vice President in the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). He is passionate about community engagement, self-development and reading. You can find some of his book reviews at

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ibn Oseanbulu

    October 18, 2023 at 9:37 AM

    Baarakallahu feehi Ya Jakir. May Allah bless you for this soft reminder.

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