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What is good death in your faith?


Posted on Fri, Jun. 27, 2008


A good frame of mind

A.M. Bhattacharyya, an active member of the Hindu community: According to the Hindu faith, death brings an end to the physical body. The indwelling soul, also called “self,” the real driver of the body, comes from the “Supreme Soul” (God).

Because of its divine source, the soul is immortal. When the body dies, the embodied soul leaves the body. It has two paths to go. It either reincarnates in a new body or unites with God. Hindu scriptures emphasize the state of mind at the time of death in determining the soul’s future path. Gita says, “For whatever object a man thinks of at the final moment, that alone does he attain, being ever absorbed at the thought thereof” (Chapter VIII-6).

The impressions of the person’s karma (thoughts and deeds), good or bad, are mainly responsible for creating a dying person’s frame of mind. So a person living a loving, honest, compassionate, righteous life will have a positive, peaceful and spiritual frame of mind at the time of death, which will result in a higher mental and spiritual plane of life in the next birth. The cycle of death and rebirth continues until the soul intensely seeks liberation and union with God. At this stage of life, the person becomes a yogi, forsaking material desires and surrendering all thoughts and actions to God. At the final moment of physical existence the person thinks only of God. This is indeed the most cherished end of a soul’s long journey.

A state of faith and trust

Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., Islamic Research Foundation International: Life in the hereafter and the concept of accountability are central to a Muslim’s belief. The Qur’an tells us that the earthly life is temporary, and man’s ultimate destination is the other world. Given this understanding, the Qur’an reminds Muslims over and over again about doing good and avoiding evil. Allah has promised paradise to those who strive hard to please him. On the other hand, grave punishment of hell awaits those who disobey Allah’s command and choose evil against good.

As a follower of the faith of Islam, Muslims know that death is inevitable, and when the appointed time comes, the person will die. For a Muslim, a good death means dying in a state of complete faith and trust in Allah with the hope and expectation that his good deeds will be rewarded and he will find a place in paradise where he will enjoy a blissful, eternal life.

The Qur’an, in a single verse (Chapter 3, Verse 185), clarifies the meaning of life, death and reward: “Every soul shall have a taste of death. And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of life): For the life of this world is but an asset of illusion.”

Send your questions for one of our panels of religion columnists to Helen Gray at The Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108. Send e-mail to or a fax to 816-234-4787.

E-mail A.M. Bhattacharyya at E-mail Syed E. Hasan at

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