According to a Prophetic Hadith, a Muslim has to seize the opportunity of enjoying good health by drawing himself nearer to Allah before illness overwhelms him. Yet, we cannot say that good deeds during period of illness don’t count as long as one is sane and mature, and death has not reached his/her collar bone.
With much focus on how such a person should behave afterwards, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “It is important for us to know deep inside our heart that Allah Almighty is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful. As Imam Al-Ghazzali has rightly pointed out those in similar situations are best advised to think of the mercy and forgiveness rather than focusing on Allah’s wrath. In a Hadith Qudsi (sacred hadith), the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, quotes Allah as saying, “I am as My servant thinks of Me; so let him think of Me as He wishes to think.” In other words, those who think of Allah as Forgiving and Merciful will not be disappointed, for Allah is indeed the most Merciful of those who show mercy.
It is important for you – if you are facing a terminal illness – to consider the following points:
1) Be always on guard against Satan, the avowed enemy of humanity. He will relentlessly try by all means to snatch your faith in Allah and make you think of all the terrible things of Him until you breath your last. So be persistent in seeking refuge and protection of Allah against the whispering and temptations of Satan. Don’t let him snatch your faith in Allan as well as your hope in His infinite Mercy.
2) Repent sincerely of all your past sins and make amends for them as far as possible; if you have hurt or robbed humans return what you have taken, or compensate for them as far as possible; otherwise, ask forgiveness of them. If you have neglected your religious duties, see if you can make up for them; if not, seek Allah’s forgiveness.
3) Spend the rest of your life in good works as much as possible. Allah’s mercy is beyond what anyone can imagine or comprehend. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah will accept the repentance of His servant so long as death has not reached his/her collar bone.” But never take this as a license to sin, but only as a reminder for you that you should never lose your hope in Allah.
4) Be consistent in making Dhikr; let words of “subhana Allah al-hamdu lillah la ilaha illa Allah allahu akbar wa la hawala wala quwwatta illa billahi” be always on your tongue and heart. Remember that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever dies while uttering there is no god but Allah will enter Paradise.”
5) Also make sure to read Sayyid Al-Istighfar (the best prayer of seeking Allah’s forgiveness) – as stated below – in the morning and evening every day:
Allahumma anta rabbee, la ilaha illa anta, khalaqtanee wa ana abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa`dika ma istata`tu, a`udhu bika min sharri ma sana`tu, abu’u laka bi ni`matika `alayya, wa abu’u bi dhanbi fa ighfir li fa innahu la yaghfiru ad-dhunuba illa anta.” (O Allah, You are My Lord; there is no god but you; You created me, and I am Your servant; I remain steadfast on my covenant and promise with You according to the best of my ability; I seek refuge in You from the evils of my own actions; I acknowledge all of Your favors upon Me, and I confess all my sins before You, so forgive me, for no one can forgive my sins except You.). The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever (sincerely) says this supplication in the morning and dies during the day will enter Paradise; likewise, whoever reads it at night and dies during the night will enter Paradise.”