When we ponder upon the term ‘death’, we will find that it contains amazing things surpassing any other Arabic term.
Its verb, ‘to die’ is used in Arabic as a transitive and intransitive verb. The doer of this verb is used at one point in the place of the subject and in another in the place of the object, although, in the Arabic language, the doer can never be used in the place of the object, but for this verb, we could say for example, Person so-and-so died. We can also say: Allah (swt) has caused person so-and-so to die. Here, the word ‘person so-and-so’ is used as the doer in the first example and as the object in the latter.
Death means the disunion of the soul from the body. It is also called in Arabic “Wafa”. Allah (swt) says:
﴾اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا﴿
(Allah takes the souls at the time of their death,..) (Az-Zumar : 42)
The soul alone is not called “Nafs” in Arabic. Similarly, the body alone is also not called “Nafs”. Thus, the “Nafs” (soul) mentioned in the verse is a blend made up of the soul and body.
So, when Allah (swt) wills to break this structure He (swt) disunites the soul from the body., then, death happens.
Grammatically, the doer is the one who carries out an action or he is intended for it. Therefore, when we say: ‘Person so-and-so died’, does this mean that he made himself die, or did Allah (swt) make him die?
Here, the one who died is intended for the action which is death, he is put in the place of the subject although in actual fact, he is not the one who did it.
As for when we say: ‘Person so-and-so committed suicide’, this person is really the doer as he has caused himself to die. We can also say: ‘So-and-so killed so-and-so’ in the Arabic Language to show a picture of a disastrous happening.
From here, you can see that there are three ways of putting an end to life: Death, killing or suicide.
Death: It is the one which comes naturally without the interference of anyone.
Suicide: It is when a person hastens his death by destroying his body such that the soul leaves it. In actual fact, this happens at the moment of death that has been decreed for him. However, he has hurried to it by committing a forbidden act that Allah (swt) has prohibited.
Killing: It is also done by destroying the structure. When a person kills another, he is doing something that Allah (swt) forbids. Thus, when Allah (swt) says:
﴾ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ ﴿
(Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him (21))
It is a reminder from Allah (swt) to His Servants of some of His blessings on them.
Death is a blessing as it makes the human being- whom Allah (swt) has created from an insignificant sperm- halt upon his limits and returns him to his original state. Similarly, of the blessings of Allah (swt) on His slaves is the legislation to bury their deceased in graves.
فَأَقْبَرَهُ (provide a grave for him): This means that He placed him in the grave, covered his body and honoured him by being buried in the depths of the earth, as this is the best for him, as Allah (swt) says:
﴾مِنْهَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ وَفِيهَا نُعِيدُكُمْ وَمِنْهَا نُخْرِجُكُمْ تَارَةً أُخْرَىٰ﴿
Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again. (Thaha : 55)
Due to all of this, we say that “the honouring of a deceased is by burying him.”
If Allah (swt) had not taught us to bury human being, he would be -God forbid!- like the rest of the animals whose carcasses remain in open space and are, subsequently, eaten by dogs and wild beasts.
Here, let us ponder upon the accuracy of the Quranic expression: Allah (swt) did not say: ‘He causes his death and buries him.’ This is because, the one who buries him is the one who actually carries out the burial, and this is the job of mankind. As for Allah (swt), He is the One who causes his death and taught humans how to bury.
Allah (swt) had taught His Creation this topic through a famous story in Surah Al-Maidah. It is the story of the two sons of Adam (PBUH) when one of them killed the other. The killer noticed that his brother had become a still and motionless body which did not answer him nor talk to him, so he was confused and did not know what to do. Then Allah (swt) sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. This was the first murder amongst humanity