Encounters with the Angel of Death(Israeel Alaihis salaam )
The King and the Angel of Death
Wahb Bin Munabbah Rahmatullah alaihe has narrated the following story: 'A king once decided to tour his dominions and survey his kingdom. He ordered out his stately robes and was presented a suit, but it did not please his fancy. He called for another, and still another and, after rejecting so many, found one that was to his liking. He wore this most elegant suit, and ordered his horse. A fine horse was brought, but he did not like it and sent it back. Then two more horses were presented to him, one after the other, but he did not like them either. At last, the whole stable of riding-horses was brought before him and he selected the best steed. The king then mounted the horse. The accursed Shaitan infused pride and vanity into his mind and he rode off proudly, followed by his courtiers, attendants and armed-men, in a mighty cavalcade. But the king was too full of disdain to take notice of them. As he rode on, he came upon a decrepit old man, dressed in rags, who greeted him, but the king paid no attention. At this, the ragged man took hold of the horse's bridle. The king flew into a rage and said to him threateningly, Off with you! How dare you catch hold of my horse's reins?' The man said, 'I have some business with you'. The king said, 'Be patient and wait till I come back and dismount; for, then I shall have time to listen to what you have to say'. The man said, 'I must say it just now' and saying this, he gave a violent tug to the bridle and snatched it away. The king said, "Well, what do you want to say.?" The man said, 'It is a secret;- I must whisper it in your ears'. The king bowed his head and the man whispered into his ear 'I am lzraeel (the Angel of Death), come to take your soul'. And then, of course, the king turned pale and his voice quavered, and he said in a faltering voice, 'Could you give me a brief respite, to go home, meet my people and arrange my affairs? The angel said, 'No, you shall have no respite. Never again shall you meet your kinsmen or we your possessions'. Saying this, the angel pulled out the soul from his body and he fell down from the horse like a log of drywood.
The Pious man
"After this, the Angel of Death went to a pious Mu'min (Believer) who was also going on a journey. He greeted the man saying, 'Assalaam-o-Alaikum' (peace be upon you!) and the man returned, 'Wa'Alaikum-us-Salaam' (And upon you be peace!). The angel then said to him, 'I want to say something into your ear'. The Angel whispered into his ears, 'I am lzraeel the Angel of Death'. The man said, 'Most welcome! Blessed is your visit.? For, you have come after I have waited so long. Of all the persons who are far away from me, you are the one I was most anxious to see'. The angel said,"' Go and hasten to do the task for which you have undertaken the journey. The man said,'l would dearly love to meet my Allah, more than anything else in the world'. The angel said, 'Choose for yourself any state in which you would like to meet death and I shall draw out your soul when you are in that state.' The man said, "I leave it to your choice' The angel said, 'I have been commanded to do as you please'. The man said, 'If so, let me take Wudhu (ablution) and stand in Salaat; when I lie prostrate (in Sajdah) before my Lord, you can pull out the spirit from my body'. So, the pious man was engaged in Salaat, lying in Sajdah, when his soul was taken out of the body. (Ihyaa).
Ibrahim(Alaihis sallaam) and the Angel of Death( lzraeel Alaihis salaam)
So horrible is the appearance of lzraeel Alaihis sallaam when he comes to take the souls of the sinners, that the strongest of men cannot bear the sight. It is said that once Prophet Ibrahim Alaihis salaam asked lzraeel(A.S.) to show him the aspect that he were while taking the souls of the wicked. The angel told him that he would not be able to bear the sight, but Ibrahim Alaihis salaam said that he could stand it. The Angel then asked him to turn aside and he did so. After a short while the Angel said, 'Now, look here" and Ibrahim Alaihis salaam turned round to him. What he met his gaze, there was a most horrible giant- like figure dressed in black, dark-complexioned and long-haired, with each hair standing stiffly on end, giving off a most disgusting smell, with flames of fire leaping up from his mouth and nostrils! Ibrahim Alaihis salaam could not bear to look at the sight and swooned. When he regained consciousness, Izraeel Alaihis salaam had resumed his normal form. Ibrahim Alaihis salaam then said, 'Even if there were no other affliction for the wicked, the terrible ordeal of facing Izraeel, in such a horrible form, should suffice for their punishment" This is the form in which the Angel of Death appears when he visits the wicked people. But when he comes to take the souls of the pious and the devout servants of Allah Ta'ala, he appears in the most handsome form, wearing a very pleasant look. When Ibrahim Alaihissalam asked Izraeel Alaihis salaam to appear before him in the form that he adopts while visiting the pious people, he saw, standing before him, a handsome young man elegantly dressed, with perfumes all round his body. Ibrahim Alaihis salaam said, "Even if there were no other joy for the believer than the bliss of seeing the handsome face of Izraeel Alaihis salaam at the hour of death, it should suffice for his pleasures.'
Angel of Death's visit during mourning
Hasan Basri Rahmatullah alaihe says, " When a person dies and members of his household begin to weep and cry, the Angel of Death stands at the doorway and, addresses them, "I did not deprive him of his livelihood(he has already exhausted his decreed portion), I did not cut short his life time. I have been commanded to visit this house again and again, until none of its inmates is left alive." Hasan Rahmatullah alaihe says, "By Allah ! If the mourners could see the Angel at that time and listen to his talk, they would forget about the deceased and start worrying about themselves."
Source: Virtues of Sadaqaat(English Translation Pg. 581;589)
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