Episode of Umar b. Abdul Aziz and the Grave…
One day ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) joined a funeral party. When he reached the graveyard, he went to a remote place and sat there and began to think about something. Somebody, addressing the Caliph, inquired the reason of his sitting alone at a place especially when he was the guardian of this dead body. He told him that he had come there at the call of the grave.
The grave had spoken to him the following words: “O ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, why don’t you ask me the manner in which I welcome those who come to meet me.
‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) asked the grave to tell that.
The grave said: “I snatch their coffins and tear their bodies into pieces, suck their blood and eat their flesh. Shall I tell you how I’ disembody the joints of a dead body ? I separate the shoulders from the arms, the arms from the wrists, the hips from the body, the hips from the thighs, the thighs from the bones, the knees from the shanks and the shanks from the feet.”
After saying that, ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) began to weep and said: ” The stay in the world is short-lived but its allurements are many. Who is honored in the world is dishonored in the life Hereafter, Who is wealthy here, is a beggar there. He who is young is bound to decay and he who is alive is bound to die.
One should keep himself away from it lest it should deceive him because it turns away its face very soon. Foolish is he who is taken in by its baits.
Where are those who were enamored of it and who populated big cities, dug canals, planted big gardens and departed after staying for a short time? They always thought of their sound health but the improvement in health provoked the lusts of the flesh in them and they indulged in committing sins. Their abundant wealth was an envy of all men in the world. Even though they had to face difficulties, yet they amassed large sums of money. The people were jealous of them but they went on accumulating wealth. They bore troubles ungrudgingly for the sake of amassing wealth.
The lust has deformed their bodies. The worms have eaten up their joints and bones. They used to take rest on comfortable beds, exalted thrones and cosy cushions and had a train of attendants to wait on them. Their friends, relatives and neighbors were always ready to flatter them. Can anybody tell about the hardships borne by them ? The poor, the rich, all are lying on the same ground. Where is the wealth of the wealthy ? Has his wealth helped him? – Has the poverty of the beggar harmed him ?
What has become of their fluent tongues What has become of their eyes which used to roll in their sockets in all directions? What has become of their soft skins, beautiful and good-looking faces and their tender bodies? What a ruin worms have wrought to their bodies their complexion turning dark, their flesh being eaten up, their mouths covered with dust, limbs disembodied and joints broken. Where are their servants, who attended them and were at their beck and call ? Where are their apartments where they used to take rest ? Where are their treasures of wealth, which they had amassed ?
Neither did their attendants make provision for their food enabling them to eat it in the grave, nor did they provided him with a bed and a pillow. They threw him on the ground without any tree or a plant of flower to cast shade upon him. Now they are lying forlorn in darkness. They remain unaffected whether it is days or night. They can neither meet friends nor call any one of them. What a change their tender figures have undergone !
The bodies of all men and Women are decomposed. Their limbs are disembodied, their eyes get out of their sockets, their necks are separated, their mouths are filled with water and pus and the worms and insects crawl in all parts of their bodies They are in a deplorable condition and their wives have been bound to nuptial ties with another person and have been enjoying themselves. Their sons have taken Possession of their properties and the inheritors have distributed the property.
But there are also fortunate beings who are enjoying themselves in the grave, their countenances are fresh. These are the same people who remembered this home (grave) while lying in a home of deception (world) and preferred to meet the demands of the Hereafter to the demands of the mortal world, and made the provision and preparations for a journey towards the grave. When a man is destined to die sooner or later, he should not entangle himself into the allurements of the world. Does he think that the world will stand by him ? Does he think that he will live for ever in this transient world ?
When the angel of death approaches him nobody will save him from his clutches. He is bound to leave behind him in the world his huge building, the ripe fruit of his gardens, his cozy cushions and his summer and winter suits. Sweat will stream down his body. He will feel thirsty and the agonies of death will make him toss in the bed.
The man, who today on the death of his brother, his son, his father, shuts their eyes, who on one occasion washes the dead body and shrouds it in the coffin, while on other occasion participates in the funeral gathering and lays the dead body in the grave, must bear in mind that he will pass through the same trial tomorrow.”
Then ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) quoted two couplets, the translation of which is given below:
“The man always runs after a thing which is bound to perish, and is engrossed in high hopes and great expectations. He does not know that day-dreams can never be realized. He spends his day in forgetfulness and passes his day in unthankful mindlesness and passes his night in slumber, while death is hovering over his head. He will repent of what he is doing today. He is leading his life like that of animals.”
It is said that hardly a week had elapsed after this incident when ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (Allah be pleased with him) passed away.
Quran 3:185. Every soul will taste of death. And you will be paid on the Day of Resurrection only that which you have fairly earned. Who so is removed from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise, he indeed is triumphant. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion.