TEARS OF THE YEARNERS FOR THE MEETING WITH GOD
Translated by: Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, Foreword by Imam Zaid Shakir
This booklet is a translation of one chapter from Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s book Lata’if al – Ma’arif fi ma li Mawasim al – ‘Am min al – Waza’if (Subtle Realizations of the Spiritual Protocols of the Seasons). It is the chapter entitled, “Khitam al-‘Am” (The Year’s End), wherein the author speaks about the best way to end one’s year of worship. The chapter focuses on the question of the preparation for death and whether or not it is lawful to wish for death; if lawful, under what conditions can a Muslim wish for death and when must he/she not?
Ibn Rajab makes an excellent choice of Qur’anic verses, hadiths, wise quotes, and poetic verses to help the reader comprehend the gravity of death, the goal of living, and the perquisites and perils of the Afterlife. It is a chapter which realizes the Arab proverb, “The best speech is short and clear” (khayr al-kalam ma qalla wa dalla). I entitled the translation of this chapter, Tears of the Yearners for the Meeting with God (Dumu’ al-Mushtaqin ila Liqa’ Rabb al-‘Alamin) or simply Tears of the Yearners . The reason for the title is that throughout the chapter, Ibn Rajab showcases many luminaries who cried while on their deathbeds out of a yearning and readiness to meet God.
For example, “[Ibrahim] al-Nakha’i cried at the moment of his death…”
“Hasan al-Basri cried upon his death…”
“Habib al-‘Ajami would cry when he was dying…”
Reports of this nature throughout the chapter were so numerous that one could not ignore them. Rather, one is even made to feel that crying at the time of one’s death out of longing to meet God is a tradition of the sages and something towards which any dying person should aspire, if this state does not come to one naturally.