You might call them curse words, bad words, four-letter words, or something else. But the main thing these words have in common is that they’re generally considered offensive and inappropriate, especially in public settings. I’ve noticed, though, that one word is considered so taboo that all of the swear words pale in comparison to it. And even though this word might not be considered a “bad word” by people in such a way that they wouldn’t teach it to their children, it is usually avoided. That word is death.
If there’s a room full of people having a good time, mentioning death would automatically make a person a killjoy.
It’s easy to see how negatively death is viewed based on how many euphemisms it has. We use expressions like “passed away” and “no longer with us,” because saying that someone “died” sounds harsh and unpleasant. If there’s a room full of people having a good time, mentioning death would automatically make a person a “killjoy.” Even during religious conferences, people usually prefer topics that are entertaining and lighthearted, rather than a reminder of their mortality and what it means for them in this life and the next.
But death doesn’t have to be such an ugly word, and it doesn’t need to be an unmentionable topic.
Death doesn’t have to be such an ugly word, though, and it doesn’t need to be an unmentionable topic. How we view death, and our general attitude towards it, strongly affects how we feel when the subject is brought up. So if we think of death as a terrible, miserable thing to think about, that’s how we’ll feel if someone talks about it. But if we acknowledge that death is just a part of life and it’s a door which will lead us to something better inshaAllah (God-willing), then we won’t feel as squeamish about it.
The reason for this is because as believers, we know we have infinitely something better waiting for us: Jannah (Paradise).
I know it’s never going to be something we think of as a pleasant topic, but death isn’t all that bad, either. The Prophet (saws) said, “The dunya (this world) is a prison for the believer, and a paradise for the disbeliever” [Sahih Muslim]. The reason for this is because as believers, we know we have infinitely something better waiting for us inshaAllah: Jannah (Paradise). In comparison, this world is like a prison that we’re trapped in for a predetermined amount of time. And the only way to get out and be free is by leaving this world when God decides that it’s our time to move on.
“Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained success. And the life of this world is nothing but a deceptive enjoyment.” (Qur’an 3:185)
May Allah (swt) grant us a long lives and good deaths, and enter us into Paradise. Ameen.