In the path of the Imam (100)
Death has always been one of the- if not THE- most mysterious and unknown phenomenon in the world. According to biology, death is the end of life and according to medicine it means the irreversible stop of vital signs. Once the heart stops functioning, senses are lost and a living creature doesn’t feel anything. It cannot hear, see, taste, or smell. Death has been paid attention in all divine and non-divine religions.
Christians believe that the entire mankind will die and a new world will come to existence. Jews, also, believe in death but there are different beliefs among Jews on the life after death. Most of them have the same opinion on resurrection. Indeed, the belief in resurrection is one of the basic tenets of Judaism and denial of it is considered as a big sin. Zoroastrianism, too, believes in death. According to the Zoroaster, as soon as the spirit is separated from the body, the owner of the spirit will be judged on the life and what he/she has done in life. The deceased person will be interrogated. Then his deeds will be personified as the symbol of good thought, good word and good deed. Altogether, human beings have not been able to deny death. However, the divine religions have tried to warn mankind on the reality of death and the fact that human being will see in the Hereafter the result of whatever he has done in this world.
According to Islam, death is a bridge for going from this world to the Unseen world. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) says that the life of this world is like sleep while death is waking up. It means that death acts like a gate to exit the world of imagination and entering the world of reality. The noble Qur’an says that death is a process to transfer man from one stage to another. It is like the phenomenon of a turning a worm into a butterfly. It is metamorphosis. According to the Islamic teachings, human beings experience death every time that they sleep. But it is a kind of death that is a return. In other words, every night we die and the next morning we are revived. The Qur’an says that every creature will taste death. The soul leaves the body by death.
Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) believed that death is a transition from the apparent mundane phase to the inward ephemeral phase. This Gnostic description shows that death is not destruction but a kind of life itself. The Imam said that the reason why human beings are scared of death is that they are attached to this world and their belief in the Hereafter is weak. He called the time of death as the time of witnessing because the signs of the next world are visible at the time of death. In other words, when death comes our eyes are opened to see the superior and Unseen world. Imam Khomeini maintains that the hardships of the moment of death have their roots in our attachments to this world and its pleasures. Therefore, if we were indifferent toward the world and its pleasures, we would be happy at the time of departure of the spirit from the body.
The last days and hours of the life of Imam Khomeini proved his beliefs in death and the Hereafter. All those who were with the Imam in the final days of his life, have said that they had seen interesting scenes. Imam Khomeini’s younger son, late Haj Ahmad, was with the Imam in the last days of the Imam’s life. He relates an interesting memory of the last day of Imam Khomeini’s life. This shows the calm that the Founder of the Islamic Republic had. Haj Ahmad said, “The last day was 13th of Khordad (June 3, 1989). The physicians were disappointed. I went to the Imam’s room. His face was luminous as he was performing prayer. He was engaged in praying since the night before, that is, 10 p.m. of the previous day. As he was lying, due to the low blood pressure, he would raise his head with difficulty in order to perform genuflection and then prostration. I wanted to speak to him but I couldn’t because I didn’t like to disturb the spiritual atmosphere. I just looked at him for a while and left the room. At three o’clock in the afternoon, his health deteriorated and the devices began working. Then at 10 at night the Imam passed away.”