Reflection: Celebrity Deaths in 2016

2016 will be remembered as the year in which many famous celebrities passed away. Some reports suggest that up to 50+ famous people died this year. And even though we don’t know any of these people personally, the fact that they lived in the public domain and were ‘famous’ means that their death still hits us a little, particularly if we were a fan of that person.

This impact is felt more so when that public personality happens to be a Muslim, the likes of the boxer Muhammad Ali or the singer Junaid Jamshed or the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi , whose deaths touched the hearts of millions of people worldwide.

However, the questions that we have to ask ourselves is, are we going to learn anything from these deaths? Or we are we just going to read about it in the press and on social media and then let it pass without any thought or pondering?

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

Remember often the destroyer of pleasures,” by which he meant death.

[Sunan ibn Majah]

We should use these deaths and stories of people passing onto the next world as an opportunity to ponder and reflect over our own states. We should take a moment to think about our own passage through time and what we have sent forward that will be of benefit to us when we die.

Allah (SWT) tells us in the Qur’an:

Every soul has to taste death. It is on the Day of Judgement that you shall be paid your rewards in full. So, whoever has been kept away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has really succeeded. The worldly life is nothing but an illusionary enjoyment.’

[Qur’an 3:185]

There are many pointers that can be taken from the above verse of the Qur’an, such as:

  • The only guarantee in life is that we shall all taste death one day
  • That there is a day of Judgement when all Souls shall be judged by the All Mighty
  • Every good action and bad action will come to us as the wages that we sent forth to our bank account of deeds in the hereafter
  • All good and bad action will be repaid in either reward or punishment
  • The one who manages to attain Paradise and avoid the Fire is the one that is truly successful
  • That this worldly life is just an ‘illusion’ with the real life, the life of the hereafter, still to come

Consider the way in which some of these celebrities have died and consider the legacies that they have left behind. On a worldly scale they may have achieved a lot, recognition, status, fame, celebrity accolades, but what benefit will this be to them in their graves and on the day of judgement?

Then consider your own life and what you are working towards. How much of it is geared towards this world and how much is devoted to the hereafter? What changes can you make to give the hereafter a bigger priority in your life? What legacy do you wish to leave behind when you are gone? What do you want to be remembered for?

Seriously consider these questions and then make the necessary changes in your life in 2017 to gear yourself towards a better end.

The below talk by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi might be of benefit in this regard:

Take lessons from these celebrity deaths and make them a means to improve yourself before your time is up and while you still have the chance.

Also think of the many unknown people that have passed away this year as well. Our friends, colleagues, neighbours, family members, loved one, people stuck in places of war etc and make a special Du’a that Allah (SWT) in his Infinite Mercy grants them all with Jannatul Firdous – Ameen.

With Allah lies all Tawfiq. Always in need of your Duas.

Abu Zaynah