18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

Angel of Death Came to Musa in Human Form

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The angel of death was sent to Musa (alaihis salam). When he came, Musa gave him a black eye so he returned to his Lord and said, ‘You sent me to a slave who does not want to die.’ Allah restored his eye and said, ‘Go back and tell him to put his hand on the back of an ox and he will live a year for every hair that his hand covers.’ Musa said, ‘O Lord, then what?’ He said, ‘Then death.’ He said, ‘Then let it be now.’” [Bukhari]
In Ahmad ibn Hanbal and at-Tabarani we find the hadith that “the angel of death used to come to people in a visible form. When he went to Musa (alaihis salam), Musa put out his eye.” Ibn Khuzayma said: “Some of the heretics refuse to acknowledge this and say that if Musa recognized him then how did he not take him seriously? If he did not recognize him then would he not have retaliation from him for putting out his eye? The answer is that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) did not send the Angel of Death to Musa desiring to take his soul at that moment, He sent him to him to test him. Musa punched the Angel of Death because he thought that he was a human who had entered his house without his permission and did not know that he was the Angel of Death. The Shariah allows for the putting out of the eye of anyone who looks into a Muslim’s house without permission. The angels came to Ibraheem (alaihis salam) and Lut (alaihis salam) in human form and they also did not recognize them at first. If Ibraheem (alaihis salam) had recognized them he would not have offered them food. If Lut (alaihis salam) had recognized them he would not have feared for them from his people.”

Another one of the people of knowledge said: “He hit him because he came to take his soul before giving him a choice since it is established that no prophet is taken without being given a choice. This is why, when he gave him a choice the second time, he submitted.”

From this hadith we learn that angels can take on human form. We also see that prophets do not cling to the life of this world. They know that the real life is the life of the Hereafter and though the time of death may be painful, since it must be gone through, they’d rather be done with it. Postponing something painful doesn’t make it less painful, rather, only makes one live in dread.

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