No evidence that the righteous die younger than others
Fatwa No: 296560

Question

Asalam o Alaikum!!! Do pious people die early or Allah calls them early? As this is said by people at the time of anyone's death that Allah calls his pious people early.. I think they say this to mean that Allah doesn't want to them to commit sins in a longer life. Is it right to say this?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

If what you mean by the righteous people dying early is that they die younger than other people, then we do not know of any evidence for that, and the facts show otherwise since many pious people live long lives.

If you mean, on the other hand, that righteous people die every year and their number decreases, then this is correct, and it is one of the Signs of the Hour, as the scholars have stated. It does not necessarily follow from this, however, that they have short lives. What happens is, many of them die and leave few behind until they are all eventually gone.

This is evidenced by what Al-Bukhari reported in his Saheeh from Mirdaas Al-Aslami who said: The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The righteous will depart in succession, one after the other, and there will remain worthless people like the worthless husk of barley seeds or bad dates, and Allaah will not hold them to be of any value.

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat-h Al-Baari: “Ibn Battaal said: The Hadeeth indicates that the death of the righteous is one of the Signs of the Hour, and it urges us to follow the example of the righteous, and it comprises a warning against opposing them for fear that Allaah will not hold anyone who opposes them to be of any value. The Hadeeth also indicates that it is possible that the righteous will be extinct at the end of times so that only evil people will remain.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his commentary on this Hadeeth in Riyaadh As-Saaliheen: “You find people becoming worse each year than in the previous year – the righteous disappearing one by one.

Allaah Knows best.

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