The following is brief excerpt of a joint project between Ibriz Media and Muhammadan Press—to be announced soon, Allah willing. Shaykh ‘Ulwan ‘Ali b. ‘Atiyya al-Hamawi al-Shadhili said in his book Misbah al-diraya wa miftah al-hidaya (The Lamp of Understanding and the Key of Guidance): The means of receiving a good end at the time of death (husn al-khatima) include: uprightness (istiqama), persistence in invocation, constancy in replying to the muezzin’s call to prayer, asking that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) be granted the Wasila, and constancy in supplicating “O Allah, honor this Muhammadan nation with Your beautiful oft-returning favors in both abodes, out of honor for those You have made members of his nation” (this is one of the most hope-inspiring means listed here). Other means include persistence in uttering the Master Plea for Forgiveness (Sayyid al-Istighfar), which is reported in the rigorously authenticated hadith, and it is:
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ
“O Allah, You are my Lord—there is no god but You. You created me, and I am Your servant, and I uphold Your covenant and am faithful to Your promise as much as I am able. I seek refuge in Your from the evil I have done, and I acknowledge before You the blessings You have bestowed me, and I acknowledge my sins, so forgive me, for none can forgive sins except You.”
Other means include praying the Dawn Prayer (Subh) and Late Noon prayer (‘Asr) in congregation, along with many other types of goodness and praiseworthy statements and actions. As for the means of receiving an evil end at the time of death (su’ al-khatima)—Allah’s refuge is sought!—they include: love for the lower world, possessing arrogance, conceitedness, envy, and heedlessness, holding corrupt beliefs (‘aqida fasida), stubbornly and persistently committing a forbidden act, looking at pre-pubescent boys [with unlawful desire] and looking at women, contravening the Sunna that has come from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and other types of evil and blameworthy statements and actions.