How are souls taken?
Question: Thousands of, even millions of, people at different parts of the world die concurrently for such reasons as traffic accidents, earthquakes, and wars. How does the Angel of Death take their souls away in a split second?
To have doubts about the might of Azrâîl ‘alaihis-salâm may go as far as to have doubts about the might of Allahu ta’âlâ. A person who knows the greatness of Allahu ta’âlâ’s might must, even if he or she does not know its reason, submit to Islam and believe the fact that Allah is capable of all things.
Today it is possible to cut off all electricity supply of one or several cities at the same time at the flick of a switch. The Angel of Death seizes souls more quickly than this.
Ibrâhîm ‘alaihis-salâm asked the Angel of Death:
“O Angel of Death! Of the people whose predestinated time of death has arrived, if some of them were in the east and some of them were in the west or if they died because of an earthquake taking place in the north and in the south at the same time or if there were wars in various parts of the world and if thousands of or millions of people die simultaneously, how would you take away their souls at one moment?”
The Angel of Death answered:
“I summon their souls with Allah’s permission, and they immediately gather in my palm.”
Sulaiman ‘alaihis-salâm asked the Angel of Death:
“You are taking the souls of some people when they are young, those of some people when they are babies, and those of some others when they are old. What is your criterion when you are taking souls?
The Angel of Death said:
“The list of those whose appointed death time has come is given to me. I implement the list given. I do not interfere in anything else.”
One time, the Angel of Death stared fixedly at the person sitting near Sulaiman ‘alaihis-salâm. Then the angel left there. That person asked Sulaiman ‘alaihis-salâm:
“Who was that person looking at me as if he was going kill me?”
“He was the Angel of Death,” he replied.
“Snatch me from his clutches! Command the wind to take me to India!” he entreated.
His request was granted instantly. When the Angel of Death came near Sulaiman ‘alaihis-salâm for the second time, Hadrat Sulaiman sought to know:
“When you came near me for the first time, why did you look at the man near me in that way?”
“I took his soul right now and came here. I had been commanded to take his soul in India. I stared at him in that way because he was still here though he neared the end of his lifespan.” (Masnawî)