One day, the Prophet (ﷺ) was standing with his companions and a deceased person was being carried in front of them, in preparation for burial. Upon seeing this, the Prophet (ﷺ) posed the question:
مُسْتَرِيحٌ وَمُسْتَرَاحٌ مِنْهُ
“Relieved or relieving?” 
The Sahaba (radiy Allāhu ‘anhum), asking for clarity, said,
يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا الْمُسْتَرِيحُ وَالْمُسْتَرَاحُ مِنْهُ
“O Messenger of Allah, what is ‘relieved’ and ‘relieving’?” 
In response, he (ﷺ) said,
الْعَبْدُ الْمُؤْمِنُ يَسْتَرِيحُ مِنْ نَصَبِ الدُّنْيَا إِلَى رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ
“A believer is relieved (by death) from the troubles and hardships of the world and leaves for the Mercy of Allah…” 
And on the contrary, as for the fājir (one who lived a life of disobedience and immorality), the Prophet (ﷺ) stated,
وَالْعَبْدُ الْفَاجِرُ يَسْتَرِيحُ مِنْهُ الْعِبَادُ وَالْبِلَادُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَابُّ
“…when the wretched person [departs], the servants, lands, trees, and creatures are relieved.” 
A clear distinction in death
This is but the difference between the good and the evil; the difference between the obedient and disobedient. Ultimately, this is the difference between the believer and the disbeliever.
When the believer dies, the sky and the Earth cries for that person.
When the dhālim dies, no-one weeps and people are relieved. If anything, people are grateful that the criminal has departed from the life of this world.
Allah (ﷻ) tells us in reference to the dhālimīn that came — such as Firawn and the likes who followed in his footsteps,
فَمَا بَكَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ وَٱلْأَرْضُ وَمَا كَانُوا۟ مُنظَرِينَ
“Neither Heaven nor Earth wept over them, nor was their fate delayed.” 
When the oppressor departs from this world, the sky and the Earth have no concerns. No-one cares and the people are relieved. However, when the believer departs, people must care.
The great Tābi’, Mujāhid ibn Jabr (raḥimahu Allah), said,
ما مات مؤمن إلا بكت عليه السماء والأرض
“No believer died, but that Heaven and Earth wept for him.” 
Fortitude of past and present people of truth
When the believer dies, someone who spent many years of their life defending the Dīn of Allah, serving Islam, being a true ambassador of Islam, when this person departs the dunya, every single person will weep and feel their absence.
On the other hand, Imam Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzi (raḥimahu Allah) comments on when the dhālim dies,
بل كانوا بهلاكهم مسرورين
“When the oppressor dies, people are excited, people are happy and relieved.” 
When we think of our pious predecessors who have departed from the life of this world, there are many.
To name but a few:
- Imam Mālik
- Imam Awzā’ī
- Imam Ahmad
- Imam al-Shāfi’ī
- Imam al-Thawrī
- Imam Abu Hanīfa.
All of these great scholars who are the reference point for Muslims in our time, may Allah have mercy upon them all. These were all men of excellence, who spent all of their life serving the Dīn of Allah (ﷻ).
When Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked,
“Where will we find Ahl-ul Haqq (the people of the truth)?”
“The people of the truth will be found in the prisons, in the graves, or found defending the Dīn of Allah.” 
When we look at our legends from the past, every time their name is mentioned we remember them and make du’ā for them. They are not amongst those referenced in Surat al-Dukhān; rather, they are the people Mujāhid (raḥimahu Allah) was talking about.
When Imam Abu Hanīfa departed from this world, he was not given a proper sending off. He (raḥimahu Allah) died in prison, and this was the ending of the beautiful life that Allah (ﷻ) blessed him with. Indeed, it’s not a new phenomenon for the Ulama to pass away in the prisons.
If you are upon the Haqq, then you need to be ready for the consequences that come with them and bear the difficulties. The dhālimīn will try to attack you from every angle — they will take your family away, your wealth away. They will try to torture you, both mentally and physically, in an attempt to shut you down.
But this is not possible to achieve with the believing men and women; those who are firm upon the following:
حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ
“Sufficient for us is Allah and He is the best disposer of our affairs.” 
Legacy of Allama Sayeedi and those before him
Those who rely solely upon Allah and trust in His decree: they are the type of people who live their life smiling and depart this dunya smiling. They are Ahl-ul Haqq; a man who can spend 10 to 20 years of his life imprisoned but not give in to the system, nor let any form of torture move him an inch away from the Dīn of Allah (ﷻ).
When Allah (ﷻ) wants to give izzah (honour), no fāsiq or fājir can take it away.
وَتُعِزُّ مَن تَشَآءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَن تَشَآءُ ۖ بِيَدِكَ ٱلْخَيْرُ ۖ
“You honour whoever You please and disgrace whom You please — all good is in Your Hands.” 
There are many legends who came and went in the physical sense. But today, they live amongst us. They remain present through their legacy.
In a beautiful statement, Imam al-Shāfi’ī said,
!قد مات قوم وما ماتت فضائلهم, وعاش قوم وهم في الناس أموات
“People have died, but their virtues haven’t died with them. And people have lived, yet they are dead among the people.” 
It may even happen that when you are driving, you find yourself listening to the beautiful voice of Allama Delwar Hossain Sayeedi (raḥimahu Allah).
He was a great ālim from Bangladesh, who passed away last Monday. No-one has any hate towards him, just as al-Subki said regarding the death of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah,
“By Allah, no-one hates Ibn Taymiyyah except for an ignoramus or the possessor of desires which have diverted him from the truth after he has come to know it.” 
This is how the Ulama defended our Ulama. Yes, they were people who made mistakes. Yes, they were people who had political differences, but they respected and defended one another.
Examples from Ibn Taymiyyah and Imam Ahmad
There was a scholar who wrote a fatwa against Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, within which he made his blood halal.
When this scholar passed away, one of Ibn Taymiyyah’s students came to congratulate him. The shaykh became upset and rebuked him, saying something to the effect of,
“How can you be happy with the death of a fellow Muslim?”
Note that the deceased was a person who had different beliefs to Ibn Taymiyyah.
Together, Ibn Taymiyyah and his student went to the late scholar’s house, gave condolences to his family, and made du’ā for him.
Ibn Taymiyyah told the late scholar’s children that on that day, he would take the status of their father, that whatever the young ones needed, they were to ask of him.
Whilst imprisoned, Imam Ahmad was lashed to the extent that his garments were covered with blood. He was dragged to his cell almost unconscious.
When he was released, a man was asked to remove the dead skin from his back. Whilst doing so, he overheard Imam Ahmad say,
“O Allah, forgive Mu’tasim” [the Abbasid caliph who had him imprisoned and lashed]. 
When asked why he was saying this, Imam Ahmad said that it is not going to benefit a Muslim if their fellow believer is harmed in the next life.
What’s important to remember is:
من أشرقت بدايته أشرقت نهايته
“The one who has a good beginning, this is a sign that their ending will also be bright.”
Imam al-Shāfi’ī said,
“In every corner of the world, those who served al-Islam — Allah will preserve their legacy.” 
It does not matter whether you make du’ā for them or not, it does not matter. Allah will honour them.
Allama Sayeedi was a man who served Islam, defended Islam, spoke for Islam, and he spoke with his pen and with his mouth. He did not care about any challenge that came in his path. He stood firm and bore any trials with patience. He spent the last thirteen years of his life in prison and he died in prison.
The thousands of people who attended his janaza and the outpouring of grief across social media, this is a sign of true devotion and happiness for this man.
Q. What “-ism” are you following?
Communism. Socialism. Feminism. All these -ism’s in the dunya — which one are you serving? Or are you serving Islam?
Be careful, if the group that you follow does not let you say “innā lillāhi wa innā ilayhī rājiʿūn” when the Ulama pass away—you are not following Islam, you are following a fājir, a jāhil.
If you want to be amongst the Muslims, then make sure you experience pain when the Muslims die.
Respect and honour our Ulama
Imam al-Dhahabi and Ibn Hajar narrated that once when Zayd ibn Thābit (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) was mounting a horse, Ibn Abbas (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) grabbed its stirrup to assist.
“Do not bother, O cousin of the Prophet (ﷺ).” 
He then added,
“We were ordered to act like this with our scholars.” 
In this light, let us honour our Ulama.
Let us not backbite or speak ill of them. You don’t want to stand in front of Allah after having cursed the Ulama and/ or having cursed the awliyā’ (allies) of Allah (ﷻ).
A revolutionary who was half-a-century ahead of others
In the early 90s, I was a student in Bangladesh where I heard Allama Sayeedi speaking about socialism and communism.
This was a time when scholars were arguing over minute issues such as whether or not we should be saying “Āmīn” out loud.
But he was a revolutionary. He was thinking fifty years ahead of everybody else. This is what inspired and attracted me to him.
I remember sitting there, thinking that this is how an ālim should utilise his talents, this is how a Shaykh should be. Not in his mihrāb, tucked away from the issues facing the Muslim community but very much connected to society and the people.
Allama Sayeedi was a change maker and catalyst for the betterment of society.
Allah honours people through His Qur’ān
The Prophet (ﷺ) said,
إن الله يرفع بهذا الكتاب أقوامًا ويضع به آخرين
“Verily, Allah elevates people with this Qur’ān and lowers others.” 
Allama Sayeedi served Islam through the Word of Allah for fifty years. In Bangladesh, he was affectionately referred to as “Qur’ān-er-Pākhi” — the Bird of the Qur’ān.
When I think of the above narration, I think of Allama Sayeedi. He was a living example of someone elevated through the Qur’ān.
He was a man who lived during a time within which there was no social media or other forms of communication. Yet, there is no part of Bangladesh and even parts of Pakistan and the UK, where someone has not heard his name.
May Allah (ﷻ) give us the tawfīq to follow the footsteps of our pious predecessors. May He have mercy upon and grant al-Firdaws to our scholars who have passed away.
 al-Qur’ān, 44:29
 Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr, p.497
 Mafāṭīḥ al-Ghayb
 This is a well-known statement attributed to Ibn Taymiyyah, but the original reference has not been identified
 al-Qur’ān, 3:173
 al-Qur’ān, 3:26
 Diwān of Imam al-Shāfi’ī
 Radd al-Wafir of Ibn Nasir al-Dīn, p.95
 al-Mustadrak, Vol.3, p.3, No. 5,785. al-Hakim classified it as Sahīh according to the requirements of Muslim
 Riyāḍ al-Ṣālihīn, 996