Narrated Abu Huraira: The angel of death was sent to Moses and when he went to him, Moses slapped him severely, spoiling one of his eyes. The angel went back 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 (i.e. Moses) to place his hand over the back of an ox, for he will be allowed to live for a number of years equal to the number of hairs coming under his hand." (So the angel came to him and told him the same). Then Moses asked, "O my Lord! What will be then?" He said, "Death will be then." He (Moses) said, "(Let it be) now." He asked Allah that He bring him near the Sacred Land at a distance of a stone's throw. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Were I there I would show you the grave of Moses by the way near the red sand hill." [Sahih Bukhari]
(Hadith Explanation) 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 Ibrahim (AS) and Lut (AS) in human form and they also did not recognize them at first. If Ibrahim (AS) had recognized them he would not have offered them food. If Lut (AS) 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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