It is humbling to place your head upon a earthly material during prayer. It serves as an ultimate reminder of where our bodies will end up, and reminds us of our last step in this world–death.
Before I had dabbled into the understanding of Islam and it’s teachings about death, I had feared death. It was a constant concern of how I would die, and when I would die. The concern wasn’t about what happened after death but rather everything surrounding death itself. I had concluded I should, well, prepare for death. I was so silly, because how did I expect to prepare? To me, preparing was increasing my health so my physical body did not decrease rapidly thus giving me more time.
It felt like I was trying to running away though, from something that cannot be outrun. I was truly acting ignorant to the fact that death is indeed, the only thing that is promised to us in this world. Just as flowers bloom in the spring I became present in this world, and just as flowers wilt and croak in the winter I am bound to depart as well.
I have now realized preparing for death means preparing by means that are much more long lasting. It extends beyond our physical body and into the realm of metaphysics (although keeping in good health is still a good idea). It is about supplication, prayer, and most important of all the pursuit of knowledge. Once I understood the separation of body and mind from a religious and philosophical stand point, I understood the things obtained by the mind were the only things to last even when the body is long decaying into plant fertilizer.