Praise be to Allah.
Death, the grave and the Day of Resurrection are three difficult, frightening and terrifying stations. Death is the point at which one’s deeds come to an end, the grave is the first stage of the hereafter, and the Day of Resurrection is a day of horror and reckoning, after which there is nothing but Paradise with its eternal bliss or Hell with its intense heat.
Whoever prepares well for that, by believing and doing righteous deeds, and taking all measures to equip himself for that, is smart and wise.
At the first stage, which is death, he will be given the glad tidings that he will soon meet Allah, so he will love to meet Allah and Allah will love to meet him, as al-Bukhaari (6507) and Muslim (2683) narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit, from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), who said: “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him, and whoever hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.” ‘Aa’ishah said: But we hate death. He said: “That is not what I mean. But when death comes to the believer, he is given glad tidings of the good pleasure of Allah and honour from Him, so nothing is dearer to himj than what lies ahead of him, and he loves to meet Allah and Allah loves to meet him. But when death comes to the disbeliever, he is given the tidings of the wrath and punishment of Allah, so nothing is more hateful to him than what lies ahead of him, and he hates to meet Allah and Allah hates to meet him.”
It was said that when the righteous person is carried to his grave, he asks the people carrying his bier to speed up and hasten to take him to his grave, as was narrated by Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “When the body is placed on the bier, and the men carry it on their shoulders, if (the deceased) was righteous, he says, ‘Take me forward, take me forward.’ But if he was not righteous, he says: ‘Woe is me! Where are they taking me?’ Everything hears his voice except humans; if a human heard it, he would fall unconscious.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1314).
When he reaches the second stage, which is the grave, his righteous deeds come to him and console him, and his grave is made wide and expanded for him; a door is opened to Paradise for him, and some of its breezes and fragrance come to him, as is mentioned in the lengthy hadith of al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib, in which it says, after the believer answers the three questions: “Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’…”
Narrated by Ahmad (17803) and Abu Dawood (4753); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz (p. 156).
Then when he reaches the third stage, the Trumpet will be blown and the people will depart separated [into categories] to be shown [the result of] their deeds there (cf al-Zalzalah 99:6), and they will be in a state of panic. The sun will be brought near to them, and there will befall them such extreme distress that they will not be able to bear it, but the believer who did righteous deeds will be resurrected safe and sound; the angels will meet him with glad tidings, he will be in the shade of the Throne of the Most Gracious, and he will be given a delightful drink from the cistern of al-Kawthar, after which he will never thirst again. He will be given an easy reckoning, then he will proceed to Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, in confirmation of the words of Allah, may He be exalted, (interpretation of the meaning):
“They will not be grieved by the greatest terror, and the angels will meet them, [saying], "This is your Day which you have been promised”
The best means that will make death, the grave and the Day of Resurrection stations of joy and happiness for the believer are belief in Allah and righteous deeds, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The ones whom the angels take in death, [being] good and pure; [the angels] will say, ‘Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise for what you used to do’”
“Indeed, those who have believed [in Prophet Muhammad] and those [before Him] who were Jews or Sabeans or Christians - those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve”
“Indeed, those for whom the best [reward] has preceded from Us - they are from it far removed.
They will not hear its sound, while they are, in that which their souls desire, abiding eternally.
They will not be grieved by the greatest terror, and the angels will meet them, [saying], ‘This is your Day which you have been promised’”
To the extent that the Muslim’s heart believed in Allah and his physical faculties did righteous deeds, he will attain safety, happiness and joy in the hereafter.
Such factors cannot be limited; rather everything that is mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah of hastening to do good deeds, persisting in righteous deeds, helping others, and competing with others in doing good and righteous deeds, is included in that which will bring one closer to Allah and will bring greater joy in this world and the hereafter.
And Allah knows best.