The following is a story that is oft-narrated by Sayyidi Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf (May Allah protect and preserve him).
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.
The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “A prayer performed using the toothstick is seventy times superior to a prayer performed without using the toothstick.”
There were two brothers who loved one another for the sake of Allah (Exalted is He) and they would assist one another upon the obedience of Allah (Exalted is He).
They had a deep fraternity and love of brotherhood, a bond for the sake of Allah (Exalted is He) and they were always together; meaning they walked the path of goodness whilst encouraging each other.
So one of them said to the other that, ‘When I die, make sure you pray to Allah for mercy and also that you seek forgiveness for me.’ This is from the benefits of true friendship inside this world and brotherhood for the sake of Allah (Exalted is He), as it benefits you in the next world. The relationships you have in this world, they cease at the point of death. But, the relationships you have for the sake of the next world, they continue even after the point of death. So thereby, these two brothers assisted one another for the sake of Allah (Exalted is He).
One of them died, so his brother always prayed to Allah (Exalted is He) for His mercy and His forgiveness for him. And, he would always make mention of him until he saw him in the dream state. Everybody sees something in the dream state whether it is a dream from the All-Merciful or whether it’s a dream from the Devil and amongst the truest of all dreams is a dream in which you see the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam).
And so after one year, which had transpired, he saw his deceased brother inside of the dream state.
His brother was of those who was always standing guard over the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and was very particular about the sunnah of the Siwak in that as soon as he woke up from sleep, he would use it across his teeth and mouth.
So the brother saw his deceased brother in a dream and it was a very clear and vivid dream. In this dream, he asked his brother about his state.
He was asking him, “How were you after death?” As in, how did you fare with the interrogation of the two angels?
And he was speaking to him. He said the first thing he said was, “When I died I never even felt that I had died.”
He said, “How is that possible?”
He said, “When the angels seized my soul, I thought I was sleeping. And there were people washing my body and praying over me, but I thought I was sleeping. This was until they brought me inside of the grave and they buried me.”
He said, “I never felt anything whatsoever until these angels entered inside of my grave. And so they said, “Oh slave of God, sit up. You are going to be interrogated!”
He said, “Where I used to live I used to put my Siwak and place it beside where I slept. So the first thing I would do when I would wake up in the morning, I would take hold of my siwak and I would cleanse my mouth and then say the prayer of waking up, ‘Praise be to God who brought us to life after having caused us to die and unto Him is the resurrection.’ So when the angels thereby made me sit up and said you are going to be questioned, I woke up but I thought I was waking up from sleep. So I’m looking for my siwak inside of the grave and I’m saying the actual dua for waking up from sleep.”
He said, “So I started shouting for my son Ahmad, saying to my son “Where is my siwak gone? Who has taken my siwak?”
So the angel, the one that was standing in front of me. [In Theology, they are called Munkir and Nakir, one of them is in front of us and one is behind].
And so the angel that was in front of me said, “Oh slave of Allah, what siwak are you looking for? And who is that person you are shouting out for? Do you think you are sleeping in your bed? You are dead and you are in your grave!”
And the angels began questioning me and it was at that point that I became aware I was inside the grave and then I began to get scared. I began to repeat over and over the prayer for waking up from sleep. So the angel in front of me said, “You are a righteous slave, you are not going to be questioned and there’s no punishment for it”
So he said, “My Lord secured me and made me safe from death and the questioning of angels by the virtue of the blessings of the Siwak and the dua on waking from sleep.”
So look at the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). It is a very simple sunnah but its blessings are immense and great.
May Allah grant us tawfiq in implementing this sunnah.