In some of the traditions, death has been referred to as a bridge, over which people, at the time of transfer from this world to the other world, shall cross and reach their goal, which is the other world. For example, Imam Husayn (pbuh) on the day of `Ashura', speaking to his loyal companions said:
"Remain firm, O sons of noble people, because death is just a bridge which will cross you and transfer you from discomforts and troubles, into the extensive gardens of paradise. So which of you does not desire his freedom from prison and entering into a castle. Of course, death for your enemies is like their being transferred from a palace and a castle into prison and torture."
Concerning this Prophet Jesus (Hazrat Esa) (pbuh) has said:
"Thisworld is like a bridge, cross it and do not build on it."
In some of the traditions, death has been compared to clothes, which of course differs, with respect to a believer and an unbeliever. Death, for a believer is like dirty clothes, which he removes and frees himself from its dirtiness and unpleasant odor, whereas, death with respect to an unbeliever is also like clothes, but beautiful, costly and pleasant-smelling, which he must remove from his body at the time of transfer to the other world.
In some other traditions, death has been compared to sleep, in which the soul goes out of the body. The only fundamental difference between sleep and death is that the coming out of the soul from the body, at the time of sleep, is only for a short period of time. In addition, the connection between the body and the soul is not completely severed. On the other hand, researches pertaining to the soul have proved that the soul maintains a connection with the body in a very special manner. While, at the time of death and after that, the severance of this connection is more complete than that during sleep,
although, after death too, a weak connection does exist for a certain period.
Another point is that the coming out of the soul at the time of death continues up to the Universal Resurrection. This tradition says:Imam Muhammad Baqir (pbuh) was questioned as to what is death? The Holy Imam (pbuh) replied:
"Death is the very same sleep that comes to you every night. However this is a sleep, which is very long, and man shall not wake up from it until the Day of Judgment. Thus one who sees different types of pleasure and happiness in his sleep over which he, (in his wakefulness) has no power and similarly he sees the different types of fear-instilling things, while he has no power over them. Thus, how is the state of happiness and fear in the sleep? (The affairs shall be similarly so in the state of death too). This is death. So be ready and prepared for it."