Martyrdom (Shahadah) in Islam and its Ruling (Maliki)


What is martyrdom in islam? What is shahadah in islam?

Martyrdom; is reached by fighting in the way of Allah and dying during this struggle, it is an exalted rank. Allah has said about martyrdom in the Qur’an: “And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah , “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it]not..”[1]

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) has said about martyrdom: “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).”[2]

Martyrdom has three different degrees (classifications);

  1. Shaheed of the world and akhirah: This is regarded as complete martyrdom. In fact, is it the martyrdom that we are most aware of. This type of shaheed is buried as he is, without washing his body or changing his clothing. Only his extra clothing are removed. In a hadith, the Prophet has said:

Bury martyrs with their blood, they are not to be washed nor are their funeral prayers to be performed.”[3]

Those who prefer the life of the hereafter and die in a war for the sake of Allah are considered shaheeds (martyrs) of this world and the akhirah. Allah says the following in the Qur’an:

“So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward.” (an-Nisa, 4/74)

People who have been killed while defending their property, honour, life and other things, or killed unjustly, they are considered martyrs (shuhada).

  1. Shaheed of the akhirah: Those who try to convey and glorify Islam sincerely, and die while living in such a manner, is considered a shaheed of the akhirah (hereafter).

Those people; who die during journeys of knowledge, or who reside in foreign lands with the intention to carry Allah’s message, who are killed by mistake, who die in accidents when trying to make halal earnings, who die in an earthquake, who drown (in water), who are killed by fire, who are killed from a poisonous animal, who die from plagues or contagious diseases, who pass away a few hours after being injured by bandits, who die shortly after being injured in war, who die during jihad as a child or adults in a state of janabah, who pass away on a Friday night, and women who die during labour are all considered this type of martyrs.

A shaheed of the akhirah is not treated the same as a shaheed of this world. He is washed, shrouded, his funeral prayer is performed and then he is buried. However, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) has asserted that this type of shaheed takes the same reward as a true shaheed.

A person who has participated in protecting Allah’s message through jihad, however has not been killed, has already proved that he is ready to sacrifice his life for Allah. Thus, his degree in the sight of Allah, is also exalted.

  1. Shaheed of the world: A Muslim who participates in jihad with no intention for the sake of Allah, but rather for other gains and purposes, if he is killed by the non-believers, he is not considered a shaheed of the akhirah, but only a shaheed of the world. This type of shaheed is not washed, however their funeral prayer is performed and they are buried with their clothes

Abu Musa al Ash’ari narrates: “A man came to the Prophet and asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah’s cause? (I ask this), for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness.” The Prophet raised his head (as the questioner was standing) and said, “He who fights so that Allah’s Word (Islam) should be superior, then he fights in Allah’s cause.[4]

[1] Surah Baqara verse 154

[2] Bukhari, Jihad 6.

[3] Muwatta, jihad 37; Ibn Maja, janaiz 28. v.s.

[4] Buhârî, İlim, 45; Müslim, İmâre, 149-150

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Maliki School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

The Contents of Fiqh as a Science (Maliki)

The Importance of The Science of Fiqh (Shafii)