Martyrdom (Shahadah) in Islam (Shafii)

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What is martydrom definition? What is shahadah in islam? What is ruling of shahadah?

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 (pbuh) 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]

Those who are not on the battleground may also become martyrs and become subject of the martyrdom rules. Martyrs are classified into the following categories:

1. Martyrs both of this world and the Hereafter (akhirah):

Such martyrs are the ones who do not steal from the war booty and who die when fighting with the enemy for the sake of Allah, not for the sake of hypocrisy. In fact, this is the category that comes to mind when said the word shahid is mentioned. Those who fight in the cause of Allah and are killed when fighting, in other words, they buy the life of the Hereafter in return for the life in this world, become the martyrs of both this world and the Hereafter. This is expressed in the Holy Qur’an as follows:

“Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah, – whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).”(al-Nisa, 4: 74)

In a hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

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

Those who attend a war to protect and spread Islam, to make the word of Allah superior (i’la-i kalimatullah) and to demonstrate that they are ready to give their lives, but are not killed in that battle, become veterans. In this regard, their status and position in the presence of Allah will become very high.

People who are killed while defending their property, honor, life and other things, or killed unjustly, are considered martyrs (shuhada) as well.

2. Shahid of the akhirah:

Those who sincerely try to convey and glorify Islam, and die while living in such a manner are considered shahids of the akhirah (the Hereafter). Such people are the ones who die due of causes such as being buried under a wreckage, as a result of suffocation, or are killed unjustly.

The following people are all considered martyrs within this type of martyrdom: those who die during their journey of seeking knowledge; who reside in foreign lands with the intention of carrying 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 not in the battle field but shortly after being injured in a war; who die during jihad as a child or an adult in a state of ceremonial impurity; who pass away on a Friday night; and women who die during labour.

A martyr of the Hereafter is not treated the same as the first type of martyr in this world. They are washed, shrouded, their funeral prayer is performed and then they are buried. However, the Prophet (pbuh) asserted that this type of shahid takes the same reward as a true shahid in the Hereafter.

3. Shahid of this world:

Even though this type of martyrs’ aim is to make Allah’s religion superior, they fight to gain war booty or out of hypocrisy, or steal from the war booty before its distribution and then are killed while fighting. Such people are treated like regular shahids. In other words, they are not washed, and they are buried with their clothes.

Abu Musa al Ash’ari narrates, “A man came to the Prophet and asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What kind of fighting is in Allah’s cause? (I ask this), for some of us fight because of being enraged and anger 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] Al-Baqara, 2: 154.

[2] Al-Bukhari, Jihad 6.

[3] Muwatta, jihad 37; Ibn Majah, janaiz 28.

[4] Al-Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 45; Muslim, ‘Imara, 149-150

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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