The Virtues of Martyrs and Martyrdom in Islam

As Salaamu Alaikum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuhu

The purpose of this article is to make us understand the great status that Martyrs and Martyrdom has in Islam, and is for informational purposes only.

Jazakallahu Khairan

Was Salaamu Alaikum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuhu.


The Virtues Of Martyrs

The martyrs are blessed with many virtues from Allah Ta’ala. Some of which are:


1. Desire to die again for the sake of Allah:

No one who enters Paradise wants to leave it, even if they are given the world and everything on it, with the exception of the Shaheed. He wants to leave Paradise, come back to this world, and be killed in the sake of Allah again. In Sahih Muslim the Messenger of Allah says: “No one who enters Paradise would want to go back to earth but the Shaheed. He wants to go back to earth in order to be killed for the sake of Allah ten times. That is when he sees what Allah has reserved for the martyrs!” The Messenger of Allah himself says: “In the name of whom Muhammad’s soul is in His hand, I wish I could fight in the cause of Allah and then be killed and then fight and then be killed and then fight and then be killed”


2. Forgives all sins:
The moment the soul of the Shaheed leaves his body, it also leaves all his sins behind. In Sahih Muslim: Abu Qatadah said the Messenger of Allah gave them a khutbah and he said in it that Jihad in the path of Allah and Iman are the greatest of all deeds. So a man stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allah if I am killed in the path of Allah will that forgive my sins?” The Messenger of Allah said: “Yes, if you die with steadfastness and sincerity, facing your enemy, and not turning your back to him” The man asked again. The Messenger of Allah said: “Yes, if you die with steadfastness and sincerity, facing your enemy, and not turning your back to him and if you are not in debt – Jibreel told me that”
Abdullah bin Amr bin al Aas narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “The Shaheed is forgiven everything except debt” (Muslim – al Hakim – Ahmad)
Al Qurtubi: The debt that is intended here is when the Shaheed had the capability of paying it back but didn’t or had the option of writing it in his will and he didn’t. It would also include money that was borrowed for a wasteful reason and was not returned. But when the Shaheed borrows money due to poverty and dire need and is then incapable of paying it back, this would not withhold the Shaheed from Paradise. In this case the Sultan should pay back his debt. If that didn’t happen than Allah himself will pay it back for him. As the Messenger of Allah said: “When you borrow and you sincerely want to pay it back, Allah will pay it back for you. And when you borrow money to waste, Allah will waste it.” (Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah said: “The Shaheed has seven qualities: He would be forgiven with the first drop of his blood…”(Ahmad – al Tabarani)


3. The angels provide shade for the Shaheed with their wings:

Jabir narrated that his father was presented to the Messenger of Allah after his dead body was mutilated. I wanted to uncover his face but some people told me not to. We then heard some women weeping. The Messenger of Allah said: “Why are you weeping? The angels are still providing shade for him until this moment!” (Bukhari – Muslim)


4. Martyrdom guarantees Paradise:

Allah says:

Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise” (Tawbah 111)

Allah says:

And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds. He will guide them and amend their condition. And admit them to Paradise…” (Muhammad 4-6)
Samurah bin Jundub narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “I’ve dreamed last night of two men who ascended with me and took me up a tree and we entered a mansion i’ve never seen anything more beautiful than it.” They said: “This mansion is for the martyrs”(Bukhari)
Anas narrated: The mother of Harithah came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, wont you tell me about my son Harithah? If he is in Paradise I would be patient. If he is not I would cry for him” (Harithah was killed during the battle of Badr by a stray arrow –friendly fire-) The Messenger of Allah said: “Have you lost your mind! It is not one Paradise but many, and your son is in the highest one: al Firdaws!” (Bukhari)


5. Are in the inside of green birds in Paradise:
Ibn Abbas narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “When your brothers were killed at Uhud, Allah had the souls in the insides of green birds flying on the banks of the rivers of Paradise and eating from the fruits thereof. At night these birds spend their evening in lanterns hanging to the throne of Allah. When the martyrs saw the blessings they were in, they said: “Who would convey to our brothers that we are living in Paradise so they wont ignore jihad and stop fighting.”

Allah then revealed:
And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision, Rejoicing in what Allah has bestowed on them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those after them who have not yet joined them-that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. They receive good tidings of favor from Allah and bounty and that Allah does not allow the reward of believers to be lost. (Aal Imran 169-171)” (Abu Dawud- Muslim)


6. They are not punished in their graves:

There is a hadith that states that the one who dies in Ribaat(Guarding the front lines) would not be tested in their graves. If this occurs to the one who dies in Ribaat then what about the one who dies as a Shaheed. The interrogation of the grave is meant to test the faith of a person. Now if the Shaheed died fighting for the sake of Allah with swords flashing above his head, spears and arrows flying next to him, and seeing heads and limbs being chopped off – whoever sees that and then doesn’t retreat but rather fights until they die, giving up their soul for Allah is enough as a test for his faith.


7. The Shaheed is spared from the shock of the blow of the Horn:
Saeed bin Jubair was asked who are the ones excluded by Allah in the following verse? “And the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will fall dead except whom Allah wills” (al Zumar 68)
He said: They are the martyrs. Everyone else dies while they are surrounding the throne of Allah with their swords in their hands. (Ibn al Mubarak – Bukhari in al Kabeer – Abu Naeem – al Tabari in Tafseer – al Sayuti says it is authentic – al Hakim (al Thahabi authenticated it))

The Messenger of Allah asked Jibreel about the ones who are excluded from the shock of the Horn. Jibreel said they are the martyrs. (Al Hakim)


9. The Shaheed intercedes for seventy of his family members:

Nimran bin Utbah said we went to visit Umm al Dardaa and we were orphans. She said: “Rejoice! I heard my husband Abu al Dardaa say: “The Messenger of Allah said: “The Shaheed will intercede on behalf of seventy of his relatives” (Abu Dawud – Ibn Habbaan – al Bayhaqi)


10. The Shaheed feels peace on the Day of Judgment:

The Messenger of Allah said: “…and he (the Shaheed) feels peace at the time of the greatest fear” (Ahmad – al Tabarani)


11. The blood of the Shaheed doesn’t dry until he sees his wives in Paradise:

Abdullah bin Ubaidillah bin Umair said: When the two armies meet, the women of Paradise descend to the lower heaven to watch the battle. If they see a man steadfast they say: “O Allah make him firm” while if he turns his back they turn away from him. If he is killed they come down to him and wipe the dirt from his face. (AbdulRazaq (authentic))


12. The one who dies as a Shaheed is better than the one who wins and returns home safely:

Jabir narrates: The Messenger of Allah was asked about the best jihad. He said: “The best jihad is the one in which your horse is slain and your blood is spilled” (Ibn Habbaan – Ahmad – Ibn Abu Shaybah)

Amr bin Absah narrates: A man said O Messenger of Allah what is Islam? He said, “Islam is the submission of your heart, and that the Muslims are safe from your tongue and your hands” He said: “What is the best of Islam?” The Messenger of Allah said, “Iman (Faith)” He said what is faith? The Messenger of Allah replied, “To believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, and the resurrection after death” He said, “What is the best of Iman?” The Messenger of Allah said, “Hijrah” He said what is hijrah? The Messenger of Allah said, “To leave sins behind” He said, “What is the best of hijrah?” The Messenger of Allah said, “Jihad” He said what is the best of jihad? The Messenger of Allah said, “the one whose horse is killed and his blood is spilled” (Ahmad – al Tabarani – al Bayhaqi)

These hadiths are a clear refutation of the claim that the one who wins is better than the one who is killed.

Abdullah bin Ubaidillah bin Umair said: Amr bin al Aas was circling the Kaabah when he passed by a circle of men from Quraish sitting down. When they saw him they asked each other who was better: Amr bin al Aas or his brother Hisham? When Amr finished his tawaf he walked up to them and said: “I heard you say something about me, what was it?” They said: “We were wondering who is better you or your brother Hisham” Amr bin al Aas said: “I will tell you about that. I was with my brother Hisham at Yarmuk and we spent our night praying that Allah blesses us with martyrdom. The next day my brother got it but I didn’t. So you can then see that he was better than me” (Ibn al Mubarak)

This is a clear-cut statement from Amr that the one who is killed is better than the one who is not.


13. The Shaheed does not feel the pain of death except like a brief sting:

Abu Hurairah narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “The Shaheed feels nothing from the agony of death except like one of you would feel from a sting of an insect” (Tirmithi – al Nasa’i – Ibn Majah – al Bayhaqi – Ahmad – al Darimi)

Ibn al Mubarak mentions a similar story about two Muslim prisoners of war. They were threatened by the leader of the nonbelievers to give up their religion. When they refused he threw them in a container that had oil boiling for three consecutive days. Due to the extreme heat of the oil, shortly after they were thrown in it their bones stuck out from the surface. Later on their brother saw them in a dream and asked them about their condition. They said: “It was only that first dip into the boiling oil and then we went straight to al Firdaws!” (Al Firdaws is the highest level of Paradise)


14. The angels continuously visit the martyrs and deliver their salaams to them:

Abdullah bin Amr bin al Aas narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “The first company to enter Paradise are the poor Muhajireen who protected this Ummah from harm. When they hear they obey. One of them might need something from the sultan but would die without asking for it. On the Day of Judgment Allah will call Paradise and it would come with all its beauty and splendor. Allah will then say: “Where are my servants who fought in my cause and were killed or harmed and made jihad for me? Let them enter into Paradise without reckoning” The angels would then come and prostrate to Allah and say: “Our Lord, we glorify you and praise you day and night, who are these people whom you preferred over us?” Allah will say: “These are the ones who fought and were hurt in my cause” The angels would then visit them from every gate saying: “Salaam to you for your steadfastness. What a blessed dwelling” (Ahmad – al Hakim (authenticated by al Thahabi))


15. Allah is pleased with the Shaheed:

Anas narrated: Some men came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to send them some teachers to teach them Quran and Sunnah. So the Messenger of Allah sent them seventy of the scholars of Quran among whom was my uncle Haraam. These men would recite and study Quran during the night, and during the day they would fetch out water and bring it to the masjid. They would go out logging and when they sell the wood they buy food for the poor in the masjid. When the Messenger of Allah sent them to go and teach that tribe the tribesmen killed them all before they even reached their destination. After they were killed they said: “O Allah convey to our Prophet that we have met you and that you are pleased with us and we are pleased with you” My uncle was killed by a spear. When he saw the spear go through him he yelled: “In the name of the Lord of al Kaabah, I have won!” The Messenger of Allah said: “Your brothers have been assassinated and they have said: “O Allah convey to our Prophet that we have met you and that you are pleased with us and we are pleased with you” (Bukhari – Muslim)


16. For martyrdom to be accepted no good deeds are required to precede it:

Al Baraa bin Azib narrated: A man covered in iron armor approached the Messenger of Allah and said: “O Messenger of Allah, should I fight or embrace Islam first?” The Messenger of Allah said: “Embrace Islam and then fight” He became Muslim and fought and was killed. The Messenger of Allah said: “He did very little but was rewarded a lot” (Bukhari – Muslim)

Abu Musa al Ash’ari narrated: The Prophet was in a battle when one of the nonbelievers asked for a duel. A Muslim went up to him but was killed by the nonbeliever. He asked for another challenger. Another Muslim went to him and was also killed. Then the nonbeliever came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him: “What are you fighting for?” The Messenger of Allah said: “We fight people until they testify that there is no one worthy of worship other than Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and that we fulfill the rights of Allah” The nonbeliever said: “What you said is admirable. I accept that” He then embraced Islam and turned to the side of the Muslims fighting with them. He was later killed. So he was carried and buried next to the same two Muslims he killed. The Messenger of Allah said: “In Paradise, there are no men who love each other more than these!” (Tabarani (authentic))

They love each other so much because the killed see the one who killed them as the reason of blessing them with martyrdom.

Jabir narrated: We were with the Messenger of Allah during the battle of Khaibar and he sent out a group of the army who came back with a shepherd. The Messenger of Allah spoke to the shepherd for a while then the man embraced Islam. He asked the Messenger of Allah: “What should I do with these sheep? They are entrusted to me and belong to other people,” The Messenger of Allah said: “Take a handful of sand and throw at them and they would head back to their owners” The man then joined the Muslims in their fight and was killed by an arrow. He didn’t have a chance to even pray one prayer. The Messenger of Allah told the companions to enter his body in his tent. They carried him to the Prophet’s tent and then the Messenger of Allah came out saying: “Allah has accepted his Islam. When I went into the tent I found him with his two wives from Paradise” (Al Hakim (authenticated by al Thahabi))


17. The Shaheed is married to al Hoor (the woman of Paradise):

Allah says:

And for them are fair women with large [beautiful] eyes The likenesses of pearls well protected” (al Waqi’ah 22-23)

The Messenger of Allah said in a hadith mentioning the virtues of the Shaheed: “The Shaheed…would be married to seventy two of al Hoor (the women of Paradise)” (Tirmithi – AbdulRazaq – ibn Majah (agreeable))

The Messenger of Allah said: “…And if a woman of Paradise reveals herself to the people of this world she would fill the distance between them with light and her scent, and the scarf on her head is better than the world and everything in it” (Bukhari)

Abu Saeed al Khudri narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “A man would be reclining in Paradise for 70 years before he moves. Then a woman would come to him and pat his shoulder. He would look around and see her face. Her face is so clear he could see his image on her cheeks and one of her pearls would light the distance between the heavens and earth. She would give him salaam. He would then ask her who she is. She would say: “I am from al Mazid” She would be dressed in 70 dresses and he would still be able to see the marrow of her shin from beneath the dresses” (Ibn Habbaan – Ahmad – Tirmithi – Abu Ya’la)


The Virtues of Martyrdom

Asking For Martyrdom And Getting It:


Allah has made it mandatory on us to ask Him in every prayer to be guided to the straight path, the path of those whom Allah has bestowed His favor on.

Allah says:

Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor.” (al Fatihah)

And the ones whom Allah has bestowed His favor on are the ones mentioned in this verse:

And whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions” (al Nisa 69)

Sahl bin Haneef narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever asks Allah for martyrdom earnestly, Allah will elevate him to the level of martyrs even if he dies on his bed” (Muslim – Abu Dawud – Tirmithi – al Nasa’i – Ibn Majah – al Hakim)

Amir bin Saad narrated: A man came to pray while the Prophet was praying and he said: “O Allah I ask you for the best thing you give to your righteous servants” When the Prophet finished prayer he turned and said: “Who was the one speaking before?” The man said: “Me O Messenger of Allah” The Messenger of Allah said: “Then your horse would be slain and you would be a martyr” (Ibn Habbaan – al Hakim (authenticated by al Thahabi) – Abu Ya’la – Bazzaar)

Abu Hurairah narrated: The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever goes out in his cause with no purpose but to fight in his sake and believing in Him and His Messengers, Allah will guarantee for him to either enter him into Paradise or to return him home with rewards or booties. In the name of whom Muhammad’s soul is in His hand, whoever is injured in the path of Allah, the injury would come on the Day of Judgment as it was in this world, the color is that of blood and the smell is that of musk.

In the name of whom Muhammad’s soul is in His hand, if it wasn’t for making things difficult on Muslims I wouldn’t have stayed behind any army leaving in the path of Allah. But I am unable to find sustenance for the Muslims who stay behind and they have nothing and it is difficult on them for me to go while leaving them behind. In the name of whom Muhammad’s soul is in His hand, I wish I could fight in the cause of Allah and then be killed and then fight and then be killed and then fight and then be killed” (Muslim)

Jabir narrated that he heard the Prophet mention the martyrs of Uhud and then he said: “I wish I have departed with my companions under that mountain” (Al Hakim (authenticated by al Thahabi)), [Meaning: The Messenger of Allah wished that he was killed with them under the mountain of Uhud.]

Umar bin al Khattaab used to say: “O Allah! I ask you martyrdom in the city of Your Prophet” (Bukhari)

Anas narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “A man from Paradise will be asked by Allah: “O son of Adam, are you satisfied with your dwelling?” He will say: “O my Lord! This is the greatest dwelling!” Allah will say: “Ask whatever you want” He will say: “I ask that You take me back to earth so I can be killed for You ten times” He says that when he sees the great status of martyrdom. Then Allah will ask a man from Hellfire: “O son of Adam, how do you find your dwelling?” He would say: “O my Lord, this is the worst dwelling!” Allah will ask him: “Would you then save yourself from it by paying the equivalent of the whole world filled with gold?” He would say: “Yes!” Allah would tell him: “You are lying. I asked you for less than that and you didn’t do it” (Al Hakim – al Nasa’i – Abu Awnah)

If the people of Paradise would desire martyrdom even though they are already given the greatest blessings, then how couldn’t we ask for it, when we are living in the dwelling sorrow, pain, deception, and evil! And we don’t even know whether we are heading for Paradise or Hellfire!


The Earth Does Not Consume The Bodies Of The Martyrs:

The body of the Shaheed does not decompose.

AbdulRahman bin Sasa’ah said: “I was told that Amr bin al Jamooh and Abdullah bin Amr (both from al Ansar) were martyred during the battle of Uhud and the Messenger of Allah placed them in the same grave. During the reign of Mu’awyah a storm flooded the cemetery so their grave was opened in order to change its location. When the grave was opened their bodies were found intact as if they died yesterday. This occurred 46 years after their death!” (Imam Malik)

The same incident is also referred to here:

Jabir narrates: Mu’awyah said: “Whoever has a dead person in this cemetery (the cemetery of the martyrs of Uhud) should remove their remains” Jabir said: “We pulled them out of their graves with tender bodies (as if they were alive). One of the bodies was hit by an ax in the leg and blood dripped from the injury!” (Ibn al Mubarak – AbdulRazaq)

It is mentioned that the grave of the young man from the story of the trench was found in during the reign of Umar. The young man had his hand over his head in the place the arrow hit him. (Tirmithi (agreeable))

Source : “Mashari Al-Ashwaq ila Masari al-Ushaaq wa Muththeer Al-Gharaam Ila Daar As-Salaam” by the 15th Century Scholar Abu Zakaryya al Dimashqi al Dumyati (Ibn Nuhaas) (1411)

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