A Martyr (If Allah so Wills)
Translated by Yahya Adel Ibrahim
This article was taken from
the soon to be released book:
Al-Masjid al-Aqsa - The Path to its Freedom
It has become
common amongst people, especially in the (Arab) media, to
unrestrictedly categorization all the Muslims who are killed in the
Land of Palestine as being Shahîd (Martyrs).
We say that they are martyrs if Allâh so Wills. We do not sanction the unrestrictedly uniform categorization of every Muslim who is killed in Palestine as being a Shahîd, without a shred of doubt.
For example, if it was to be said, we count him to be from the Martyrs and his Accounting is with Allâh. We do not put forth anyone before Allâh, or something to that effect would be closer to the truth than to explicitly state that this particular individual is without a doubt a Martyr. To make such an assertion is not permitted because the particular individual may have met his death while fighting in a state of anger or excitement for his people (not solely for Allâh) or he may have died in an act of (unsanctioned and justified) suicide.
Imâm Bukhari relays in his Sahîh book, in the Chapter of Jihâd under the subchapter titled, It is not to be said this individual (specifically) is a Martyr.
In Volume 4, Book 52, Number 147 Imâm Bukhari narrates on the authority of Sahl bin Sâd As-Saidi (ra) that:
Allâhs Apostle and the pagans faced each other and started fighting. When Allâhs Apostle returned to his camp and the pagans returned to their camp, somebody talked about a man amongst the companions of Allâhs Apostle who would follow and kill with his sword any pagan going alone. He said, "Nobody did his job (i.e. fighting) so properly today as that man." Allâhs Apostle said, "Indeed, he is amongst the people of the (Hell) Fire." A man amongst the people said, "I shall accompany him (to watch what he does)." Thus he accompanied him, and wherever he stood, he would stand with him, and wherever he ran, he would run with him.
Then the (brave) man was seriously wounded and he decided to bring about his own death quickly. He planted the blade of the sword in the ground directing its sharp end towards his chest between his two breasts. He then leaned on the sword and killed himself. The other man came to Allâhs Apostle and said, "I testify that you are Allâhs Apostle." The Prophet asked, "What has happened?" He replied, "(It is about) the man whom you had described as being one of the people of the (Hell) Fire. The people were greatly surprised at what you had said and so I said, 'I will find out his reality for you.' So I came out seeking him. He was severely wounded, and hastened to die by slanting the blade of his sword in the ground directing its sharp end towards his chest between his two breasts. Then he eased on his sword and killed himself." Then Allâhs Apostle said, "A man may seem to the people as if he were practicing the deeds of the people of Paradise while in fact he is from the people of (the Hell) Fire, another may seem to the people as if he were practicing the deeds of the people of Hell (Fire), while in fact he is from the people of Paradise."
Al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajr al-Asqalânî said, in Fathul Bârî the explanation of Sahîh al-Bukhari, that:
It was shown that he (the man in the preceding hadith) did not fight for Allâh. Rather, he fought out of tribal loyalty and anger for their (peoples) condition. Hence, it is improper to label every single individual who is killed in the battlefield a martyr for it is possible that they may also be similar (to the man in the preceding hadîth), even though he is treated under the regulations outlined for those who are to be considered martyrs in their outward (deeds). As such, the Salaf would label those who were killed in Badr, Uhud and other battles martyrs. What was meant was that they are considered martyrs in general without (claiming for) certainty that they are in fact martyrs.
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