Types of Martyrs

Types of Martyrs

In Islam, martyrdom is one of the great ambitions of a true believer.
This is because dying as a martyr entails abundant rewards designated for such persons in the hereafter.
Abdullah bin Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: martyrs are forgiven their sins, except debts”. The phrase” except debts” also relates implicitly to usurpation of people’s rights, unjustified killing and so on.
It suffices here to quote the divine promise for martyrs as stated in the following Qur’anic verses:

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُون * فَرِحِينَ بِمَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَيَسْتَبْشِرُونَ بِالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَلْحَقُوا بِهِمْ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ أَلَّا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنون *یسْتَبْشِرُونَ بِنِعْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَفَضْلٍ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُؤْمِنِين؛
“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 upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] 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 [of the fact] that Allah does not allow the reward of believers to be lost. (” (Aal-Imran: 169-171)

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty,a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic institute of Toronto, Ontario Canada, states: “There are basically two broad categories of martyrs in Islam, Firstly, those who have died fighting for the cause of Allah and secondly, those who have died being succumbed to certain types of ailments, or calamites, not of their own making.
The second group, although not recognized and treated as martyrs in this world, will receive rewards of martyrs in the hereafter.
As for a list of people of this category, we find a number of traditions such as the following:

  1. In a report jointly reported by Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned five types of martyrs: “one who dies in a plague, one who dies of intestinal ailments, one who dies of drowning, one who dies under a collapsed building, and one who dies as a martyr in jihad.
  2. Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-nasai, and others stated that the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There are seven martyrs” Having said this, he added the following to the list mentioned above: “… One who dies in a fire… and a woman who dies during child birth.”
  3. A third report states that the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever dies while defending his own possession is a martyr; whoever dies defending his own person is a martyr; whoever dies guarding his own faith is a martyr; whoever dies fighting in order to defend his own family is also a martyr”.
  4. Finally, in a report by an-nasai, the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever fights to protect his rights and dies in the process is a martyr”. Imam Ibn Hajar states, “we can conclude from these traditions that martyrs are of two types: Those who are recognized as martyrs in this world, and those who are recognized as martyrs only in the hereafter.
    A martyr recognized in this world is one who has died fighting in the cause of Allah without having retreated from the battle.
    But those who are recognized only in the Hereafter are those upon whom the laws of martyrdom are not applicable in this world, although they merit rewards of martyrdom.”
    According to Imam an-Nawawi,” The second category of martyrs will receive rewards of martyrdom, and yet unlike the martyrs of jihad, they will be bathed (before burial) and prayed over.

Source: Albalagh Monthly Magazine, Published by Jamia Darululoom Karachi, Pakistan
July 2010, Vol. 21, No. 7

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