Who is a Shaheed?
Once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) went to visit the ailing Abdullah bin Thaabit (Radiallahu anhu). When he reached there he found him laying silently without speech. He spoke to him but the patient did not answer. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) seeing this remarked: “We are from Allah and to Him we shall return.” “We have been defeated as far as you are concerned (for death which has been pre-ordained has taken you.)” On hearing this, the ladies of the household began weeping as they realized that death had occured. In a sorrowful tone the daughter exclaimed: “I had so hoped that you would die a martyr‟s death because you had prepared the provisions for Jihad.”
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: “He has indeed received the reward for the intentions he had. What do you understand by martyrdom?” She replied: “To be killed in battle in Allah‟s path.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then said: “Apart from being thus killed, there are seven other forms of dying a martyr‟s death:
Whosoever dies of plague dies a martyr; whosoever dies of drowning is a martyr; whosoever dies of pneumonia is a martyr; whosoever dies of an abdominal disease is a martyr; whosoever dies burnt by a fire is a martyr; whosoever dies crushed (under a collapsed roof or wall) is a martyr; whosoever among women dies in giving birth is a martyr.” (Muatta Imam Malik)
(Regarding death through abdominal diseases, as stated in the above Hadeeth the Ulema have various interpretations. Some take it to mean dropsy; some say diarrhoea, some say colic and even others say that it refers to and includes every stomach ailment).
According to another version of this Hadeeth, the daughter said that she only knew a shaheed (martyr) to be that one who dies fighting in the path of Allah. Thereupon Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: “In such a case the number of martyrs among my Ummat will be very few indeed.” Thereafter Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) mentioned all these various forms of martyrdom. Apart from these seven forms, there are approximately sixty types of death where the glad tidings of martyrdom had been given in the Ahaadeeth. In the second volume of Oujazul-Masaalik this humble writer has collected them all. It is indeed astonishing that Allah and His truthful Rasul (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) are pointing
out the causes for the spiritual progress and virtue of the Ummat of Sayyidina Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), while at the same time the Ummat themselves (in their attacks upon each other) are narrowing the doors of that special Mercy. It is a common fault today that those engaged in some or other form of deeni activity and effort – whether in teaching, instruction, tableegh, Jthad or sulook i.e. spiritual training – consider those in other fields of deeni work to be wasting their time in things and affairs non-beneficial. Sometimes they do not even hesitate to accuse others of being lost and astray. In this way the religion of Islam, which is so easy has thus been made difficult. In this way they confine all the numerous aspects and efforts of Islamic progress and progressive action to their own kind of activity. Hence it seems as if they have excluded all other deeni effort from the circle of Islam.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The deen of Islam is easy. Whosoever proceeds to adopt hardness and difficulty therein will be overcome. So walk a straight path therein, following it closely and give glad tidings to the people (for their righteous deeds).” (Bukhari).
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said: “Make things easy and do not create difficulty. Give people glad tidings (by enticing them to deen) and do no create in them disgust for deen.” (Durr Manthoor)
The author of the book – Bahjat-al-Nufoos – writes: “Once Sayyidina Abu Bakr (Radiallahu anhu) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): “What is it that you have been sent with (to all mankind).” He replied: “With reason.” (This indicates that the con‟mands of Shariat should be followed together with reason). Here we find in another Hadeeth that on the Day of Judgement rewards will be granted in proportion to reason. (Majma)
Sayyidina Abu Bakr (Radiallahu anhu) then asked: “Who will take the guarantee (for the correctness) of reason (seeing that people vary according to the amount of reason and rational thinking)? “ Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: “Reason has no limits. But whosoever considers and takes the things made lawful by Allah, to be lawful and the things made unlawful by Allah to be unlawful, shall be a man of reason. If he strives further than that, he becomes an „Abid – a devoted servant and if he strives still further, he becomes a Jawaad (brave and generous).”
Now if a man strives in Ibaadah and also shows courage in the performance of good deeds, while on the other hand he does not have intelligence to follow and partake of the lawful things and to avoid the unlawful, he is of those whose efforts prove to be fruitless in this world even though they think they are doing good. It should be well understood that to take something to be unlawful while it has already been made lawful by Allah, indeed shows lack of reason in the sight of the deen.
Similarly when one acts narrow-mindedly in deen or tries to amend or alter the teachings of deen, this also shows lack of reason. Such persons do not act rationally. The author of Bahjat-un-Nufoos writes: “If a person discerns from himself that his Ibaadah should reach perfection in every aspect, he will be unable to do so for two reasons, one of which is that he will be helpless to do so. Secondly, sometimes, or, rather on most occasions, there will be an accumulation of Ibaadah in
which case he will only be able to discharge one of them properly.”
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Whosoever tires his animal of conveyance will not be able to cross the distance nor keep his transport animal intact.”
The Hadeeth quoted by the author of “Bahjat” is a portion of a longer Hadeeth which has been reported by many Sahabah (Radiallahu anhum). Allamah Sakhawi (Rahmatullah Alayh) quotes it as one of the famous (Mush-hoor) Hadeeth. Some other Ulema of Hadeeth have questioned the authenticity thereof. The complete Hadeeth goes like this:-
„Verily this religion is a thing most consoli&ited and strong; so walk along its path gently for verily whosoever tires his animal of conveyance, will not be atle to cross the distance (and reach his destination) nor keep his transport animal intact and safe (for flaure journeys).”
Hence in a Hadeeth quoted previously we are told: “So walk a straight path therein, following it closely…” In other words: walk at a moderate pace. Do not over-exaggerate the commendable acts of deen, viz, those which are tnandoob or mustahab, to such an extent that the Faraaid i.e. the obligatory acts become neglected. Once Sayyidina Umar (Radiallahu anhu) missed Sayyidina Sulayman bin Abi-Hath-ma (Radiallahu anhu) in the masjid for Fajr Salaah. After the prayers he went to the market and in doing so, had to pass his shop. He entered it and said to Sulayman‟s mother: “I did not see Sulayman in the masjid for Fajr this morning. How is it?” She replied: “He spent practically the whole night in voluntary (nail) prayers with the result that in the morning he was overtaken by sleep.” Sayyidina Umar (Radiallahu anhu) said: “It is more preferable to me that I perform Fajr Salaah with the congregation than to spend the whole night in Ibaadah.”
What a meritorious act to perform Ibaadah right throughout the night! But on the other hand Fajr Salaah with the congregation is a duty with so much more emphasis. For this reason it was in the sight of Sayyidina Umar (Radiallahu anhu) much more preferable. There are many Ahaadeeth to the effect that the acts commanded by Shariat have their own special ranks (of importance, merit and preference). Neither is one allowed to elevate any specific act in rank nor to lower it, just because we are involved in it or just because of the ndtion that in our eyes our own type of activity alone is worthy of merit to the exclusion of all others. This type of attitude is greatly unjust.
I am not trying to tell you that one is not supposed to entice, persuade, and encourage others to get involved in one‟s own type of activity. What lam in fact saying is that you should never become so fanatic in stressing the importance of your field of work that you exceed the limits. The result can be that corneared to your own field you leave the impression that no obligatory act (Fard), no compulsory (Waajib) act and no excuse will be of any consequence. This should not be the case that yo begin to look upon those who do not involve themselves in your (political) effort as inmates of Hell, irreligious beings, infidels – for this is what I have read in newspaper articles and what has been heard in some people‟s speeches. It is quite an astonishing thing that these types of accusations come even from the tongues of high-level personalities and responsible, resepectable persons.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) „is reported to have said: “Whosoever spreads such accusations against any man who is in fact innocent of such acts, him shall Allah on the Day of Qiyamat melt in the fire of hell until such time that he proves the truth of his statements.”(Durr Manthoor)
Note that melting here means that he will be burnt in hell so that the blood of his body will turn to blood and pus which will continue to boil and melt. As long as he will be unable to substantiate his accusations with proof, he will not be allowed to leave hell. Now it stands to reason that because he had said something of someone which was not in that person, how will he ever be able to prove it and gain exit from hell? In such a case he will either have to seek refuge with him whom he had falsely accused that that person should show Mercy and forgive him or that Allah in His infinite mercy should pardon him by giving some of his good deeds to that person in exchange. If however this unfortunate soul has no good deeds (with which to barter) some of the unrighteous deeds of the accused will have to be put upon his head.
Whichever way one looks at it, it will be a terrible day of great grief and sorrow. On that day one will have to stand disgraced and humiliated before him, whom yesterday one had abused and insulted.