in category Other Culture

Are there martyrs in Islam other than from the battlefield?

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Martyrdom (shahadah) linguistically means ‘bearing witness’. It is a privileged rank with an unparalleled reward with Allah.

The Qur’an tells us martyrs “are alive with their Lord, receiving provision” by sacrificing their life for a noble cause. From the Islamic perspective, the scope of martyrdom is not limited to the battlefield. The Prophet (saw) once asked his companions, “Who do you consider a martyr among you?” They replied, “The one who is killed in the path of Allah is a martyr.” He said, “In that case, the martyrs of my community are few.”

In various ahadith the prophet (saw) explained people may be martyrs by dying from other tragedies including illnesses, pregnancy, walls collapsing on them or drowning, all of whom would receive the reward of a martyr.

The Maliki scholar Nur al-Din al-Ajhuri (d. 1066 AH) enumerated over thirty categories where someone may be designated as a martyr in the hereafter. The scholar Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri argues a review of the ahadith on this subject allows us to see the principle underpinning deaths which result in martyrdom is the patient suffering and sacrificing for the sake of Allah which then carries a significant reward in the hereafter.

Scholars divide martyrs into two broad categories:

  • those considered martyrs in this life and the next (death in war) and
  • those who are martyrs in the next (where deaths are unrelated to war).

The burial process for the battlefield martyr is different as the body is neither washed nor shrouded and buried as is.

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