Do not ever think of those who were killed in the path of Allah Ta‘ala as dead, rather they are alive, by their Rabb, receiving sustenance. (They are) happy with what Allah Ta‘ala has bestowed upon them from His bounty, and they are pleased with (the good news they receive regarding) those after them who have not yet joined them, that there will be no fear for them nor will they grieve. They are pleased with blessing from Allah Ta‘ala, and grace, and with the fact that Allah Ta‘ala will not let the reward of the believers be lost. (Surah Aal ‘Imraan v169-171)

The above verses were revealed subsequent to the Battle of Uhud in which seventy of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had been blessed with martyrdom.

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) addressed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and said, “When your brothers were martyred in Uhud, Allah Ta‘ala placed their souls within green birds (e.g. like a person in an aeroplane). They come to the rivers of Jannah, eat from the fruit of Jannah, and take shelter in golden chandeliers which hang suspended in the shade of Allah Ta‘ala’s throne. On experiencing the enjoyment of eating, drinking and resting (in Jannah), they asked, ‘Who will convey a message to our brothers (in the world) from us – (informing them) that we are alive in Jannah, receiving sustenance!’, so that they do not lose the enthusiasm to engage in jihaad, and do not hold back (out of fear and cowardice) at the time of battle?’ Allah Ta‘ala said, ‘I will convey your message to them.’ Allah Ta‘ala then revealed the verses… (mentioned above).” (Sunan Abi Dawood #2520)

In Islam, the martyr enjoys an extremely lofty rank, and the blessed ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mention many virtues pertaining to the martyr. Nevertheless, in these verses, Allah Ta‘ala makes mention of four great bounties which are enjoyed by the martyr.

The first bounty is that the martyr is not dead, but is alive. In other words, though he is killed and passes away, Allah Ta‘ala blesses him with a special type of life after his death which is not enjoyed by normal people who pass away a normal death.

The second bounty is that the martyr receives the sustenance of Jannah from Allah Ta‘ala. From the time the martyr passes away, he already begins to enjoy from the sustenance of Jannah. The martyr receiving sustenance also indicates that he is alive by Allah Ta‘ala, not dead, as it is living people who require sustenance, not people who are dead.

The third bounty is that the martyr will remain forever happy and pleased with the magnificent bounties that Allah Ta‘ala has bestowed upon him.

The fourth bounty is that the martyr receives news regarding the people he left behind in the world, and on hearing of the good actions that they carry out, he becomes pleased. Some Mufassireen (commentators of the Quraan Majeed) have mentioned that when a relative or friend of the martyr is close to passing away, then the martyr is given prior information of their imminent demise and is told that they will soon join him. This causes the martyr great joy, just as a person feels joy when he is going to be reunited with a long lost friend who is most beloved to him.

(Extracted from Ma‘aariful Quraan vol. 2, pg. 236)

It should be borne in mind that though the true martyr is the one who is killed in the path of Allah Ta‘ala, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained in various ahaadeeth that shahaadat (martyrdom) is not confined to a person who is killed whilst fighting in the path of Allah Ta‘ala. Rather, there are many other causes of death which earn a person the reward of a shaheed (martyr) in the Hereafter, such as passing away through a plague, stomach ailment, pleurisy (lung inflammation), drowning, burning, labour/child birth, building collapsing (accident), etc.

Furthermore, there are also other ways through which one can acquire the reward of martyrdom. Two such ways, which can be practiced upon by one and all, are:

1. Holding firmly to the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) at the time when people have abandoned the sunnah. (Baihaqi – At-Targheeb wat Tarheeb vol. 1, pg. 80 and Al-Mafaateeh fi Sharhil Masaabeeh #139)

2. Constantly remaining in the state of wudhu and passing away in the state of wudhu. (Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #1494)

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with the lofty rank and magnificent bounties of the martyr, aameen.