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Who is a Shaheed (martyr) and how is he buried?


Kindly explain to me who is a Shaheed (martyr) and what are the rulings pertaining to a Shaheed in relation to the Ghusl, Janazah and burial


The term Shaheed generally refers to a person martyred in the path of Allah on the battlefield. The term Shaheed may also refer to a Muslim who has been killed unjustly or even a Muslim who has passed away due to some severe ailment. The virtue of a Shaheed is something every Muslim should envy and aspire to earn. The Ahadith mention numerous merits for the Shaheed like all his sins being forgiven (besides debts) before his blood touches the ground, him being allowed to see his abode in Jannah, being saved from Jahannum, being granted the right to enter intercede on behalf of seventy members of his family who are doomed to Jahannum and enter them into Jannah etc.

With regards the Ghusl and burial there are two types of Shaheed in the Shariah:

1) Shaheed Dunyawi – Those who have been killed and they are given the status of a Shaheed in this world (by Ghusl and Kafan being omitted) and in the Aakhirah.

2) Shaheed Ukhrawi – Those who have been killed or passed away and are given the status of a Shaheed in the Qabr and Aakhirah only. Not in this world.

If a person was oppressively killed in whichever way (be it by the gun, knife, fire etc) and he did not take any of the following worldly benefits after being assaulted:

a) He did not eat or drink anything

b) He did not take any medical benefit,

c) He was removed from the battlefield

d) He remained alive for one Salah time whilst he was in his senses

e) He did not talk excessively after the assault or battle or did not engage in any worldly affairs like trading etc.

Then, he will be considered a Shaheed in this world and the hereafter (Shaheed Dunyawi). Hence, he will not be given a Ghusl and will be buried in the clothes that he is wearing. What does not fall under the category of basic shrouds should be removed. If there is any Najasah (filth) on the Shaheed’s clothing, it should be washed.

If he had derived any of the above worldly benefits, he will not be considered to be a Shaheed Dunyawi. Rather, he will fall under the category of Shaheed Ukhrawi where he will be given Ghusl, shrouded and buried as normal. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah)

Nevertheless, he will be given the high rank of the Shuhadaa in the Aakhirah.

( الفصل السابع في الشهيد ) وهو في الشرع من قتله أهل الحرب والبغي وقطاع الطريق أو وجد في معركة وبه جرح أو يخرج الدم من عينيه أو أذنه أو جوفه أو به أثر الحرق أو وطئته دابة العدو وهو راكبها أو سائقها أو كدمته أو صدمته بيدها أو برجلها أو نفروا دابته بضرب أو زجر فقتلته أو طعنوه فألقوه في ماء أو نار أو رموه من سور أو أسقطوا عليه حائطا أو رموا نارا فينا أو هبت بها ريح إلينا أو جعلوها في طرف خشب رأسها عندنا أو أرسلوا إلينا ماء فاحترق أو غرق مسلم أو قتله مسلم ظلما ولم تجب به دية كذا في الكافي وكذا إن قتله أهل الذمة أو المستأمنون هكذا في العيني شرح الهداية .

وحكمه أن لا يغسل ويصلى عليه ، كذا في محيط السرخسي ويدفن بدمه وثيابه ، كذا في الكافي ولو كان في ثوب الشهيد نجاسة تغسل ، كذا في العتابية .

ويغسل من ارتث وهو من صار خلقا في حكم الشهادة لنيل مرافق الحياة وهو أن يأكل أو يشرب أو ينام أو يداوى أو ينقل من المعركة حيا إلا إذا حمل من مصرعه كي لا تطأه الخيول ولو آواه فسطاط أو خيمة أو بقي حيا حتى مضى وقت الصلاة وهو يعقل فهو مرتث ، هكذا في الهداية . ومن الارتثاث أن يبيع أو يشتري أو يتكلم بكلام كثير وهذا كله إذا وجد بعد انقضاء الحرب وأما قبل انقضائها فلا يكون مرتثا ، كذا في التبيين .

If a person passes away in an accident or had drowned or was burnt without the doing of an enemy, he will be considered a Shaheed in the Aakhirah but not in this world (i.e, he will be a Shaheed Ukhrawi). Therefore, he will be given Ghusl, shrouded and buried as normal.

There are many other instances where a person will be considered a Shaheed Ukhrawi. For example, a person passes away due to an abdominal ailment, or passes away in an accident or a woman passes away during childbirth etc. Although they will enjoy the high status of the Shuhada in the Aakhirah, they will be given Ghusl, shrouded and buried as normal.

A person who commits suicide is not regarded as a Shaheed. He will be given Ghusl, shrouded and buried as normal. (ad-Durrul Mukhtaar)

( من قتل نفسه ) ولو ( عمدا يغسل ويصلى عليه ) به يفتى وإن كان أعظم وزرا من قاتل غيره . (الدر المختار).

If the Shaheed Dunyawi was in the state of Janaabah when he had passed away, he/she will be given a Ghusl.

ويغسل إن قتل جنبا أو صبيا مجنونا عند أبي حنيفةرحمه الله تعالىهكذا في التبيين وكذا تغسل إن قتلت حائضا أو نفساء إن طهرتا وتم الانقطاع فإن لم ينقطع تغسل إن صلح المرئي حيضا في الأصح ، هكذا في الكافي

And Allah knows best

Suhail Tarmahomed (Mufti)

Checked and Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) Fatwa Department

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