Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vitues of the Martyrs - Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3:168-170

Allah states that even though the martyrs were killed in this life, their souls are alive and receiving provisions in the Dwelling of Everlasting Life. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Masruq said, "We asked `Abdullah about this Ayah,

[وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَتاً بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ ]

(Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision.)

He said, `We asked the Messenger of Allah the same question and he said,

«أَرْوَاحُهُمْ فِي جَوْفِ طَيْرٍ خُضْرٍ، لَهَا قَنَادِيلُ مُعَلَّقَةٌ بِالْعَرْشِ، تَسْرَحُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ، ثُمَّ تَأْوِي إِلَى تِلْكَ الْقَنَادِيلِ، فَاطَّلَعَ إِلَيْهِمْ رَبُّهُمُ اطِّلَاعَةً فَقَالَ: هَلْ تَشْتَهُونَ شَيْئًا؟ فَقَالُوا: أَيَّ شَيْءٍ نَشْتَهِي وَنَحْنُ نَسْرَحُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ حَيْثُ شِئْنَا؟ فَفَعَلَ ذَلِكَ بِهِمْ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ، فَلَمَّا رَأَوْا أَنَّهُمْ لَنْ يُتْرَكُوا مِنْ أَنْ يُسْأَلُوا، قَالُوا: يَا رَبِّ نُرِيدُ أَنْ تَرُدَّ أَرْوَاحَنَا فِي أَجْسَادِنَا حَتَّى نُقْتَلَ فِي سَبِيلِكَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَى، فَلَمَّا رَأَى أَنْ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ حَاجَةٌ، تُرِكُوا»

(Their souls are inside green birds that have lamps, which are hanging below the Throne (of Allah), and they wander about in Paradise wherever they wish. Then they return to those lamps. Allah looks at them and says, `Do you wish for anything' They say, `What more could we wish for, while we go wherever we wish in Paradise' Allah asked them this question thrice, and when they realize that He will keep asking them until they give an answer, they say, `O Lord! We wish that our souls be returned to our bodies so that we are killed in Your cause again.' Allah knew that they did not have any other wish, so they were left.)''' There are several other similar narrations from Anas and Abu Sa`id.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَا مِنْ نَفْسٍ تَمُوتُ، لَهَا عِنْدَ اللهِ خَيْرٌ، يَسُرُّهَا أَنْ تَرْجِعَ إِلَى الدُّنْيَا، إِلَّا الشَّهِيدُ، فَإِنَّهُ يَسُرُّهُ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ إِلَى الدُّنْيَا فَيُقْتَلَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَى، لِمَا يَرَى مِنْ فَضْلِ الشَهَادَة»

(No soul that has a good standing with Allah and dies would wish to go back to the life of this world, except for the martyr. He would like to be returned to this life so that he could be martyred again, for he tastes the honor achieved from martyrdom.) Muslim collected this Hadith

In addition, Imam Ahmad recorded that, Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَمَّا أُصِيبَ إِخْوَانُكُمْ بِأُحُدٍ، جَعَلَ اللهُ أَرْوَاحَهُمْ فِي أَجْوَافِ طَيْرٍ خُضْرٍ، تَرِدُ أَنْهَارَ الْجَنَّـةِ، وَتَأْكُلُ مِنْ ثِمَارِهَا، وَتَأْوِي إِلى قَنَادِيلَ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ فِي ظِلِّ الْعَرْشِ، فَلَمَّا وَجَدُوا طِيبَ مَشْرَبِهِمْ وَمَأْكَلِهِمْ، وَحُسْنَ مُتَقَلَّبِهِمْ قَالُوا: يَا لَيْتَ إِخْوَانَنَا يَعْلَمُونَ مَا صَنَعَ اللهُ لَنَا، لِئَلَّا يَزْهَدُوا فِي الْجِهَادِ، وَلَا يَنْكُلُوا عَنِ الْحَرْبِ، فَقَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: أَنْا أُبَلِّغُهُمْ عَنْكُم»

(When your brothers were killed in Uhud, Allah placed their souls inside green birds that tend to the rivers of Paradise and eat from its fruits. They then return to golden lamps hanging in the shade of the Throne. When they tasted the delight of their food, drink and dwelling, they said, `We wish that our brothers knew what Allah gave us so that they will not abandon Jihad or warfare.' Allah said, `I will convey the news for you.') Allah revealed these and the following Ayat,

[وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَتاً بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ ]

(Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision.)

Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` and Ad-Dahhak said that these Ayat were revealed about the martyrs of Uhud.

Abu Bakr Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, "The Messenger of Allah looked at me one day and said, `O Jabir! Why do I see you sad' I said, `O Messenger of Allah! My father was martyred and left behind debts and children.' He said,

«أَلَا أُخْبِرُكَ؟ مَا كَلَّمَ اللهُ أَحَدًا قَطُّ إِلَّا مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ، وَإِنَّه كَلَّمَ أَبَاكَ كِفَاحًا»

، قال علي: الكفاح: المواجهة

«قَالَ: سَلْنِي أُعْطِكَ. قَالَ: أَسْأَلُكَ أَنْ أُرَدَّ إِلَى الدُّنْيَا فَأُقْتَلَ فِيكَ ثَانِيَةً، فَقَالَ الرَّبُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: إِنَّهُ قَدْ سَبَقَ مِنِّي الْقَوْلُ: إِنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهَا لَا يَرْجِعُونَ. قَالَ: أَيْ رَبِّ فَأَبْلِغْ مَنْ وَرَائِي»

(Should I tell you that Allah never spoke to anyone except from behind a veil However, He spoke to your father directly. He said, `Ask Me and I will give you.' He said, `I ask that I am returned to life so that I am killed in Your cause again.' The Lord, Exalted He be, said, `I have spoken the word that they shall not be returned back to it (this life). ' He said, `O Lord! Then convey the news to those I left behind.') Allah revealed,

[وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَتاً]

(Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah...)''

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«الشُّهَدَاءُ عَلى بَارِقِ نَهْرٍ بِبَابِ الْجَنَّـةِ، فِي قُبَّةٍ خَضْرَاءَ، يَخْرُجُ عَلَيْهِمْ رِزْقُهُمْ مِنَ الْجَنَّـةِ بُكْرَةً وَعَشِيًّا»

(The martyrs convene at the shore of a river close to the door of Paradise, in a green tent, where their provisions are brought to them from Paradise day and night.)

Ahmad and Ibn Jarir collected this Hadith, which has a good chain of narration. It appears that the martyrs are of different types, some of them wander in Paradise, and some remain close to this river by the door of Paradise. It is also possible that the river is where all the souls of the martyrs convene and where they are provided with their provision day and night, and Allah knows best. UImam Ahmad narrated a Hadith that contains good news for every believer that his soul will be wandering in Paradise, as well, eating from its fruits, enjoying its delights and happiness and tasting the honor that Allah has prepared in it for him. This Hadith has a unique, authentic chain of narration that includes three of the Four Imams. Imam Ahmad narrated this Hadith from Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafi`i who narrated it from Malik bin Anas Al-Asbuhi, from Az-Zuhri, from `Abdur-Rahman bin Ka`b bin Malik that his father said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«نَسَمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ طَائِرٌ يَعْلُقُ فِي شَجَرِ الْجَنَّـةِ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَهُ اللهُ إِلى جَسَدِهِ يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُه»

(The soul of the believer becomes a bird that feeds on the trees of Paradise, until Allah sends him back to his body when He resurrects him.)

This Hadith states that the souls of the believers are in the shape of a bird in Paradise. As for the souls of martyrs, they are inside green birds, like the stars to the rest of the believing souls. We ask Allah the Most Generous that He makes us firm on the faith.

Allah's statement,

[فَرِحِينَ بِمَآ ءَاتَـهُمُ اللَّهُ]

(They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them) indicates that the martyrs who were killed in Allah's cause are alive with Allah, delighted because of the bounty and happiness they are enjoying. They are also awaiting their brethren, who will die in Allah's cause after them, for they will be meeting them soon. These martyrs do not have fear about the future or sorrow for what they left behind. We ask Allah to grant us Paradise. The Two Sahihs record from Anas, the story of the seventy Ansar Companions who were murdered at Bir Ma`unah in one night. In this Hadith, Anas reported that the Prophet used to supplicate to Allah in Qunut in prayer against those who killed them. Anas said, "A part of the Qur'an was revealed about them, but was later abrogated, `Convey to our people that we met Allah and He was pleased with us and made us pleased.''

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