بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Q: What is the ruling with regards to saying ash-shaheed (martyr) concerning the one who is killed?
A: Before that (we ask) did he pray? That’s one situation, another situation is did he fight for the sake of the religion or for the country?
If it’s a righteous man that fought for the religion then we hope for him martyrdom. Verily the Prophet عليه الصلاة و السلام dubbed some of those that were killed during his time as martyrs, like the martyrs of Uhud. Whenever there was doubt about an individual the Prophet عليه الصلاة و السلام would say: “Indeed he is from the people of the Fire for in that place he killed himself.” He would command someone to announce that none would enter Paradise except a believing soul. Thus it should not be said he is a shaheed (martyr) because Allah is more knowledgable concerning those who fought for His sake. The narration (with this meaning) is found in Bukhari.
Therefore if his outward appearance is good, righteous, and we know that he fought for the religion then we hope for him martyrdom. If we dub him a shaheed then we mean by that, that we hope for him martyrdom. We say the martyrs are in Paradise as for us being absolutely certain (about a specific individual) then from the creed of Ahlis Sunnah is that we don’t have absolute certainty that someone is from the people of the Paradise except whoever the Messenger of Allah mentioned, like Hasan, Husayn, Fatima, Ukaasha and others from those who the Prophet عليه الصلاة و السلام mentioned are in Paradise. Likewise whoever he mentioned is in the Fire (we affirm) is in the Fire.
Thus it’s not permissible for us to claim absolute certainty regarding an individual being in Paradise nor a sinful Muslim being from the dwellers of the Fire. It’s not permissible and this is the creed of Ahlis Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah.
مأخوذ من الكتاب: الرحلة الأخيرة
ترجمة: نجيب بن يوسف الأنجلسي
Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi