A martyr ("witness") is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance.
Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib was Sayyid al-Shuhada in his time. Imam Husain (AS) is Sayyid al-Shuhada for all the times till the Day of Judgement.
Muslim Ibn Aqeel (AS) was born in Madina in year 12 Hijri and was martyred in Kufa in year 60 Hijri by Bani Umayyah as he was the envoy of Imam Husain (AS) to Iraq. His age when he was martyred was 48 years.
There are a number of hadith in both Shi'i and Sunni hadith collections which describe types of honorary martyrdom; that is, they describe people who die in certain ways as "martyrs". (This ranges from things as dying from drowning, to dying with love of Ahl al-Bayt (A), to dying while sleeping with wudu.)
From these narrations, it can be gleaned that there is a certain respect or acknowledgment given to people who pass away in these ways, and/or some of the acts (obviously the voluntary ones, not involuntary ones) are respectable.
However, my understanding that the formal or highest notion of martyrdom is reserved for those who give their lives in the way of Allah (and Allah is the One who knows who they are). Perhaps one could consider someone who is intentionally putting themself at risk of infection to serve the people, and then dies, as this sort of martyr.
In the Sunni hadith collection of Sahih Muslim, it is related that the Prophet (S) described five types of people as martyrs; among those are those people who die from the plague. I am not sure offhand if this narration is transmitted via Shi'i chains of narration or in Shi'i books. However, this narration (or others similar to it) is the source of the idea, being circulated today, that people who die from the plague are martyrs.
However, with respect to Shi'i texts, it is related that Imam Reza (A) told someone: "Every beliver whom God afflicts with a misfortune and who exhibits patience over it, shall surely come to possess the rank and recompense of a martyr in the eyes of God.” The person who was told this did not understand why the Imam was telling him this, as he was not going through any major difficulties at the time, but he soon developed a painful and difficult condition that lasted for a number of months, and then he died - the implication here being that his patience over his illness granted him the status of martyrdom.
God knows best.
We have abundant traditions that mention how Almighty God wishes to receive us in the next life, pure and chastised from our sins. One way this is done is by inflicting us with difficulties prior to our death, like a sickness.
Traditions mention that being inflicted with a sickness prior to death is a form of purification and cleansing of our sins.
It is for this reason, that one would be rewarded, and we should look at it in a positive way.
As for being considered a "martyr" in the technical word, no, it would not be applied to someone who falls sick because of the virus.
And Allah knows best.
There are authentic Hadeeths that the person who dies on the love of
the Holy Prophet (SAWA) and who has the love of the Holy Prophet
(SAWA) and the Ahlul Bayt (AS) will die as a martyr. من مات على حب ال محمد مات شهيدا
This Hadeeth is narrated not only in Shia books but also in Sunni books like Tafseer al-Kashshaaf by al-Zamakhshari (volume 4),
Tafseer al Fakhr al–Raazi (volume 27)
and Tafseer al-Qurtobi (page 5841).
No doubt sincere followers of Ahul Bayt (AS) sincerely wish to gain
the status of being martyred in the way of Allah (ASWT) and that
sincere intention makes them entitled to the Grace of Allah (ASWT) who
grants the reward of Shaheed to them according to their sincere intentions.
It not allowed in Islam to keep a dead body with out burying it.
It have been confirmed that the body of Shaheed (martyr) and many pious believers remain fresh and never decay. Hundreds of such cases are registered in many countries when their graves were accidentally broken after long time and they bodies were found fresh. There are books written in this subject mentioning details of many similar cases.
Yes, there are many authentic Hadeeths from the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and Ahlul Bayt (AS) stating that all of the infallible will be either killed or poisoned (ما منا إلا مقتول أو مسموم).
This Hadeeth was narrated by Imam Hasan (AS) from his grand father the Prophet (SAWA) after the martyrdom of Ameerul Mo'mineen ( AS). (Kifayatul Athar, by al-Khazzaz , page 160-162).
The Prophet (SAWA) himself was also poisoned. There are plenty of authentic narrations in Sunni and Shia books stating that the Prophet did not have natural death but was poisoned. ( Al- Mustadrak by Al-Haakim al-Nisaboori, V.3, P.60) and (al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Katheer , V. 4, P. 449) and (al-Tabaqat al- Kubra by Ibn Sa'ad , V. 2, P. 249). These are few of Sunni books.
Thank you for your question. In the same way that we mourn departed loved ones out of the love and mercy for them that exists in our hearts, even if they may have been martyred, so too the lovers of Ahl al-Bayt (as) mourn the terrible tragedy that befell them (as).
That certainly does not take away from their reward, rather through God’s Mercy, their tribulation and the softness of our hearts towards them, and the mourning that is a natural consequence, has been validated and made into a worship by God. Crying for the tragedy of Imam Husayn (as) is praiseworthy and has been associated with great rewards in our scriptural literature. It is from here that the tradition of mourning finds its roots.
May you always be successful
The martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) gave the Muslim Ummah the biggest shock which saved the Ummah from collapse when the rulers (Yazeed and his gangsters) were totally away from the teachings of Islam. Muslim masses could not accept the crime of the killing of the grand son of the Prophet along with his family members including children and imprisonment of the family of the Prophet (SAWA). This greatest shock brought back the sense to the Ummah and was the reason behind hundreds of revolts against tyrant rulers during centuries of the history of Muslims. Imam Husain's martyrdom declared the tyrant rulers as deviants and made the Muslim masses careful when dealing with them.
The martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) became the guide to his noble value which calls Muslims to be real Muslims and join good and avoid evil. Thousands of scholars, writers, poets were inspired by Imam Husain's martyrdom.
Millions of Muslims all over the world and all over the generations, observe the martyrdom of Imam Husain every year and get spiritually charged to be better Muslims.
Imam Husain's martyrdom has inspired many non Muslims and made them realize the great teachings of justice for which Imam Husain (AS) has sacrificed.
The list of the benefits from Imam Husain' martyrdom will be very long and books can be written on it, but to cut it very short, we need to remember the Prophetic Hadeeth which stated: Husian is from me, and I am from Husain. How the grand father is from his grand son? In fact, he religion of Islam which was sent through the Prophe Muhammad (SAWA), was revived and made everlasting because of Imam Husain (AS).
Reviving Islam is the great benefit not only for all Muslims but for all mankind.
The narrations regarding history matters are usually different, that is why you find in matters of history, deferent opinions. The most famous opinion among the historians that the number of the martyrs of Karbala is 72 martyrs.
We have other narrations in some books suggesting different numbers.
We don’t have such claim regarding cancer in our authentic books of Hadeeth.
We have in Sunni and Shia books that every lover of Ahlul Bayt ( AS) dies as Shaheed ( martyr). من مات على حب آل محمد مات شهيدا
Tafseer Al-Kashshaf, Tafseer Al-Razi and other Sunni books.
I have discussed this topic in detail in my brief series on Life after Death: