The Status of Martyrs in the Quran
On the one hand, those who love these oppressed victims mourn them to keep the memory of their suffering alive. They offer their tears of bereavement as a tribute. On the other hand however, those who oppose this mourning arise as if there is an earthquake, and argue that crying is an unacceptable innovation, the standards (flags) are an innovation, the replicas made of the holy shrines are an innovation, even images of the graves are an innovation. These very same people claiming this also happen to label themselves ‘Muslims’.
The argument that they present in support of their objection is that, can the dead be brought back to life by these mourning rituals? What can we say about such Muslims! Do they actually think that the martyrs are dead? Is that why they are presenting such absurd arguments? If indeed they consider the martyrs to be dead, then it must be said that such so-called Muslims are no longer Muslims but have in fact turned away from Islam!
This is because it is essential to have belief in the Quran in order to be a Muslim. To deny even one verse of the Quran is tantamount to disbelief. There are two places in the Noble Quran where the position and status of those martyred in the path of Allah is discussed in very clear open terms;
And do not say that whoso is killed in the path of Allah his dead. No! Indeed they are alive but you do not know how. (Surah 2, al-Baqarah verse 154)
In this verse Allah is saying that, ‘do not call those who die in My path as dead for you do not understand their life’. Here, this is a clear instruction, an order, that ‘do not call as dead’ those who die in Allah’s path. In another verse the instruction is, ‘do not consider as dead’, that is even if you do not say with your tongue that they are dead, you might still think it in your heart. But Allah has put restrictions on even this sentiment, for in this second verse Allah states;
And do not think of those killed in Allah’s path as dead: indeed they are alive and receive their sustenance from their Lord. They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah. (Surah 3, Aal-e Imran verse 169-170)
Thus in this verse there is a prohibition of thinking of those slain in Allah’s path as ‘dead’, Apart from this, further explanation has been given in this verse that indeed those killed in Allah’s path receive sustenance from Him and are well pleased with the blessings that they receive from Him. The fact that they receive sustenance and are pleased and happy is a testament to the belief that they are alive. A dead person has no need for sustenance! Sustenance is a provision only for those alive. And if they are pleased, then how can a dead person experience pleasure? There can be no question of happiness and pleasure where there is no life!
Therefore in the first verse we are told ‘do not say that the martyrs are dead’, and in the second we are instructed ‘do not think of them as dead, they receive sustenance and are pleased’. Thus to prevent people saying and thinking that those martyred in Allah’s path are dead, a restriction has been put on the heart, mind and tongue. To think or say to the contrary goes against the Quran. And how can one stay on the path of Islam if one contradicts the Quran?