Fourth Means, Struggle (Jihad) and Martyrdom (Shahadat)
Struggle waged for the way of God-Almighty, extension of Islamic rule, proclamation of Monotheism (Tawhid), defense of Islamic lands and governance of Qur’anic commands, combating against oppression and arrogance, and for the defense of deprived and oppressed -is considered as one of the great worship, which results in a struggler's achieving self-perfection and spiritual ascension towards God-Almighty. There are plenty of traditions and Qur’anic Verses which describe the special importance attached to struggle. e.g. : God-Almighty says in Holy Qur’an:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
“Those who believe and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in God's way are of much greater worth in God's sight. These are they who are triumphant. (9:20)
“But he has bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary. (4:95)
The Holy Prophet (S) has said:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: للجنة باب يقال له باب المجاهدين يمضون إليه فإذا هو مفتوح وهم متقلدون بـسيوفهم والجمع فى الموقف والملائكة ترحب بهم.
“There is a gate in the Paradise called as the “Gate of Strugglers.” When the strugglers walk towards the Paradise, the gate opens and the strugglers with their swords hanging enter into Paradise passing through a grand welcome by angels, while the other people remain being held up for accounting of their deeds.”1
The Holy Prophet (S) said:
قال النبى صلى الله عليه وآله: فوق كل ذى بربر حتى يقتل فى سبيل الله, فاذا قتل فى سبيل الله فليس فوقه بر.
“For every virtue, there is an another higher virtue except when a human being sacrifices his life for the sake of God-Almighty. And in that case there exists nothing superior than that.”2
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “That God-Almighty bestows upon a martyr the following seven blessings;
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: للشهيد سبع خصال من الله: أول قطرة من دمه مغفور له كل ذنب. والثانية يقع رأسه في حجر زوجتيه من الحور العين وتمسحان الغبار عن وجهه، وتقولان مرحباً بك، ويقول هو مثل ذلك لهما. والثالثة يكسى من كسوة الجنّة. والرابعة تبتدره خزنة الجنّة بكل ريحٍ طيبة أيّهم يأخذه معه. والخامسة أن يرى منزله. والسادسة أن يقال لروحه اسرح في الجنّة حيث شئت. والسابعة أن ينظر في وجه الله وإنّها لراحة لكل نبي وشهيد.
1. “When the first drop of blood comes out his body all his sins are pardoned.
2. After martyrdom his head is placed upon the laps of two heavenly maids, who clean off dirt from his face and say -greeting to you, and he too reciprocates their greetings.
3. They dress him in Heavenly clothes.
4. The store keeper of Paradise present him different kinds of perfumes and good smells, so that he may select whatever desires.
5. At the time of martyrdom his place in Paradise is shown to him.
6. After the martyrdom his soul is addressed -you are free to move in the Paradise wherever you desire.
7. A martyr is allowed to witness God's Beauty, which brings a special sort of comfort for every prophet and martyr.”3
God-Almighty says in Holy Qur’an:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَىٰ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ۚ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ ۖ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ ۚ وَمَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“Lo! God hath bought .from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: They shall fight in the way of God and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in Torah, the Gospel and the Holy Qur’an. Who fulfilleth his covenant better than God's? Rejoice in your bargain that you have made, for that is the supreme triumph. (9:111)
The above mentioned verse is one of the most beautiful and tender verses of the Holy Qur’an in which the people have been encouraged to participate in struggle, with special delicacy and tenderness. In the beginning the verse says:
“God has purchased of the believers their persons and their goods, and in return gives them Paradise.”
What a beautiful deal? The buyer is God-Almighty -the Lord of the Universe and Absolute Owner of all the riches. The believers are the sellers who believe in God-Almighty and Hereafter. And the thing being traded is -the eternal Paradise.
God Almighty in Torah, Bible and Holy Qur’an -the three great Heavenly scriptures, has registered such promise.
Do you know anyone else ?
Who is more faithful to his covenant than God ?
In the end God-Almighty gives glad tidings to believers about such a worthy deal and says:
That is the most supreme achievement.
The Holy Qur’an for a human being martyred in God's path confirms the highest position and says:
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ
“Think not of those who are slain in God's way as dead. Nay they live finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord. (3:169)
The sentence in the presence of their Lord describes the supreme position assigned to a martyr. Human soul's remaining alive after death is not reserved for martyrs only, rather is applicable to all human beings.
But the distinction of martyrs is the sentence: in the presence of their Lord. i.e. they will continue life -at the most superior positions, and will receive their sustenance at these positions, and naturally the sustenance received by them, will not be similar to the sustenance received by others.
Struggle in God's path and martyrdom are the most greatest and worthiest worships and a martyr through this distinguished means may attain the most subtle spiritual positions. What distinguishes this worship from other worships is its two dimensions, which may be described as follows:
The aim of a combatant is not to safeguard his own interest as well as the interest of his relatives. He is not a selfish or shortsighted person rather he is dedicated to achieve the objectives and goals desired by God-Almighty.
A combatant in order to undertake his spiritual journey, and for the sake of achieving his cherished goal i.e. God-Almighty, invest his most valuable and dearest assets. If a human being offers some donation for a charity it does not mean more than that he has overlooked a certain portion of his wealth; similarly in case he worships, it does not mean more than that he has spent a certain amount of his time and energy.
But a struggler overlooks every thing belonging to him; above every thing else he over looks his own life and surrender his entire existence to God-Almighty with absolute sincerity; he closes his eyes from wealth, power, position, wife, children, and relatives, thus, suddenly surrendering his soul to God-Almighty.
The work done by gnostics and devoted individuals during their entire span of lives, may be accomplished by a struggler either all of it or even may be more than that in a very short time. The matter and materialistic world is too much confined for the exalted and enlightened spirit of a struggler, because of the same reason, like a formidable lion breaks his material cage, as a light winged pigeon flies over the vast illuminated Upper Heavens and from the most superior exalted positions ascends towards their beloved God-Almighty.
If other God's saints, gradually, during entire span of lives were able to attained the most distinguished spiritual positions namely - position of desire, love, witnessing a combatant martyr travels this one hundreds years distance in one single night and, thus, attains the most distinguished spiritual position of God's-countenance (laqa).
If other God's servants by means of invocations, incarnations, sitting and standing seek God's Nearness, a struggler of God's way through tolerance of wounds, pains, hardships, bullets, fragments of mortar shell, and ultimately by sacrificing his own soul attains God’s Nearness; although, there is vast difference between these two.
The battle field possesses a special sort of purity, spirituality, and illumination; it is field of love, sacrifice, action, and enthusiasm; it is a field of competition for getting sacrificed in the beloved’s path, and becoming alive for eternal life. The humming warm communications of the dwellers of trenchement with their beloved possess a special fervor of purity, illumination, and attraction whose examples cannot be seen even inside the mosques and temples.