The Concept Of Martyrdom In Islam

2461 words - 10 pages

ISLAM as an all inclusive systematic religion is an interrelated set of ideals and realities covering the entire area of human notion and action, beliefs and practices, thought, word, and deed. Islamic principles and concepts cannot be fully and properly appreciated unless they are analysed and realized within the framework of Islam as a whole. [1]The concept of martyrdom (shahada) in Islam can only be understood in the light of the Islamic concept of Holy Struggle (jihad) and the concept of jihad may only be appreciated if the concept of the doctrine of enjoining right and discovering wrong (al-amr bi'l-maruf) is properly appreciated, and good and bad, [2] right and wrong, can only be understood if the independent divine source of righteousness, truth, and goodness (tawhid), and how the Message of the divine source of righteousness and truth has been honestly and properly conveyed to humanity through prophethood, are understood. Finally the divine message may not be fully appreciated unless the embodiment of this divine message, or the Model of Guidance, and the Supreme Paradigm (imama or uswa) is properly recognized.We can thus see how the concept of martyrdom in Islam is linked with the entire religion of Islam. This whole process can be somehow understood if the term 'Islam' is appreciated. This is because being a derivate of the Arabic root salama, which means 'surrender' and 'peace', Islam is a wholesome and peaceful submission to the will of Allah. [3] This means being prepared to die (martyrdom) in the course of this submission. Thus the concept of martyrdom, like all other Islamic concepts, can be fully and wholly appreciated only in the light of the Islamic doctrine of tawhid, or the absolute unity of Allah and full submission to His will and command. It cannot be fully appreciated in isolation.In this sense, the concept of shahada is no exception. All Islamic concepts are interrelated, and should be appreciated within the framework of the doctrine of tawhid.[4]The concept of shahada in Islam has been misunderstood by both Muslims and non-Muslims. As stated above, shahada is closely associated with the concept of jihad. Most non-Muslim scholars, intentionally or unintentionally, have defined jihad as only the Holy War, and thus have understood neither jihad nor shahada.[5] The Muslims, mostly taking into consideration the martyrs of the early days of Islamic history, define martyrdom in terms of the fatalistic death of those dear to Allah, and do not see the close link between continuous struggle in the cause of Allah ( jihad) and martyrdom.[6]Martyrdom is not the monopoly of Islam (though it is the monopoly of spiritual, religious, and divine systems, and cannot be claimed by followers of materialistic schools). Islam introduces its own concept of martyrdom. An Islamic concept should be explained within the framework of Islam, and not, by Muslims or by non-Muslims, in the light of non-Islamic concepts such as guilt and suffering....

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