Contents > Chapter 4: Life of the Barzakh > Clarifying Doubts: The Qur’aan refers to the Martyrs as Living


Clarifying Doubts:


Doubt (2): The Qur’aan refers to the Martyrs as Living

Allah says in Soorah al-Baqarah, “And say not of those who have been killed in the Way of Allah, ‘they are dead.’ Nay, they are living, but you are unaware of it.”[1] The Sufis claim that their Shaikhs too die in the path of Allah, and are therefore Martyrs. Based upon this verse, they claim that death does not overcome the Shaikh, and they continue to benefit others in death just as they used to benefit in their lifetime. It is mentioned in Imdadus Sulook, p.27, story no. 3, “Once, a person of Kashf went to the mazaar (tomb) of Hazrat Haji Sahib (Dhaamin) to recite al-Fatihah there. After reciting al-Fatihah he said, “Brother! Who is this esteemed man? He seems to be a very jolly person. When I began to recite al-Fatihah, he said to me, “Go and read al-Fatihah for a dead man. You have come here to recite al-Fatihah on the living. What is this matter?” Thereafter, I was informed by people that the person in the grave was a shaheed (martyr).”[2] (click to view the scanned image of the quote)



In this verse of Soorah al-Baqarah, Allah refers to the martyrs, who die whilst defending the religion, as living. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) explained the life of martyrs after death. Narrated Abdullah: “It has been narrated on the authority of Masruq, who said: “We asked Abdullah about the Qur’aanic verse: “Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they are alive, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord....”[3] He said: “We asked the meaning of the verse (from Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam)), who said: “The souls of the martyrs live in the bodies of green birds who have their nests in chandeliers hung from the Throne of the Almighty. They eat the fruits of Paradise, wherever they like, and then nestle in these chandeliers. Once, their Lord cast a glance at them and said: “Do you want anything?” They said: “What more can we desire? We eat the fruit of Paradise wherever we like.” Their Lord asked them the same question thrice. When they saw that they would continue to be asked and not left (without answering the question), they said: “O Lord, we wish that You may return our souls to our bodies, so that we may be slain in Your cause once again. When He (Allah) saw that they had no need, they were left (to their joy in heaven).”[4]


In light of this Hadeeth, we clearly understand that the conditions under which the Martyrs live after death is different from their worldly life. Their life after death is the life of Barzakh, which severs all connections with the worldly life. Therefore, the Sharee’ah has prescribed that…

1. The property of the martyr be divided among his inheritors.

2. The wives of the martyr should mourn their husbands for the period of four months and ten days.[5]

3. After the Iddah period, the wives of the martyr are free to marry again.[6]


Hence, the martyrs are alive with respect to the Hereafter but with respect to this world they are dead, and all actions that are carried out for the dead are carried out for the Martyrs (with a few exceptions). Accordingly, this verse of Soorah al-Baqarah is a proof of the great position of martyrdom, but in no way supports the Sufi view that the pious live a worldly life even after death.


[1] Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 154.

[2] Imdaadus-Sulook, (Urdu) p.27, story no.3. This book in now available in English (and named Irshaadul-Mulook) and the reference of the above story is Irshaadul-Mulook (Eng. Trans.) Page. 19, Episode .1.

[3] Soorah aali-Imran (3): 169.

[4]  Saheeh Muslim no: 4651. Also see Sunan at-Tirmidhee no: 1631, Sunan Ibn Majah and Bayhaqee (in Kitab al-Ba’th wan-Nushur).

[5] Narrated Umm Atiya that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “A woman must not observe mourning for one who has died more than three nights, except for the four months and ten days in the case of a husband, and she must not wear a dyed garment except one of the type made of dyed yarn, or apply collyrium, or touch perfume except for a little costus or Azfar when she has been purified after her courses.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim - The wording being Muslim’s]

[6] Narrated Umm Salamah: “When Abu Salamah died, I went to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam)! Abu Salamah has died. He told me to recite: “O Allah! Forgive me and him (Abu Salamah) and give me a better substitute than he.” So I said (this), and Allah gave me in exchange Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), who is better for me than him (Abu Salamah).” [Saheeh Muslim (Eng. Trans.) no: 2002, and Abu Dawoood (Eng. Trans.) no: 3109] Abu Salamah was a martyr who died of injuries, he sustained during the battle of Uhud.

After the martyrdom of Jaafar Ibn Taiyyar, Aboo Bakr married his wife Asmaa bint Umais. Muhammed Ibn Aboo Bakr was born of this wedlock. See Meezan al-Etidaal.