[Friday Sermon] Whoever Is Killed Defending His Country, His State, His Right And Honour Is A Martyr (Shahid)! By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah Who prepared for martyrs (Shuhadah) the highest ranks in Paradise. He also promised those who strive to defend their homeland, rights and honour victory and greatest rewards. I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no associates. I also bear witness that our great Master Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Servant of Allah and His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his pure blessed family and companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment. As to what follows:
Dear brothers and sisters! Allah the Almighty has chosen the nation’s righteous martyrs, for martyrdom in the way of Allah is an exclusive blessing the Most Exalted bestows upon them. Allah, Most Sublime says:
“So that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs.” [Qur’an, 3: 140]
Going down to the meaning of martyrdom, a martyr is the one who is killed while defending his religion, himself, his family, his honour, his right or his properties. In this sense, the homeland, country and the state embraces the family, the honour and the wealth. Thus, defending them is amongst the best acts of obedience and highest in rank, the most generous in giving and sacrificing and the most durable in terms of commemoration and praise.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has set an example in this regard as he always hastened to defend his nation and protect its frontiers. For instance, it was narrated that once the people of Madinah got frightened having heard an uproar at night. So, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) met the people on his way back as he went in the direction of the sound ahead of them. He was riding his horse and said to them:
“Do not get scared, do not get scared.”
Following in steps of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), the Nigerian martyrs have sacrificed their lives for the sake of protecting their religion, family, homeland, country, state and its wealth as well as the achievements of their people which took great efforts by the founding fathers to accomplish. These heroes have answered the call of duty, recognising that any negligence to their duty in protecting their country and defending its boundaries would be amongst the greatest sins. Thus, they did not hesitate to sacrifice in this cause all that is precious. They had noble goals and superior objectives, seeking to attain the great recompense that Allah has prepared for them.
On this account, Allah, the Exalted is He says:
“And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds. He will guide them and amend their condition. And admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.” [Surah Muhammad: 4-6]
That is to say, Allah the Almighty will not waste their deeds, He will rather increase them and multiply their rewards as well as amend their affairs and status. Allah, The Most Sublime will admit them to the gardens of Paradise that He has promised them, for He says:
“And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.” [Surah At-Tawbah: 111]
Congratulations to them, therefore, for such a great attainment. Their Lord has rewarded them in abundance and transferred them from the mortal life to the home of immortality. Allah, the Almighty, says:
“And the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous – Gardens of perpetual residence, which they will enter, beneath which rivers flow. They will have therein whatever they wish.” [Surah An-Nahl: 30-31]
Truly, they have attained the honour of martyrdom and shall have the good tidings of eternal abode in Paradise, wherein they will rejoice fully its provisions.
About them, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 fruits of Paradise from 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 shall we desire? We eat the fruit of Paradise from wherever we like.’ Their Lord asked them the same question three times. 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 way once again.’ When He (Allah) saw that they had no need, they were left (to their joy in Heaven).”
Respected servants of Allah! Truly, the martyrs of Nigeria, who died defending their rights and honour, who died defending their country and states are not dead. Allah Almighty says:
“Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision, rejoicing in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] after them who have not yet joined them – that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. They receive good tidings of favour from Allah and bounty and [of the fact] that Allah does not allow the reward of believers to be lost.” [Surah Al Imran: 169-171]
Furthermore, the martyrs also have the exclusive blessing of being given continuously the rewards of the good deeds that they did in their worldly life. In this regard, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever dies being stationed in the cause of Allah, will be given continuously the reward for the good deeds that he used to do, and he will be rewarded with provision, and he will be kept safe from trials, and Allah will raise him on the Day of Resurrection free of fright.”
The noble martyrs (Shuhadah) will also never enter the Hellfire as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The dust in the cause of Allah and the smoke of the Hellfire will never be combined in the lungs of a Muslim.”
So, whoever safeguards his homeland, his country, his state, his right, his honour, striving for the safety of his people, by Allah’s grace, the Hellfire will not touch him. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are two eyes that shall not be touched by the Fire: An eye that wept from the fear of Allah, and an eye that spent the night standing on guard in the cause of Allah.”
In these Hadiths and Qur’anic verses there is an indication to the great role that the martyrs (Shuhadah) play and the noble status they are given. So, may the pure souls of our nation’s martyrs rejoice mercy and forgiveness from Allah.
O Allah, we seek Your grace to raise their status in degrees and gather them with the righteous.
May Allah the Almighty guide us all to obey Him and obey His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and obey those He have commanded us to obey in line with His orders:
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority amongst you.” [Surah An-Nisaa: 59]
May Allah direct us all to the blessings of the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah of His Messenger (Peace be upon him). Ameen.
Dear brothers and sisters! Many of our righteous martyrs (Shuhadah) have answered the call of duty. They offered their pure souls to defend Nigeria and it’s state and protected their soils with their pure blood. They have proved that love of the religion and the nation is more precious than the whole world and all that is there on its surface. Thus, they set role model for the generations to come, for they are beacons that light their path towards giving as well as embody for them the greatness of sacrifice and magnificence of martyrdom (Shahadah). This meaning was once accentuated by a poet who said:
“The martyr (Shahid) offers his soul when the generous declines to do so, and, indeed, sacrificing the soul is the most generous thing to do.”
The people of Nigeria highly evaluates the sacrifices of the nation’s martyrs. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“To guard the Nation from enemies in Allah’s Cause for one day is better than the world and whatever is on its surface.”
Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty says about the Shuhadah or martyrs:
“And do not say regarding those who have been martyred in Allah’s cause, that they are dead. Nay, they are alive but you perceive it not.” [Qur’an, 2: 154]
And He says:
“Never consider those slain in Allah’s way to be dead. Indeed they are alive, being sustained by their Lord. They are jubilant with what their Lord gives them from His bounty.” [Qur’an, 3: 169-170]
And there are numerous Hadiths on martyrdom or shahadah in Islam. Lets read some Hadiths on martyrdom in Islam:
Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Were it not for some men amongst the believers who dislike to be left behind me and whom I cannot provide with means of conveyance, I would certainly never remain behind any army-unit setting out in Allah’s Cause. By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred.” [Bukhari]
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are seven kinds of martyrs other than those killed in the way of Allah: Someone who is killed by the plague is a martyr, someone who drowns is a martyr, someone who dies of pleurisy is a martyr, someone who dies of a disease of the belly is a martyr, someone who dies by fire is a martyr, someone who dies under a falling building is a martyr and a woman who dies in childbirth is a martyr.” [Muwatta Malik]
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“What do you say among yourselves about the martyr?” They said: “The one who is killed in the cause of Allah.” He said: “In that case the martyrs among my nation would be few: Whoever is killed in the cause of Allah is a martyr; whoever dies in the cause of Allah is a martyr; whoever dies of a stomach disease is a martyr; and whoever dies of the plague is a martyr.” Another chain narrates with the addition of “and the drowned is a martyr.” [Ibn Majah]
Sa’id Bin Zaid reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying:
“He who is killed in defence of his religion is a martyr, he who is killed in self-defence is a martyr, he who is killed in defence of his property is a martyr, and he who is killed in defence of his family is a martyr.” [At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Nasa’i]
This Hadith is a narration from Zaid, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and it describes different types of martyrdom.
The first type of martyrdom mentioned in the Hadith is the one who is killed defending his wealth. This could refer to someone who is attacked and killed while trying to protect their property from theft, banditry or robbery. According to the Hadith, such a person is considered a martyr.
The second type of martyrdom (Shahadah) mentioned is for someone who is killed defending their religion. This could refer to someone who is persecuted or attacked because of their faith or their efforts to spread the message of Islam. According to the Hadith, this person is also considered a martyr (Shahid).
The third type of martyrdom (Shahadah) is for someone who is killed defending their own life or the lives of others. This could refer to someone who is defending themselves or others from an attacker, or someone who is working to protect the innocent from harm. Again, according to the Hadith, this person is considered a martyr (Shahid).
The fourth type of martyrdom (Shahadah) mentioned in the Hadith is for someone who is killed defending their family. This could refer to someone who is trying to protect their loved ones from harm or danger. According to the Hadith, this person is also considered a martyr (Shahid).
Overall, this Hadith emphasises the importance of defending oneself, one’s property, one’s faith, one’s life, and one’s loved ones, and highlights the value and honour of martyrdom (Shahadah) in Islam.
Narrated Abdullah Bin Amr that, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever is killed over his wealth, then he is martyr.” [At-Tirmidhi]
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the, Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“While a man walks along a path, finds a thorny twig lying on the way and puts it aside, Allah would appreciate it and forgive him The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: The martyrs are of five kinds: one who dies of plague; one who dies of diarrhoea (or cholera); one who is drowned; one who is buried under debris and one who dies fighting in the way of Allah.” [Muslim]
It was reported in the Hadith of al-Miqdam Ibn Ma’di Karb that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The martyr (Shahid) has seven blessings from Allah: he is forgiven from the moment his blood is first shed; he will be shown his place in Paradise; he will be spared the trial of the grave; and he will be secure on the Day of the Greatest Terror (the Day of Judgement); there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, one ruby of which is better than this world and all that is in it; he will be married to seventy-two of al-hur al-iyn; and he will be permitted to intercede for seventy of his relatives.”
Sahl Ibn Hanif reported that, The Prophet (Peace be upon him, said:
“Whoever honestly asks Allah for martyrdom, Allah will give him the status of a martyr even if he dies in his bed.” [Muslim]
Respected brothers and sisters! To die a martyr (Shahid) in the Islamic faith is one of the greatest honours. The rewards granted to the martyr are so sublime and are superior to the rewards for performing almost any other righteous act.
The martyr (Shahid) is given seven special favours and privileges from Allah. Once the first drop of his blood is shed, all of his sins are forgiven. Before he dies, the martyr can see the beauty of his palace in Paradise. The martyr will not be tested in the grave, nor will he be punished in the grave. The martyr will not feel fear on the Day of Judgment. A crown of honour will be placed on his head, which has jewels that could illuminate the whole Earth from their brilliance. The martyr will marry the most beautiful women of Paradise. The martyr will be able to intercede for seventy members of his family, who can be rescued from the punishment of the Hellfire and will enter Paradise in honour of the martyr.
In another authentic Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no one is injured in the Path of Allah – and Allah knows best who is truly wounded in His Path – except that he comes (with his wound) on the Day of Resurrection, its colour the colour of blood, and its scent that of musk.” [Muslim]
It is no wonder that we read in the Islamic literature that to die a martyr (Shahid) is the dream of many righteous men and women in Islam, who aspire to the highest ranks in Paradise.
To die a martyr (Shahid) does not mean that one must raise a sword or a gun, stand in the front lines of a battle, and fight. Loss of life and bloodshed are not the goals of a Muslim.
Peaceful and noble people, those who lived upright lives, who worshiped Allah sincerely and stayed away from what Allah has forbidden them, have let out their last breaths in this world as martyrs (Shuhadah), even though they never even carried a weapon.
There are so many ways that a believing Muslim can be granted the honour of dying a martyr (Shahid). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“He who truthfully asks Allah for martyrdom (Shahadah), Allah will raise him to the high status of the martyrs (Shuhadah), even if he dies on his bed.” [Muslim]
As mentioned earlier, from among the martyrs are the one who dies of plague, the one who dies of a stomach disease, the one who dies of a fire, and the one who drowns. Scholars have classified cancer as one of the diseases in which its victim dies a martyr (Shahid). The one who is crushed under a collapsing building and dies is a martyr. The patience and suffering that one endures through the diseases mentioned above or the calamities as fire or drowning or being crushed under the rubble makes these believing Muslims deserving of the honour of martyrdom (Shahadah).
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“He who is killed in the way of Allah is a martyr; he who dies of plague is a martyr; a woman who dies due to pregnancy and a woman who dies during delivery, her baby will drag her into Paradise with the umbilical cord.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Respected servants of Allah! Know that, wallahi if you were to die defending your family from an attackers, from terrorists, from armed bandits; or defending your wealth from an armed robber, or defending yourself from an assailant; or defending your rights and honours or from any kind of mischief maker who is trying to snatch your hard earned rights, you would die a martyrs (Shuhadah).
A man once asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“O Prophet of Allah, what about if a man came to me asking for my money (meaning to take it by force)?” The Prophet said, “Don’t give him your money.” So the man said, “What if he fights me?” The Prophet said, “Fight him (back).” The man asked, “What if he kills me?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Then you are a martyr (Shahid).” [Muslim]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said:
“Whoever is killed defending himself is a martyr, whoever is killed defending his family is a martyr, whoever is killed defending his property is a martyr.” [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
To be a martyr in Islam, how you live your life is just as important as how you die.
Dear brothers and sisters! Some habits and rituals of worship, if performed on a daily basis, can also give us exactly what we are seeking, martyrdom, sometimes without even leaving our home. Take the following examples:
“Whoever recites Allah’s Names in the last three verses of Surah al-Hashr after the dawn or after Maghrib then dies that day or that night, dies a martyr (Shahid).” [At-Tirmidhi]
If you haven’t already memorised those three verses and are not in the habit of saying them every morning and every evening, then that is the next thing on your to-do list.
To always be in a state of purification is another good habit to develop. The Messenger of Allah once said to Anas, his servant boy:
“My son, if you are able to always be on ablution, then do so, for the angel of death when he seizes the servant’s soul while the latter is in ablution, he records martyrdom for him.”
It was reported in a weak chain that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“If death comes to the student of knowledge while he is thus engaged, he dies as a martyr.” [Al-Bazzar]
The one who calls to prayer is also given the status of a martyr. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“The muezzin who expects reward is like the bloodied martyr and when he dies and is buried the worms leave him alone.” [At-Tabarani]
To die a noble, honourable death, one must live a noble, honourable life.
Dear servants of Allah! Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“The martyr (Shahid) feels nothing from the agony of death except as one of you feels from the sting of an ant.” [Ibn Majah]
When a person is martyred in the cause of Allah, what he suffers from the agony or pain of death is similar to the pain that we feel from the sting an ant. This means that the martyr does not suffer the throes and stupors of death the way other people do; rather, the greatest pain he suffers and feels at the time of his death is similar to the quick pain that we feel from the bite of an ant. This is part of the favour of Allah, the Almighty, upon the martyr. He sacrificed his life for the sake of Allah, considering it a small price to pay, and thus Allah alleviated the pain of death from him.
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“No one who has entered Paradise would love to return to the life of this world even if he would be given all that the world contains, except for the martyr (Shahid). He will wish to return to the world and be killed ten more times on account of the honour that he will find.” In another narration: “… on account of the merit of martyrdom (Shahadah) that he will find.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
No one would desire to depart from Paradise after entering it and to return back to the life of this world even if he were given the whole earth with everything that it contains of treasures, luxuries, pleasures, huge palaces, and beautiful gardens, with the exception of the martyr (Shahid). The martyr would love to return to this world ten more times so that each time he would fight in the cause of Allah and be martyred ten times instead of just once on account of the great honour and reward and bountiful blessings that are bestowed on him as a martyr after his death.
O Allah, please confer Your blessings and grant peace upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), his family and all of the companions.
May Allah be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abubakar, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and all of the noble Companions.
O Lord You have blessed us with a homeland of tolerance, so we seek Your favour to make forgiveness amongst our qualities, tolerance our character, compassion our behaviour and giving our culture.
May Allah have mercy on the honourable martyrs of our country and our states and those of the coalition of security agencies and gather them with the righteous. May Allah make their dwelling with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the Prophets and the steadfast affirmers of truth. Indeed, You hear and answer to the supplications.
O Allah, please grant the best reward for the families of the martyrs (Shuhadah) and offer them patience and solace. May Allah grant victory to the soldiers of our country, to all our security agencies, and all the Civilian JTF and ‘Yan Sakai, who gathered to restore the rights to their owners. O Lord, please be by their side and guide the Nigerian people to everything that is good. O Allah, make them rally for the word of truth and legitimacy, and bless them with welfare and stability, O the Most Generous.
O Lord, we beseech You to bless Nigeria, and all of the Muslim countries and the whole world with stability and peace.
O Allah, we seek Your grace to increase Nigeria in delight and beauty and give the best of rewards and recompense to whoever sowed the seeds of goodness and welfare in it. Indeed, You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.
May Allah grant success and continued health and care to all our leaders.
O Allah, please forgive all of the Muslims, men and women, living and dead.
O Lord, forgive and show mercy on them and bless them with Your kindness and satisfaction. O Lord, forgive and show mercy on our parents, relatives and whoever has done a favour to us.
We pray to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, to continue blessing Nigeria and all our States with stability and welfare and bless their provisions. O Allah, please continue blessing Nigeria with safety and security.
O Allah, we seek Your favour to send us wealthy and beneficial rain and make us not amongst those who are despondent. O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, relieve us!
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected]; or +2348038289761.
This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Jumadal Ula 17, 1445 AH (December 1st, 2023).

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