Are Those Dying Of Epidemic Shaheed?

Question

My wife died due to CA Ovary. I have read in the Sahih of Bukhari that if a patient dies due to abdomen problem he is "Shaheed". Can you please put some light on this?


Answer

The traditions which tell us that people who die of some particular diseases or accidents are shaheed are not taken in literal sense. Taking them in literal sense does not correspond to the express teachings of the Qur'an. Therefore, we need to interpret them or keep them under consideration. We believe that shaheed as a term of Islamic religious literature is one who spends his life in the struggle of uplifting the word of God and even sacrifices his life for this cause. Obviously this person must be obeying all the religious injunctions without a single exception. We cannot testify that such and such a person attained to the status of shaheed even when he/she died in the battlefield fighting against the enemies of God. This is because nobody can learn the true motives of a warrior.

Taking a person who died an accidental death as shaheed negates the whole system of trial and test of this life and the purpose of the final judgment based on pure and complete justice of God. The narratives can best be explained as having reference to those who died while for example in an expedition but not in direct combat. We should believe that once such persons left their homes for the sake of God willing to offer their lives for His sake they must merit the reward of those who die in actual war.

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