Shaheed – Armed , Robbery etc.
Q: Recently there have been many armed robberies and many people have been instantly killed. Kindly explain the Shar’ee ruling pertaining to giving Ghusl and Kafn to such people.
A: There are two categories of Shaheed; a) Considered a Shaheed in this world as well as in the hereafter, b) Considered a Shaheed only in the hereafter and not in this world.
Being considered a Shaheed in this world as well is in respect to the rules pertaining to Ghusl, Kafan, Janaaza, etc. and being considered a Shaheed only in the hereafter refers to the great rewards and lofty positions promised by Allah Ta’ala for a Shaheed.
A Shaheed of the first category refers to an adult Muslim (male or female), free from any impurity that necessitates Ghusl, for example, Haydh, Nifaas, Janaabat, etc. who was killed instantly in a Shar’ee Jihaad or was killed unjustly. If a person was attacked and shot at point blank range and died instantly without benefiting from any worldly cause (medication, food, drink, etc.) then he/she will be regarded as a Shaheed in his burial proceedings. (Raddul Mukhtaar vol.2 pg.250; HM Saeed).
The instrument used to kill the person (gun, knife, etc.) does not make a difference. (Tahtaawi pg.344; Qadeemi).
A worldly Shaheed will be buried without giving him/her Ghusl and without clothing him/her in burial clothes (Kafan). His/her excess clothing (jacket, jersey, etc.) and other personal little items such as weapons, money, wallet, etc. will be removed and included in his inheritance. Only Janaaza Salaat will be performed.
If a person was found dead and it is unknown who killed him, then this person will not be regarded as a Shaheed of the first type since it cannot be established as to whether he was killed unjustly or not. If the person did not die instantly but instead, he lived on even for a few minutes, and was able to attain some type of worldly benefit from this world (medication, food, drink, etc.), then he/she will not be included in this first type.
The second type of Shaheed will be treated like a normal deceased person. He/she will be given Ghusl and be clothed in the Sunnat Kafan after which the Janaza Salaat will be performed. However, such a Shaheed will be rewarded by Allah Ta’ala. Examples of this type of Shaheed are many, some of which are; a person who drowns, a person who dies in a plague, a person who passes away due to an illness of the stomach, a woman who passes away due to child birth, a person who passes away in a motor car accident, etc.