Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
Can I ask Allah for death, and is desiring martyrdom obligatory? I’m asking based on the hadith of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him): “Whoever dies without having fought in God’s Cause or having thought of fighting in His Cause, will die while having one of the qualities of hypocrisy”?
Also, can we ask Allah to make us die without being killed or martyred?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.
Having a sincere desire to give everything, even your life, for the sake of Allah is a noble desire, but this does not mean that you should wish for or desire death.
Instead, you should ask Allah to give you a beneficial life in His service for as long as life is good and beneficial for you. Believers should also desire that their lives and their deaths be for the sake of Allah, but they should focus on living their best lives, not on dying, and Allah knows best.
Allah Loves for You to Live
Please know that Allah loves you as He tests those He loves, and we love you, so as difficult as life may seem, do not wish for death. Instead, seek assistance from Allah through patience and prayer, seek counselling, turn to professionals and authorities who can assist you, and trust that the All-Merciful and Majestic Allah will never forsake you, and Allah knows best.
The Hadith in Question:
Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever dies without having fought (in the cause of Allah) or having thought of fighting (in the cause of Allah) will die while having one of the qualities of hypocrisy.” [Muslim]
This means that any man who dies, although capable of fighting in the cause of Allah and presented with a legitimate opportunity to do so but neither fought nor had the intention to do so, has something of hypocrisy. The intention is proved by preparing for it (when the appropriate and legitimate need arises).
Allah (Most High) says: “And if they had intended to go forth, they would have made some preparation for it.” [Quran, 9:46]. Whoever dies in this state is similar to the hypocrites and laggers who do not participate in legitimate Jihad. Since whoever imitates a category of people belongs to them. Therefore every believer must have the intention of fighting in the way of God, should a legitimate need to do so arises and is ordered by the legitimate Caliph.
Is Martyrdom Only for Fighters?
Sahl Ibn Hanif (Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever honestly asks Allah for martyrdom, Allah will give him the status of a martyr even if he dies in his bed.” [Muslim]
Should One Wish for Death? – Don’t Wish for Death
We must reiterate that you must seek professional counselling if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “None of you should wish for death, or pray for it before it comes, for when one of you dies, his good deeds come to an end, and for the believer, a long life will not increase him in anything but good.” [Muslim]
Remember to use every negative situation to motivate you to turn fervently to Allah. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The best of people is the one who lives long and does good.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]
It was narrated from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “None of you should wish for death. Either he is a doer of good, so perhaps he may do more good, or he is an evildoer, but perhaps he will give up his evil ways.” [Nasa’i]
It was narrated from Anas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “None of you should wish for death because of some harm that befalls him, rather he should say: Oh Allah, keep me alive as long as life is good for me, and cause me to die when death is good for me.” [Nasa’i]
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.