Are You Considered a Martyr If You Die In An Earthquake Or a Flood?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: If you die in an earthquake, are you considered a shaheed? I know that if you die giving birth, or due to stomach pains, or in water, you’re a shaheed. But are you a shaheed if you die in an earthquake or any other natural disaster? For example, what kind of water-related death is the death of a shaheed? Say you die in a tsunami, would that considered death in water or death due to natural disaster?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Dying due to a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood, is a form of martyrdom.

The scholars have mentioned that martyrdom (shahada) can be of three types:

1. The one who is considered a martyr in this world and the next,

2. The one who is considered a martyr in this world but does not attain its full reward in the next, and

3. The one who is considered a martyr only in the next world, meaning he or she will get the reward a martyr gets.

Dying due to a natural disaster falls into the third category. As such, unlike the first two categories, such an individual will be washed and shrouded in a normal manner. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Taqi Usmani, Darse Tirmidhi]

The fact that such people are considered to have the reward of martyrdom is based on the statement of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), “The martyrs are five: the one who dies of a stomach illness, the one who dies of the plague,  the one who drowns, the one who is crushed, and the one who dies [fighting] in the path of Allah.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

Other narrations add to the list individuals who die of burns, woman who die while pregnant, and so forth. [Muwatta, Musnad Ahmad]

Imam Suyuti has a complete treatise on the issue citing many of the narrations that mention who is considered a martyr titled Abwab al-Sa`aadat fi Asbab al-Shahada. The categories are many, and so we pray that Allah make us amongst them.

And Allah knows best


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Stark Contrasts – A Desire to Find Meaning: The Japan Earthquake & Habib Umar’s North American Tour – Nazim Baksh


Stark Contrasts – A Desire to Find Meaning

The Japan Earthquake & Habib Umar’s “Tranquility Amidst Turbulence” North America Tour


Stark Contrasts – A Desire to Find Meaning (at

by Ustadh Nazim Baksh

After yesterday’s horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I felt compelled to say something about the theme that was chosen for Habib Umar’s tour – “Tranquility Amidst Turbulence – A Prophetic Message for our Times.”

This 8.9 magnitude earthquake was caused by a megathrust, i.e. one tectonic plate shoved or thrust under another. In this case, it took place 15 miles beneath the floor of the sea causing a rupture 186 miles long and 93 miles wide. It caused at least 80 aftershocks some measuring 6.9 in magnitude.


Although this all happened 80 miles off the coast of Japan, the most prepared nation in the world when it comes to earthquakes, it caused a series of massive tsunamis which sent waves slamming into towns and villages along the coast, destroying lives and property at a scale that the nation is still trying to fathom.

The quake was assessed at 700 times more powerful than Haiti’s earthquake in 2010. An important footnote is that Haiti’s earthquake was caused by a shifting of the tectonic plates, a very different and a less disruptive occurrence from a thrust earthquake.

The energy alone that this earthquake radiated is almost equal to one month’s worth of energy consumption in the United States. It’s force was so strong that it moved the island of Honshu 8 feet to the east according to U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Ken Hudnut. And a significant detail we can’t afford to overlook is what NASA observed. This quake sped up the earth’s rotation by 1.6 microseconds.

Why is this detail significant for Muslims? It has to do with an important Hadith that can be found in the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari pertaining to the Signs of the End of Times. Abu Huraira reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say that “the hour will not come” until two big groups fight each other, the coming of 30 Dajjals claiming to be God’s Messengers, the removal of religious knowledge on account of the death of ‘Ulema. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, then said, “wa takshuru al-zalazil” and earthquakes will increase. Immediately following this sentence he said “wa yataqarabu al-zaman” and time will decrease. First, everything about the Signs of the Time are literal. They are not figurative or metaphorical. Second, there is a relationship between the two signs.

Some translators have rendered “wa yataqarabu al-zaman” as “time will pass quickly” perhaps because they assume that time is a fixed entity. However, Allah created time and He can increase it or decrease it and we know from many ahadith that this happened in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him.

At the NASA Jet Propulsion lab in California, scientists observed that the Sumatra earthquake of Dec. 2004 measuring 9 in magnitude caused a shift of the earth’s axis by a whole 3 inches. This in turn caused the earth’s rotation to speed up thus shortening the day by 6.8 millionth of a second (NASA’s scientists can measure a day to 20 millionth of a second). Add to this the impact of the Chile earthquake which shortened the day by an estimated 1.26 millionth of a second. And now the impact of Japan’s earthquake will cause a further shortening of the 24 hours day we take for granted. This might not keep you up at night but scientists worry it can affect animals and insects and in some cases disrupt the GPS (Global Positioning Systems).

While science tries to digest and interpret these events as natural disasters for us, believers need to have awe of the majesty of God’s power.

With Habib Umar’s visit, we have the opportunity to witness the tranquility that accompanies a servant who submits his will to the Will of Allah and the dazzling spirit of sakina that radiates from a scholar determined to walk in the footsteps of the Messenger of God.


Videos from the “Help Haiti, Heal Haiti” Emergency Online Fundraiser: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Mohamed Magid, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Tahir Anwar, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Imam Khalid Latif and Others

Just in case you missed the “Help Haiti, Heal Haiti” Emergency Online Fundraiser, here are the videos from the event:

Over $105,000 Raised Through the “Help Haiti, Heal Haiti” Emergency Online Fundraiser – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, and Others Exhort Us to Support Our Neighbors in Haiti

As-salamu alaikum,
May this reach you in the best state of health and iman. Ameen.

Earlier today, Islamic Relief, SeekersGuidance, MSA National, United for ChangeFawakih Institute, and Relief Works banded together for an emergency online fundraiser to alleviate the suffering of the victims of Haiti Earthquake. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital, resulting in wide spread devastation and destruction. Several Muslim organizations immediately initiated relief efforts, including SeekersGuidance.

Alhamdulillah, thanks to you and your contributions, we were able to raise over $105,000 in just two hours. If you were unable to attend the event, we will be uploading pictures and videos soon, but please take a moment and make a donation to Islamic Relief for the noble cause of eliminating global hunger. You can make a donation here.

Special Thanks
We would like to give special thanks to our wonderful scholars and speakers – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Mohamed Magid, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Tahir Anwar, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, Imam Khalid Latif, Joshua Salam, Nader Khan, Nura Sediqe, Christopher Abdurrehman Blauvelt, and Faraz Siddiqui.

We would also like to thank key members of the SeekersGuidance staff and team, especially Sidi Khuram Zaman, Sidi Abu Bakr Batasi (Outreach), Tarek El-Messidi (Direct Programs), Ibraheem Shakfeh (Outreach) for their efforts in making this event a success on such short notice. And to Naeem Muhammad, Anwar Khan, and Sheema of Islamic Relief USA and Sr. Hafsa Hasan of Islamic Relief Canada.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf made a surprise live webcast at the end of the fundraiser

Imam Zaid’s Challenge: Let us raise $1,000,000 for the people of Haiti

The original goal for the fundraiser was $100,000 and by its conclusion over $105,000 was raised. Imam Zaid Shakir said that we as a community must strive our hardest and should try and raise $1,000,000 for the people of Haiti.

Our income as a community is $170 billion. Brothers and sisters, what is one million out of $170 billion? Its nothing! We can do this and inshaAllah, we will do this! … We are a community that is on this earth to make a difference and to do positive things … Remember the saying of our Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) “Allah will continue to help His servant as long as His servant is helping his brother.”

To facilitate this, SeekersGuidance will give a free course for the Winter 2010 semester to anyone who donates over $500. (To view our course catalog, go to Once you’ve donated, send an e-mail to our help desk stating “Haiti Online Fundraiser Donation” in the subject.

Donate Now!

You can donate at any one of the following links:



IR Worldwide:


The Call of Compassion

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, founder of and instructor at SeekersGuidance, drew connections between the character of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the last speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on March 31, 1968 –  just four days before his assassination.  (“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation …. It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, “That was not enough! But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me.” That’s the question facing America today.”

This is the call of the Prophets. It is the call of compassion. It is a call of mercy. Let us answer that call. For it is, “The merciful who are granted mercy by the all-Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Worlds will be merciful to you,” said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He said, “Be merciful to those on earth:” Whoever they may be, if any person who is in need, if any thing that is in need, it is the believer’s duty to hasten and assist.”

May Allah (Most High) grant us success and accept our efforts. Ameen!


SeekersGuidance Staff

SeekersGuidance Supports Islamic Relief’s Efforts for Victims of Haiti Earthquake

The people of Haiti are in dire need of support after their country was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake this past Tuesday. 45,000 to 50,000 people are feared to be dead and many more injured. (BBC) Homes, schools, and hospitals have collapsed with people trapped inside them.

IslamicRelief has announced that it is teaming up with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to give $1 million in aid to the survivors of the earthquake. (Washington Times) Naeem Muhammad of Islamic Relief (and Native Deen singer) is leaving the US on Saturday for Haiti to assist with the relief efforts. Donations to Islamic Relief can be made here.

Eyewitness Accounts

Several brothers and sisters from Haiti and the Dominican Republic have given SeekersGuidance eyewitness accounts and updates.

Ibn Ambroise (Haiti):

“Brother Abou Bakr lost his sister when their house crumbled (she made shahada a few months ago). They are gathered at a masjid in Port-au-Prince that still stands, alhamdulillah! Their condition isn’t too good. They have no food, no water, no clothing . . .  [very little] medicine.”

Abdus Salam (Dominican Republic):

“We are in contact with brothers that are in the masjid in Haiti and it was said that all the masjid are standing while all the churches were destroyed. So the brothers and siters are waiting there for the help of Allah. Ya Allah make it easy on them . . . Ameen!

[Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s response: “O Allah, protect the mosques and the churches–the Muslims, Christians, and others!”]

“They are really in need. They need food and all the help [they can get]. They [said] that their houses are all destroyed.”

Sr. Rodriguez Rosie (Dominican Republic):

“[Shaykh] Faraz, We have bad news. Our Haitian brother Abdurahman lost his sister, his  brother and his cousin yesterday because of the earthquake. He is very  sad, I ask you to please make lots of duas for him and his family.  We really need to give our brothers a hand…inshAllah.”

Healing Haiti Online Fundraiser

InshaAllah, SeekersGuidance, Islamic Relief, and MSA National will be hosting an emergency online fundraiser for the survivors of the Haiti earthquake. The online fundraiser is scheduled for this Sunday January 17 at 2pm EST. So far the following speakers are confirmed: Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Tahir Anwar, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Khalid Latif, and Nader Khan.

SeekersGuidance Winter Session Courses Open: Learn to Live.