Desire for Martyrdom
Dying as a martyr is considered grace and bounty from Allah (swt). We see in the lives of the noble Companions (ra) they fervently desired martyrdom and strived for it. When the Battle of Badr was announced, Umm Waqarah (ra) rushed to the Prophet (sa) and sought permission to participate. She was a woman who studied, understood and lived by the Quran she had read the verse: “March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allah. This is better for you. If you but knew.” (At-Tawbah 9:41)
She approached the Prophet (sa) and asked if she too could participate in the battle by nursing the injured. She hoped that Allah (swt) might grant her martyrdom. The Prophet (sa) instructed her to stay at home and Allah (swt) will grant her martyrdom. She submitted because she had read: “He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad sa), has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then We have not sent you (O Muhammad) as a watcher over them.” (An-Nisa 4:80)
Umm Waraqah (ra) returned home performed ablution and made Duas to Allah (swt) to make the Muslims victorious. Other women joined in and they all made Duas. Muslims were victorious! How could Allah (swt) not answer the supplications of a woman who kept herself busy in His remembrance? She was pious woman that kept away from all kinds of evils including the sins of the tongue. She was watchful of her speech and did not utter words that would displease Allah (swt).
As Muslims returned home victorious, Umm Waraqah’s (ra) desire for martyrdom reignited. She anxiously waited for the prophecy to be fulfilled.
She had appointed a couple to help her with domestic chores. Despite being wealthy and coming from a prestigious lineage Umm Waraqah (ra) was highly respectful of her servants. She understood that the difference in wealth and status is Allah’s division to test us. Are we going to become tyrant like Pharaoh and stingy like Qaroon? Or are we going to become generous like Abu Bakr (ra), Abu Talhah (ra) and humble like Musab ibn Umair (ra)?
She did not allow her wealth to seep into her heart. She would reward her servants generously. Her servants, in return, looked after her needs and were honest in their responsibilities. However, wealth is a Fitnah!
One morning Umar (ra) passed by her house and did not hear her recitation. It worried him. Because it was not of Umm Waraqah (ra) to not wake up before Fajr and recite the Quran. He went to the Masjid, offered the prayer and gathered the Companions (ra) to visit Umm Waraqah (ra). Reaching her door, they knocked and called out her name. But there was absolute silence. The Companions found this strange and agreed to step inside. In the corner was a body wrapped in sheets. When they lifted the cover it was Umm Waraqah (ra) who had been strangled in her sleep by her servants. Her kindness and benevolence was paid by murder.
It grieved Umar (ra) that the female Imam had died. But at once, he remembered the prophecy and knew this was its fulfilment.
The servants were arrested who later confessed their crimes.
It is recorded in Musnad Ahmad that Umm Waraqah (ra) had promised her servants freedom after her passing. The servants could not wait for that long; Shaitan made them hasten and lost both their lives and respect.
Lessons to draw: A Hadith from Sahl ibn Hunaif (ra) tells us that he who truthfully asks Allah (swt) for martyrdom, Allah (swt) will raise him to the high status of the martyrs, even if he died on his bed. We must have a sincere desire in our heart for martyrdom. For that, we must first, become true servants of Allah (swt) sincere in our commitment to Him.
Also, remembering all the commands of Allah (swt) and applying them at the right time truly depicts an alert mind. Umm Waraqah (ra) showed us what it means to “…hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein,” (Al-Baqarah 2: 63).
Many of us are the students or the teachers of the Quran, but how many of us remember the verses of Allah (swt) at the right time and apply them in our lives without giving in to peer pressure? It is a question that we must ask ourselves.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)