In the last two months, we have seen a staggering number of deaths. Over 18,000 innocent Palestinians have been killed, from which 7,800 have been children. With at least 8,000 people still missing or feared buried under the rubble, the actual death toll could be far higher. More than 50,000 people have been wounded, many with life-changing injuries. And the vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have already been forced from their homes, many having to flee several times.
In moments like these, we are reminded of Allah’s promise for such people. Allah ﷻ says:
فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّيْ لَآ أُضِيْعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنْكُمْ مِّنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَىٰ ، بَعْضُكُمْ مِّنْ بَّعْضٍ ، فَالَّذِيْنَ هَاجَرُوْا وَأُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوْذُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِيْ وَقَاتَلُوْا وَقُتِلُوْا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ، ثَوَابًا مِّنْ عِنْدِ اللّٰهِ ، وَاللّٰهُ عِنْدَه حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ
So their Lord responded to them: “I will never deny any of you, whether male or female, the reward of your deeds; each of you is from the other. Those who migrated and were expelled from their homes, who were persecuted for My sake, who fought, and were killed—I will certainly forgive their sins and admit them into Gardens under which rivers flow, as a reward from Allah. And with Allah is the finest reward!” (3:195).
In this āyah, Allah ﷻ is promising the believers that their efforts and actions for His sake will never be wasted. He will forgive their sins, admit them into Paradise, and grant them the best rewards.
They Are In The Best Ribat
A few verses later, Allah ﷻ says,
يـٰٓأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا اصْبِرُوْا وَصَابِرُوْا وَرَابِطُوْا ، وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“Believers! Patiently endure, persevere, guard the frontiers, and be mindful of Allah, so you may be successful” (3:200).
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The best and most virtuous of your ribāṭ is ‘Asqalān” (Ṭabarānī). Ribāṭ in the path of Allah means guarding the Muslim frontiers from its enemies and thwarting any attempts to invade the Muslim lands. It is one of the most virtuous deeds. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Doing ribāṭ for one day in the path of Allah is better than the world and what it contains” (Bukhārī).
ʿAsqalān is a famous historical sea-port in Palestine, about 20 km from Gaza. Today, all the people living in Gaza are in ribāṭ. The blessed al-Masjid Al-Aqsa is protected because of these honourable people and their sacrifices. Despite being besieged for 17 years, they’ve stoutly remained on this blessed frontline defending Al-Aqsa.
Sabr: An Unlimited Reward
We have seen unparalleled examples of ṣabr (patience, steadfastness and perseverance) over the past two months. We have watched videos which have brought to life the stories of the Prophets (ʿalayhimus-salām) who underwent numerous difficulties — persecution, the death and brutal murder of loved ones, severe illnesses, forced migration, economic deprivation — and yet they responded with great resolve and patience.
We read about the immense perseverance and courage of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ, and today the Palestinians have shown us practically what this looked like.
The reward of ṣabr is unlimited, and we hope that the people of the blessed lands will be rewarded in this manner for their ṣabr. Allah ﷻ says,
إِنَّمَّا يُوَفَّى ٱلصَّٰبِرُوْنَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
“Certainly, those who observe patience will be given their reward in full without measure” (39:10).
Ṣabr is the path to attaining Allah’s forgiveness, mercy, guidance and love. It is the secret to worldly and eternal success. In the Qur’ān, Allah informs us that He is with the ṣabirīn (the patient) i.e. ṣabr leads to one enjoying the special companionship (maʿiyyah) of Allah. This special ‘companionship’ results in Allah loving you, protecting you, supporting you and drawing you close to Him.
Ṣabr is a special gift from Allah. Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (raḥimahullāh) said, “Patience is a marvellous treasure. Allah only gifts it to those who are precious to Him.”
We pray that with their first dip into Paradise —as taught to us by our beloved Prophet ﷺ — these special people will forget the torture, oppression and difficulties they underwent in this world; and the angels will welcome them from every door and congratulate them, saying:
سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ
“Peace be upon you for your perseverance. How excellent is the ultimate abode!” (13:24).
The Lofty Status of the Martyrs
In the last two months, over 18,000 innocent Muslims have been martyred. And the number is likely to be higher. These people may be mere numbers to many around the world — however, each one of these special believers is known to Allah. He ﷻ wrote a heroic story for every one of them, and He will reward each one with unimaginable rewards.
Allah ﷻ says,
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِيْنَ قُتِلُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَآءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُوْنَ فَرِحِيْنَ بِمَآ اٰتَاهُمُ اللّٰهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ، وَيَسْتَبْشِرُوْنَ بِالَّذِيْنَ لَمْ يَلْحَقُوْا بِهِمْ مِّنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ، أَلَّا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُوْنَ يَسْتَبْشِرُوْنَ بِنِعْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَفَضْلٍ، وَّأَنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُضِيْعُ أَجْرَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ
“Never think of those martyred in the cause of Allah as dead. In fact, they are alive with their Lord, well provided for — rejoicing in Allah’s bounties and being delighted for those yet to join them. There will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve. They are joyful for receiving Allah’s grace and bounty, and that Allah will not let the reward of the believers go to waste” (3:169-171).
When the Companions (radiy Allāhu ʿanhum) were martyred in the Battle of Uḥud, Allah placed their souls inside green birds. They would roam around in Jannah, drinking from its rivers, eating from its fruits, and returning to rest in golden lamps in the shade of Allah’s Throne. When they saw how Allah honoured them, they wished for their brothers in the world to know, so Allah revealed the above āyah and delivered their message to us.
In this āyah, Allah tells us that the martyrs are ‘alive with their Lord’ (ʿinda Rabbihim). They are near Him and enjoy a very lofty status. They are from the muqarrabūn, those drawn close to Him: enjoying the blessings and delights of Paradise.
Martyrs are not washed or prepared for burial, but buried in the clothes they happen to be wearing, because they are considered clean and pure, and because in reality they are not dead. They continue to live, enjoying the hospitality of their Lord, relishing His company and boundless rewards. Likewise, the martyr is not just alive, but his pure blood also gives life to and revives the dead Ummah.
Reflect: Read the above three verses again and think of how Allah describes the status of the martyrs. How many descriptions can you find?
The martyrs are the only ones who will wish to be returned to the world. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “No one who enters Paradise would like to return to the world, even if he could have everything on earth — except for the martyr. He will wish to return to the world and be killed ten more times due to the honour and reward he receives” (Bukhārī). Despite having seen the pleasures of Paradise, they will wish to return to the world and be martyred again, for the sake of Allah. Imagine the bliss they must have experienced when being martyred!
The martyrs are chosen by Allah. Shahādah is a gift: it is the best death. Allah ﷻ says, “We alternate these days (of victory and defeat) among people so that Allah may reveal the (true) believers, choose martyrs from among you” (3:140). Their deaths were not random. Each and every martyr has been chosen by Allah ﷻ so that they can be rewarded with the best of rewards.
The martyr does not feel the pain of death. When we watch the news, we feel devastated by the brutal murder of our innocent brothers and sisters. We should feel comforted by the words of the Prophet ﷺ who said, “The martyr does not feel the pain of being killed except as one of you feels the pinch of an insect bite” (Tirmidhī).
With the first drop of the martyr’s blood, all his sins are forgiven, and he is saved from the trials and questioning of the grave. When the Companions (radiy Allāhu ʿanhum) asked the Prophet ﷺ the reason for this, he said, “The flash of the swords on top of his head was sufficient as a trial” (Nasā’ī). In other words, the questioning in the grave is to determine whether the person was a true believer. The martyr is not in need of this, as his staying firm in the face of enemies already determined his true status. If īmān was not firmly planted in his heart, he would have fled.
The steadfastness and perseverance of our brothers and sisters in Palestine under the constant bombardment is sufficient proof of their īmān and their being protected from the trials of the grave, bi’idhnillah.
The Reward of Those Injured
Over 50,000 people have been injured in these heartbreaking months. Many of these injuries are life-altering. Imagine as a young child, losing both of your legs. And then, upon waking, you learn that both your parents were killed. The emotional and physical anguish would be beyond words.
Doctors have been forced to operate on patients without anaesthesia. Imagine having your limbs amputated without anaesthesia or morphine!
Similarly, there are thousands of serious cases suffering from burn or trauma wounds. Doctors are reporting that there are injuries which they have never seen before.
As believers, we must be certain that Allah ﷻ sees every wound, and hears every cry of pain. We must be certain that Allah will generously reward these special people for enduring great difficulties for His sake. On the Day of Judgement, people will come in different states: some will be deaf, dumb, blind and dragged on their faces. Those were wounded in His path, however, will have their own badge of honour. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “By The One in whose Hands my soul is! Whoever is wounded in the path of Allah — and Allah is Most Aware of who is wounded in His path — will come on the Day of Judgement with his wound having the colour of blood but the scent of musk” (Bukhārī). The wounds of the wounded will testify for the person on the Day of Judgement, and make him stand out amongst the creation of Allah.
The Children & Their Parents
It is heartbreaking to see that over 7,000 children have been killed in two months. However, as believers, we can find comfort that these special children are now under the best care:
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The children of the believers reside in a mountain in Paradise, and are taken care of by Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) and Sārah (ʿalayhas-salām), until he will return them to their parents on the Day of Judgement” (Aḥmad).
Not only are they in Paradise, but they will also take their parents with them into Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said: It will be said to them, “Enter Paradise.” They will say, “Not until our parents enter.” So it will be said, “Enter Paradise, you and your parents!” (Nasā’ī). In another ḥadth the Prophet ﷺ consoled the Companion whose child had passed away, and he said to him: “Which would you like better, to enjoy his company all your life, or to come to any of the gates of Paradise on the Day of Judgement, and find that he arrived there before you, and he is opening the gate for you?’” (Nasā’ī).
Losing a child is one of the most painful experiences a person can undergo. But the reward of staying patient over it is immense. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When a servant’s child dies, Allah says to His angels, “Did you take the soul of My servant’s child?” They say, “Yes.” So He ﷻ says, “Did you take the soul of the fruit of his heart?” They say, “Yes.” So he ﷻ says, “What did My servant say?” They say, “He praised You and said: ‘To Allah we belong and to Allah we return.’” So Allah says, “Build a house for My servant in Paradise and name it the House of Praise” (Bukhārī).
May Allah al-Shakūr (The Most Appreciative) reward the people of Palestine with the best of rewards, in this world and in the hereafter.