The Thirty Fourth Narration: The best of the martyrs is Hamzah ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib and then a man who stands up to a tyrant whilst commanding him to do good and forbidding him from evil due to which he is killed.

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The Thirty Fourth Narration

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:


افضل الشهداء حمزة بن عبد المطلب ، ورجل قام إلى إمام جائر فأمره ونهاه فقتله

The best of the martyrs is Hamzah ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib and then a man who stands up to a tyrant whilst commanding him to do good and forbidding him from evil due to which he is killed.[1]


This narration has a sound chain of narration. Many of the scholars have pronounced it authentic such as Ibn al Hajar in Fath al Bari. Some have narrated it with the wording:

سيد الشهداء

The leader of the martyrs.


Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:

  1. The great virtue of the uncle and foster brother of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hamzah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as one who had attained the highest stages of martyrdom.


  1. The virtue of the Ahlul Bayt as they are the only family that can boast having the leader of martyrs amongst them.


  1. The immense virtue of calling towards Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.


  1. Calling towards good and forbidding from evil is fard al kifayah (a compulsory duty imposed on the ummah as a whole).


  1. All martyrs are not of one status. Their status differs according to their sincerity of intention, submission, and piety.


  1. Advising tyrant rulers holds a special reward as it can be a means of betterment for an entire nation. The status of such a martyr is befitting.


  1. Rebellion against a tyrant ruler is not a praiseworthy act. If it were so Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have instructed thus. He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, however, instructed to simply advise them. One can therefore understand that advising tyrant rulers forms part of the Shari’ah whilst rebelling against them does not.


  1. Issues attributed to the Imam should be investigated and established and not merely rumours of the mill. If one admonishes the Imam on mere rumours he will be doing an act of evil instead of good.


  1. The innumerable virtues of one who is killed whilst advising a tyrant ruler.


  1. One who advises a tyrant ruler and is killed reaches the highest stages of martyrdom.


  1. This narration is cited as proof for those that deem anyone unjustly killed a martyr. Other narrations support this view as well. Take for example the hadith of the Muwatta’ wherein Zaid ibn Aslam says:


أن عمر بن الخطاب كان يقول اللهم إني أسألك شهادة في سبيلك ووفاة ببلد رسولك

‘Umar ibn al Khattab used to make the following supplication, “O Allah, I ask you for martyrdom in your path and death in the city of your prophet.”[2]


Abu al Walid al Baji says:


وقد أجمع المسلمون على أن هذا الدعاء مستجاب، وأنه – رضي الله عنه – شهيد، وهذا يقتضي أن من قتل على هذا الوجه، وإن لم يقتل في حرب ولا مدافعة، فإنه شهيد

There remains consensus that this supplication of his was accepted and that he radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a martyr. This means that whoever is killed in this manner, even though it may not be battle, will be a martyr.[3]


NEXT⇒  The Thirty Fifth Narration

[1] Tarikh Baghdad li al Khatib; Al Amali al Mutlaqah li ibn al Hajar, Hadith: 182. 

[2] Muwatta’, Hadith: 1680.

[3] Awjaz al Masalik, vol. 9 pg. 353.

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