The ISIS published article “Stand and Die Upon That for Which Your Brothers Died” dangerously talks about the false martyrdom of violent extremists concealing themselves in the guise of being true Muslims. In this article, the ISIS claims that Allah has ordained the killing of the non-Muslims and the apostates and that this is not punishable as long as it proceeds with tawhid and the Sunnah. This article also claims that Allah preserves His religion however He wills and that the death of one person cannot damage the religion.


Let us look at the discussions closely and provide a clear understanding and narrative as to why we should not stand and die upon that for which the violent extremists died.


To die a martyr or Shaheed in Islam is one of the greatest honors that a Muslim can gain. The rewards granted to a martyr are far more superior compared to the rewards for performing almost any other righteous act. A martyr is given special favors and privileges from Allah.   But being a Shaheed is only applied to those who sacrifice their lives for Allah’s cause. 


Now, in order to earn the title of Shaheed, one must have the correct Niyat or intention, and action. These two components shall not be separated from each other to become a Shaheed. In order for intentions to be considered as correct in the eyes of Allah, the action must always be in line to the teachings of Islam. A Shaheed has no desire to die for the sake of escaping life.  A Muslim should want to continue living and never even wish he was dead because his life could serve the purpose of Allah and he could continue doing good deeds. Muslims generally love life. The loss of life and bloodshed are not the goals of a Muslim and not, in any way, the aim of Islam.


Violent extremists believe that in order to die as a Shaheed, one must raise a sword, stand in the front lines of a battle, and fight to the death. Terrorists bestow the title of Shaheed to all their comrades and leaders who died for their cause including those who blew themselves up in suicide bombing. Little do they know that good intentions should also follow good actions. The killing of oneself through suicide bombing or any other violent means is clearly prohibited in Islam. We all know that the intentions of violent extremists and terrorists are for the pleasure of Allah. However, their intention should also be translated into good actions. Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad, said, “Allah purifies good deeds and makes them correct. Indeed, if deeds are sincere and incorrect, they will not be accepted. If deeds are correct and insincere, they will not be accepted. Rather, they are only accepted if they are both sincere and correct. Sincere means they are done for Allah alone and correct means they are done according to the Sunnah”.


The Prophet once said to his companions, “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” The Prophet said: “Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers, fasting, and charity, but also with insults, slander, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. The oppressed will each be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds run out before justice is fulfilled, then their sins will be cast upon him and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.”


Unlike what the ISIS article clearly did, Muslims should not judge dead people whether they will enter hell-fire or paradise. Rather, Muslims should judge them based on their actions. Muslims know that violent extremism, suicide bombing and killing others are all great sins in Islam and that is clear. Violent extremists who died leading violent acts shall be condemned and shall not be tolerated. Giving them the title of Shaheed is not only inappropriate, but also a disgrace for honorable Muslims who were given this accolade.


Muslim had narrated that the Prophet said: “Verily, the first people to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who was martyred. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known, and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I fought in your cause until I was martyred. Allah will say: You have lied, for you fought only that it would be said you were brave, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.”


Finally, the above only means that not all who died fighting shall be regarded as Shaheed. It is clear that only those who fight in accordance to the teachings of Islam and with both good intention and action are the true Shaheed


Violent extremism and terrorism are not in line to the principles of Islam. Thus, we call on our fellow Muslim brothers to not stand and die in the path of violent extremists because this is not true martyrdom. Their deceit taints the true meaning of our religion and puts a shame into the beliefs and principles that we hold dearly.