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Martyr Burial Philosophy from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini and Imamieh Jurisprudence

Sajad Rhimikia, Yoones Nikandish*

Department of Jurisprudence and Law, Yasooj Branch, Islamic Azad University Yasooj, Iran.

*Corresponding Author:
Yoones Nikandish
Department of Jurisprudence and Law
Yasooj Branch, Islamic Azad University Yasooj, Iran
Tel: +98 21 4486 5179
Email: [email protected]

Received Date: May 06, 2016; Accepted Date: July 20, 2016; Published Date: July 30, 2016

Citation: Rhimikia S, Nikandishi Y (2016) Martyr Burial Philosophy from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini and Imamieh Jurisprudence. J Forensic Anthropol 1:109.

Copyright: © 2016 Rhimikia S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Being killed for the sake of religion, homeland, or political opinion is in different forms in different societies; but is commonly honored and praised. Thus, victims and even deprives and survivors of the war are respected in all nations, governments and the public. In Islamic culture, this kind of sacrificing for the sake of Allah is called "martydom".

Human fascination for martyrdom brings this question to mind that while many people fear from death what the difference is between this type of death and other deaths that it leads them to welcome death. In examining this issue, which is essentially what the distinction is between martydom and other deaths, referring to the Qur'an and Sunnah can be the best solution. Contemplating these two sources give various characteristics. In this thesis, the literal and technical concepts of martyr, equivalents of sacrificing and martyrdom in other religions, the concept of martyrdom in the Shiite school and the rules and virtues of burying martyr are studied. The obtained result is that martydom for the sake of Allah is a huge triumph that is not obtainable by all the people because martydom means welcoming death, which is obviously different from the other types of death, and it is with positive results such as eternal life with peace, joy and forgiveness of sins, the divine gift and the lack of need for bathing an enshrouding the deceased.


Martyr; Martyrdom; Death; Bathing; Enshrouding; Burial


Culture of martyrdom is a complex issue that those who adore glorious beauty of Allah have a longstanding dialog with him. This unlimited culture is the supreme and most sacred flame of improving humanity and the long-standing movement of history in developing and promotion of human society and different human generations.

Martydom, in the motifs of thought, realization of humanitarian ideals and oversights, human promotion strategies and its approaches in different areas of life, is the best song of entity and the distinguishing feature of the life of few people who sit to watch over the long human history.

Meanings that are placed in front of committed men is completed with martydom, and when one who goes this way becomes "martyer", he will always take residence on the apex of the eternal life of the universe.

Martydom is a kind of death of thought and knowing, and without it basically one does not call any death martyrdom.

For those who are in this side of the world, the world after the world here is the invisible world, but to those who come to the reality, the superior and the other world is the world of martyrdom, and our world is the invisible world.

One who did not exit from the web of self, he is not traveler and seeker to Allah and his death will not be testifying, but one whose intention is toward Allah and exited from the web of self, and he wants to come from invisible world to visibility of world and visiting the Allah, he is a martyer.

Culture of sacrifice, Basij militia, Hezbollah (Allah Followers), service, Sacred Defence, sacrifice are familiar terms used by the ulama, scholars, officials and managers in Iran, and sometimes on the basis them, they enact some regulations [1].

It is clear that we should search the origin and source of this culture in our Islamic religious belief and resources.

The culture of martyrdom is religious heritage and the unique result of the Islamic Revolution, which its teachings were presented and distributed by the great teacher and great leader of the Islamic Revolution- Imam Khomeini – who had done many efforts in deepening and stablizing them. Nowedays, the supreme leader - Ayatollah Khamenei- emphasis on following, developing and extending of those cases. He regards Shahid as a combination of vision, action and sacrifice and believes that without these three elements, no complementary movement can occured, and humanity caravan do not step toward the summit of virtue and perfection - without observing this elements (Ibid: 53).

Martyrdom - this sublime and sacred state – is the result of human choice, specific vision and Special Attitude.

The culture of martyrdom compromises institutionalized, homogenous, balanced and coherent attitudes and behaviors that lead men to the great value of martyrdom. Thus, martyrdom is an immense and successful event for those who follow the ideals and values and by growing up in the sacrifice space, they think of a status and position which is over human life and is the dignity of Allah's successor, that we call this area as "culture of sacrifice and martyrdom.

Research objectives

This research has two overall and partial objectives, which are as follows:

The overall objective

• Explaining and recognizing the provisions related to martyr

• Explaining and examining the viewpoint of Imamieh jurisconsults about the provisions of the way of burying a martyr

The concept of martyr

There are some meanings for the word martyr in dictionaries; such as providing trustworthy testimony, witness, killed in the cause of Allah, and whoever knows eveythings. They regarded martydom as "to give news about what is seen and the sum of what are perceivable by the sense of conception ".

Martyre - which is the subject of special provisions in jurisprudence such as no need of bathing and enshrouding - is a person who is killed in the jihad against the infidels, if the war is with the permission of the Prophet or Imams or their specific vice [2].

The concept of martyre written in the jurisprudent book is not an issue bounded to limitations of jurisprudence to give the definition of martyre and martydom, but some martyrs have specific jurisprudent provisions; thus, the issue of martyre and martydom is discussed in the jurisprudent books, like martyre need not to take a bath, to embalm and to enshroud [3].

Muhaddithi defines martydom as "being present, testifying and being killed in the way of Allah", and he noted that in the Quran culture, "martyre" is defined as "killing killed in the way Allah". Then, he discusses the reason of naming such a death as martydom in form of the following possile phases:

Presence of Allah's angels of mercy at the scene of martydom

Allah and his Prophet will testify heaven of martyrs.

Martyr is alive and present.

Martydom status in the thought of Shiite scholars

If we accept that all schools and ideologies have a center and core, we should say that the center and core of Shiite thought is jihad, sacrifice, martyrdom and the fight against oppression and injustice. At the head of this school and the ideology are the infallible Imams, Shi'ah scholars and other religious leaders and Clergymen. In fact, the spirit of jihad and martyrdom in the Shi'ah is one of Shiite political values and beliefs. All the people with the culture of Ahl-al-Bayt (Prophet and Imams) have Ashura and martydom in their hearts, and these cultural bases have penetrated in our society, so that anyone with any tendency is fascinated when hear an elegy about Ahl-al-Bayt. Nowadays, the only thing that can rescue Revolution and unify all the people is the culture of jihad and martyrdom. The only unifying factor, in which unity is formed, is the culture of jihad and martyrdom, but it can only achieveable by Ahl-al-Bayt (peace be upon them). If Reveloution and the supreme leader forget policy of Ahl-al-Bayt, it will be a huge damage. This School belongs to Ahl-al-Bayt, this School also belong to Islam and Reveloution. No one can make use of it for himself. Jihad and martyrdom are two historic and momentous elements of social life of Muslims. The presence of these two elements in the socio-political life of Muslims has a prominent role in religious, cultural and native identity of Muslims and forgeting these two elements leads to their humiliation and misery as Imam Ali pointed. (Ibid: 2)

Imam Khomeini

Imam Khomeini, who was a leader of jihad and martyrdom and prepared his chest for the enemy's bullets and in fact he himself followed these elements before anyone else, was able to create inspiration and mobility among nations in dealing with despotism and colonialism by resuscitation of these two elements " [4].

"John D. Stempel" The famous American writer explains in his book" in the Revolution of Iran": "Part of the power of Khomeini was due to his famous interest to martydom for the Islamic Revolution. If the death of Khomeini helped the King [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi], he did not fear death [5].

Two elements of jihad and martyrdom are among the elements that are only found in the intellectual and identity-making system of Muslims; elements that their presence is identity-making for Islamic culture and civilization, and paves the way to self-confidence and selfesteem of Muslims. These two elements were not only effective in the Islamic Revolution but further played the role of sustaining continuity of the Islamic Revolution. Unjust and imposed War was the only war in which the evil powers such as America, Europe, the USSR, the reaction area and … stood against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it was the only war in the past one hundred years in which Islamic Iran won and the enemy were be forced to withdraw from the occupied territories [4].

"James Bill", a prominent Iran expert from American, exlains the role of jihad and martyrdom in war as follows. The essence of high spirits that is the supporter of Iranian war efforts lies in the concept of jihad and martyrdom. Thus, every naturaly Muslim believer understands it. Islamic belief system that is based on the concept of jihad and martyrdom has many effects on mood and vitality of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This belief system creates powerful forms of fearlessness that is crucial to win the battle [6].

Another writer called "Pier Blansheh", referring to the transformational and history making role of testimartydom in the Islamic Revolution, explains: "The Iranian nation by unending scream of martyr, martyr got rid from the evil King [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi], which is incredible, unique and unprecedented event throughout the history" [7].

As much as forgrtting Jihad in Islamic society causes humiliation to Muslims of that society based on what Imam Ali said, enjoying the spirit of jihad and martyrdom creats soft power, development and deterrence against the enemies of Islam. Islamic Revolution and its chosen system have stood against the evil powers by an emphasizing on self-steem, identity, progressive and dynamic elements. Andre Glokman, a contemporary French philosopher in an article beautifully described the fall of King Mohammad Reza and the role of Martydom in the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran: "... Contrary to popular belief, the superior power did not come out of gun, but this power belonged to someone who was ready to be killed (for Allah)" [8].

Shiite political thought considered jihad and martyrdom as a matter of principle and strategic and influencing objective in the realm of defense and international interactions of Islamic world; and considered it as the most important factor to save the oppressed nations from colonialism and exploitation and cruel and despotic governments. Shiite opponents have identified this key as well and they have tried to separate people from these liberating cultures. They also have raised charges to separate the culture of jihad and martyrdom, so that to cause Shiite scholars not to talk of jihad and battle. As some of the gullible and the so-called intellectuals have been caught in this trap. The effectiveness of jihad and martydom in the Shiite school has caused many wersten people introduced the Shiite people as terrorists and called this school as a fundamentalist because of Shi'ism encourages people to Jihad in order to defend the right and reality as they want the establishment of justice and ruin of oppression. "Though the hardware power of the Islamic Iran especially in the economic and military dimensions was not comparable to that of World Dominatorsespecially America and West, magnitude, deep and vast dimensions of soft power generated by Imam Khomeini in Iran, the region and the world were emerging as after passing more than three decades from Islamic Revolution, the enemies of Revolution and Islamic Republic are in a passive position. Development and maintenance of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the world today reveals the dimensions of soft power that Imam recreated. We can say with certain that the nature, scope and origin of soft power generated by the Imam and Islamic Revolution are different from Western soft power; this is something that diffrentiates the Islamic Revolution even from large global revolutions" [4].

In the view of Imam Khomeini, martyrdom would remove the veil between man and Allah and would enter the man before Allah with the registered document of faith and commitment to Islam. Being the guest of Allah leads to percept the pleasure of Allah's satisfaction; and from this way, the martyre will reach the highest angelic degree and will ascent from the animal life to heavon." If we want to count the value of these martyres and their sacrificing and to count the outcomes of these martydoms, Perhaps we need to confess our failure; we no doubt are unable to mention more divine and human issues [9].

"We cannot say anything about those about whom Allah says "they are alive and have their livelihood. Can we explain their meeting with Allah and the divine banquet of them by pen and speech dialogue? Is not this the same as "So enter among my devotees, and enter into my paradise" that this honorable hadith has matched to the Lord of martyrs and the oppressed? ... What is this great happiness that Allah gave of His special devotees?" [9].

"And, the martyrs should have been said "and gave you what He had not givn to any other among the people". "If a way was the right, one should not be afraid of martyrdom. When we brought justice to Islam and to revival of the tradition of the Prophet, we should not be afraid that we would die... One who thinks that after death there is no life should fear of dying... Martydom is not a matter of perdition... Martydom is a transfer from this world to a higher and brighter world, which everything is better [9].

"In a narration from Prophet, there are seven characteristics for martyre: the first one is that his sins will be forgiven by first drop of his blood; and the last one is (according to this narration) that martyr looks at Allah's face which is easy for each prophet and Martyre. Perhaps the point is that the veils exist between us and Allah are Allah's face and expressions. All of these veils end to the veil of human…. We are veil between us and Allah's face. If one breaks this veil for the sake of Allah and offers his own life, he will break the source of all the veils [9].

Martydom: the cause of great divine reward

Since innocent shedding of martyr's blood on earth would lead to forgiveness of his sins and would change sins to good deeds, thus these good deeds and annihilation of the mundane body requires a great reward that Allah also promised. Allah promised not to waste the blood of the martyr and promised to reward his good deeds: "and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be the slain or be he victorious, We shall Grant him a mighty reward" (Holly Quran) [10].

This issue has been repeated in many other verses, and believers in jihad have been promised not to waste the rewards: "They are glad of the blessings of Allah and his grace, and Allah never wastes the reward of the believers." "Those who were killed in the way of Allah, He never wastes pain of their actions" (Quran). It seems that the greatest reward of Allah is the eternal Paradise, which is obtainable by person's martyrdom, as the Qur'an promises about the Mujahedeen (those who make jihad on the way of Allah): "And enter them into Paradise". What is a reward bigger and better than Paradise of Allah, which mrtyre enters immediately [10].

Legal reasons of not washing body of martyre

The exception has its secret, it indicates that the spirit and character of martyre are so pure and pious that affects his body and blood. The corpse of a martyre is "Matroh", which means a dead body that has the provisions of spirit of the current provisions rule on body and the clothes. Body and clothes of martyre obtained honor from his spirit, thought, right worshiping and purity [11,12].

One of the precepts of Islam is that for every Muslim who dies, all the Muslim are obliged to wash his/her body, to enshroud he/she with clean cloth arrangements, to say pray, and to bury him/her. However, this command has an exception. The exception is a martyre. For a martyre, only say praying and the burring are performed (ibid: 102).

The exception is mysterious. The spirit and character of martyre are so pure and pious that affects his body and blood. The corpse of a martyre is "Matroh", which means a dead body that has the provisions of spirit of the current provisions rule on body and the clothes.

Body and clothes of martyre obtained honor from his spirit, thought, right worshiping and purity. If a martyre is killed in the battle field, he will be enshrouded and bathed with the bloody body and clothes. The corpse of a martyre is "Matroh", which means a dead body that has the provisions of spirit of the current provisions rule on body and the clothes [13].

When we look at the words and fatwas of Islamic jurisprudents, we will find that all have the same definitions for martyre and his enshrouding and bathing. They believe that a martyre does not need bathing, martyre is one who takes part in Jihad together with Imam or his specific deputy and is killed, or when the last Imam is absent, he wars against enemies to defend Islamic regions and is killed. He does not need bathing, enshrouding and embalmment. Other should say the funeral prayer and bury him.

Examples of being a martyre and the shrouding and bathing issue

From the view of Shiite jurisprudence, a martyre is one who jihad together with Prophet (PBUH) and imams or his special deputy and is killed. In, but referring to traditions, namely everyone who is killed in the way of Allah, at the time of the Imam or his deputy or at the time of his absence, to defend Islam, he will be martye as the great jurisprudents said.

Problem: in the news and narrations, it is said that if someone who seeks knowledge died, he will be a martyr, or someone drowns or his house collapses and he dies, he will be martyre. Surely, they are not the same as those martyrs killed in the battles. If they need enshrouding and bathing? The holey Sharia of Islam placed them below the stand of martyrs.

Problem: when we say that a martyre does not need enshrouding and bathing, is it from Azimat (departure) aspect or rockshaft (permission)? If it is from Azimat aspect, are enshrouding and bathing for martyre taboo; but if it is from rockshaft aspect, enshrouding and bathing for martyre are necessary or obligatory, which one? [14]

Answer: Islamic jurisprudents have said that omission of enshrouding and bathing for martyr is from Azimat (departure) aspect, not from the Rockshaft (permission) aspect. Thus enshrouding and bathing for martyred is taboo, and who touches the dead body of a martyred does not need bathing [15].


Islam is the religion of wisdom. It does not have any percept without interest and mystery, especially social mystery. One of the precepts of Islam is that every Muslim who dies, it is obligatory for other Muslims to wash and rinse his body in a special arrangement, put him in special clothes, bury him and say prayer for him. All of these arrangements have reasons and secrets that are not currently in a discussion, but this order has an exception. The exception is the martyr. Among these orders, only prayer and burying are done for martyr, but do bathing and enshrouding have specific orders? Never. This exception has its mystery. The indication is that the spirit and character of martyr are so pure and pious which affect his body, blood, and even his garments.

Jurisprudent’s fatwa about martyr is as following: "Those who die in battle do not need enshrouding." This order has been taken from Sharia and Islamic clear. The martyr's blood is so holy that bathes the body when it is exiting from body, ant his bloody cloth is his shrouding. This high value is a reward from God to those who pased their live and sincerely dedicated it to God.

Bathing and enshrouding a Muslim who is dead is obligatory. But two groups are exempt from this provision: first, "martyrs", those who were killed in the field of Jihad with Prophet (PBUH) and or Imams or their special deputy; second, those who in the absence of the Imam of time – Imam Mahdi (PBUH) - defend against the enemies of Islam and are killed, whether male or female, adults or children; they do not need enshrouding and bathing, but they should be buried with their clothes after say praying.

The aforementioned issue is about those who are killed in the battlefield; it means they are dead before a Muslim find them. However, if they are found alive or are died in hospital, this issue does not apply to them even though they have the reward of martyrs.

In the nowadays wars that the battlefields are vast, and bombarding is done far away from the battlefield, all of this area in which soldiers are gathering is regarded as battlefield. But if enemy kills someone far from the battlefield by bombarding, the aforementioned religion orders are not applicable to them. Whenever a martyr is bare, he must be enshrouded and bathed, then buried.


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