Istishhad (Arabic: استشهاد) is the the Arabic word for "martyrdom", "death of a martyr", or "heroic death". In recent years the term has been said to "emphasize... heroism in the act of sacrifice" rather than "victimization", and has "developed...into a military and political strategy", often called "martyrdom operations". One who martyrs themselves is given the honorific title shahid.
- Thus, the concept of martyrdom developed differently in Islam than it did in either Judaism or Christianity. Martyrdom in Islam has a much more active sense: the prospective martyr is called to seek out situations in which martyrdom might be achieved. For example, in Abdallah b. al- Mubarak’s Kitab al-jihad, we find Nawf al-Bikali praying: “O, God! Make my wife a widow, make my child an orphan, and ennoble Nawf with martyrdom!”
- David Cook, Understanding Jihad, page 26
- Whoever gave the green light to suicide operations against Israeli civilians, and said that the dialogue with the Jews would take place through human bombs, did so out of political, ideological motives, in support of a certain political group. It has nothing to do with religion. All the religious scholars, especially the Salafi scholars, have said that whoever blows himself up, even among the enemy, is killing himself, and will be punished in hell.
- The struggle should be in unusual, through resistance and martyrdom, by which we can achieve balance with the Zionist entity...the preachers should present the issue of commitment to resistance and Intifada and preach for Jihad and martyrdom for Allah....This people must continue to sacrifice martyrs daily, and confront the Israeli enemy with steadfastness, faith, and high values.
- Ahmed Aref El-Zein, Lebanese Preacher Sheik Ahmad Al-Zein: The Palestinian People 'Must Continue to Sacrifice Martyrs Every Day' Al-Alam TV (Iran), July 2004.
- Brethren! God gives the ummah that is skilled in the practice of death and that knows how to die a noble death, an exalted life in this world and eternal felicity in the next. What is the fantasy that has reduced us to loving this world and hating death? If you gird yourselves for a lofty deed and yearn for death, life shall be given to you. Know then that death is inevitable, and that it can only happen once. If you suffer it in the way of God, it will be your profit in this world, and your reward in the next.
- Hassan al-Banna. Five Tracts of Hasan Al-Banna: A Selection from the Majmu at Rasail al-Imam al-Shahid Hasan al-Banna. University of California Press. p. 156. translated and annotated by Charles Wendell.
- Those who oppose martyrdom operations and claim that they are suicide are making a great mistake. The goals of the one who carries out a martyrdom operation and of the one who commits suicide are completely different. Anyone who analyzes the soul of [these two] will discover the huge difference between them. The [person who commits] suicide kills himself for himself, because he failed in business, love, an examination, or the like. He was too weak to cope with the situation and chose to flee life for death. In contrast, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation does not think of himself. He sacrifices himself for the sake of a higher goal, for which all sacrifices become meaningless.
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Those Who Oppose Martyrdom Operations and Claim that they are Suicide are Making a Great Mistake Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 19, 2003.
- It is regrettable that the propaganda of the enemies of Islam has influenced the Muslim community so much that Muslims instead of planning for the uprooting of the Zionist regime and its arrogant supporters have occupied themselves with questioning and discussing the legitimacy of the Palestinian's self-defence which is carried out under the most oppressive conditions imaginable. For sure, when protecting Islam and the Muslim community depends on martyrdom operations, it not only is allowed, but even is an obligation as many of the Shi'ah great scholars and Maraje', including Ayatullah Safi Golpayegani and Ayatullah Fazel Lankarani, have clearly announced in their fatwas. Consider the rewayah from the prophet of Allah (SA) who said: "Whoever is killed in defence of his belongings, he/she is martyr." (Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, v.15, p. 121)
in the Quran
- Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord; They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah. And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them (in their bliss), the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve.
- Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur´an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.
- Those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, and are then slain or die,- On them will Allah bestow verily a goodly Provision: Truly Allah is He Who bestows the best provision.
in the Hadith
- The Prophet said, "By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Were it not for some men amongst the believers who dislike to be left behind me and whom I cannot provide with means of conveyance, I would certainly never remain behind any Sariya' (army-unit) setting out in Allah's Cause. By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to be martyred in Allah's Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred."
- The Prophet said, "Nobody who enters Paradise likes to go back to the world even if he got everything on the earth, except a Mujahid who wishes to return to the world so that he may be martyred ten times because of the dignity he receives (from Allah)."
- It has been narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Who seeks martyrdom with sincerity shall get its reward, though he may not achieve it.
- The Prophet said: He who is killed while protecting his property is a martyr, and he who is killed while defending his family, or his blood, or his religion is a martyr.
- Sahl bin Abi Umamah bin Sahl bin Hunaif narrated from his father, from his grandfather, that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoever asks Allah, the mighty and Sublime, sincerely for martyrdom, Allah will cause him to reach the status of the martyrs even of he dies in his bed.
- The Palestinian Debate Over Martyrdom Operations Part I: The Debate within the PA (July 2002)
- The Palestinian Debate Over Martyrdom Operations Part II: A Palestinian Communiqué Against the Attacks (July 2002)
- "Fewer Muslims 'support bombings'". BBC News. 25 July 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-25.
- "Study Says Iran Textbooks Urge Martyrdom". CBS. Feb. 8, 2007.