Reward of Patience During Plague Is Like Martyrdom

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وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ

And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision. (Surat Aali-`Imran, 3:169)

عن عائشة زوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنها أخبرتنا أنها سألت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الطاعون فأخبرها نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه كان عذابا يبعثه الله على من يشاء فجعله الله رحمة للمؤمنين فليس من عبد يقع الطاعون فيمكث في بلده صابرا يعلم أنه لن يصيبه إلا ما كتب الله له إلا كان له مثل أجر الشهيد

As-Sayyida A’isha (r), wife of the Prophet of Allah ﷺ reported that she asked the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, about plagues and he ﷺ said, “It is a punishment that Allah sends upon whoever He wills, but Allah has made it a mercy for the believers. Any servant who resides in a land afflicted by plague, remaining patient and hoping for reward from Allah, knowing that nothing will befall him but what Allah has decreed, will be given the reward of a martyr.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

There are four conditions mentioned in the hadith for which, if a person fulfils them, he will attain the reward of a martyr. As we know, the reward of the martyr is one of the biggest rewards anyone can be blessed with in Islam. Their status is a lofty one. The four conditions mentioned are:

1) You stay in the land and do not leave, unless you have a reason to i.e. you do not flee out of fear of the disease.

2) You remain patient. This is perhaps the hardest one as we are all now isolated at home, and may have to abandon our usual socials lives and any plans we may have had. Remaining patient despite this is key to attaining the reward mentioned.

3) That you hope for the reward of Allah. This means that you seek the reward of a martyr, as the hadith shows. You are remaining in the land, and are patient in hope of Allah’s reward you. Whilst in isolation you seek the reward of Allah.

4) That you know that nothing will befall you but what Allah has decreed. You do not question the decree of our Lord Most High. You accept the decree of Allah and (linking to condition 2) you remain patient. Perhaps we may have enjoyed going to work (for some), or university or school, but they are now cancelled. Perhaps our hearts were attached to the masjid and the circles of knowledge and remembrance, but they have been closed. Perhaps we enjoyed spending time outside with friends and relatives, but now everyone is in isolation . These are all from the decree of Allah. And we do not question Allah’s decree. Rather we are patient and submit to whatever Allah wills.

If we strive to fulfil these four conditions, we hope that Allah allows us to achieve such a great reward, for which an opportunity to attain reward like this is not easy to come by.

By following these guidelines you could attain the reward of a martyr with the permission of Allah, whichever of the three following groups you may fall into:

1) Person who gets infected and dies.
2) Person who gets infected but recovers.
3) Person who doesn’t get it at all.

قال ابن حجر الحيتمي اقتضى منطوقة ان من اتصف بالصفات المذكورة يحصل له أجر الشهيد و أن لم يمت

Ibn Hajar in explaining the above hadith says:

     the wording of the hadith indicates that whoever fulfils the
     descriptions mentioned has the reward of a martyr (shahid)
     even if they did not die. (Fath al-Bari)

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