Is the victim of a car accident considered a martyr?
Fatwa No: 15027

  • Fatwa Date:28-2-2011 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 25, 1432
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Question

I read in one Fatwa that death in a car accident is considered a type of sudden death, not a degree of martyrdom. Aren’t these accidents considered unintentional killing? Aren’t their victims considered martyrs, like the unjustly killed person?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

It was narrated on the authority of Jaabir ibn ‘Ateek  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that besides martyrdom for the sake of Allaah The Almighty (i.e. in the battle field), there are seven other types of martyrs: the victim of plague, the person who drowns, the victim of pleurisy, the victim of an abdominal ailment, the person who is burned, the person who dies beneath a collapsed structure and the woman who dies while giving birth. [Maalik, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah]

Some scholars are of the view that anyone who is hit by a car or whose car turns over and causes his death takes the same ruling as the person who dies beneath a collapsed structure as mentioned in the Hadeeth. They say the same ruling applies for the person who is burned inside his car or who drowns inside it in a river. However, they do not take the same ruling of the martyr who dies in the battlefield.

Therefore, they must be washed and shrouded, and the funeral prayer is to be performed over them.

Allaah Knows best.

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