One who dies in train crash may qualify as martyr
Fatwa No: 322735

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. My husband was suffering from severe depression, It could also have been a clinical depression. Only Allaah knows; last month, he left the house telling me he was going to meet someone. Within 30 minutes, I got a call from the police informing me that he was involved in a train accident. I rushed to the hospital, where he was still alive. He had very littled external injuries; I suspect that his ribs punctured his lungs. I did not want to ask him whether it had been a suicide attempt. Somehow, Allaah made me remember to make him ask for forgiveness and repeat the testimony of faith a few times. Ghe hospital was a governement hospital, so they did not do any aggressive first aid or treatment, and he soon passed away. It was after a Friday prayer and just at the 'Asr time that all this happened. He had sweat on his brow and did not seem to suffer to much. The next day, after the autopsy his body was delivered to me with a radiating face and a smile on his lips. I want to know whether his death can be considered the death of a martyer since he died of being crushed. I do not know the real reason of what happened; will Allaah forgive him if it was a suicide attempt? He did repent and declare the testimony of faith, his smile is a good sign, is it not? Please let me know what I can do to benefit him. May Allaah reward you.

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, please accept our condolences for the loss of your husband, and we ask Allaah to have mercy upon him. We hope that your husband will be considered a martyr because of the fact that he died of a train accident.

Jaabir ibn ‘Ateek  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “There are seven kinds of martyrs other than those who are killed in the way of Allaah (i.e. in the battlefield): the victim of plague, the drowned person, 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 contemporary 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.

Another hadeeth reads, “The martyrs are of five kinds: the victim of plague, the victim of an abdominal ailment, the one who is drowned, the person who dies beneath a collapsed structure (who dies under debris), and the one who dies fighting in the cause of Allaah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

There is no doubt that a person who is hit by a train (or who dies because of a train accident) is like someone who is run over by a car; rather, being hit by a train could even be more serious than being run over by a car.

What you mentioned regarding your husband when he died, having a radiant face (and a smile on his lips) and dying on a Friday, proclaiming the testimony of faith, and having sweat on his forehead ... then all these are signs of a good ending to his life - Allaah willing.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “There is no Muslim who dies on Friday or on the eve of Friday (i.e. the night preceding Friday) except that Allaah will protect him from the trial of the grave.” [At-Tirmithi - Al-Albaani graded it hasan (good)]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) also said, “The person whose last words are 'La ilaaha illa Allaah' will enter Paradise.” [Ahmad and others - Al-Arnaa’oot graded it as saheeh (sound)]

In another hadeeth, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “The believer dies with sweat on his forehead.” [An-Nasaa’i]

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 89102.

As regards the acts that would benefit him after his death, they are seeking forgiveness for him, supplicating for him (that Allaah would have mercy upon him), giving charity while intending the reward for him, and performing Hajj and Umrah on his behalf.

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’i  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book al-Umm, “There are three acts that benefit the dead from the acts of others or his own acts: performing Hajj on his behalf, money given in charity while intending the reward for him, or paid to settle his debt, and supplicating for him...

Moreover, Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “All the Imaams (leading scholars) agreed that giving charity (on behalf of the dead) reaches him, as well as other types of financial acts, such as emancipating a slave.” 

On the other hand, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Giving charity benefits the dead, among which is giving an endowment for printing (or buying) copies of the Quran.

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 83855.

Allaah knows best.

Related Fatwa