Jihad: The forgotten obligation
6: The Prophet's (saw) Wish To Be Shaheed
Narrated Abu Huraira (r), the Prophet (saw) said, "By Him in Whose Hand is my life! 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 sariyah (army unit) setting out in Allah's cause. By Him in whose hands my life is! I would love to be Shaheed in Allah's cause and then get resurrected, and then be Shaheed and then get resurrected again, and then be Shaheed. " (Sahih Bukhari, p.42-3, vol.4)
The Prophet (saw) has first of all comforted those who wished to participated in Jihaad but do not possess the means to participate and their grief is stated in the Qur'an:
"They turned back, while their eyes are overflowing with tears of gried that they could not find anything to spend (for Jihaad)". (Taubah: 92)
The Prophet (saw) comforted them by saying, "My heart wishes that I march forth with every group for Jihaad but to comfort the hearts of these poor people who love Jihaad, I send an army and do not go forth myself".
This is why the Prophet (saw) participated in 27 battles and sent his companions (r) more than 50 times and did not participate himself. This was to comfort those who were eager to participate in Jihaad and were saddened for not being able to participate.
The second part of the hadith was to comfort those who went forth into the battlefield but were saddened because the Prophet (saw) was not present with them, they thought they were deprived from his blessed company, and so he comforted them by saying; "What I am wishing for is Shahadah and be given life after Shahadah, so that I can fulfill the duty of Jihaad and be Shaheed for this cause again, you are lucky to be given this chance for Jihaad so you should not grieve the parting of my company as you will be receiving the reward of such a deed for which I am asking for life again and again to offer for shahadah".
Another point in this hadith is that the Prophet (saw) had wished to be Shaheed and given life to be Shaheed again numerous times, and in another hadith of Bukhari, it is stated that, "No person will wish to come back to the world after seeing the bounties of Jannah, except for the Shaheed who will wish to be sent to the world again in order to be Shaheed in Allah's cause".
Imam Nawawi states that we learn from this hadith, that to desire Shahadah and to ask for it, is a desirable act as it is beloved to Allah.
Sahl bin Hanif narrates that the Prophet (saw) said "Whoever desired Shahadah with the true intention, Allah will ascend him to the grade of the Shuhadah even if he dies on his death bed." This is the reason the scholars used to wish for Shahadah from the depth of their hearts and they disliked the death of the death bed.
May Allah grant us all the great status of Shahadah. Ameen