Dead Gaza civilians privileged to have died this way
"These people [Gaza civilians killed in war]
- their time had come, and they were martyred.
They have gained [Paradise]...
Don't be disturbed by these images...
He who is Martyred doesn't feel...
His soul has ascended to Allah."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Hamas is trying to both justify and console Gaza's population over the many civilian deaths it has caused in the Gaza war. While broadcasting gruesome pictures of dead civilians, including children, a TV host explained that since in Islam a person's time of death is predetermined by Allah, the people who have been killed in the recent fighting have actually "gained": They would have died now anyway, but now they will receive the rewards of Martyrdom - Shahada - in Paradise.
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Warning: Graphic Images
Palestinian Media Watch has documented Hamas' use of civilians as human shields, which has led to a high civilian death toll. Hamas has instructed Gaza civilians to disregard Israel's warnings to evacuate areas before they were bombed, and has decried those who have criticized the high civilian death toll.
The glorification of Martyrdom both justifies the Hamas activities that led to these deaths and also may console the population. In addition, this message may persuade civilians to continue endangering their lives by protecting Hamas terrorists and their terror infrastructure with their bodies.
Recenly, PMW reported on a sermon by the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who likewise glorified Martyrdom death as something to which Palestinians should aspire.
The following are the words of the Hamas TV host, referring to the civilians who died in the Gaza war as "having gained," followed by the words of the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, who explains the ideology of Martyrdom in Islam.
Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians gained Paradise: "The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs"
Hamas TV host: "Every soul has its time. These people - their time had come, and they were Martyred (i.e., Gaza civilians killed in war). They have gained [Paradise]. They have nothing in this world, especially in the Gaza Strip. There's no life in the Gaza Strip. What life can we have in the Gaza Strip? Being with Allah is better. Being with Allah is better. What we see is very hard but we won't surrender, Allah willing. The first to say it are the Martyrs' family. The first to say it are the Martyrs' mothers and fathers... Don't be disturbed by these images. He who was killed this way doesn't feel. By Allah, he does not feel. These are not my words, but the words of our beloved Prophet [Muhammad]: He who is Martyred doesn't feel. Only we suffer by these images. By Allah, [the Martyr] doesn't feel. His soul has ascended to Allah. His soul is with the Lord. His soul is inside a green bird. He is with Allah now. He is in Paradise. Only we suffer by these images... In other cities, in other countries, thousands die in earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, in ferry or shipwrecks, in natural or unnatural disasters. Thousands die. Thousands die but we don't know what their fate is with Allah. But we [in Gaza] are Martyrs. The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
"After prophecy and righteousness there is no status Allah has exalted more than Shahada (Martyrdom)... ''And think not of those who have been killed in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord.'
Allah forbade us to consider them [the Shahids (Martyrs)] as dead or to speak of them as being dead... They went smiling to their deaths... The Shahid has merit with Allah, a merit that no one else has... No one - not even the righteous - yearns to return to this world after death. Only Shahids. Why? Because they see the great honor Allah has prepared for them. One of them aspired to return to this world in order to be killed again, in order to die as a Shahid yet again... Allah spoke with one of them (a Shahid), Jabir ibn Abdullah... After all he saw in Paradise, he wanted to return and be killed [again] in order to taste the pain of death a second time. Abdullah said to Him:
'Lord, then tell those who follow us about what we have found.'
Allah Himself is conveying to us the message from the Shahids. The prophets convey Allah's message and Allah conveys the message of the Shahids. What kindness!
'The Shahid - his sins are forgiven with the first gush of his blood from his wound...
The Shahid advocates on behalf of 70 members of his family, and saves them all from hell. The Shahid lives together with the prophets and the righteous ones.'
When they threatened Yasser Arafat, [he said] 'You threaten me with death?
I yearn to die! I come only to it; I seek only it.'
We will never reach the level of the prophets. We won't. So let us reach the level of the Shahids. I say to you, brothers, as the Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'He who honestly seeks Shahada, Allah will give him the status of the Shahids, even if he dies in his bed.'"
[Official PA TV, Nov. 8, 2013]
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "We know for certain that as long as we [adhere] to the truth, we will face challenges and be made a target - as individuals and as groups - we know this for certain. Nonetheless, we are also confident in the words of Allah: 'Say, 'Do you await for us except one of the two best things' (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International). What do you expect, enemies, cowards (indistinct word), what do they expect will happen to us? 'One of the two best things.'
Brothers, Allah willing, only one of the two best things will happen to us - victory or Martyrdom (Shahada) - and what a good fate this is, what a good level is this - victory or Martyrdom...
'Say, 'Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting' (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International).
Await, wait a short while, I swear the signs heralding victory are seen on the horizon. I swear in a God, beside whom there is no other God, that the end of the tyranny and the tyrants is near. This occupation and its growths and creations that wish to spread corruption in our land... We tell them all, the occupation and the occupation's instruments and any who serve the occupation: 'Await for us except one of the two best things' - we, Allah willing, [will be] either Martyrs or victors on our land. [...]
Pay attention, it is Allah who says: 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' (Quran, Sura 3:111, translation Sahih International) - it is possible that they will harm you. I say to you, it is possible that they will kill us, it is possible that Allah will sentence us to Martyrdom. It is possible that we will be wounded, it is possible that terrorism will be laid on us - 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' - but in the end, 'and if they fight you, they will show you their backs' and the conclusion - 'then they will not be aided' (Quran, Sura, 3:111, translation, Sahih International). We ask for victory more than we ask for life. We ask for the strengthening of our people in this good and blessed land."
[Official PA TV, Dec. 20, 2013]