Question # 241: Will a woman who dies while delivering a child go to Jannah?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The martyr will have several blessings from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) including securing a place in Paradise. Based on authentic ahadith of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), Muslims, who die as a result of the following, will attain martyrdom:

  • Woman dying with a child in her womb, or during childbirth or after childbirth but within the period of nifaas (post-partum bleeding);
  • Getting killed while defending one’s religion (for the sake of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), wealth or in self-defense;
  • Plague (Al-Mat‘oon);
  • Drowning (if his/her journey was for a permissible purpose);
  • Stomach disease (Al-Mabtoon) (including diarrhea, dropsy, pain, abdominal swelling, etc.);
  • Getting crushed underneath a falling wall;
  • Pleurisy (Dhaatul-Janb) (A condition in which the membrane consisting of a layer of tissue that lines the inner side of the chest cavity and a layer of tissue that surrounds the lungs becomes inflamed causing sharp chest pain and shortness of breath);
  • Burning to death. 

Nevertheless, we should refrain from calling anyone martyr in particular, as we cannot testify for anyone; rather we say in general terms that the one who dies as a result of any above reason is a martyr. Thus, we must differentiate between speaking in general and specific terms.

Long Answer: It was reported in the hadith of al-Miqdaam ibn Ma’di Karb that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:  “The martyr (shaheed) has seven blessings from Allah: he is forgiven from the moment his blood is first shed; he will be shown his place in Paradise; he will be spared the trial of the grave; and he will be secure on the Day of the Greatest Terror (the Day of Judgement); there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, one ruby of which is better than this world and all that is in it; he will be married to seventy-two of al-hoor al-‘iyn; and he will be permitted to intercede for seventy of his relatives.” (Please also refer to Question # 59: Men gets al-hoor al-‘iyn in Paradise, what about women?)

According to another report, the martyr has six blessings from Allah. According to other reports (the number is) six, or nine, or ten.  (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a hasan hadith. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-Sunan, by Ahmad, by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf, by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and by Sa’eed ibn Mansoor in al-Sunan) (Shaykh Waleed al-Firyaan) 

The following ahadith with respect to martyrs are worth noting:

  • If a woman dies with a child in her womb, or she dies during childbirth or after childbirth but within the period of nifaas (post-partum bleeding), she is considered to be a shaheedah in sha Allah. Raashid ibn Hubaysh narrated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) entered upon ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit when he was sick and said, “Do you know who is a shaheed (martyr) in my ummah?”  The people remained silent, then ‘Ubaadah said, “Help me to sit up.” They helped him to sit up, then he said, “O Messenger of Allah, (is it) the patient one who seeks reward from Allah for his patience?” The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Then the martyrs among my ummah would be very few. Being killed for the sake of Allah is martyrdom, the plague is martyrdom, drowning is martyrdom, stomach disease is martyrdom, and if a woman dies during the post-partum period, her child will drag her to Paradise by his umbilical cord.” The hadith was narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad with a sahih isnad (al-Musnad). There is a corroborating report narrated by Malik and Abu Dawood.
  • ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Who is counted as a shaheed among you?” They said, “The one who fights and is killed for the sake of Allah.” The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Then the shaheeds among my ummah would be few. The one who is killed for the sake of Allah is a shaheed; the one who dies of plague is a shaheed; the one who dies of a stomach disease is a shaheed; the woman who dies with a child in her womb is a shaheed.” This was narrated by Imam Ahmad, and by Ibn Maajah, and by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, who said its isnad is sahih. A report with a similar meaning was narrated by Muslim.
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The woman who dies in pregnancy or childbirth is a martyr.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood; classed as sahih by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim. And he said: the one who dies in childbirth, i.e., she dies with something (the child) inside, not separated from her)
  • Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The martyrs are five: the one who dies of the plague, the one who dies of a stomach disease, the one who drowns, the one who is crushed beneath a falling wall, and the martyr who is killed for the sake of Allah.” 
  • Ahmad, Abu Dawood and al-Nasa’i narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Who do you regard as martyrs?” They said: The one who is killed for the sake of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Martyrs are seven besides the one who is killed for the sake of Allah. The one who dies of the plague is a martyr, the one who drowns is a martyr, the one who dies of pleurisy is a martyr, the one who dies of a stomach disease is a martyr, the one who is burned to death is a martyr, the one who dies beneath a falling wall is a martyr, and the woman who dies in pregnancy is a martyr.” (This hadith was classed as sahih by al-Albani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)
  • It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها), the wife of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) about the plague, and he told me that it is a punishment that Allah sends upon whomsoever He will, and that Allah has made it a mercy for the believers, for there is no one who stays in his land at the time of a plague, bearing that with patience and seeking Allah’s reward, knowing that nothing will befall him but that which Allah has decreed for him, but he will be given a reward like that of a martyr.”  (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever is killed defending his wealth is a martyr; whoever is killed defending his religion is a martyr; whoever is killed in self-defence is a martyr.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Graded Sahih)

It says in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood: The one who dies of pleurisy (Dhaatul-Janb): this refers to a pustule or pustules that appear in a person’s side, then they open up and the pain lessens, and that is at the time of death. One of its signs is pain beneath the ribs and difficulty in breathing, along with persistent fever and coughing, and it occurs more often in women. This was stated by al-Qaari. Al-mabtoon (the one who dies of a stomach disease) refers to diarrhea or dropsy or pain in the stomach. A woman who dies in pregnancy: al-Khattaabi said: This refers to a woman who dies with a child in her womb… Al-Mat‘oon is the one who dies of the plague. The one who drowns is a martyr if his journey was for a permissible purpose.

Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim: The one who dies of a stomach disease refers to diarrhea. And al-Qaadi said: and it was said that it is the one who suffers from dropsy and abdominal swelling. And it was said that it is the one who suffers from a stomach complaint. And it was said that it is the one who dies of stomach disease in general.

Pleurisy is a condition in which the pleura — a membrane consisting of a layer of tissue that lines the inner side of the chest cavity and a layer of tissue that surrounds the lungs — becomes inflamed causing sharp chest pain (pleuritic pain) that worsens during breathing, coughing or sneezing, shortness of breath — because one tries to minimize breathing in and out, cough and fever only in some cases. (//www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pleurisy/home/ovc-20264974)

[Lastly, it is worth mentioning that] we do not testify for any particular individual, meaning for example, that if a person is burned to death in front of us, we say “the one who is burned to death is a martyr,” but we do not say “this man is a martyr.” Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) referred to this issue in his Saheeh and said: “Chapter: It cannot be said that So and so is a martyr.” Then he quoted as evidence for that the words of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم): “… wounded for the sake of Allah; Allah knows best who is wounded for His sake.” He said: Allah knows best; therefore, if Allah knows who is wounded for His sake, then we cannot testify for anyone; rather we say in general terms that the one who is killed for the sake of Allah is a martyr. Thus, we differentiate between speaking in general terms and speaking in specific terms. (Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, unless stated otherwise)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam