Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah thereafter mentions the saying of the hypocrites apropos the martyrs of Badr, Uhud and all the other battles: " So-and-so has died and lost all comfort and happiness ", this in order to aggravate sincere believers, and so Allah says: (And call not those who are slain in the way of Allah) in obedience of Allah, on the Day of Badr or in any other battle ( " dead " ) like any other dead people. (Nay they are living) they are rather living like those living in Paradise, being provided with comfort and bounties, (only ye perceive not) you are not aware of the honour bestowed upon them or of their real state.
Say not of those who are slain in the path of God, “They are dead.” No, they are alive, but you are unaware.
The life of this world has left them behind, but they have reached endless life.12 What have they lost by being released from this world's abasement? They have reached union with the exaltedness of the Patron.
If I die, don't say about me, “He's dead.”
Say, “The dead man came to life in the Friend who took him.”
Alive is the one who lives through Him, not through the spirit. Whoever comes to life in the Friend lives forever.
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O Lord, if someone is occupied with You, how could his occupation come to an end? When someone lives through You, how could he ever die? If the spirit in the body is deprived of You, it is like an imprisoned corpse. Alive in reality is he who lives with You. God's praise be on those slain concerning whom the King says that they are alive.”
No, they are alive, but you are unaware. The cloak of awe is on the shoulders of their exaltedness, the shadow of the Tremendous Throne is their resting-place of intimacy, and the Presence of the Real's majesty is the place of their spirit's repose, in a seat of truthfulness, at an Omnipotent King [54:55].
And say not of those slain in God’s way, that, ‘They are dead’; rather they are living, their spirits are, according to a hadīth, contained in green birds that take wing freely wherever they wish in Paradise; but you are not aware, [but you] do not know their condition.
And do not say of those slain in God's way, that is, [those] rendered annihilated, their souls slain in the wayfaring along the path of Oneness, dead in terms of their caprice, as the Messenger of God said: 'Die before you die'. 'They are dead', that is, they are incapacitated and needy; rather they are living, with their Lord through real life and the everlasting eternal life of God, the witnesses of God through essential presence, empowered by Him, but you are not aware, because of the blindness of your insight and your privation from the light by which the hearts are able to see the individuals of the world of the Holy and the realities of the spirits.
After Allah commanded that He be appreciated, He ordained patience and prayer. It is a fact that the servant is either enjoying a bounty that he should be thankful for, or suffering a calamity that he should meet with patience. A Hadith states:
(Amazing is the believer, for whatever Allah decrees for him, it is better for him! If he is tested with a bounty, he is grateful for it and this is better for him; and if he is afflicted with a hardship, he is patient with it and this is better for him.)
Allah has stated that the best tools to help ease the effects of the afflictions are patience and prayer. Earlier we mentioned Allah's statement:
(And seek help in patience and As-Salah (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi`in i.e., the true believers in Allah) (2:45)
There are several types of Sabr ـ patience: one for avoiding the prohibitions and sins, one for acts of worship and obedience. The second type carries more rewards than the first type. There is a third type of patience required in the face of the afflictions and hardships, which is mandatory, like repentance.
`Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "Sabr has two parts: patience for the sake of Allah concerning what He is pleased with (i.e., acts of worship and obedience), even if it is hard on the heart and the body, and patience when avoiding what He dislikes, even if it is desired. Those who acquire these qualities will be among the patient persons whom Allah shall greet (when they meet Him in the Hereafter; refer to Surat Al-Ahzab 33:44), Allah willing.''
(The souls of the martyrs are inside green birds and move about in Paradise wherever they wish. Then, they take refuge in lamps that are hanging under the Throne (of Allah). Your Lord looked at them and asked them, `What do you wish for' They said, `What more could we wish for while You have favored us with what You have not favored any other of your creation' He repeated the question again. When they realize that they will be asked (until they answer), they said, `We wish that You send us back to the earthly life, so that we fight in Your cause until we are killed in Your cause again,' (because of what they enjoy of the rewards of martyrdom). The Lord then said, `I have written that they will not be returned to it (earthly life) again.)
Imam Ahmad reported that `Abdur-Rahman bin Ka`b bin Malik narrated from his father that Allah's Messenger said:
(The believer's soul is a bird that feeds on the trees of Paradise until Allah sends it back to its body when the person is resurrected.)
This Hadith includes all the believers in its general meaning. Thus, the fact that the Qur'an mentions the martyrs in particular in the above Ayah serves to honor, glorify and favor them (although the other believers share the rewards they enjoy).
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
After their appointment to leadership, the Believers from hereon are given such instructions and directions as are essential for training and enabling them to discharge the duties of that position of responsibility. They are first of all warned that leadership is not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns. They will be confronted with difficulties, hardships, and trials at the very outset and will have to undergo untold sufferings and losses. But if they went Through all those ordeals with fortitude and proceeded on in the way of Allah, they would be blessed with countless blessings and rewards by Him.
That is, "Fortitude and Prayer will generate in you the power which is required to bear that burden of responsibility with which you have been entrusted. Fortitude will give you that patience and courage under the afflictions, privations and temptations which you are bound to encounter and that moral strength and endurance which will be sorely needed in Allah's way, which is full of dangers. The Prayer will train you in discipline and other moral qualities which are essential for the right type of leadership.
It is forbidden to refer to those who are martyred for Allah's sake as "dead" because the very word "death" and its thought are very discouraging, and kill the spirit of self-sacrifice and the urge to fight in the way of Allah. Instead, the Muslims are told to believe that those who fall martyrs in the way of Allah in fact enjoy eternal life. And this is a reality which revitalises and keeps alive the spirit of courage and valour.
These words are to be uttered merely with the tongue, but we whould believe sincerely from the core of our hearts that "We belong to Allah and to none else." Thus, if anything is sacrificed in the way of Allah, if is spent rightly because it has gone to His service to Whom it really belonged."
"We shall certainly return to Him" :"We shall not live here for ever but shall have to leave this world one day. Thus, sooner or later we must die and go to Allah. It is, therefore, far better to fight in His way and lay down our lives for His sake than to pass our lives in self-seeking and self-worship and then die of some disease or accident."
And say not of those slain in God's way: “They are dead”; rather they are living; but you are not aware. Life passed away from them in this world but they have [already] arrived at eternal life in the end. They are in truth living finding all kinds of special gifts karāmāt from God. It is said that they are living because God is the One who takes over khalaf after them and anyone for whom God is the substitute is not dead. The one who spoke for them said about one who was created: Verily through you ʿItāb has departed for the sake of His way but he who remains belongs to Him. Like Khālid he has not died. It is said that they are living by God's remembrance of them. By the beauty of His eternal remembrance one who is the object of the Real's remembrance is not dead. It is said that verily their corporeal forms ashbāḥ are dispersed mutafarriqa but their spirits arwāḥ are proven true mutaḥaqqiqa through the Real سبحانه. If their corporeal forms have been annihilated through God their spirits have remained through God for whoever is annihilated through God his remaining is through God. It is said that they are living in the testimonial witnessings of exaltation the cloak of awe upon them. They are in the shade of intimacy delighted by His beauty in one moment and overwhelmed by His majesty in the next.
(And call not those who are slain in the way of Allah “dead”…) [2:154]. This was revealed about those Muslims who were killed at Badr. They were fourteen in total: eight from the Helpers and six from the Migrants. This is because people used to say about any man who was killed for the sake of Allah: “So-and-so has died and will miss all the comfort and pleasures of this worldly life”. And as a response, Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse.