Superiority of martyrs
31) Narrated Masniq: We asked 'Abdullah bin Mas'fid about this verse:
"Think not of those who have been killed in the way of Allah as dead; rather they are alive with their Lord being provided with sustenance." (3:169) He (Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: We asked the Prophet the meaning of this verse. So he explained it like this: Their souls are inside some green birds beside lanterns suspended from the Divine Throne roaming freely in Paradise wherever they like. Then they take shelter at those lanterns. Once their Lord looked at them and said: Do you want anything else? They said: What more shall we want? We roam freely in Paradise as we like. Allah asked them the same question three times. When they felt that they would not be spared from being asked, they said: 0 Lord! We like You to put back our souls into our bodies so that we may be killed in Your way once again. As Allah saw that they had no wish, they would be let for joy in heaven.
(This Haditti is sound and reported by Bukhari).
A Shaheed is a martyr who fought for the sake of Allah and was killed. His grade in Paradise is next to a Siddiqi.e. one who was a forerunner and first to believe in His Prophet. (e.g. Abu Bakr. The grades are: Prophets then the Siddiqun then the martyrs, then the righteous ones. This Hadith alongwith No. 41,42 and 43 highlight the graces Allah shall bestow on the martyrs in the Hereafter and even in their graves before resurrection.