Does saying the shahada before death guarantee a free pass to paradise?
And, how does your opinion reconcile with ahadith which confirm that reciting the shahada guarantees paradise?
Here are some articles posted on forums I've found which tackle this question.
It's interesting to note that most Muslim posters are sympathetic to Saddam and believe he's in Paradise:
http://forums.islamicawakening.com/f18/ ... heed-2468/
http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthr ... in-shaheed
And from the subject in front of us, concerning the belief upon which Saddam Hussein died, then there are a number of matters which prevent a ruling of apostasy, beginning with the general rulings followed by those which are more specific:
1 - Such a ruling at this time would serve only the interests of the Crusaders and their treacherous agents, as mentioned by Shaykh Abu Basir at-Tartusi (hafidahullah).
2 - His death has come and past, and the matter was doubtful in the remaining three years of his life. So we leave his affair to the Will of Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta'ala).
3 - It is at least doubtful whether Saddam died upon Iman or Kufr. So long as there is the slightest doubt he was a Muslim, then we refrain from calling him a kafir. Shaykh Tartusi said: "The implications of the haste in error may have dire consequences."
4 - Saddam called for Jihad against the enemies of Islam and said that it was fard for the Muslims to fight against the invaders of Iraq.
5 - He served as a thorn in the eyes of the Rafidah Shi'ites and helped prevent the spread of Shi'ism. So he stopped the expansion of the Rafidah revolution of Iran from spreading to Iraq and the Peninsula, as was the stated intention of the Khomeini gang.
6 - He suppressed the innovated practices of the Shi'ites, such as their committing Shirk at the grave of Hussein (radiallahu anhu) and cracking down on their public celebrations on Ashura. And at the same time when the Saudis and other than them were giving the Shia much greater freedom in their rituals, Saddam was suppressing their evil.
7 - He helped unite the Sunni Muslims of Iraq and strengthened the call of Ahlus-Sunnah, creating an environment which would later nurture the call to Jihad and the Islamic state, whose foundations is one of Tawheed.
8 - He invoked Islamic prayers and employed Islamic historical and religious themes, which ran contrary to the secular, kafir, Ba'athist ideology.
9 - He brought the Holy Qur'an into the courtroom and repeatedly invoked the name of Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta'ala), in a manner which at least puts his infidelity into doubt.
Add to this what occurred during his hanging, when the Rawafid executioners were taunting him with "Muqtada! Muqtada!". So it was clear that the Shi'ites hated him since he stopped them from making Iraq into a Shi'ite state, which they have now accomplished with the aid of the Crusaders.
There is much in the fact that it occurred around the same time Shi'ites celebrate Ashura and that it occurred close to one of the holiest of all Shi'ite shrines. It becomes clear that the Rafidah Shi'ites have become greatly emboldened by their actions in Iraq and the entire region, and revel in the unprecedented influence they now exercise throughout the region.
Saddam remained firm in the face of all these odds, and warned Muslims about the growing threat of Shi'ite expansionism represented by Iran and noted their hypocrisy when it comes to posing as the "defenders" of the cause of Palestine.
And it was reported that before his final death, Saddam made the shahadah. The important thing to remember about this is that the execution was private and it was videotaped by secret only. So Saddam was a man facing his last minutes and yet he made affirmation of his Iman, the Islamic belief upon which he died.
We judge based upon what's apparent from the individual and the preceding information has convinced me that it is at least very likely - and we have no indication to the contrary - that Saddam Hussein at-Tikriti died a shaheed.
We ask Allah to accept his martyrdom, use his death to waken the virtuous Ahlus-Sunnah Muslims of Iraq, to awaken the wider Ummah to the conspiracies of the enemies of Islam, whether they be from the Zionists, Crusaders, or the Rafidah.
May Allah admit Saddam into the ranks of the other shuhadaa who died in the Jihad for Iraq, including our martyred shuyookh Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and Abu Anas as-Shaami - may Allah have mercy upon them all. May Allah admit them into the widest reaches of Jannah and make them an inspiration for the Muslim youth. Ameen!
And Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta'ala) knows best.