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Difference between the words "Shahid" and "Shaheed"

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Author Topic: Difference between the words "Shahid" and "Shaheed"  (Read 1272 times)
Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: August 25, 2017, 09:32:45 am »



Basically there is no difference between the words 'shahid' and 'shaheed.'  It is only the different English spellings that sometimes cause a slight confusion.  Both words in Arabic mean 'witness' which is intertwined with the concept of martyrdom.  The terms 'shaheed' (شهيد)  and 'shahid'  (شاهد) are nouns and both are derived from the root ش هـ د   Some sources also state that 'shahadah' is the root of 'shaheed.'  That too is correct.

The word 'shuhada' is the plural of shaheed or shahid; and the term 'shahadat' is one who acquires martyrdom.

'Shahid' or 'shaheed' frequently occurs in verses of the Noble Quran in the generic sense, 'witness.'  In Verse 3:169 it refers to martyrs;  and Verse 22:58 conceptualizes martyrdom and Paradise for martyrs.

"And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision,"  (3:169).

"And those who emigrated for the cause of Allah and then were killed or died - Allah will surely provide for them a good provision. And indeed, it is Allah who is the best of providers."  (22:58).

Shaheed or martyr refers to a person who is a witness to the presence of Allah and His Message by his submission to His rules of Faith and conduct.  A shaheed is a person who surrenders or submits to Allah.  This act of submission to The Almighty is called 'Muslim' (مسلم) in Arabic, a common noun.  In English it translates as 'submitter.'   The plural of مسلم is مسلمون   
Loyalty to God Almighty and love for Him are embedded within the submitter's heart.   They will never dither to sacrifice their lives for His sake, and by doing so, they bear witness of their resolute Faith in The Almighty. 

The term "shaheed" or martyr is nowadays used randomly by Muslims for anyone who dies unexpectedly or tragically.  The title of martyrdom has become a symbol of emotion, love and care for the deceased person whom a society or community likes and respects.  It symbolizes their request or prayers to Allah to grant the status of martyrdom to the deceased person.   But in reality, who might be elevated to the status of a martyr or not is only known to Allah as HE alone is the Sole Authority to judge and decide.

Thus, is it inappropriate for humans to indiscriminately assign martyrdom to their deceased fellow human beings?  The answer is yes, it is inappropriate.  Except for certain events such as the ghazwas and in the field of Karbala where family and friends of the Prophet (pbuh) fell, to whom one can safely assign martyrdom, as for the rest only Allah knows best.
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 11:50:06 am »

Very interesting and informative.  Many thanks sis.  JazekAllah khair.
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N. Truth Seeker
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 01:01:48 pm »

Thank you sister Heba for clarifying a very relevant aspect.   

Moreover, this habit of randomly labeling any one who passes away as "shaheed" is something I have a problem with.
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