Assalamu Alaikum Brothers in Islam,

Why is the martyr who dies in the way of Allah Azza Wajjal considered a shaheed when the word shaheed means "to witness" ? What is he witnessing?

  • Have you read the tag info? islamic-scholar this info is there to help people use the right tags
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 27, 2019 at 7:45
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    There's a clear difference between shaahid شاهد witness and shaheed شهيد martyr in Arabic.
    – Sassir
    Feb 27, 2019 at 8:23

1 Answer 1


From Tafsir al-Qurtubi:

قوله تعالى ويتخذ منكم شهداء أي يكرمكم بالشهادة ; أي ليقتل قوم فيكونوا شهداء على الناس بأعمالهم . وقيل : لهذا قيل شهيد : وقيل : سمي شهيدا لأنه مشهود له بالجنة وقيل : سمي شهيدا لأن أرواحهم احتضرت دار السلام ، لأنهم أحياء عند ربهم ، وأرواح غيرهم لا تصل إلى الجنة ; فالشهيد بمعنى الشاهد أي الحاضر للجنة

From Sharah Sahih Muslim - Nawawi - translation adapted from Adil Salahi:

أما ألفاظ الباب فالشهيد قال النضر بن شميل : سمي بذلك لأنه حي لأن أرواحهم شهدت دار السلام وأرواح غيرهم لا تشهدها إلا يوم القيامة . وقال ابن الأنباري : لأن الله تعالى وملائكته عليهم السلام يشهدون له بالجنة . فمعنى شهيد مشهود له . وقيل : سمي شهيدا لأنه يشهد عند خروج روحه ما له من الثواب والكرامة وقيل : لأن ملائكة الرحمة يشهدونه فيأخذون روحه وقيل : لأنه شهد له بالإيمان وخاتمة الخير بظاهر حاله . وقيل لأن عليه شاهدا يشهد بكونه شهيدا وهو دمه فإنه يبعث وجرحه يثعب دما . وحكى الأزهري وغيره قولا آخر أنه سمي شهيدا لكونه ممن يشهد يوم القيامة على الأمم

Al-Nadr ibn Shumayl said: ‘A martyr is called shahid because he remains alive. The souls of martyrs see the promised abode of peace and bliss, while the souls of other people do not see it until the Day of Judgement’. Ibn al-Anbari said: ‘A martyr is called shahid because Allah and the angels testify that martyrs will be in heaven. As such they have this testimony in their favour’. Another suggestion is that as a martyrs’ soul departs from their bodies, they are made to see what Allah will grant them of reward and honour. There are several other suggestions, one of which is that the angels of mercy witness such deaths and take their souls. A different suggestion is that they earn a testimony that they are believers and their end is a good one according to their apparent condition. Yet another suggestion is that a martyr has a witness testifying to his status, which is his blood. On the Day of Judgement, martyrs are resurrected with their wounds oozing blood. Al-Azhari and others suggest that they are called shahid because they are called as witnesses to testify against other communities.

A person who is killed in the way of Allah is called a Shaheed because:

  • He is alive and already present in paradise
  • Allah and His angels give testimony of paradise for him
  • At the time of his death, he sees his reward and status
  • The angels of mercy are present at the time of his death to take his soul
  • His death is testimony to his faith
  • His blood testifies for him
  • He will act as a witness over the people

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