Posts Tagged ‘shahid’


Weekly word: Shahid

June 2, 2010

Shahid or shaheed means martyr.  In the Christian tradition, Random House defines the English word martyr as “a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.”  In the Islamic tradition, however, martyrdom is not about dying because of religious belief, but dying while fighting for Islam.

Brill defined shahid as, “witness, martyr… The martyr who seals his belief with his death, fighting against the infidels is shahid throughout the Hadith literature at the great privileges which await him in heaven are readily depicted in numerous hadiths…”

And what did Muhammad say about martyrdom?

The Prophet said, “The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah’s cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause.”  (Sahih Bukhari, 1.2.35)

Several prominent Muslims have condemned terrorism, but have steered clear of committing to whether suicide bombing “martyrs” count as terrorists.  Attacks in Israel, Kashmir, and the Balkans are portrayed as nationalist movements in public but are justified in private by Muslims as martyrdom operations.

It may seem like it would be inexpensive to kill yourself, but when you’re trying to take out as many infidels with you when you go, suicide bombings require expensive explosive devices plus pensions for martyrs’ families.  This requires an international financial apparatus to support the martyr business.  More on that tomorrow…