except the word ‘witness’. ‘Shaheed’ and ‘Shaahid’ are both similar words which mean ‘witness’. This meaning is more important to us as far as the death of a mumin is concerned. But again a question arises, What is a mumin witness for?
Who is a Mumin?
A person is said to be mumin only if he is on the path of Imaan. Imaan is nothing but having Walaayat of Hujjatullaah and its recognition. Imaan is a belief that there is a representative of Allaah every time on the Earth in the form of Nabi, Wasi, Imaam or Da’i. Imaan is recognition and love for them. It is a belief that, we cannot get mediation (Shafaa’at) and forgiveness (Maghferat) except their means (Waseelah). All our deeds are accepted by Allaah through them. If a person harbours this basic understanding and impression in his heart, he is said to be “mumin”. He believes that, Imaamat started from Imaam Hasan (as) and will continue till the Day of Qayaamat in the succession from father to son in the progeny of his brother Imaam Husain (as). Imaamat cannot exists between two brothers except Imaam Hasan (as) and Imaam Husain (as). He believes that, Imaam uz-Zamaan (as) is always present and is aware about the deeds of His believers (mumineen). A mumin who bears witness to these facts is said to be Shaheed or Shaahid – as stated above. And if he dies with these beliefs (aqaa’id) then he is said to be Shaheed – that is witness to the existence of Imaam uz-Zamaan (as). It is this belief because of which even after his death, he is alive and his real life begins after this physical death when Allaah gives him the best of the Rewards. Hence every mumin who has been bestowed upon with the Noor of Walaayat by Allaah is “Shaheed”.
Rasoolullaah (saws) as a “Witness” in the Qur’an
Conversely Allaah Ta’aala says in the Qur’an, “Yaa aiyohan nabiyo innaa arsalnaaka shaahedaw wa mobashsheraw wa nazeera” which means, ‘O Rasoolullaah (saws), indeed, we have sent you as the witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner’ (45:33). In this verse Allaah Ta’aala says to Rasoolullaah (saws) that, O Rasool, you are sent as a ‘Witness’. What does this mean? Rasoolullaah (saws) is witness to what? Elsewhere Allaah Ta’aala says, “Inaa arsalnaaka shaahedaw wa mobashsheraw wa nazeera” which means, ‘We truly have sent you as ...’ these two verses prove that not only Rasoolullaah (saws) but whoever comes after him i.e. his Wasi, Imaam or Da’i who are a guardian of the Da’wat of Allaah are being sent as Witnesses.
Smoke rising from the Qabr
Once upon a time Rasoolullaah (saws) went to the house of a man who was terminally ill and lying on the bed. His relatives were weeping aloud on his condition. There was no scope of his recovery. Rasoolullaah (saws) sat beside him and asked him to recite Kalemat ush-Shahaadat. The man was unable to recite it. He just uttered ‘Laa haula walaa quwwata illa billaahil ‘aleeyil ‘azeem’. Rasoolullaah (saws) inquired his wife about his deeds. She replied that he was very kind and merciful and never used to eat without giving a part of his meal to the beggar. But there was one thing about him that he was not steadfast in offering Namaaz. Rasoolullaah (saws) said to his wife that it is a very unfortunate thing for him at this time. He then left from his house. The man died and was buried in Jannat ul-Baqee’.
After some days Rasoolullaah (saws) along with his companions (ashaab) happened to pass by Jannat ul-Baqee’ at night. He saw a cloud of smoke which was rising from a grave. He inquired as to whose that grave was? He came to know that it was the grave of the same man whom he visited some days back. He went near the grave and heard the man screaming and shouting in the grave. He said to his companions that, Allaah has descended His curse on the man because he did not offer Namaaz regularly and he was also bereaved of reciting Kalemat ush-Shahaadat at the time of his death. Rasoolullaah (saws) prayed to Allaah to pardon him for his misdeeds. Allaah Ta’aala answered to the prayer of Rasoolullaah (saws) and the man got relief from the Curse. This happened only due to the intermediation of Rasoolullaah (saws).
Imaam knows everything
Allaah Ta’aala has made His Hujjat, a witness (Shaahid) over every deed of a mumin. This is true for Nabi, Wasi, Imaam or Da’i. They are Shaahid and Shaheed over our deeds – whatever we do; openly or secretly, knowingly or unknowingly. When Imaam Ali Zayn ul-Aabedeen (as) was sitting in the mosque, a man came to him for respect (Takreem and Qadambosi). When Imaam (as) saw his face he immediately withdrew his hands and feet from him. The man asked about the reason. Imaam (as) admonished him and said, ‘O man, you haven’t taken ritual bath (done ghusl) after having physical relation with your wife, you are impure’. The man was stunned by the words of Imaam (as) and requested to forgive him for his mistake.
Our deeds are Witnessed
This shows that Imaam (as) knows each and every deed of a mumin. Allaah Ta’aala Himself is Shaahid over our deeds and we are Mash-hood (one who is witnessed). There is a chain of Shaahid and Mash-hood. If Allaah is Shaahid over Ambiyaa (as) (Pl. of Nabi) then Ambiyaa (as) are Shaahid over Awsiyaa (as) (Pl. of Wasi). Again Awsiyaa (as) are Shaahid over A’immat (as) (Pl. of Imaam) and A’immat (as) are Shaahid over Du’aat (aq) (Pl. of Da’i). In the same way Du’aat (aq) are Shaahid over mumineen of their respective times. Allaah Ta’aala says in the Qur’an “Yauma nad’oo kulla onaasin be-imaamehim” which means, ‘On the Day of Qayaamat We shall call together all intellectual beings with their respective Imaam – who will give the account of the deeds of their mumineen to Allaah on that Day’. Imaam Ja’far us-Saadiq (as) has said that, ‘Whoever of our mumineen have obeyed the Imaam of their time will be called by the name of their Imaam on the Day of Qiyaamat’. Everyone will be called by the names of their Nabi, Wasi or Imaam. If a mumin dies and does not recognise his Imaam or Da’i in his lifetime has indeed died with ignorance – like Jews and Christians.
About the term ‘Witness’ in the Qur’an
Allaah Ta’aala says in the Qur’an, “Wa kazaaleka ja’alnaakum ummataw wasatal letakoonoo shohadaa’a ‘alan naase wa yakoonar rasoolo ‘alaykum shaheeda” which means, ‘Thus we have made you Wasat (just and balanced) Ummat (community), that you be witnesses over mankind and Rasoolullaah (saws) be witness over you’. Elsewhere in relation to this, Allaah Ta’aala says that, “Waman yote’illaaha war rasoola fa-olaa’eka ma’al lazeena an’amallaaho ‘alayhim minan nabeeyeena was siddeeqeena wash-shohadaa’e was saaleheena wa hasona olaa’eka rafeeqaa” which means, ‘And whoever obeys Allaah and His Rasool (saws), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace; of the Ambiyaa (as), Siddeeqeen (Awsiyaa (as)), Shohadaa (A’immat (as)), and Saaleheen (Du’aat (aq)), and how excellent these companions are (whose company will be granted to those who are obedient to Allaah)’ (69:4)
Allaah Ta’aala addresses to the people and says, “Wa yauma nab’aso fee kulle ummatin shaheedan ‘alayhim min anfosehim wa je’naa beka shaheedan ‘alaa haa’olaa’e” which means, ‘And (remember) the Day of Qiyaamat when We shall raise up from every community a witness against them from amongst themselves, and We shall bring you, O Rasoolullaah (saws) as a witness against these’ (89:16). These aayaat (verses) clearly proves the Hujjat of Allaah in their respective times is ‘witness’ over the deeds of the people. And the one who is obedient to the commands of Allaah will get the company of Nabi, Wasi, Imaam or Da’i.
We are not at all alone
We often feel that no one is looking at us when we are alone. We are in a delusion that if at all we commit some evil thing secretly, no one will come to know about it. How can we forget the fact what Qur’an says that Allaah is the witness over us, His Nabi, Wasi, Imaam or Da’i are witnesses over us. Though physically we may be alone but the Hujjat of Allaah in their respective times are all-powerful and omnipresent. To prove this fact, Qur’an says, “Faman ya’mal misqaala zarratin khairay yaraho, waman ya’mal misqaala zarratin sharray yaraho” which means, ‘And whosoever does good equal to an atom shall see it, and whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it.’ (7,8:99)
Mumineen are Shaahid over the deeds of other people and their Shaahid is the Saheb un-Nass among them i.e. Da’i ul-Mutlaq. Imaam Ja’far us-Saadiq (as) has said that, We are named as “ummat” by Allaah in the Qur’an because we, in ourselves, are a complete community. And in the previous Divine Books which were revealed on other Ambiyaa (as), we have been named as “Muslemeen”. We are the ones who belong to the progeny of Ibraheem Nabi (as) and we have been selected and distinguished from the people. Whatever knowledge we have is from Rasoolullaah (saws) who is a witness over us and we are witness over the deeds of our mumineen. We will testify our mumineen or make them succeed on the Day of Qayaamat on the basis of their deeds – if they are obedient to us. Those who are not from us – disobedient to us and not on the path of truth, will indeed won’t benefit anything from us on that Day but the Curse of Allaah will descend upon them.
The Kalemat ush-Shahaadat – Its importance
Kalemat ush-Shahaadat comprises of witness of the Oneness of Allaah, prophet-hood of Rasoolullaah (saws) and the Walaayat of the Imaam-e-Aal-e-Mohammad of its time. Any witness other than this is incomplete and false. Rasoolullaah (saws) has said that, Whoever recites this Kalemah with pure heart and devotion, indeed, enters the Paradise. Pure heart and devotion, here, means the Walaayat of the Imaam of his time without which even one recites the Kalemah 1000 times, it won’t benefit him at all. If it would have been simply stated that anyone who recites Kalemah would enter Paradise then even the non-muslims would have recited it to enter the Paradise. The Kalemah itself and the condition of its recitation, though seems to be easy, is not understood by the majority of the people and they proclaim that, ‘You need to just recite the Kalemah and you will get Paradise’!
Shahaadat (Martyrdom) of the Hujjat of Allaah
Shahaadat or Martyrdom of the Hujjat of Allaah (Nabi, Wasi, Imaam or Da’i) is most supreme of all because it is the Shahaadat of the Shaahid – martyrdom of the witness. It is the utmost purity of their deeds which distinguished them from others and ascended them to the higher ranks; and the most important of all is the Ta’eed or Grace of Allaah upon them Who selected them among the people and honoured them with the supreme status. Now if they embrace martyrdom in the path of Allaah, in defending the Deen and Truth and sacrifice their soul, which is the Amaanat (probity) of Allaah, indeed, earns an unparalleled rank and glory. Their soul will rest in the highest position in the Haykal (Nooraani framework) of Maulaana Qaa’im (as).
Allaah Ta’aala grants them the gift of martyrdom and returns their soul back to the highest position where it came from. Allaah Ta’aala says in the Qur’an, “Walaa tahsabannal lazeena qoteloo fee sabeelillaahe amwaatan bal ahyaaun ‘inda rabbehim yurzaqoon” which means, ‘Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allaah as dead, never, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision’ (169:3). They (Nabi, Wasi, Imaam or Da’i) have provision means Allaah bestows them with the Rizq (wealth) of Shafaa’at and Jannat because they are the ones who are the Du’aat (missionaries) and gives the Da’wat (invitation) to the people towards Allaah.
Shaheed-e-Aa’zam Saiyedna Ali bin S Ibraaheem ash-Shaheed (aq)
Whenever we talk of Shahaadat, we never forget Saiyedna Ali bin S. Ibraaheem ash-Shaheed (aq), the 29th Da’i ul-Mutlaq who is the first Shaheed in the succession of Du’aat ul-Akrameen (aq) in India. For sake of giving life to the truth, he gave away his own and strengthened the foundation of ad-Da’wat ul-Haadiyat ul-Alaviyah with the warmth of his blood. Such is the Ta’seer (liveliness) in his martyrdom that on entering his Qubbah Mubaarakah in Ahmedabad, the Shahaadat of Maulaana Ali (as) in Koofa flashes into our mind and tears flow on its own on remembering his Mushkil Kushaa’ee which is equal to that of Maulaana Ali (as). Though we are not seeing his Qabr in the Qubbah Mubaarakah, his sacrifice in the Way of Allaah is always fresh in our hearts. Even the Quboor of Maulaana Ali (as) and Imaam Husain (as) were hidden for long time but by the E’jaaz of Allaah Ta’aala, their Quboor are now surrounded with the most precious jewels, gold and silver. We also believe that by the E’jaaz of Allaah Ta’aala, in future, we will sure see the Qabr-e-Anwar of Saiyedna Ali with the same glory and brilliance. Aameen.