Jump to content

49 - الشَّهِيدُ

Recommended Posts




الشَّهِيدُ is translated as The Witness and The Testifier. It is The One Who is present. It comes from Shahaadah (Witnessing).



Imam Ghazali (Rahimahullah) translates it as The Universal Witness and so Allah ta’ala is The Universal Witness witnessing and watching everything. It is very similar to الْبَصِيرُ (The All-Seeing), الْخَبِيرُ (The Inner-Aware) and الْعَلِيمُ (The All-Knowing) but with subtle differences.


Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah) writes that Allah ta’ala watches all our acts and knows what is in our hearts which we hide from other people therefore Allah ta’ala is الشَّهِيدُ , witnessing everything. 


Another Scholar says He listens to all voices, loud or soft, He hears everything. Shaheed does not just mean to witness in terms of watching but also to hear. 


الشَّهِيدُ and الْعَلِيمُ are very close in meaning and have a connection between them. In the Qur’an, when Allah ta’ala says, 


هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ۖ هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ

Allah is He, besides Whom there is no God, the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. [Surah Hashr 22]

He is referred to as عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ - The Knower of the unseen world and this is connected to الْخَبِيرُ i.e. knowing the innermost or unseen realm of the whole universe. عَالِمُ الشَّهَادَةِ is Knower of the known things, things which are apparent and this has to do with Allah ta’ala being الشَّهِيدُ


In the Qur’an

It is mentioned 18 times in the Qur’an. 


قُلْ أَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَادَةً ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ شَهِيدٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ 

When they say Allah, then tell them: "Let Allah be Witness between me and you (that I am the Rasool of Allah) 
[Surah An’aam: 19]

وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ -  And Allah is Witness over all things. [Surah Mujaadilah: 6]


مَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِكَ ۚ وَأَرْسَلْنَاكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولًا ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا

Whatever benefit comes to you O people, it is by Allah's grace; and whatever loss you suffer, it is the result of your own doings. We have sent you, O Muhammad, as a Rasool to mankind. Allah is your All-Sufficient Witness. 
[Surah Nisaa’:79]


قُلْ كَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِعِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا بَصِيرًا

Say: "Sufficient is Allah as a witness between me and you. He is the One Who is Aware and Observant of His servants." [Surah Israa: 96]


ثُمَّ اللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ - and Allah, moreover, is Witness over what they do. [Surah Yunus; 46]


So this is the concept of Allah ta’ala watching and bearing witness to our actions. The last verse of Surah Yunus is particularly about the Jews and Christians of the past. They would know the truth of the Qur’an and the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam but they would still reject it so Allah ta’ala says He is watching and knows what they do i.e. the strategies and tactics they use.


From the different verses the concept of Tawheed is apparent. 


Another connection with this word is that Allah ta’ala Himself is witnessing but He has also given us the power to be witnesses i.e. in a court case the witness is asked what he saw regarding the crime in order to determine if the accused is guilty of the crime or not and similarly Allah ta’ala has placed in the universe things for us to see and witness and Allah ta’ala mentioned in the Qur’an, 


سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and in their own souls, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur'an is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that your Rabb is a witness over everything? [Surah Fussilaat: 53]


Therefore there are elements we are supposed to witness and these signs should lead us to believe in Allah ta’ala and in His Oneness. In another verse Alah ta’ala says, 


شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

Allah Himself has testified to the fact that there is no God but Him and so do the angels and those who are well grounded in knowledge standing firm on justice. There is no Ilah (God) except Him, the Mighty, the Wise. [Surah Aali ‘Imraan: 18]


First Allah ta’ala is mentioned as He created everything and He is the biggest witness and then the angels and people also testify. Some Scholars say the people are the Ulama and others say they are people of knowledge and they bear witness that Allah ta’ala is One. 


Imam Ghazali (Rahimahullah and Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah) write that this is a very high rank for the Ulama that they bear witness that Allah ta’ala is One through their knowledge and understanding and study of the Qur’an and Hadith as they are being grouped with Allah ta’ala and the angels. Therefore it is a very noble group to be in. 


Some Scholars say it does not mean just people of religious knowledge but it can be any knowledge which leads to the knowledge and concept of Tawheed. Nowadays even atheists and scientists say the universe is too perfectly made and did not just happen and they find it hard to explain. 



When we know Allah ta’ala is witnessing our actions, movements, feelings, thoughts, etc. then we should be careful of our Ma’moolaat and interactions and dealings with people. We should keep them clear and the word used nowadays is “Transparency” – openness i.e. in organisations etc. where money is dealt with and the higher the person is the more transparency is required so we should be transparent and keep all matters (Amanah, secrets, trusts etc.) clear and clean as Allah ta’ala is watching and witnessing. When we know someone is watching we are more careful and here Allah ta’ala is watching. 


A famous Scholar of the past said that people of Ma’arifat learn that when Allah ta’ala is witnessing and watching then if I mention all my matters i.e. grief, sorrow, difficulties etc. and not share with people and have Yaqeen that Allah ta’ala knows what I’m going through, then Allah ta’ala will relieve me of them. It is very consoling and also very empowering when you keep things between you and Allah ta’ala. It’s harder for some people to do this due to weakness in Imaan and they need someone to vent to or share their problems with and get Naseehah and consolation. Even while doing that do not depend on people. Keep the relationship with Allah ta’ala strong and think that Allah ta’ala is watching and witnessing and the more we have this realisation the more we will make Du’a and reach out to Allah ta’ala instead of people. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...