Time to reclaim the word Shaheed back into the living world


Dear Teacher

Over the last few days’ things have taken a turn for the worse, this has caused immense pain and sadness in my heart. There are all sorts of explanations and excuses but I cannot help thinking the way I do.

I remember as a young teenager being fascinated by the ideology of Martyrdom and of being a Shaheed. There is, no doubt, something glorious about dying for a noble cause, but how noble is nobility, and how right is the cause?

It has been many years since I had those thoughts and much have changed in my life, and my understanding.

I have thought long about the meaning of being a “Martyr” about being a SHAHEED specifically – the English word is not a true translation for the Word Shaheed and does it no justice.

The last events have bolted the final nut in the structure of my beliefs.

In order to be SHAHEED you need to be alive. It is Plain and simple.

To be a Shaheed one needs to be Alive, what is after all a Shaheed if not a witness. The dead cannot speak. The dead does not witness.

To be a Shaheed is to work hard for a cause to see it evolve and progress to see it through tough times and dedicate one’s time and effort and years of existence to uphold it.

The greatest Shuhada’ of our Islamic history lived long fruitful lives.

My brain is very weary of those who volunteer martyrs, those who chose to act irrationally and make decisions for a nation on false pretences, whose Actions make innocent martyrs out of un- anticipating civilians, with dreams to live and families to love.

Though a martyr might go to paradise, I would much rather my sisters and parents live on. I would much rather my loved ones live and marry and have children, live their dreams and try out life rather than dying young and swimming in the rivers of heaven.

Is that selfish? Is it blasphemy?

I want to live on and die of old age rather than becoming a martyr in a war I neither chose nor volunteered for. Some may Choose to fight the enemy to the last breath of the last Lebanese; I would like my breath to stay in my lungs – thank you very much.

Triggering brutality, inhumanity, force and arrogance with provocations is ill planning.

Dim wit is saddening.

How can fighting other people’s battles and harbouring an undeclared agenda leading to devastation of the lives of millions?

Why do some always squeeze God into human error and inconsiderate foolishness?

We have failed many tests in the last 60 years, the test of strength- military power-and organisation, the test of maturity and the test of intellect.

We have over estimated ourselves and under estimated our opponent.

We have not built prosperous societies, not contributed intellectually on an international level and our best achievements date a few hundred years back.

It has been 58 years – since 1948- and the world have moved on a great distance but we remain the great orators we always were. Starting with throwing the enemy into the sea and now we threaten them of tasting defeat, well a simple count of bodies and damage assessment will give the answer as to whose doing what to whom.

It is about time we learnt to re –read history, to read Jawdat Saeed, to re visit Imam Hussein’s battle –of Karbala, a period of history which Shiites claim their own and interpret to their will- the one figure in history who taught Ghandi his peaceful resistance has taught us nothing. Nothing!

Mind you though that prudence would have prevented all this. Now 2 soldiers are available to exchange other prisoners for, but more than a hundred lives and billions of dollars were lost in the process*. Very wise indeed!

I have difficult nights, sleepless and anxious pondering a future for an Umma that doesn’t seem so bright, that is tainted by ill judgment and run by the zealous and ignorant. Bleak? May be so, but not very far from reality

I am upset, and these views are my own, but really what other meaningful choice is there, what other out looks have been missed.

N.B. Those who wish to die as martyrs to go to heaven, feel free. Personally I have decided to live a Shaheed, I’m in no rush.


17th July 06

*This article was written during the early days of the war.The actual figures since are more than 1200 dead during the war and the immediate days after. It does not take into account those who died from wounds aquired during the Israeli war long after the war.


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15 years ago

Time to reclaim the word Shaheed back into the living worldafter reading the article ,,, i actually understood thw word shaheed and it really made great sense ,, how we never thought that shaheed is to witness n who can do so other than an alive ,, thats was the main point that grasped my attention and i think it was v wise of u to bring it so. anyways ,, i just wanted to comment on one thing where i think the author seemed to be somehow irrational,, its about generalizing a specific religious sect in a certain issue,,… Read more »


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