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Introductory Article To Hadhir Nazir – Shahid Means Hadhir Nazir Or Witness?

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Some say Shahid means witness but Muslims believe in these verses the word Shahid is used in meaning of Hadhir (i.e. present) Nazir (i.e. observing). Objective of this article would be to see what the truth is and where it lies. Note if the meaning of Hadhir Nazir is not believed, and meaning of witness is believed, even then nothing is harmed of Islamic belief.

The Verses Subject Of Discussion:

 Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated that He has sent Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) as a Shahid which is evidenced by following verses: "We have truly sent thee as a witness, as a bringer of glad tidings, and as warner." [Ref: 48:8] "O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a witness, a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner." [Ref: 33:45] And his station of Shahid is like how Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) was sent as a Shahid to Pharaoh: "We have sent to you an apostle to be a witness concerning you even as We sent an apostle to Pharaoh." [Ref: 73:15] Based on these verses Muslims have come to believe Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is Shahid in meaning of Hadhir Nazir.

Shahid As Hadhir Nazir:

Classical dictionaries give various meanings of word Shahid. Out of many meanings two relevent to this topic are witness and present. Both these meanings have been used for translation of verse 12:26. Mohsin Khan, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, and Sayyidi Ala Hadhrat have translated it to mean witness but I will only quote of Sayyidi Ala Hadhrat: “Said Yusuf, "It was she who lured me, that I may not guard myself" - and a witness from her own household testified; "If his shirt is torn from the front, then the woman is truthful and he has spoken incorrectly.” [Ref: 12:26, by Imam Ahmad Raza rahimullah] Following translations of Muhammad Assad and certain Unal Ali have translated Shahid to mean present (i.e. Hadhir): “[Joseph] exclaimed: "It was she who sought to make me yield myself unto her!" Now one of those present, a member of her own household, suggested this: If his tunic has been torn from the front, then she is telling the truth, and he is a liar.” [Ref: 12:26, by Muhammad Assad] “He (Joseph) said: "She it was who sought to enjoy herself by me." And one of those present, a member of her household, said: "If his shirt has been torn from the front, she is telling the truth, and he is a liar.” [Ref: 12:26, by Unal Ali] It is undeniable fact; Shahid has been translated to mean Hadhir in context of Ghayb (unseen/absent) in Ahadith narrating Dua recited in funeral prayers: “Abu Ibrahim Al-Ashhali narrated from his father who said: "When the Messenger of Allah would perform the Salat for the funeral he would said: 'O Allah! Forgive our living and our deceased, our present and our absent (i.e. wa shahidina wa gha'ibina), our young and our old, our male and our female.'" [Ref; Tirmadhi, B5, H1024] “It was narrated from Abu Ibrahim Al-Ansari from his father that he heard the Prophet say, when offering the funeral prayer for one who had died: O Allah forgive our living and our dead, those who are present among us and those who are absent (i.e. wa shahidina wa gha'ibina), our males and our females, our young and our old.” [Ref: Sunan Nisa’i, B21, H1988] Do note the Dua states, diametric opposite of each word and as such opposite male is female, living is dead, and therefore Ghayb’s diametric opposite would be Hadhir. Alhasil, Shahid in meaning of Hadhir is established which none but insane would dispute. Point to remember is; healthy being who is Hadhir (i.e. present) must naturally be Nazir (i.e. seeing) and Sami (i.e. hearing). Also note these meanings need to be assumed automatically because these are fundamental part of Shahid. Hadhir without hearing and seeing does not accurately depict the meanng of Shahid and to believe in Hadhir without Sami and Nazir would be distortion of natural meaning of word Shahid.

Shahid As Witness:

If a witness is not present (i.e. Hadhir) near the location where incident has taken place and was not able to see (i.e. Nazir) the events taking place he cannot be termed as a witness. Any/Every creation, deemed a witness must be Hadhir within the creation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and if a witness has no presence within creation then his/her existence is alleged. And if a creation is Hadhir and is believed to be a witness over y but this witness with his own eyes/ears actually has not seen/heard anything regarding y he/she cannot be a true witness. A true witness must be Hadhir some where within creation and must be Nazir over the events regarding which he is to bear witness. Alhasil it is fundamentally important that a witness be Hadhir Nazir otherwise a person who has been presented as a witness [without being Hadhir and Nazir] cannot be true witness. If Shahid as witness is believed then one has to believe Hadhir Nazir is Tafseel (i.e. detail) and Tafseer (i.e. explanation) of it.


If word Shahid is in meaning of witness then Hadhir Nazir and Sami is Tafseel/Tafseer. And if Shahid is taken in meaning of Hadhir then Sami (i.e. hearing) and Baseer (i.e. seeing) is Tafseel/Tafseer. Regardless of what meaning is assigned to Shahid the implications are same and opponents of Islam disputing over it in attempt to bog down the discussion on this subject.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi

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