Saturday 7 September 2019

99 Attributes of Allah: Ash Shaheed - The Omniscient Witness

Ash-Shahīd "ٱلْشَّهِيدُ" The Omniscient Witness, The Certifier, is one of the attributes of Allah that is repeated at many places in the Holy Qur'an.

لٰـكِنِ اللّٰهُ يَشۡهَدُ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اِلَيۡكَ​ اَنۡزَلَهٗ بِعِلۡمِهٖ​ۚ وَالۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةُ يَشۡهَدُوۡنَ​ ؕ وَكَفٰى بِاللّٰهِ شَهِيۡدًا ؕ‏ 

"(Whether people believe or not) Allah bears witness that whatever He has revealed to you, He has revealed with His knowledge, and the angels bear witness to it too, though the witness of Allah is sufficient." [Al Quran Surah An Nisa 4:166]

The above said verse was revealed as a answer to the objections of the Jews who claimed there is no Prophet or Messenger after Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him). They denied every Messenger who came after him. By revealing this ayah, Allah is refuting their claim.

The verse thus means even if they deny, defy and disbelieve in you, O Muhammad, Allah testifies that you are His Messenger to whom He sent down His Book, the Glorious Qur’an. When Allah bears witness for someone, then can there cannot be a an iota of doubt about the genuineness of the messengers that followed Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him).

Since Allah has created a fathomless universe, He is the One who continuously observes everything in creation. It is He from Whose knowledge nothing is hidden and thus it is He  who witnesses both that which is seen and that which is unseen. And it Will be the He Who is the ultimate witness on judgment day.

And what could be the best example of the attribute Ash Shaheed when Allah Himself says in Al Quran;
“Say: What thing is the greatest witness? Say: Allah is Shahid between you and I; this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may warn therewith – you and whomever it may reach.” (Surah Al-An'am [6]:19)
Allah Himself witnesses that the Prophet (peace be on him) has been designated by Him and that what he communicated was by His command.

In order to bear witness to something, mere guesswork and imagination are not sufficient. What is required is knowledge on the basis of which a person can state something with full conviction. Hence. the question means: Did they really have knowledge of anyone other than God who could lay claim to man's worship and absolute service by dint of being the omnipotent sovereign, the one whose will prevailed throughout the universe?
The attribute "al-Shaheed" is derived from shuhood, [eye] witnesses, and it requires knowledge by observation: Allah is al-Shaheed because He is present and observes all beings whom He has created and whom He will create at any time and in any place, and He is fully aware of such beings; "... and He is with you wherever you may be." Al-Shaheed is a superlative of al-Shahid, the Witness.
In Surah Al Maidah, there is a conversation between Allah and Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him), which will take place on the Day of Judgement. Part of the conversation is as quoted below:

مَا قُلۡتُ لَهُمۡ اِلَّا مَاۤ اَمَرۡتَنِىۡ بِهٖۤ اَنِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰهَ رَبِّىۡ وَرَبَّكُمۡ​ۚ وَكُنۡتُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ شَهِيۡدًا مَّا دُمۡتُ فِيۡهِمۡ​ۚ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيۡتَنِىۡ كُنۡتَ اَنۡتَ الرَّقِيۡبَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ​ؕ وَاَنۡتَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ شَهِيۡدٌ‏ 

( 117 )   I said not to them except what You commanded me - to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them , and You are, over all things, Witness.

Continuing his would-be conversation with Allah on the Day of Judgement, Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him) would say: "I did exactly what You told me to do. I didn’t add anything to it or left out something from it. I witnessed their actions, their behavior, their response as long as I was with them. I saw what they were doing when they did something wrong I stopped them. I heard what they were saying when they said something wrong I stopped them. I have no idea what they said when I was not between them. "وَاَنۡتَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ شَهِيۡدٌ" Surely You are The Omniscient Witness."

In Surah Yunus, Allah reminds the disbelievers that the false gods that the worshiped would on the Day of judgment simply refuse to accept their allegiance they had to them in the worldly life. 

فَكَفٰى بِاللّٰهِ شَهِيۡدًۢا بَيۡنَـنَا وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ اِنۡ كُنَّا عَنۡ عِبَادَتِكُمۡ لَغٰفِلِيۡنَ‏ 

(10:29) Allah's witness suffices between you and us that (even if you worshiped us) we were totally unaware of your worshiping us.

That is, their deities, the angels, the jinns, the spirits, the forefathers, the prophets, the saints, the martyrs and all others, whom they had set up as partners with God and rendered those rights to them which belonged to God alone, will dissociate themselves from their worshipers and declare: We did not know at all that you worshiped us, for no reverence, no respect, no honor, no admiration, no regard, no adoration, no homage that you paid to us; no prayer, no supplication, no request, no offering, no gift you presented to us; and no praise, no prostration, no bowing down, no remembrance, no religious service, or ceremony or ritual you made in our name ever reached us.

This last reference is sufficient to open our eyes when we run after false deities and lose sight of our real protector. And while we bow to false saints and pray to them, Allah watches us and tells us that He is Witness to our actions and on the Day of Judgment, He will expose our lies and falsehood we used to add to our lives by following false gods. And when Allah Himself is the witness, who could then save us from the Hell Fire?

May Allah guide us to the straight path and inculcate in us His love, Hope and Fear so that we do not go astray and do not have to stand shameful in front of Him for His Witness has no parallel.

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

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