The Meaning of Shaheed
In fact 'Shaheed', is a specific term, used in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. It has certainly a specific meaning and one should be careful before applying this term to a person and you should ascertain whether hi is really qualified to be called a Shaheed.
According to Islamic jurisprudence 'Shaheed' is of two kinds:-
1. Shaheed in the real sense.
2. Shaheed in the constructive sense.
Shaheed in the real sense is a Muslim who has been killed during 'Jihad' or has been killed by any person unjustly. Such a person has two characteristics different from common people who die on their bed. Firstly, he should be buried without giving him ritual bath. However, the prayer of Janazah shall be offered on him and he shall also be given a proper Kafan. Secondly, he will deserve a great reward in the hereafter and it is hoped that Allah Almighty shall forgive his sins and admit him to the Jannah. It is also stated in some of the traditions that the body of such a person remains in the grave protected from contamination or dissolution.
As compared to this kind of 'Shaheed', a Shaheed in a constructive sense is a person who has been promised by the Holy Prophet ( Sallaho Alaihai Wasallam ) to get a reward of Shaheed in the Hereafter but is not taken as Shaheed with regard to the rules of burial. It means that his dead body has to be bathed like a dead body of any other person. The Holy Prophet ( Sallaho Alaihai Wasallam ) has included in this kind of Shaheed a large number of persons such as a person who has died in plague or who has died an unexpected accident, like fire or traffic accident or has been drowned in the water or a woman who has dies during the delivery of her child etc.
Allama Jalaluddin al Suyuti, a well-known scholar of Islamic disciplines, has collected all the Hadiths relating to this kind of Shaheed and has come to the conclusion that there are thirty categories mentioned by the Holy Prophet ( Sallaho Alaihai Wasallam ) who can deserve to be called Shaheed in this sense. But in the normal course, the word 'Shaheed' is applied only for the first kind. However, it is not prohibited to use the word for a person who falls in any one of the categories mentioned in the second kind.
It is evident from the above discussion that the word 'Shaheed' can only be used for a Muslim and it cannot be applied to a non-Muslim at all. Similarly, the term cannot be used for a person who has been rightly killed as a punishment for his own offence.
Justice Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani
Minimum Requirement for Entering the Jannah
Q. We understand that entrance to the Heaven will depend on the mercy of Allah, the Most-Merciful, and not on our deeds only. We all the time seek the mercy of the Merciful for here and for the Hereafter. Someone came to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam)asking him what he was required to do to enter into the Heaven. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam) narrated the minimum deeds he was required to do it order to enter into the Heaven. Would you be kind enough to give details of the minimum deeds. May Allah reward you for this noble work.
(M.S. Desin, Dammam)
A. There are a number of Hadiths in which the Holy Prophet ( Sallaho Alaihai Wasallam)has mentioned the requirements for entering the Paradise while answering different questions asked by different Sahabah. The deeds mentioned in such Ahadith have been varying from person to person and from occasion to occasion. The reason is obvious, because Islamic injunctions relate to every walk of life and different persons are required to do different acts according to their respective environments. However, keeping all such Ahadith in view, one can summarise the issue in the following manner :
1) The most fundamental requirements for entering the Paradise are: To have ‘Iman i.e., faith inn the oneness of Allah, the Prophethood of all the Messengers and in the Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (Sallallho Alaihi Wasallam) and in the injunctions brought by him, and in the Hereafter. Without having a firm faith in these one cannot expect to enter the Jannah.
2) An instant entry into the Heaven without being subjected to any kind of punishment further requires:
(a) Observance of all the obligations prescribed by the Holy Qur'an and the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam)which include "Faraid" such as the five Prayers, Fasts of Ramadan, payment of Zakah for the person who own Nisab, and performance of Hajj for those who can afford it. The obligation also includes "Wajibat" like 'Qurbani' etc.
(b) Abstinence from all the major sins like adultery, fornication, drinking liquor, eating pork, telling lies accepting bribe and committing back-biting, usurping the property of others, etc. etc.
(c) If a Muslim does not fulfil the requirement s mentioned in (b) above or fails to fulfil anyone of them he may be subjected to the punishment of Hell and shall not be entitled to entry into Jannah in the beginning. However, after being subjected to the punishment prescribed for several mis-deeds comitted by him, he will be admitted to the Jannah by virtue of ‘Iman.
Justice Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani