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MARTYRDOM. Islam accords a special status to those who lose or sacrifice their lives in the service of their religion. This is clear from the earliest sources (Qur'an, hadith) and the auxiliary sources (sirah, maghdzi, `ilm al-rijal and tafsir). The word which these sources agree on for designating a martyr is shahid ("witness"). The most usual meaning of shahid, which appears no less than fifty-six times in singular, plural, and adverbial forms in the Qur'an, is "eyewitness" or "witness" in a l ...more

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