Prof. Liviu Librescu and Waleed Shaalan: Both Heros, Different faiths, Both Martyrs

Prof. Liviu LibrescuProf Liviu Librescu’s heoric act:

According to media accounts quoting students, Mr. Librescu and the class heard shooting in a nearby room. The students said their professor blocked the door to prevent the gunman from entering while some students took cover underneath desks and others leaped out from windows. (Source: New York Times)

The professor saved all the students in that classroom because he blocked the door. He was a holocaust survivor and a Jewish Israeli citizen.

Waleed ShaalanWaleed Shaalan’s heroic act:

He was gunned down on Monday while he was studying in Norris Hall, but witnesses say he died a hero.

According to Randy Dymond, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Mr. Shaalan was in a classroom with another student when the gunman entered and opened fire.

Mr. Shaalan was badly wounded and lay beside the other student, who was not shot but played dead, as the gunman returned two times searching for signs of life. Just as the gunman noticed the student, Mr. Shaalan made a move to distract him, at which point he was shot a second time and died. The student believed that Mr. Shaalan purposefully distracted the shooter to save him, Mr. Dymond said. (Source: New York Times)

Waleed was a father of 1-year-old son and a husband for three years. He was a Muslim from Egypt.

Okay MR, what’s your point?

Both of these human beings sacrificed their own lives to save others who they probably didn’t even know that well. Waleed sacrificed his life for a non-Muslim. He was just studying when the shooter came in. The professor saved his entire class from the shooter. He didn’t think twice about doing it.

One Jew and one Muslim: both martyrs.
[A martyr is a person who is put to death or endures suffering because of a belief, principle or cause. Please see this comment for more clarification.]

“From God we came and unto Him we shall return.” (Qur’an)

May God give patience to the families and friends of all 33 deceased. May God bless them all.

31 Replies to “Prof. Liviu Librescu and Waleed Shaalan: Both Heros, Different faiths, Both Martyrs”

  1. I heared that the professor’s son was in tht class which he was protecting … how painful to see ur dad save ur class and die because of tht …

    May Allah make it easier for them. Amiin

  2. [A martyr is a person who is put to death or endures suffering because of a belief, principle or cause.]

    lol if thats ur definition of a martyr then i wonder how they (both) fit this description???neither of them died for their belief or cause-

  3. im sorry, but a kaafir who saves someone else.. what he did was good, but Allah subhana wa ta’ala clearly states in the Quran that their deeds will be in vain..

    it’s very simple

    Muslim + good action + death upon islam = reward

    Non-Muslim + good action + death upon kufr = deeds in vain..

    you cant call a kaafir a shaheed in light of Islam….

  4. Egyptian Gumbo on April 19, 2007 at 4:13 pm said:

    im sorry, but a kaafir who saves someone else.. what he did was good, but Allah subhana wa ta’ala clearly states in the Quran that their deeds will be in vain..

    it’s very simple

    Muslim + good action + death upon islam = reward

    Non-Muslim + good action + death upon kufr = deeds in vain..

    you cant call a kaafir a shaheed in light of Islam….

    Can you tell me where I called the professor a shaheed? I just read it over 3 times, and I am pretty sure I didn’t say that.

    In the English language, the definition of a martyr is not the same as the Islamic term of shaheed. Martyr doesn’t always involve religion. You can become a martyr for a political cause. You can become a martyr for your country, for your family, etc.

    mar·tyr /ˈmÉ‘rtÉ™r/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[mahr-ter] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
    1. a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
    2. a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
    3. a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyr to severe headaches.
    4. a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

    Source: Dictionary.com

    When I used the word martyr, I am no way connecting it to shaheed. Shaheed is martyrdom plus more.

  5. Amazing analyzation.

    We are all Human beings, and we should look out for each other. It doesn’t matter what race, religion or sexuality you are because we all have feelings and rights as anyone else.

    It is really sad for everybody affected by this tragedy and it truly makes me sad to hear stories that are devastating – like Shaalan who was a father of a baby and got shot.
    When I see what Shaalan did, I myself don’t even know if I can do what he did. Kinda makes you think..

  6. Thank you for posting these stories. I appreciate you sharing the story of Waleed Shaalan. May their courage and sacrifice inspire all to honor every human being.

  7. im jewish, and i often face bias views on judaism and islam
    thank god for people like you who tell it like it is, regardless of race.

  8. Egyptiangumbo: You are the epitome of the people giving Islam a bad name. It is ignornant, intolerant people like you who cause others to view Islam as an extreme religion. I’m not mad or angry because of what you said, rather, I feel sorry for you, and hope and pray God gives you the wisdom you really need.

  9. not-egyptiangumbo on April 19, 2007 at 8:14 pm said:

    Egyptiangumbo: You are the epitome of the people giving Islam a bad name. It is ignornant, intolerant people like you who cause others to view Islam as an extreme religion. I’m not mad or angry because of what you said, rather, I feel sorry for you, and hope and pray God gives you the wisdom you really need.

    thanks buddy… The students at my university tend to think differently 😀 i’m a columnist about islam..

    go figure.. 🙂 Alhamdulillah for the NON sugarcoating of Islam..

  10. Egyptian Gumbo on April 19, 2007 at 8:27 pm said:

    thanks buddy… The students at my university tend to think differently 😀 i’m a columnist about islam..

    go figure.. 🙂 Alhamdulillah for the NON sugarcoating of Islam..

    AlMaghrib likes sugarcoating Islam with love. 😀
    Lots of love, fiqh and notes. hahaha

    Sugarcoating is good for the skinny people. 😀 hahahaha

    not-egyptiangumbo on April 19, 2007 at 8:14 pm said:

    Egyptiangumbo: You are the epitome of the people giving Islam a bad name. It is ignornant, intolerant people like you who cause others to view Islam as an extreme religion. I’m not mad or angry because of what you said, rather, I feel sorry for you, and hope and pray God gives you the wisdom you really need.

    Relax. Egyptian Gumbo was confused on my usage of the word martyr.

  11. why because i said that non-muslims’s deeds will be rendered in vain if they die on disbelief?

    The Quran was sent to All Mankind …

    It’s clearly in the Quran.. in fact in JUST in surat Muhammad it’s not only mentioned once in the Surah but twice..

    [1:47] Those who disbelieve [in the Oneness of Allâh, and in the Message of Prophet Muhammad SAW ], and hinder (men) from the Path of Allâh (Islâmic Monotheism), He will render their deeds vain .

    [8:47] But those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allâh Islâmic Monotheism), for them is destruction, and (Allâh) will make their deeds vain.

    I’m used to hate mail and hate comments.. no big deal.. doesnt faze me in the least.

    and considering I posted this comment on a site where majority Muslims are the viewers.. umm i think you see my point..

    It’s a horrible thing that happened, but that’s the qadr of Allah, and it was Also the Qadr of Allah that most of these people die upon their kufr.

    maybe in light of this horrible situation we should think about instead of sugarcoating Islam, to convey it how it is (WITH WISDOM, of course) so that inshaAllah more people turn to islam and die upon the truth.

    wallahu ta’ala alem.. if you have more comments, feel free to email me so I can put you in my seperate folder called “Hate Mail” (which i really do have a seperate folder in my inbox next to my “Nice mail” folder 🙂 )

  12. finally i saw the shooter in the news last nite, he’s from south korea, rite?

    wa man ya’mal mitsqaaladzarratin syrarran yarahu…

  13. Egyptian Gumbo on April 19, 2007 at 9:51 pm said:

    why because i said that non-muslims’s deeds will be rendered in vain if they die on disbelief?

    The Quran was sent to All Mankind …

    It’s clearly in the Quran.. in fact in JUST in surat Muhammad it’s not only mentioned once in the Surah but twice..

    [1:47] Those who disbelieve [in the Oneness of Allâh, and in the Message of Prophet Muhammad SAW ], and hinder (men) from the Path of Allâh (Islâmic Monotheism), He will render their deeds vain .

    [8:47] But those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allâh Islâmic Monotheism), for them is destruction, and (Allâh) will make their deeds vain.

    I’m used to hate mail and hate comments.. no big deal.. doesnt faze me in the least.

    and considering I posted this comment on a site where majority Muslims are the viewers.. umm i think you see my point..

    It’s a horrible thing that happened, but that’s the qadr of Allah, and it was Also the Qadr of Allah that most of these people die upon their kufr.

    maybe in light of this horrible situation we should think about instead of sugarcoating Islam, to convey it how it is (WITH WISDOM, of course) so that inshaAllah more people turn to islam and die upon the truth.

    wallahu ta’ala alem.. if you have more comments, feel free to email me so I can put you in my seperate folder called “Hate Mail” (which i really do have a seperate folder in my inbox next to my “Nice mail” folder 🙂 )

    I just want to clarify something, are you saying that I am sugar-coating Islam?

  14. Egyptian Gumbo, Allah picks and chooses who he will send to Jannah – none of us know. He says that all good People of the Book (Jews, Christians, Muslims), will go to Jannah. Allah takes into account that not everyone knows about Islam in the true sense. I think what is more important is belief in ONE God and respecting other humans and being of high morals, which both Librescu and Shaalan seem to exemplify. But, you are entitled to your opinion.
    Oh yeah, and nobody is trying to sugarcoat Islam. You are just trying to acidify it.

  15. MR thanks for the post, it’s good to see that people still value human life, muslim or non-muslim.

    Whatever your opinion is on MR’s choice of the word ‘martyr’ this should be a reminder to us all to keep our intentions only for the sake of Allah.

    May Allah have mercy on our brother Waleed, and help and guide all of the families involved. Ameen.

  16. Great post Amir!

    The firefighters who died in 9/11, just like Professor Librescu were both indeed martyrs – sacrificing their own loves to save other sacred lives.

    It’s appalling to see people criticize fellow Muslims for simply praising the heroic efforts of those who died trying to save the life of others.

  17. no matter how painful this tragedy is, we should not forget our brothers in Iraq. There are about ‘2 Virginia Techs Tragedy’ occur everyday, and no one really cares about it.

  18. Salam,

    I read all the comments. It is important to me to understand where my fellow Muslims are in thought.
    The tradegy is still raw. We feel pain for those who suffer. Now it is time to move on. Let us go on with life.
    Allah is the Ultimate Judge.
    Sugarcoating Islam..that would be a wonderful post…
    Today let us devote ourselves to prayer and say Allumdullilah..

  19. Asalaamu alaikum. Thank you for this post. I understand what you mean by martyr and I appreciate you pointing out the lack of exclusivity in who can be a hero.

  20. There is no doubt that both these people are heroes, whether you use the english term marytrs or not.

    Shahaadum or martyrdom according to islaam is granted only by Allaah, so we pray that Brother Waleed as one who believes in Allaah and His messenger achieve shahadah. And we pray that families of all the victims and the heros get patience. End of story.

  21. The Israeli professor ended his life nobly. But has anyone else noticed that general media has focused almost exclusively on his heroic act, and almost not at all on that of the Muslim, Waleed? In fact, Muslim-friendly sites such as Little Green Footballs have even tried to make compare/contrast statements between “Israeli” heroes and “Muslim” villains (i.e. some nut somewhere thanking God that some Americans got killed); no mention of the “Muslim Hero”, of course, because that is an oxymoron for such idiots.

    May God be pleased with Waleed, and grant him the Paradise of His proximity, ameen.

  22. Isaac, I noticed that too. Sad to say, perhaps it had to do with the fact that he saved a whole classroom(only speculating).

    In any case, he did die nobly and there is no doubt he is a hero who should be commended.

    I am however, wishing that they would talk about Waleed.

    In the end, we can pray for shahaadah of brother Waleed. If he does not get attention from media then his reward for his act of saving someone is purely and solely from Allah. May Allah grant Brother Waleed paradise, ameen.

  23. As’Salaamu Alaikum wa’Rahmatullah…

    I couldn’t help but notice the hostility that seems to have been going back & forth in response to the notion of “martyrdom”…

    Yowza!

  24. I didn’t hear about Mr. Shaalan right away, but yes he is a hero also. It doesn’t matter one’s religion, nationality, personal beliefs on politics. When something like this happens and someone steps up to save lives, he/she is a hero! God bless them all. Thanks for sharing MR

  25. maybe he is not anonymous, maybe the media is continuing to lie like they did with Jessica Lynch’s non-hero story.

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