What is Shirk?

May 6, 2007

Let us consider and understand shirk.  The only way a person will save himself from Hell-Fire is by avoiding shirk and dying upon tawheed.  Shirk is the only unforgivable sin in the sight of Allah.  It is so evil that it destroys all of a person’s good deeds.  Acts of worship will not be accepted when shirk is being committed.  Allah has described those who commit shirk as being najas (impure) (Surat Tawba, 9:28).  Therefore, it is necessary to understand shirk and be aware of its dangers so that we can avoid it. 

“So do not make, along with Allah, partners while you know (that He is the true Creator)” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 2:22).

What is shirk?  It involves giving Allah’s rights to other than Allah.  There are three categories in shirk. 

  • Shirk in Ruboobiyyah
    • Shirk by denial [denying the creation has a Creator (i.e. atheists having given the Power of Allah to science) or denying the perfect existence of Allah by denying his Names and Attributes (i.e. the philosophers who believe in Allah but think His Power is limited)]
    • Shirk by affirmation [total (i.e. the Zoroastrians who believe in two ultimate Gods (Good vs. Bad)) or partial (i.e. Christians or Jahiliyyah Arabs believing in sub-beings that are also powerful)]
  • Shirk in Asma wa as-Sifaat
    • By comparing Allah to creation (anthropomorphism who make God like a human)
    • By comparing creation to Allah [defication by taking something is not a God and giving it some of God’s rights (often done with saints)]
  • Shirk in Uloohiyyah
    • Major
      • Theoretical
      • Practical [putting into practice (i.e. making sajood to an idol for worship)]
    • Minor (insha’Allah will be discussed another time, but involves acts such as showing-off)

All shirk, except minor shirk uloohiyyah (which is still a major sin), are considered to put one outside the fold of Islam.  As Muslims, we need to understand shirk and its dangers.  We need to be appreciative of our shahada!

Someone asked Wahab ibn Munnabih (d. 110), “Is not la ilaha illa Allah the key to Jannah?”  He responded, “Yes, but every key has ridges, so if you come the key that has the right ridges, the door will be opened for you, other-wise it will not.”  Therefore, let us understand the conditions of the first shahada.  They include:

  1. Knowledge (versus ignorance)
  2. Certainity (versus doubt)
  3. Accepting this kalimah, qabool (versus rejecting it)
  4. Submitting to this statement, inqiyaad (versus leaving it and not acting upon it)
  5. Being truthful to it (versus lying)
  6. Sincerely stating it with ikhlaas, without any shirk involved (versus nifaq (hypocrisy) or shirk (giving Allah’s right to other than Allah)
  7. Loving it and its people, and hating those who oppose it (versus hating its people)

Insha’Allah, we all die upon tawheed and die free any form of shirk.  Ameen


One Response to “What is Shirk?”

  1. asad Says:

    very good i like this

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