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Some other forms of Shirk

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي ; وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي ; وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي ; يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي

The basis of Islam is the concept of Tauheed i.e. belief in oneness of Allah, the concept of Islamic Monotheism. It is a Muslim’s belief in ‘La ilaha illalah…‘ that makes him / her different from the non-believers. The concept of Islamic Monotheism does not allow anyone to be worshipped, except Allah (Alone). No one, other than Allah, is worthy of being worshipped. And ‘Shirk‘ is a direct contradiction to Tauheed. Therefore, any act or any belief of ours, if it contradicts the concept of Tauheed, it shall be ‘Shirk‘ and it is the biggest of all sins. Whoever dies in the state of disbelief (i.e. Shirk) shall be in fire (of hell).

An important thing to remember is that ‘Shirk‘ may occur in various forms and it is very important for us to recognize all its forms if we need to save ourselves from falling prey to it. In order to be able to do that, we should be well versed about what different forms can ‘Shirk‘ take. We will devote our discussion here to understand these different forms of ‘Shirk‘. We have discussed in one of our previous discussions about how having tawakkul in material means of the world is a type of ‘Shirk‘, and therefore, we won’t include it in this discussion.

One classification which we shall use here is based on obviousness of ‘Shirk‘. On this basis, ‘Shirk‘ can be classified into two types: One, which is visible – like idol worship, calling Isa (AS) as the son of God etc.; Second, which is invisible. It is the second type of ‘Shirk‘ (the invisible one) that we shall be discussing here.

Concept of Ibadah

Tauheed commands worshipping to Allah alone; therefore, the core of Tauheed is the worship, the Ibadah. It is worth understanding that our Ibadah is made up of four major acts: 1. Ita’at of Allah 2. Love for Allah 3. Dua from Allah 4. Ikhlas. Tauheed commands not associating anyone with Allah in these four acts. On the contrary, if someone is associated along with Allah in any of these four acts, it will be ‘Shirk‘. Let us discuss it one-by-one.

Type 1: Tauheed-fil-Ita’at vs. Shirk-fil-Ita’at

It is not allowed to do Ita’at of anyone except Allah, not at all; it is strictly prohibited. All other Ita’ats may prosper, but under the realm of Allah’s Ita’at. We can do Ita’at of our parents, our ancestors, our teachers, our elders, wives can do Ita’at of their husbands; but it should be very clear in our minds that all these Ita’ats should at no point try to contradict Ita’at of Allah. This is the concept of Tauheed-fil-Ita’at. The moment any of our Ita’ats contradicts the Ita’at of Allah, it becomes Shirk i.e. Shirk-fil-Ita’at. For example: if a lady is very much obedient to her husband and at some point of time her husband asks her not to pray or to abandon wearing Hijab because of his wish, then the lady is not supposed to do so. If she follows such a wish of her husband, it will be violation of Qur’an’s ruling about Hijab. Similarly, if someone’s parents ask him / her to do any act which is against the will of Allah, it is not allowed to obey the parents in such a case, failing which one shall end up doing Ita’at of parents against the will of Allah. For example: if a father orders his son / daughter not to keep good relations with his / her maternal relatives or if a mother asks her son / daughter not to keep good relations with his / her paternal relatives, the person is not supposed to obey his / her parents in such a case, because if he / she does so, it will be against the will of Allah (Islam does not allow us to severe ties with our relatives). All these examples fall under the category of Shirk-fil-Ita’at.

Another dangerous example of Shirk-fil-Ita’at is obedience to our Nafs. When a person gives preference to the requirements of his / her Nafs over the will of Allah, he / she ends up doing ‘Shirk‘. This is clearly mentioned in Holy Qur’an:

أَرَأَيْتَ مَنْ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنْتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلاً

“Have you (O Muhammad, PBUH) seen him who has taken as his Ilah his own vain desire? Would you then be a ‘Wakil‘ (disposer of his affairs) over him?”

(Aayah No. 43, Surah Al-Furqan, Chapter No. 25, Holy Qur’an).

This is a big question for all of us. What is meant by taking our Nafs (our vain desires, lust etc.) as Ilah? The word Ilah is such an important word; it is used for Allah only, it is the word used in La ilaha illallah…. And here it is mentioned that there are some people who take their Nafs as their Ilah. How? The answer is simple: if we follow our Nafs, without caring about what is correct and what is not according to Qur’an, it means we prefer our inner desires’ requirements over the requirements of Allah. Then doesn’t the Nafs becomes Ilah? This ‘Shirk‘ is prevalent in abundance. We need money, whether it comes by fair means or unfair means, who cares! We need status, so what if it comes at the expense of our Islamic values, who cares! We shall watch cricket match, so what if it is time for Salat! We are busy in watching a movie, let the time of Salat pass by, who cares! Our houses should be elegant; our life should be sophisticated; our bank balances should be huge; our kids should get education in one of the most expensive schools of the place; our friends should be of elite society; who cares if Islam is compromised for the sake of achieving all these requirements of our Nafs. This is what the Ummah is busy in. Beware; this is Shirk-fil-Ita’at. And such people are not liked by Allah. Refer to the following verse from Holy Qur’an:

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنْ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَنْ يَهْدِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلا تَذَكَّرُونَ

“Have you seen him who takes his own lust as his ‘Ilah’? And Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?

(Aayah No. 23, Surah Al-Jāthiya, Chapter No. 45, Holy Qur’an).

So far we discussed Shirk-fil-Ita’at on an individual basis. Now let us see what happens when whole societies, nations, etc. get involved in this type of ‘Shirk‘. This refers to the concept of Statehood which is prevalent in whole world nowadays. Qur’an says:

إِنْ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلَّهِ

“The command is for none but Allah.”

(Aayah No. 40, Surah Yusuf, Chapter No. 12, Holy Qur’an).

and,

اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَاباً مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَهاً وَاحِداً لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

“They (Jews & Christians) took their rabbis and monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and Messiah, son of Maryam, while they were commanded to worship none but One Ilah – La ilaha illa Huwa – Praise & glory be to Him from having the partners they associate (with Him).”

(Aayah No. 31, Surah At-Taubah, Chapter No. 9, Holy Qur’an).

The authority to rule and the authority to command is only for Allah. Keep in mind the above mentioned two verses from Qur’an and think: The definition of Republic, the Democracy – Sovereignty is in the hands of people. Direct challenge to the verses of Qur’an mentioned above! Sovereignty is only of Allah. How can people create rules which are against the rules of Allah? And how can we follow any such rules? How can a cabinet or any court decide that marriages of lesbians or gays are allowed, when it is already prohibited by Allah? How can a bunch of elected people decide about what punishments should be given for different sins, when this is already decided by Allah? How can the President of any country forgive a person who has raped a girl, while Allah has ordered 100 lashes for such an adulterer? How can the Muftis or Qazis decide on their own about what is Haraam and what is Halaal, when Allah has already made it clear for us in Qur’an? How can we blindly follow all these concepts, all these leaders, all these scholars, without caring whether this is according to Allah’s will or not? Beware: this is Shirk-fil-Ita’at. It is the requirement of Tauheed that only commands of Allah be followed; none other has the authority of giving commands; no; never. However, there is no harm in following commands of others which do not violate the commands of Allah. But the command of Allah is supreme.

Type 2: Tauheed-fil-Mahabbah vs. Shirk-fil-Mahabbah

Mahabbah is an Arabic word, which means love. Love for Allah is the essence of our Ibadah. We don’t worship Allah by force, no body does; rather our Ibadah is based on our love for Allah. The requirement of Tauheed-fil-Mahabbah is that our love for Allah should be above our love for all other things. The moment we love someone as much as we love Allah, it becomes Shirk-fil-Mahabbah, because we have ascribed partner to Allah in our love, a direct challenge to Tauheed-fil-Mahabbah.

وَمِنْ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَتَّخِذُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَندَاداً يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبّاً لِلَّهِ

ظَلَمُوا إِذْ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ أَنَّ الْقُوَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعاً وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعَذَابِ وَلَوْ يَرَى الَّذِينَ

“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more. If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah & that Allah is Severe in punishment.”

(Aayah No. 165, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an).

Therefore, our love for Allah should be above all.

We can’t dare to place our love for anyone even equal to love for Allah, forget more than it. The verse mentioned above tells us that it is not allowed to love anyone equal to our love for Allah. And think of the situation when our love for some other thing exceeds than our love for Allah! Following verse from Qur’an puts a final seal on the issue.

قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ
مِنْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللَّهُ لا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

“Say: If your fathers (i.e. parents), your sons (i.e. kids), your brothers (i.e. siblings), your wives (i.e. spouses), your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce (business) in which you fear a decline and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you more than Allah, His Messenger and Striving hard & fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision. And Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqun.”

(Aayah No. 24, Surah Al-Taubah, Chapter No. 9, Holy Qur’an).

This is Shirk-fil-Mahabbah on an individual basis, where an individual places his / her love for other things like his / her kids, parents, business etc. equal to or more than his / her love for Allah. Let us repeat the exercise of analyzing this on a collective basis. What happens when a society or a Qaum starts loving anything so much that it exceeds their love for Allah? The best or rather I should say the worst example of this is the love for nation. The feeling of Nationalism! Pride in being called an Indian or a Pakistani or an Arab! Allah never judges anyone on the basis of his / her nationality. Fighting among ourselves on the basis of nationality, regionalism, creed, racism, tribalism etc. has been condemned by Islam. These are the acts of Jahilliyah (i.e. Period of Ignorance) and find no space in Islam. How can someone declare that people of one particular country are better than people of other country or countries? Such a declaration is against the will of Allah, as it is only at the discretion of Allah to declare who is better and who is not. But since our love for our nations is so intense, we tend to indulge in such declarations. If our love for Allah is greater than our love for nation, we will never dare to make any such statement. Think!!!!! Saluting the flag; Bowing our heads and standing as a mark of respect when national anthem or national song is played…what is all this? We are ready to bow our heads for National Song or flag of our country! It is not allowed to bow our heads in front of anyone other than Allah. Beware: this is Shirk-fil-Mahabbah.

Not only love for nation, there are loves also which lead to this type of ‘Shirk‘ on a collective scale. Some examples of these loves are love for language, love for school of thoughts, love for region etc. What is so special in any particular language, that we spend our lives fighting for the sake of its revival? If at all a Muslim wants to spend some efforts for any language then it should be Arabic, so that it helps us in better understanding of Islamic scriptures. Otherwise all languages are same, just a means of communications. Beware; all these loves have to be less than our love for Allah, otherwise we end up doing Shirk-fil-Mahabbah.

Type 3: Tauheed-fil-Dua vs. Shirk-fil-Dua

Dua is a very important aspect of our Ibadah. Dua means invoking Allah for His Mercy, Blessings, Help, Guidance etc. The essence of Tauheed-fil-Dua is that we invoke only Allah (Alone) for our needs. This is stated clearly in Holy Qur’an:

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَداً

“And the masjids are for Allah (Alone); so invoke not anyone along with Allah.”

(Aayah No. 18, Surah Al-Jinn, Chapter No. 72, Holy Qur’an).

The moment we invoke someone else along with Allah for our help, it is Shirk-fil-Dua. It is not allowed to call Rasool-Allah (PBUH) even. On the contrary, it is a matter of shame and sorrow that we find so many Muslim brothers and sisters going to graves of old saints etc. and praying on the graves with a hope of getting their wishes fulfilled. One of the worst possible forms of ‘Shirk‘!

Type 4: Ikhlaas vs. Show-off in Ibadah

It is said that the soul of our Ibadah is Ikhlaas. By saying this we mean that our Ibadah should be filled with Ikhlaas and purely for the sake of Allah (Alone). Ibadah without Ikhlaas is like a body without a soul. So, Ikhlaas is very important; this is the requirement of Tauheed. On the contrary, if someone prays just for the sake of showing-off, then that is not Ibadah of Allah; there is no Ikhlaas. We should understand that our Ibadah is for the sake of Allah (Alone). The moment we pray with an intention of showing-off and gaining worldly praises from people around, our Ibadah is no more for Allah Alone, we have set up partner(s) with Him. Beware; this is another form of ‘Shirk‘.

Please refer to following hadith in context of this matter:

Narrated Jundub: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who lets the people hear of his good deeds intentionally, to win their praise, Allah will let the people know his real intention (on the Day of Resurrection), and he who does good things in public to show-off & win the praise of the people, Allah will disclose his real intention (& humiliate him).”

(Hadith No. 6499, Book of Ar-Riqaq, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8).

Conclusion

Ascribing partners to Allah in worship is the biggest sin of all and Allah does not forgive one who commits ‘Shirk‘. Refer to following verse from Holy Qur’an:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ افْتَرَى إِثْماً عَظِيماً

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him, but He forgives except that to whom He wills and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.”

(Aayah No. 48, Surah An-Nisa’, Chapter No. 4, Holy Qur’an).

It is very important that we leave all these activities (discussed here; which lead to different types of ‘Shirk‘) immediately. Stop doing Ita’at of anyone other than Allah, stop loving anyone more than Allah, stop invoking anyone other than Allah, stop doing Ibadah and other good deeds for showing-off! What do we achieve by being proud to be an Indian or a Pakistani or a Bangladeshi or an American or an English and so on and so forth….? It is worth being a good Muslim rather. Why do we follow our Nafs? Don’t we have faith in the Aakhrah? Think! Think seriously. I shall end the discussion by quoting the following verse of Qur’an:

إِنَّهُ مَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ ُ

“Verily, whoever sets up partners with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise to him…”

(Aayah No. 72, Surah Al-Ma’idah, Chapter No. 5, Holy Qur’an).

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُون َ ; وَسَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ ; وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

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