Allah says:

"Verily, Whoever associates partners with Allah, Allah has forbidden to him paradise and his abode will be the Hellfire. And of helpers there are none for those who do wrong (dhaalimoon)"    (Q5[Maidah1:72)

He also says:

"Indeed Allah does not forgive that partners are associated with him (in worship) but He forgives what is lesser than that to whomsoever He wills. And whoever associates partners with Allah then he has strayed far away". (Q4[an-Nisaa']: 116).

Shirk is the grave sin of associating partners with Allah in any form or fashion; the sin that Allah has promised that He will never forgive whoever dies on it without repentance. One of the' ways Allah uses in the Qur'an is to explain things by giving their opposites, or mentioning their opposites along with them. For example He says:

 "Say: Are those equal those who know and those who do not? " (Q39[az-Zumar]:9);


'and the seeing and the blind are not alike, nor the darknesses and the light." (Q 13[Ra'd]: 16);


"Not alike are the companions of the. Hellfire and the companions of Paradise." (Q59[Hashr]:20)

Who can appreciate tawheed without knowing Shirk? Anyone who does not know shirk will not appreciate tawheed (worshipping Allah in His Oneness or Uniqueness).

Allah has explained both tawheed and its opposite, Shirk, in a most comprehensive manner; Tawheed is:

FIRSTLY, to believe that Allah is the CREATOR, OWNER and REGULATOR of the whole of creation. He created everything from nothing and no one helped Him in this. He alone owns the whole of creation and no one shares with Him in respect to this. He alone regulates the affairs of the universe such as giving and taking life, sending the rain down, giving sustenance, alternating the night and the day, raising someone, giving him honour and humiliating someone, lowering him. Allah says:

"Allah is the Creator of every single thing." (Q 13[Rad]:16);

"To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. (Q2[Baqarah]:284)

and "He arranges/regulates every affair from the heavens to the earth. " (Q32 [as- Sajdah]:5)

So Allah is ALONE ,UNIQUE in all of these three matters, CREATING, OWNING and REGULATING.

He has no partners that help Him or who are equal or rivals to Him in any of these affairs.

SECONDLY; tawheed is to direct all forms of worship to Allah alone. Since he is the sole creator, owner and regulator justifies such worship for him. All forms of worship, whether actions of the heart 9that is love, fear, hope, reliance, etc) statements of the tongue (praising, dhikr, seeking help etc) or actions of the limbs (prayer, supplication, sacrificing, repenting, etc)

it is due to this tawheed tht the Muslims GAIN SUCCESS, VICTORY and AUTHORITY in this world and the next. To the extent that the Muslims as individuals fulfil this tawheed to that same extent will Allah aid them, help them, give them victory, rule and authority in the land, to the extent that the Muslims fail in this tawheed and go wrong, to that same extent will humiliation become their lot will Allah remove blessings from them, abandon them and punish them. This is a very important point, the relevance of which shall become obvious in light of what shirk is.

most Muslims probably think that only the idol worshippers, the Christians, the jews and others who have disbelieved. In islam, the true message of salvation, that are guilty of shirk, indeed all of these group of unbelievers are mushrikoon, but shirk is not limited to them. Some of those who call themselves Muslims are equally guilty of associating partners with Allah. As Allah says:

"And most of them do not believe in Allah except while they commit shirk (illa wahum mushrikoon)" (Q12[Yesuf]:108)

Shirk can, be in terms of a BELIEF, a WORD or STATEMENT and an ACTION. we will list examples of each one and would want you to reflect upon how widespread some of these beliefs and actions are in the Muslim ummah. People would think them to be from Islam and in reality Islam in totally agaiinst them.

SHIRK OF BELIEF: Shirk with respect to belief include to hold the belief that Allah is everywhere in His essence, or that everything is allah and Allah is everything (wahdatul-wujood). This is a widespread belief and you may get called a disbeleiver for believing its opposite (the correct belief that Allah the sublime and most high is above the seven heavens). whereas, this point of belief that Allah is above the seven heavens, separate from his creation is the only one which has numerous evidences, direct or indirect, in the Quran and Sunnah. Allah says:

"and he is  Al-Qaahir, above his servants" (Q [al-An' am]: 18)

and also:

'and ar-Rahmaan has ascended the Throne" (Q20[TA HA]:5).

The verses of the Qur'an, sayings of the Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam), sayings of the Companions, their successors and those scholars who followed in their way, which establish this belief are numerous and easily accessible for the one who is in need of them for clarification.

Other forms of this shirk is to believe that it is not possible to reach Allah directly, rather we have to go through intermediaries! And where does this belief stand in relation to the speech of Allah:

'And when My servants ask you concerning Me then verily, I am near.I respond to the call of the supplicant when He calls upon Me. Let them therefore obey Me (respond to Me) and believe in Me so that they may be led aright." (Q2[al-Saqarah]:187) 

It is also shirk to hold the belief that any individual has power, capability of bringing sustenance, or providing protection, granting offspring, etc ... regardless of whether he is a pious person, an angel or a prophet. The Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) was commanded by Allah to say : 

"Say: I do not have any control over any benefit or harm over myself except what Allah wills. " (Q7[A'raf]: I88)  

Yet the number of so called 'Shaykhs' 'Wa/ees' and 'Pirs' who are resorted to for help, sustenance, male offspring and other such matters can be counted on the hairs on ones head! It is also shirk to hold the belief that anyone besides Allah has knowledge of the unseen. Allah commanded the Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) to say:

"Say: None who is in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen except Allah." (Q27[an-Naml]:65)

The Messenger of Allah also said:

"The prayer of one who visits a fortune tel/er will not be accepted for forty days ." (Abu Daud)

This would include things such as reading the stars or having ones fortune told by the various methods current in the present time.

$HIRK BY WORDS: The foremost of this is swearing by other than Allah and any of His Attributes. Others include glorifying false deities in names (such as 'Ogunleke' i. e Ogun, the god of iron, overcomes all) and sayings such as if it had not been for the pilot we would surely have crashed, or if it had not been for the dog, the burglar would have stolen everything, or if it had not been for you ... and so on. Similar statements were said in the time of the Messenger of Allah(sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) and he put an end to them. It was said to him (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam): "What you willed, and he replied: No, say what AIlah willed then what Muhammad willed"(Ibn Majah). This is equivalent to setting up partners and rivals to Allah the Exalted.

SHIRK OF ACTIONS: And there are various types of this, including directing any of the acts of worship to other than Allah, such as supplicating, sacrificing, tawa'af etc ... whether to an idol, a stone, an angel, a dead person, a prophet etc.; wearing talismans, charms. All these things constitute shirk for the Messenger of Allah(sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever hangs/wears a talisman has committed shirk (man alaqa tameematan faqad ashrak)" 

One prominent shirk of action is riyaa, that is doing actions for other than the sake of Allah, such as worldly motivations, seeking praise, honour etc ... Accepting as lawful what the scholars make lawful despite the fact it is unlawful, and accepting as unlawful what the scholars have made unlawful despite the fact that it is lawful is also shirk of action. Just like Allah said:

"They have taken their priests and their rabbis as Lords besides Allah." (Q9[Taubah] :31)

Thus there are people nowadays who allow such things as music, shaking hands with women, tiba, shaving of beards and other such matters. And the people follow them in that, because these are things which their souls desired in the first place. Also included is the shirk of seeking protection in other than Allah; such as calling on dead people for help, thinking that they can help or asking people for help in those matters which Allah alone can help. This is a short and not an extensive list of matters which constitute shirk. Many if not most of the things which we have mentioned are WIDESPREAD amongst Muslims. These things have become their accepted faith, their 'deen of Islam'. And now we can understand why the Muslims suffer and are oppressed in the ways that are obvious to all. The way to remedy this is to increase our knowledge. The starting point for every individual is to increase his knowledge of tawheed and shirk.


Shirk is to give to other than Allah, that which belongs solely to Allah, This means that parts creation are given powers and attributes which belong only to Allah, thus ultimately sending worship to other than Allah. Shirk is of two broad types

Major Shirk

(Shirk al-Akbar) is to make something from the various types of worship for other than Allah, like sacrificing for other than Allah, or taking an oath by other than Allah, or calling upon other than Allah, or seeking aid from other than Allah; like those who seek aid' from statues and idols and awliyaa (close allies of Allah), the righteous and the prophets; upon the basis that this will bring them closer to Allah. The ruling upon this type of Shirk is that it is disbelief (kufr) which ejects one from the deen (Religion). Allah does not accept anything from the one who commits Shirk and his dwelling place is the Fire if he dies upon that, as the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever dies whilst calling upon other than AIlah enters the Fire." (Bukhari)

So verily Shirk is the absolute worst sin, and Allah will never forgive those who die upon it, as Allah says:

"Verily Allah does not forgive that Shirk be made with Him, but He forgives whatever is below that for whomever He wishes. And whosoever associates others with Allah, then he has indeed strayed far away." (Q4[an-Nisaa]:48)


Minor Shirk (shirk ai-Asghar) does not expel one rom the Religion, but it causes a deficiency in tawheed; it is a way to major shirk, and it is of two categories: 'The first category is apparent Shirk, and it consists of words and actions. So the words are like those used in swearing by other than Allah. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever swears by other than Allah. then he has indeed disbelieved and committed Shirk." (Abu Dawud)

And he said about the statement:

'What AIlah wills and what you will.' "Do you make me one to be called upon along with Allah? Say: What Allah alone wills." (Bukhari)

Similar to this is wearing a ring, thread and the hanging of amulets in fear of afflictions. Once it is believed that these things themselves remove the calamity, then this is Major Shirk, because that is devotion to other than Allah.

The second category of Minor Shirk is hidden Shirk (Shirk AI-Khafee). It is Shirk in desires and intentions, like riyaa' (showing off), and sum'ah (seeking good repute), like performing an action which brings a person closer to Allah, and desiring the praise of the people by it, it is like a person who perfects his Prayer, or gives charity, so that the people will praise and commend him for it.

And riyaa' (showing off) is when a person mixes his action with that which negates it. Allah says:

"So whosoever wishes to meet his Lord, then let him perform righteous acts, and let him not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord."(Q 18[al-Kahf]:110 )

The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"What I fear for you most is Minor Shirk"

They said: '0 Messenger of Allah, what is Minor Shirk?' He said:

"Riyaa'." (Ahmad)

As for Shirk in desires and intentions, then it is a sea which has no shore, very few are saved from drowning in it.

IN SUMMARY: The difference between Major Shirk and Minor Shirk is as follows: Major Shirk ejects one from the Religion and Minor Shirk does not eject one from the Religion. The one who commits Major Shirk will reside in the Fire, and the one who commits Minor Shirk will not reside in it, even if he enters it at first. Major Shirk nullifies all good deeds, and Minor Shirk does not nullify all good deeds; it only nullifies those good deeds in which riyaa', or an action done for the sake of worldly gain are mixed. Major Shirk makes ones blood and wealth lawful, and Minor Shirk does not.


There are several forms of this sin that the Muslim must be aware of. The following are the various shades of shirk. '

Shirk Ad-Dua' (supplication): To call other than Allah such as a Prophet, or a righteous man, Seeking, for example, a sustenance or cure from an illness. Allah says about this:

'And those whom you invoke besides Him have not the least power. If you invoke them they will not listen to your call and if they were to listen they cannot answer your (prayer). On the Day of Judgement they will. reject your "Partnership." And none (0 man!) can tell you (the Truth) like the One Who is acquainted with all things." (Q35[Faatir]: 13-14).

Prophet Muhammad. (salallahu alayhi wa salam) also said:

"Whoever dies while calling a rival besides Allah will enter Hell."(Bukhari)

Shirk in the attributes of Allah: To believe that someone may have divine attributes. For example to believe that a righteous man can know the unseen also falls under this category of sins.

"With Him are the keys of the Unseen the treasures that none knows but He. He knows whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth nor anything fresh or dry (green or withered) but IS (inscribed) in a record clear (to those who can read)!' (Q6[al- An'am]:59)

Shirk Al-Mahabah (love): It is shirk to love someone to the same degree as your love to Allah such that that person's love impels you to disobey Allah.

"Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah as equal (with Allah); they love them as they should love Allah. But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah." (Q2[Baqarah]: 165).

Shirk At-Ta'a (Obedience): Obeying someone against the Authority of Allah.

"They take their  priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; Yet they were commanded to worship but one Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to him: (far is He) from having the parents they associate (with him)." (Q9[Taubah] :31).

Shirk AI Hulul (The Shirk of Dwelling- Pantheism): This is the belief that Allah is united with His creation. This doctrine defines Allah as dwelling in various forces and its infamous preacher Ibn Arabi (560-638Hijrah) adopted similar beliefs. Some deviated sufi people think that their scholars are under divine revelation. Most of this belief originated in India and Persia and are philosophical in nature. Christians after Jesus, (alayhisallam) adopted the concept of "Dwelling"and called it Incarnation. To them, "Jesus is God incarnate."

Allah is high above what they attribute to Him. Allah is above on His 'Arsh (Throne) distinct from His creation. He knows everything. He sees everything, the hidden and the manifest. He encompasses everything by His knowledge, but does not dwell in anything.

The Shirk of Tas-Sar'ruf (Running the affairs): This is to believe that there are some people who can run the affairs of the universe. An extension of this is choosing and/or accepting a rule other than the rule of Allah, believing that it is better than the rule of Allah or equal to it, is Shirk. Those who resort to the adoption and implementation of laws commit Kufr.

Similarly, those who believe that the Islamic Laws do not "fit" to our contemporary times, commit Kufr.

Allah says:

"What! Have they partners (in godhead) who have established for them some religion without the permission of Allah? Had it not been for the Decree of Judgement the matter would have been decided between them (at once): but verily the wrongdoers will have a grievous Penalty." (Q42 [Ash- Shura]:21)

Charms, amulets: It is the common practice among people to wear bracelets and cowry shells on their persons and hang animal horns and other artifacts on their doorsteps to ward off evil and bring good fortunes. Charms, talisman and amulets are evils that contradict one's belief in the Oneness of Allah. This entails attributing to created objects the power to avert evil and bring good fortune whereas Allah is enough as Protector from all harm. When the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw  brass bangle on a man's upper arm, he said to him. "Woe be on you! What is this?" The man replied that it was o protect him from a sickness called aI-Waahinah. The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) then said:

"Cast it off, for verily it would only increase your weakness. And, if you died with it on, you would never succeed." (Ahmad).

The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) sounding off the seriousness off this sin, said:

"May Allah cause failure and unrest to whoever wears a talisman or puts it on thers." (Ahmad).

Regarding ur'anic charms, some scholars among the taabi'un allowed it but many of the companions and the successors were against it. Since there is no known indication that theIProphet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) ever made charm from Qur'an, it is better avoided for one who wishes to keep his faith safe.

Omen: Various superstitious mens abound in different societies.

One consider hitting the left foot against a hard object as a bad omen

Or the sound of a particular bird. By whatever form bad omens come,

Anyone who allows himself to be dissuaded from an endeavour by it has committed shirk. - Reading bad omen corrodes the foundation of tawheed by directing the form of worship known as trust (tawakku/) to other than Allahand by attributing to man the power to predict the coming of good or evil, and the ability to avoid Allah's destiny.

"No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence that is truly easy for Allah"(Q57[Al-Hadeed}:22).

Fortune telling: This is one of the destructive sins. (See Dhul-Hijjah edition -of Deen Digest for further reading on Fortune Telling)

Horoscopes: For a number of Muslims, the first thing they read in the dailies early in the morning is the  horoscope column. Horoscope represents the belief that earthly beings are influenced by the movement of heavenly bodies. This belief is considered kufr (disbelief) because it destroys tawheed. Such belief gives the planets, stars and the galaxies the attributes of Allah. If one believes in the horoscope predictions, then he 'has gone outside Islam (he is a: kafir). True Muslims are therefore obliged to stay away from these areas. Rings, chains that have zodiac signs on them should not be worn even if you don't believe in them. No Muslim should classify himself according to any zodiac sign ·e.g. 'I am Libra, or Capricorn' nor should he read horoscope columns in the newspapers or listen to them read.

Magic (Sihr): This is forbidden in Islam and the most severe punishment is applied to one who practices it both in this world and in the Hereafter. The penalty for practicing magic is death. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"The prescribed punishment for the magician isthat he be executed by the sword." (Tirmidhi).

Allah says:

"whoever purchases it (i.e. acquires the knowledge of magic) would have no share of Paradise in the Hereafter." (Q2 [Baqarah]: 102).

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Avoid the seven great destructive sins."

The people enquire, "0 Allah's Messenger! What are they? "He said:

"To join others in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, (according to Islamic law), to eat up riba (usury), to eat up an orphan's wealth, to give back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers." (Bukhari).

A true Muslim avoids watching performance of magic either by the roadside or on the television.

Grave worship: Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"The most evil of mankind are those who will be alive when the Last Day arrives and those who take graves as places of worship. " (Ahmad).

He also said five days to his death:

"Those before you took the graves of their prophets as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship far verily I forbid you to do so." (Muslim).

Grave worship is another form of shirk and it is manifested in various ways: Praying towards a grave, the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) forbade this:

"Do not pray towards a grave nor on them" (Tabaraani);

Tawaaf (circumambulation) and supplicating to the occupant of the grave ..

Insult to intellect:  Allah has honoured the children of Adam and put the resources of Earth and Heavens under man's disposal. Those who had'. taken part of this creation to be rival gods with Allah insults their faculties with ignorance. What would one say about someone who chooses to worship a river, a cow, graves, the sun, the moon, or other humans? Allah says:

"Those whom they invoke besides Allah create nothing and are themselves created. (They are things) dead lifeless: nor do they know when they will be raised up." (Q 16 [Nahl]:20-21)

Pathway to superstition and falsehood: Those believe that there is influence this universe by other than Allah (e.g. by stars, jinn, ghosts, spirits etc.), their minds become open to adopt every superstition. They believe in magic, sorcery, witchcraft, soothsayers, astrology, numerology, fortune cookies and signs of zodiac.

Shirk is a grave injustice: Because the mushrik (the one who commits shirk) had made himself a slave to a created object like himself. The mushrik gives certain rights to the rival that he had set besides Allah. This is unjust.

Shirk is a source of fear and delusion: The person who accepts superstition and other forms of falsehood becomes depended upon many false deities. He enters a state of fear because false deities are unable to bring him any good when they are unable to defend themselves! Allah says:

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers for that they joined companions with Allah for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the fire; and evil is the home of the wrong-doers!" (Q3[al-1mran]: 151)

false deity: The mushrik's motivation to do good deeds will be inactivated. He would not hesitate to do wrong believing that his false deity will intercede for him..

"They serve besides Allah things that hurt them not nor profit them and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah." Say: "Do you indeed inform Allah of something He knows not in the heavens or on earth? Glory to Him! and far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!" (QIO[Yunus}:18)

Eternal abode in Hell: One who dies while ascribing partners with Allah will have no other end than Hell Fire wherein he will abide forever ..

"Whoever joins other gods with Allah, Allah will forbid him the garden and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrongdoers be no one to help. " (Q5[Maidah]: 72)

Cause of division in the Ummah: Allah is One and the Ummah of Muhammad (salaIlahu alayhi wa salam) is one but the appearance of shirk in the ummah has rendered it into parts. This is the effect of shirk on the ummah about which Allah has warned us:

"be not you among those who join gods with Allah, those who split up their Religion and become (mere) sects each party rejoicing in that which is with itself" (Q30[ar-Rum]:32)

The message of Allah to us all is to avoid shirk at all cost for all that a mushrik does in this life will be null and void because  shirk nullifies all good deeds, as Allah says:

"And if they associate others with Allah, whatever they have done is nullified." (Q6 [An'aam) :88)

And Allah also says:

"And it was already revealed to you and to those before you, that if you should associate anything with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be amongst thel osers." (Q39[Zumar}:65)

'And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life) and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about." (Q25[AIFurqan}: 23)


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