Shirk الشِّرك
  • Association with Allah in His Person, Name, or Attributes, whether the one associated with is given a name or nomenclature or not, or is virtually worshipped or not. Belief in the divinity of a human, Jinn, or an idol is pure Shirk. Belief in idolatry, polytheism, paganism, animism, incarnation of God, fall under the definition of Shirk.

    Lit., Shirk is association; shirkah for example is a partnership business. Therefore, association of partners with Allah is to say or believe that, for example, He has a consort, or children, or someone else shares powers with Him and is independent of Him in exercise of his powers, or shares knowledge absolute with Him, or deserves to be worshipped, or is worthy of absolute obedience, or is worthy of giving inviolable laws.

    Shirk is an unforgivable sin. Allah said,

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ
    “Surely, Allah will not forgive that He be associated with, but may forgive anything lesser than that, whom He will.” (An-Nnisa:48)

    Shirk is so hateful in Allah’s sight that He said,

    أنَا أغنى الشركاء عن الشِّرك فَمَن عمِل عَمَلاً فأشرك فيه غيري فَأنَا مِنْهُ بريء وهو للذي أشرك
    “I am the most Self-Sufficient of those who are associated with. Therefore, if someone did something and associated another with Me, then I am quit of it, and the whole of the deed be for whomsoever he associated.”
    The Salaf have said that in reaction to theft in the neighborhood if someone said, “Allah be praised, if not for my dog, my house would have also been burgled,” he committed shirk.

    The Prophet has said that Riya’ is “Shirk al-khafiyy” i.e. minor Association. He also said that Shirk al-khafiyy is more stealthy than the crawling of an ant; and the Salaf have said that in reaction to theft in the neighborhood if someone said, “Allah be praised, if not for my dog, my house would have also been burgled,” – he committed Shirk.

    Sayyid Qutb relates to the modern situation and identifies modern-day deities: Allah has to be accepted as the true Lord.

    “One who commands, who owns, who sustains, who is worth addressing prayers to, and who alone dictates the Law that is to be followed in life. A life which has this principle as the basis will be completely different from a life that is established on the basis of the lordship of some men over others. The Islamic life covers every aspect, and circumscribes every activity of the human life: faith, beliefs, ideologies, rituals of worship, everyday conduct, traditions, practices, values, as well as political, economic and social principles. In short, this primary principle (of Allah’s Oneness) influences the entire life: of the individual as well as of the community and state.”

    “The idols that Ibrahim sought to save his offspring from worshiping, were not those simple figures or statuettes that were then fashionable: of stones, mud, wood; or deities imagined in trees, animals, fire, stars or ghostly spirits. The restriction of the term ‘idols’ to these simple figures and objects prevents us from realizing those forms of Association that are subtle, and that have no end in a listing. Such imbecile thinking prevents us from recognizing the new partners and new associates of Allah in today’s modern, dark age...”

    “Today, a person who relates himself to God in matters of faith and rituals, and believes in Him as the law-Giver in matters pertaining to cleanliness, ablution, prayers, fasts, Hajj and other rituals of worship, while at the same time, he is bent in prostration to other than God in matters pertaining to values, conduct, tradition, practices ... and everything else, is, in actual fact, opposed to the truth expressed in the testimony: there is no deity save Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger. He commits ‘shirk’ in an area of life that truly matters...”

    “Idols and images, those simple figures of the past, were no more than symbols. They symbolized a Satanic system hidden behind them, and were carved to enslave people and to assure that they would, with them as the facade, remain bonded to a system of life designed for them by the masters who sat behind the scenes.”

    “When it so happens that symbols and slogans of race, homeland, nation or class are handed down to a people, who devote themselves to worshiping them instead of Allah, sacrificing their lives, wealth, values and even their honor in their cause, spending their best energies for them, so that, whenever a clash occurs between these symbols and slogans on the one hand, and Allah’s religion, His teachings, and Laws on the other, then the wishes of the symbols and slogans are carried out, or, to put it more precisely, the wishes of the rebels concealing themselves behind them, are carried out - when that happens - then this in truth is the worship of idols other than Allah. It is not necessary that an idol should be in front of the devotee in a physical, material form. A way of life, symbols and slogans can also assume the position of idols.”

    “Islam has not come merely to destroy the material and physical idols. It has come to destroy these abstract and intangible objects of worship also. Islam has come to separate and demarcate the path of worship of Allah, in all matters and affairs, as distinguished from the ways of life run on un-Islamic principles.”

    “Those who believe they are followers of the religion of Allah, simply because they utter the testimony of Allah’s divinity and the Prophet’s messengership, but restrict to follow His religion in matters of hygiene, modes of worship, marriage and divorce, and a few rituals alone, while, apart from this little arena of private activity, devote themselves to other systems and follow other commands - those that Allah did not send - and spend their lives and energies, whether willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, in devotion to these modern forms of paganism symbolized by new kinds of idols, such people, they are far away from the Islam of true definition.”

    “Religion is not the name of the mockery that is played on Islam by those of the east and west who think they are Muslims. Allah’s Religion is a complete way of life, for everyday living, with guidance on every detail. This is the ‘Islam’ besides which no other religion is acceptable to Allah. They must also realize that ‘Shirk’ is not realized through belief in deities other than Allah alone. Rather, it is also realized by acceptance of commands from other than Allah; and that construction of alters for deities of stones and wood, and devotion to them is not the only way of demonstrating devotion to them. This can also be realized by agreeing to meet with the demands and requirements of the modern day symbols and slogans.”

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