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A. Haroun (Abu Imran)

Continuation Of Discussion On Shirk (Polytheism)

Shirk is basically of two types:

1. Major Shirk (شرك أكبر)
2  Minor Shirk (شرك أصغر)

Major shirk takes the description of most of what has been discussed in the past series. It entails redirecting acts of worship which are originally meant for Allaah, to anyone or anything else other than Allaah. This type of shirk removes a person from Islaam and is usually what is referred to when the term 'Mushrik' is used. 

It could also take any of the following forms

*Shirk of Obedience (شرك الطاعة) - this entails obeying anyone or anything else who commands to the direct disobedience of Allaah. It could also be referred to as the act of legalizing the disobedience of Allaah.

Adi Bin Hatim (رضي الله عنه) narrated: 

“I heard the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)  read verse [9:31]. So, I said to him, ‘Verily, we did not worship them’ (their monks, rabbis and scribes). The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied : ’Did they not make illegal what Allah made legal so you then made it illegal? And (did they not) make legal what Allah made illegal and you therefore made it legal?’ I said ‘Yes’. The Messenger  said, ‘That is worshipping them" (رواه أحمد و ترمذي و قال حديث حسن).

It therefore follows that he that legalises disobedience of Allaah and he that obeys such fall under this category.

*Shirk of Love (شرك الحب) - when a person equates the love he has for a thing/person with the love he has for Allaah, or an even greater love, then he has taken that thing/person as a partner in the worship of Allaah.

And Love has been divided into four, the first three are expected of all muslims and the fourth is shirk;
●Loving  Allaah
●Loving what Allaah loves (and this means by extension, hating what Allaah hates)
● Loving for the sake of Allaah (so that our yardstick for loving a thing is Allaah)
●Having parallel love for a thing with the love of Allaah or an even greater love. This is shirk!

Allaah says ''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 (than anything else)....." (Q 2:165).

Unfortunately, this is a very common form of shirk among us today where people love their scholars more than they love Allaah so much that they can easily disobey Allaah at the directive of their scholar. We had such a disgusting episode in the North-Nigeria at a time when someone sang a blasphemous song in praise of their dead scholar and part of what was said in it was "shehu begot not and was not begotten..." innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'uun! Such is the peak of madness that love for other than Allaah (without basis from the shari'ah) can take one to!

May Allaah protect us from misguidance!

*Shirk of supplication (شرك الدعاء)
This is a form of major shirk where people suplicate to anything or anyone other than Allaah.

Allaah says "“And when they embark on a ship they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him only. But when He brings them safely to land, behold they give a share of their worship to others”. (Q 29:65).

2. Minor shirk - this is shirk in acts of worship as indicated by the Qur'aan and authentic narrations from the Prophet. It does not nullify a person's Islaam but it does reduce the strength. It is of two types:

* Shirk in utterances - these are speeches considered shirk by clear texts such as swearing by other than Allaah like those who say "I swear by Allaah and you" or "I swear on the grave of my mother" or "I swear by my ancestors" and every other forms of swearing common to us today that involves other than Allaah.

*Shirk hidden in the heart - this is usually a case where the intention for an act differs from the action itself, and what is intended by the act is to other than Allaah. It is also of many types most significant amongst which is ar-riyaa. Riyaa is when actions are done intended to get the praises of those watching. It is of two types:

●Riyaa of the hypocrites (munaafiquun) - The full munaafiq has no eemaan in his heart. Instead he disbelieves in Allaah, but outwardly pretends he is a muslim and does acts of worship together with muslims. This is kufr.

●Riyaa that happens among muslims - usually translated as show-off.

The prophet once said to his companions when he came out to them while they were discussing about dajaal (antichrist) "should I not inform you of something I fear for you more than the (coming of) Dajaal?" They said "certainly, oh Messenger of Allaah". Then he said "Ar-riyaa'; one of them will get up to pray and he would beautify his prayer because he sees a man looking at him" (اخرجه احمد و ابن ماجه و الحاكم)

Here, we should note that when a person intends by some of his actions to seek the praise and pleasure of man, he is committing minor shirk but if he intends in ALL of his actions to seek the pleasure and praise of man this is major shirk ( شرك النية و الإرادة و القصد). May Allaah protect us from it.


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