Monday, February 28, 2011

Shirk & its Categories

There are two kinds of Shirk:

First, The Greater Shirk
The Greater Shirk means either to worship other than Allah Almighty or to make partners with Allah in something that is specifically His; for example, to take someone as His partner in worship, obedience, love, fear, supplication, and the seeking of help.
When one associates partners with Allah - regardless of who that partner is, such as a man, animal, plant, or inanimate object - one has perpetrated the Greater Shirk, examples of which are as follows:
  • To supplicate to that partner as one supplicates to Allah.
  • To love that partner as one loves Allah.
  • To hope from that partner as one hopes from Allah.
  • To submit oneself in obedience to that partner as one submits in obedience to Allah.
  • To fear that partner as one fears Allah.
  • To seek ruling or judgment from other than Allah's Shari'ah.
Allah Almighty says:
Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship. [An-Nisa' 4:36]
Of course, the Greater Shirk is the worst and most severe kind of Shirk; indeed, it is the greatest sin with Allah, for Allah does not accept any deed from its perpetrator, regardless of how pious he may be otherwise. If one dies, associating partners with Allah, Allah will not forgive him, for He says:
Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. [An-Nisa' 4:48]
Whoever dies upon this form of Shirk is from the dwellers of the Hellfire, for the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
Whoever dies calling upon other than Allah as a rival, he enters the Hellfire. [Al-Bukhari in the Book of Tafsir (5:153) and Muslim (1:94) from Ibn Mas'ud.]
In another Hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said:
Whoever meets Allah without associating partners with Him enters Paradise. Whoever meets Him, associating any partner with Him enter the Hellfire. [Recorded by Muslim (1:94) from Jabir.]
The Muslim, therefore, worships and invokes only Allah, and submits only to Him, for Allah Almighty says:
Say: "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims." [Al-An'am 6:162,163. Included here is one whom people see doing a righteous deed, but he did not do it out of sincerity, and also one who does a righteous deed secretly but wants to let people know about it.]
Second, The Lesser Shirk
It consists of various categories:

1. A small amount of Riya' (doing good deeds for show); for example, when one prays, fasts, or gives charity, he is seeking other than Allah's Face; hence, he is mixing good deeds with bad ones.
The Prophet (SAW) said:
What I fear most for you is the Lesser Shirk.
When asked about it, he (SAW) said:
Riya'. [Imam Ahmad (4:126) and Ibn Majah (2:1406) from Shaddad bin 'Aws. Ahmad also recorded it from a Hadith of Mahmud bin Lubaid (5:428).]
When one performs any good deed or act of worship to impress or please people thereby, then he has committed Riya', which is forbidden. In another Hadith related by Shaddad bin 'Aws, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet (SAW) said:
Whoever prays, showing off to others, he has indeed committed Shirk; whoever fasts, showing off to others, he has indeed committed Shirk; whoever gives charity, showing off to others, he has indeed committed Shirk. [Agreed upon. Recorded by Al-Bukhari (3:195), Muslim (1:92) from Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him.]
2. Another form of the Lesser Shirk is to swear by anyone other than Allah, for instance, to swear by the Prophet (SAW), by the Ka'bah, or by one's parents. In an authentic Hadith related by 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet (SAW) said:
Indeed, Allah has forbidden you from swearing by your fathers; whoever makes an oath, let him swear by Allah or remain silent.

3. Another form of the Lesser Shirk is for one to say the following expressions:
  • "What Allah wills and what you will."
  • "This is from Allah and from you."
  • "I am what I am because of Allah and because of you."
  • "I have no one but Allah and you."
  • "I place my trust upon Allah and upon you."
  • "Were it not for Allah and you, such and such would (or wouldn't) have happened."
Based on one's intention when saying these phrases, this category may even become a form of the Greater Shirk.

[Credit goes to 'What Must Be Known About Islam', a comprehensive book, compiled by Muhammad bin 'Ali Al-Arfaj, translated by Darussalam, global leaders in Islamic books.]