Concept of Shirk

ayah-48Shirk is a topic we least understand among the other topics most discussed about. It’s important to get hold of the concept of Shirk before practicing the precautions in our life… Fortunately, I came across some genuine references of Shirk and types mentioned in Ahadees and Quran and questions answered by a Turkish Scholar,   İslam Fıkhı Ansiklopedisi. A little long, but worth a read!

The root of the verb “Sha-ri-ka” means to share, to become a partner. As a religious term, shirk means associating partners with Allah.

Shirk means partnership and it is the opposite of oneness (tawhid). Sharik means partner.

The Quran calls people to accept the oneness of Allah and severely prohibits people from associating partners with His personality or attributes.

The Quran states that shirk is a big sin and oppression that God Almighty will never forgive associating partners with him and that He will forgive the sins except shirk of the people He wishes.

It is a grave sin and great oppression for man whom everything on the earth is appointed to serve and to whom the administration of everything is given to accept some beings that serve him as gods and to worship them instead of Allah.
Shirk is a sin and oppression not only because it is the transgression of the rights of Allah and that it includes slander and insult but also because it is a great insult and transgression of the rights of the universe and all of the creatures.

Types of Shirk

Main types of shirk are as follows:
1. To leave Allah and to adore and worship living and non-living things other than Him.
2. To believe in Allah but to associate partners with Him, that is, to believe that some other beings have the attribute of divinity. (The belief of trinity in Christianity is included in this part…
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3. To accept that there is a creator of this world but
to worship non-living things like idols and sculptures in order to approach Him. (Idolatry is included in this part.)
4. Another form of shirk is to accept some people as Lord, that is, to obey their orders and to avoid their prohibitions instead of the orders and prohibitions of Allah by believing them blindly. It is stated in the Quran that Jewish people accept their rabbis and Christians accept their clergymen as Lords.
5. The most common type of shirk is the one in which man obeys his own passion and desires blindly and see his desires as a divinity.

In the Quran, those kinds of people are condemned by this verse:
“Seest thou such a one as taketh for his god his own passion (or impulse)?”

6. There is another form of shirk: hidden shirk, that is riya (hypocrisy). That is, instead of praying and worshipping only for the sake of Allah, to pray and worship so that other people will see him and appreciate him. Worshipping like that is a kind of associating partners with Allah. Our Prophet defined it as hidden shirk.
A believer must avoid all kinds of shirk; whether hidden or visible, whether open or covered. The real oneness can only be obtained like that. All kinds of shirk are rejected severely in the Quran; the real belief of oneness is preached to humanity.

What is Major Shirk and Minor Shirk? Explain in detail with examples. How to differentiate betweeen major and minor shirk? How to be save from Shirk?
In Islamic sources there are concepts such as “Major and Minor Shirk (Hypocrisy).  Major Shirk: Shirk means partnership and it is the opposite of oneness (tawhid). Sharik means partner. The Quran calls people to accept the oneness of Allah and severely prohibits people from associating partners with His personality or attributes. The Quran states that shirk is a big sin and oppression that God Almighty will never forgive associating partners with him and that He will forgive the sins except shirk of the people He wishes. It is a grave sin and great oppression for man whom everything on the earth is appointed to serve and to whom the administration of everything is given to accept some beings that serve him as gods and to worship them instead of Allah. Shirk is a sin and oppression not only because it is the transgression of the rights of Allah and that it includes slander and insult but also because it is a great insult and transgression of the rights of the universe and all of the creatures.
Minor Shirk: This subject is explained in the Qur’an as follows: Say: “Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” (Al-Kahf, 18/110)

What is meant by polytheism while worshipping Allah is not being sincere while worshipping and having feelings like hypocrisy, show off and similar interests. (al-Baydawi, Anvaru`t-Tanzil wa Asraru`t-Tawil, Egypt 1955, II, 14)

Some of the hadiths that Hz. Muhammad narrated about this subject is as follows:
The most dreadful thing which I fear about you is minor polytheism. The companions asked: What is the minor polytheism? He said: It is hypocrisy; and he added that on the Day of Judgment, when rewarding people for their deeds, Allah (SWT) will say to the hypocrites: Go to those for the sake of whom you used to perform good deeds; and see whether you can get any reward from them. (Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 428,429).

“The most dreadful thing which I fear about you is associating partners with Allah (polytheism). However, be careful! I do not say that they will worship the moon, the sun and idols. I want to say that they will have aims other than the pleasure and consent of Allah and the feelings of hidden lust, hypocrisy and show off.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 21).

Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: “The first person to be judged against on the Day of Judgment will be a martyr. That person will be taken to the presence of Allah; Allah will remind him the bounties He gave him. He will remember them.
Allah will say, “What did you do among those bounties?”
He will say,”I fought for your sake and became a martyr.”
Allah will say, “You are lying. You fought so that people would say hero for you. According to a narration, that person is dragged into Hell facedown.

The second person to be taken to the presence of Allah will be a person who learned Islamic sciences and taught them to others and read the Quran. Allah reminds him the bounties He gave him. He remembers them.
Allah will say to him,”What did you do among those bounties?”
He will say,”I learnt the Quran and Islamic sciences and for your sake and taught them to others.”
Allah will say, “You are lying. You learnt the Quran and Islamic sciences for hypocrisy and show off, so that people would say you read very nicely. And they praised you.” He is thrown into Hellfire based on the order of Allah.

The third person to be taken to the presence of Allah will be a person whom Allah gave wealth and various goods. Allah reminds him the bounties He gave him. He remembers them.
Allah will ask him:” What kind of good deeds and charities did you do among those bounties?”
He will say:”I spent money for your sake on the things that you like. I helped everybody.”
Allah will say similar things to him:” You are lying. You did so because you wanted people to call you a generous person. You showed off. You received the praise that you wanted.” He is dragged facedown into Hellfire based on the order of Allah.” (Muslim, Imara, 152; Nasai, Jihad, 22; Ahmed b. Hanbal, II, 322).

As it is stated in this hadith, to become a martyr, to be a scholar, to do charities are very good deeds. However, if they are not done for the pleasure and consent of Allah but to show off or to gain material interests, they will have no value.

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