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Islamic Ideology (06 Jun 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



What Is ‘Shirk’ and What Isn’t ‘Shirk’



By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

06 June 2019

Allah says in the Quran in a number of verses that we should not associate any partners with Allah and Allah alone is entitled to our worship. The literal meaning of “shirk” is to associate or to include (other entities as partners in the godhead of Allah). 

(3:64) Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons (Arbāban meaning as Rabb) other than Allah." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah´s Will).

The literal meaning of the word Rabb is Sustainer, Master and/or "Nourisher", and in that sense, a man is the "Rabb" of his house. The verb form Yurabbi, meaning "raise" may be used to describe raising a child. While Rabb may be used in other contexts, when it is used in a generalized way to cover all or to mean absolute power, it can only mean Allah and none other.

Allah had granted Isa (AS) powers of healing. So, if any sick person approached him for healing, would that have been “shirk”? Certainly not, especially if it was keeping in mind that the power to heal was given to Jesus by Allah.

(5:110) Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! Thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! Thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs and the unbelievers among them said: ´This is nothing but evident magic.´

Allah has given certain chemicals, herbs, food and drinks medicinal properties (16:69) to heal and to believe in their healing power is not “shirk”. Food nourishes and to believe in the nourishing power of food is not “shirk” as long as one recognizes that these are the creations of Allah or from His creations.

What about believing in the healing and other powers of Quranic verses? Allah Himself ascribes such power to His verses. For example, its healing powers are mentioned in 17:82 , 41:44, 10:57. When in distress, Allah advises us to remember Him and recite His praises excessively.  To believe in the efficacy of Quranic verses and Surahs cannot therefore be “shirk”. Allah has given such power to His remembrance, prayer, excessive praises and recitation of His word in the Quran.

To believe in our efforts to deliver results is not “shirk”. Allah Himself advises us to put in required efforts to achieve results. See for example, verse 8:60. To blindly put faith in Allah without making required efforts is stupidity and to believe in miracles is also stupidity.

What about sovereignty of rulers and those in authority? Allah himself grants such sovereignty to whom He wills and therefore submitting to the rule of other men is not “shirk” as long as they do not command that which is forbidden by Allah.

Allah has decreed laws which we study in physics and describe these laws of Allah as the laws of physics which are essentially Allah’s laws for the physical world. Believing in these laws, laying store by them, using them in our design or even swearing by them is not “shirk”. Allah Himself swears by many of the glorious physical phenomena and properties of His creation. While answering a question in physics of how long it will take for an object dropped from a 100 storeyed building of height 325 meters to hit the ground, it is not necessary to say 8.14 seconds InshaAllah. Omitting to say InshaAllah does not mean that we do not consider Allah omnipotent, but that we recognize that Allah has said that He does not change His laws (Word) once decreed, and Allah Himself swears by His laws, and therefore to use InshaAllah with reference to His laws is to attribute to Allah whimsicality, which would be blameworthy. We are therefore certain based on the authority of Allah Himself that His laws will always behave in a predictable manner.

What about the prophets? Were they not partners of Allah in their prophetic mission? Yes, they were partners and helpers of Allah but not partners in Allah’s godhead. It is important to keep in mind the distinction. In several verses of the Quran, we find the prophets pray for the people and for their forgiveness (6:5 for example). The angels also pray for the forgiveness of people (4:5). The Wali Allah are also people of Allah who through their worship of Allah are deemed to be close to Allah and they are certainly Allah’s helpers in the matter of Allah’s religion but not in His godhead. Seeking their prayers is therefore not “shirk”. We must however keep in mind that even the prophets and the angels do not have any power to get anything on our behalf from Allah (60:4) and they can only pray for us. When even the prophets cannot grant favours but only pray for us, the question of the dead Wali Allah granting favours does not arise and to expect such favours is to ascribe to them powers that only Allah has and is “shirk”. The Sufi Qawwali “Bhardejholimeriya Muhammad, main najaoongakhali....” is also elevating the Prophet to the position of absolute Rabb and is “shirk”, when there is no evidence in the Quran, that Allah has granted such powers to the Prophet. The concept of patron saints who actively protect or grant favours is also “shirk” for the same reasons.

As it concerns intercession, Allah does not deny intercession but only says that none can intercede without Allah’s permission, but with His permission, anyone can intercede. This means that we cannot even take our Prophet’s intercession for granted. Even the Prophet can intercede only on behalf of those people alone for whom Allah decides to grant intercession.

The above discussion is as far as our beliefs are concerned over which we have control but what about other people who commit “shirk” in our opinion? That is a matter between the other people and Allah and not our concern except to guide those who are willing to listen to us. To those who reject what we say, our response can only be 109:6 “To you be your religion and to me mine”.

It is however necessary to remind, that while “shirk” is an unforgivable sin, what is unforgivable is deliberate and wilful “shirk”, and not “shirk” committed without knowledge of it being “shirk”. For example, although many Christians do worship Jesus and Mary, this may not necessarily be in derogation of Allah, but out of excessive and misplaced devotion to a Prophet and his holy mother, and even such Christians can hope for Allah’s forgiveness. Read my article: Is the Quran a Book of Contradictions? Likewise, the polytheists whose polytheism is without knowledge and without derogation of Allah, and who otherwise do good deeds and are truthful and just, may be forgiven by Allah.

It is therefore not for us to judge other people or force on them our beliefs, while we should certainly speak out for what we consider to be the truth.

Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/what-is-‘shirk’-and-what-isn’t-‘shirk’/d/118808

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   39


  • It is not your article that would please the Wahhabis but the very fact that you write about shirk and the fact that they get an opportunity to spell out their extremist understanding of shirk is what would please them. 
    What is my objection to your article? I have said it more than once already. Here it is again: "If the declaration "We worship Him and Him alone" does not affirm our tawhid, we lay ourselves open to mental enslavement by Salafi/Wahhabi zealots."
    Understand?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/28/2019 2:24:14 PM



  • You have flipped flopped as is your wont from saying the Wahabbi's would be pleased with the article to now saying that the Wahabbi's would love to refute and reject it.

    You have still not answered what your problem is with the article. You called it "shirk phobic" while it is against phobia of shirk and against phobia of the Mushrikin.

    You never asked for proof for my saying that “shirk” that is not deliberate is not and unforgivable sin in your 11 comments preceding my comment:

    If the above would please the Wahabbis as GM sb says, then they are better than him who is attacking the article for saying it.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/18/2019 7:39:31 AM

     When you do not accept what the Quran says when it does not agree with what you think God would or wouldn’t say or what God should or shouldn’t do, how does it matter on what basis I have said what I said? 

    You also say that you would not like me to say the opposite of what I have said. So, what really is your problem?


    By naseer ahmed - 9/28/2019 12:37:18 AM



  • Naseer sb.,
    I already said that I do not want you to say "shirk" is an unforgivable sin and all polytheists will go to hell, so why are you beating a dead horse. 
    By the way, is it hard for you to understand that the Wahhabis and I might criticize your article for exactly opposite reasons? 
    You are running all over the place because you want to avoid answering my following simple question: 
    "When you said, "while shirk is an unforgivable sin, what is unforgivable is deliberate and willful shirk, and not shirk committed without knowledge of it being shirk," on what authority did you say that?" Either say that it is from the Quran or from some other authoritative source or just say that it is your own considered opinion. Don't keep dancing around the issue.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/24/2019 10:06:56 AM



  • So, you are saying now that the Wahabbis will like it because it gives them an opportunity to refute it! That is exactly what you are trying to do is it not? 

    You don't care about authority or authenticity. You only care about what you like and what you dislike which is why you reject a major part of the Quran that you don't like. 

    So, like the Wahabbis, you also dislike my article and are trying to refute it?

    You have often argued about a merciful God and what He would and wouldn't do. So, in your opinion, will a merciful God not forgive the Mushrikin as described in my last para? If yes, then will not His Message in the Quran convey that?

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/24/2019 12:52:00 AM



  • Naseer sb.,
    Your reply is hollow. As I had said before,  "making a huge song and dance about 'shirk' is something that would please only the Wahhabis!" By the way, any discussion of shirk will please the Wahhabis because it gives them an opportunity to refute your hollow arguments.
    You make the preposterous argument, "Asking for the source is not only a digression but irrelevant to the question."
    Do you think we are all fools? If you give an authoritative opinion, you must qualify it by saying whether it is from the Quran, or some other authoritative source, or is it your personal opinion. Instead of doing that you run away from my question like a coward!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/23/2019 12:56:24 PM



  • The article is not promoting "shirk" phobia but on the other hand addresses those who are phobic to "shirk" and the Mushrikin.

    So, my question remains unanswered.  What is it in the article that he thinks would please the wahabbis but displeases him?

    Asking for the source is not only a digression but irrelevant to the question.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/23/2019 4:44:08 AM



  • Naseer sb. asks, "why if what I said would please the Wahhabis, it does not please you?"
    Because I am not a shirk-phobe like the Wahhabis.
    He further asks, "Would you have liked me to say that "shirk" is an unforgivable sin and all polytheists will go to hell?"
    No, I do not want you to say that, but my question was about your source. When you said, "while shirk is an unforgivable sin, what is unforgivable is deliberate and willful shirk, and not shirk committed without knowledge of it being shirk," on what authority did you say that? Please cite the source.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/19/2019 1:39:38 PM



  • GM sb,
    You have not answered the question "why if what I said would please the Wahhabis, it does not please you?"
    Would you have have liked me to say that "shirk" is an unforgivable sin and all polytheists will go to hell?
    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/19/2019 12:35:36 AM



  • Naseer sb. says, "while shirk is an unforgivable sin, what is unforgivable is deliberate and wilful shirk, and not shirk committed without knowledge of it being shirk."
    Can you give us the reference for that?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/18/2019 5:39:40 PM



  • The article ends with:
    It is however necessary to remind, that while “shirk” is an unforgivable sin, what is unforgivable is deliberate and wilful “shirk”, and not “shirk” committed without knowledge of it being “shirk”. For example, although many Christians do worship Jesus and Mary, this may not necessarily be in derogation of Allah, but out of excessive and misplaced devotion to a Prophet and his holy mother, and even such Christians can hope for Allah’s forgiveness. Read my article: Is the Quran a Book of Contradictions? Likewise, the polytheists whose polytheism is without knowledge and without derogation of Allah, and who otherwise do good deeds and are truthful and just, may be forgiven by Allah.
    If the above would please the Wahabbis as GM sb says, then they are better than him who is attacking the article for saying it.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/18/2019 7:39:31 AM



  • Naseer sb.,

    Only a Taliban idiot would call me an apostate. And making a huge song and dance about 'shirk' is something that would please only the Wahhabis!


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/19/2019 12:54:18 PM



  • GM sb lies. I have responded to his mere affirmation comment:

    Is mere saying “we worship none but Allah” enough?

    63:1 When the Hypocrites come to you, they say, "We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of Allah." Yea, Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars. (63:2) They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds.   

     What the hypocrites and the pseudo-Muslims say is only a screen for their misdeeds and their intention is to obstruct people from the path of Allah. When “shirk” for a Muslim is the gravest of all sins, he must know enough to avoid it and also enough not to accuse others falsely or without knowing enough.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/14/2019 11:43:42 PM

    Mere affirmations are not enough. It must reflect in your deeds. Therefore the question "what is the "shirk" in verse 18:42" is important. 

    You are both an ignoramus and apostate. Your comments in this forum are only to obstruct people from gaining a correct understanding.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/19/2019 2:06:17 AM



  • Naseer sb. is resorting to childish tricks since he has no logical arguments to offer. He still has not answered my comment:  "If the declaration "We worship Him and Him alone" does not affirm our tawhid, we lay ourselves open to mental enslavement by Salafi/Wahhabi zealots."


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/18/2019 1:09:08 PM



  • You are the idiotic ignoramus here GM sb who has no answer to a simple question of what is the "shirk" that is being referred to in verse 18:42. When you know nothing about the subject, you should keep shut.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/18/2019 4:13:28 AM



  • Naseer sb.,
    I did not answer your question because it is an idiotic question. As I said before, "
    Naseer sb. continues to quote from the Quran to support his lame arguments. This truly is an abuse of the Holy Book." But I doubt if you will ever understand that.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/17/2019 12:40:06 PM



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