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Shirk (Arabic: )is the Islamic concept of the sin of polytheism specifically, but in a more general way refers to worshipping other than Allah, associating partners with him, giving his characteristics to others beside him, or not believing in his characteristics. Within Islam, Major Shirk is a forgivable sin if one repents from it while one is alive, but according to Islamic texts, anyone who dies upon this sin will never enter paradise. It is the vice that is opposed to the virtue of tawhid, literally "declaring [that which is] one", often translated into the English term monotheism.

The word shirk is derived from the Arabic root -R-K ( .) This consonantal root has the general meaning of "to share" (A. A. Nadwi , Vocabulary of the Qur'an). In the context of the Qur'an, the particular sense of "sharing as an equal partner" is usually understood, so that polytheism is "attributing a partner to Allah". In the Qur'an, shirk and the related word (plural Stem IV active participle) mushrikn (" )those who commit shirk and plot against Islam" often clearly refers to the enemies of Islam (as in verse 9.1-15) but sometimes it also refers to erring Muslims.

Polytheism is the belief in or worship of multiple deities, such as gods and goddesses . These are usually assembled into a pantheon, along with their own mythologies and rituals. Many religions, both historical and contemporary, have a belief in polytheism, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Ancient Greek

Polytheism, paganism.








Definition of Shirk
Shirk is defined in various ways. Shirk literally means to seek partner. (Arabic: making a partner [of someone]), in Islm, idolatry, polytheism, and the association of God with other deities.
Literally: In Arabic shirk means Partnership, Sharing or Associating. Islamic Terminology: Assigning partners with Allah (swt) in whatever form it may take .

Literal meaning
The word Shirk an arabic word , its literal meaning are given in the dictionary ALMawrid such as : Shirk : polytheism . Istetak : to participate (in), share (in), take part (in), Partake (in or of), engage (in), to contribute (to), to subscribe (to), to enter partnership (with), be or become a partner (of), partners (with), associate (with), affiliate (with), to join , enter Shirk: partner, associate, sharer, participant . Shirk: company.

Terminological meaning 1- To make partnership with ALLAH in his person or being (dhat), His attributes 2Quran
Islamic commentators on the Qur'an have emphasized that pre-Islamic Arabic idolatry made a number of godlings (most memorably the three goddesses al-Mant, al-Lt and Uzz equal associates of Allah (as the Qur'an discusses in the 53rd surat) and the ) word mushrikn is often translated into English as "polytheists". Other forms of shirk include the worship of wealth and other material objects. This is pointed in the Qur'an in one of the story of the Children of Israel , when they took a (sifat) and his wotks (afaal). To make any partnership with ALLAH (Swt) and who practice it is called


calf made of gold for worship (Qur'an 7:148-150). Another form of shirk is to revere a leader (religious or not) beyond limits, as mentioned in Qur'an (9:31).

In a theological context one commits shirk by associating some lesser being with Allah. This sin is committed if one imagines that there is some other spirit than Allah whom it is suitable to worship. Many Islamic theologians extend the sense of worship to include praying to some other being to intercede with Allah on one's behalf, rather than taking one's case to God Himself. The limits of the concept of worship are quite elastic and theologians often describe excessive veneration of some artifact here on earth as shirk.

Atheism is described as shirk because it denies the position of Allah as the unique
creator and sustainer of the universe (tawhid al-rububiyya, the unity of creation). In the same way, the act of shirk is extended to include such things as the notion that God possesses human-like anthropomorphic qualities as well as acts of worship or piety whose inward goal is pride, caprice, or a desire for public admiration.

Forms or kinds of Shirk

Categories of Major Shirk

Derived from the Qur'an and the prophetic tradition (Sunnah), there are three main categories of Shirk in Islam.

Shirk in Rubbyah (Lordship)

This category of Shirk refers to either the belief that others share God's Lordship over creation as His equal or near equal, or to the belief that there exists no Lord over creation at all. Shirk by association - This is the shirk concerned with associating 'others' with Allah.

This is a denial of Tawhid ar-Rububiyah by means of associating equal or lesser partners to Allah. For example, Hindus worship one creator of the universe named Brahman, but they join him in a trinity with a preserver god named Vishnu, and a destroyer god named Shiva. Another example can be found in christianity, where Allah is joined with the Prophet Isa (AS) and the 'holy spirit' (who is said to exercise Allah's will on earth). Other examples of this type of shirk is found in the Zoroastrian, Yoruba and Zulu faiths, in which a supreme god is joined with lesser deities.
Shirk by negation - This is Shirk in Rubbyah (Lordship)

This is a denial of Tawhid ar-Rububiyah by means of denying the existence of Allah altogether. Most obviously, this is a sin commited by Atheists and those who follow faiths which deny the existence of Allah, such as Buddhism.

Shirk in al-Asma was-Sifat (the names and attributes of Allah)

Shirk in this category includes both the common pagan practice of giving God the attributes of His creation as well as the act of giving created beings God's names and attributes. Shirk by humanization - In this aspect of Shirk in al-Asma wal-Sifat, God is given the form and qualities of human beings and animals. Due to man's superiority over animals, the human form is more commonly used by idolaters to represent God in creation. Consequently, the image of the Creator is often painted, moulded or carved in the shape of human beings possessing the physical features of those who worship them. Shirk by deification - This form of Shirk in al-Asma wal-Sifat relates to cases where created beings or things are given or claim God's names or His attributes. For example, it was the practice of the ancient Arabs to worship idols whose names were derived from the names of God. Their main three idols were: al-Lat taken from God's name al-Elah, al-'Uzza taken from al-'Aziz and al-Manat taken from al-Mannan . During the era of Muhammad there was also a man in a region of Arabia called Yamamah, who claimed to be a prophet and took the name Rahman which, in Islam, belongs only to God.

Shirk In al-'Ibadah (Worship)

In this category of Shirk, acts of worship are directed to other than Allah and the reward for worship is sought from the creation instead of the Creator. As in the case of the previous categories, Shirk in al-'Ibadah has two main aspects.

Shirk al-Akbar (Major Shirk) - This form of Shirk occurs when any act of worship is
directed to other than Allah. It represents the most obvious form of idolatry which the prophets were specifically sent by God to call the masses of mankind away from. Examples of this shirk, asking forgiveness, admittance to paradise and other things that only Allah can provide, from other than Allah.

SHIRK AL AKBAR There are two kinds of shirk al-akbar

1. Shirk akbar jali (clear)

This type of shirk akbar is to worship a god or several gods besides Allah (s.w.t.). These 'gods' can be in any kind of form, whether cosmic objects, animals, spirits, jinn or human beings such as priests, kings or rulers. This is the most dreaded Shirk. It is associating Ghairullah (anything other than Allah) with Allah in worship; accepting Ghairullah as fit to be worshipped or worshipping Ghairullah. One has to be clear of this Shirk to become a Muslim. If a Muslim falls in this Shirk, all his previous good deeds will be wiped off (habthe amal). May Allah save us all from this.

2. Shirk akbar khafi (subtle) Shirke fili or kafi:

This is a latif (delicate) shirk, which most of us do practice, unknowingly. This does not make one a Mushrik , who Allah censures in the Quran but, it does deprive the dharajaths (high positions in Allahs sight) in the path of Sulook (way towards Allah). This Shirk is believing or thinking that Ghairullah can give us profit or loss, victory or defeat, good or bad on their own; believing that a Ghairullah, be it a Prophet or a Vali (friend of Allah) can give us gain or loss or act without the power of Allah. Allah says in the Quran, "la hawla wa la quwwatha illa billah" (there is no power other than the one with Allah). Yes, no one can act on their own, whatever their status, except with the power and help of Allah. It is Allah who is helping us to act; even the smallest movement of our fingers is due to Allah providing us His power. The Mujizas and Karamaths (miracles) of the Prophets and Awliya are but the manifestation of Allahs power through them. If anyone thought that they did it on their own, he falls in Shirke Fili. In truth, they perform it with the help of Allah. Praying for the sake of Jannath (heaven) or fearing Jahannam (hell) or Riya (acting to satisfy Ghairullah) also come under this category of Shirk.

These types of major shirk include:

* when one prays or supplicates to something other than Allah (s.w.t.)

For example: pious ancestors, dead persons, saints etc. Some say that praying or supplicating to them does not necessarily mean worshipping them. However, Islam stresses that praying or supplicating to something or someone is actually worshipping. (Refer to Tafsir Al Mu'minum:60)

* when one takes a lawgiver or lawmaker other than Allah This includes all kinds of laws governing human life. The right to make something halal or *****, or to judge in human affairs belongs solely to Allah (s.w.t.). This pertains to both 'religious' and 'secular' in life in Islam. According to Islam, obeying someone while disobeying Allah (s.w.t.), even in the realm of mundane life, is like worshipping it.

Shirk al-Asghar (Minor Shirk)

This is a denial of Tawhid al-'Ibadah in which acts of worship are performed insincerely under false pretences, usually in order to impress bystanders . For example, if one was to publically boast that he was giving a certain amount of money to charity solely in order to enhance his reputation or to belittle others, that would be an example of Minor Shirk. The best way to prevent this is to make each deed performed each day into an act of worship. In some cases (such as eating or setting of on a journey), this can be done by simply saying "bismillah" before starting. Abu Ameena Bilal Philips mentions that a series of du'as (informal prayers) have also prescribed by the Prophet (SAW) before and after natural habits like eating, drinking, sleeping, sex and even going to the toilet, in order to turn these everyday habits into acts of worship and develop in Muslims a keen awareness of Allah. It is this awareness, called taqwaa, which ultimately ensures that intentions remain pure. There are many forms of shirk asghar or minor shirk. The term 'minor' here does not mean that they are not as grave or serious. Rather it means that these forms of shirk are more inconspicuous and unnoticeable compared to the others. This form of shirk has been described by the Prophet (s.a.w.s.): Shirk in the Muslim nation is more inconspicuous than the creeping of the black ant on a black rock in the pitch darkness of the night. Hence, Muslims should shun and guard themselves very carefully from these kinds of shirk because the most 'minor' shirk may incur a heavier penalty than the most serious sin in Islam. Committing or practicing any act of shirk, whether major or minor, can make one's deeds unacceptable by Allah (s.w.t.). Mahmud ibn Lubayd reported, "God's messenger said: " The thing I fear for you the most is Shirk al-Asghar (minor shirk)." The companions asked "Oh! messenger of God, what is minor Shirk?" He replied "Ar-Riya (showing off), for verily God will say on the Day of Resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, 'Go to those for whom you were showing off in the material world and see if you can find any reward from them."

Secret Shirk
Mahmud ibn Lubayd also said, "The Prophet came out and announced, 'O people, beware of secret Shirk!' The people asked, 'O messenger of God, what is secret Shirk?'

He replied, 'When a man gets up to pray and strives to beautify his prayer because people are looking at him; that is secret Shirk."

Also The types of Shirk are: 1. Shirke vasfi or Shirke Akhfa 2. Shirke Zaathi or Shirke Khafiyyul Akhfa Shirke Vasfi or Akhfa:
It is the Shirk that involves the Zaathi Sifath (own characteristics) of Allah. It is thinking or believing that the Ummuhathus Sifath (mother of all characteristics), Hayath, Ilm, Iradha, Khudhrath, samaath, basarath and kalam (explained in the article on kalima) that we find in the creatures are their own. They are in fact Allahs and He has been merciful to manifest them on His creatures. At this point I would like to mention that Allah sees without eyes, hears without ears, speaks without mouth or sound; His action is without movement. This Shirk will hinder the ascension of the salik to higher grades of Makame Kurb (status of nearness to Allah).

Shirke Zaathi or Khafiyul Akhfa:

Only the great saints and awliya have been saved from this Shirk. It is believing or accepting the very existence of Creatures of their own. They exist only due to the subsistence (ujoodh) of Allah. Creatures are but a form that dont have anything and Allah supports them with his ujoodh. Shunning from this Shirk is of the very highest grade of Iman (belief) and those who are encompassed in this Shirk are denied the state of Shuhoodh or Ihsan.

Major Shirk Includes Shirk ad Dua invoking or supplicating to a false deity besides Allah Shirk al-Niyah wa Iraada wal Qasd having the intention and determination to
deliberately worship a deity other then Allah.

Shirk at- Taa obeying any created being against the command of Allah. Shirk al-Muhabbah loving a created being or an object more than Allah Hidden Shirk as:Shirk al- khafi means the hidden, or covert, association of partners
with Allah, the One and Only God. This is an insidious form of Shirk.

Minor forms of Shirk as: Shirk ar- rea carrying out religious acts for worldly gain, e.g. showing off.Shirk atTasmee swearing by other then Allah.Allah says in the Noble Qur`an that Shirk is the greatest sin. (S 31: 14)He also says that He will forgive all other sins if He wishes, except Shirk (S 4: 49) Muslims must understand the term Shirk (polytheism) and be

conceptually and practically clear that it is diametrically opposed to, Tawheed, the affirmation to the Oneness of Allah.

Everyday Examples of Shirk

For Western converts, there are many hidden examples of shirk which has become a part of everyday life over the past centuries:

Astrology and Horoscopes

The art of telling the future by means of comparing the relative positions of a number of star constellations and other celestial bodies in conjunction with the time of year that a person was born. As I mentioned before, only Allah knows what is in the future, and it is therefore impossible to gain an inkling of future events by studying the stars. This is a form of Shirk by Deification in two ways: believing in astrology gives mankind the ability to see into the future, and gives created objects the ability to give good or bad fortune, both attributes which belong to Allah alone.

Attempting to tell the future by any means (such as reading palms, looking into a crystal ball, etc) are forms of Shirk for the same reasons given above. Muhammad (SAW) took this matter very seriously and warned his followers against this on a number of occasions. It is clear that both performing fortune-telling yourself or visiting a fortuneteller are haram and must be avoided

The Number 13
The belief that the number thirteen is an unlucky number is a common example of shirk, especially in the US where it is not uncommon for tall buildings not to have a thirteenth floor. This is shirk because it is assigning the ability to bring bad fortune to a mere object.

Lucky or Unlucky Creatures

It has been a common custom for certain animals to be associated with good or bad luck for many centuries in many parts of the world. For example, black cats have been considered unlucky because of their supposed association with witches. Here in the UK, magpies are also customarily thought to bring bad luck - if seen, one is supposed to either greet it or spit at it in order to avert any misfortune. Likewise, rabbits feet and horseshoes are thought to bring good luck. All of these examples are shirk because the ability to bring good or bad luck is being assigned to Allah's creation.

To Swear with names Other than ALLAH

This was a common practice of the Arabs during the Prophet's (s.a.w.s.) time. They used to swear with the Ka'aba's name, with a pious ancestor's name, or more commonly, with the names of the idols they worshipped, e.g. Al-Latta, Az-Uzza etc. This is shirk because indirectly it gives some recognition of power or glorification to the being named. Says the Prophet (s.a.w.s.): Whoever swears with other than Allah, he has committed an act of shirk and kufr.

To adorn something that is believed to be a form of 'protection from misfortune'

Again, this was a common practice of the early Arabs and is to some extent still prevalent today. Wearing certain bangles, necklaces and amulets was believed to be able to weaken jinn or evil spirits or protect oneself from 'al-ain', misfortune etc. From Imam Ahmad, narrated by Umran bin Hussain: Once the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) saw a man wearing a yellow bangle and asked him, "What is this?" The man answered, "It is al-wahinah (that which weakens)." The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, "Take it off! Verily it will not increase you in anything, except sickness and if you die adorning it, no happiness will come to you forever." This emphasis and serious attention given by the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) shows the need to shun all forms of shirk and close all doors that might lead to it.

to practice, involve or believe in any form of sihir (sorcery) including charms, incantations, astrology etc. This is stated in a Hadith: There are three kinds of people that will not enter paradise: the drinker, the one who acknowledges sorcery and the one who breaks silaturahim (kinship). (Ahmad and Ibn Habban) Astrology is said to be part of this because of the Hadith: Whoever partakes in one part of astrology (the art of the stars), verily he has partaken in sorcery. (Abu Dawood) This, however, does not include using the stars in navigation, traveling, etc.

Believe in evil omens

This happens when a person intends to do something, but decides not to do it because of experiencing or 'seeing' certain evil signs or omens. Says the Prophet (s.a.w.s.):

1. E-book (Islamic). 2. Islamic web site(www.britannica.com 3. 4.
www.geocities.com/www.nuradeen.com/ www.faizaneislam.org. Islamic book & Lecture sheet. Islamic wikpidia. / www.islamtomorrow.com www.bahagia.btinternet.co.uk/