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Shirk (Polytheism): its Meaning and Different Forms!

Transcribed by Editorial Staff

A’udhu bi-llahi min ash-shaitan ar-rajim

Bism-illah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with part three of New Muslim Bites. And as I mentioned last time, this time we’re going to be talking about the area of Shirk.

Shirk

Now, Shirk is the exact opposite of what we were talking about last time which was Tawheed which is believing in the Oneness of Allah. Now, Shirk is the opposite of this. This is when we put a partnership or associating others with Allah. And this can come in many, many different forms.

In Surah 4 verse 48, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

Surely Allah will not forgive association of partners with Him. (Quran 4:48)

But of course in order to avoid something we must understand what it is in the first place. Now, there are two distinct areas of Shirk that have been defined by the scholars: one of them is Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar which is the major Shirk and the other one is Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar which means the minor Shirk.

Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar

And today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about the major Shirk. Now if you remember, we talked about Tawheed in Rububiyah which means the believing in the Oneness of Allah through his Lordship.

Today, we’re going to talk about the opposite of this which is Shirk in Rububiyah which is when people associate others with Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). And now, there are lots of examples with this both from within Islam unfortunately and from outside Islam. Of the obvious one that we know about in the UK is with the Trinity where you have Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), and Christians believe in Allah and but then they believe in ‘Isa (Jesus) (‘Alaihi As-Salam) as the son of Allah.

And for example in Hinduism, they believe in the one god, the creator. Their god, called Brahman, has partners called Vishnu and Shiva and in some branches other gods who share this partnership with him. So, they almost share the power. They are delegated jobs.

Atheism

Now, another type of Shirk in Rububiyah which will surprise some people is the belief that there is no god because this is also a belief. It’s the belief that there is no god. So for example, people who believe in Darwinism who say that there is no god at all. And these are people who commit Shirk in Rububiyah but in the opposite way.

Another good example of this is the ancient Pharaohs. The Pharaoh of Musa (Moses) (‘Alaihi As-Salam) who believed and said to his people, “Say that I am your lord the most high”.

(Subhan Allah), where as we know that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is the Lord, Most High and nobody else can create or has the power over our life and death or anything except Him.

The Third Form of Shirk

The third area is believing that a person, a thing such as a statue or an amulet or anything of that matter has power of its own. And that all that, it is a manifestation of Allah.

There are some sects of Muslims who believe, for example, that certain people are manifestations of Allah so they have almost this power. But of course as we know, Allah (Sub’anahu wa Ta’ala) is the only one who has the power.

So, Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar, to worship anything other than Allah and there’re some obvious ones and some less obvious ones. And so, what we’re going to do next time, in the next session, in shaa Allah, is explore that in a little bit more detail. And we are going to have a look at Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar, and talk a little bit in more detail about what the Rasul-ullah (Salla Allah-u ‘Alaihi wa sallam), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about this type of Shirk and how we can avoid that as well. So, for this time, in shaa Allah, I will bid my farewell.

And As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa rahmatu Allah-i wa barakatuh

 

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

How to Avoid Minor Shirk?

Transcribed by Editorial Staff

Bism-illah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim.

Al-Hamd li-llah Rabb Al-‘Alamin.

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh!

This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with New Muslim Bites. This is session number four and this is part two of our talk on Shirk. If you remember last time, we were talking about Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar which is the Major Shirk.

And today we’re going to talk a little bit about the different types of Minor Shirk. Remember this is just a bite. This is only very briefly going over the surface of this subject. It certainly isn’t meant to be in-depth or anything like that. so please remember this!

Shirk Al-Akbar

Shirk Al-Akbar, the Big Shirk, the Major Shirk, is relatively easy to deal with because it’s very, very obvious. We know that we don’t bow down to statues. We know that we don’t worship other people or other gods other than Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).

 

Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar

The Shirk Al-Asghar, the Minor Shirk, is the one that is much more dangerous because it’s minor; it’s hidden. And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“O people! Fear Shirk because it’s more hidden than the creeping of an ant.”

And the people asked, “How do we avoid it?” And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“You say; you make du’a’, ‘O Allah! We seek refuge in you from knowingly committing Shirk and ask forgiveness from you for what we do not know about.’” (Musnad Ahmad)

Examples of Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar

So, the first step, of course, here, is learning what Shirk Al-Asghar or Minor Shirk actually is. Now, if you come from an English background, I think probably pretty much any background, we’ve grown up with so much Shirk. But we can’t though even know them.

All the charms and the omens like charm bracelets, all cultures have this type of stuff: black cats crossing front of the road and seeing one magpie is meant to be, the same aye aye captain and this rhyme. And my mum was an absolute stickler. If you ever dare to put new shoes on the table, she would go crazy. “Don’t ever put new shoes on the table. It’s bad luck.”

Now, some cultures use amulets which are meant to provide safety and security. And you know, keepers protected against things. So, for example, in Egypt, I remember , they had this like a hand, things called the hand of Fatima and this is an amulet and you’re meant to wear it. It gives you protection.

And I know a lot of Asians, Pakistanis, Indians use what’s called taweez which is like an amulet that they put on like a string in a leather pouch. And it’s meant to provide protection.

Evidence that These Examples are Shirk

Now, all these things in Islam are Shirk Al-Asghar. They are a form of Shirk. And they’re things that we should avoid completely. It’s very, very logical and also many hadith. Something of the Quran, of course, confirms this.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once was approached by some men who wanted to pledge allegiance to him. And he actually refused the allegiance of one of the guys until he removed an amulet that he was wearing underneath his clothes. Saying,

“Whoever wears a talisman has committed Shirk.” (Musnad Ahmad)

And, of course, in order to become Muslim you have to not be committing Shirk because believing in the one God and worshiping the one God is part of our Islam; is part of being Muslim.

Now like I said before, many Muslims wear these, what is called Ta’aweez or an amulet to protect themselves thinking that this is going to protect them. And thinking because it contains an Arabic or some part of the Quran that it’s okay.

Now, the first logical thing here against doing this is that the question we always ask is, “Was this something that was practiced by the Prophet (peace be upon him) or by his Companions?”

And the answer to that is, “Not only no it wasn’t. It was something that the amulet we were told by the Prophet (peace be upon him) that we don’t do this.”

Protection Comes from Allah

Now, the whole essence of Tawheed, believing in the oneness of Allah, is that we believe truly with our hearts that protection comes from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). And yes, the Quran is a protection and we have verses from the Quran that we can recite, but the protection through that comes from Allah.

And so, for example, it’s a Sunnah to recite. When Surat Al-Baqarah is recited in a house, then, the Shaitan can’t enter that house. But, of course, that protection comes from Allah. It doesn’t come from the Quran itself; it comes from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).

Now, I guess wearing the Quran in a way is like if you have a headache. What are you going to do with the painkiller, with the paracetamol that you go get from Tesco’s or Morrison’s or whatever? What are you going to do with the paracetamol when you have a headache? Are you going to wear it around your neck or are you going to eat it and let it work in your whole body? You’re going to eat it and let it work in your whole body, of course.

So, thinking that wearing Ayat Al-Kursi or a part of the Quran is going to protect you? No, the protection from Allah comes from living the Quran, learning the essence of the Quran and how to live it and how to get close to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). Then, when we’re close to Allah we get His love. And when we get that love we will get protection from Him. And this is in a hadith qudsi, which means a hadith that is related by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Islam is a Very Logical Way of Life

So, we have to put faith in our Creator not in an object because an object has no power. Islam is very, very logical. That’s one of the main reasons why I became Muslim because it was truthful and it was logical.

 

As Muslims, we have a direct line between ourselves and Allah. We pray directly. We don’t need Saints, we don’t need asking dead people and visiting graves, we don’t need fortune tellers, we don’t need anything like this. Why? Because we trust Allah. I mean let’s think about this logically. I know some Muslims visit graves and ask dead people to pray for them. Logically, if that was something in Islam, surely, wouldn’t the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and us be going to the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asking him to intercede?

But we don’t because it was something that was forbidden and something that’s not allowed. So, why we go to these graves and do this? I have no idea but it’s something that’s definitely not something Islamic.

 

So, we trust Allah only. And I’m just going to end up with very, very quick and verse from the Quran. From Surah 27, verse 65 and Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

“None in the heavens or the earth knows the Unseen except Allah.” (Quran 27:65)

So, only Allah knows our future, only Allah knows what’s going to happen to us, and only Allah is the Protector. And on that beautiful note from the Quran, I will say,

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Next time, we are going to be looking into the Books of Allah.

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