Articles of Faith New Muslims

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.


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.


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