One of the most important obligations is to know the meaning of shirk, its seriousness and its different types, so that our Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allaah) and our Islam may be complete, and our faith may be sound. We say -- And Allaah is the Source of strength and true guidance comes from Him:
Know -- may Allaah guide you -- that the word shirk in Arabic means taking a partner, i.e., regarding someone as the partner of another. It is said [in Arabic]: ashraka baynahuma (he joined them together) when he regarded them as two of equal status; or ashraka fi amrihi ghayrahu (he introduced another into his affair) when he made two people involved in it.
In terms of sharee'ah or Islamic terminology, shirk means ascribing a partner or rival to Allaah in Lordship (ruboobiyyah), worship or in His names and attributes.
A rival is a peer or counterpart. Hence Allaah forbids setting up rivals with Him and he condemns those who take them (rivals) as gods instead of or besides Allaah in many verses of the Qur'aan. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Then do not set up rivals unto Allaah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped)"
"And they set up rivals to Allaah, to mislead (men) from His path! Say: 'Enjoy (your brief life)! But certainly, your destination is the (Hell) Fire!'"
In the hadeeth it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever dies claiming that Allaah has a rival, will enter Hell."
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4497; Muslim, 92.
The types of shirk:
The texts of the Qur'aan and Sunnah indicate that shirk and the ascribing of rivals to Allaah sometimes puts a person beyond the pale of Islam and sometimes does not. Hence the scholars divided shirk into two types which they call shirk akbar (major shirk) and shirk asghar (minor shirk). There follows a brief description of each type:
1 -- Major shirk
This means ascribing to someone other than Allaah something that belongs only to Allaah, such as Lordship (ruboobiyyah), divinity (uloohiyyah) and the divine names and attributes (al-asma' wa'l-sifaat).
This kind of shirk may sometimes be outward, such as the shirk of those who worship idols and graves, or the dead or absent.
Or it may sometimes be hidden, such as those who put their trust in other gods besides Allaah, or the shirk and kufr of the hypocrites. For even though their (hypocrites') shirk puts them beyond the pale of Islam and means that they will abide forever in Hell, it is a hidden shirk, because they make an outward display of Islam and conceal their kufr and shirk, so they are inwardly mushriks but not outwardly.
2 -- Minor shirk
This includes everything that may lead to major shirk, or which is described in the texts as being shirk, but does not reach the extent of being major shirk.
This is usually of two types:
1 -- Being emotionally attached to some means which have no basis and for which Allaah has not given permission, such as hanging up "hands", turquoise beads etc on the grounds that they offer protection or that they ward off the evil eye. But Allaah has not made them the means of such protection, either according to sharee'ah or according to the laws of the universe.
[Translator's note: the "hands" referred to are objects made of metal, pottery etc, usually blue or turquoise in colour, that some people hang up to ward off the evil eye, according to their mistaken belief]
2 -- Venerating some people or things in a way that does not go so far as ascribing lordship to them, such as swearing by something other than Allaah, or saying, "Were it not for Allaah and So and so," etc.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER -
Abu Hasnayn Murtaza Khan graduated from the International Islamic University, Islamabad in June 2001 with BA Honours in Usool-ud-Din and has been actively involved in the field of da'wah for many years.
At present he is an Islamic Studies teacher in al-Noor Primary School , London . He is also a visiting khateeb at Al-Ansar Islamic Education Centre, Islamic Da'wah Centre and University of East London. He has worked closely with numerous organisations and individuals to promote Islam and has translated and presented various seminars and lectures. He is involved in da'wah across the UK and travels extensively to promote and revive the pure and monotheistic religion of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims alike
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Lecture took place at the BD5 Masjid
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