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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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  • 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

  • It did not take much to expose GM sb's ignorance. I only had to cite an ayat and ask him to explain what was the "Shirk" the ayat was referring to. For the ignoramus that GM sb is, this was like asking a man without legs to walk! He has no answer

    His objective on this forum is only to "obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds".

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/17/2019 5:17:35 AM

  • you who do not even know the meaning of "kufr" and "kuffar" are trying to palm yourself as a "scholar" of Qur' an.
    By hats off! - 6/15/2019 5:26:37 PM

  • It does not take much depth to know the lameness of Naseer sb.'s arguments. His challenging me with verse 42 shows how flimsy his arguments can be.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/15/2019 12:59:26 PM

  • When GM sb is out of his depth he will call what the other has said "lame argument" while he is the one without legs to stand on.

    The following is one out of the fours stories narrated in Surah 18 Kahf. Can GM sb enlighten us on what is the "shirk" referred to in verse 42? Or will he say that this story is only for the Salafi/Wahhabi readers? GM sb is the one who abuses the Book. Allah and the Prophet by his impertinent comments. 

    (32) Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date palms; in between the two We placed corn-fields.

    (33) Each of those gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein: in the midst of them We caused a river to flow.

    (34) (Abundant) was the produce this man had : he said to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument: "more wealth have I than you, and more honour and power in (my following of) men."

    (35) He went into his garden in a state (of mind) unjust to his moral self: He said, "I deem not that this will ever perish,

    (36) "Nor do I deem that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) come: Even if I am brought back to my Lord, I shall surely find (there) something better in exchange."

    (37) His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: "Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man?

    (38) "But (I think) for my part that He is Allah, My Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord.

    (39) "Why didst thou not, as thou wentest into thy garden, say: ´Allah´s will (be done)! There is no power but with Allah!´ If thou dost see me less than thee in wealth and sons,

    (40) "It may be that my Lord will give me something better than thy garden, and that He will send on thy garden thunderbolts (by way of reckoning) from heaven, making it (but) slippery sand!-

    (41) "Or the water of the garden will run off underground so that thou wilt never be able to find it."

    (42) So his fruits (and enjoyment) were encompassed (with ruin), and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he had spent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its very foundations, and he could only say, "Woe is me! Would I had never ushrik (associated) with my Lord any partner!"

    (43) Nor had he numbers to help him against Allah, nor was he able to deliver himself.

    (44) There, the (only) protection comes from Allah, the True One. He is the Best to reward, and the Best to give success.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/15/2019 6:31:53 AM

  • Naseer sb. continues to quote from the Quran to support his lame arguments. This trulu is an abuse of the Holy Book.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/15/2019 12:17:56 AM

  • Naseer sb. again shows his ill-bred nature calling me an apostate. Such remarks only show how unfit he is to be considered a scholar.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/15/2019 12:14:59 AM

  • 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

  • GM sb is a friendly apostate and Hats Off is a hostile apostate. They both lie to malign the Quran.
    They blaspheme the Quran by misrepresenting its verses while I explain these correctly. Neither of these two liars had anything to comment on the articles explaining these verses.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/14/2019 11:42:28 PM

  • Naseer sb.'s support of and Hats Off's condemnation of defunct and objectionable practices are equally reprehensible and take attention away from issues that New Age Muslims need to focus on.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/13/2019 12:07:54 PM

  • your complete and comprehensive ignorance about just any subject under the sky will not haunt me as much as it will amuse me - and embarrass you.
    i do not need to make any stupid theories like you are impelled to do. you love sex slavery, you love jizya and you venerate a religion that enslaved, murdered and decimated your ancestors.
    so do not lecture to me about morality (or even your null theory and proof of some stupid divinity of scriptures or whatever you blurt out in your incoherent sleep) to which probably you are allergic.
    after all you think sex slavery is noble and jizya is good.
    that instantly makes your attitude a totally abhorrent human aberration whose humanity is in question.
    as i never started anything about null hypothesis, apotheosis or antithesis or even lowly 

    By hats off! - 6/13/2019 8:18:22 AM

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