Ahmed, New Age Islam
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
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
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
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
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
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(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)
(35) He went into his garden in a state
(of mind) unjust to his moral self: He said, "I deem not that this will
(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
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.
The Story of the Prophetic
Mission of Muhammad (pbuh) From the Qu’ran (Part 6): The People of the Book and