السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) is the opposite of Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah). Shirk is of three kinds, but actually it is of two kinds: Major Shirk and Minor Shirk.
Major Shirk: It involves devoting all or some acts of `Ibadah (worship) to anyone or anything other than Allah. It also involves refraining from some matters ordained by Allah that fall under Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah (well-established and known Islamic principles), such as offering Salah (Prayer) and observing Sawm (Fast) in Ramadan; or denying some matters prohibited by Allah that fall under Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah, such as Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage), drinking Khamr (intoxicants) and the like. It may involve obeying a human being in a way that constitutes disobedience to the Creator while deeming the committed violation as Halal (lawful), such as obeying a man or a woman, whether a president, a minister, a scientist or others, in something that violates the Religion of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). Anything that involves devoting part of worship to anyone other than Allah, such as supplicating to Awliya' (pious people), seeking their assistance, or making vows to them, or deeming lawful what Allah has prohibited, or annulling what Allah has established - such as believing that Salah, Sawm, Hajj (despite having the capability to perform it), or Zakah (obligatory charity) are not obligatory or absolutely impermissible - all this constitutes major Kufr (disbelief that takes the Muslim out of Islam) and major Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship that takes the Muslim out of Islam), because this is a sort of belying Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Consequently, whoever deems lawful what Allah has prohibited from the matters which are categorized as Ma`lum minad-din biddarurah, such as Zina, Khamr, undutifulness to parents, banditry, sodomy, Riba (usury or interest) and similar matters which are well known to be prohibited by authority of Nas (Islamic text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah) and Ijma` (consensus of scholars) is unanimously considered a Kafir (disbeliever).
(Part No. 1; Page No. 44)
May Allah safeguard us. Such a person will come under the same ruling as those who are guilty of major Shirk.
The same ruling applies to anyone who mocks and ridicules the religion, they will be guilty of major Kufr. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: Say: "Was it at Allâh (عز وجل), and His Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that you were mocking?"Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed. The same applies to belittling any matter which is glorified by Allah, and showing contempt and disdain for it, such as irreverence to the Mus-haf (copy of the Qur'an), urinating, stepping, or sitting on it and the like. Anyone who does this is a Kafir by Ijma`, because by doing so they belittle and disdain Allah Himself (Glorified be He). The Qur'an is the Word of Allah (Exalted be He). Anyone who belittles the Qur'an is belittling Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). Scholars have explained such issues under the chapter of "Ruling on the Murtad (apostate from Islam)". In each of the Four Madh-habs (Hanafy, Maliky, Shafi`y, and Hanbaly), there is a chapter entitled "Ruling on the Murtad", in which scholars explained all types of Kufr (disbelief) and Dalal (deviation from what is right). It is a noteworthy chapter, especially in the present time where many types of Riddah (apostasy) have spread and many people are confused about such matters. Therefore, by careful study of this chapter, one will know the invalidations of Islam, causes of Riddah and types of Kufr and Dalal.
The second type: Minor Shirk is any act that Shari`ah (Islamic law) has called Shirk but is not tantamount to major Shirk. This is termed minor Shirk, such as Riya' (doing good deeds for show) or seeking reputation, as when reciting the Qur'an, offering Salah or calling to the Path of Allah and the like for the sake of showing off. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'The thing that I fear most for you is minor Shirk.' They (the Companions) said, 'O Messenger of Allah, what is minor Shirk?' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Riya'. Truly, Allah (Blessed and Exalted be He) shall say on the Day of Resurrection to the people who used to do good deeds for show: Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in worldly life and see if you can find with them recompense.' (Related by Imam Ahmad through an authentic Isnad [chain of narrators] on the authority of Mahmud ibn Labid Al-Ashhaly Al-Ansary) It was also related by Al-Tabarany, Al-Bayhaqy and some other narrators as Hadith Mursal (a Hadith with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration) on the authority of Mahmud, who was previously mentioned. This narrator, Mahmud, was a young Sahaby (Companion of the Prophet) who did not hear any Hadith from the Prophet (peace be upon him). But the Mursal Hadiths narrated by the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) are Sahih (authentic) and used as evidence by the scholars. Some scholars viewd this as a consensus.
(Part No. 1; Page No. 45)
An example of minor Shirk is when a servant of Allah says: "What Allah wills and so-and-so wills" or "Were it not for Allah and so-and-so" or "This is from Allah and so-and-so."
All this is considered minor Shirk according to the Hadith related by Abu Dawud, through an authentic Isnad on the authority of Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do not say, 'What Allah wills and so-and-so wills,' but rather say, 'What Allah wills, then afterwards what so-and-so wills.'
This also includes the Hadith related by Al-Nasa'y on the authority of Qutailah that A Jew came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, 'You commit Shirk, as you say, 'What Allah wills and what you will.' You also say, 'By the Ka`bah (when you swear).' Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered them, whenever they needed to swear, to say, 'By the Lord of the Ka`bah.' He (peace be upon him) also ordered them to say, 'What Allah wills, then afterwards what Muhammad will.' According to another report by Al-Nasa'y on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) A man once said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), 'O Messenger of Allah, whatever Allah wills and you will.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Have you made me an equal to Allah! It is whatever Allah Alone wills.' This also includes the authentically reported interpretation of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) of the Words of Allah (Exalted be He): Then do not set up rivals unto Allâh (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped). Ibn `Abbas commented, saying: "Shirk in this Ummah (nation based on one creed) is more subtle than the creeping of ants on black rocks in the darkness of night. It is to say, 'By Allah and by your life, O so-and-so,' 'By my life,' 'Had it not been for the dog, the thieves would have attacked us,' 'Had it not been for the ducks in the house, the thieves would have entered,' 'What Allah wills and you will' and 'Had it not been for Allah and so-and-so.' So do not mention so-and-so with Allah, because all these statements contain Shirk." (Related by Ibn Abu Hatim through an authentic Isnad)
Such statements and the like fall under minor Shirk. This also includes swearing by anyone or anything other than Allah, such as swearing by the Ka`bah, the Prophets, Amanah (honesty), the life of so-and-so, the honor of so-and-so and similar things. All these oaths involve minor Shirk based on the Hadith authentically reported in the Musnad (Hadith compilation), through an authentic Isnad on the authority of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who swears by other than Allah has committed Shirk (associated others with Allah in His Divinity or in worship). It was related by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhy (may Allah be merciful to them), through an authentic Isnad on the authority of Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who swears by other than Allah has committed Kufr or Shirk.
(Part No. 1; Page No. 46)
The narrator might not be sure about the exact wording (whether it was "or" or "and"). It might be also that "or" here is with the meaning of "and"; accordingly, the meaning will be "has committed Kufr and Shirk". In this respect, we mention the Hadith related by the Two Shaykhs (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who has to take an oath should swear by Allah or else remain silent. There are many Hadiths in this respect.
These are some types of minor Shirk, which may involve major Shirk depending on the intention of the person. If the one who swears by the Prophet, Al-Badawy or shaykh so-and-so, intends to equates him with Allah, invokes him besides Allah, believes that he has any power in this universe as Allah or the like, then such acts or beliefs render the person a Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). If the one swearing by other than Allah does not have such intentions or beliefs, but just say it out of habit, with no such intentions, this will be considered minor Shirk.
There is another kind of Skirk called Shirk Khafy (hidden Shirk). Some scholars classed it as the third type of Shirk, giving evidence to support this from the Hadith narrated by Abu Sa`id Al-Khudry that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Shall I inform you of what I fear more for you than Al-Masih-ul-Dajjal (the Antichrist)?' The people said, 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'It is the hidden Shirk. A person standing in Salah (Prayer) and trying to make it perfect when he feels others are looking at him.' (Related by Imam Ahmad)
The correct opinion is that it is not a third type, but it falls under minor Shirk. It may be hidden in terms of the intention being within the heart, as described in the previous Hadith. Other examples include reciting the Qur'an, propagating virtue and preventing vice, or fighting in the Cause of Allah and the like out of Riya'.
It may be considered hidden Shirk in terms of the legal ruling regarding certain categories of people like those mentioned in the aforementioned Hadith of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father). The hidden Shirk can also be major Shirk even though it is hidden, such as the belief of hypocrites. They show off in front of people with their apparent deeds, yet they do not reveal their hidden Kufr. This is clarified in the Saying of Allah (Exalted be He): Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allâh, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salât (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allâh but little.(They are) swaying between this and that, belonging neither to these nor to those
(Part No. 1; Page No. 47)
There are many Ayahs concerning their Kufr and Riya'. May Allah safeguard us.
Accordingly, the hidden Shirk falls under either of the two previous types: major Shirk and minor Shirk, even if it is called "Khafy (hidden)." Shirk can be hidden and can be obvious.
Shirk Jaly (obvious Shirk) is manifested in invoking the dead, seeking their help, vowing for them and the like.
Shirk Khafy is what remains hidden in the hearts of the hypocrites who offer Salah and observe Sawm along with the people, while inwardly they are really Kafirs. They believe in the permissibility of worshiping idols and sculptures, and so actually they embrace the beliefs of Mushriks. This is the reality of Shirk Khafy that lies hidden in the heart.
The minor hidden Shirk is expressed in acts like reciting the Qur'an, offering Salah, giving Sadaqah (voluntary charity) and the like seeking praise from people. This is hidden Shirk, but it is minor.
Thus, it becomes clear that Shirk is of two types: major and minor, each of which can be hidden. It can be major hidden Shirk, such as that of the hypocrites. Or it can be minor hidden Shirk, such as praying, giving Sadaqah, supplicating, propagating virtue or preventing vice and so on just to show off.
Every believer should beware of such behaviors and abstain from these forms of Shirk, especially major one. It is the most grievous sin to be committed against Allah and the gravest crime a human can commit. Regarding this type of Shirk, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: But if they had joined in worship others with Allâh, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. And: Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allâh, then Allâh has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And: Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills
(Part No. 1; Page No. 48)
Consequently, anyone who dies while committing acts of major Shirk will surely be forbidden from entering Paradise and will eternally abide in Hellfire. We seek refuge with Allah from this punishment.
Regarding minor Shirk, it is one of the gravest of major sins and those who commit it are extremely endangered. They may be forgiven for committing acts of minor Shirk by the predominance of their good deeds. Otherwise, they may be punished for them, but they will not abide eternally in Hellfire as the Kafirs. Minor Shirk neither imposes eternal dwelling in Hellfire nor nullifies good deeds, but it nullifies the acts associated with it.
Minor Shirk nullifies the act connected with it. For example, if someone offers Salah out of Riya', he will not be rewarded for it; rather, he will be punished for such a sin.
If someone recites the Qur'an out of Riya', he will not be rewarded for it; rather, he will be punished for such a sin. Minor Shirk is unlike major Shirk and major Kufr, as they both nullify all good deeds. Allah (Exalted be He) says: But if they had joined in worship others with Allâh, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.
It is the duty of every man and woman, every scholar and student, and every Muslim to pay careful attention and ponder over this matter. They must know the essence of Tawhid and its types, the reality of Shirk and its two types - major and minor. They must hasten to repent to Allah sincerely from the acts of major or minor Shirk they may have committed. They should abide by Tawhid, hold fast to the right path, adhere to the obedience of the Laws of Allah and pay Allah His due rights. Tawhid has rights that should be respected, such as carrying out Faridahs (obligatory acts) and abstaining from prohibitions. They should also abstain from all types of Shirk, both minor and major.
Major Shirk is against Tawhid and is absolutely against Islam. Minor Shirk is against the required perfection of one's Islam; therefore, Muslims should abstain from both types.
We should all bear this matter in our minds, learn about it well and warn people against it carefully and clearly. A Muslim can thus become fully aware of all such grave matters.
(Part No. 1; Page No. 49)
We ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to guide you and us to useful knowledge and good deeds, grant us and all Muslims the ability to understand and adhere to His Religion. We ask Allah to make His Religion triumphant and elevate His Word uppermost. May Allah make us rightly guided people. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, his Companions and those who rightly follow him until the Day of Resurrection.
[We usually receive questions about important issues each lecture. I have been asked many questions. Here I just mention those that are relevant to Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah)]:
Q: May Allah reward you with the best for your enlightening lessons and may Allah put them in your balance of good deeds. My question is: How can we know the reality of Tawhid in beliefs, behaviors and actions?
A: The way to this is made easy, all praise be to Allah. Every believer must examine their deeds and oblige themselves to adhere to the truth and allow themselves to be influenced only by those who practice what Islam preaches. A Muslim must remain steadfast in the path of Tawhid and keep faithful to Allah. They must commit themselves to abide by that path and call others to it until they stand firmly on it, and it becomes an inherent characteristic of them. After this, they can never be affected by those who want to hinder them from that path or make them doubtful about it.
It is very important for a Muslim to pay careful attention to this matter, examine their beliefs and have good knowledge about Tawhid in order not to be confused or get misled by those who spread doubtful matters.