By Mufti Afzal Hoosen Ilyas
“Shirk” means to associate anyone or anything in the worship or in the special and exclusive attributes of Allah Taala. The highest and worst form of shirk is to include another being or object within the “Person” of Allah Taala or to raise or regard anything besides Him as worthy of worship, e.g. the belief in trinity, the belief in idols, Association or Shirk in the Attributes of Allah are, for example:
Shirk fil Qudrat – the attribution of Allah’s Quality of Qudrat, (or power) to anything else. For example, to believe that any being besides Allah Taala also has the power to create, give life, cause rain, etc.
Shirk fil Ilm – is the attribution of Allah’s All-embracing and allencompassing Knowledge to anyone or anything else. For example, to believe that a Nabi or a Wali has knowledge of the unseen like Allah Taala has.
Shirk fil Hukm – or to attribute Allah’s Attribute of Decree or Command to another. For example, to render obedience to a saint or any other being like one would do for Allah Taala. These are some forms of Shirk. There is no greater crime than the commission of shirk.
THE TYPES OF SHIRK
SHIRK means to associate any person or object in the worship or qualities of Allah Taala. There are several forms of shirk which are described here briefly.
(1) Shirk fil Qudrat. To attribute Allah’s quality of power to anybody else, for example, to believe that a certain prophet or Wali or martyr can bring about rains or cause the births of babies or fulfill desires or give food. Or to kill or bring anything into life or to bring benefit or damage is in their power. All these things are Shirk.
(2) Shirk fil Ilm. To attribute Allah’s power of knowledge to others, for example, to say that a prophet or a pious man has the knowledge of unseen, or like Allah knows about everything, or they are aware of all of our affairs or they can tell what is happening far and near. All this is Shirk fil Ilm.
(3) Shirk fil Sama’a and Basr. To attribute Allah’s power of seeing and hearing to others, for example, to believe that a certain prophet or a pious person could hear things far and near or could see all of our own acts.
(4) Shirk fil Ibaadah is to accept any other person as worthy of worship like Allah, for example, to do sajda on or bow before a grave or a pious person, or doing ruku likewise or to keep fast in the name of a prophet, Wali or Imam, or to give away Nazar or to promise an offering like that etc., or to go round a house like one goes round Ka’bah (Tawaaf) all these are Shirk fil Ibaadah.
Are there any more acts of Shirk? Yes, there are many acts of Shirk which must be avoided. These acts are: to ask about heavenly secrets from astrologers, or to show hands to a palmist to know about future, to ask others for Faal, which is another way of trying to know future from omens, to treat diseases like smallpox etc., as contagious and infectious which can be contracted without Allah’s permission to make Tazias and Alams. To offer as sacrifice, sweets flowers etc., on graves, to swear in the name of someone other than Allah, to put pictures and pay respects to them, call any pious person one’s rescuer or saviour, or to grow hair in the name of a Wali, to turn Fakir in Muharram in the name of an Imam.
The people who resort to grave-worshipping make sajda (prostrate) to the graves. They justify this practice of shirk by claiming that they are not worshipping the grave, but that they merely rendering the prostration as a mark of respect to the buried saint. But, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has rebutted and prohibited such prostrations even if the intention underlying such sajda is respect. Hadhrat Qais ibn Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“I reached Heerah (a town) where I saw people making sajda for their chiefs. I thought then that the most worthy person to whom one should prostrate is Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). I went to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and said: I went to Heerah and saw people prostrating to their chiefs. But, you are the worthiest who deserve to be prostrated to. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then said to me:
‘Will you make sajda to my grave when you would pass by it?’
I (Qais) said, ‘No’.
Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then said: ‘If I had to order anyone to make sajda (for any created being), I would have ordered wives (to make sajda for husbands) because of those rights which Allah has granted them.”
Practices associated with Shirk:
The above are but a few of the countless Bid’ats practiced by ignorant Muslims. There are other practices which can be closely associated with Shirk, such as:
(1) The offering of Tazias.
(2) The kissing of graves and bowing down before them.
(3) The act of prostrating before saints out of reverence. (4) The offering of food as sacrifice on graves.
(5) The hanging of pictures of saints in homes and showering undue respect to them by way of garlanding, kissing and even prostrating before them.