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Warning against Shirk (Polytheism)

Place : Saudi Arabia / Riyadh / None / None /
Business Category : Tawhid (Oneness of Allaah)
date of publication : 1439/05/29
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Elements speech
1- The gravity of polytheism and its effects on the human soul. 2- Gateways to polytheism and its causes. 3- Kinds of Shirk (Polytheism).

 First Sermon:


All praise is due and belongs to Allâh . We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh  from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh  guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh  alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.


( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )

(O you who believe, fear Allâh  as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]


( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )

(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh , by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh  is ever watching over you.) [An-Nisa: 1].


( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا )

 (O you who believe, fear Allâh  and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh  and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].


Slaves of Allâh ! Every sin perpetrated by one who dies without repentance, shall be under the will of Allâh . If He wishes, He forgives and if He wishes, He punishes for it, except one sin that Allâh  will not forgive if the person dies without repentance. Do you know what that is? It is indeed Shirk (polytheism). Allâh , the Almighty, said,

( إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِۦ )

Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), [An-Nisaa: 48].


Shirk is the gravest of sins as a whole, and the most serious and horrible; because it involves equating other than Allâh  with Him. The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) was asked: What is the biggest sin in the sight of Allâh ?” He said, “To set up rivals unto Allâh  though He alone created you”. (Agreed upon).


Polytheism is the great injustice:

( وَإِذۡ قَالَ لُقۡمَـٰنُ لِٱبۡنِهِۦ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ ۥ يَـٰبُنَىَّ لَا تُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱلشِّرۡكَ لَظُلۡمٌ عَظِيمٌ۬ )

And (remember) when Luqmân said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allâh. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allâh is a great Zûlm (wrong) indeed [Luqman: 13].


When the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) was asked about the destructive vices, he counted Shirk the first! Moreover, when asked concerning the gravest of all the grave sins, he counted Shirk the first! When he was asked regarding the grave vices that send people to the Hell fire, he counted Shirk the first! Nevertheless, you may be surprised, and say: Why do we talk about (Shirk) polytheism and warn against it, while, to Allâh  belongs all praise, we are among the monotheist believers?

The fact is that we are talking about polytheism, for you to know the grace of (tauhid) Islamic monotheism because «The beauty of something is exposed by its opposite». When you see the situation of a polytheist in this world and the hereafter, you will increase in your praise and gratitude to Allâh  for putting you among the Muslim monotheists. Verily, it is part of the perfection of the bliss of the people of Paradise, to see the people of Hell while they are being tormented.


It suffices us to do as Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman, may Allâh  be pleased with him, did, when he reported of himself saying, “People used to ask the Messenger of Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), about good and I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me” (Agreed upon).

The wise knows the evil to avoid it.

This is the father of prophets and bosom friend of Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious), Ibrahim, peace be upon him, pleading to his Lord to protect him and his descendants against idolatry:

( وَإِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡبَلَدَ ءَامِنً۬ا وَٱجۡنُبۡنِى وَبَنِىَّ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ ٱلۡأَصۡنَامَ )

And (remember) when Ibrâhim (Abraham) said: “O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols [Ibrahim: 35].


Why should we not fear it for ourselves while the Messenger of Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) has told us that people from our nation would be guilty of polytheism, and even of the worship of idols, when he said, ” The Hour shall not be established until tribes of my Ummah unite with the idolaters, and until they worship idols” (Al-Albani graded it Sahih). Why are we not dismayed by the words of the Messenger of Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) to Abubakr: “O Abubakr, polytheism in your generation is more inconspicuous than the swarming of ants “(Sahih Al-Bukhari).

O Lord! Save us, O Lord! Save us. Should the prophets and chosen people be afraid and terrified of it, and the Lord of heaven and earth warn of it and yet it remains so discreet? Then we do not avoid it and warn others of it? No one who does this is among the wise!

If you want to realize the cause of all this fear and warning of polytheism, come with me to examine some of its effects on the human soul, because tauhid (Islamic monotheism) is the natural disposition of Man upon which he has been created: ” No child is born except on Al-Fitra (Islam) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian” (Agreed upon).


Therefore, polytheism is an abnormality and violation of that natural disposition. In addition, if the natural instinct is disrupted, it leads to terrible and destructive effects, which include the following:

  • The soul is snatched away from the glory and highness of tauhid and thrown into the abysses of shame and humiliation:

( وَمَن يُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ فَكَأَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَتَخۡطَفُهُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ أَوۡ تَهۡوِى بِهِ ٱلرِّيحُ فِى مَكَانٍ۬ سَحِيقٍ۬ )

And whoever assigns partners to Allâh, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place [Hajj: 31].


He draws similarity between the sky and tauhid and between the birds and demons that snatch its limbs, and between the wind and his desires that order and forbid him (i.e. control him).

  • Among its effects is that it tears the soul and ignites anxiety and mental disorders. So if (in the remembrance of Allâh  do hearts find rest) [Ar-Ra’d: 28], associating others with Allâh  causes those hearts to be disturbed and tear apart. The holy Qur’an gave a very beautiful example of that tearing apart of the hearts:

( ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلاً۬ رَّجُلاً۬ فِيهِ شُرَكَآءُ مُتَشَـٰكِسُونَ وَرَجُلاً۬ سَلَمً۬ا لِّرَجُلٍ هَلۡ يَسۡتَوِيَانِ مَثَلاً‌ۚ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ‌ۚ بَلۡ أَكۡثَرُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ )

Allâh puts forth a similitude: a (slave) man belonging to many partners (like those who worship others along with Allâh) disputing with one another, and a (slave) man belonging entirely to one master, (like those who worship Allâh Alone). Are those two equal in comparison? All the praises and thanks are to Allâh! But most of them know not [Az-Zumar: 29]


He is confused about his affair; he does not know which one to satisfy by his service! And on which one he should depend for his needs.

  • Its effects also include one’s work being in vain, we seek refuge with Allâh from such.

The Almighty said:

( وَلَقَدۡ أُوحِىَ إِلَيۡكَ وَإِلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِكَ لَٮِٕنۡ أَشۡرَكۡتَ لَيَحۡبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ )

And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad (May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), as it was to those (Allâh’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allâh, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain [Az-Zumar: 65],


For work to be in vain means that it will be rendered invalid and left to waste.

  • One of the greatest effects of polytheism is that the person will be left to dwell forever in the hellfire:

( مَا كَانَ لِلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ أَن يَعۡمُرُواْ مَسَـٰجِدَ ٱللَّهِ شَـٰهِدِينَ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِم بِٱلۡكُفۡرِ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ حَبِطَتۡ أَعۡمَـٰلُهُمۡ وَفِى ٱلنَّارِ هُمۡ خَـٰلِدُونَ )

It is not for the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh), to maintain the Mosques of Allâh (i.e. to pray and worship Allâh therein, to look after their cleanliness and their building), while they witness against their own selves of disbelief. The works of such are in vain and in Fire shall they abide [At-Taubah: 17].


May Allâh  spare you and us from polytheism and its effects. May He take our souls while we are on tauhid (Islamic monotheism) and working righteousness. Seek for the forgiveness of your Lord…


Second sermon:


All praise is due and belongs to Allâh  alone. May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon the Prophet.


O believers! The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) used to fear seriously that his nation might become guilty of Shirk to the extent that he left no path leading to it but blocked it. Below are some of those paths he was keen to block:

  • Fanaticism with respect to the righteous people and the act of over-glorifying and raising them above their status; for they are human beings like you; slaves like you; incapable, imperfect, and negligent. They do not own even for themselves neither benefit nor harm, while they are alive. And when they die, they become more incapable, destitute and needy. Do not think this is a simple issue; for the first polytheism that happened on Earth was caused by such act: overestimation of the righteous. Regarding the saying of Allâh the Almighty:

( وَقَالُواْ لَا تَذَرُنَّ ءَالِهَتَكُمۡ وَلَا تَذَرُنَّ وَدًّ۬ا وَلَا سُوَاعً۬ا وَلَا يَغُوثَ وَيَعُوقَ وَنَسۡرً۬ا )

And they have said: ‘You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwâ’, nor Yaghûth, nor Ya’ûq, nor Nasr (these are the names of their idols) [Nuh: 23].


Ibn Abbas said, « They are names of righteous men from among the people of Nuh. When they perished, Satan inspired their people to make statues in their councils where they used to sit and label them with their own names. So they did, but they were not worshiped, until when that generation perished and knowledge was gone, they were taken as objects of worship » (Tafsir Ibn Kathir).


Do not be fanatic in over-glorifying a scholar, a saint, or a close friend of Allâh  at all. Do not even over-praise the Prophet himself (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him); for it is he that ordered us saying: “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians over-praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allâh  and His Messenger “(Al-Bukhari).


  • Among the gateways to Shirk is the act of elevating the graves above the earth surface, and taking them as places of worship. The Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) sent Ali commanding him thus: “Do not leave an image without obliterating it, or a high grave without levelling It” (Sahih Muslim).

The Messenger of Allâh  further said, “Beware of those who preceded you and used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as places of worship; I forbid you to do that” (Sahih Muslim).


  • The gateways to Shirk also include the act of making and erecting statues. The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) has forbidden it; because it is a wide gate among the gates to polytheism as he, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) said, “Verily the most grievously tormented people on the Day of Resurrection would be the makers of pictures” (Agreed upon).

There is no exception from this prohibition except the dolls for children.


  • They also include making vow to sacrifice in a place where sacrifice is done for others besides Allâh . Thabit bin Ad-Dahhaak said, in the time of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), a man took a vow to slaughter a camel at Buwanah. So he came to the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) and said: I have taken a vow to sacrifice a camel at Buwanah. The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) asked: Did the place contain any idol worshipped in pre-Islamic times? They (the people) said: No. He asked: Was any pre-Islamic festival observed there? They replied: No. The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) said: Fulfil your vow; for a vow to do an act of disobedience to Allâh  must not be fulfilled, “(Al-Albani graded it Sahih).

Had there been a pre-Islamic festival observed or idol worshipped there, the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) would not authorize him to fulfill his vow there.


  • Among the gateways to Shirk is the act of praying at the sunrise and sunset; because the idolaters prostrate for the sun –and the devil along- in these two times. The Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “Do not intend to observe prayer at the time of the rising of the sun nor at its setting, for it rises between the horns of Satan”. (Agreed upon).

Slaves of Allâh ! Having known the gravity of polytheism and its devastating effects, and having realized its gateways, and causes, it remains for us to know that (Shirk) associating partners and rivals with Allâh  is of two kinds:

One: Major shirk: That is for a slave to set rivals and partners for Allâh  in His Lordship and divinity. Its forms include associating partners and rivals with Allâh  in love. This is when he loves something just as he loves Allâh . This is why Allâh  the Almighty said:

( وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَندَادً۬ا يُحِبُّونَہُمۡ كَحُبِّ ٱللَّهِ )

And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allâh as rivals (to Allâh). They love them as they love Allâh [Al-Baqarah: 165];


How did they take (for worship) others besides Allâh as rivals (to Allâh)? Answer: (They love them as they love Allâh)! And what is the situation of the believers?


( وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّ۬ا لِّلَّهِ )‌ۗ

(But those who believe love Allâh more (than anything else).


It is also among the forms of major shirk to direct anything of the pure acts of worship to other than Allâh , such as invocation, vow, bowing, prostration, sacrifice, reliance in others besides Allâh , and preferring the obedience of other than Allâh  to the obedience of Allâh .


Two: Minor shirk: It is anything that can lead to the Major shirk and is a means to falling a victim of it, and that which the Islamic Law has forbidden and labelled it Shirk. Its forms include showing off. The Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) said, “The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk (polytheism).” They said: What is minor Shirk O Messenger of Allâh ? He said: “showing-off (of good deeds)” (Ahmad).


Minor Shirk also includes swearing by something other than Allâh . The Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) said, “He who swears by anyone or anything other than Allâh , has indeed committed an act of Kufr or Shirk” (Al-Albani graded it Sahih).


It also includes insulting Time, using the word “if” in some cases, wearing of amulets, interpretation of omens from the flight of birds, seeking blessings from trees, etc., seeking rain by the influence of stars, and ascribing blessings to other than Allâh .

May Allâh  safeguard you and me from all kinds of Shirk, major and minor. May He take our lives upon (eiman) faith and (tauhid) Islamic monotheism. May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon Muhammad, his family and companions.


Invoke prayers and blessings upon al-Bashir, an-Nadhir (harbinger of glad tidings and a warner) and As-Siraj Al-Munir (the glittering lamp) as Allâh  has commanded you to pray and invoke blessings upon him, when He said:

( إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا )

Allâh  sends His Salah (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh  to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salah on (ask Allâh  to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].