The negation of Tawheed is Shirk (Associating partners with Allah). Allah will not forgive those that commit Shirk. People that commit Shirk are referred to as Mushrikin. There are various levels of Shirk, and a Muslim must be aware of this great sin, as it is the path to the Hell-Fire!
Tawheed cannot be completely understood unless it’s opposite; Shirk is also carefully studied and understood. Literally shirk means “partnership, sharing or association”. Islamically it means, “polytheism” or assigning partner to Allah in term of His Ruboobiyyah, His Uloohiyyah, His Asmaa was-Sifaat or in whatever form it may take. Because the sin of Shirk denies the very purpose of man’s creation, it is to God the gravest of sins; the unforgivable sin. Shirk is the gravest of all sins due to the following:
- It resembles the creation with the Creator in terms of the attributes of divinity, for he who ascribes a partner to Allah, in effect resembles himself with Him.
Allah has stated that He does not forgive the one who does not disavow Shirk. Allah says:
The Prophet (e) said:
“Shall I inform you about the gravest of al major sins? We said: Certainly O Messenger of Allah. He said ascribing partners to Allah and disobeying your parents.”
(Bukhari & Muslim)
Shirk is divided into three categories:
- Major (ash-Shirk ul-akbar):
As explained in the aforementioned ay’at and hadith, it is regarded as major Shirk.
- Minor (ash-Shirk-ul-asgar):
This type of shirk does not constitute apostasy, but defects the Tawheed, and is conducive or a vehicle to greater shirk. A person could fall into this shirk by either utterances or actions. Utterances such as swearing by other than Allah is this type of shirk. The Prophet (e) said: “He who swears by other than Allah, commits kufr, or shirk.”
- Hidden or Latent Shirk. (ash-Shirk-ul-khafi):
The hidden shirk pertains to intentions and wills – such as acting hypocritically and for fame- that is, to do a thing which is usually done as a means for seeking nearness to Allah, but does it only so that people commend him for it; such as performing prayer in a perfect manner, or giving charity to be praised, or raising the voice with remembrance of Allah.
Covered in more detail in Level II.
New Words and Expressions
Mushrikeen People committing shirk. (Mushrik).
Shirk Associating partners with Allah.
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