Shirk and its Kinds
1. The first kind of Shirk the Shaikh mentioned is the Greater Shirk, which means either to worship other than Allah, or to make partners with Allah in something that is specifically His. For example, to take someone as His partner in worship, obedience, love, fear, supplication, and seeking help.
When one associates partners with Allah - regardless of who that partner is, such as a man, animal, plant, or inanimate object - one has perpetrated the Greater Shirk, examples of which are as follows:
To supplicate to that partner as one supplicates to Allah. To love that partner as one loves Allah.
To hope from that partner as one hopes from Allah.
To submit oneself in obedience to that partner as one submits in obedience to Allah.
To fear that partner as one fears Allah.
To seek someone's judgement instead of the judgement of Allah's Shari'ah.
Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship. (Surah An-Nisa’ 4: 36)
Of course, the Greater Shirk is the worst and most severe kind of Shirk; indeed, it is the greatest sin with Allah, for Allah does not accept any deed from its perpetrator, regardless of how pious he maybe otherwise. If one dies, associating partners with Allah, Allah will not forgive him, for He says: Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (Surah An-Nisa’ 4: 48)
Whoever dies upon this form of Shirk is from the dwellers of the Hellfire, for the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: Whoever dies and he is calling upon other than Allah as a rival then he enters the Hellfire. (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Mas'ud)
In another Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, Whoever meets Allah without associating any partner with Him enters Paradise. Whoever meets Him, associating any partner with Him enters the Hellfire. (Recorded by Muslim, from Jabir.)
The Muslim, therefore, worships and invokes only Allah, and submits only to Him, for Allah Almighty says: Say: "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of all that exists. He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” (Surah Al-An’am 6: 162-163)
2. The second kind is the Lesser Shirk. It consists of various categories:
1) A little Riya'' (doing good deeds for show-off); for example, when one prays, fasts, or gives charity, he is seeking other than Allah's Face; hence, he is mixing good deeds with bad ones. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: What I fear most for you is the Lesser Shirk.
When asked about it, he (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said,
Riya'. (Recorded by Ahmad from Shaddad bin Aws.)
When one performs any good deed or act of worship to impress or please people, then he has committed Riya', which is forbidden. In another Hadith related by Shaddad bin Aws (Radhi Allahu Anhu) the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: Whoever prays, showing off to others, he has indeed committed Shirk. Whoever fasts, showing off to others, he has indeed committed Shirk. Whoever gives charity, showing off to others, he has indeed committed Shirk.
2) Another form of the Lesser Shirk is to swear by anyone other than Allah, for instance, to swear by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam), by the Ka'bah, or by one's parents. In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that Ibn ‘Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhuma) narrated from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) Indeed, Allah has forbidden you from swearing by your fathers; whoever makes an oath, let him swear by Allah or remain silent.
3) Another form of the Lesser Shirk is for one to say the following expressions:
"What Allah wills and what you will."
"This is from Allah and from you."
"I am what I am because of Allah and because of you."
"I have no one except Allah and you."
"I place my trust upon Allah and upon you."
"Were it not for Allah and you, such and such would (or wouldn't) have happened."
Based on one's intention when saying these phrases, such statements may even become a form of the Greater Shirk. Protecting the Belief in Tawhid
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) strove hard to keep the belief in Tawhid clean and pure in the hearts of Muslims, making every effort to allow no doubt or Shirk to enter those hearts. He (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) taught his Companions to turn with their hearts to Allah only, to seek help in Him alone, and to put their trust in Him alone. As soon as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) saw anything that might weaken the relationship between the Muslims and their Lord, that might damage the belief of Tawhid in their hearts, he (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) raced to warn the Muslims of the effect of that matter on their faith. Some examples of such matters are as follows: 1) Magic.
Incantations, spells, or charms that are used to have an effect on hearts and bodies, intended to make them sick, to make people kill one another, to divide between a man and his wife, and so on. Magic is a matter that depends on secrecy and concealment. Magicians use the above-mentioned techniques to inflict harm on people, and in the plainest of terms, Islam forbade magic when the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: "Stay away from the seven grave (and deadly) sins."
The Companions asked, "And what are they, 0 Messenger of Allah?" He (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:
"Associating partners with Allah, magic, killing a soul that Allah has forbidden unless it is by a right, consuming usury, consuming the wealth of an orphan, fleeing on the day of battle, and accusing chaste, innocent women."
Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
In Islam, the magician's punishment is execution - by being struck on his neck with a sword. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:
The punishment of the magician is striking him with the sword.
The one who is deceived by magicians, believing in them, going to them, and seeking a cure from an ailment or help in any matter that involves the unseen, has indeed disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam)
The proof for that: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: These are not from us: one who interprets an omen or has one interpreted for him, one who predicts the future or has someone predict it for him, and one who performs magic or it has been performed for him .
It was mentioned by Shaikh Muhammad bin 'Abdul-Wahhab in Kitab At-Tawhid and he attributed it to Al-Bazzar with a good chain.
And Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) related that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: Whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes in what he says, has indeed disbelieved in what has been revealed to Muhammad.
It was recorded by Abu Dawud, and the remainder of the four Sunan Compilers.2) Ruqya (Incantations)
These are known as incantations and spells that one recites. From this category, Islam forbade that which involves Shirk, such as invoking anyone other than Allah, seeking help from anyone other than Allah, or seeking protection from anyone other than Allah. Examples of such spells are those that use the names of angels, of devils, of Jinn, and so on.
However, if, for the same purpose, one recites verses of the Qur'an, says Allah's Names or Attributes, or supplicates to Allah alone, then that is permissible because it doesn't involve Shirk.
Awf bin Malik said that they used to recite incantations during the days of ignorance and so he asked, "0 Messenger of Allah, how do you view that? The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) answered: "Present your Ruqya to me; there is no harm in using Ruqya as long as there is no Shirk involved." (Muslim and Abu Dawud) The Ruqya Of The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam)
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would use Ruqya; one form that is related to us from him is the following: O Allah, Lord of mankind, take away the severe sickness and cure. You are the Curer; there is no cure except Your cure, a cure that leaves behind no sickness. (Recorded by Muslim) 3) At-Tama'im
The plural of Tamimah (a talisman). This is something that one hangs on the neck of children; it consists of beads or other materials. They claimed that it would protect them from evil and jealousy.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) forbade the use of such things, because no one drives away evil and envy except Allah. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: Whoever wears a Tamimah, then may Allah not complete for him his affair, and whoever wears a shell (a good-luck charm) may Allah not protect him.
According to the correct view, it is not only forbidden to hang a Tamimah around one's neck, but it is also forbidden to hang a small copy of the Qur'an around one's neck. First because of the general prohibition, and second because we must block the door to further evils. This opinion is held by Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn 'Abbas, some of the Tabi'in, and the noble Shaikh, 'Abdul-'Aziz bin Baz.
To hang other things around one's neck, seeking some sort of benefit is an act of Shirk. It has been reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:
Whoever wears a Tamimah has indeed committed Shirk. 4) At-Tiwalah:
It is an item that a woman makes, thinking that it has power to make her more beloved to her husband. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) forbade this practice because it is one in which one seeks benefit or seeks to ward off harm from other than Allah. This is why it has been related in a Hadith: Indeed, Ar-Ruqya, At-Tama'im, and At-Tiwalah are Shirk. (Recorded by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah from Ibn 'Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhu) Whoever Depends On Something Then He is Entrusted to It
Whoever believes that some of the forbidden matters mentioned above have a special effect on things, such as the ability to cure the sick, to fulfill needs, to ward off evil, to bring back the lost, or so on, then Allah forsakes that person, leaving him to what he believes. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:
Whoever hangs something (a charm), he is entrusted to it.
This means whoever turns to other than Allah and attaches his heart to that thing, forsaking His Lord, then Allah entrusts him to it.
But whoever relies upon Allah from his heart, entrusts his affairs with Him, and relies upon Him, then Allah suffices him, protecting him from all evil, granting him ease in every difficult matter, and saving him from every trial. Allah Almighty says:
And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. (Surah At-Talaq 65:3) Exaggerating In Honoring People
Islam forbids us from exceeding the proper bounds when it comes to praising people or glorifying them. Muslims know that no matter how high the level of a person is, he is still a slave of Allah. Allah Almighty says:
[color=black] There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes to the Most Beneficent as a slave. (Surah Maryam 19: 93)
Islam forbade us from exceeding the proper bounds in this matter so that Tawhid may remain pure and clean, and so that deeds may be performed purely for Allah. Exaggerating the good qualities of people most definitely leads to associating partners with Allah.
In this regard, we have the example of the Christians, who continued to exaggerate the qualities of Iesa (Alayhi Salam) until they made him a god on one occasion, and the son of a god on another, and a part of a god on yet another occasion - all of which is disbelief itself. Allah Almighty says:
Surely, they have disbelieved who say: "Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam.”
(Surah Al-Ma’idah 5: 72)
Surely, disbelievers are those who said: "Allah is the third of the three.” (Surah Aal-‘Imran 3: 73)
They only deviated so far away from the correct path because they exceeded the proper bounds regarding 'Iesa (Alayhi Salam). Allah clarified that fact and explained the way of the truth to them, saying: O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say about Allah but the truth. (Surah An-Nisa’ 4: 171)
So the Muslims would be saved from what other nations have fallen into; the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: Do not praise me as the Christians praised the son of Maryam indeed, I am only a slave, so say, "the slave of Allah and His Messenger." (Recorded by Al-Bukhari in the Book of the Prophets) Exaggerating over the Righteous People is the Basis of Idol Worship.
It has been related that the names of the idols that were worshipped are the names of righteous people; they had followers who would glorify them, and when they died, those followers said, "Let us erect statues where they used to gather so that we may continue to remember them." When that generation died and when much time passed, future generations came, not knowing the purpose of the statues; the Shaitan seduced them into believing that their fathers and grandfathers used to worship the statues, and so they began to do the same.