In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Origin of Shirk [to Associate Partners With Allaah In Worship or Direct Acts of Worship to Other Than Allaah, or Devote Acts of Worship to Allaah and Others]
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِۚ وَمَا ٱخۡتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡهُمُ ٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتُ بَغۡيَۢا بَيۡنَهُمۡۖ فَهَدَى ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّ بِإِذۡنِهِۦۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَهۡدِى مَن يَشَآءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ
Mankind were one community and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. And only those to whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it after clear proofs had come unto them through hatred, one to another. Then Allah by His Leave guided those who believed to the truth of that wherein they differed. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 213]
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
[وَمَا كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ إِلَّآ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَٱخۡتَلَفُواْۚ وَلَوۡلَا ڪَلِمَةٌ۬ سَبَقَتۡ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَقُضِىَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ فِيمَا فِيهِ يَخۡتَلِفُونَ – Mankind were but one community (i.e. on one religion – Islamic Monotheism), then they differed (later), and had not it been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord, it would have been settled between them regarding what they differed]. [Surah Yunus. Aayah 19]
Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said, ”There were ten generations between Nooh and Aadam – all of them used to be upon the true path [i.e. upon Islaam – worshipping Allaah alone], then they differed and started worshipping idols, false deities and images, so Allaah sent Messengers with clear proofs and evidences. [Ref 1]
Shirk [i.e. to associate partners with Allaah in worship or direct acts of worship to other than Allaah, or devote acts of worship Allaah and others] first started amongst the people of Prophet Nuh [peace be upon him] when they exaggerated (the status) of the righteous people and turned away from the call of their Prophet out of pride. [Allaah said that Nuh said that his people said]:
[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 Suwa’, nor Yaghuth, nor Ya’uq, nor Nasr]. [Ref 2]
Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said that these were the names of pious people amongst the people of Nuh, and when they died, shaytaan inspired their people to (prepare) and place idols at the places where they used to sit, and to call those idols by their names. They did so, but did not worship them until those people (who initiated them) had died and the origin of the idols had become obscure, whereupon people began worshipping them. [Ref 3]
Shirk – [The Greatest Wrong and Cause of Destruction In This Life and The Next]
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَۖ فَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ هَدَى ٱللَّهُ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةُۚ فَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُكَذِّبِينَ
And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 36]
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] said: Shirk is the greatest sin that can be committed in disobedience to Allaah. The Prophets brought the greatest knowledge and that is the knowledge of Tawheed, and they warned against the greatest wrong doing and that is to ascribed partners to Allaah. Allaah said: [ إِنَّ ٱلشِّرۡكَ لَظُلۡمٌ عَظِيمٌ۬ – Verily! Associating partners to (Allaah in worship) is a great wrong indeed] [Surah Luqmaan’ Aayah 13] [Ref 4]
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said: What is Dhulm [wrongdoing, injustice or oppression?] Dhulm is of three types according to the people of knowledge (i.e. the scholars):
First: The greatest of them is shirk, and why is shirk referred as Dhulm? That is because the basis of injustice is to place something in other than its rightful place. The meaning of shirk is to devote acts of worship to other than its rightful place and this is the greatest injustice, because when they devoted acts of worship to other than its rightful place and to those who are not deserving of it, they equated the created (beings) to the Creator and a weak one (i.e. a created being) to Al-Qawiy [The One Perfect in Strength (i.e. Allaah)], who is not unable to do anything. Therefore, is there any greater injustice after this?
The second type of Dhulm is committed when a person oppresses himself by committing sins. A sinner oppresses himself because he exposes himself to punishment, even though it is obligated on his to save himself and place himself in an appropriate situation and that is to obey Allaah etc
The third type of Dhulm is committed when a person oppresses others by taking their wealth (unlawfully), backbiting them, spreading tales about them, stealing their wealth or violating their honour through backbiting, tale carrying, slander or shedding their blood by way of unlawful murder, beating them, inflicting injuries, degrading them without right etc [Ref 5]
Allaah [The Most High] said:
حُنَفَآءَ لِلَّهِ غَيۡرَ مُشۡرِكِينَ بِهِۦۚ وَمَن يُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ فَكَأَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَتَخۡطَفُهُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ أَوۡ تَهۡوِى بِهِ ٱلرِّيحُ فِى مَكَانٍ۬ سَحِيقٍ۬
Hunafaa’ Lillaah [i.e. worship none but Allaah], not associating partners [in worship, etc.] with Him; and whoever associates partners to Allaah, 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]. [Surah Al-Hajj. Aayah 31]
[حُنَفَآءَ لِلَّهِ ]- Meaning: turn to Allaah (in complete submission), worship Allaah alone and turn away from other than that. [غَيۡرَ مُشۡرِكِينَ بِهِۦۚ – not associating partners (in worship, etc.) with Him]; [وَمَن يُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ – and whoever associates partners to Allaah], then [فَكَأَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَتَخۡطَفُهُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ أَوۡ تَهۡوِى بِهِ ٱلرِّيحُ فِى مَكَانٍ۬ سَحِيقٍ۬ – 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].
This is the situation of the one who associates partners with Allaah in worship, because Eemaan is like the sky- protected and raised high, so whoever abandons Eemaan is like one who has fallen from the sky and is exposed to evil consequences and disasters and snatched by birds that rip his limbs. So, when the one who associates partners with Allaah in worship abandons the protection of Eemaan, the devils snatch him from every direction and rip him apart, ruining both his religion and worldly life [i.e. because this worldly life is a place to perform righteous deeds for entry into paradise, but Shirk nullifies all those good deeds]. [Ref 6]
Allaah made it known in this verse that indeed the one who associates partners with Allaah and dies without repenting, then indeed he has fallen into destruction – neither does he have a way out of it nor can he be saved. He resembles someone who falls from the sky, lands on the earth and all his body is rip apart; then the birds snatch them away and the wind throws them to a far-off place due to the intense (manner in which the) wind blew his ripped body parts. So, whoever is described as one in such a situation, then indeed neither can he hope for a way out nor can he desire safety; rather he is definitely destroyed, because what normally happens is that the one who falls from the sky and lands on the earth does not reach the earth except that his body parts are ripped apart. The birds snatch his body parts and disperse with them, or the wind throws him to a far-away place, then this is an inevitable destruction and there is no way of avoiding it.
And that which is established in this noble verse – regarding the fact that the one who ascribes partners with Allaah is destroyed – has also been mentioned clearly in another place in the Qur’aan, such as the statement of Allaah: [إِنَّهُ ۥ مَن يُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدۡ حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَمَأۡوَٮٰهُ ٱلنَّارُۖ – Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode]. [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 72]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِ – Verily, Allah does not forgive (a person the sin of associating partners with Him in worship), but He forgives lesser than that to whomsover He wills]. [Surah An-Nisaa Aayah 48]
And indeed there are other verses (showing) that this inescapable destruction applies to the one who dies upon shirk and did not repent. As for the one who repents before death, then indeed Allaah forgives Him because submission to Allaah by worshipping Him alone wipes away that which was before it [i.e. shirk]. There are a number of verses that indicate to this, such as the statement of Allaah: [قُل لِّلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُوٓاْ إِن يَنتَهُواْ يُغۡفَرۡ لَهُم مَّا قَدۡ سَلَفَ – Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief) their past will be forgiven]. [Surah Al-Anfaal. Aayah 38]
Allaah said: [وَإِنِّى لَغَفَّارٌ۬ لِّمَن تَابَ وَءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا – And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds]. [Surah Taahaa. Aayah 82]
However, if one’s repentance is at the time of death [i.e. when the soul reaches the throat], it will not benefit him. [Ref 7]
Blindly Following Ancestors:
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
Indeed, polytheistic [acts and beliefs] has become rife in this Ummah due to the people being distanced from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah; due to blindly following their forefathers without guidance; exaggerating the status of the dead people [i.e. either pious people or those whom they consider to be pious] and building [shrines and tombs over their] graves; and due to being ignorant of the [true] Islaam which Allaah commanded His Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] to convey, just as Umar Ibnul Khattaab [radiyallaahu anhu] said: “Verily, the [firm] foundations of Islam will be destroyed one after the other when arises in Islam a people who do not know what Jahiliyyah is [i.e. the acts and beliefs that were prevalent during the pre-Islamic era] [ref 8] [NB: Refer to ref 8 at the end of this article regarding the term Al-Jaahiliyyah by the Shaikh Fawzaan]
[And likewise, polytheistic practices and beliefs have become rife in the Ummah] due to the spread of Shubhah [i.e. doubts that are made to resemble the truth but are falsehood in reality] and stories that have misguided the majority of the people. And among these [Shubhah- doubts made to resemble the truth but are falsehood in reality] is what the people of Shirk of the past and those within this Ummah at present utilise as proof – that they follow the path of their fathers and ancestors, and that they inherited this creed [i.e. polytheistic beliefs and practices] from them, just as Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَكَذَٲلِكَ مَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ فِى قَرۡيَةٍ۬ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ إِلَّا قَالَ مُتۡرَفُوهَآ إِنَّا وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا عَلَىٰٓ أُمَّةٍ۬ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم مُّقۡتَدُونَ
And similarly, We sent not a warner before you (O Muhammad) to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: “We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps]”. [Az-Zukhruf Ayah 23]
Everyone who is unable to establish proofs for his claim returns to this proof, even though it is a useless proof that has no weight in the arena of [sound] discussion; for indeed those ancestors they blindly follow were not upon [upright] guidance. Therefore, whoever [is upon such a state of affairs], it is not permissible to follow him and take him as an example. Allaah [The Most High] said:
[أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَہۡتَدُونَ – Even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever and no guidance]. [Surah Al-Maa’idah’ Aayah 104]
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَهۡتَدُونَ
Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided? [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 170]
Therefore, following ancestors is only praiseworthy if they were upon the truth. Allaah [The Most High] said that Yusuf [alayhis salaam] said:
وَٱتَّبَعۡتُ مِلَّةَ ءَابَآءِىٓ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ وَإِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَۚ مَا كَانَ لَنَآ أَن نُّشۡرِكَ بِٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ۚ ذَٲلِكَ مِن فَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡنَا وَعَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَشۡكُرُونَ
“And I have followed the religion of my fathers , – Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaque (Isaac) and Ya’qub (Jacob), and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to Allah. This is from the Grace of Allah to us and to mankind, but most men thank not (i.e. they neither believe in Allah, nor worship Him). [Surah Yusuf’ Aayah 38]
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّبَعَتۡہُمۡ ذُرِّيَّتُہُم بِإِيمَـٰنٍ أَلۡحَقۡنَا بِہِمۡ
And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring [i.e. in paradise]. [Surah At-Tur’ Aayah 21]
This doubt was embedded in the souls of the polytheists and they utilised it to oppose the call of the Prophets [alayhimus salaam]. Allaah [The Most High] informed us about Nuh and His people:
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوحًا إِلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ فَقَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُ ۥۤۖ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ
فَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلَؤُاْ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن قَوۡمِهِۦ مَا هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ۬ مِّثۡلُكُمۡ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتَفَضَّلَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَنزَلَ مَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةً۬ مَّا سَمِعۡنَا بِہَـٰذَا فِىٓ ءَابَآٮِٕنَا ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
And indeed We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people, and he said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him (Islamic Monotheism). Will you not then be afraid (of Him i.e. of His Punishment because of worshipping others besides Him)?” But the chiefs of those who disbelieved among his people said: “He is no more than a human being like you, he seeks to make himself superior to you. Had Allah willed, He surely could have sent down angels; never did we hear such a thing among our fathers of old. [Surah Al-Muminoon’ Aayaat 23-24]
So, they used as proof that which their ancestors were upon to oppose that which their Prophet Nuh brought. Allaah informed us that the people of Saaleh said to him: [أَتَنۡهَٮٰنَآ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَا – Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped?] [Surah Hud’ Aayah 62]
And Allaah said that the people of Shu’aib said to him [i.e. Shu’aib]:
[أَصَلَوٰتُكَ تَأۡمُرُكَ أَن نَّتۡرُكَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَآ – Does your Salat (prayer) (i.e. the prayers which you offer has spoiled your mind, so you) command that we leave off what our fathers used to worship]. [Surah Hud’ Aayah 87]
And Allaah informed us about Ibraaheem [alayhis-salaam] and his people when he silenced them with clear proofs:
مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ قَالُواْ نَعۡبُدُ أَصۡنَامً۬ا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَـٰكِفِينَ
قَالَ هَلۡ يَسۡمَعُونَكُمۡ إِذۡ تَدۡعُونَ –
أَوۡ يَنفَعُونَكُمۡ أَوۡ يَضُرُّونَ
قَالُواْ بَلۡ وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا كَذَٲلِكَ يَفۡعَلُونَ
“What do you worship? They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted. He said: “Do they hear you, when you call (on them)? “Or do they benefit you or do they harm (you)?” They said: “Nay, but we found our fathers doing so. [Surah Ash-Shu’araa’ Aayaat 70-74]
This is the nature of disbelief! Its people do not have any proof by way of which to repel the truth except these flimsy proofs. [Ref 9]
Shirk Will Occur In Amongst The Muslims
Among their Shubhah [i.e. doubts portrayed as truth but are falsehood in reality] is the claim that Shirk will not occur in the Ummah of Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] whilst they still testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] is the Messenger of Allaah, and that what takes place between them [i.e. grave worshippers] and the Awliyaa [i.e. worshipping the graves of the awliyaa] is not tantamount to Shirk.
Response to this Shubhah: Indeed, the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] informed us that certainly the doubts of the Jews and Christians will appear in this Ummah, such as the fact that they [i.e. Jews and Christians] took their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allaah.
Refer to explanation of this affair on this link: http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/sp.cfm/sad/%E2%80%A6/images/frm/downloads/pdf/frm/nbq/nbq/sad/downloads/pdf/sp.cfm?subsecID=MNJ05&articleID=MNJ050004&articlePages=1
The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘’You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you- hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered a lizard’s hole, you will also enter it.’’ We [i.e. the Sahaabah] said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! Is it the Jews and Christians?’ He said, ‘Who else?’” [Al-Bukhaari’ Number 1397]
Therefore, the Prophet informed us that some of the people in his Ummah will do what the previous nations did [i.e. misguidance] in religion, customs and the ways in which they govern their affairs. Indeed, shirk occurred in the nations of the past and likewise it has occurred in this Ummah. Indeed, what the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] told us has occurred, for here [i.e. various places in the Muslim lands] are the graves being worshipped besides Allaah with various types of worship. And the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] informed us that the end of time will not come until a part of his Ummah attach themselves to those who associate partners with Allaah in wworship and until groups from his Ummah worship idols. [Abu Dawud 4252] [Ref 10]
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] said:
The Muslims must be acquainted with the knowledge of Tawheed [pure Islamic monotheism] and Shirk. Shirk [i.e. to associate partners with Allaah in worship] is the gravest sin that can be committed in disobedience to Allaah. The Prophets brought the greatest [aspect] of knowledge, which is the knowledge of Tawheed, and they warned against the greatest wrong doing, which is to associate partners to Allaah. [Allaah said]: [ إِنَّ ٱلشِّرۡكَ لَظُلۡمٌ عَظِيمٌ۬ – Verily! Associating partners to (Allaah in worship) is a great wrong indeed] [Surah Luqmaan’ Aayah 13]
This is an affair which many of the callers to Islaam have turn away from at present and do not give it importance. The knowledge of Tawheed is the first thing they snub and flee from; [and likewise] Shirk is the first thing they decline [to address] when seeking to guide the Ummah. Neither do they warn the people nor caution them against this greatest danger known to mankind [i.e. Shirk]. Tawheed is the greatest [knowledge] brought by Prophets as glad tidings, but they [i.e. many of the callers] do not convey it; rather the greatest affair to them is modern politics.
The knowledge of Tawheed is the affair by way of which this Ummah is distinguished [in all virtuous traits] – sincerity in worshipping Allaah alone, purifying all the Islamic [arenas, sources of knowledge, practices, views, thoughts, places, aims, goals etc] from the filth and impurity of Shirk. Neither is there anything more impure [i.e. corrupts the heart, deeds, manners, thoughts, ideas, intentions, goals, aims etc] nor filthier than shirk, so why do we not purity the Ummah from this impurity and filth? Why do those [many] callers to Islaam deliberately feign ignorance of this impurity, in which the people wander blindly and belittle its severity, even though there is nothing equal to its [filthiness and impurity]?
It is obligated on the Muslims to free themselves from the filth of shirk and sincerely worship Allaah alone, so that they become the cleanest people and purest [i.e. in creed, deeds, thoughts, views, intentions, goals, aims etc]. And through this, they will be distinguished [in every virtuous trait].
If the mosques of the Muslims in the Islamic world are filled with graves- even though the Messenger severely cursed those who turn graves into places of worship- and those [many] callers to Islaam have not taken any steps to confront this filthy practice, then there can be no betrayal and deception -against the ummah- greater than this. [Allaah said]:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ وَٱلۡهُدَىٰ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا بَيَّنَّـٰهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِۙ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَلۡعَنُہُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَلۡعَنُہُمُ ٱللَّـٰعِنُونَ
Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers. [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 159]
The greatest clear proofs are Tawheed [pure Islamic monotheism] and the guidance that will remove the people from Shirk. Therefore, O callers to Islaam! Fear Allaah. Safeguard the Muslims from this greatest danger and raise them to the highest station in this worldly life – the station of Tawheed; for [indeed] there is no station loftier than the station of Tawheed. Tawheed is the greatest station in the entire universe and shirk is the lowest. [Ref 11]
The Tremendous Effects of Tawheed at The Time of Departure From This World
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:
The Shahaadah [i.e. to testify that ‘None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah] at the time of death wipes away one’s evil deeds. This is because the one who utters it at the time of departure from this world does so with certainty and knowledge of its true meaning. All his desires [i.e. desire for the worldly life] come to an end and his rebellious soul [becomes] mild and submissive after being in [a state of] refusal and disobedience- a [state of] approval after turning away and a state of humility after being held in high esteem. The [heart’s and the soul’s] eagerness for the worldly life and its merits departs and distances [from everything] whilst in the presence of its Lord, Originator and true Protector; humble in the presence of its Lord, hopeful of pardon, forgiveness and mercy.
Belief in the Oneness of Allaah-[i.e. the belief in the Oneness of Allaah’s Lordship (that Allaah alone is the creator, provider and the one in control of all the affairs of the universe); and that Allaah alone has perfect Names and Attributes and that none is similar to Allaah; and that Allaah alone has the right to be worshipped]-frees and distances the soul from that which leads to Shirk [polytheism] and manifests the reality of its falsity. Therefore, those wishes which the soul busied itself with [in the worldly life] ceases [at the time of departure from this world] and all its concern is [directed towards] the One it is certain to meet [i.e. Allaah].
The person [who is blessed with the ability to utter this testimony of faith] focuses his attention completely on Allaah- turns to Allaah with his soul and desire and submits to Allaah alone, inwardly and outwardly. The person’s hidden affair [i.e. the heart and soul] and outward affair [i.e. what he proclaims] testify to the same thing, so he sincerely says: “None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.” His heart is freed from attachment to other than Allaah -all the worldly [desires] leaves the heart because he is about to stand in Allaah’s presence. The intensity of his desire [for the worldly life] is extinguished and the heart is filled with the [desire for] the afterlife, and thus it becomes the attention of his eyes and the worldly life is forgotten. [When] this sincere testimony is his last deed, it purifies him from sins and thus Allaah enters [him into a noble position]. That is because he meets Allaah with a truthful and pure testimony, whose outward manifestation is in agreement with [what is hidden in the heart and soul].
If a person made this [type] of testimony during the time of well-being [i.e. whilst residing in the worldly life], he would not have placed great importance on worldly desires, rather he would have attached himself to Allaah alone; but [the fact of the matter is that] he made this testimony [in the worldly life] with a heart filled with desires, love of life and its means of subsistence. [Ref 12]
[Ref 1: Misbaah Al-Muneer Fee Ta’dheeb Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
[Ref 2: Surah Nuh Ayah 23]
[Ref 3: Bukhaari 6/4920]
[Ref 4: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 104-106. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 5: I’aanah Al-Mustafeed Bi-Sharhi Kitaab At-Tawheed’ page 55-56 by Shaykh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him)]
[Ref 6. An Excerpt from ‘Tafsir As-Sadi’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: An Excerpt from ‘Adwaa Al-Bayaan. Tafseer Surah Al-Hajj. Aayah 31. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 8: What is Al-Jaahiliyyah? What is Al-Jaahiliyyah? Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said: Al-Jaahiliyyah: It is derived from al-Jahl (ignorance). It is an absence of knowledge, and the intent behind it is the state of affairs before Islaam. The state of affairs before the advent of Muhammad (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) is (referred to as) Al-Jaahiliyyah because they were in ignorance and misguidance in the affairs of worship, dealings, food, drink, marriage and other than that. They were in ignorance and misguidance due to the long period between Eesaa and Muhammad (i.e. the absence of a messenger).
This was a period of over four hundred years during which the divine message stopped. The divine message was obscured, and ignorance and misguidance became widespread. The people worshiped idols, trees, stones, false deities, the Jinn and humans. They worshiped the Angels, the Awliyaa and the righteous people, and they were upon divergent paths with regards to acts of worship.
And with regards to the affair of halaal and haraam, they did not distinguish between good and filth; rather they used to deal with Ribaa. The Ribaa Al-Jaahiliyyah (The Pre-Islamic Usury) was: When they used to settle a debt with a debtor, they would say: “Either you settle the debt, or we increase the debt and double the time it (should be paid)”. This was the Pre-Islamic Usury and it used to be predominant in their dealings. They used to gather wealth through forbidden means–through pillage, plunder, robbery and devouring people’s wealth through falsehood.
And with regards to food, they made dead animals and blood lawful; they used to eat dead animals, blood and repugnant things. And with regards to their relationship between one another, they used to kill and fight one another over the most trivial thing. They neither had a leader nor a state–they were either under the authority of tribal systems or under the authority of the Persians and the Romans. The powerful used to encroach upon (the rights of the weak), and the oppressor used to transgress the limits, and no one stopped him.
This was Al-Jaahiliyyah (The Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance). They were upon ignorance in all aspects (of life) and the greatest of that (ignorance) was with regards to worship and creed. They used to be upon the creed of Shirk, rejected the (Resurrection) and the Divine Message (of the Messengers). (Allaah said that) they used to say: [مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ بَشَرٍ مِنْ شَيْءٍ – Nothing did Allaah send down to any human being (by revelation) 6:91]
This was their state in Al-Jaahiliyyah (The Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance); then, Allaah (Glorified Be He) sent Muhammad (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) with the Guidance and the Religion of Truth. Allaah stated:[هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ – It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with Al Hudaa (the Guidance) and Deenul Haqq (the religion of truth -Islaam) 9:33]
‘Hudaa’ is beneficial knowledge and ‘Deenul Haqq’ is righteous action. Allaah (Glorified Be He) sent His prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) with beneficial knowledge and righteous action, so because of the advent of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) Al-Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) ceased to exist for ever walil-laahil Hamd, and knowledge and guidance arrived.
The ‘Jaahiliyyah Aamma’ (The Pre-Islamic ignorance that was widespread in the world and touched every aspect of life) has ceased to exist; but it remains with some people or with some of the tribes, or in some of the lands. This is Jaahiliyyah Juz-i (a portion of Pre-Islamic Ignorance), (but) as for the ‘Jahiliyyah Aamma’, this has ceased to exist after the advent of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam), but some characteristics of Pre-Islamic ignorance remain with some of the people due to the saying of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam): “Among my people there are four characteristics belonging to pre-Islamic period which they do not abandon: boasting of high rank, reviling other peoples’ genealogies, seeking rain by stars, and wailing (i.e. for the dead)’’ (reported by Muslim).” This remains, but it is a portion, (but) as for the Jaahiliyyah Aamma, it has ceased to exist.
So due to this, it is not permissible to say that the people are in Jaahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic ignorance). Some (people) say: “(the people) are in a state of Pre-Islamic ignorance that is more severe than the one before the sending of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam)”…. The meaning of this (statement of theirs) is a denial of what the Messenger (sallal-laahu-layhi-wasallam) came with; it is a denial of the Qur’aan, the Sunnah of the Prophet and the abundant knowledge within our hands. Its meaning is that we are in Al-Jaahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic ignorance). This is a mistake, the people are not in Al-Jaahiliyyah, walil-laahil Hamd, but there remains some of the characteristics of Al-Jaahiliyyah in some individuals, in some nation states and in some tribes; but this is a specific Jaahiliyyah. Therefore, it is incumbent to be acquainted with this affair. https://atomic-temporary-194201713.wpcomstaging.com/2013/09/updated-the-people-used-to-ask-about-the-good-hudhaifah-radiyallaahu-anhu/
[Ref 9: Muhaadaraat Fil Aqeedah Wad-Da’wah’ page 18-20. abridged and slightly paraphrased
[Ref 10: An Excerpt from Muhaadaraat Fil Aqeedah Wad-Da’wah’ pages 23-24. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 11: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 104-106. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 12: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa-id. Page: 91-92. slightly paraphrased]