The Polytheist And His Protectors, And The Spider's House!


In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

مَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡلِيَآءَ كَمَثَلِ ٱلۡعَنڪَبُوتِ ٱتَّخَذَتۡ بَيۡتً۬ا‌ۖ وَإِنَّ أَوۡهَنَ ٱلۡبُيُوتِ لَبَيۡتُ ٱلۡعَنڪَبُوتِ‌ۖ لَوۡ ڪَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ

The likeness of those who take Auliya’ (protectors and helpers) other than Allaah is as the likeness of a spider, who builds (for itself) a house, but verily, the frailest (weakest) of houses is the spider’s house, if they but knew. [Surah Al-Ankabut. Aayah 41]

Allaah mentioned that they are weak and that those whom they take as protectors and helpers are weaker than them. So with regards to their weakness and their goal behind taking others as protectors and helpers besides Allaah, they are similar to a spider that builds a house and it is the frailest and weakest of houses. Based on this parable, the polytheists become much weaker when they take others as protectors and helpers besides Allaah, and they do not benefit from those they take as protectors and helpers besides Allaah, just as Allaah stated [in another Aayah]:

وَٱتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ ءَالِهَةً۬ لِّيَكُونُواْ لَهُمۡ عِزًّ۬ا

كَلَّا‌ۚ سَيَكۡفُرُونَ بِعِبَادَتِہِمۡ وَيَكُونُونَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ضِدًّا

And they have taken (for worship) Aaliha (gods) besides Allah, that they might give them honour, power and glory (and also protect them from Allah’s Punishment etc.). Nay, but they (the so-called gods) will deny their worship of them, and become opponents to them (on the Day of Resurrection). [Surah Maryam. Aayaat 81-82]

And Allaah [The Most High] said:

وَٱتَّخَذُواْ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ ءَالِهَةً۬ لَّعَلَّهُمۡ يُنصَرُونَ

لَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ نَصۡرَهُمۡ وَهُمۡ لَهُمۡ جُندٌ۬ مُّحۡضَرُونَ

And they have taken besides Allaah Aaliha (gods), hoping that they might be helped (by those so-called gods). They cannot help them, but they will be brought forward as a troop against those who worshipped them (at the time of Reckoning). [Surah Yaa Seen. Aayaat 74-75]

And after mentioning the destruction of the nations of the polytheists, Allaah said:

وَمَا ظَلَمۡنَـٰهُمۡ وَلَـٰكِن ظَلَمُوٓاْ أَنفُسَہُمۡ‌ۖ فَمَآ أَغۡنَتۡ عَنۡہُمۡ ءَالِهَتُہُمُ ٱلَّتِى يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ لَّمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُ رَبِّكَ‌ۖ وَمَا زَادُوهُمۡ غَيۡرَ تَتۡبِيبٍ۬

We wronged them not, but they wronged themselves. So their Aaliha (gods), other than Allah, whom they invoked, profited them naught when there came the Command of your Lord, nor did they add aught (to their lot) but destruction. [Surah Hud. Aayah 101]

These four places in the Qur’aan show that the one who takes protectors and helpers besides Allaah- through whom he seeks to strengthen himself, behave arrogantly and prevail- will not achieve except the opposite, and there is a lot more about this affair in the Qur’aan.  This is one of the finest parables and the clearest proofs regarding the falsehood of Shirk and the deprivation of the one who commits Shirk, and that he will achieve the opposite of what he seeks. [Ref 1]

Allaah gave this similitude regarding those who worship others alongside Him, seeking honour, strength and benefit by way of it; but Allaah says that the affair is the opposite of the goal they seek, because their likeness is that of a spider that builds a house to protect itself from the heat, cold and harm; but the frailest and weakest of houses is the spider’s house.

The spider is one of those weak animals and its house is one of the weakest of houses, and building its house does not increase it in anything except weakness. Likewise, this is the case regarding those who take protectors and helpers besides Allaah; they are in need and incapable in every way when they take protectors and helpers besides Allaah to seek honour and help by way of them; so they increase weakness on their weakness, and feebleness on their feebleness, because indeed they rely on them in many of their affairs related to their well-being and entrust it to them, refrain from achieving it themselves and [hoping] that these [so-called] protectors and helpers will fulfil it; but they forsake them- neither receive anything [useful, beneficial etc]  nor the least [gain, benefit etc] from their help. Had they been acquainted with the reality of knowledge- their situation and that of those whom they take as protectors and helpers besides Allaah, they would not have done so; rather they would have freed themselves from them and take Allaah as Protector and Helper- The Lord Who is able to do all things, The One Who Bestows His Special Mercy to the Believers; Who – when  a servant takes Him as a Protector and an Ally, He suffices him, looks after both his religious and worldly affairs, increase him in strength upon strength in his heart [i.e. Eemaan], his body [i.e. grant him ability to seek after what is beneficial etc], in all his circumstances and deeds. [Ref 2]


[Ref 1: An Exceprt from ‘Badaa’i At-tafseer Al-Jaami Lima Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim. Vol 2. Page299-300. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]

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