In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Shirk – [The Deadliest, Greatest and Costliest Error In Human History]
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 [radiyallaahu-anhumaa] 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 first started amongst the people of Nuh when they exaggerated [the status] of the righteous people and turned away from the call of their Prophet [Nuh] 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]
Al-Bukhaari [rahimahullaah] said: It has been narrated from Ibn Abbaas [radiyallaahu -anhumaa] 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]
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]
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [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]
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said: What is Dhulm -injustice or oppression? Dzulm [injustice or oppression] is of three types according to the people of knowledge (i.e. the scholars):
Firstly: The greatest of them is shirk, and why is shirk referred as Dzulm [injustice]? 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 Dzulm [injustice] 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 Dzulm [injustice] is committed when a person oppresses others by taking their wealth (unlawfully), or backbiting them, or spreading tales about them, or stealing their wealth, or violating their honour through backbiting, tale carrying, slander, or shedding their blood by way of unlawful murder, or 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 Mushrik, 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- snatched by birds that will rip his limbs. Likewise, when the Mushrik 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]. [Ref 6]
Allaah made it known in this Aayah that indeed the one who associates partners to Allaah and dies without repenting, then indeed he has fallen into destruction – neither has a way out of it nor can he be saved. He resembles someone who falls from the sky and lands on the earth and thus 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 Aayah – regarding the fact that the one who ascribes partners to 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 forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship]. [Surah An-Nisaa Aayah 48]
And indeed there are other Aayaat [showing] that this inescapable destruction is related 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 Islaam [i.e. submission to Allaah with Tawheed] wipes away that which was before it [i.e. shirk]. There are a number of Aayaat 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]
And those who invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds..[Surah Al-Furqaan. Aayaat 68-70]
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:
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
And 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: Az-Zukhruf Ayah 23] [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]”.
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 This Ummah
Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] says:
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 [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] 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 Yahood and Nasaaraa will occur in this Ummah, such as the fact that they [i.e. Yahood and Nasaaraa] 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 Yahood and Nasaaraa?’ He said, ‘Who else?’” [Al-Bukhaari’ Number 1397]
Therefore, the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] 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 the Mushrikoon and until groups from his Ummah worship idols. [Abu Dawud 4252] [Ref 10]
The Only Sound Criteria of Upright Leadership
Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [may Allaah preserve him] says:
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِّلَّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Verily, Ibraaheem was an Ummah [leader], Qaanitan [obedient], Haneefan [one who worshipped Allaah alone], and he was not one of the Mushrikeen [polytheists and those who associate partners with Allah in worship]. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 120]
Ibraaheem [alayhis salaam] is the Imaam of the Hunafaa [i.e. Leader of the people of Tawheed- those who single out Allaah in worship] and this is why Allaah said to him: [إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا – Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of humankind]. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 124].
It is a customary habit of the people that they do attach themselves to the great personalities, especially those whom they hold in high esteem. Therefore, if a person utilise as proof that the one he follows is an Imaam [An Upright Leader], then there is no Imaam [for humankind] greater than Prophet Ibraaheem [i.e. after Prophet Muhammad], and Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] stated about Prophet Ibraaheem: [وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ – And who turns away from the religion of Ibraaheem (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) except him who befools himself?] [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 130]
If a person addresses someone else with the statement, ‘My Shaikh’ in connection to a Soofee Tareeqah [i.e. a Soofee Path] or in connection to affairs of misguidance in the name of following someone he considers an Imaam [Upright Leader], then indeed Prophet Ibraaheem is the Imaam of the people who worship Allaah alone [i.e. the greatest Imaam of Tawheed and perfect example after Prophet Muhammad]. If a person utilises this as his proof [i.e. that the one he follows is an Imaam], then examine the Aqeedah [Islamic Creed] of this person whom he gives the status of Imaam and judge it based on the Qur’aan to establish whether he is from the people of Tawheed. If a person seeks to use the station of Imaam as proof, then indeed this should be the proof [i.e. examine the Aqeedah of the one given the status of Imaam and judge it based on the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah to establish whether he is a person upon Tawheed]. Also, Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said about the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam]:
لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا
Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Aayah 21] [Ref 11]
Those Whose Guidance Is The Only Guarantee to Safety In This Life And The Next – The Prophets and Messengers
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:
The Messengers are the most judicious amongst the creation without exception, and after them their followers are the most judicious group. The people of the scriptures and the great legislated laws are the most judicious amongst the followers of the Messengers and the Muslims are the most judicious amongst them [i.e. amongst all those who received divine scriptures and great legislated laws]. The Sahaabah are the most judicious amongst the Muslims and then those who followed them exactly in faith. Ahlus Sunnah Wal Hadeeth [i.e. the people who follow the authentic Sunnah, the authentic ahaadeeth and understanding of the Sahaabah in creed, methodology, manners, dealings etc] are the most judicious amongst the Muslim Ummah without exception after them [i.e. after the Sahaabah, the Taabi’een and the At’baa At’taabi’een].
The clear evidence showing that [the Messengers are the most judicious amongst the entire creation] is that the beneficial knowledge they have brought- the righteous actions and the beneficial affairs related to true well-being in this worldly life and the afterlife- has not emanated [from others], or something even close it. There is nothing- from any perspective- that emanated from other judicious [personalities] that can be compared to [what the Messengers brought with regards to beneficial knowledge, righteous action and the beneficial affairs of true well-being in this worldly life and the afterlife].
Whoever ponders upon their life stories – in specific and in general, their patience and perseverance, their abstinence from those lawful things which one can do without, their fervent desire for Allaah and the reward He has kept in the afterlife, their purified manners, the fact that they are the most truthful amongst the creation, [possessors] of the most righteous hearts, [possessors] of the most purified souls, trustees of the greatest trust, the noblest of those whom a person can accompany, the purest in their innermost conscience, the purest with regards to their private affairs- will not doubt the fact that they are the most judicious amongst Allaah’s creation without exception. There is no doubt that whoever is closer to them [i.e. follows them properly], then his [or her] share of judiciousness will be more than [that of others]. [Ref 12]
Abu Hurairarah [radiyallaahu-anhu] narrated: “Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] was asked, ‘Who is the most honourable amongst the people?’ He said, ‘The one who fears Allaah the most’. They said, ‘We are not asking you about this’. He said, ‘Then the most honourable amongst the people is Yusuf, Allaah’s Prophet, the son of Allaah’s Prophet, the son of Allaah’s Prophet, the son of Allaah’s Khaleel’. They said, ‘We are not asking you about this’. He said, ‘So you are asking me about the Arabs’ descent; the people are of different descents and those who were best in the Pre-Islamic period are the best in Islaam, if they acquire [sound] understanding of [religious knowledge]’”.
Benefits Derived From This Hadeeth – By Shaikh Zayd Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah]
In this hadeeth, it is legislated for the one to whom something related to the religion is hidden that he asks, and the scholar is the one who is asked. The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] is the foremost teacher and the one who conveys the religion [ordained] by Allaah. His companions used to ask him that which they wanted to understand in order to act upon it. This hadeeth is proof [regarding the fact that] the companions of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] asked about affairs related to their religion in order to acquire understanding of the religion. Knowledge- as it is said – is based on questions and answers.
In this hadeeth there is proof [regarding] the virtue of Taqwah, just as Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said: [إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡۚ– The most honourable of you in the sight of Allaah are those who fear Allaah the most]. Taqwa gathers every good, because it is clearly manifested in fulfilling commands, keeping away from prohibitions, declaring lawful what is lawful and declaring unlawful what is unlawful – inwardly [in one’s heart] and apparent [on one’s actions], and adherence to the [Qur’aan, the Sunnah, the Straight path etc].
In this hadeeth there is proof regarding the virtue of Yoosuf [alayhis salaam] and his fathers because the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] mentioned them. In this hadeeth there is proof regarding the humility of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] because he made known to them the virtue of his brother- the noble Prophet – Yoosuf [alayhis salaam]. In this hadeeth there is proof regarding the virtue of the Arabs if they possess understanding of the religion of Islaam and learn the religion, for indeed the noble Qur’aan was sent down in the language of the Arab, so if they acquire understanding of the religion [ordained] by Allaah, they will be able to convey it in Allaah’s earth. This is what happened in this Ummah of Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], for indeed when he was sent, he called the Arabs to Eemaan until a great Ummah was established who were able to perform Jihaad and gave Dawah in the path of Allaah. So, they dispersed in the earth after acquiring understanding of their religion from Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and spread it in the regions of the earth- propagating, teaching, performing Jihaad and judging between the people, until Allaah [gave Islaam the upper hand] almost everywhere in the world through them, and this was a favour bestowed on them by Allaah. In this hadeeth there is proof regarding the virtue of Fiqh in the religion and that the one who acquires understanding of the religion [ordained] by Allaah – with a good intention- in order to remove ignorance from himself, act based on the understanding in the Islamic religion and spread it in the earth, then indeed he has a great reward and station in the sight of Allaah. And Allaah knows best.
The evidence [or testimony for the main subject matter in this hadeeth] is that the people are of different descents. The best of them during the Pre-Islamic era are the best in Islaam if they possess [sound] understanding [in the religion]. Therefore, whoever was from the good people during the Pre-Islamic era and acted that way amongst the people, then Allaah blessed them to accept Islaam and they acquire understanding, they’ll be the best people because they had a good basis which Islaam increased in good and perfection. [Ref 13]
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [hafidhahullaah] said:
The Comprehensive Sharee’ah Understanding of the [phrase] Al-Fiqh Fid Deen [Understanding In The Religion]: “Whoever Allaah wishes good for, He grants him understanding in the religion.” When this [phrase] ‘Understanding in the religion’ is stated amongst the people, they understand it to mean the books of Islamic jurisprudence [i.e. the books that discuss the rulings related to prayer, zakat, fasting, marriage etc]. This is a deficient understanding. Fiqh [understanding] – first and foremost – is the understanding of the [sound] creed and Tawheed [i.e. sound Islamic monotheism]. This is the highest level of Fiqh, because the nobility of knowledge is [determined based on the] nobility of its subject matter. The best and noblest subject matter is Tawheed, which teaches the people about the Attributes of their Lord and the perfection of His Attributes, [informs them, explains and reminds] them about His Oneness, to worship Him [alone] and sincerely establish the [entire] religion for His Sake.
Therefore, we seek understanding of Tawheed from Allaah’s Book [i.e. the Qur’aan], the [authentic] Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and from the understanding of our Salafus Saaleh [i.e. the Sahaabah, the Taab’een and the At-baa at-Taabi’een]. We seek understanding in all areas of [Sharee’ah] knowledge – understanding [related to what] is halaal and haraam, acts of worship, mutual dealings, [sound Islamic politics], economics and in every affair. All these affairs – and all praise and thanks be to Allaah – are extensively [found] within the [message] brought by Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam].
When Fiqh is mentioned, its intended [meaning includes] understanding of every affair that is connected to our religious and worldly affairs, and the foremost of them is the knowledge of Tawheed [Islamic Monotheism]. There is nothing that can do without the knowledge of Tawheed, [because] some people deeply preoccupy [themselves with other] sciences and subject matters, but he does not know this knowledge brought by the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], to such extent that you find many people who are well versed in language, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy and the science of rhetoric; but – by Allaah – he does not know [the sound meaning] of ‘Laa ilaaha illal laah’ – the Islamic Monotheism, which Allaah sent all the Messengers with- the first and last of them. [Allaah said]: [وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَۖ – And verily, We have sent among every Ummah [community, nation] a Messenger [saying]: “Worship Allah [Alone], and avoid [or keep away from] all false deities.” [Surah An-Nahl Aayah 36]
Every Messenger came with this [Message], until the advent of the seal of the Messengers Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], who resided in Makkah for ten years and called to Tawheed. Tawheed was the foremost aspect and basis of his call. The prayer – the second pillar of Islaam after the testimony of faith ‘Laa ilaaha illal laah – was not legislated until in the 10th year [of his Messengership], and the full details [related to] Zakat was not legislated until [after his migration to] Madeenah and all the other laws. This shows the importance of Tawheed, so how is it that many people who ascribe to Islaam- those who claim knowledge – are ignorant of it, then how about the ignorant people. And due to this, Misguidance, Bidah and grave worship has become widespread, and this arose due to ignorance regarding the [perfect] Names and Attributes of Allaah and negation of Allaah’s [perfect] Attributes. And [also] a people from the other religions entered into Islaam and plotted against the people [through] corrupt sciences – rhetoric, philosophy, forged [or spurious] historical accounts [or events] and what is similar to that, and thus corrupted their [sound] creed and methodology. [Ref 14]
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. Abridged & 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://salaficentre.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: An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed’. Lesson 1- By Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah]. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 12: Source: An Excerpt from As-Sawaa’iq Al-Mursalah 4/1514. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 13: Source: An Excerpt from At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Vol 1pages 34-35. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 14: Source: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm – pages 243-244. Slightly paraphrased]