Shirk is the gave and self destroying mistake of worshiping other than God or confusing anything with God. Pagans many worship idols made of wood or stone or worship made up ‘gods’ both of which are clear shirk. Some ignorant people have deviated from Islam and founded extremist associative cults as a result of false interpretations of Sufism.
The most important thing for any human being is to all reject Shirk, realize that there is no power or might other than God and to realize and assert that there is no god, but God.
Some gravely mistaken people, some Muslims included, make the mistake of falsely attributing some of God’s unique qualities to certain goodly Saints and blessed Prophets, but these people should understand that God is totally unique and completely incomparable to all created things or beings, however good they are, and He is all powerful and far beyond the limited level of human comprehension.
Shirk is wrongly associating things with God in which created beings or things are worshiped alongside the One True God – as they are falsely thought to be the same as Him or part of Him. Misguided people sometimes associate Prophets, Angels or Demons with the God however…
- God is the One and Only God,
- there is nothing like Him,
- He is eternal,
- He was not born to a parent,
- He is far above having a had a ’spouse’ or a non-metaphorical ‘child’.
- Prophet Jesus (may God bless him and give him peace) was a ‘word’ of God not the ‘word’ of God,
Prophet Jesus, Prophet David and others were described as being ’son’s’ of God in the Bible (may peace and blessings be upon them all) but this was merely an old way of describing an Israelite valued friend of God and it should be realized that God is far beyond having a literal ’son’.
Types of Idolatry
According to Sheikh Habib Ahmad Manshur al-Haddad (d. 1995 CE (ra) in his Key to the Garden there are six main types of idolatry. These are listed below
- Autonomous Idolatry – Shirk Istiqlaal, (Dualism) in which it is mistakenly believed that there are two autonomous deities, such as in Manicheism.
- Separative Idolatry – Shirk Tab’Iid, in which it is mistakenly believed that although God is one that that Unity is divided into parts, such as Trinitarianism.
- Approximative Idolatry – Shirk Taqrib, in which other than God is actually worshiped in the hope of drawing nearer to God, such as in Grave Worship.
- Imitative Idolatry – Shirk Taqlid, in which a person copies others who worship other than God, as with those who say ‘we are only following in the ways of our fathers’.
- Idolatry of Secondary Causes – Shirk al-Asbab, which is the idolatry of those who believe that nature runs on its own – rather than through constant sustenance from God, as with some misguided philosophers.
- Idolatry of Intention – Shirk al-Aghrad, in which religious acts are carried out for worldly motivations, as with those who put on a boastful show of Islam and have no sincerity.
Only Supplicate to God
Another form of associationism is Shirk ad-Dua which is to supplicate (make Dua) to other than God. This should not be confused with seeking intercession (Tawassul) rather it is to see anyone other than God as being the one who answers prayers, having power to answer them independently of God. There is no power or might other than Allah and He is the best of helpers.
Be Careful not to Worship Yourself
Some Atheists tend towards the ”worship” of themselves or current theories or ideologies (although they are unable to see how), whilst the secular Humanists tend to “worship” the human race. Some would say that these attitudes can also develop into Shirk.
Wise spiritual teachers teach us to flee from Shirk and anything that resembles it.