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SHIRK (POLYTHEISM)

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Shirk (Polytheism: To associate anyone or anything with Allah (S.w.T.))

The first of the Greater Sins is to associate anyone or anything with Allah (S.w.T.). That is to attribute partners to Allah (S.w.T.). Regarding Shirk we have received clear traditions from the Holy Prophet (S) as well as Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.), Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.), Imam Riďa (a.s.) and Imam Jawad (a.s.).

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“The greatest of the Greater Sins is to attribute partners to Allah.”1

The following verse of the Holy Qur’an asserts:

“Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases, and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:48)

It means that whoever dies as a polytheist, there is no chance of his salvation. Although Allah (S.w.T.) may forgive any of those who have committed any other sin. Allah (S.w.T.) says:

“Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.” (Surah al-Mā’ida 5:72)

Also the Holy Qur’an states:

“Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity.” (Surah Luqmān 31:13).

“And whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:48)

Every Muslim knows fully well that Shirk is a Greater Sin. So it does not seem necessary to quote the Qur’anic ayats and the traditions of Ma’sūmīn (a.s.) in this regard. However, since it is important to understand the true meaning of Shirk we shall quote the relevant statements in order that people may keep aloof from this infamy. The Holy Qur’an says,

“And worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:36)

Mushrik (Polythiest) is the opposite of Muwahhid (Monotheist). Tawhid is the primary pillar of faith. It has various aspects. In the same way Shirk also consists of different types:

1) Tawhid and Shirk with regard to the Essence of Allah (S.w.T.)

2) Tawhid and Shirk with regard to the Attributes of Allah (S.w.T.)

3) Tawhid and Shirk in actions

4) Tawhid and Shirk in Obedience

5) Tawhid and Shirk in worship

May Allah (S.w.T.) provide us the Tawfīq to discuss these different aspects in detail.

Tawhid in the Essence of Allah (S.w.T.)

Tawhid with regard to the Essence of Allah (S.w.T.) denotes confessing that the Essence of the Lord of the worlds is one, and that He is Eternal. He is the Orignator of every action and phenomenon, whether perceptible through senses or not. There is no other cause except Him. Belief in multiple causes is Shirk. The Zoroastrians believe in the existence of two powerful forces in the Universe, both being equal and eternal. One is good, the other, evil. The god of good is Yazdan and the god of evil is Ahriman. The following ayat of the Holy Qur’an is a clear refutation of this false hypothesis.

“Say (O Muhammad): All is from Allah.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:78)

The claim of the Dualists can be refuted with a simple statement that there is no one except Allah (S.w.T.), who has been in existence since eternity. Whatever was in past, present or future is nothing but good. Or, at least we can say that good exceeds evil and that evil does not hold sway over good.

However if we go on to explain all this in detail it would lead us away from the topic of our discussion.

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