Monday 7 February 2022

What is the Reality of Shirk - the sin of idolatry or polytheism (Scholars' Viewpoint)

The essence of all Divine religions was based on monotheism - the worship of one true God as against all man-made religions which had made many gods and made their images and sculptures and take them as their saviour and protector. Unfortunately, adulteration crept into Christianity wherein they declared Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him) as son of God and thus a god at par with the real and only one true God. 

In Islam, the deification or worship of anyone or anything besides Allah is called Shirk (Arabic: شرك širk) - the sin of idolatry or polytheism. In Islam Shirk is considered a great unpardonable sin and those who indulge in this practice SHALL NOT be pardoned on the Day of Judgement and their permanent abode will be the blazing fire of hell.

In the 13th verse of Surah 31 Luqman, Allah tells us how Luqman advised his son against Shirk:
Luqman's full name was Luqman bin `Anqa' bin Sadun, and his son's name was Tharan, according to a saying quoted by As-Suhayli. Allah describes him in the best terms, and states that he granted him wisdom. Luqman advised his son, the closest and most beloved of all people to him, who deserved to be given the best of his knowledge. So, Luqman started by advising him to worship Allah Alone, and not to associate anything with Him.
وَاِذۡ قَالَ لُقۡمٰنُ لِا بۡنِهٖ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهٗ يٰبُنَىَّ لَا تُشۡرِكۡ بِاللّٰهِ ؕ اِنَّ الشِّرۡكَ لَـظُلۡمٌ عَظِيۡمٌ‏ 
(31:13) And call to mind when Luqman said to his son while exhorting him: “Son! Do not associate partners with God. In reality, polytheism is a great injustice.” 
Eminent scholar Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi  explaining this verse notes that:
This particular admonition from the wisdom of Luqman has been cited here for two reasons: (1) He gave this admonition to his son, and obviously, no one can be insincere to one's own children. A person may deceive others, may behave hypocritically towards them, but no one, not even a most depraved person, will try to deceive and defraud his own children. Therefore, Luqman's admonishing his son thus is a clear proof of the fact that in his sight shirk was indeed the most heinous sin, and for that very reason he first admonished his dear son to refrain from this iniquity. (2) The second reason for this narration is that many parents from among the disbelievers of Makkah were compelling their children to turn away from the message of Tauhid being preached by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) and remain steadfast on the creed of shirk, as is being stated in the following verses. Therefore, those foolish people are being told, as if to say, The well-known sage of your own land had wished his children well by admonishing thetas to avoid shirk, now you should judge it for yourself whether you are wishing your children well or ill when you compel them to follow the same creed of shirk." 
Zulm means to deprive someone of his right and to act unjustly. Shirk is a grave iniquity because man sets up such beings as equals with his Creator and Providence and Benefactor as have no share whatever in creating him, nor in providing for him, nor in bestowing the blessings on him, which he is enjoying in the world. There could be no greater injustice than this. The Creator's right on man is that he should worship Him alone, but he worships others and so deprives Him of His right. Then, in whatever he does in connection with the worship of others than Allah, he exploits many things, from his own mind and body to the earth and heavens, whereas, all these things have been created by Allah, the One. and man has no right to use any of them in the worship of any other than Allah Then, the right of man's own self on him is that he should not debase and involve it in punishment. But when he worships others than his Creator. he debases himself as well as makes it deserving of the punishment. Thus, the entire life of a mushrik becomes Zulm in every aspect and at all times and his every breath becomes an expression of injustice and iniquity.

At many other places in Qur'an, mankind is forbidden to associate anyone with One True God for none can ever equate the power, wisdom, justice and ability to create of monotheist God, Muslims call Allah. Instead of quoting more references from Qur'an on the reality and sin of shirk, we have selected a mind-blowing lecture by the eminent Muslim scholar Dr Israr Ahmed. Dr. Israr Ahmad, (1975–2002) was a Pakistani Islamic theologian, philosopher, and Islamic scholar who was followed particularly in South Asia as well as by South Asian Muslims in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America.

Please listen to the lecture on the Reality of Shirk to really understand the reality of shirk and must try your best not even skirt pass this unpardonable sin ever in your life:

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is our duty to convey only to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are those of the scholar concerned. We have shared this view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to IslamYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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