Home > Islam, Shirk, Shirk a Major Sin > “Shirk” A Major Sin.

“Shirk” A Major Sin.


Alhamdulilah " How nice is the Creation of Allah"

Alhamdulilah " How nice is the Creation of Allah"


 Shirk In the Qur’an, shirk and the related word  mushrikūn (مشركون) “those who commit shirk and plot against Islam” often clearly refers to the enemies of Islam 

Shirk (Arabic: شرك‎) is the Islamic concept of the sin of polytheism specifically, but in a more general way refers to worshipping other than Allah, associating partners with him, giving his characteristics to others beside him, or not believing in his characteristics.

Within Islam, Major Shirk is a forgivable sin if one repents from it while one is alive, but according to Islamic texts, anyone who dies upon this sin will never enter paradise.  It is the vice that is opposed to the virtue of tawhid, literally “declaring [that which is] one”, often translated into the English term monotheism

9-3 in Quran 

And a declaration from Allah and His Messenger to mankind on the greatest day (the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah – the 12th month of Islamic calendar) that Allah is free from (all) obligations to the Mushrikun and so is His Messenger. So if you (Mushrikun) repent, it is better for you, but if you turn away, then know that you cannot escape (from the Punishment of) Allah. And give tidings (O Muhammad SAW) of a painful torment to those who disbelieve.

Shirk is defined in various ways.

Islamic commentators on the Qur’an have emphasized that pre-Islamic Arabic idolatry made a number of godlings (most memorably the three goddesses al-Manāt, al-Lāt and ˤUzzā) equal associates of Allah (as the Qur’an discusses in the 53rd surat) and the word mushrikūn is often translated into English as “polytheists”.

Other forms of shirk include the worship of wealth and other material objects. This is pointed in the Qur’an in one of the story of the Children of Israel, when they took a calf made of gold for worship

(Qur’an 7:148-150).



 : And the people of Musa (Moses) made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound (as if it was mooing). Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way? They took it for worship and they were Zalimun (wrong-doers).

Another form of shirk is to revere a leader (religious or not) beyond limits, as mentioned in

Qur’an (9:31).


 They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilah (God – Allah) La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).”

In a theological context one commits shirk by associating some lesser being with Allah. This sin is committed if one imagines that there is some other spirit than Allah whom it is suitable to worship    

 Categories of Major Shirk

Derived from the Qur’an and the prophetic tradition (Sunnah), there are three main categories of Shirk in Islam.

 a. Shirk in Rubūbīyah (Lordship)

This category of Shirk refers to either the belief that others share God’s Lordship over creation as His equal or near equal, or to the belief that there exists no Lord over creation at all . Shirk by Associatin – This is the shirk concerned with associating ‘others’ with Allah. Shirk by negation – This is Shirk in Rubūbīyah (Lordship)

This category of Shirk refers to either the belief that others share God’s Lordship over creation as His equal or near equal, or to the belief that there exists no Lord over creation at all.

  b. Shirk in al-Asma was-Sifat (the names and attributes of Allah)

Shirk in this category includes both the common pagan practice of giving God the attributes of His creation as well as the act of giving created beings God’s names and attributes. Shirk by humanization – In this aspect of Shirk in al-Asma was-Sifat, God is given the form and qualities of human beings and animals. Due to man’s superiority over animals, the human form is more commonly used by idolaters to represent God in creation.

Consequently, the image of the Creator is often painted, moulded or carved in the shape of human beings possessing the physical features of those who worship them. Shirk by deification – This form of Shirk in al-Asma was-Sifat relates to cases where created beings or things are given or claim God’s names or His attributes


Shirk In al-‘Ibadah (Worship)

In this category of Shirk, acts of worship are directed to other than Allah and the reward for worship is sought from the creation instead of the Creator. As in the case of the previous categories, Shirk in al-‘Ebadah has two main aspects.

  • Ash-Shirk al-Akbar (Major Shirk) – This form of Shirk occurs when any act of worship is directed to other than Allah. It represents the most obvious form of idolatry which the prophets were specifically sent by God to call the masses of mankind away from. Examples of this shirk, asking forgiveness, admittance to paradise and other things that only Allah can provide, from other than Allah.

Ash-Shirk al-Asghar (Minor Shirk)

Minor Shirk Mahmud ibn Lubayd reported, “God’s messenger said: “The thing I fear for you the most is ash-Shirk al-Asghar (minor shirk).” The companions asked “Oh! messenger of God, what is minor Shirk?” He replied “Ar-Riya (showing off), for verily God will say on the Day of Resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off in the material world and see if you can find any reward from them.”

Secret Shirk Mahmud ibn Lubayd also said, “The Prophet came out and announced, ‘O people, beware of secret Shirk!’ The people asked, ‘O messenger of God, what is secret Shirk?’ He replied, ‘When a man gets up to pray and strives to beautify his prayer because people are looking at him; that is secret Shirk.”

Swearing by other than Allah This is considered minor Shirk, unless the one who swore believes that whoever he swore by is equal to or worthy of Allah’s worth.Some might suggest  “Believeing Some Worldly Power” as a form of secret shirk because it is believing that some other worldly power can repay you with justice or injustice for your deeds in the world when the truth is only Allah (God) has power over what and when something will happen to you.

Luck is one other form of Shirk. Luck is a form of shirk because it is also entails believing that something other than Allah can bring upon good or bad.

Book of Belief.  Sahih Bukahari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 31:

Narrated ‘Abdullah: When the following Verse was revealed: “It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with wrong (worshipping others besides Allah.)” (6:83), the companions of Allah’s Apostle asked, “Who is amongst us who had not done injustice (wrong)?” Allah revealed: “No doubt, joining others in worship with Allah is a great injustice (wrong) indeed.” (31.13)

Oh Allah guard us against all the forms of Shirk and keep our hearts firm on you and raise us on the day of judgement among those who kept their faith free from Shirk. Amin

Categories: Islam, Shirk, Shirk a Major Sin
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