Wednesday 17th of July 2024
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To associate anyone or anything with Allah


Shirk (Polytheism - To associate anyone or anything with Allah)

The first of the Greater Sins is to associate anyone or anything with Allah. That is to attribute partners to Allah. Regarding Shirk we have received clear traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as well as Hazrat Ali (a.s.), Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), Imam al-Kazim (a.s.), Imam Reza (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."
(Wasaaelush Shia)

The following verse of the Holy Quran 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 Nisa 4:48)

It means that whoever dies as a polytheist, there is no chance of his salvation. Although Allah may forgive any of those who have committed any other sin. Allah 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 Maidah 5:72)

Also the Holy Quran states:
"Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity."
(Surah Luqman 31:13).

"And whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin."
(Surah Nisa 4:48)

Every Muslim knows fully well that Shirk is a Greater Sin. So it does not seem necessary to quote the Quranic ayats and the traditions of Masoomeen (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 Quran says,
"And worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him."
(Surah Nisa 4:36)

Mushrik (Polythiest) is the opposite of Muwahhid (Monotheist). Tawheed is the primary pillar of faith. It has various aspects. In the same way Shirk also consists of different types:
1) Tawheed and Shirk with regard to the Essence of Allah
2) Tawheed and Shirk with regard to the Attributes of Allah
3) Tawheed and Shirk in actions
4) Tawheed and Shirk in Obedience
5) Tawheed and Shirk in worship
May Allah provide us the Tawfeeq to discuss these different aspects in detail.

Tawheed in the Essence of Allah

Tawheed with regard to the Essence of Allah 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 Quran is a clear refutation of this false hypothesis.

"Say (O Muhammad): All is from Allah."
(Surah Nisa 4:78)

The claim of the Dualists can be refuted with a simple statement that there is no one except Allah, 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.

Christians Are Polytheists Too

The Christians believe in the trinity of the Godhead. The Father (God), The Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost (Jibraeel). They believe that each of them have a special quality and that together they constitute the Godhead. The Quran flays their assertion thus:
"Certainly they disbelieve who say, 'Surely Allah is the third (person) of three'; and there is no god but One God."
(Surah Maidah 5:73)

The Holy Quran clearly states that Allah is not one-third of a god. He is the One and only One God.

The belief in Trinity is not exclusive to the Christians. Hindus and Buddhists also ascribe to it.

Idol Worship is Polytheism

Some people allege that there are separate gods for every phenomenon. That is, god of wind, god of sea, etc. This is another form of Polytheism. These people consider different creations to be the handiwork of different gods. These idolaters and polytheists worship multiple deities. Their polytheistic belief has also been denounced in the Holy Quran:
"Are sundry lords better or Allah, the One, the Supreme?"
(Surah Yusuf 12:39)
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Tawheed in the Attributes of Allah

Tawheed with regards to the attributes of Allah means the realisation that the positive attributes of Allah and His Essence have only one and the same sense, and not any multiple and diverse sense. Divine attributes like Divine Eternity, Divine Knowledge and Divine Power, are the same as his Essence without any duality between His Essence and His attributes.

This concept must be clearly distinguished from the fact that Allah, the Almighty and the Exalted has applied some of His names to His creatures, and although the names are common to both the Creator and the created, the connotation is quite different; For example Zaid1 has knowledge, so the name "one who knows" is common to both the creator and the created. But in Zaid's case, it is implicit that this quality in a limited measure was acquired by him (by Allah's Grace) at a certain stage prior to which he did not have it; and it is also possible that he may also lose this quality at a later stage, but for Allah this attribute signifies that He is the knower of all things, past, present and future. He knows what is in the Heavens and the Earth and not an atom weight, or less than that or greater escapes Him. His knowledge is all encompassing. If we consider the Attributes of Allah as being qualities independent of Allah as we know them to be with His creatures, then we have committed Shirk. Accordingly the belief of the Ashairas is absolutely false.

All the good qualities of the creatures are from the Creator (Allah)

To consider all the good qualities of the created to be from Allah, the creator, is true Tawheed. It is our belief that all the qualities possessed by the Prophets and the Imams (a.s.) were given to them by Allah's Grace. They did not come to acquire any of these qualities on their own. Rather Allah bestowed upon them superior knowledge, character, power and perfect morals and exalted their position.

Consequently all that exists has not come into existence on its own. But everything is dependent upon the Creator of the Universe. All the good qualities have also been given to them by Allah. If Allah so desires, He increases their good qualities and gives them sustenance.

Praising Ourselves Unknowingly

A discerning person realises that our qualities are not our own and that we are not capable of acquiring such qualities without Divine assistance. Yet at times we mistakenly introduce our qualifications as, "my knowledge, my strength, my intention, my wealth etc. Rather one should say, my knowledge, which is bestowed upon me by Allah, my strength which is imparted to me by Allah, my intention that is assisted by Allah, my wealth which is from Allah." This constant realisation that all which we have is because of Allah's Grace; is true Tawheed.

One can be a true believer in the Oneness of Allah if his words and actions both are in consonance with each other. Such a person is more humble and lowly when he addresses his Creator and is in constant dread of the sin of thanklessness. Another distinguishing characteristic of such a person is that he is never pleased when others praise him.

The Pious Ones Dread Praise

The Chief of the Believers, Ali (a.s.) while describing the qualities of the pious says, in one of his sermons:
"When any one of them is spoken of highly, he says: 'I know myself better than others, and my Lord knows me better than I know myself. O Allah do not deal with me according to what they say, and make me better than what they think of me and forgive me (those shortcomings) which they do not know.'
(Nahjul Balagha Sermon 192)

There is no Partner in the Divine Attributes

A true believer in tawheed does not attribute any partners to Allah, nor does he commend anyone in the manner that Allah is praised. Everyday he repeats, "SubhanAllah" [Glory be (only) to Allah]. This implies that he does not deem it fit to praise anyone or anything except Allah. When he says "Alhamdo Lillah" (Praise is only for Allah), he implies that all praise is exclusive to Allah only. No one is more deserving of praise and glorification but the one and only Allah.


When a person becomes a true Muwahhid (a believer in the Oneness of Allah) he does not consider anyone the true possessor of perfect qualities. All of these are dependent upon Allah who is only one, absolutely independent. The Holy Quran says:
"O men! you are they who stand in need of Allah. And Allah is He who is self-sufficient, the praised one."
(Surah Fatir 35:15)

That is the reason why pious people refrain from praising themselves and also fear the praise of others for them. Ali (a.s.) has mentioned this in the sermon quoted above. We must also refrain from words, which imply the independence of man from Allah and instead attribute uniqueness to him. For example one should not say, "I possess such and such quality."

A Saying of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)

Once a man approached the door of the exalted Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) and knocked. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) enquired who he was. The person replied, "I" The Prophet came out and said, "Who was the one to say 'I'? Let it be known that except Allah no one is qualified to use this word. Allah says about Himself, I am the Powerful, I am the Punisher.'

Qaroon Became a Polythiest

Qaroon became a polytheist because he dared to say that all he had come to possess was due to his knowledge of alchemy. Thus, when Qaroon made himself an accomplice of the One and only God in possessing the Divine attributes, Allah replied,
"Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him the generations who were mightier in strength than he, and Greater in assemblage?"
(Surah Qasas 28:78)

Later, we see that Qaroon was not able to save himself from destruction even though he claimed to possess strength and vigor. Thus we must understand that any qualities of the creatures are not of their own but given to them by the Most Powerful Almighty Allah. 


source : Greater Sins by Ayatullah Dastigeib
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