Strengthening of the Faith


  • bookcover

  • Strengthening of the Faith


  • Chapter Six

    Prohibition of Shirk in Worship

    The definition of worship:

    'lbadah (worship) implies those activities which Allah the Almighty has specified and taught to His slaves for His honor and gratification. Here, we are going to explain as to what those activities are, which Allah has ordained us to perform in His honor so that we should not perform them for any entity other than Allah and thus avoid committing the Shirk.

     

    Worship is meant for Allah Alone:

     

    "And indeed We sent Noah to his people (and he said): 'I have come to you as a plain warner. That you worship none but Allah, surely I fear for you the torment of a painful Day.'" (V.ll:25, 26)

     

    It means that there has always been a strife between believers and the non-believers ever since the Prophet Noah {Peace be upon Him} was sent to this earth. The beloved slaves of Allah have always maintained and spread the word that we should never express our reverence to any entity, whatsoever, in a manner which is strictly prescribed for Allah, and the acts which have been outlined and delineated to show our respect to Allah only, must not be performed to propitiate any other entity.

    Prostration is for Allah only:

    Allah says:

     

    {Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah who created them, if you (really) worship Him.} (V.41:37)

     

    This verse explains that in Islam, the prostration is the right of the Creator only and therefore, we should not prostrate to any creature, be it the moon, the sun, a Prophet, a saint, a jinn or any angel. If someone maintains that making a prostration to a creature was permissible in the earlier religions, for instance, the angels prostrated to Adam {Peace be upon Him} and Prophet Jacob {Peace be upon Him} prostrated to Prophet Joseph {Peace be upon Him} and hence there is no harm if we make a prostration to a saint as a token of showing our respect to him. We must remember that such a thing proves and confirms one's Shirk and thoroughly deprives him of Faith. According to the laws which were prevalent during the period of Adam {Peace be upon Him}, it was permissible to marry one's sisters. Presenting this fact as an evidence, what is the harm if these people marry their sisters. But harm does certainly lie there, because the incestuous relationship with one's sisters is a matter which is forbidden forever and is not permissible under any circumstances. The crux of the matter is that a human being must comply with the instructions of Allah. Any Divine injunction should be acknowledged and acted upon without reluctance and without engaging oneself in a controversial argumentation by employing phony excuses like saying: "It was not ordained to the earlier people, why the same has been forced down our necks?" This type of argumentation leads one into being a disbeliever. To elaborate it further, let us presume that a certain statute was put into effect by a king which was being observed for a long time. Now the legislators replaced it with another law by abrogating the former one, and therefore, it is now necessary to enact this new law and to abide by it. If someone insists that he will only recognize the old law and not the new one, such a person shall be deemed a rebel and a rebel is punishable with imprisonment. Similarly, Hell-fire is the punishment for the ones who rebel against Allah's authority.           

    It is an act of Shirk to call upon anyone other than Allah:

    Allah the Almighty says:

    {And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah! (It has been revealed to me that) When the slave of Allah (Muhammad {Peace be upon Him}) stood up invoking (his Lord-Allah) in prayer to Him they (the jinns) just made round him a dense crown as if sticking one over the other (in order to listen to Prophet's  recitation. Say (O Muhammad {Peace be upon Him}): 'I invoke only my Lord (Allah Alone), and I associate none as partners along with Him.'}(V. 72: 18-20)

    It means that whenever a slave invokes Allah with a clean and pure heart, these ignorants think that this person is one of the most eminent saints who has been raised to such an exalted status (of being a Ghauth or Qutub) that he is empowered to grant almost anything to anyone and similarly may deprive anyone of anything whatever he likes. Hence these people form dense crowds around him with the hope that this man would solve their problems and make them overcome their distress. Now, it is an obligation on this man to inform the people about the right thing that one should invoke only Allah during difficult times. This right (the right of being called upon) only belongs to Allah. Any anticipation regarding a profit or loss must be associated with the Will of Allah because attributing such a thing to anyone other than Allah is an act of Shirk. I am disgusted with the Shirk and its committers. And if someone wants to give me this kind of treatment, I become displeased with him. The acts of granting and taking away belong to Allah the Almighty. This pious person should make it clear to the people that he has no power and authority to do anything. Allah indeed is my Rabb and yours, and therefore, we must renounce the false objects of worship and invoke the Lord Who is the Solitary and Unique One having no associates with Him. He is alone in His Oneness, His right of being worshipped, His Lordship and absolute ruling. Thus it becomes known to us that standing with respect (with hands knotted to each other), making an invocation and reciting a certain formula (with repetitions) are the activities which Allah has exclusively specified to be performed in His honor only. According such a treatment to anyone other than Allah is an act of Shirk.

    Allah the Almighty says:

     

    {And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highways (to perform Hajj). That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) at the time of their slaughtering by saying: (Bismillah, Wallahu-Akbar, Allahumma Minka wa Ilaik.) Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time. Then, let them complete the prescribed duties (Manasik of Hajj) for them, and perform their vows, and circumambulate the ancient House (the Ka'bah at Makkah).} (V.22:27-29)

     

    The holy sanctuaries must be respected:

    Allah has specified some places symbolizing His honor and dignity like, Ka'bah, Arafat, Muzdalifah, Mina, As-Safa, Al-Marwah, Station of Abraham, the Sanctified Mosque, the whole of Makkah and the entire Haram. People have been inspired and blessed with an ardent desire to visit these places so that they may flock here from all the nooks and corners of the world, whether mounted on the backs of animals, or traveling on foot, they all come from afar to witness the House of Allah, bearing the hardships of journey, wearing specified unsewn clothes, reaching there in a peculiar guise and assuming a typical physiognomy, offering sacrifices in the Name of Allah, completing their vows, circumambulating the House of Allah and fulfilling their innermost aspirations towards expressing their gratitude to their Lord upon reaching there, kissing its doorsteps and making supplications to Allah by holding on to the fringes of the Ka'bah covering and thereby bursting into tears, sitting there in I'tikaf observing the remembrance of Allah day and night, and someone being blessed with a perfect happiness out of merely standing there with respect.[1] However, all the above things are observed to pay one's homage and tributes to Allah and to express one's honor and gratitude towards Him. Allah the Almighty becomes pleased with these activities and rewards His slaves in both this world and the Hereafter. Therefore, carrying out these activities to propitiate any other entity other than Allah is forbidden and regarded as an act of Shirk. Traveling to distant places and bearing the rigors of travel merely to visit a grave or a sanctum of a saint in tattered and dirty clothes, offering animal sacrifices upon reaching there, completing one's vows there, circumambulating someone's house or a grave, respecting the forest around it, abstaining from hunting there, not cutting trees there, not pulling out the grass and straws from there, carrying out the other similar activities and looking forward to the goodness in this world and the Hereafter (out of performing these activities) are all acts of Shirk which one must avoid. This is because we should only .hold those places in high esteem, which Shari 'ah itself has commanded us to honor as dignified ones. And showing a similar respect in relation to the places other than the specified ones according to one's own whims and inducting such novelties into religion by applying one's own domineering assumptions, are all acts of Bid'ah (innovation). Compliance and obedience should be observed in regard to Allah only and not the things created by Him.

    Anything dedicated to an entity other than Allah is forbidden:

    Allah the Almighty says:

     

    "Say (O Muhammad {Peace be upon Him}): 'I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytatah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork, etc.) for that surely is impure, or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols etc., or on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But whosoever is forced by necessity without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (V.6:l45)

     

    It means that just as the flesh of swine, blood and the dead animals have been declared as forbidden ones, a slaughtered animal which has been dedicated to an entity other than Allah is also forbidden. Thus it becomes clear to us that an animal devoted and dedicated to anything created (i.e. by Allah) is forbidden and impure. For instance, an animal becomes forbidden if the same is declared as belonging to a certain person by saying "This cow belongs to Saiyid Ahmad Kabeer or this goat belongs to Sheikh Saddoo etc. etc.[2] This verse does not specify that the animal shall become forbidden only if the name of an entity other than Allah is invoked while it is being slaughtered, but the verse states that the same turns forbidden merely by the act of dedication. Any animal, whether a hen or a goat, a camel or a cow, in case dedicated to any of the creatures, be it a saint or a Prophet, a father or a grandfather, a preceptor or a fairy, is absolutely forbidden and impure, and the one who does this act is a Mushrik (polytheist).

    Authority and command is only for Allah:

    Allah the Almighty has stated the story of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) {Peace be upon Him} as to what he conveyed to his companions in the prison in the following words:

     

    {O two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible? You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgment) is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him (i.e. His Monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.}(V. 12:39,40)

     

    It is painful and disgusting for a slave to have several masters. How great it is to have a single and solitary Lord who is the strongest of all! Hence, there is only one Lord who fulfills all the needs of a human being and helps him in overcoming his difficulties. The false and fictitious lords stand nowhere before Him. Nay, these are absolutely baseless fallacies to suppose that a certain deity induces rain, growing grains belongs to some other deity, blessing with children falls under someone else's jurisdiction whereas giving health is someone else's responsibility. People themselves have assigned names to them by supposing that such and such deity is responsible about such and such actions and they themselves call upon them whenever they need them and thus this practice gradually grows into an established custom in the society in due course of time.

    Giving someone false and fabricated names is an act of Shirk:

    All best and good names belong to Allah only. Who else may be called by these names other than Allah Himself? None but He Alone has these names. In case someone has this kind of names, it has nothing to do with Allah's Will. The one who is responsible about all the actions is known as Allah and the one who is known as Muhammad or Ali has no power or authority to do anything at all. Allah has not commanded us to nurse these kind of thoughts and what the creatures (i.e. people) command to do is not lawful and creditable. Allah Himself has forbidden us to maintain these kind of views. Therefore, who else other than Allah is more creditable in these matters? The pure and true religion is that one should comply with the instructions of Allah and renunciate all the other commands contradicting them. But unfortunately, the majority of people have strayed from the Right Path and have accorded priority to the ways of their preceptors, Imam and saints rather than following the path prescribed by Allah.

    So-called customs are acts of Shirk:

    It thus becomes clear to us that denying all the so-called customs and forged concepts and a strict adherence to the laws of Allah is a thing which Allah has determined and specified for His honor and dignity.[3] If someone treats a creature in a similar manner, he will be deemed as an absolute Mushrik (polytheist). The conveyance of Divine decrees and commandments to the human beings is only possible through the Messengers. If someone gives precedence to the saying of an Imam, Mujtahid, Ghauth, Qutub, a religious scholar, a preceptor, a saint, one's father or grandfather, a king, a minister, a priest or a pundit over the commandments of Islamic law or happens to prefer the ideas and methodologies devised by the preceptors and saints in an open defiance of Qur'an and Hadith, or nursing a persuasion in regard to the Prophets that Shari'ah merely consists of their own commands to the effect that they said whatever they wished to say and it became an obligation on their Ummah to abide by their dictates. All the above things and utterances confirm one's Shirk. One must firmly believe that Allah is the real ruler and has everything at His disposal and a Prophet is merely assigned to convey the Divine Commands to the people. Anything which lies within the framework of Qur'an and Hadith must be recognized and verified and the one which is contrary to it must be avoided.

    Keeping people stand up in one's honor is prohibited:

    It is reported on the authority of Mu'awiyah {May Allah have mercy on him} that Allah's Messenger {Peace be upon Him} said:

     

    "Whosoever becomes pleased with the realization of fact that the people stand up (as a token of respect) before him like pictures (i.e. silent and immovable), let him have an abode in Hell-fire." (Tirmidhi)

     

    It means that whoever so desires that the people should stand up before him as a token of respect with folded hands, becoming as immobile as statues, not budging an inch, observing a pin-drop silence and not even fluttering an eyelid, such a person is bound to taste Hell-fire, for he is laying a claim at Divinity and is looking forward to the kind of honor and dignity which Allah has specified for none but Himself. During a prayer, a person stands upright silently with folded hands without moving one's eyes in either direction. The posture of standing up is exclusively prescribed for the sole purpose of paying one's tributes to Allah the Almighty. Thus it becomes known to us that observing such a posture (standing up) before a person with an intention of giving him a respectful treatment is unfair and an act of Shirk.

    Worshipping idols and the so-called "Sanctums of saints" is an act of Shirk:

    It is reported on the authority of Thauban {May Allah have mercy on him} that Allah's

    Messenger {Peace be upon Him} said:

     

    "The Doomsday shall not be heralded until the tribes of my Ummah join the polytheists and practice idolatry." (Tirmidhi).

     

    Idols are of two kinds. Erecting someone's statue or his picture and worshipping it, is called Sanam in Arabic. Dedicating a thing, a place, a tree, a stone, a wooden object or a paper etc. to a certain deity and then worshipping it, is known as Wathan. A grave, a seat of a saint, a coffin, a stick, a Ta'zia, a flag, a Shaddah[4] the Hinna of Imam Qasim and Sheikh Abdul-Qadir, a raised platform of an Imam, the places where the teachers and preceptors are seated, are all included in Wathan. It also includes a shelf in the wall, a sign or a cannon dedicated to a martyr where a goat is sacrificed, or the places attributed to some diseases and dedicated to certain deities like Satila, Masani, Bhawani, Kali, Kalka and Barahi[5] etc. The worshipping of both Sanam and Wathn confirm one's Shirk. The noblest of the Prophets {Peace be upon Them} prophesied that the Muslims shall be involved in this kind of Shirk just prior to the Doomsday, contrary to the other polytheists like the Hindus or the erstwhile polytheists of the Arabian Peninsula. The people of both these kinds are polytheists and the enemies of Allah and the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}.

    Slaughtering an animal in a name other than that of Allah is a curse:

    It is * reported on the authority of Abu Tufail {May Allah have mercy on him}that Ali {May Allah have mercy on him} took out a book which contained a Hadith stating that:

    "Whoever slaughtered an animal by invoking a name other than that of Allah, brings upon himself the curse of Allah." (Muslim)

     

    It means that anyone who slaughters an animal in the name of a creature (to the exclusion of Allah the Almighty) is indeed an accursed and a condemned person.

    Ali {May Allah have mercy on him}had written several Ahadith of Allah's Messenger {Peace be upon Him} in a note-book and this Hadith was one of those ones. Thus it becomes known to us that an animal becomes Halal (permissible and lawful for the human consumption) while the same is slaughtered by invoking only Allah's Name on it. Slaughtering an animal while invoking a name other than that of Allah is an act of Shirk and renders an animal thus slaughtered as unlawful. Similarly an animal which is dedicated to a deity other than Allah is unlawful even if Allah's Name is invoked on it while it is being slaughtered.

    Indications heralding the advent of Doomsday:

    It has been narrated by Aishah {May Allah be pleased with Her} that she heard Allah's

    Prophet {Peace be upon Him} saying:

     

    "The day and night shall continue to chase each other until Al-Laat and Al-Uzza (names of two idols) are not worshipped again." She asked him, "O Allah's Prophet! Since Allah has revealed the verse, 'He it is Who sent His Messenger (Muhammad {Peace be upon Him}) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islamic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} hate (it).' I was predominantly of the view that this religion shall prevail until the end (without receding)." The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} answered that this religion shall continue to thrive with the same magnificence as long as Allah wills it to be. Then Allah will send down a blissful and chaste breeze which, (in its wake) shall take away the lives of all who even possess merely an iota of Iman (Faith) in their hearts. Only the bad and vice-ridden people shall be spared to exist who will revert to the religion of their fore-fathers." (Muslim)

    It implies that the sense which `Aishah {May Allah have mercy on her} inferred from the verse of Sural Al-Bara'ah (At-Taubah) is that Islam shall prevail until the Doomsday. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} stated that Islam's supremacy shall persist as long as Allah wills it to be. Then Allah will send down a blissful and chaste breeze which will end the lives of all those having the least amount of Faith whereas the vice-ridden and irreligious people shall be spared to live on. The hearts of these people shall be devoid of the dignity of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}nor shall they have any interest in religion. They shall eagerly snap on the customs and rituals of their grand-fathers who were none other than the ignorant polytheists. A man who adopts the ways of the polytheists will naturally become one of them. Thus it becomes known to us that the old polytheism shall also be wide-spread during the concluding periodic phase of the world. Presently, all kinds of Shirk (both the ancient and new ones) are rampant among the Muslims. What the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} prophesied earlier seems to be coming true now. For instance, the Muslims are treating Prophets, saints, Imam and martyrs etc. polytheistically. Similarly the old polytheism also seems to be gaining ground as the Muslims deify and believe in the idols peculiarly belonging to the polytheists and follow their rituals, i.e. consulting pundits about the future events, taking something as a bad omen, believing in propitious hours (hours of happy augury to commence an event or activity), worshipping Satila and Masani, invoking the so-called deities like Hanuman, Noona[6] and Kalwa, observing the festivals of Holi, Diwali, Nauroze and Maharjan, believing in the foreboding evil of the moon entering into the zodiac of scorpion and cherishing a belief that the last few days of a lunar month (in which the moon is not visible) are ill-fated. All these myths and superstitions originally belong to the Hindus which are now rife among the Muslims. Thus it becomes known to us that the Muslims shall be indulged into committing Shirk in such a manner that they shall abide by the customs of their forefathers by putting aside the injunctions and teachings of Qur'an and Hadith.

    Worshipping the places of saints is an act of the worst people:

    It is narrated by Abdullah bin Umar {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

     

    "At the advent of Ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist), Allah will send Jesus {Peace be upon Him}to this earth who will trace him out and do away with him. Then Allah will cause a cool breeze to blow, originating from the direction of Syria, which will take away the lives of all those who cherish even a minute particle of Faith in their hearts. Only the vice-ridden people who would be as insensible as birds and as ferocious and blood-thirsty as beasts shall be spared to live on. They will be absolutely deprived of the capability of discerning good from bad. Satan will approach them in a human guise and say to them, "Don't you feel shy?" People will enquire of him as to what he really means by it. Then he will instruct them to practice idolatry and worshipping the places. The people would then be engrossed in these acts of vice and shall be enjoying an abundant supply of their livelihood and leading a life of a perfect ease and comfort." (Muslim)

     

    It means that during the last stage of the world's existence, the faithful will cease to exist and the unfaithful and the foolish will thrive who will have no scruples about brazenly usurping the wealth of other people. They will be totally devoid of the quality of discerning good from bad. Then Satan will appear to them in the guise of a saint and shall sermonize them by telling them that since being irreligious is a disgrace, they should turn religious. His exhortations shall eventually be heeded and the people will be rather enthused and inclined towards learning religion, but instead of following Qur'an and Hadith, they will be misled into concocting and fabricating what they shall presume to be as religious norms. They will do so by exercising their own judgment (banking purely on their own alleged and so called wisdom) and thus they shall be entangled into committing Shirk (polytheism), but they shall be awarded a further abundance in their livelihood and prosperity and shall be leading an extremely comfortable and easy life. They will be under the impression that since they are on the Right Path, Allah is pleased with them and hence they are prosperous and well-off. As a consequence, they shall be steeped into Shirk more and more on the pretext that the more we believe in these rituals and follow them, the more our desires get fulfilled. Therefore, a Muslim should fear Allah that He at times gives a long rope to His slaves. It does happen on many occasions that someone gets involved in Shirk (polytheistic acts), asks the entities other than Allah to grant him his wishes, but Allah Gust for the sake of giving devil his due share), grants him his wishes. And this person erroneously believes that so long as I am on the Right Path, there -is nothing wrong in believing other deities (to the exclusion of Allah), and had it been otherwise, how could I be granted my wishes? Therefore, one must never depend on the fulfillment or non-­fulfillment of one's desires and must never forsake the true religion of Allah, (due to these trifles) which is Tauhid (Islamic Monotheism). This Hadith makes it clear to us that however thick-skinned and callous a man becomes, however does he get immersed in sins, however he becomes shameless and brazenly in having no qualms about unlawfully devouring the wealth of others or in the matter of not differentiating between good and bad; he is still better than the one who commits Shirk and believes in the (so-called) deities to the exclusion of Allah, because the Satan instructs people to believe in these things (i.e. acts of Shirk) by weaning them off the above vices and depravities.[7]

     

    Performing Tawaf of the idols:

    It is narrated by Abu Hurairah {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

     

    "The Doomsday shall never be heralded until the posteriors of the women of Daus tribe do not start throbbing and wobbling around Dhul-Khalasah (an idol) (i.e. unless they do not circumambulate it)." (Agreed upon)

     

    There was a certain clan among the Arabs who were known as 'Daus'. During the days of Jahiliyah (pre-Islamic period), they used to worship an idol which was called Dhul-Khalasah. During the days of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} it was demolished. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} made a prediction that just prior to the Doomsday, people will renew their Faith in it and the women belonging to the clan of Daus shall go around it. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} (by dint of a clairvoyance conferred on him by Allah) sighted their posteriors shaking about to and fro (around this idol). Thus it becomes clear to us that circumambulating any place other than the House of Allah is an act of Shirk and a ritual peculiar to disbelievers

     

     

    [1] The statement of Shah Shaheed lends a credence to the view that the book Taqwiyat-ul-Iman was written after his return from Hajj because this kind of detailed description is only possible after one's return from Hajj. This is merely our opinion and Allah knows the best.

     

    [2] An imaginary preceptor of women in whose name a goat is sacrificed.

    [3] It means that anyone authenticating a command, custom or way of life devised by the mortals (creatures brought into existence by Allah), and thereby considering them as authoritative, commits a proven act of Shirk. If such a person does not seek Allah's forgiveness in earnest prior to his death, he will be doomed to bum in the Hell-fire till eternity.

     

    [4] It is a flag which accompanies Ta'ziya commemorating the martyrs of Karbala.

    [5] These are the different goddesses of the Hindus:

    Satila:    A goddess of smallpox. In case this epidemic breaks out, her worship is conducted as a precaution to ward off     the ailment.

    Masani:  According to the Hindu faith, Satila had seven sisters. Masani is one of them. She was considered the goddess of chicken pox or the goddess of younger sister. Bhawani, Kali, and Kalka are also among the several goddesses of Hindus.

    Barahi:    The name of a goddess of diseases amont the Hindus which is worshipped and propitiated so that she may obviate the diseases.

    May be someone is intrigued with a question as to why Shah Shaheed {May Allah have mercy on him}made the mention of the customs among the Hindus. The answer to this question is that the Muslims, on many occasions, adopted Hindu customs as a result of following them, a fact which he himself points out to later on.

     

    [6] "Luna" or 'Noona Chamari' was a famous witch of Bengal.

    1. 'Nauroze' and 'Maharjan' are the festivals of Persians.

    The intromission of moon into the zodiac of scorpion was considered to be a bad omen.

     

    [7] This statement aims at providing a clear idea of the utmost depravity and an extreme abomination which the polytheism involves. It never implies that "one is licensed to commit any sinful act on the condition that he refrain from practicing Shirk (polytheism)."

     

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