Warning against Shirk in the Noble Quran

Warning against Shirk in the Noble Quran

If murder and genocide are crimes denounced by humanity, Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) is the greatest crime of all, as the former are crimes perpetrated against man, while the latter is committed against Allah, the Almighty. Allah’s rights are greater than those of man, as Allah created man, provided him with the means of subsistence, and granted him health, money, and children. However, man is heedless to Allah’s right to be worshipped and thanked and worships and draws close to other (and false) deities.

Due to the severity of Shirk, many Quranic verses warn against it in different ways, starting from showing its severity and ending with revealing the ruling on the polytheist and the punishment that he will receive in the Hereafter. We will tackle all these points by presenting all the verses stated in this regard.

Allah, the Almighty, clarifies the severity of the crime of Shirk, saying: “And [mention, O Muhammad], when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, ‘O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah. Indeed, association [with Him] is great injustice.’” (Quran 31: 13) Allah describes Shirk as a great injustice because it is considered to be a transgression against Allah’s right in knowledge-related and practical terms; in knowledge-related terms by believing in a deity other than Allah, and in practical terms by worshipping other than Allah, the Almighty.

Allah, the Almighty, reveals the stupidity and naivety of the polytheists, as they avoid worshipping Allah and worship other deities that create nothing and can neither benefit nor harm them. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Do they associate with Him those who create nothing and they are [themselves] created?(Quran 7: 191) Allah, the Almighty, says: “And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them…(Quran 10: 18) Despite the clear incompetence of the deities worshiped by the polytheists, they worship them claiming that they are their intercessors with Allah, so Allah responds to them, saying: “…and they say, ‘These are our intercessors with Allah.’ Say, ‘Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?’(Quran 10: 18) What Allah does not know does not actually exist, so how do they claim that these false deities intercede with Allah for them? Allah criticizes them for worshipping these deities and does not acknowledge their intercession.

Allah, the Almighty, reveals that those polytheists’ belief in their deities is shaken, as they supplicate them when they are prosperous and at ease, but they desert them during calamity and distress. This indicates that the polytheists’ belief in these idols is no more than an imitation of their predecessors without guidance. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Then when He removes the adversity from you, at once a party of you associates others with their Lord.” (Quran 16: 54) Allah, the Almighty, says: “It is He who enables you to travel on land and sea until, when you are in ships and they sail with them by a good wind and they rejoice therein, there comes a storm wind and the waves come upon them from every place and they expect to be engulfed, they supplicate Allah, sincere to Him in religion, ‘If You should save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful.’(Quran 10: 22)

In many verses, Allah, the Almighty, compares between what He does for His servants and what the so-called and claimed deities do in order to reveal His grace and favor in contrast to the incompetence and negativity of these idols. According to reason, undoubtedly, one should worship the One Who benefits, not those who do not benefit. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Say, ‘Are there of your “partners” any who guides to the truth?’ Say, ‘Allah guides to the truth. So is He Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed or he who guides not unless he is guided? Then what is [wrong] with you—how do you judge?’(Quran 10: 35) Allah is the One Who guides to the path of the truth and guidance, but the idols are mute and deaf, as they cannot hear or speak, so who is more worthy to be followed and worshipped? Allah, the Almighty, says: “[More precisely], is He [not best] Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down for you rain from the sky, causing to grow thereby gardens of joyful beauty which you could not [otherwise] have grown the trees thereof? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but they are a people who ascribe equals [to Him]. Is He [not best] Who made the earth a stable ground and placed within it rivers and made for it firmly set mountains and placed between the two seas a barrier? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but most of them do not know. Is He [not best] Who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember. Is He [not best] Who guides you through the darkness of the land and sea and Who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy? Is there a deity with Allah? High is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. Is He [not best] Who begins creation and then repeats it and Who provides for you from the heaven and earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Say, ‘Produce your proof, if you should be truthful.’(Quran 27: 60-64) Allah sends down rain, causes plants to grow, created the earth, prepared it for people to live on it, guides people through the darkness of land and sea, and bestows on them other countless graces. What do your idols do, O polytheists? What are their graces and favors? If they have none, how do you worship them and do not worship the One Who bestows graces and favors upon you?

Allah, the Almighty, reveals that Shirk is not limited to the scope of worship and creed, but it extends to include obeying other than Allah in making lawful what Allah makes unlawful or prohibiting what Allah, the Almighty, permits. Allah, the Almighty, says: “They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.” (Quran 9: 31) The knowledgeable Sheikh Ash-Shanqiti stated in Adwa’ Al-Bayan:

When `Adiy ibn Hatim (may Allah be pleased with him) said to the Prophet ( sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )), “How did they take them as lords?” The Prophet ( sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )) said, “They made lawful for them what Allah made unlawful and made unlawful for them what Allah made lawful, so they followed them.” This is the intended meaning of taking their monks as lords. We can understand clearly and without any ambiguity that the one who follows the legislation of Satan and gives it precedence over the legislation sent down to the Messengers disbelieves in Allah, worships Satan, and takes him as lord, regardless of the names given to following Satan. This is because facts do not change by giving them different names, as is known.

Allah, the Almighty, clarified in many verses the reward gained by the one who worships Him alone, does good deeds, and avoids Shirk. Allah promises that He will meet and honor this person. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Say, ‘I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord—let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.’(Quran 18: 110)

In other verses, Allah, the Almighty, clarified the moral decline lived by the polytheist, as he falls from the lofty peak of monotheism to the rock bottom of Shirk and idolatry. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Inclining [only] to Allah, not associating [anything] with Him. And he who associates with Allah—it is as though he had fallen from the sky and was snatched by the birds or the wind carried him down into a remote place.” (Quran 22: 31) Sayyid Qutb ( may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him) said:

The text depicts a violent scene that reveals the status of a person falling from the peak of monotheism into the rock bottom of Shirk. He is getting lost as if he never existed before, as he is falling from a high place: “…it is as though he had fallen from the sky,” in the twinkling of an eye, he is torn into pieces …and was snatched by the birds or the wind carries him down to a remote place out of sight “or the wind carried him down into a remote place.” He is carried into an abyss that has no bottom. We notice that it is a speedy and violent movement and its steps follow each other in close succession using the Arabic letter ‘Fa’’, and this person disappears quickly, as depicted by the Noble Quran. This is a truthful image of the one who associates others with Allah in worship; he falls from the lofty peak of faith into extinction and isolation, as he loses the firm base that reassures him (the base of monotheism) and the secure foundation to which he returns. Therefore, vain desires snatch him like birds of prey, and illusions carry and throw him like winds while he is not adhering to the most trustworthy handhold and is not settling at a firm base that links him to the existence in which he lives.

If this is the status of the polytheist in the worldly life, his punishment in the Hereafter will be more severe and permanent. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.” (Quran 4: 48) Shirk is a sin that Allah, the Almighty, does not forgive on the Day of Judgement, and the polytheist shall be destined to dwell eternally in Hell if he dies as a polytheist, without any hope of salvation, unlike disobedient people and sinners from among the monotheists. At-Tabari narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said concerning the explanation of the verse: “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him…,” “Allah forbade forgiveness for the one who dies as a polytheist and left the destiny of monotheists to His will, but He did not let them lose hope of His forgiveness.”

The Quran includes many verses that reveal the ruling on Shirk and the status of polytheists in the worldly life and the Hereafter. They are too numerous to be listed in this article, but what we presented is sufficient to explain the severity of polytheism and the fate of the polytheist on the Day of Judgement.

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