Different Types Of Shirk. (Objects being worshipped besides Allah swt)

by Allama Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer on Thursday, 21 July 2011

Shirk and its types

To associate partners with Allah swt is the worst of the all kinds of sins and is termed as shirk in shariah And Allah can forgive every type of sin but He will not forgive this sin of associating partners with Him.

In Surah Nisa Allah swt says:

Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allâh in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (An-Nisa 4:48)

And in Surah Maidah Allah swt says:

Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allâh, then Allâh has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers. (Al-Ma'idah 5:72)

So it is an obligation on every Muslim to avoid from this fatal sin.To avoid this sin we need to know that there are many different types of shirks which are refuted by Allah and His Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam.If we try to understand all these types of shirk InshaAllah we can avoid them in future:


1 Idol worshipping

2 Worshipping of Jesus aliehis salam or trinity

3 Concept of two gods also known as dualism

4 Worshipping of Heavenly organisms/Astrology

5 Worshipping of cow/calf

6 Worshipping of angels/prophets

7 Worshipping of pious people

8 Worshipping of saints and monks

9 Worshipping of Graves

10 concept of no god/worshipping of nature and desires


Idol Worshipping:

Idols were being worshipped during the time of Rasool sala lahao liehi wasalam and polytheists of Arabia used to invoke them besides Allah swt.Prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam refuted them and asked them why they were invoking these idols when they were not capable of helping them in their matters but they responded to the objections of Rasool sala laho aliehi wasalam that they were not worshipping them directly but they were worshipping them for intercession.

Allah swt refuted their sayings in the following way:

Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only. And those who take Auliyâ' (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh." Verily, Allâh will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allâh guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever. (Az-Zumar 39:3)

Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam also narrated to them the incidence of Ibraheem aliehis salam .

This incidence has been narrated in Holy Quran in the following way:

And indeed We bestowed aforetime on Ibrâhim (Abraham) his (portion of) guidance, and We were Well-Acquainted with him (as to his Belief in the Oneness of Allâh, etc.). (Al-Anbiya 21:51) When he said to his father and his people: "What are these images, to which you are devoted?" (Al-Anbiya 21:52) They said:"We found our fathers worshipping them." (Al-Anbiya 21:53) He said: "Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error." (Al-Anbiya 21:54) They said: "Have you brought us the truth, or are you one of those who play about?" (Al-Anbiya 21:55) He said: "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them and of that I am one of the witnesses. (Al-Anbiya 21:56) "And by Allâh, I shall plot a plan (to destroy) your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs." (Al-Anbiya 21:57) So he broke them to pieces, (all) except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it. (Al-Anbiya 21:58) They said: "Who has done this to our âliha (gods)? He must indeed be one of the wrong-doers." (Al-Anbiya 21:59) They said: "We heard a young man talking (against) them who is called Ibrâhim (Abraham)." (Al-Anbiya 21:60) They said: "Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may testify." (Al-Anbiya 21:61) They said: "Are you the one who has done this to our gods, O Ibrâhim (Abraham)?" (Al-Anbiya 21:62) [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] said: "Nay, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it. Ask them, if they can speak!" (Al-Anbiya 21:63) So they turned to themselves and said: "Verily, you are the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers)." (Al-Anbiya 21:64) Then they turned to themselves (their first thought and said): "Indeed you [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] know well that these (idols) speak not!" (Al-Anbiya 21:65) [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] said: "Do you then worship besides Allâh, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you? (Al-Anbiya 21:66) "Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allâh! Have you then no sense?" (Al-Anbiya 21:67)

It was a matter of intense grief that they did not obey prophet salal laho aliehi waslam and claimed that they were the real followers of Ibraheem aliehis salam they made the idol of Ibraheem aliehis salam and put in Kaabah and also started worshipping that idol.When prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam conquered Makkah he broke the idol of Ibraheem aliehis salam besides other idols and left the message for humanity that they must not worship any one besides Allah swt.

Worshiping of Jesus aliehi salam:

Jesus aliehis salam was the miraculous creation of Allah swt and Allah swt created him without any father and this was indeed a big sign of Allah’s creations and powers.But Christians were misled by this great sign and started worshipping Jesus aliehis salam by declaring him son of Allah swt.

Allah swt got angry on this act of Christians and said:

And the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allâh, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allâh. That is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allâh's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth![] (At-Tawbah 9:30).

On another instance Allah swt says:

Those (Jews, Christians, and pagans) who say, "Allâh has begotten a son (or offspring or children)." (Al-Kahf 18:4) No knowledge have they of such a thing, nor had their fathers. Mighty is the word that comes out of their mouths [i.e. He begot (took) sons and daughters]. They utter nothing but a lie. (Al-Kahf 18:5).

Allah swt proved that Jesus and Mary was not likely to be worshipped because they got hungry and said in the Holy Quran:

The Messiah ['Iesa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam (Mary)] was a Siddiqah [i.e. she believed in the words of Allâh and His Books (see Verse 66:12)]. They both used to eat food (as any other human being, while Allâh does not eat). Look how We make the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to them, yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth). (Al-Ma'idah 5:75).

Allah swt also clarified the doubts that came into minds of christains about the miraculous birth of jesus aliehis salam:

Verily, the likeness of 'Iesa (Jesus) before Allâh is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" - and he was. (Aali Imran 3:59)

Allah swt also told in Holy Quran that on the day of judgement Jesus aliehis salam will be asked about this acts of Christians .

Allah swt says:

And (remember) when Allâh will say (on the Day of Resurrection): "O 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: 'Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allâh?' " He will say: "Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner¬self though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the All¬Knower of all that is hidden and unseen. (Al-Ma'idah 5:116)."Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allâh) did command me to say: 'Worship Allâh, my Lord and your Lord.' And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a Witness to all things. (This is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world). (Al-Ma'idah 5:117)

Allah swt has also declared it an act of disbelief to take jesus aliehis salam as an ilah to be worshipped besides Allah swt .

Allah swt says in Surah Maidah:

Surely, they have disbelieved who say: "Allâh is the Messiah ['Iesa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary)." But the Messiah ['Iesa (Jesus)] said: "O Children of Israel! Worship Allâh, my Lord and your Lord." Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allâh, then Allâh has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers. (Al-Ma'idah 5:72) Surely, disbelievers are those who said: "Allâh is the third of the three (in a Trinity)." But there is no ilâh (god) (none who has the right to be worshipped) but One Ilâh (God -Allâh). And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall the disbelievers among them. (Al-Ma'idah 5:73).

So with the clear evidences Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam refuted the worshipping of jesus aliehis salam and called people of scriptures to worshipping of almighty Allah alone.

Worshipping of two gods:


An other concept prevailing during the time period of Holy prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam was that Zoroastrians were believing in concept of two gods. One of good deeds and light was known as Yazdan and that of bad deeds and darkness was known as Aharman .

Allah swt refuted the concept of two gods and said in Holy Quran:

Had there been therein (in the heavens and the earth) gods besides Allâh, then verily both would have been ruined. Glorified be Allâh, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to Him! (Al-Anbiya 21:22)

And on another instance Allah swt says:

And Allâh said (O mankind!): "Take not ilâhaîn (two gods in worship, etc.). Verily, He (Allâh) is (the) only One Ilâh (God). Then, fear Me (Allâh Ìá ÌáÇáå) much [and Me (Alone), i.e. be away from all kinds of sins and evil deeds that Allâh has forbidden and do all that Allâh has ordained and worship none but Allâh]. (An-Nahl 16:51).

From the above verses it is very clear that there is only one Allah who should be worshipped and had there been two gods the whole universe had been destroyed due to confrontation between commands of two gods.

Worshipping of heavenly bodies:


A large number of Human beings have been worshipping and associating their fate with heavenly bodies and stars since a very long time.Even at this moment Hindus and Zoroastrians pray sun and take it as source of power and benefits.This belief has been strictly condemned by Allah swt and His Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam. This mistaken belief was also prevailing in life time of Ibraheem aliehis salam.Allah swt has narrated this incidence in Holy Quran .

Allah swt says:

Thus did we show Ibrâhim (Abraham) the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of those who have Faith with certainty. (Al-An'am 6:75)When the night covered him over with darkness he saw a star. He said: "This is my lord." But when it set, he said: "I like not those that set." (Al-An'am 6:76)When he saw the moon rising up, he said: "This is my lord." But when it set, he said: "Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among the erring people." (Al-An'am 6:77) When he saw the sun rising up, he said: "This is my lord. This is greater." But when it set, he said: "O my people! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners in worship with Allâh. (Al-An'am 6:78)Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa (Islâmic Monotheism, i.e. worshipping none but Allâh Alone) and I am not of Al-Mushrikûn . (Al-An'am 6:79).

Thus it can be concluded that Heavenly bodies are not owner of any things rather they are owned by Allah swt.So we need to avoid the worshipping of Sun and Moon .Allah swt has strictly forbidden His worshippers to prostrate before Sun and Moon.

Allah swt says:

Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allâh Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.(Fussilat 41:37)

Even the old scriptures have also condemned the worshipping of stars.It is clearly mentioned in old testament

And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.(Deuteronomy 4:19 English Standard Version (©2001) )

It is blessing of Allah swt on Muslims that they donot worship and prostrate before Sun and Moon and other heavenly bodies .But it is very unlucky that a large number of Muslims associate their fate with different stars and an overwhelming majority is interested in knowing their horoscope and affect of different stars on their life. We should follow instructions of Allah and His Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam on these issues.

It is mentioned in hadith Narrated by Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani, may Allah be pleased with him, he reported:

Allah's Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) led the Morning Prayer at Al-Hudaibiah. There were some marks of the rainfall during the night. At the conclusion of the Prayer he turned towards people and observed: Do you know what your Lord has said? They replied: Allah and His Messenger know best. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He (Allah) said: Some of My bondsmen entered the morning as My believers and some as unbelievers. He who said: We have had a rainfall due to the Blessing and Mercy of Allah, is My believer and a disbeliever of stars, and who said: We have had a rainfall due to the rising of such and such (star) disbelieved in Me and affirmed his faith in the stars. (Al-Bukhari :Book on The Call for Prayer: Hadith 801, Friday Prayer: Hadith 980, Battles: Hadith 3832, Monotheism: Hadith 6949, Muslim : Book on Faith: Hadith 104, Al-Nisa`i : Book on Asking for Rain: Hadith 1508, Abu-Dawud :Book on Medical Treatment :Hadith 3407, Ahmed b. Hanbal : Part 4 Page 116, 117, 118,Malik :Book on Asking for Rain :Hadith 405 )

Now it is time to think that if some one associates a single rainfall with stars is disbeliever in Allah swt.So what will be the fate of the person who associates his upcoming weeks ,months ,years ,travels, marriages and death with stars.Indeed according to the sayings of Prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam he/she is the one who believes in stars and disbelieves in Allah swt. Thus it is an obligation on every Muslim that he/she must avoid believing in stars and should not take interest in this mistaken activity even for fun and entertainment.May Allah guide us all to the right path ameen.

Worshipping of Cow/Calf :
Many people have been involved in worshipping of certain animals and think that they are the owner of their fates.Hindus at this moment think that cow is a sacred animal and address it as mother cow.They forget that cow is not even the owner of her own life.This wrong belief was also prevailing in the tribe of Moses aliehis salam .Allah swt commanded them that they should sacrifice a cow so that the reality of cow can be exposed but they tried to ignore this command of Allah swt.

This incidence has been revealed in Holy Quran in following ways:

And (remember) when Mûsa (Moses) said to his people: "Verily, Allâh commands you that you slaughter a cow." They said, "Do you make fun of us?" He said, "I take Allâh's Refuge from being among Al-Jâhilûn (the ignorants or the foolish)." (Al-Baqarah 2:67) They said, "Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!" He said, "He says, 'Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but (it is) between the two conditions', so do what you are commanded." (Al-Baqarah 2:68)They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us its colour." He said, "He says, 'It is a yellow cow, bright in its colour, pleasing to the beholders.' " (Al-Baqarah 2:69) They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily to us all cows are alike, And surely, if Allâh wills, we will be guided." (Al-Baqarah 2:70) He [Mûsa (Moses)] said, "He says, 'It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no other colour except bright yellow.' " They said, "Now you have brought the truth." So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it. (Al-Baqarah 2:71).

This incidence makes it clear that no animal is owner of its own fate .So when some one cannot own its own fate how can it help some one else.

Worshipping of Angels/Prophets:

Many people respect angels and prophets to the extent that they start thinking that they can help us in solving our miseries and problems.

Allah swt strictly refutes this idea and says:

It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allâh has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: "Be my worshippers rather than Allâh's." On the contrary (he would say): "Be you Rabbaniyun (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach others), because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it." (Aali Imran 3:79) Nor would he order you to take angels and Prophets for lords (gods). Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to Allâh's Will? (Tafsir At-Tabarî). (Aali Imran 3:80).

These two verses make it clear that angels and prophets cannor be worshipped despite their elevated status in eyes of Allah swt and it is an act of shirk to take them as lords besides Allah swt.

Worshipping of Monks and Saints:

Many of the people take religious personalities like saints ,monks and ulemas as the esteemed being and accept their sayings without any condition and elevate them to status of lord .

It is not allowed in Islam and Allah swt has made it clear in Holy Quran:
They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allâh (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allâh), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilâh (God - Allâh) Lâ ilâha 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)." (At-Tawbah 9:31)

So we need to avoid worshipping of monks,saints and ulemas.

Worshipping of Graves:

It was a tradition in tribe of bani Israel that they were habitual of prostrating before graves of their prophets.Prophet salal lahoa liehi wasalam condemned this act of worshipping of grave and said:

1 Narrated 'Aisha and 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas radi Allahu anhum ajma een: When the disease of Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him)got aggravated, he covered his face with a Khamisa, but when he became short of breath, he would remove it from his face and say, "It is like that! May Allah curse the Jews Christians because they took the graves of their prophets as places of worship." By that he warned his follower of imitating them, by doing that which they did.( Bukhari : Book 7 : Volume 72 : Hadith 706)

2 .Jundub radi Allahu anhu reported: I heard from the Apostle of Allah ( peace be upon him) five days before his death and he said: Beware of those who preceded you and used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as mosques; I forbid you to do that.( Muslim : Book 4 : Hadith 1083 )

3. Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas radi Allahu anhumha: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed women who visit graves, those who built mosques over them and erected lamps (there). (Sunan AbiDawud : Book 20 : Hadith 3230 )

4. Yahya related to me from Malik from Ismail ibn Abi Hakim that he heard Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz rahimahullah say, "One of the last things that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said was, 'May Allah fight the jews and the christians. They took the graves of their Prophets as places of prostration . Two deens shall not co-exist in the land of the Arabs.' (Malik : Book 45 : Hadith 45.5.17 )

All these hadiths make it clear that it is not allowed to worship graves of prophets.So if graves of prophets cannot be worshipped how can some one worship graves of saints,monks and ulemas.

Concept of No God:

During the time period of Holy prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam many people used to think that there is no God and this system is running automatically this concept is known as atheism Allah swt clarified this wrong concept on many instances and made it clear that Allah swt is lord of universe .Let us have a look on some of the instances where Allah swt has refuted the concept of atheism .

Allah swt says:
And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones when they have rotted away and became dust?" (Ya-Sin 36:78) Say: (O Muhammad SAW) "He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!" (Ya-Sin 36:79) He, Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! You kindle therewith. (Ya-Sin 36:80) Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator. (Ya-Sin 36:81) Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!" and it is! (Ya-Sin 36:82)

On another instance Allah swt says:
And they say: "When we are bones and fragments (destroyed), should we really be resurrected (to be) a new creation?" (Al-Isra 17:49) Say (O Muhammad SAW) "Be you stones or iron," (Al-Isra 17:50)"Or some created thing that is yet greater (or harder) in your breasts (thoughts to be resurrected, even then you shall be resurrected)" Then, they will say: "Who shall bring us back (to life)?" Say: "He Who created you first!" Then, they will shake their heads at you and say: "When will that be ?" Say: "Perhaps it is near!" (Al-Isra 17:51) On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer (His Call) with (words of) His Praise and Obedience, and you will think that you have stayed (in this world) but a little while! (Al-Isra 17:52)

On another instance Allah swt says:
Does man (a disbeliever) think that We shall not assemble his bones? (Al-Qiyamah 75:3) Yes, We are Able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers. (Al-Qiyamah 75:4)

Yet on another instance Allah swt says:
Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilâh (god), and Allâh knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allâh? Will you not then remember? (Al-Jathiyah 45:23) And they say: "There is nothing but our life of this world, we die and we live and nothing destroys us except Ad-Dahr (the time). And they have no knowledge of it, they only conjecture. (Al-Jathiyah 45:24)And when Our Clear Verses are recited to them, their argument is no other than that they say: "Bring back our (dead) fathers, if you are truthful!" (Al-Jathiyah 45:25) Say (to them): "Allâh gives you life, then causes you to die, then He will assemble you on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt. But most of mankind know not." (Al-Jathiyah 45:26)

All these verses make it clear that Allah is the creator of mankind and atheists have no weight in their argument and we must not follow our desires and ignore the powers of Allah swt.

May Allah guide us all to the right path and clear our doubts about concept of Oneness of Lord ameen.