Why Is Shirk the Gravest Misdeed in Islam?

Why Is Shirk the Gravest Misdeed in Islam

Almighty Allah has not abhorred, cursed and decreed an everlasting stay in the Hellfire more than He did with those who commit Shirk.

By Editorial Staff

Almighty Allah has not abhorred, cursed and decreed an everlasting stay in the Hellfire more than He did with those who commit Shirk, aside from the perpetrators of other major misdeeds such as killing, fornication, consuming alcohol, etc. Shirk towers over the most repulsive wrongdoings in Islam and roams outside the ambit of the mercy of God unless one repents from it before death. It refers to associating partners with Allah in His Divinity, Lordship or His most beautiful Names and Attributes. Its danger is represented in transferring the Attributes and Characteristic of God to some of His creation, like a person, a spirit, an idol, etc which is entirely wrong. It has numerous forms and types and ranges between major and minor actions which requires special recompense for each.

Shirk is full of abominations and deserves the hideous status it is placed in. It involves the gravest kinds of injustice which is committed by man against his Creator and Provider. It is a violation of the pure nature, the proper thought, the upright attitude and the powerful personality. It goes against logic, science, and reason.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked “Which sin is the gravest in the eye of Allah?” He said, “(It is) to associate a partner with Allah (despite the fact) that He has created you.” He (the reporter) said: “I told him (the Prophet): ‘Verily, it is indeed grave.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) We notice that the narrator of the hadith, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, confirmed the Prophet’s answer by his saying, “Verily, it is indeed grave.”

In another hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) once said to his Companions, “Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the major sins?” He asked this question thrice. They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, “Ascribing partners to Allah, and to be undutiful to your parents…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) The Prophet placed Shirk at the top of the most abominable actions in Islam and the most punishable perpetrations that require the Wrath of God. In the Qur’an, Allah warns us that although His mercy is all-encompassing, it does not cover Shirk unless one repents from it before death. God says,

Verily, Allah 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 Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)

We can glimpse the features of the aberrance of Shirk in the following points:

  • Shirk is injustice

Shirk, as clarified above, is an open aggression upon the right of God, the Creator and Dominator of the entire universe. Shirk is a blatant violation of the principles of justice by which the heavens and earth operate. It involves ascribing divine entitlements and attributes to those who are not either worthy of or capable of accomplishing them. Therefore, Allah laid blame on those who neglected these rights that pertain solely to Him in His saying,

They have not estimated Allah His Rightful Estimate; Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. (Al-Hajj 22:74)

Almighty Allah has exactly titled Shirk as injustice in more than one place in the Qur’an. We read:

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.” (Luqman 31:13)

They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided. (Al-An`am 6:82)

Those who commit Shirk are plainly wrongful because they put things out of their place. They refer their worship to those who do not control their matters. Also, they equate between the Creator and the created, the All-Powerful and the weak, God and slaves, and the Ever-Living and the dead. This is a blatant injustice that everyone should abandon. One should refer all his worship, supplication, dependence, submission, love, and trust to Almighty Allah who alone deserves this and is capable of fulfilling their duties.

Shirk involves another kind of injustice when the man, who is honored by God, lowers himself to a powerless created being who possesses nothing from himself aside from others. Monotheism, which is the contrary of Shirk, elevates man, preserves their dignity, honors and raises their status among others. It is very humiliating to resort to a powerless human being who may be of a lesser degree of the one who worships and humbles himself before him.

  • Shirk is contradictory to the pure nature

Almighty Allah has created people on the pure nature of monotheism but it is the misleading currents or the misguided people that divert them from the way of guidance. Almighty Allah says,

So set you (O Muhammad) your face towards the religion of pure Islamic Monotheism (worship none but Allah Alone) Allah’s Fitrah (i.e. Allah’s Islamic Monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in the religion of Allah. That is the straight religion, but most of men know not. (Ar-Rum 30:30)

Monotheism is the pure nature upon which people have been brought into existence. However, the aberrant trends and thoughts manage to swerve this nature to deviation. Abu Hurairah narrated, “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) and his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The problem with Shirk is that it clashes with this pure nature which results in many contradictions within the character and thinking of the person. It leads to perversion in the attitude, confusion in the thought, deviation in the belief and loss of the normal state of being. The existence of man in the earth centers around the sacred connection between man and God Who controls the universe and submits it to man. The diversion from this belief tears apart this connection and results in man’s loss of the limitless Support of God, especially before the occurrences that are out of his control. Islam ties and fosters the relationship between God and man and defines the ways to enjoy the Support of God.

  • Shirk brings about insecurity and fear

In a verse mentioned above, Almighty Allah says,

They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided. (Al-An`am 6:82)

When the Prophet was asked about the meaning of injustice here, he said that it is Shirk. So, the verse states those who refrain from Shirk and have pure faith in Allah are the only ones who enjoy security while the ones who have doubtful faith live in extreme fear. Insecurity is a natural produce of Shirk as it brings about fear inside the person of helpless things, mythical beings, the nearby future and evil spirits. This is because one lacks the absolute trust in God Who dominates everything and nothing in the whole being happens without His decree. The pure faith in Allah reassures the heart, pacifies the soul and comforts the mind because it is grounded on strong connection with Allah the Omnipotent Who defends and protects those who believe in Him. The Qur’an says,

And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers. (Aal `Imran 3:68)

To be continued…

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