Many are unaware of the term shirk despite the fact it is an integral part of Islam. What is Shirk, really? The word in Arabic means associating anyone or anything with Almighty God. The shirk definition could also mean associating partners with the creator of the universe, which is unacceptable in Islam. If you want to learn more about what is Shirk in Islam, read on.
What Does Shirk Mean?
As mentioned above, Shirk is a word to describe associating partners with God. Shirk goes against the concept of Tawhid, the oneness of God. Islam strictly prohibits associating partners with any of God’s attributes or personality. In the Holy Quran, God has explicitly stated that Shirk is an unforgivable sin, which is why every Muslim must know what is Shirk in Islam, and how they can avoid it.
What is Shirk in Islam According to The Holy Quran
To fully understand Shirk meaning, and how it is frowned upon, let’s take a look at what the Holy Quran has to say about it:
Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him. He pardons all except that, to whom He wills. Whoever ascribes associates to Allah has gone far astray.(The Holy Quran, 4:116)
(Remember) when Luqmaan said to his son, as he was advising him: “O my son! Associate no partners with Allah. Truly it is a monstrous thing to ascribe partners (to Him)(The Holy Quran, 31:13)
They most certainly disbelieve who say: “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mariam ” For the Messiah said: “O Bani Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates partners with Allah, for him Allah has most certainly forbidden Paradise; his abode is the Fire. For wrongdoers there are no helpers.(The Holy Quran, 5:72)
The lightning nearly takes away their vision. Every time it sheds light on them, they walk in it, and when it grows dark upon them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Indeed Allah has power over everything.(The Holy Quran, 2:22)
These are just a few of many verses in The Holy Quran that explicitly state that Shirk is not only unacceptable but an unforgivable sin. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, Peace be Upon Him, also said:
Whoever dies to claim that Allah has a rival, will enter Hell.(Sahih al- Bukhari 4497, Book 65, Hadith 24)
Types of Shirk
Now that you know what is Shirk in Islam, let’s take a look at the different types:
This type of Shirk involves associating anyone or anything with God. Any association with God’s divinity, attributes, divine names, lordship, and so on is a big no-no. This type of Shirk is easy to identify, mostly involving worshipping idols, the dead, or graves.
Some examples of major Shirk are as follows:
- Believing in a being apart from God who can grant life and death, controls the universe and beyond, etc.
- Following a human being who claims to be divine, and following their instructions.
- Believing in an individual who claims to know the unseen as well as God.
- Praying to someone apart from God; or seeking refuge from a Prophet, Jinn, or Saint.
Minor Shirk is the first step towards major Shirk, but it is not the same as major Shirk.
Please note that Shirk, even if it is minor, is unacceptable in Islam. There are two types of minor Shirk, which are:
- Giving great importance to items that God does not permit. For instance, hanging amulets or beads in a house for protection or warding off the evil eye.
- Swearing by someone or something apart from God. Ascribing lordship to anyone or anything includes giving respect to someone or something that does not deserve it apart from God.
How to Avoid Shirk: Essential Tips
God has clearly stated in The Holy Quran that Muslims must not create partners with the Almighty. If Muslims want to please God, they can start by avoiding all kinds of Shirk, whether major or minor. Remember, only God deserves to be worshipped and obeyed, so associating anyone with Him is out of the question.
So, to avoid Shirk, here are a few essential tips worth considering:
- Pray to God, and only ask for his assistance and forgiveness.
- Remember that everyone and everything was and will be created by God.
- Read the Holy Quran regularly, but do so to understand it to know the do’s and don’t’s as specified by God himself.
- For clarity, the Sunnah is an excellent source of information to provide context to the Holy Quran.
- Despite the Prophets being chosen by God, even they should not be worshipped or prayed to. Of course, Muslims can pray for them and their well-being, but only to God.
- Stick to the basics; the Holy Quran, Sunnah, Salah, etc. For further guidance, feel free to contact an Islamic scholar.
Hopefully, this blog will have answered all your questions about Shirk in Islam. Now that you know what is Shirk in Islam make the most of this information to lead a better life, one that does not involve displeasing God. By strictly obeying and worshipping God, Muslims will have a blessed life in this world and the hereafter. If you still have questions or concerns, leave a comment below!
- Does Allah/God forgive all sins?
Allah/God can forgive all sins except for Shirk. But then again, this does not imply anyone can get away with doing evil time and time again and repenting later.
- What is Shirk in simple terms?
Shirk refers to associating anyone or anything with God.
- What are the biggest sins in Islam?
The biggest sins in Islam include Shirk, murder, stealing the property of an orphan, not offering prayers (Salah), failing to pay Zakat, failing to fast in Ramadan without a valid reason, committing adultery, consuming intoxicants, paying or taking interest, and lying by swearing on God and Prophets and religion.