Shariah

Shirk: Types, Causes and Effects

Brief Notes on Shirk

Description: The brief article defines Shirk and lists the types and examples of Shirk in the form of notes without  accompanying verses of the Quran or hadith.

Definition of Shirk/What is Shirk?

  1. ‘Shirk’ is to give someone other than Allah a share in what is due to Him and is His exclusive right.
  1. ‘Shirk’ is to worship created beings like Allah is worshipped, or to venerate created beings like Allah must be venerated, or to assign a portion of His divinity to someone else.

Types of Shirk:

  1. Greater Shirk (Shirk Akbar)
  2. Lesser Shirk (Shirk Ashgar)

Greater Shirk is a human being taking a rival/associate unto Allah and making him an equal to Allah.

Lesser Shirk is what has been called ‘shirk’ in Qur’an and Sunnah, but does not reach the level of Greater Shirk, or Lesser Shirk is what leads to Greater Shirk.

Examples of Greater Shirk:

  1. Sacrificing an animal to venerate or please someone other than Allah.
  2. Making a vow for other than Allah.
  3. Circumambulating graves and praying to the dead.
  4. Calling upon the deceased saints for help and assistance or those who are absent and far away as Allah is prayed to.
  5. Loving other beings as Allah should be loved.
  6. Fearing other beings as Allah should be feared.
  7. Seeking help and aid from other than Allah of what they are not capable of.
  8. Making ‘middle man’ (intercessor) between oneself and Allah, praying to the ‘middle man’ and relying on him.

Examples of Lesser Shirk:

  1. Taking an oath in someone other than Allah’s Name. To swear in the Name of other than Allah.
  2. Venerating created beings, but not to the level of worshipping them.
  3. Wearing charms, talismans, and amulets for protection against the evil eye, bad luck and the like.
  4. Praying to Allah, but doing so next to a grave.
  5. Doing worship to show-off and to earn the praise of other human beings.

Differences Between Greater Shirk & Lesser Shirk:

  1. Both have different definitions as given above.
  2. A person who dies committing Greater Shirk is judged to be in Hell Fire for eternity, this is not the case with one committing Lesser Shirk.
  3. Greater Shirk wipes out all previous good deeds, Lesser Shirk only ruins the deed it accompanies.
  4. Greater Shirk is not forgiven by Allah except through sincere repentance (tawba) done before death; scholars differ regarding Lesser Shirk (stronger opinion is it is unto Allah to punish or forgive it).

Causes of falling into Shirk:

Ignorance, veneration, following desires, blind following of ancestors, ignorant ‘scholars’, love of wealth and worldly life,

falling short in conveying Allah’s message to humanity, not ordering the right/forbidding the wrong.

Effects of Shirk:

  1. Greatest reason for entry into Hell and permanent residence in it.
  2. Greatest reason for losing Paradise.
  3. Losing all rewards for one’s good deeds.
  4. Unhappiness in life.
  5. Division, disunity, and insecurity.

Brief Notes on Shirk Feature Image Credit: Mohammad Usaid Abbasi