Shirk ( شرك ) in Islam ( Submission ) is the sin of idolatry. This is an unforgivable sin if maintained until death, as mentioned in the Quran (4:48, 4:18, 40:66). The term shirk ( شرك ) is typically understood as associating partners with God, but it is even more subtle than that. The Quran informs us that even the mere act of associating anything with God constitutes idolatry.
[4:36] You shall worship GOD alone—do not associate anything with Him. You shall regard the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the related neighbor, the unrelated neighbor, the close associate, the traveling alien, and your servants. GOD does not like the arrogant show-offs.
وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنْبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا
|1||wa-uʿ’budū||وَاعْبُدُوا||And worship [you all]|
|3||walā||وَلَا||And (do) not|
|4||tush’rikū||تُشْرِكُوا||[you all] associate|
Different Kinds of Idols
In order to avoid idolatry, we need to first be able to identify it. One of the misconceptions among many believers is that idols are only limited to those who are physically worshiped through prostration or other forms of religious acts, but the Quran informs us that this is not the only form of idol worship. The Quran provides the following various entities that people worship.
- Statues: (2:51, 21:51-53)
- Jesus (5:72)
- Jinns (6:100)
- Children (7:190)
- Humans/creatures (7:194)
- Intercessors (10:18)
- Satan (14:22)
- Property (18:32-36, 18:42)
- Dead prophets/messengers/saints (16:20-21, 3:79)
- Ego (25:43, 45:23)
- Kings and monarchs (12:42)
- Work (68:17-33)
- Upholding religious sources besides God’s revelation (6:19)
- Religious leaders and scholars (9:31)
- Sects (30:31-32)
Obviously, not all the items on this list are entities that people are bowing and prostrating to, so what does it mean to associate a thing, let alone a partner, with God?
Harm or Benefit
The simplest definition of idol worship is to believe anything independent of God can harm or benefit a person.
[5:76] Say, “Would you worship beside GOD powerless idols who can neither harm you, nor benefit you? GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.”
(٧٦) قُلْ أَتَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا وَاللَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
God alone has all power and control. As stated in 18:39, “no one possesses power except GOD” (Lã Quwwata Ellã Bellãh / لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ ). To think anything independent of God has the power to harm or benefit is to think that there is some partner with God.
[40:3] Forgiver of sins, acceptor of repentance, strict in enforcing retribution, and possessor of all power. There is no other god beside Him. To Him is the ultimate destiny.
غَافِرِ الذَّنْبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ ذِي الطَّوْلِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ
[51:58] GOD is the Provider, the Possessor of all power, the Supreme.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ
God is the only entity with the power to harm or benefit anyone. The second we think that some other entity independent of God can harm or benefit us, we are setting up a partner with God.
One of the common idols for people is that of the prophets and messengers, but not even God’s messengers have any power to harm or benefit even themselves, let alone anyone else.
[7:188] Say, “I have no power to benefit myself, or harm myself. Only what GOD wills happens to me. If I knew the future, I would have increased my wealth, and no harm would have afflicted me. I am no more than a warner, and a bearer of good news for those who believe.”
قُلْ لَا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي نَفْعًا وَلَا ضَرًّا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ وَلَوْ كُنْتُ أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ لَاسْتَكْثَرْتُ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ وَمَا مَسَّنِيَ السُّوءُ إِنْ أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ وَبَشِيرٌ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Since all power belongs to God, if we truly believe this, then we will follow the words of God over all other words, no matter how “right” any other word may seem.
[6:121] Do not eat from that upon which the name of GOD has not been mentioned, for it is an abomination. The devils inspire their allies to argue with you; if you obey them, you will be idol worshipers.
وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ وَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَىٰ أَوْلِيَائِهِمْ لِيُجَادِلُوكُمْ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ
The Quran warns us of individuals who have turned their religious leaders and scholars into lords besides God.
[9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.
اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
So how do we safeguard ourselves to not fall into the same mistake? It is a duty upon everyone that if we accept any information from an individual, we need to verify it for ourselves. If the information conflicts with the Quran, we must reject it, and if it agrees with the Quran, we must accept the information, not because of the other source but because we follow the Quran. This shows that the source is still the Quran. If we choose to follow some other source over what God has commanded us, then we will be falling into idol worship.
[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.
(٣٦) وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
|1||walā||وَلَا||And (do) not|
|2||taqfu||تَقْفُ||[you] follow / pursue / accept|
|10||wal-baṣara||وَالْبَصَرَ||and the sight,|
|11||wal-fuāda||وَالْفُؤَادَ||and the heart / brain|
|15||ʿanhu||عَنْهُ||with it (are)|
Another way of understanding this verse is that we are not to accept what we cannot verify. So if someone comes and says that God stated something, but there is no way for us to confirm the information, then we must not accept it, especially if it contradicts the Quran.
Abuse of 4:59
One of the favorite verses traditionalist love to cite for justifying the upholding of Hadith besides the Quran is the following.
[4:59] O you who believe, you shall obey GOD, and you shall obey the messenger, and those in charge among you. If you dispute in any matter, you shall refer it to GOD and the messenger, if you do believe in GOD and the Last Day. This is better for you, and provides you with the best solution.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
Traditionalists utilize this verse to justify obedience to scholars and ulama, except there is numerous problems with such an interpretation. Firstly, the context of this verse is regarding military campaigns and having a designated chain of command. Secondly, the statement is an “and” statement and not an “or” statement. This means that the ones lower down the command cannot contradict the orders higher up the command. Therefore if the one in charge among us gives a contrary command to what God stated in His Holy Book, then we are required to reject it.
The reality is that all human beings are falliable and this even includes the messengers of God. The Quran cites several examples where the prophet erred and needed to be corrected by God. For instance, Muhammad tried to avoid marrying the divorced wife of his adopted son (33:37). He prohibited something that God did not prohibit just to please his wives (66:1). He frowned and turned away when the blind man came to him and gave his attention towards the rich man (80:1-10), and he almost gave into the peer pressure to fabricate lies about God.
[17:73] They almost diverted you from the revelations we have given you. They wanted you to fabricate something else, in order to consider you a friend.
[17:74] If it were not that we strengthened you, you almost leaned towards them just a little bit.
[17:75] Had you done that, we would have doubled the retribution for you in this life, and after death, and you would have found no one to help you against us.
وَإِنْ كَادُوا لَيَفْتِنُونَكَ عَنِ الَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ لِتَفْتَرِيَ عَلَيْنَا غَيْرَهُ وَإِذًا لَاتَّخَذُوكَ خَلِيلًا
وَلَوْلَا أَنْ ثَبَّتْنَاكَ لَقَدْ كِدْتَ تَرْكَنُ إِلَيْهِمْ شَيْئًا قَلِيلًا
إِذًا لَأَذَقْنَاكَ ضِعْفَ الْحَيَاةِ وَضِعْفَ الْمَمَاتِ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَكَ عَلَيْنَا نَصِيرًا
Ironically even in the traditionalist’s own Hadith literature, this concept is understood that no one can override the words of God in the Quran. The only reason I bring up Hadith is to show that even using their own literature, they are contradicting themselves when they create laws and prohibitions that conflict with the Quran. This is not much different than talking to a Christian and using the Bible or a Jew and citing the Old Testament, as it is good practice to use the sources that a person ascribes to when debating.
It has been narrated on the authority of Yahya b. Husain who learnt the tradition from his grandmother. Umm Husain. He said’: I heard her say: I performed Hajjat-ul-Wada’ in the company of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He said a lot of things (on this occasion). Then I heard him say: If a maimed slave is appointed a commander over you the narrator says: I think she said: ” a black stave” who leads you according to the Book of Allah, then listen to him and obey him.
وَحَدَّثَنِي سَلَمَةُ بْنُ شَبِيبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ أَعْيَنَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَعْقِلٌ، عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَبِي، أُنَيْسَةَ عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ حُصَيْنٍ، عَنْ جَدَّتِهِ أُمِّ الْحُصَيْنِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُهَا تَقُولُ، حَجَجْتُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَجَّةَ الْوَدَاعِ – قَالَتْ – فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَوْلاً كَثِيرًا ثُمَّ سَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ “ إِنْ أُمِّرَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَبْدٌ مُجَدَّعٌ – حَسِبْتُهَا قَالَتْ – أَسْوَدُ يَقُودُكُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَاسْمَعُوا لَهُ وَأَطِيعُوا ” .
Sahih Muslim 1838e
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: It is obligatory upon a Muslim that he should listen (to the ruler appointed over him) and obey him whether he likes it or not, except that he is ordered to do a sinful thing. If he is ordered to do a sinful act, a Muslim should neither listen to him nor should he obey his orders.
حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثٌ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهُ قَالَ “ عَلَى الْمَرْءِ الْمُسْلِمِ السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ فِيمَا أَحَبَّ وَكَرِهَ إِلاَّ أَنْ يُؤْمَرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَإِنْ أُمِرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَلاَ سَمْعَ وَلاَ طَاعَةَ ” .
Sahih Muslim 1839a
Now, if we go through Hadith literature, there is a laundry list of prohibitions, rules, and laws that are not encompassed in the Quran and therefore contradict the Quran. Therefore if a scholar makes a claim and even argues that his ruling is coming from a Hadith from the prophet, it is incumbent upon us to reject the narration because God tells us repeatedly that the only source of law we are to uphold regarding our religion is the Quran alone.
In another Hadith we see that the stipulation of obeying is that the command must be “maroof” ( الْمَعْرُوفِ ) what is universally recognized as good and righteous.
It has been narrated on the authority of ‘All who said: The Mersenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent an expeditionand appointed over the Mujahids a man from the Ansar. (While making the appointment), he ordered that his work should be listened to and obeyed. They made him angry in a matter. He said: Collect for me dry wood. They collected it for him. Then he said: Kindle a fire. They kindled (the fire). Then he said: Didn’t the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) order you to listen to me and obey (my orders)? They said: Yes. He said: Enter the fire. The narrator says: (At this), they began to look at one another and said: We fled from the fire to (find refuge with) the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) (and now you order us to enter it). They stood quiet until his anger cooled down and the fire went out. When they returned, they related the incident to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He said: If they had entered it, they would not have come out. Obedience (to the commander) is obligatory only in what is good.
وَحَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ نُمَيْرٍ، وَزُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، وَأَبُو سَعِيدٍ الأَشَجُّ – وَتَقَارَبُوا فِي اللَّفْظِ – قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، حَدَّثَنَا الأَعْمَشُ، عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ عُبَيْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، قَالَ بَعَثَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم سَرِيَّةً وَاسْتَعْمَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ رَجُلاً مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ وَأَمَرَهُمْ أَنْ يَسْمَعُوا لَهُ وَيُطِيعُوا فَأَغْضَبُوهُ فِي شَىْءٍ فَقَالَ اجْمَعُوا لِي حَطَبًا . فَجَمَعُوا لَهُ ثُمَّ قَالَ أَوْقِدُوا نَارًا . فَأَوْقَدُوا ثُمَّ قَالَ أَلَمْ يَأْمُرْكُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ تَسْمَعُوا لِي وَتُطِيعُوا قَالُوا بَلَى . قَالَ فَادْخُلُوهَا . قَالَ فَنَظَرَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ فَقَالُوا إِنَّمَا فَرَرْنَا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنَ النَّارِ . فَكَانُوا كَذَلِكَ وَسَكَنَ غَضَبُهُ وَطُفِئَتِ النَّارُ فَلَمَّا رَجَعُوا ذَكَرُوا ذَلِكَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ “ لَوْ دَخَلُوهَا مَا خَرَجُوا مِنْهَا إِنَّمَا الطَّاعَةُ فِي الْمَعْرُوفِ ” .
Sahih Muslim 1840b
The Quran tells us that the obeying of even the messenger is conditional. That we are only to obey him in righteous orders. This means if someone attributes a saying to the prophet, if the commandment is not righteous, it must be rejected.
[60:12] O you prophet, when the believing women (who abandoned the disbelievers) to seek asylum with you pledge to you that they will not set up any idols besides GOD, nor steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor fabricate any falsehood, nor disobey you in righteous orders, you shall accept their pledge, and pray to GOD to forgive them. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
يَاأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا جَاءَكَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ يُبَايِعْنَكَ عَلَىٰ أَنْ لَا يُشْرِكْنَ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَسْرِقْنَ وَلَا يَزْنِينَ وَلَا يَقْتُلْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ وَلَا يَأْتِينَ بِبُهْتَانٍ يَفْتَرِينَهُ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِنَّ وَأَرْجُلِهِنَّ وَلَا يَعْصِينَكَ فِي مَعْرُوفٍ فَبَايِعْهُنَّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُنَّ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
The reality is that the messenger of God would not give unrighteous orders, but the Hadith are false narrations attributed to the prophet and are riddled with unrighteousness. Additionally, there is absolutely no way that any Hadith besides that of the Quran can be authenticated that it actually came from the prophet. This is because there is no way to authenticate an isnad, chain of narration. Fabricating chains of narrations have been ongoing since Hadith began circulating after the prophet’s death. This practice was so rampant that the major compilers of Hadith rejected nearly 99% of the Hadith they came across, except there is no way of validating that the chain of narration is accurate for the 1% they accepted as authentic.
Because of this, there is no way to verify that a Hadith is actually from the prophet and not the fancy fabrications of human and jinn devils.
[6:112] We have permitted the enemies of every prophet—human and jinn devils—to inspire in each other fancy words, in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.
[6:113] This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.*
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ
وَلِتَصْغَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَلِيَرْضَوْهُ وَلِيَقْتَرِفُوا مَا هُمْ مُقْتَرِفُونَ
Religion For God Alone
If we want to rid ourselves of all idol worship, we must devote our religion to God alone. In Arabic, the word for religion is “deen” ( دين ). This word also has a secondary meaning which is “judgment,” like the expression ( يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ). This means that all our religious judgment must come from the Quran alone if our religion is dedicated to God alone.
[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed?* Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
[6:115] The word of your Lord is complete,* in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.
أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ مُنَزَّلٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
The messenger is sent to us as a sort of referee to judge.
[4:65] Never indeed, by your Lord; they are not believers unless they come to you to judge in their disputes, then find no hesitation in their hearts whatsoever in accepting your judgment. They must submit a total submission.
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Some people abuse this verse to say again that the Hadith is the judgment of the messenger, but we have to ask by what metric is the messenger to judge? Just a few verses ahead, we see that the messenger is to only judge by the scripture that he was given.
[4:105] We have sent down to you the scripture, truthfully, in order to judge among the people in accordance with what GOD has shown you. You shall not side with the betrayers.
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا أَرَاكَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَكُنْ لِلْخَائِنِينَ خَصِيمًا
The messenger of God was commanded by God to judge by the Book of God and not by his own opinion. Therefore all his judgments should be verifiable by the Quran. This shows again that the religion must be devoted to God alone and that the law must come from God’s scripture alone. Therefore, if anyone provides a religious decree that conflicts with the Quran, we are to reject such a judgment if we want to avoid idolatry.
[6:19] Say, “Whose testimony is the greatest?” Say, “GOD’s. He is the witness between me and you that this Quran has been inspired to me, to preach it to you and whomever it reaches. Indeed, you bear witness that there are other gods* beside GOD.” Say, “I do not testify as you do; there is only one god, and I disown your idolatry.”
قُلْ أَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَادَةً قُلِ اللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهِ وَمَنْ بَلَغَ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ مَعَ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً أُخْرَىٰ قُلْ لَا أَشْهَدُ قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ
The only testimony we are to uphold in the case of religious law is the Quran alone. The Hadith, besides the Quran, are testimonies of men, and if one is to uphold these other narrations besides the Quran, they will be falling into idol worship, and it is our duty to not testify as they do and to disown their idolatry.
[39:3] Absolutely, the religion shall be devoted to GOD alone. Those who set up idols beside Him say, “We idolize them only to bring us closer to GOD; for they are in a better position!” GOD will judge them regarding their disputes. GOD does not guide such liars, disbelievers.
أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَىٰ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ
[6:162] Say, “My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Mention Only God Alone
Every facet of our religion must be dedicated to God alone. Throughout the Quran, we are informed that the sole duty of the messenger was to deliver this Quran, and not the Hadith and Sunnah that have been falsely attributed to his message.
[39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.
وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ
If we are not satisfied in the mention of God alone in our worship practices, then it is a sign that we are setting up a partner next to God.
[72:18] The places of worship belong to GOD; do not call on anyone else with GOD.
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
|2||l-masājida||الْمَسَاجِدَ||the place of prostration / masjid / place of worship|
|3||lillahi||لِلَّهِ||(are) for God,|
|4||falā||فَلَا||so (do) not|
|5||tadʿū||تَدْعُوا||you [all] invoke / call|
The word used in 72:18, “tadʿū” ( تَدْعُوا ), which means to call or invoke, also has another meaning which is “to invite,” and this serves as a perfect example of what it means to associate others with God. If I invite you alone to dinner, I would expect you to come alone. If, on the other hand, I invite you and your servant, then I am no longer inviting you alone but also including some other entity with you, even if I acknowledge they are your servant.
Interestingly, the verse above also states not to call on anyone “with” God. This is a powerful statement because idol worship occurs when a person sets up a partner with God, and it doesn’t matter even if they acknowledge that the partner is a servant of God, as shown in the example of the invitation. In the following Hadith from Sahih Muslim, we see that this is exactly what the idol worshipers claimed to have been doing during the prophet’s life.
Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) said that the polytheists used to say: “(labbaik la sharika laka) Here I am at Your service, You have no partners.” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Woe to you, stop, stop.” But they would continue and say: “Except a partner that you have, and You control him and all that he possesses.” They used to say this and circumambulate the Ka’ba.
وَحَدَّثَنِي عَبَّاسُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَظِيمِ الْعَنْبَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا النَّضْرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الْيَمَامِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عِكْرِمَةُ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ عَمَّارٍ – حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو زُمَيْلٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، – رضى الله عنهما – قَالَ كَانَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ يَقُولُونَ لَبَّيْكَ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَكَ – قَالَ – فَيَقُولُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ وَيْلَكُمْ قَدْ قَدْ ” . فَيَقُولُونَ إِلاَّ شَرِيكًا هُوَ لَكَ تَمْلِكُهُ وَمَا مَلَكَ . يَقُولُونَ هَذَا وَهُمْ يَطُوفُونَ بِالْبَيْتِ .
Sahih Muslim 1185
The idol-worshiping Quraish in their hearts of hearts thought they were monotheist; they thought that since they were attributing all power to God, therefore, their actions of mentioning another entity was not idolatry. This is the exact same argument that traditionalists make today. They think that because they don’t use the term “partner,” that they are clear of wrongdoing, but they are mentioning the prophet’s name in their Shahadah and Salat as an entity besides God, even if they claim that it is the servant of God.
This is consistent with the warning in the Quran that up until the Day fo Judgment, the idol worshipers will vehemently deny that they were worshiping idols.
[6:22] On the day when we summon them all, we will ask the idol worshipers, “Where are the idols you set up?”
[6:23] Their disastrous response will be, “By GOD our Lord, we never were idol worshipers.”
[6:24] Note how they lied to themselves, and how the idols they had invented have abandoned them.
وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَيْنَ شُرَكَاؤُكُمُ الَّذِينَ كُنْتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ
ثُمَّ لَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَتُهُمْ إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوا وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ
انْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَذَبُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ
Majority of People Commit Idol Worship
The Quran warns that the majority of people commit idol worship, and even among the majority of those who claim to believe, they do not do so without committing idol worship.
[6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.
وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ
[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.
وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ بِاللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُمْ مُشْرِكُونَ
In this world, we have two choices either we follow the path of God or the path of Satan.
[36:60] Did I not covenant with you, O Children of Adam, that you shall not worship the devil? That he is your most ardent enemy?
أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَابَنِي آدَمَ أَنْ لَا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ
God’s path is strict monotheism, while Satan’s path is the disobedience of God. When God gives us a commandment, if we choose to follow some other source, we are setting up partners with God and following the path of Satan.
[4:60] Have you noted those who claim that they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the unjust laws of their idols? They were commanded to reject such laws. Indeed, it is the devil’s wish to lead them far astray.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
[4:87] GOD: there is no god except He. He will surely summon you on the Day of Resurrection—the inevitable day. Whose narration (Hadith) is more truthful than GOD’s?
(٨٧) اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَدِيثًا
|waman||وَمَنْ||And who (is)|
|ḥadīthan||حَدِيثًا||narration / Hadith.|
If individuals choose to follow other Hadith besides the Quran, then they are indicating that they think these other sources are more truthful and thus setting up partners with God and falling into the trap of Satan.
[25:27] The day will come when the transgressor will bite his hands (in anguish) and say, “Alas, I wish I had followed the path with the messenger.
[25:28] “Alas, woe to me, I wish I did not take that person as a friend.
[25:29] “He has led me away from the message after it came to me. Indeed, the devil lets down his human victims.”
[25:30] The messenger* said, “My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran.”
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَالَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
(٢٥:٢٨) يَاوَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ خَذُولًا
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَارَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
As mentioned in many previous articles, to “follow the path of the messenger” means to follow the Quran alone. Notice the messenger’s claim against his people on the Day of Judgment is that his people (umma) have deserted this Quran and absolutely no mention of the Hadith or Sunnah. Ironically, even the Hadith that the Muslim masses claim to believe in warns of people following other than what is imposed upon them in Allah’s Book.
Narrated `Aisha: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to me and I told him about the slave-girl (Barirah) Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Buy and manumit her, for the Wala is for the one who manumits.” In the evening the Prophet (ﷺ) got up and glorified Allah as He deserved and then said, “Why do some people impose conditions which are not present in Allah’s Book (Laws)? Whoever imposes such a condition as is not in Allah’s Laws, then that condition is invalid even if he imposes one hundred conditions, for Allah’s conditions are more binding and reliable.”
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْيَمَانِ، أَخْبَرَنَا شُعَيْبٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، قَالَ عُرْوَةُ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ ـ رضى الله عنها دَخَلَ عَلَىَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَذَكَرْتُ لَهُ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” اشْتَرِي وَأَعْتِقِي، فَإِنَّ الْوَلاَءَ لِمَنْ أَعْتَقَ ”. ثُمَّ قَامَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنَ الْعَشِيِّ، فَأَثْنَى عَلَى اللَّهِ بِمَا هُوَ أَهْلُهُ، ثُمَّ قَالَ ” مَا بَالُ أُنَاسٍ يَشْتَرِطُونَ شُرُوطًا لَيْسَ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ، مَنِ اشْتَرَطَ شَرْطًا لَيْسَ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَهْوَ بَاطِلٌ، وَإِنِ اشْتَرَطَ مِائَةَ شَرْطٍ، شَرْطُ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْثَقُ ”.
Sahih al-Bukhari 2155