ORIGINS OF SHIRK & FUNDAMENTALS OF TAWHEED
Sheikh Sayyid Ahmed Saeed Al-Kazmee
This book is intended to protect Muslims from all misconceptions and misunderstandings prevalent in the Muslim community, in so far as the belief in seeking assistance from Allaah (swt) through great Prophets and Awliaaullaah is concerned.
Sheikh Sayyid Ahmed Saeed Al-Kazmee was a great Aalim, Scholar and specialised in the field of Hadeeth and Tafseer Al-Quran, to which he made a voluminous contribution. He earned the title of "Ghazzalee-uz-Zamaan" or "The Ghazzalee of the Age". In this treatise, he clearly distinguishes between "Shirk" and "Tawheed". He does so in an extremely simple manner, so that all Muslims are able to understand. This policy of his is based on the principle of education and the acquisition of knowledge which is compulsory in the life of all Muslims, man or woman.
The aim of the writer is not one of trivial argument and discussion based on heresy, rather, it is to make the public aware and to educate them on practises followed by the first generation of Muslims, yet these practises are mocked by a few "enlightened Modern-day" Muslims.
May Allaah (swt) assist and guide those Muslims who are instrumental in producing this book and all those involved in the protection of the pristine faith of Islaam. Aameen.
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
THE UNITY OF ALLAAH (SWT)
The Being of the Almighty Allaah (swt) is indeed One. It is only those who are ignorant and persist in being ignorant need an explanation on how Almighty Allaah (swt) is One and is actually Present. Those who are Allaah-conscious do not desire an explanation on this subject of Tawheed and Shirk. They in fact accept without questioning. There is a famous proverb in the Arabic language which is as follows:
"Al Ashyaa'u tu'rafa bi azdaadihi"
"Objects are indeed understood by its opposites."
For example, peace can only be understood and appreciated by that person who has felt and experienced anxiety. That person though who has not felt anxiety, cannot appreciate peace. In the same manner, Day cannot be understood if a person has not experienced the Night. Likewise, if a person has not comprehended misguidance how is it possible for him to understand guidance? Using this very principle, we may ask, if a person has not understood "Shirk" or Polytheism, how is it possible for him to appreciate or comprehend "Tawheed" or Monotheism? It is, therefore, only logical that after we have understood Shirk can we then understand Tawheed.
The Almighty Allaah (swt) has in fact very clearly explained the action Shirk and Tawheed, thereby completely eradicating the concept of non-religion. It is very surprising that after explaining the differences in the concept of Tawheed and Shirk so clearly, there are still doubt’s in the minds of those whose sole duty it is to destroy the concept or fundamentals of unity found in Islaam.
THE MEANING OF TAWHEED
The meaning of "Tawheed" is to believe that there is no Partner to Allaah (swt) in His Being and in His Attributes. In other words, how Almighty Allaah (swt) is, we do not believe that there is another being like Him. If any person believes on the contrary, then his belief would constitute Shirk. We should remember that the attributes of Allaah (swt), among others, include the act of Listening, Seeing and Possessing Knowledge. If any individual believes that another possesses these Attributes, he will be guilty of Shirk.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TAWHEED AND SHIRK
After we have understood the meaning of Tawheed, the natural question that arises is, if knowledge which is one of the Attributes of Allaah (swt) is ascribed for another individual, will this really mean that we are guilty of Shirk? We know that Listening and Seeing are also among the Attributes of Allaah (swt). If we prove these very attributes for another individual, will we be guilty of Shirk? In the very same manner, the Attributes of Living is also among the Attributes of Allaah (swt). If we ascribe this attribute for another individual will we again be guilty of Shirk?
No! Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters do not be deceived by those who hope to mislead you. You should remember that indeed Almighty Allaah (swt) possesses the Attribute of "Living", yet He has, also through His Mercy, bestowed upon His Creation this very quality. The attribute of living though which we relate to ourselves is not the same Attribute of Living as we relate to Allaah (swt). The difference is that His Attribute of Living is non-bestowed, while the attribute of living which we posses is one which we have been bestowed with by Allaah (swt). The attribute of living which He has bestowed upon us is temporary and non-eternal, while His Attribute of Living is Eternal and non-bestowed.
If this principle and law is applied to all qualities and attributes, then the question of Shirk will never arise. It is simple, yet, as we have mentioned earlier, those Muslims whose sole aim is to deprive Islaam of its unity, peace and harmony, intentionally make it difficult so that the simple-minded Muslims become confused and misguided.
HAS THE ALMIGHTY ALLAAH (SWT) GIVEN MAN POWER AND AUTHORITY?
The answer to this is quite simple. If man has not been given power and authority, then what indeed is the difference between him and stone? We know that the Almighty Allaah (swt) Possesses Power and Authority. We also know that He has created these attributes within man. You may well ask, if both possess power and authority, then what is the difference? The answer to this is quite simple. If one applies the above law and principle, there is no doubt that the Almighty Allaah (swt) Possesses Power and Authority, yet, although possessing these Attributes, He is not subservient to anyone, neither have these Attributes been given to Him by anyone. His slave, man, on the other hand, possesses these attributes of power and authority, yet, he is still subservient to the Almighty Allaah (swt), and these attributes are not his, rather they have been bestowed upon him by the Almighty Allaah (swt).
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ALMIGHTY ALLAAH (SWT) AND HIS SLAVE
This very same principle as explained above, can be applicable to the question of Knowledge, Seeing, Listening, and other Attributes. The Almighty Allaah (swt) possesses these Attributes and so does the slave. No one has given these Qualities to Allaah (swt), whilst the slave, on the other hand, has been accorded these attributes by Almighty Allaah (swt). This is, in fact, one of the clear differences between the Almighty Allaah (swt) and His slave.
We understand that if an attribute which is conferred to any slave has been bestowed upon the slave by the Almighty Allaah (swt), then this belief cannot be labelled as Shirk. For example, if we relate the quality of "hearing" to a slave, we must therefore believe that this attribute of "hearing" has been bestowed upon the slave by the Grace of Allaah (swt), and then this belief cannot be termed Shirk.
At this point an important question arises. Applying the above principle, we ask, why is it that we condemn the Idol worshippers who also believe that their Idols have been given these amazing powers by Allaah (swt). Are they not using the very same principle, which we are applying?
The answer to this question is quite clear and simple. When the Idol worshipper believed that their Idols were a creation of Allaah (swt), they also should have believed that the slave is undoubtedly in bondage to the Creator. Without the Creator, the creation cannot come into being. They also should have believed and accepted that, as in life or in death, the slave is in need of the Creator. But, they refused to believe and accept this principle, that is, Allaah's (swt) Authority.
They began to believe that although their Idols were a creation, Almighty Allaah (swt) had given the Idols Divinity and total "God-head". They believed that after creating their Idols, there was now no need for submission towards Almighty Allaah (swt) to complete (Allaah forbid!) because their Idols could do whatever it wished, even if Almighty Allaah (swt) had not commanded it to do a certain thing. The Idol worshippers could not understand this very simple principle, that is, that the creation can never to totally independent of Almighty Allaah (swt).
DIVINITY CANNOT BE GIVEN
Indeed, Almighty Allaah (swt), through His Mercy, may bestow upon His slave whatever powers He wishes, yet He would not bestow Divinity, which is Permanent and Independent, the attributes given to His slave are not permanent or even independent. The Idol worshippers believed that because of the tremendous worship performed by the Idols, "Laat" and "Manaat", Almighty Allaah (swt) set them free to do as they pleased. Based on this belief, the Idol worshippers believed that their Idols have been given Divinity and God-head. Any person who believes that Almighty Allaah (swt) has given His certain slave God-head and Divinity has committed Shirk. There is no doubt in this. This is another difference between the Muslim and the Idol worshipper. The Muslim believes that the servant of Allaah (swt) will always remain a servant and can never become one possessing God-head and Divinity.
DEEDS PERFORMED BY THE SLAVE THROUGH THE PERMISSION OF ALLAAH CAN NEVER BE TERMED AS SHIRK
The Almighty Allaah (swt) states in the Holy Quraan:
"Man zal lazi yashfa'u indahoo illa bi izni"
"Who is it that can intercede with Him, except with His permission" (Surah Al-Baqarah: Verse 225)
From this Quraanic injunction, an important fact is becoming apparent to us. Almighty Allaah (swt) is quite clearly stating to us that not everyone will be given permission to intercede except those to whom He has given permission. It is also a warning to the Idol worshippers, in that they should not believe and hold high esteem of their Idols considering that their Idols have never been given permission to intercede for their worshippers. This clearly proves that their Idols are totally useless.
The beloved slaves of Allaah (swt), on the other hand, have been given permission to intercede. The first to intercede will be the Holy Prophet Muhammed (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wasallam) as proven by many authentic sources. Thereafter, the other Prophets, the Martyrs (Shuhadaa), and Awliaullaah, etc. Another important fact we must always bear in mind is that if an individual performs a duty without the Permission of Allaah (swt), then this would be considered Shirk, whereas if a duty has been allocated, as will be discussed shortly, then this cannot be considered Shirk.
The Holy Quraan is evidence of Prophet ‘Isa (alaihis salaam) explaining to his nation some of his amazing miracles. This serves as a reminder to all, of the power and authority bestowed by Allaah (swt) upon His beloved servants. He states:
"Wa ubri'ul akmaha wal abrasa wa uh'yil mawta bi iznillahi"
"I heal those who are born blind and the leper and I raise the dead by Allaah (swt)'s permission" (Surah Al-Imraan: Verse 49)
We know that to perform amazing duties as explained by Prophet 'Isa (alaihis salaam) is indeed the Grace of the Almighty Allaah (swt), yet this great Prophet is actually stating that he can perform them. Is he guilty (Allaah forbid!) of committing Shirk? No, for he has clearly proven by one verse the difference between Shirk and Tawheed.
When he has said, "these duties are performed through the permission of Allaah (swt)", immediately, the question of Shirk is dismissed and the entire concept becomes one of Tawheed. Keeping this in mind, when Muslims state that great Prophets and Awliaaullaah can perform miracles and do so with the Permission of Allaah (swt), how can any sensible person call this action as being Shirk. This belief is purely Tawheed.
If one questions this and states that a Muslim cannot perform these amazing duties (of miracles and interceding) then he is contradicting numerous Quraanic verses and Ahadeeth wherein amazing qualities and attributes of the special servants of Allaah (swt) are explained.
THE REASON FOR THE CREATION OF MAN
Every creation of the Almighty Allaah (swt) has been created for some specific reason and purpose, namely, the Sun, the Water, the Air, and the Fire etc. Explaining the purpose for the creation of Man, the Almighty Allaah (swt) states:
"Wa ma khalaqtul Jinna wal insa illa liya'budun"
"I have not created Man and Jinn, but that they Worship Me" (Surah Ad-Dhaariyat: Verse 56)
Worship can only be performed if there is recognition. In other words, mankind and Jinn have been created to recognize the Almighty Allaah (swt). The question that arises is, what is the outcome of this recognition? It means that the more we recognize Allaah (swt), the more we worship Him.
From the above discussion we come to realize that mankind has been created to recognize Allaah (swt), and by doing so we become closer. In other words, closeness to Allaah (swt) is the pinnacle of glory in the life of mankind. By understanding this, we must examine its connotation, it's results and it's meaning in the light of Islamic Law.
There is a Hadeeth Al-Qudsee found in the Saheeh Al-Bukharee explaining this: The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wasallam) has explained that the Almighty Allaah (swt) has stated:
"He who has caused enmity with My Wali (Friend), I give him declaration of war. Among those acts through which My slave achieves My closeness, the most beloved are the Fardh (Compulsory) acts. My slave also achieves My closeness through the Nafil (Optional) deeds, till I make him into My beloved. When he becomes My beloved, I become his ears through which he listens, his eyes through which he sees, his hands by which he holds, his feet by which he walks. When he pleads to Me for anything I definitely bestow it on him. When he seeks refuge in Me from any bad deed, then I definitely save him from it."
Some individuals state that only after achieving this status does the slave refrain from all bad deeds. This thought is a flagrant misinterpretation of the Tradition, for any person possessing a little common sense will tell you that after refraining from all bad deeds, does the slave achieve this status. In other words, after he has adopted piety and abstinence, does he stand any chance of becoming the beloved.
In the following verse, Almighty Allaah (swt) is explaining how we can achieve His closeness. He states:
"Kul in kuntum tuhiboonal laaha fattabi'ooni yuh'bibkumul laahu"
"Say (O Muhammad to them), if you love Allaah (swt) follow me, Allaah (swt) will love you" (Surah Al-Imraan: Verse 31)
In other words, after we have adopted piety and abstinence in following the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wasallam), will we have any chance of becoming a beloved? The slave first refrains from bad deeds and actions. He then performs the Fardh and Nafil acts continuously. Then only does he become the beloved. It is not possible for him to continue performing evil deeds and still feels he can become the beloved servant of Allaah (swt).
Imaam Fakhruddeen Al-Raazee (radi Allaahu anhu) in his "Tafseer Al-Kabeer", explains the above Hadeeth: "In the same manner, if the slave continuously adopts good deeds, then he indeed reaches that stage of which the Almighty Allaah (swt) states that He becomes the slaves eye and ear. When the Magnificent Noor (Light) of Allaah (swt) becomes the eye of the slave, then the slave perceives things near and distant. When this Light becomes the hand of the slave, then he, the slave, is then able to dispense with things easy and difficult, near and far."
We also come to realize from this explanation that the beloved slaves of Allaah (swt) have been given the power to help and assist. Once we have proved this, how can we call it Shirk if we implore them for assistance? It can never be Shirk, for although the slave and the Creator can help and assist, remember that the Creator Possesses this Attribute without it being given to Him by anyone. The slave, on the other hand, possesses these attributes after it has been given to him by Almighty Allaah (swt), and we still believe that the slave is the servant of Allaah (swt) and is still subservient to Him. This is the belief of all Muslims.
When we have understood and accepted this, the difference between Tawheed and Shirk becomes quite clear, yet, unfortunately, there are certain individuals who state that they believe in Allaah (swt), yet consider asking His beloved slaves for assistance as Shirk. If this indeed be their faith, then what, we ask of you, is Kufr?
It also seems to be the habit of these "believers" to relate verses meant for the Kufaar towards Muslims, perhaps they are merely following the habit of their forefathers. It is recorded in the Saheeh Al-Bukharee, that Abdullaah Ibn Omar (radi Allaahu anhum) used to despise the Khaarijee Sect (i.e The Dog's of Hell Fire) the most. Why? Let us see. He considered them the worst of creation. He used to say that "these people have made it a practice of theirs, that whatever verse has been revealed against the idol worshippers, they relate these verses towards the Muslims."
Some individual has asked this question, and we feel that it should be answered. The question is this: we accept that the beloved slave of Allaah (swt) possesses all these magnificent attributes. We accept that he can assist and help. Yet, are not all these attributes only prevalent in him when he is in this world, for when he dies, will not his body become a heap of sand and rubble? When it does become a heap of sand, will not all the attributes found in him will be immediately nullified?
This doubt, in fact, has only been created, for we have merely considered Man to be a combination of flesh and bones. This manner of thinking is indeed incorrect, for the essence of man is not flesh and bones, rather it is the soul. The soul, unlike the flesh and bones, never dies. If we accept that his soul will die, then how will he experience the punishment and reward within the grave? Describing the condition within the grave, the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) has stated that the shrine is sometimes a Garden of Paradise and sometimes a Pit of Hell.
We, therefore logically ask; for who is this shrine sometimes a Pit of Hell or sometimes a Garden of Paradise? It is, without doubt, for the soul which is still alive. The soul always has a connection with the body even if the body, described as the rays of the sun, even though it may manifest itself on a heap of sand, on a tree or on the roof of a house, it still has a relationship with the sun. So we judge from this that the essence of man is the soul, it is this which enables him to assist us in times of need and anxiety.
Another query that seems to confuse people is: how is it that we cannot see the punishment or reward experienced by the body or the soul? The answer to this is simple. The happenings of the shrine are being experienced within the Aalam-ul-Barzakh, a world in itself which means, "The Screened World." A logical explanation of this would be that if a person complains about a headache and although the pain he is experiencing is an absolute reality, we cannot perceive it or even comprehend it simply because the pain is screened from our eyes. Similarly, punishment and reward is experienced within the grave.
Another example would be of a person dreaming. Although he is seeing himself burning, we cannot see him burning or receiving a gift, for the simple reason is that his life in that context is screened from our eyes.
THE SQUEEZING OF THE GRAVE
It is reported in the Ahadeeth that when the person is placed within the grave, the grave squeezes him, be he Muslim or non-Muslim. The earth could be described as "the mother", for man has been created from sand. Therefore, it stands to reason that all will return to her. Some of her children who have adopted piety and abstinence, they she will be welcomed and agreeably received. Those, on the other hand, who have adopted disgraceful behaviour and dishonour, she will receive them, not welcome them, but rather to punish them. This example clearly describes how a Muslim and non-Muslim will be treated in the grave. It will welcome the Muslim as a mother nurturing her child, while she will squeeze the disbeliever till his ribs appear on opposite sides. This illustrates that the soul never dies and that the reward or punishment within the grave is a reality.
Let us return to the discussion describing the magnificent attributes possessed by the beloved slaves of Allaah (swt). Having proven that his soul and body still possesses these attributes, it means that he can still assist us, traverse miles on end, listen and see things far and near. When he can still do these things with the Permission of Allaah (swt), then how can any sane person term it as being as Shirk if we ask them to assist us?
In Al-Tirmidhee, Abd’allaah Ibn Abbaas (radi Allaahu anhu) narrates that a Sahabee once pitched his tent on a plot of ground without realizing that he was doing so over a grave. After a while, he realized that his tent was over a grave for he could hear the recital of the Surah Al-Mulk. He related the entire episode to the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam), who replied that the recital of Surah Al-Mulk indeed assists the person within the grave and protects him from pain and punishment.
From this episode, we see that the beloved servants of Allaah (swt) are still alive within their graves, or else the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) would have merely disregarded the entire incident. But he did not do so. Rather, he commented on the excellences of the Surah Al-Mulk, which means that he also accepted that the beloved servants of Allaah (swt) are still alive within their graves.
Let us relate another incident from the period of the companions. It is recorded that during the dictatorial reign of Muawwiyah Ibn Abee Sufyaan Al-Ummayyadee, whose mother was the infamous Hindaa and beloved son was his illegitimate successor, Yazeed (Laeen), a canal was dug between Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Madeenah Al-Munawwarah. Co-incidentally, the canal passed through that plot of land where the Shuhadaa (Martyrs) of Uhud lay buried. A person while digging accidentally cut the foot of a Shaheed with a spade. As a result of this, blood began to flow from the blessed foot. We learn from this incident that aside from their souls, even the bodies of these great and beloved servants of Allaah (swt) are alive. This incident is narrated in "Jazb-ul-Quloob" by Sheikh Muhaddith Al-Dehlawi (radi Allaahu anhu) and "Sharah-us-Sudur" by Imaam Jallaludeen As-Suyutee (radi Allaahu anhu).
Let us now quote another example from the period of the Taabi'een. Imam Abu Na'eem Al-Isfahanee (radi Allaahu anhu) in his book, "Hilyat-ul-Awliyaa", narrates from Sa'eed (radi Allaahu anhu). The great Wali states, "By Allaah (swt), Hameed Taweel (radi Allaahu Anhu) and my self were burying Thaabit Al-Nibhaanee (radi Allaahu anhu). As we were setting the final rocks, one rock accidentally fell into the grave. As I peeped into the grave, I saw that Thaabit Al-Nibhaanee (radi Allaahu anhu) was about to perform the Salaah and he was imploring Allaah (swt) in the following manner, 'O Allaah (swt), You have given certain of Your creation the Permission to perform their Salaah within the grave, give me also the same permission'. It was indeed beyond the Mercy of Allaah (swt) to refuse him."
NOTE: Thaabit bin Aslam Nibhaanee Basri (radi Allaahu anhu) was a Taabi'een. He has narrated Ahadeeth from Anas (radi Allaahu anhu) and various other Companions. It is stated that he used to complete the recitation of the Holy Quraan in one day and night. He also used to fast during the day. Abu Bakr Al-Muznee states that he had not seen a more pious person than Thaabit bin Aslam (radi Allaahu anhu). ("Kashf-un-Noor", Imaam Abdul Ghanee Al-Nabulisee, pg. 9)
Imaam Sayyid Al-Baihaqee (radi Allaahu anhu) narrates from Qazee Nishapuree Ibraheem (radi Allaahu anhu) who states that, "A pious woman passed away. Among those that were present for her Janazah was a coffin thief, who attended only with the intention of noticing where she was being buried. As darkness set in, he dug the shrine and was about to steal the coffin when the pious lady exclaimed, 'By Allaah (swt), how strange that a dweller of Paradise is stealing the coffin of another dweller of Paradise'. She explained that whosoever took part in her Janazah, Allaah (swt) would forgive them, and that the coffin thief took part in the Janazah. The thief immediately covered the grave and repented with a true heart."
Indeed this is the greatness of the beloved servants of Allaah (swt) that one goes to them as a thief and returns as a Wali himself. It is reported in the Hadeeth Al-Qudsee that the Almighty Allaah (swt) has stated: "When My slave, becomes My beloved, then his words and attributes become the mirror of My Words and Attributes. Whatever he pleads for, I bestow it upon him. If he seeks refuge in Me, I protect him."
As we have seen, all these gifts are still found in the beloved servants of Allaah (swt) even after they have departed from this world. It is due solely to this that the believing Muslims visit the shrines of the Awliaaullaah for they are indeed people who have been promised the Mercy and Assistance of Allaah (swt). We derive from these proofs, that if an individual goes to the Shrine of a great Wali and implores to him in this manner, "O beloved servant of Allaah (swt), you are indeed the beloved slave of Allaah (swt). Please ask the Almighty on my behalf," how, we ask of you, can this be termed Shirk, when the Almighty Allaah (swt) Himself has promised them all these gifts?
After considering these facts, if any person feels that he cannot achieve any help and assistance by visiting a shrine of a great Wali, then he has not in any way insulted the Wali, rather he has doubted the promise of Allaah (swt) whereas Allaah (swt) has promised his slaves His assistance.
Untill now, we have proved that help and assistance that can be rendered by the beloved slaves of Allaah (swt) in this world and in the Aalam-ul-Barzakh, the question is: will they be able to assist us in the Hereafter?
The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) has already given this answer. He has stated: "The Ulemaa, the Hufaaz, and the Shuhadaa of my followers will indeed intercede on the Day of Judgment. Even the infant whose parents are Muslims will intercede." If, as some misled individuals say, that it is Shirk to ask the creation for assistance, then how will these above mentioned beloved slaves help us on the Day of Judgment? This again is proof that it is not Shirk to ask them in this world either!
The events that will take place on the Day of Judgment are clear to all. We know that mankind will go to each Holy Prophet (alaihimus salaam) seeking assistance, when finally they reach the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam), he will say, "I am for it (that is, I am that person who will intercede for you)."
He will then go into prostration and Praise the Almighty Allaah (swt), after which the Almighty Allaah (swt) will say, "O Muhammed! Raise your head. Speak you shall be listened to. Ask, it shall be given to you. Intercede, your intercession will be accepted."
The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) will then intercede. After him, the other great Prophets and Awliaaullaah will. If it is Shirk to ask the beloved servants of Allaah (swt) for assistance, how will it be permissible on the Day of Judgment? We suggest to those who consider this action as Shirk to voice their opinion on the Day of Judgment, perhaps they will be amply "rewarded" for their folly.
May the Almighty Allaah (swt) bestow upon Muslims the Imaan to differentiate correctly between Shirk and Tawheed and also help them to refrain from causing conflicts by falsely accusing innocent Muslims being guilty of acts consisting Shirk.
Wa Jazakum Allaahu Khairan Wa Billahi Tawfiq Akhukum Fillah