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the defintion of shirk in 2023

The Definition of Shirk in 2023

In this lesson, we will discuss the definition of Shirk and its types as well as we will discuss the forms of greater shirk.


(1) To learn the precise definition of shirk.
(2) To appreciate the severity of shirk from the Quran and Sunnah.
(3) To learn the types of shirk.
(4)To learn shirk in Allah’s: (a)Lordship and (b)Names & Attributes.

Arabic Terms

(1) Shirk – a word that implies ascribing partners to Allah, or ascribing divine attributes to other than Allah, or believing that the source of power, harm and blessings comes from another besides Allah.
(2) Tawheed – The Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah with respect to His Lordship, His Names and Attributes and in His right to be worshipped.
(3) Sunnah – The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.


The Arabic word shirk is the opposite of tawheed, Allah’s oneness and uniqueness, and is more inclusive than polytheism and idolatry. Shirk contradicts the very purpose of creation as expressed in the Quran: “I have not created jinn or mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)
Prophets were sent with the mission to eradicate shirk and to invite humanity to single out Allah in worship.

What is Shirk?

Shirk is to associate someone other than Allah in those aspects which are unique to Allah and His exclusive right. Shirk is to worship created beings like Allah is worshipped, to venerate created beings like Allah must be venerated, and to assign a portion of His divinity to someone else.

Severity of Shirk

There is no issue upon which Islam is so strict as the one of tawheed (monotheism). Therefore, shirk is considered the greatest violation with which the Lord of the heavens and the earth is defied. The severity of shirk can be summarized in the following points:

(1) Shirk makes the Creator like His creation, in that matters that are exclusive to Allah are associated with others who have no right to it. Therefore, Allah declares shirk to be the greatest wrong, “Indeed to ascribe partners (unto Him) is a tremendous wrong.” (Quran 31:13)

(2) Allah has declared that He will not forgive the sin of shirk unless the person repents from it, “Surely Allah forgives not that a partner should be set up with Him, and forgives all besides that to whom He pleases.” (Quran 4:48)

(3) Allah has forbidden Paradise to those who do not repent from committing shirk, condemning him to Hell for eternity, “Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, Allah has forbidden to him Paradise and his abode is the Fire.” (Quran 5:72)

(4) All the good works a person may have done are lost, become worthless, and are rendered vain if a person dies unrepentant of shirk, “And certainly, it has been revealed to you and to those before you: if you should associate (anything) with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.” (Quran 39:65)
(5) Shirk is the deadliest of all major sins. On one occasion, the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked his companions if they knew what was greatest of all major sins. He then explained to them, “The major sins are: shirk, not being kind to one’s parents…” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

In the next lesson, we will continue our discussion about types of Shirk.
Till next time, I hope you are enjoying learning about Islam

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