Four reasons why people commit polytheism (Shirk) -Ibn al-Qayyim

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

Four reasons why people commit polytheism (Shirk) 

Allah said in Surah Saba: 22-23,

قُلِ ٱدۡعُواْ ٱلَّذِينَ زَعَمۡتُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِۖ لَا يَمۡلِڪُونَ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ۬ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَلَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَا لَهُمۡ فِيهِمَا مِن شِرۡكٍ۬ وَمَا لَهُ ۥ مِنۡہُم مِّن ظَهِيرٍ۬

“Say, [O Muhammad]. ‘Invoke those you claim [as deities] besides Allah.’ They do not possess an atom’s weight [of ability] in the heavens or on the earth, and they do not have therein any partnership [with Him], nor is there for Him from among them any assistant.”

وَلَا تَنفَعُ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةُ عِندَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا لِمَنۡ أَذِنَ لَهُۚ

“And intercession does not benefit with Him except for one whom He permits…”

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzeeyah 751 AH (may Allah have mercy on him) said regarding these verses,

The polytheist only worships his deity once he believes that he is able to obtain benefit. This benefit must be one of these four characteristics:

1.Either the polytheist believes the deity is the Owner of what he wants [from this world or the next and as a result he worships it].

2.If the polytheist doesn’t believe the deity to be the Owner then he believes that it is an associate to [or has a share with] the Owner.

3.If he doesn’t believe the deity to be an associate then he believes that it is an aid or assistant to the Owner.

4.If he doesn’t believe the deity to be an aid or assistant then he believes that it is an intercessor with the Owner.

In this verse Allah negates these four types of reasons [to commit shirk]. He begins with the biggest reason [why people commit shirk] then moves to those other reasons. Allah negates the belief of the polytheists who believe that their deities possess ownership, have association to the Owner, the ability to assist and as well as the ability to intercede. Allah then affirms that these deities have no share of intercession for the polytheist and that intercession is only by His permission. 

This verse is sufficient as a light and clear evidence for Tawheed [oneness of Allah] and destruction of polytheism. This verse severs the foundations of polytheism and the love for its practice – for one who uses his intellect. And the Qur’an is filled with more examples of this.

However, many people do not think that they can fall under polytheism and what it encompasses. They believe that polytheism is only a certain type of action, that it only occurred with certain nations from the past and that they have not fallen into it.

And these thoughts are what deviates and separates the heart from having [true] understanding of the Qur’an.

Source: I’ve found this in “Badaai’ at-Tafseer” published by Dar ibn al-Jawzi. This 3 volume book-set is a compilation of all of ibn al-Qayyim’s works on verses of the Qur’an. The reference provided in the footnotes is: Madaarij as-Saalikeen 1/343.

Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam

الفقير الى الله

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