Types of Shirk in Islam

For Shirk (associating anything or anyone in worship with Allah), it is divided into three types:

Types of Shirk in Islam

Shirk Akbar (Major Shirk):

This invalidates all actions as well as necessitates permanent residence in the Fire for the person who died upon it. As Allah (the Highest) said:

“But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” [06: 88]

Types of Shirk in Islam Quran

“It is not for the polytheists to maintain the Mosques of Allah, while they witness against their own selves of disbelief. The works of such bear no fruit, and in fire shall they dwell.” [09:17]

The person who dies upon this will not be forgiven and Paradise is forbidden to him, as Allah (the Majestic & Exalted) said:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases; and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.” [04:48]

“Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him and the Fire is his final abode” [05:72]

Shirk Asghar (Minor Shirk):

That which has been named ‘Shirk’ in the Quran and Sunnah but it is not the same as Major Shirk; such as Riya (showing off) in some of one’s deeds, swearing by other than Allah and saying: ‘What Allah willed and what so and so willed’ etc. This is due to the saying of the Prophet ﷺ, “That which I fear for you the most is minor Shirk.” When he was asked regarding it, he said: ‘Riyaa.’

He ﷺ also said, “He who swears by anything other than Allah commits Shirk.”

The Prophet ﷺ also warned, “Do not say, ‘Had Allah and so and so (person) willed’, but say, ‘Had Allah willed and then so and so (person) willed.”

This kind of Shirk does not necessarily lead to disbelief from Islam or an eternal stay in Hell. It negates, however, the completeness and perfection of Iman.

Shirk Khafi (Hidden Shirk):

Its evidence is the statement of the Prophet ﷺ, “Shall I not tell you of which I fear for you more than I fear of the Dajjal?” They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Hidden Shirk, where one beautifies his way of praying only because another one is looking at him.”

Alternatively, shirk could be divided into two kinds – Major and Minor. In this case, the hidden Shirk encompasses both the major Shirk and minor Shirk. It is Major Shirk if it is the same as the Shirk of the hypocrites who hide their false beliefs while showing off Islam out of fear. It is Minor Shirk if it is the same as Riya.

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