Answering MIAW’s fourth principle of shirk

Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahab writes:

The fourth principle is that the mushrikeen of our time are worse in their shirk than the mushrikeen who came before. This is because those who came before committed shirk during times of ease and made their worship purely for Allaah during times difficulty. However, the shirk of the mushrikeen of our time is continuous, during times of ease and difficulty. The proof is His, the Most High’s, saying, “And when they embark on a ship they invoke Allaah making their faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” [al-Ankaboot 29:65], so based upon this, the caller (one who supplicates) then he is actually a worshipper (by this supplication), and the evidence is His, the Most High’s saying, “And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allaah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them?” [al ahqaf 46:5]


In this final principle, he begins by alleging that polytheists committed shirk only at times of ease. The Quranic verse he brings forth as proof is the action of polytheists at times of extreme difficulty, where they used to direct themselves only to Allah abandoning their stone idols.  The author interprets this action to mean that polytheists were actually monotheists at such difficult times. This absurd conclusion is a result of the falsehoods in his previous principles. This conclusion is implying that, a polytheist who leaves his idol for a moment and directs himself to Allah, becomes a monotheist at that specific moment. It requires no deep thinking to notice the absurdity of such a conclusion, for tawhid is not a mere switching from an idol to Allah. Rather it constitutes essentially the belief that “there is no god but Allah”. There has to first be an absolute negation of false gods and along with it proceeds then the affirmation of Allah as God.  A mere turning to Allah by an idolater does not make an idolater a monotheist unless it was preceded by negation of false gods. More importantly, any action dedicated to Allah, whether it consists of invoking at times of difficulty, an annual pilgrimage to the house of Allah or anything else, without this monotheistic belief, is rejected and deemed invalid. The actions of polytheists at times of difficulty was a mere temporary abandonment of their stone idols, due to the practical non-beneficial state of their idols; and not because the polytheists suddenly turned monotheist, convinced that “there is no God but Allah” or all of a sudden realized the partner gods were not really gods. Therefore, their act of merely turning to Allah at those moments, which allegedly made them monotheists   according to Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab, cannot be considered as even valid in the first place, let alone make them a monotheist.

The author then alleges that this action of polytheists i.e., their invoking of Allah, constituted an act of worship of Him. By this argument he attempts to establish his case that, the mere outward act of invoking for help, constituted an act of worship. But such a claim is false, since as mentioned before, an action without purity in belief is in fact void. The proof that the actions of polytheist did not constitute worship of Allah is the Quranic verse revealed against the unbelievers: {you do not worship what I worship…. you will never worship what I worship”}[Quran 109:3,5].  Yet they were considered as worshiper of idols [Quran 109:2, 4]. That is, the invoking of polytheists of their idols were considered as worship of it, yet their invoke of Allah did not make them be considered as worshipers of Allah. Why this distinction ? This fact, that such actions of polytheists did not constitute worship, is an invalidation of these innovated principles and definitions that has reduced tawheed, shirk and worship to external practical actions without any connection with internal belief. If it were true then, the dedication of actions by polytheists for Allah, from their invoking at times of difficulty or their sacrifice, fasting or pilgrimage would have been considered as worship of Allah. But the Qur’an, on the contrary, and without any ambiguity, reveals that the polytheists never worshiped Allah, which therefore is proof that “worship” does not constitute of mere outward actions and has conditions more than that for being qualified as worship.

Furthermore, the fact that Allah says the Meccan polytheists worshiped idols and did not worship Allah as well as the fact the Quran was revealed to call Mushriks to worship Allah only, proves that the core meaning of worship is objective and not dependent on revelation or time-place. If the essential/core meaning of worship was just some kind of outward act or ritual that was dependent on revealed law determining it as worship, then the Mushirks who never received a divine law would have not even known the meaning worship and hence the message of the Quran would be meaningless to them. But instead the Mushirks well knew the meaning of worship and what the Prophet (peace be upn him) was calling them towards, and hence the meaning of worship and shirk was known and defined independent of revealed law, and their meaning cannot be reduced to mere outward bodily rituals or acts.

Now even if supposing for arguments sake that their principle is true, even then they need  to be consistent in their accusation. They would have to not just accuse Muslims of the near time but even slander the Qur’an and the prophetic narrations. A couple of examples from the Qur’an and hadith, which they have to reject,  being:

The speech of Solomon (alaihi salaam) :{Counsellors, which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?’} [Quran 27:38], the speech of Jesus (alaihi salaam): {‘Who will help me in God’s cause?’} [Quran 3:52], the command of Allah: {“…if they seek help from you against persecution, it is your duty to assist them…”} [Quran 8:72], the general duty ordered by Allah:{“…help one another to do what is right and good; ….} [Quran 5:2],that Allah has kept invisible forces to aid the creation: {“God…. aided him with forces invisible to you”} [Quran 9:40], and the Quranic identity of “Allah’s party”: {“Those who turn for protection to God, His Messenger, and the believers [are God’s party]: God’s party is sure to triumph.”} [Quran 5:56]. In these verses, aid is being sought from creation, the providing of aid and help is proscribed as a duty of creation, existence of invisible forces of aid is recognized as existent and turning to some of Allah’s creation for protection is praised as being the act of “God’s party”.  All of this should be categorized as the essence of shirk, as per the innovated standards of the ideologist Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab.

Examples from the prophetic narrations is the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “If one of you becomes lost or if you need help, and you are in a place that has no other humans, then call out, “O servants of Allah, help me! (aghithuni, a’inuni)” three times, for indeed Allah has servants who are unseen.”and the saying: “Allah has creatures whom He created for the fulfillment of the needs of people, whom the people go to and seek out for their needs, and they are the secure (on Judgment Day) from the Wrath of Allah.”  Moreover, in the narration recorded in Sahih Bukhari (#3114), it is related that Hajarah running between Safa and Marwa in search of water, hears a voice and says: “O you whose voice you have made me hear! If there is a ghawth (helper) with you (then help me)!” and an angel appeared at the spring of Zamzam. All of such prophetic narrations should be declared as worse than Meccan polytheism, if one has to consistently follow this new creed.

An apologist might at this moment intervene, by saying, “shirk occurs when a creation is invoked for a matter that  “only Allah is capable”. This final straw of argument, is in reality only an admission that,  the outward act of invoking or seeking a creation, is not what really constitutes shirk. Instead, shirk would be with the belief that a creation has a certain ability, that is in actuality a capability that belongs only to Allah. This goes back to saying that, shirk the polytheists committed consisted of shirk in Lordship itself, by associating an attribute of Allah to a creation. This last defense hence invalidates the prior principles of Muhammed ibn Abdul Wahhab. Their argument would be running around in circles. They start by arguing about polytheists affirming oneness in Lordship and yet they end their argument, after ducking and diving, into saying that shirk is in attributing Allah’s attributes to others besides Allah. Therefore, even if one actually concedes the first principle from these four principles, yet their argument would not follow, as they themselves would be contradicting and in opposition to their own first principle. Whether this allegation of theirs that, Muslims attribute creations with attributes that belong to Allah only, has any truth in it or not, is beyond the scope of this series of response, and besides, it was never raised as an argument by Muhammed ibn Abdul Wahhab himself.


This final principle makes the absurd notion that, an idolater becomes a monotheist by a simple turning towards Allah for help. An attempt was also made to infer from this that, the mere outward action of the Mushriks on a ship was considered as a worship of Allah. But this attempt is totally contradicted by what is mentioned in Surah al-Kafirun that, Mushriks did not worship Allah, thereby invalidating all the false invented definitions of tawhid and worship.


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