Shirk in the Three Categories of Tawheed

Shirk in the Three Categories of Tawheed by Javeria

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ


Tawheed – the call to the oneness of the Allah was the message of each and every Prophet sent to guide mankind. Allah Subhana Watala says in the Qur’an:

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” (Al-Anbiya: 25)

Only fourteen hundred years have passed since Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhe wasallam raised the banner of Tawheed to remind the people of their one and only true creator and reminded them to worship Allah alone. For thirteen years, he preached the Oneness & Unity of Allah. When prophet Muhammad sent Muuad bin Jabal to invite people of Yemen to Islam, he said to him,

“So let the first thing you call them to, be the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.” (Bukhari)

This was because Tawheed is the foundation of Islam. The basis of belief. The key to eternal success lies in Tawheed.

Unlike any other Prophet, the divine book which Prophet Muhamamd (s) brought i.e. the Quran and his entire life and teachings the Seerah and the Sunnah has been preserved. Despite this, unfortunately hardly any Muslim community remains with sound belief in Tawheed. Such new concepts and ideas have evolved over time, that violate the concept of Tawheed and are acts of open Shirk, yet in many Muslim countries, they are considered to be the essence of Islam. Allah Subhana Watala has said about such people:

And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him. (Yusuf: 106)

Pakistan is one such ‘Islamic’ country, where there is great deviation in the concept of Tawheed and Shirk is quite rampant. In the article below, the three main categories of Tawheed will be discussed and one example each of its violation in Pakistan will be given.


Tawheed Ar Ruboobeeyah means that Allah is the sole creator and sustainer of this entire universe. Nothing happens in the universe, nothing moves or changes except with His permission. This means that He has complete lordship and sovereignty over all His creations.

Shirk in Tawheed Ar Ruboobeeyah occurs when some of Allah’s power, control and sovereignty is given to His creation. This is Shirk by association. Another type of Shirk in this occurs when the existence of God is totally denied.

EXAMPLE: considering prophet muhammad (s) to have control of the universe

There is a sect called Barelwees in Pakistan and their founder was Ahmed Rada Barelwi from India. They have the belief that Prophet Muhammad sallalllahu Alayhe wasallam also shares the authority and control of the universe with Allah.

Ahmed Rada Bareilawi said, ‘It is the Messenger of Allaah who heals up the diseases and pains and removes every calamity from the Muslim people, he give life, and resolves the dilemmas, benefits all the creatures, and raises their degree. He is the guardian and the helper, the remover of the adversity. It is he who cooled down the fire upon Abraham. It is he who bestows, and his command is in force and his order is operative in the universe’ [Ibid 29-30] Another says, ‘The Messenger of Allaah, the chief of the universe, is the generous, the sustainer, and we all are needy to him’[1]

This violates the concept of Tawheed Ar Ruboobeeyah as the Barelwis consider Prophet Muhammad to have a say in the affairs of the creation and that he is able to benefit the people and that nothing happens without his permission. Where as it is clearly stated in the Quran that Prophet Muhammad does not even have the power to benefit or harm his own self.

Say [O Prophet Muhammad s], “I hold not for myself [the power of] benefit or harm, except what Allah has willed. And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am not except a warner and a bringer of good tidings to a people who believe.”(Al-Araaf: 188)


Tawheed Al Asma Was-Sifaat means that Allahs attributes and names are unique to Him. Allah should be referred in terms in which He Himself and His Prophet Muhammad (s) have described Him.

Shirk in Tawheed Al Asma Was-Sifaat occurs when Allah’s attributes are given to His creation , this is shirk by deification or the attributes of His creation are given to Allah, this is shirk by humanization. Both of these forms of Shirk are quite prevalent in Pakistan


Some people in Pakistan have this belief that Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhe wasallam is God incarnate.[2] They quote the following verse of the Quran as one of the evidence.

“You killed them not, but Allah killed them. And you (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) threw not when you did throw, but Allah threw…” (Al-Anfal:17)

They say that Muhammad (s) is actually Allah on earth. They also quote some fabricated hadith the jist of which is that once Jibreel was asked that from whom do you bring the revelation. He replied that he does not know because there is a curtain. So Jibreel was told that next time you go, remove the curtain and see. So the next time Jibreel went to get revelation, he peeked behind the curtain and there he saw Muhammad (s).They also believe that while performing ‘Salah’, they should have this belief that they are worshipping Muhammad (s) otherwise their prayer is invalid.

This concept violates the Tawheed Al Asma Wa Sifaat because  this is shirk by Humanization as Allah is considered to be in the form of His creation where as Allah has clearly stated that he is above his Arsh – His Throne:

Surely, your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then rose over (Istawa ) the throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty), disposing the affair of all things. (Yunus:3)


Tawheed Al Ebaadah means that all acts of worship should be directed only to Allah. Allah has clearly stated that He Alone should be worshipped.

Truly! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). This is the Straight Path. (Ale-Imran:51)

Shirk in Tawheed Al Ebaadah occurs when acts of worship are directed towards others besides Allah and the rewards of good deeds and worship are expected from Allah’s creations instead of Allah. Salah, sacrifice, supplication, zakah, fasting and all other forms of worship should be directed only to Allah for His pleasure.

When people are unable to realize and understand the attributes of Allah and are not able to distinguish between Allah and His creation, then they fall into Major Shirk by worshipping others besides Allah.

EXAMPLE:  SALAH for Prophet Muhammad

A group of people who believe that Muhammad (s) is god incarnate[3] also believe that while performing Salah-prayer, they should have this belief that they are worshipping Muhammad (s) otherwise their prayer is invalid.

They  also direct their duas-supplications to their ‘pirs’ whose large framed pictures they hang in their rooms and supplicate towards these pictures, saying that they cannot directly supplicate to Prophet Muhammad (s) because his status is too high, so they use their pirs as intermediaries.

This is Major Shirk because salah, which is a pillar of Islam and an act of worship purely for Allah, has been directed towards Prophet Muhammad (s). Supplication is also a form of worship, which has been directed towards other humans; this also violates Tawheed Al Ibadah and is a form of major shirk.

Whereas in the Quran, Allah says:

Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). (Al-Anaam:162)

And Prophet Muhammad (s) said about supplication:

Supplication (du’a’) is itself the worship. (Abu Dawood)


Muslims of have today have deviated greatly from Tawheed. Shirk is quite rampant in the Muslim land, with open and major acts of Shirk publicly committed.

The main reason for deviation is personality worship instead of following the Quran and Sunnah. For some it is Prophet Muhammad (s), for others it is Abdul Qadir Jeelani or Ali ibn Abi Talib or their teacher or some saint. They have exaggerated so much in the love of these personalities, that they have elevated them to a divine status, just like the Christians did. And Prophet Muhammad rightly warned the Muslims by saying

‘Do not praise me excessively as Jesus, son of Marry was praised, but call me Allah’s Slave and His Apostles.’  (Abu Dawood)

Another reason is ignorance and lack of knowledge. The main sources of guidance, the Quran and the Sunnah are ignored or misunderstood and the sayings of their saints or ‘pirs’ is considered to be religion. The understanding of the Sahaba and the early major scholars is also ignored. This results in great deviation from the correct aqeedah resulting in Shirk.

Shirk is one sin which Allah will never forgive. It is heartbreaking to see people working so hard and being so devoted to Islam but if their Aqeedah is not sound due to Shirk, all their good deeds will be wasted and they will be the greatest losers on the Day of Judgement.

Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.
(  An-Nisa:48)

And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), as it was to those (Allah’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.”(Zumr: 65)

[1] Al Fatawa al Ridwiyya Vol I p 577

Quoted on

[2] I have personally met such people and read their evidences. They go to their ‘pirs’ or ‘baba’ who teaches them about Islam and they are not allowed to go to any other teacher. Their ‘pir’ gave them a hand written document which they showed me, which contained their evidences for their beliefs. I don’t know what they call themselves or which sect they belong to.

[3] See footnote no 4


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