: MAN'S FITRAH (NATURAL DISPOSITION)
What is essential to know is that: "Allaah created the creation in order that they should worship Him. Furthermore, Allaah prepared for them - from His Provision - all that they would require. About this Allaah - the Most High - said:
"I did not create jinn and mankind, except that they should worship Me. I do not seek any provisions from them, nor do I ask that they should feed me. Indeed Allaah is the Provider, the Possessor of Might and Strength." [Soorah adh-Dhaariyaat 51:56-58].
So the soul - if left to its Fitrah (natural disposition and inclination) - would find itself acknowledging Allaah's Divinity, loving Him and worshiping Him alone, without worshipping others along with Him. However, this fitrah becomes corrupted and it deviates away from the pure worship of Allaah, due to what the devils - from amongst mankind and jinn - whisper to some people, beautifying to them their whispers of deception. So Tawheed (to worship Allaah alone) is the core and root of man's fitrah, whereas Shirk (directing any part of worship that belongs only to Allaah, to other than Allaah) is alien to it and is something that deceptively enters into it. Allaah - the Most High - said:
"So set your face to the Haneef Religion (the Religion of pure Tawheed), This is the fitrah of Allaah which He created mankind upon. There is to be no change in the creation (i.e, Religion) of Allaah. That is the straight and upright Religion. But most of mankind do not have knowledge." [Soorah Room 30:30]."1
The above Aayah (Verse) clearly refutes the false notion of the atheists; who claim that the natural basis of man is Shirk, and that Tawheed evolved in man! Not only does the previous Aayah refutes this falsehood, but so do the following two authentic narrations:
Firstly: Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, that his Lord said: "I created all My Servants upon the true Religion (upon Tawheed, free from Shirk). Then the devils come to them end led them astray from their true Religion. They made unlawful to people that which I had mode lawful for them, and they commended them to associate in worship with Me, that for which I had sent down no authority."4
Secondly: Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Every child is born upon the Fitrah (i.e. Islaam), but his parents make him a jew or a christian or a magian. It is like the way on animal gives birth to a natural offspring. Have you noticed any born mutilated, before you mutilate them." Abu Hurayrah said: Recite if you wish: "Allaah's fitrah with which He created mankind. There is to be no change to the creation (Religion) of Allaah." [Soorah Room 30:30]."3
: THE BEGINNING OF IDOL-WORSHIP
Mankind was, in the beginning, a single Ummah (nation) upon Tawheed, the pure worship of Allaah alone. Then Shirk gradually overcame them. The basis for this belief is what Allaah - the Most High - said:
"Mankind was one Ummah (nation), then Allaah sent Prophets bringing good news and warnings." [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:213].
"Mankind was not except a single Ummah, then they differed." [Soorah Yoonus 12. 19].
Ibn 'Abbaas radiallaahu 'anhu said:
"Between Noah and Aadam there were ten generations, all of them were upon the Sharee'ah (Law) of the truth, then they differed. So Allaah sent Prophets as bringers of good news and as warners."4
So: "During the time of the Prophet Noah 'alayhis-salaam, Shirk appeared amongst his people, and they started worshipping idols along with worshipping Allaah. So Allaah said:
"Indeed We sent Noah 'alayhis-salaam to his people and he said to them: I have come to you as a clear warner; that you should worship only Allaah." [Soorah Hood 1 1:25-26]."5
After this clear explanation, it is of the utmost importance for the Muslims to know exactly how Shirk spread amongst the Believers, after they were people upon pure Tawheed?
: THE ORIGINS OF SHIRK
Allaah - the Most Perfect - said about the people of Noah:
"And they said: You shall not forsake your deities / gods, nor shall you forsake Wadd, nor Suwaa', nor Yaghooth, nor Ya'ooq, nor Nasr." [Soorah Nooh 71:23].
Ibn 'Abbaas radiallaahu 'anhu relates:
"These were all idols from Noah's nation, which eventually ended up amongst the Arabs. Wadd was the idol which was worshipped by the Kalb tribe in the region of Dawmatul-Jandal; Suwaa' was for the Hudhayl tribe; Yaghooth by the Ghutayf tribe at Jurf near the region of Sabaa; Ya'ooq for the Hamdaan tribe and Nasr was the idol worshipped by the Dhul-Kalaa of the Himayr tribe. Indeed these five idols were the names of righteous men from the nation of Noah. When they died Shaytaan whispered to their people to make statues of them in honour of them, and to place these statues in their places of gathering as a reminder of them, so they did this. However, none from amongst them worshipped these statues, until when that generation passed away and the purpose of the statues was forgotten, the next generation then began worshipping them."6
Muhammad ibn Qays radiallaahu 'anhu said:
"Yaghooth, Ya'ooq and Nasr were a group of righteous men, who were taken as examples to be followed by their people. So when they died their companions said: If we were to make pictures of them it would encourage us to do acts of worship and obedience to Allaah (as they did). So they made pictures of them. However, when they died and the next generation came, Shaytaan whispered to them saying: Your fore-fathers used to worship these righteous men, and it was due to them that it rained. So they began to worship them."7
So the beginnings of Shirk lay in the excessive praise and respect given to certain dead pious Muslims, who - due to peoples' love for them - became idols that were worshipped and supplicated along with Allaah. So what needs to be understood is why people felt that they had to worship these righteous people along with worshipping Allaah.
: TAKING THE DEAD AS INTERCESSORS
Allaah - the One free from all defects - said:
"Indeed We have sent down to you the Book in truth, so worship Allaah alone by making the Religion purely for Him. Surely the Religion, worship and obedience should be for Allaah alone. But those who take as awliyaa (friends and protectors) others along with Allaah say: We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allaah. Indeed Allaah will judge between them concerning that in which they differ. Indeed Allaah does not guide those who are liars and disbelievers." [Soorah az-Zumar 39:2-3].
"And they worship those besides Allaah that can neither harm nor benefit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allaah. Say to them: Do you inform Allaah about that which He does not have knowledge in the heavens and the earth. Glory be to Allaah and how free He is from that which the associate as partners with Him." [Soorah Yoosuf 10:18].
"So Allaah - the Most Perfect - informed us in these two Aayaat (Verses) that the mushriks had taken others from the creation as awliyaa along with Allaah. They worshipped them along with Him, by offering du'aa (supplication) to them, and directing to them hope (of attaining safety or of being cured from some illness) and fear, sacrifice, vows, and their like claiming that directing such worship to these awliyaa would bring them closer to Allaah and that these awliyaa would then act as intercessors between them and Allaah. Yet Allaah - the the Most Perfect - rejected such claims and made clear its falseness and labeled those who claimed such a thing as being liars and disbelievers!"8
"Thus it should be clear to all who have intellect, that the cause of disbelief of the earlier kuffaar (disbelievers) was due to them taking the Prophets, awliyaa, trees, stones and other things from the creation, as intercessors between them and Allaah, believing that such intercessors would fulfill for them their needs and aspirations, without any permission from Allaah - the Most Perfect - nor His approval. They considered it to be similar to how ministers and advisors intercede on behalf of the people with the worldly kings. So they made a (false) analogy between Allaah - the Most Majestic - and the worldly kings and leaders, saying: lust as a person who wishes to present his needs to a king has to go through the king's advisors and ministers, then likewise we draw closer to Allaah by making du'aa (supplication) to the Prophets and the awliyaa; taking them as intercessors between us and Allaah. However, this analogy is the height of futility and falsehood. Since Allaah - the One free from all defects - has none that is comparable to Him, nor can analogies be made between Him and His creation. Indeed no one intercedes for His creation, except with His permission. and none will be granted shafaa'a (intercession), except the people of Tawheed. For Allaah - the Most Perfect - has knowledge and power over all things, and is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. He does not fear anyone, nor is frightened by anyone, since He - the Most Perfect - has power and dominion over His slaves and disposes of their affairs as He Wills. This is contrary to the earthly kings and leaders, for they do not have power over everything, nor do they have knowledge about everything. This is why they are dependant upon advisers, ministers and armies to assist them in matters which they, by themselves, are unable to do. They are also in need of being informed about those who are in need, which is another reason for their being surrounded by ministers and advisors. But the Lord - the Mighty and Majestic, the One free from all defects and shortcomings - is free from any type of need or assistance from any of His creation. He is more merciful to them that their mothers and He is the Most Just. And according to His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power, He places all things in their proper place. It is therefore not permissible to compare Allaah with His creation in this manner."9
: DU'AA TO OTHER THAN ALLAAH IS SHIRK
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:
"Whosoever dies whilst making du'aa (invocation, supplication) to others besides Allaah, will enter the HellFire."10
: A PROOF FROM THE COMPANIONS
Anas radiallaahu 'anhu related:
"In times of drought, 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab radiallaahu 'anhu used to ask 'Abbaas ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib to pray for rain on their behalf. He himself would say: "O Allaah we used to ask Your Prophet to supplicate on our behalf to You, and You would bless us with rain. Now we ask the uncle of our Prophet to supplicate to You on our behalf, so bless us with rain." Anas said: So they would be blessed with rain."11
Sulaym ibn 'Aamir al-Khabaairee relates:
"That the sky withheld all rain, so Mu'aawiyah ibn Abee Sufyaan went out to pray for rain along with the people of Damascus. So when Mu'aawiyah sat upon the pulpit he said: "Where is Yazeed ibn al-Aswad al-Jurashee?" So the people called him and he came stepping between the people. Then Mu'aawiyah commanded him, so he ascended the pulpit and sat at his feet. Then Mu'aawiyah said: "O Allaah! Today we are asking the best and most noblest amongst us to supplicate to You for us. O Allaah, today we put Yazeed ibn al-Aswad al-Jurashee forward to supplicate to You for us. O Yazeed! Raise up your hands to Allaah." So he raised up his hands and the people raised up their hands. Then rain-clouds, like large shields, came quickly from the west, and the winds blew, and it rained so much that people could hardly reach their houses."12
So why didn't 'Umar radiallaahu 'anhu and the rest of the Companions who were with him, go to the grave of our beloved Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam; or to the grave of the greatest of the awliyaa Abu Bakr radiallaahu 'anhu, and make du'aa (supplication) to them for rain? Why? Because they knew that doing so would constitute shirk? Likewise, why didn't Mu'aawiyah, and those of the righteous people with him, not delegate someone to go to Madeenah - to the grave of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, or any of the Companions buried there - or directly make du'aa to them from Damascus, in their time of distress and great need? Why? Because they knew that doing so would constitute shirk!
: SOME POINTS OF BENEFIT
Firstly: That Shirk began during the time of Noah 'alayhis-salaam, due to the excessive love and veneration that the people had for certain dead pious Muslim.
Imaam al-Qurtubee (d.654H) - rahimahullaah - said: "The initial images that were made of these righteous men were done in order that the people could be reminded about their righteousness and so strive in being righteous; as they strove. So they worshipped Allaah by the graves of these righteous men. Then a people came after them who forgot the intent of their fore-fathers' actions. So Shaytaan whispered to them saying: Your fore-fathers used to worship these images and held them in great veneration."13
Secondly: "That Shaytaan is eager to misguide mankind and to plot against them. He comes from the angle of exploiting man's emotions, and lures them into doing acts that are (apparently) good. Thus, when Shaytaan saw amongst the people of Noah their great love and esteem for the righteous, he tricked them into going beyond the bounds in their love, and he got them to make and place statues of these dead pious Muslims in their places of gatherings. The objective of this was to make them swerve away from the right path.
Thirdly: That Shaytaan does not only observe the present generation, and seek to deceive only them; but he also wishes to misguide and deceive future generations. Thus, when he could not plunge the present generation, from the people of Noah, into Shirk, he eagerly awaited the next generation's arrival, in order that he could misguide them."14
Fourthly: That the worshipping of dead pious Muslims continues to be practiced amongst the Ummah even today. The difference being is that the names have changed. Thus, instead of worshipping Wadd, or Yaghooth, or Ya'ooq; people have instead directed the same practices of Shirk - like supplicating directly to the pious dead, and taking them as intercessors between them and Allaah - to others; such as to Shaykh 'Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee in Iraaq, or al-Baydaawee in Eygypt, or Chishtee in India, etc. However, changing the name of a thing, does not change its reality.
1. Kitaabut-Tawheed (p.6) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan.
2. Related by Muslim (8/159) and Ahmad (4/162) from 'lyaadh ibn Himaar al-Mujaashi'ee radiallaahu 'anhu.
3. Related by al-Bukhaaree (11/418) and Muslim (18/52), from Abu Hurayrah radiallaahu 'anhu.
4. Related by at-Tabaree in his Tafseer (4/275).
5. Mubaahith (p.21) of Shaykh Naasir al-'Aql.
6. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.4920).
7. Related by at-Tabaree in his Tafseer (29/98).
8. Iqaamatul-Baraaheen (p.27) of Shaykh 'Abdul-'Azeez bin Baaz.
9. Iqaamatul-Baraaheen (pp.53-55).
10. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.4297), from Ibn Mas'ood radiallaahu 'anhu.
11. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.1010).
12. Related by Ibn 'Asskir in Tareekh Dimishq (18/151/1).
13. Jaami' li-Ahkaamil-Qur'aan (13/308).
14. Bayaan Haqeeqatut-Tawheed (pp.8-9) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan.