Understanding Shirk in Tawheed of Lordship (Ruboobiyyah) with examples – Shaykh Uthaymīn, Shaykh Sālih al-Fawzān

Shirk in Tawḥīd of Lordship is to believe that others besides Allah create or share control over his creation. This belief means that someone other than Allah can make good things happen or keep bad things from happening.

One example of this type of Shirk is to believe something brings good luck. People often have “good luck” rings or similar items they believe will help good things happen to them. Others tie special strings around them or their children, believing that if they recite the Quran over the strings, they will protect from bad things happening. However, only Allah can protect us from bad things and we should only seek his protection in ways he mentions in the Quran or the prophet ( صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) taught us in the ḥadīth

Another common example of Shirk in Tawḥīd of Lordship today is when people believe others like themselves who are created and have no control in Allah’s universe can control what happens. Such people even wait until the ones they believe in are dead before worshipping them by praying to them. The act of praying to dead people is Shirk in Tawḥīd of Worship (which we will cover shortly), but the belief itself is also Shirk in Tawḥīd of Lordship because when people pray to dead people, they believe the souls of humans can control things in this life even after their death. This is completely wrong because the prophet ( صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) told us:

إِذَا مَاتَ الإِنْاَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَنْهُ عَمَلُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ ثَلاثَ ة إِلاَّ مِنْ صَدَقَ ة جَارِيَ ة أَوْ عِلْمٍ «
». يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ أَوْ وَلَ د صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَهُ

When a person dies, his actions come to an end except for (receiving rewards for) three things: continuous charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.
[Recorded by Muslim]

While a person may still receive rewards from Allah for things he left behind after he died, the prophet ( صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) clearly told us that after death, a human being’s actions stop. So how can dead people control whether good and bad things happen in life when they are not even in life anymore? Still, some people continue to pray to the dead, asking for their help in changing events in this life although only Allah can do this.

Even if a dead person was a righteous worshipper of Allah, believing that dead people or anyone else controls things in this life is Shirk in Tawḥīd of Lordship.


  1. What is Shirk in Tawḥīd of Lordship? 
  2. Give an example of Shirk in Tawḥīd of Lordship

Posted from: Explaining Shirk: The Greatest Sin – Muhammad Ibn Sālih al-‘Uthaymīn, Sālih al-Fawzān, Translated by  Abu az-Zubayr Harrison

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