The Most Serious Thing Which Allaah Forbade is Shirk – Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

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Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah : Lesson 14
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

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Previous ClassThe Greatest Matter Commanded by Allaah is Tawheed

The Most Serious Thing Which Allaah Forbade is Shirk

Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said: 

وأعظمُ ما نهى عنه الشركُ 

And the most serious thing which He forbade is shirk 18


[18]: Shaykh Fawzan’s Explanation

His saying – rahimahullaah – “And the most serious thing which Allaah forbade is shirk”: This is a tremendous point of benefit because some people believe that there are things which are the worst crimes and the worst thing which Allaah has forbidden, saying, “Ribaa (usury) is the most serious of the forbidden things! Fornication is the greatest of forbidden things!” And therefore they focus upon forbidding ribaa and upon fornication and corruption of manners and behaviour. However they do not give importance to the matter of shirk and they do not warn against it and (yet) they see the people falling into it. So this is a case of tremendous ignorance of the Sharee‘ah (revealed law) of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High.

So the most serious thing which Allaah forbade is shirk, so it is more serious than usury and it is more serious than drinking alcohol and more serious than stealing and more serious than falsely devouring the wealth of the people and more serious than betting  and gambling; it is the most serious of the forbidden things. And the proof is His saying, He the Most High:

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُ ۖ وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۖ وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۖ وَبِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ أَوْفُوا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Say: Come, I will recite to you what my Lord has truly forbidden for you: Do not associate anything along with Allaah, and treat the parents well, and do not kill your children for fear of poverty; We shall provide for you and for them. And do not approach shameful sins, whether apparent or hidden, and do not kill the soul which Allaah has forbidden, except by right. This is what He has commanded you with so that you may understand. And do not approach the wealth of the orphan except in a manner which is best .. [6:151-152]

.. to the end of the aayaat.

And these aayaat are called the ten commandments.

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ

Say: Come, I will recite to you what my Lord has truly forbidden for you…

Up to His statement:

ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

That is what He has enjoined you with so that you may understand. [6:151-152]

These forbidden acts – Allaah began them with His statement:

أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا

Do not associate anything along with Allaah… [6:151]

So this proves that shirk is the most serious thing which Allaah has forbidden. 

And there occurs in Soorat-ul-Israa – Allaah, the Most High,said:

لَّا تَجْعَلْ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ فَتَقْعُدَ مَذْمُومًا مَّخْذُولًا

Do not set up another object of worship along with Allaah and so become one who is blameworthy and forsaken! [17:22]

He began with a prohibition of shirk and He concluded it with a forbiddance of shirk: 

ذَٰلِكَ مِمَّا أَوْحَىٰ إِلَيْكَ رَبُّكَ مِنَ الْحِكْمَةِ ۗ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ فَتُلْقَىٰ فِي جَهَنَّمَ مَلُومًا مَّدْحُورًا

And do not set up another object of worship along with Allaah so that you are cast into Hellfire rebuked and banished! [17:39]

So this proves that it is the most serious thing that Allaah has forbidden. This proves the saying of the Shaykh, “and the greatest thing that Allaah forbade is shirk.” 

And there occurs in the authentic hadeeth that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was asked:

‘Which sin is greatest?’ He said, “That you set up a rival for Allaah and (yet) it is He who created you.” It was said, ‘Then which (sin)?’ He said, “That you kill your child for fear that he will consume food along with you.” It was said: ‘Then which (sin)?’ He said, “That you commit adultery with the wife of your neighbour.” [1]

[1] Reported by al-Bukhaaree (6861) and Muslim (86) from the hadeeth of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood radiyallaahu ‘anhu

And Allaah sent down the confirmation of that in His saying:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا

And (the servants of ar-Rahmaan are) those who do not call upon another deity along with Allaah and they do not kill the soul which Allaah has made forbidden except by right, and they do not commit fornication. And whoever does (these things) will receive punishment. [25:68]

So he began with shirk in his saying, “That you set up a rival for Allaah”, meaning: a partner, “and (yet) it is He who created you.” 

And he said that this is the greatest of sins because he was asked “which sin is greatest?”

So he began with shirk.

And he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said:

“Keep away from the seven destructive sins.” So it was said, ‘What are they, O Messenger of Allaah?’ So he said, “Committing shirk with Allaah, and sorcery and killing the soul which Allaah has made forbidden, except with right.”.. to the end of the hadeeth.  [2]

[2] Reported by al Bukhaaree (2766) and Muslim (89) from the hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah radiallaahu ‘anhu

He began it with shirk so this shows that shirk is the greatest of all sins and that is because the person of shirk will never enter Paradise.

He, the Most High, said:

إِنَّهُ مَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ ۖ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ

Whoever makes shirk  with Allaah, then Allaah has made Paradise forbidden for him; and his abode will be the Hellfire. And the disbelieving wrongdoers will have no helper. [5:72]

Allaah will not forgive the mushrik:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ

Allaah does not forgive that shirk be committed with Him and He forgives whatever is less than that to whomsoever He wishes. [4:48]

So this proves that Paradise is forbidden for the person of shirk and that Allaah will not forgive him and it proves that shirk is the greatest of all sins since all sins –  except for shirk – can be met with forgiveness:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ

Allaah does not forgive that shirk be committed with Him and He forgives whatever is less than that to whomsoever He wishes. [4:48] 

So fornication and theft and drinking alcohol and taking usury  – all of it enters under al-mashee’ah (Allaah’s Wish and Will)  – if Allaah wishes, He will forgive its person and if He wishes, He will punish him.

As for shirk, then it will not be forgiven. Allaah has passed judgement that He will not forgive it. And likewise the person of sin – even if he has committed major sins which are less than shirk then Paradise will not be forbidden for him. His final destination will be Paradise.  Either Allaah will forgive him straightaway and enter him into Paradise or else he will come out of the Fire after having been punished in it and he will (then) enter into Paradise. No matter what evil and sins which are less than shirk occur from the believer then he will not despair of the Mercy of Allaah and he will not be forbidden from Paradise, and he enters under the forgiveness (of Allaah) by the Wish and Will of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High.

As for the person of shirk then he will be deprived and forbidden of all of that  – and Allaah’s refuge is sought – then this proves that shirk is the greatest of all sins. He, the Most High, said:

إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

Shirk is the greatest zulm (wrongdoing). [31:13]

And He, the Perfect, said:  

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَىٰ إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا

And whoever commits shirk with Allaah then he has invented a tremendous sin! [4:48]

وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا

And whoever commits shirk with Allaah then he has indeed strayed far away from the True Path! [4:116]

All of this proves that shirk is the greatest of sins and since shirk is the greatest of sins then it is obligatory upon the scholars and the educated people to forbid it and to warn against it and that they do not remain silent from warning against shirk. And it is obligatory to fight jihaad against the people of shirk along with ability just as Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam fought jihaad against them.

He, the Most High, said:

فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ

Then kill the people of shirk wherever you find them and seize them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. [9:5]

So it is therefore obligatory to warn against shirk and to clarify it to the people so that they avoid it; this is what is obligatory.

As for remaining silent about shirk and leaving the people passionately involved in worshipping other than Allaah whilst they claim to be upon Islaam – and there is no one forbidding them and no one warning them – then the matter is very serious. There are some people who turn their attention to forbidding usury and fornication and corruption of manners; these are forbidden matters and contain corruption however shirk is more serious. So why is attention not given to forbidding shirk and warning against shirk and explaining what many people have fallen into with regards to major shirk whilst they claim to be upon Islaam?

Why is there laxity with regards to the matter of shirk and disregard of it and leaving the people to fall into it and (yet) the people of knowledge are present? Indeed they live along with those people and (yet) they remain silent with them. What is obligatory is to turn attention firstly to forbidding this tremendous danger (of shirk) which has devastated the Muslim nation. Every sin is less than it and what is obligatory is to begin with what is most important, then with what is next in importance.

Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah. Explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles of Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah. Translated by  Daawood  Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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