Is it true that a person who commits the sin of associating partners with Allah will not be forgiven?
Submitted by on Wed, 13/08/2014 - 11:31
Dear Brother / Sister,
It is stated in the Quran that a person who lives as a polytheist and dies as a polytheist will remain in Hell forever. However, it is also stated in the Quran that if a polytheist repents before he dies and believes in Allah, he will be forgiven.
When we study the Quran, we see that those who associate partners with Allah do so by opposing oneness as a result of obeying their souls. In all polytheistic communities, immorality, the feelings of the soul, oppression, ambition, naughtiness, rampage and utilitarianism are dominant. The basis of polytheism is people not believing in Allah fully, not obeying His orders and prohibitions properly; then, they fall into debauchery as described above. This issue is mentioned in many verses: (al-A'raf, 7/80, 81, 85, 86; Yusuf, 12/23, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 35; al-Hijr, 15/3 etc)
Along with the verses of the Quran, the issue of polytheism is mentioned in detail in hadiths and academic books. Associating partners with Allah in terms of His oneness is polytheism; associating partners with Him in terms of His power and administration is also polytheism. Another form of polytheism is to expect the results that need to be expected from Allah only from others.
The opposite of polytheism is oneness. Oneness means to accept the existence and oneness of Allah, that only He has power in His administration, and that His domination and will are superior to everything. Oneness is essential in the religion of Islam. The main purpose of almost all kinds of worship is to establish unity among Muslims. All of the Muslims around world reciting the same adhan, turning toward the same qiblah are an indication of oneness. Polytheism is the opposite of it. To harm the belief about the oneness of Allah, which is the main purpose and essential aim of oneness, and to associate partners with Allah are regarded as the biggest polytheism.
Allah states the following in the Quran, describing polytheism as wrong-doing: "False worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing." (Luqman, 31/13) As a matter of fact, a person who falls into polytheism wrongs his own soul by doing so. (al-Mawardi, an-Nukatu wa'l-Uyun, Beirut, 1992, IV, 333). Polytheism is also regarded as wrong-doing because when a person opposes the universal law to which the skies, the earth and the beings in them, matter and life surrender, that is, the fact that Allah is the unique deity and Lord, he does not give Allah His due. Another verse supporting the fact that a person who falls into polytheism wrongs his own soul is as follows:
"Being true in faith to Allah and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allah he is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far-distant place." (al-Hajj, 22/31 )
A person who falls into polytheism becomes so terrible that his ties with Allah break off, he loses his sense of direction, he cannot distinguish the bad from the good and he becomes so confused as to kill his own child. Their terrible situation is described as follows in the Quran:
"Even so, in the eyes of most of the Pagans, their `partners' made alluring the slaughter of their children in order to lead them to their own destruction, and cause confusion in their religion. If Allah had willed, they would not have done so: but leave alone them and their inventions!" (al-An'am, 6/137)
Some other verses showing how Allah sees polytheism and the definition of polytheism in the Quran are as follows:
"Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him: but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, hath strayed far, far away (from the Right)." (an-Nisa, 4/116)
"Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of Bliss) and forgiveness." (al-Baqara, 2/221)
"Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures." (al-Bayyina, 98/6)
It is necessary not to obey polytheism, which is contrary to oneness, and the orders of Allah and the Prophet, no matter from whom it comes. Islam orders people to obey their parents and to show respect to them but polytheism asks people not to obey them and not to be subject to them. One of the verses regarding the issue is as follows:
"We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they (either of them) strive (to force) thee to join with Me (in worship) anything of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not. Ye have (all) to return to Me, and I will tell you (the truth) of all that ye did." (al-Ankabut, 29/8).
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) lists polytheism as the first one among the destructive sins. The following is stated in a hadith regarding the issue:
"Avoid seven destructive deeds:
1- To associate partners with Allah;
2- To deal with magic (and sorcery, witchcraft, etc);
3- To kill a person unjustly, which is rendered haram by Allah;
4- To eat (spend) the property of orphans;
5- To run away from battlefield;
6- To eat usury (interest);
7- To slander chaste, honorable and innocent women stating that they have committed fornication." (Bukhari, Wasaya, 23, Tibb, 48, Hudud, 44; Muslim, Iman, 144; Abu Dawud, Wasaya, 10; Nasai, Wasaya, 12).
It was stated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that the sins except polytheism could be forgiven, that if a believer committed sins, he would definitely go to Paradise after he was punished for his sins and that if those who committed polytheism died before they repented, they would not be forgiven as follows:
"Gabriel (Jibril) came to me and gave the following glad tidings: 'Whoever from your ummah dies without having associated partners with Allah enters Paradise.' Thereupon, I asked him, 'Even if he has committed fornication and theft?' He answered, 'Yes, even if he has committed fornication and theft.'" According to what the Prophet (pbuh) said, he asked Jibril the same question three times and Jibril gave the same answer. (Bukhari, Janaiz, 1, Libas, 24, Isti'dhan, 30, Riqaq, 13,14, Tawhid, 33; Muslim, Iman, 153, 154, Zakah, 32,33; Tirmidhi, Iman, 18; Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 152, 159, 161, VI, 166)
There is another kind of polytheism called small polytheism. It means to perform worshipping by showing off and deviating from the consent of Allah. The following is stated in the Quran regarding the issue:
"Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner." (al-Kahf, 18/110).
What is meant by admitting no one as partners of Allah is not to be sincere in worshipping and to have feelings of hypocrisy, show off, interest and similar ones. (al-Baydawi, Anvaru't-Tanzil wa Asraru't-Ta'wil, Egypt 1955, II, 14)
Some of the hadiths of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) regarding the issue are as follows:
What I fear the most about you is small polytheism. Those who were there asked, "O Messenger of Allah! What is small polytheism?" The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) answered, "Small polytheism is hypocrisy, that is, show off. When people are given their rewards for their deeds on the Day of Judgment, Allah will say to them, "Go to the people to whom you showed your worshipping through hypocrisy and show off and see whether you will find any rewards for you from them." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 428, 429)
"What I fear the most about my ummah is associating partners with Allah. Pay attention. I do not say they will worship the moon, sun or idols. They will do deeds for things outside the consent of Allah; they will show off." (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 21)
Abu Hurayra narrates:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: The first of men whose case will be decided on the Day of Judgment will be a man who died as a martyr. He shall be brought before the Judgment Seat. Allah will make him recount His blessings (i. e. the blessings which He had bestowed upon him) and he will recount them and admit having enjoyed them in his life.
Allah will say: What did you do to requite these blessings? He will say:
I fought for Thee until I died as a martyr. Allah will say:
You have told a lie. You fought that you might be called a" brave warrior". And you were called so. Then, orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face downward and cast into Hell.
Then will be brought forward a man who acquired knowledge and imparted it to others and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought and Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them and admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime. Then will Allah ask:
What did you do to requite these blessings? He will say:
I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and recited the Qur'an seeking Thy pleasure.
Allah will say: You have told a lie. You acquired knowledge so that you might be called "a scholar"; and you recited the Quran so that it might be said:" He is a Qari" and such has been said. Then, orders will be passed against him and he shall be dragged with his face downward and cast into the Fire.
Then will be brought a man whom Allah had made abundantly rich and had granted every kind of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them and admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime. Allah will (then) ask:
What have you done to requite these blessings?
He will say: I spent money in every cause in which You wished that it should be spent.
Allah will say: You are lying. You did it so that it might be said about you:" He is a generous fellow" and so it was said. Then will Allah pass orders and he will be dragged with his face downward and thrown into Hell." (Muslim, Imara, 152; Nasai, Jihad, 22; Ahmad b. Hanbal, II, 322)
As it is stated in the hadith, to become a martyr, to become a scholar, to do charity are very good deeds. However, if they are not done for the sake and consent of Allah but for hypocrisy, show off or any other feeling of interest, they have no value.
Questions on Islam
- "Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner." (al-Kahf, 18/110) Will you explain the verse above? What does admitting partners in worship mean?
- What is Shirk?
- What is the Divine decree of calling Jesus Christ (PBUH) or any other persons “God”?
- What are the harms done by sins to man?
- Is there a sin that cannot be forgiven? What are the sins that Allah will never forgive? What sins can lead a person to Hell?
- Who is an Unbeliever? What are the Causes that Lead one to Unbelief?
- Were there any signs about the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in other monotheistic books?
- Is it polytheism to pray turning to a grave and ask for intercession (shafa'ah) from the person buried there?
- What is the punishment of polytheism (shirk)?
- Is there a verse in the Quran stating that if people loved someone or something more than they love Allah, Allah would be their rivals?