What does Shirk al-Khafiyy (hidden polytheism) mean?

The Details of the Question

What does Shirk al-Khafiyy (hidden polytheism) mean?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Shirk means associating partners with Allah. There is open/visible shirk and hidden/secret shirk. The open one is the one that is known like believing in three gods or accepting idols as intercessors in the presence of Allah.

As for the hidden shirk, it is generally divide into two: The first one is to forget the consent of Allah, to show off and to act hypocritically or to give importance to satisfying the desires of the soul. The second one is to give too much importance to beings, which function as a means in the creation of things, and to think that they have the power to influence.

There is also another kind of the hidden shirk, which is veiled; it takes place in the realm of feelings and heart, not in the realm of deeds. The more man makes progress spiritually, the more veiled the shirk gets.  

To give too much importance to causes/means is also regarded as hidden shirk. If the rate of the cause in the realization of something is one percent, and if it is given the value of a hundred percent, ninety-nine of percent of it is regarded as hidden shirk. If man is too confident and puts all of his faculties under the command of his soul, it is also regarded as hidden shirk. 

An example about the issue: Only Allah is al-Jabbar (the Compeller) and al-Mutakabbir (the Greatest). If a person uses the wealth, strength and knowledge granted to him by Allah to oppress the slaves of Allah in His presence, it means he wants to be like al-Jabbar and al-Mutakabbir and commits hidden shirk.

The Messenger of Allah stated the following about “Falak”:

“It is a dungeon in Hell; those who are jabbar and mutakabbir are imprisoned there; Hell takes refuge in Allah from it.” (Daylami, 3/217; Kanzu’l-Ummal, h.no:2954; It is stated that this narration is weak. see Shawkani, 5/640-641)

However, our soul wants the place from which Hell takes refuge in Allah. Only this is enough to show that the soul is much more dangerous than Hell. However, we do not want to understand it because of the soul. The following is stated in another hadith:

“If a Muslim shows respect to a person due to his wealth, two thirds of his religion disappear.” (However, the narration is weak. see Bayhaqi, Shuab, 12/373)

In Islam, to love for Allah is essential. To love a rich person who gives zakah and does charity is to love him on behalf of Allah and it is not included in the scope of the hadith. The love that is prohibited here is loving a person through humiliation by being heedless of Allah.

Islam is the religion of oneness. The Owner of this universe is one. All good deeds are in His treasure. Islam teaches us not be so much grateful to the sun for its light, to the field for its crops and to the rich for their wealth. Everybody and everything is a cause and means. All boons come from the Lord of the earth and sky.  

If a poor believer who learns this lesson shows too much respect to a rich person as if he is giving his sustenance, his belief of oneness, that is, accepting Allah as one, may be harmed. A person is loved for his attributes like belief, ethics, virtues, knowledge, understanding and honesty whether he is rich or poor. Richness alone is not a criterion of loving a person.   

When a rich person reads this hadith, he will not rub others' nose in. He will not expect too much respect for his good deeds, favors and charity. Otherwise, he knows that he may harm the honor of the people along with their religion.

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