"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?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"Say: ‘I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.’" (1)

There is no doubt that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is a human being. He knows only what is revealed to him. One of the things revealed to him is that the god of all human beings is only one god.

According to Islam, the biggest sin is to associate partners with Allah; that is, to admit that there are other beings along with Allah that are gods and to worship them. In Quranic terminology, it is called "shirk (polytheism)". Allah states that He will never forgive this sin. (2)

There is open and hidden shirk. It is open shirk to worship, to ask for help from, anything/anybody other than Allah, to worship them as if they are gods, to take refuge in them and to do similar things; it is hidden shirk to worship Allah with the intention of showing off. As a matter of fact, it is also mentioned as "minor shirk" in hadiths. The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off.” Then, he said, Allah will say on the Day of Judgment when people are recompensed for their actions, ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world, and see what reward you find with them." (3)

When Tabari explains the verse above, he states the following: "If a person does a deed for Allah in appearance but if he has another purpose in himself along with Allah’s consent, he becomes a hypocrite. Thus, he associates partners with his Lord in worshipping."

Abdullah b. Abbas explains "associating partners with Allah in worshipping" as, "worshipping with the purpose of showing off". (4)

In another hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following while explaining how a person associates partners with Allah in worshipping:

"He who performs prayers to show off will fall into shirk. He who performs fasting to show off will fall into shirk. He who give sadaqah (alms) to show off will fall into shirk." (5)

Footnotes:

1. al-Kahf, 18/110
2. an-Nisa, 4/116
3. Musnad, V, 428; Kur’an Yolu: III/499.
4. Tabari, Tafsir, the interpretation of the verse in question
5. Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, Vol: 4, p: 126

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