Major and Minor Shirk

Translated from Shaikh Fawzaan’s Explanation

Of Kitaabut Tawheed “al-Mulakh-khas”, p.46

ثالثا – أنَّ الشركَ ينقسمُ إلى أكبرَ وأصغرَ

 فالأكبرُ هو أن يسوِّي غيرَ اللهِ باللهِ

فيما هو من خصائص الله

والأصغرُ هو ما أتى في النصوصِ أنه شركٌ

ولم يصلْ إلى حدِّ الأكبر

والفرقُ بينهما:

أ – أنَّ الأَكبرَ يحبطُ جميعَ الأَعمالِ

 والأصغرَ يحبطُ العملَ الذي قَارَنَهُ

ب – أنَّ الأَكبرَ يخلّدُ صاحبَهُ في النارِ

 والأَصغرَ لا يوجبُ الخلودَ في النارِ

ج – أنَّ الأَكبرَ ينقلُ عَنِ الملةِ

 والأّصغرَ لا ينقِلُ عَنِ الملةِ

Thirdly – that shirk is divided into Major Shirk and Minor Shirk. Major Shirk1 is when a person makes other than Allaah equal2 to Him in those things which are specific to only Allaah. And Minor Shirk is what has come in the texts (i.e. the Book and the Sunnah) as being shirk, but doesn’t reach the level of Major Shirk. The difference between the two:

A. Major Shirk nullifies all of the deeds. Minor shirk only nullifies the deed that it is attached to

B. Major Shirk causes the one who commits it to be in the Fire forever. Minor Shirk does not obligate that the one who commits it will be in the Fire forever

C. The one who commits Major Shirk exits from the religion. The one who commits Minor Shirk does not exit from the religion.

Footnotes

1The scholars of Ahlus Sunnah give more than one definition of shirk and these definitions complement each other and do not contradict each other. For example, Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab said in The Three Principles that Shirk is: “calling upon other than Allaah along with Him”. This is correct and this is shirk (though it is a specific type of shirk). Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab also defined shirk in his book, The Major Sins (al-Kabaa’ir) as:

هو جعل شريك لله سبحانه وتعالى في ربوبيته وإلهيته، 

making a partner with Allaah – Free is He from all deficiencies and imperfections, and He is the Most High – in His Lordship or His Divinity

Shaikh Fawzaan has also defined shirk as:

عبادة غير الله في أي نوع من أنواع العبادة

Worshiping other than Allaah in any of the types of worship

(see this link from albaidha.net). So these definitions complement each other and do not contradict each other. Some are more specific and some are more general, but they are all correct.

2See the verse in surah Shu’araa (26:98)

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