This is a very important issue raised by brother Yaqin and I will analyze this with you. Lets start with the diagram, it simplifies the matter more:
- Shirk-----------------------> (a)Small Shirk;(b)Major Shirk
(a)Small Shirk--------------> (i)Ash-Shirk ul-Khafie;(ii)Ash-Shirk ul-Asghar
(b)Major Shirk--------------> Ash-Shirk ul-Akbar
Lets define each:
- (a) (i)Also known as the inconspicuous shirk and this type of shirk can either be major or minor shirk, depending on the area in which it was committed. An example might be to use the word "God" instead of "Allah, but because the word "God" has its weaknesses (masculinity & femininity; plurality and history) thus it can be classified under this category and note that it "hidden" even though your intention was,not to commit it . Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
Ash-Shirk ul-Khafie in the Muslim nation is more inconspicuous than the creeping of a black ant on a black stone in the darkness of the night
(a) (ii)Best defined by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
Mahmud ibn Lubayd reported, "God's messenger said: 'The thing I fear for you the most is ash-Shirk al-Asghar.'"
The companions asked, "Oh! messenger of God, what is that?"
He replied, "Ar-Riya (showing off), for verily God will say on the Day of Resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, 'Go to those for whom you were showing off in the material world and see if you can find any reward from them.'"
(b)To associate anyone with Allah Taala as His part (to believe in more than one god).
To associate Allah's attributes with someone else. (Attributing, considering, or portraying God's knowledge or might to being those of anyone else)
- (a) (i) and (ii)is/are a pardonable sin(s).
(b)is an unpardonable sin.
- (a) (i)Identify and rectify; then the expiation is reciting this thrice within a day and night:
اللّهُـمَّ إِنّـي أَعـوذُبِكَ أَنْ أُشْـرِكَ بِكَ وَأَنا أَعْـلَمْ، وَأَسْتَـغْفِرُكَ لِما لا أَعْـلَم
"O Allaah, I take refuge in you lest I should commit shirk with you knowingly, and I seek your forgiveness for what I do unknowingly."
(ii)Three step process: identify, rectify, and Tawbah (asking for forgiveness)
(b)If any of your actions (words, intentions etc) matches any of the two definitions, you must avoid it altogether and make Tawbah. Indeed:
"If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers." (Zumar, 39:65)
May Allah (the exalted and forgiving) forgive us for sins that we do (knowingly or unknowningly) and grant us paradise.
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