Four Principles #4: Shirk Destroys all Deeds
This is the fourth article in our commentary on The four principles by Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab. In the last article we discussed the explanation of knowledge and haneefiyyah. In this article we will be concluding the author’s preface.
We ask Allaah, The Exalted and Sublime, to accept it from us as an act of worship and forgive our shortcomings therein. He is indeed The Noble and Generous.
The author, Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab, said:
So if you know that Allaah created you for His worship, then know that worship cannot be regarded as worship except with tawheed (Islamic monotheism). Just as prayer (solat) cannot be regarded as prayer except with purification. So if shirk (polytheism) mixes with worship it (worship) spoils just as farting does to purification.
Shirk Destroys all deeds
The sheikh (may Allaah have mercy on him) compared worship that has no tawheed to prayer that has no purification. So, once again he displays a great methodology in calling to Allaah. That is comparing what is unknown to what is known in order to make his listener and reader comprehend his points without difficulty.
Just as observing prayers without purification is a waste of time so also doing acts of worship without the correct and pristine creed of Islamic monotheism is a waste of time and effort. We ask Allaah for safety.
Methods of dawah learnt from the author
In the articles that have passed and in this article we have learnt three qualities that a caller to Allaah should possess:
- Sincere goodwill for the one we are calling. We learnt this from the sheikh’s prayers for his readers.
- Starting from what the people we are calling understand and acknowledge to what they do not understand. In other words we should be gradual in preaching and explaining the tenets of Islam to our listeners. Many times this needs studying and acquiring some knowledge about the person you wish to call before talking to them.
- Making good comparisons and giving relevant examples to make it easy for them to comprehend what you are explaining to them
And Allaah knows best.
The Sheikh Further says:
So if you know that if shirk mixes with an act of worship, it spoils it, spoils the deed and its perpetrator becomes one of the eternal inmates of hell, then you know that the most important matter upon you is to possess knowledge of it.
Perhaps Allaah will (make it a means to) save you from this shackle; and that is shirk (associating partners) with Allaah which Allaah says about:
Verily, God forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases,
Why we must learn about shirk
Learning about shirk is the most important thing in the life of a person. That is because you cannot fulfill your primary duty in this world while you associate partners with your Creator, Provider and Sustainer.
It is not possible to fulfill tawheed without abandoning shirk. Allaah the exalted says in His noble book (interpretation of the meaning):
Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût and believes in God, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And God is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
So a servant cannot actualize tawheed without first negating shirk. Worship is not beneficial if shirk mixes with it. Negating shirk is a condition for establishing tawheed.
The great companion Hudhayfah bn Yemen also said:
The people used to ask the messenger of Allaah (commendations and peace of Allah be upon him) about good things but I used to ask him about evil things out of the fear that they may afflict me
Saheehul Bukhaaree: 3606
Therefore learning about the nullifiers of tawheed is a most important matter and the slave should devote the most precious of his time to learning it because all his deeds may be null and void while he still thinks he is worshiping Allaah.
A poet said:
I know evil not for evil but to avoid it
Whoever cannot tell good from evil is likely to fall into it.
So it does not suffice to learn, practice and teach the rights of Allaah upon His servants, rather it is equally important to learn, practice and teach the beliefs, statements and actions that negate Islamic monotheism which is the right of Allaah upon His slaves.
And Allaah alone knows best.
Then the Sheikh says:
And that is by learning four principles which Allaah the exalted mentioned in His book.
The four principles
Now the sheikh will mention the four principles which is the subject of this treatise. It is important to note that the sheikh derived these principles from the book of Allaah and the sunnah of the messenger (peace and commendations of Allaah be upon him).
So, our methodology in this commentary will be to:
- clarify some of the sheikh’s expressions that might look ambiguous
- explain the evidences he brought for each point
- Show and explain the sheikh’s point(s) of reference in each proof that he mention
- And where necessary we will bring relevant examples in our present world to explain it.
We beseech Allaah to assist us.