What is minor Shirk?

Minor Shirk is one of the two forms of Shirk. It defines every deed that leads to major Shirk. The minor form of Shirk is also known as Shirk Asghar. It does not cause a Muslim to depart from Islam, in contrast to major Shirk.

This sin is one of the biggest ones in Islam. There are different deeds that lead to major Shirk like for example to swear on anyone besides Allah. We come to know of examples of minor Shirk through the Prophetic narrations.

  1. Can minor Shirk forgiven?
  2. Examples of minor Shirk

Can minor Shirk be forgiven?

It is possible to be forgiven from minor Shirk just like it is possible with major Shirk. When a Muslim performs minor Shirk he is still considered a Muslim. The deed will be forgiven if it is repented from sincerely.

Allah says in the Quran that He forgives any deed besides Shirk. That verse refers to the major form of Shirk when one has not repented from it in this world.

Repentance (Tawbah) must be done with conditions being met. Those are sincere regret, distance themselves from sin and intention to stay away from it in future.

Examples of minor Shirk

There are different deeds of minor Shirk in Islam. Those are related through the Prophetic narrations (Ahadith). Lets take a look at those deeds.

1. Swearing on other besides Allah

To swear by something or someone other than Allah is minor Shirk. We often encounter these situations when another person swears on his mother, on the grave, or on someone's life, for example. These acts do not place a Muslim outside the religion, but it is still one of the greatest sins.

Saeed ibn Ubaydah said:
Ibn Umar heard a man swear: "No, I swear on the Ka'bah." Ibn Umar said to him: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): he who swears by someone but Allah has committed Shirk.
(Abu Dawud Book of Swearing Hadith Number 3251)

'Abdullah narrated:
The Prophet said, "Whoever takes an oath must swear on Allah or remain silent." (i.e. He must swear no differently from Allah.)
(Sahih Bukhari the book of witnesses Hadith no. 2679)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) found 'Umar al-Khattab in a caravan while swearing by his father. So he said, "Allah forbids you to swear on ancestors." If one swears, he must swear by Allah or remain silent.
(Abu Dawud 3249)

2. Ar-Riya

This is an act of doing good deeds for the aim of others to see you. It is an act of hypocrisy, which comes in both the major and minor forms.

The worship should be done only for Allah. It is Ar-Riya to do an act of worship in order to be seen by others. That worship is therefore not accepted.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
"What I fear most about you is the Shirk Riyaa. Allah will say on the Day of Judgment when He pays the people for their deeds: Go to those for whom you have done Riyadh in the world and see if you would find the reward with them. "
(Musnad Ahmad (5/428, 429))

3. Wearing of amulets

There are different kinds of amulets available today. People wear those blue eyed amulet, hand of Fatima, sword of Ali etc. Those are all amulets of Shirk.

Wearing of amulets may even be major Shirk. If these are worn with the belief that it consists healing powers, protection or increase of provision, then that would be major Shirk.

If these amulets are worn as a means that Allah may protect, provide or heal them, then this is a form of minor Shirk. Because it is used as a means without it being that way. It leads to the major form of Shirk which is to ascribe an attribute to the amulet only Allah has.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
"Whoever wears an amulet has committed Shirk."
(Musnad Ahmad 16969)

Abu Athari writes about basic principles within Islam. He uses his critical and well-researched way to spread knowledge of the first three Muslim generations.

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