Shirk linguistically means ‘partnership, sharing or associating’. The Islamic appliance however is wider and refers to including anyone other than or as well as Allah for worship.
Shirk in Tawhid ar-Rububiyah
Here Shirk refers to the belief system and evaluation that others share in the legal jurisdiction and rule over some or all of Allah’s creation.
It further includes the belief that there is no Lord who controls and oversees creation as either a creator, judge and master.
This form of Shirk has two aspects-
A) Shirk by association
Here people believe in most of Allah’s powers and qualities but is divisible, that is he is one of many gods. He is recognised as the creator and sustainer of the universe and his powers, abilities, intelligence and judicial authority is believed to be limitless, but He Himself, is one of many beings.
In Christianity, adherents profess to believe in one god, yet state He is one of three persons, all separate yet equal. The father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
A further example of this kind of shirk is prayer and supplication to the deceased. Followers of this belief say that the souls of righteous believers can continue to affect the affairs of the World even after their deaths.
Their souls, it is claimed, can fulfil human needs, remove dangers and assist anyone who asks them for aid. Grave worshippers in this sense attribute divine ability to human souls to cause and change events in this life whereas they have actually left this World and have no power over themselves anymore.
B) Shirk by negation
Here Allah’s existence is completely denied. This can be in the form of people saying that they themselves are god or their own chosen god/s are the creators and masters of the universe and anyone other than their god/s is not someone to be worshipped as such.
Another aspect is where it is suggested the world or universe is not eternal, with neither a beginning nor an end and it is without purpose. Creation is a matter of coincidence, chance and natural disposition without a divine element attached to it.
Evolutionists, communists, many anthropologists and palaeontologists, some scientists and philosophers advocate this belief system strongly.
Shirk in Tawhid Al-Asma Was Sifat
Here the types of Shirk centre around God being like a man, God becoming a man or even worse man is or can be like God. This form can be subdivided into two categories.
A) Shirk by Humanization
In this form of Shirk, God is given the form and qualities of human beings. Paintings and statues are made of Him in which He is given the shape of a man. The Hindus and Buddhists worship idols in the likeness of men and call them God. Similarly Christian churches, cathedrals, nunneries and monasteries have pictures and statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, God the father and the Holy Spirit as separate entities splashed across the walls and ceilings.
Because they believe God looks like a man, they also attribute human behaviours, personalities and weaknesses to him as well. In the Bible, God repents for making human beings, rested and was refreshed after creating the World and admits lack of knowledge when He hears that Sodom and Gomorrah are committing evil.
Since God apparently looks like a man, He further has human needs, suffers from human deficiencies and liabilities, is worthy of being indicted and accused of criminal and deviant actions/beliefs and thoughts and can be wrong for not selecting the best people as envoys and prophets to place His Message.
B) Shirk by deification
This form of Shirk occurs when created beings are given a share of Allah’s attributes and names.