Four Foundations of Shirk

One God

Four Foundations of Shirk – Text from translation of the Original book: ‘al-Qawaaid al-‘Arba’a’ written by Shaikhul-Islam, al-Mujaddid (the reviver), Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (rahimahullah) (d.1206 AH). (To read the explanation of the book by: Shaikh Salih ibn Fawzan ibn Abdullah al-Fawzan [Member of the Permanent Committee of Major Scholars | Translated by Shawana A. Aziz], get it from the Downloads page)

For Urdu Dars, Visit: Sharh of the book : al-Qawaaid al-‘Arba’a (Explanation of the Four Foundations of Shirk)


Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

I ask Allah, the Most Merciful, Lord of the Great Throne to take care of (protect) you in this world and the Hereafter, and to make you blessed wherever you be, and to make you amongst –

  • those who are grateful when provided,
  • those who are patient when tested and
  • those who repent when they fall into sin –

for, these are the three signs of happiness.

Know, may Allah guide you to His obedience, that Haneefiyah is the religion of Ibraheem; that you worship Allah making the religion purely for Him. Allah says,

“I (Allah) created not the Jinn and humans except that they should worship Me (Alone).” [Surah adh-Dhariyaat, 51:56]

So, if you have acknowledged that Allah has created you for His worship then know that the worship is not called worship unless it is accompanied by Tawheed, just like Salaat cannot be called Salaat except with purification.

If you recognize that when Shirk enters worship, it corrupts the worship, destroys all actions, and the doer is doomed to eternal fire, then you will (also) realize what is the most important matter for you (to learn).

It is to learn this issue (i.e., Tawheed and Shirk) so that Allah purifies you from this snare of Shirk.

“Verily, Allah forgives not Shirk (i.e., associating partners with Him in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases.” [Surah an-Nisa, 4:48]

Knowing Shirk comprises of knowing four principles that Allah has mentioned in His Book;

The FIRST Foundation:

The disbelievers, whom the Messenger (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) fought, affirmed that Allah is the Creator and Disposer of all affairs, yet their affirmation did not enter them into Islam and the proof of that is the Saying of Allah,

“Say, ‘Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns your hearing and sight? And Who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?’ They will say, ‘Allah.'” [Surah Yunus, 10:31]

The SECOND Foundation:

They (the Arab pagans) said,

“We do not call upon them and turn towards them except to seek nearness and intercession (with Allah).”

The proof of (the fact that they sought) nearness with Allah is,

“Those who take awliya besides Him (say), ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.’ Verily, Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.” [Surah az-Zumar, 39:3]

Shafa’ah (intercession) is of two kinds,

  • The Forbidden Shafa’ah and
  • The Affirmed Shafa’ah.

The FORBIDDEN Shafa’ah is the one that is sought from other than Allah concerning a matter which only Allah is able to do and the proof is the Saying of Allah,

“O you who believe, Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Dhalimoon (wrongdoers, etc.)” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:254]

The AFFIRMED Shafa’ah is that which is –

  • sought from Allah, and
  • the intercessor is honored with the intercession and
  • the one on behalf of whom the intercession is sought is someone whose deeds and speech are pleasing to Allah, (all of these conditions should be fulfilled)
  • after Allah has given the Permission for intercession as Allah says, “Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?…” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:255]

The THIRD Foundation:

Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) came to a people who differed in their object of worship;

  • some worshiped the Angels
  • while others worshiped the Prophets and pious,
  • also there were those who worshiped stones and trees and
  • some worshiped the sun and the moon,

BUT the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) did not differentiate between them. The proof is the Saying of Allah,

“Fight them until there is no more Fitnah (i.e., Shirk) until the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone.” [Surah al-Anfal, 8:39]

The proof of the sun and the moon is,

“From among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or the moon…” [Surah Fussilat, 41:37]

The proof of the Angels is the Saying of Allah,

“Nor would he order you to take Angels and Prophets for lords (god).Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to Allah’s Will?” [Surah aali-Imran, 3:80]

The proof of the Prophets is the Saying of Allah,

“When Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O Eesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men, ‘Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?’ He will say, ‘Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner-self though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the All-Knower of all that is hidden and unseen.'” [Surah al-Maidah, 5:116]

The proof of the Saliheen (righteous) is the saying of Allah,

“Those whom they call upon desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord (Allah), as to which of them should be the nearest and they hope for His Mercy and fear His Torment.” [Surah al-Isra, 17:57]

The proof of stones and trees is the Saying of Allah,

“Have you considered al-Laat and al-Uzza. And Manaat, and the other third?” [Surah an-Najm, 53:19-20]

The hadeeth of Abu Waaqid al-Laythee who said, “We departed with the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) to Hunain and we had recently left Kufr. The mushrikeen used to have a tree which they used to devote themselves to and hang their weapons upon, they used to call it, ‘Dhaat Anwaat.’

We passed by a tree and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), appoint for us a Dhaat Anwat like they have a Dhaat Anwat.’

He said, ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! By the One is whose Hand is my soul, these are the ways. The like of what you have said is like what Bani Israeel said to Moosa, ‘Make for us a god as they have gods.’ He said, ‘Verily, you are an ignorant people.’ [Surah al-A’raaf, 7:138]” [at-Tirmidhee]

The FOURTH Foundation:

The mushrikeen (those who commit shirk) of our time are worse in Shirk than the previous generations because the former generations committed Shirk during times of ease but they would become sincere during difficult times unlike the mushrikeen of today, whose Shirk is continuous at times of ease and hardship. Proof is the Saying of Allah,

“When they embark on a ship they invoke Allah making their faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” [Surah al-Ankaboot, 29:65]


To listen to Sharh of al-Qawaaid al-‘Arba’a (Explanation of Four Foundations of Shirk) by Dr Murtaza bin Baksh, Jeddah; in Urdu Language – Visit this link (Urdu translation of the book available in Downloads page).

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