Translated by Zafir Malik for The Review of Religions
(Speech delivered at Jalsa Salana [annual convention in Qadian, India] 1906)
God Sends His Messengers to Eradicate Shirk – Associating Partners with God Almighty
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’wwuz and Tasmia, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) recited the following verses of Surah Luqman [a chapter from the Holy Qur’an]:
وَ لَقَدۡ اٰتَیۡنَا لُقۡمٰنَ الۡحِکۡمَۃَ اَنِ اشۡکُرۡ لِلّٰہِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّشۡکُرۡ فَاِنَّمَا یَشۡکُرُ لِنَفۡسِہٖ ۚ وَ مَنۡ کَفَرَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَنِیٌّ حَمِیۡدٌ ﴿13﴾ وَ اِذۡ قَالَ لُقۡمٰنُ لِابۡنِہٖ وَ ہُوَ یَعِظُہٗ یٰبُنَیَّ لَا تُشۡرِکۡ بِاللّٰہِ ؕؔ اِنَّ الشِّرۡکَ لَظُلۡمٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿14﴾ وَ وَصَّیۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ بِوَالِدَیۡہِ ۚ حَمَلَتۡہُ اُمُّہٗ وَہۡنًا عَلٰی وَہۡنٍ وَّ فِصٰلُہٗ فِیۡ عَامَیۡنِ اَنِ اشۡکُرۡ لِیۡ وَ لِوَالِدَیۡکَ ؕ اِلَیَّ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿15﴾ وَ اِنۡ جَاہَدٰکَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ تُشۡرِکَ بِیۡ مَا لَیۡسَ لَکَ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ۙ فَلَا تُطِعۡہُمَا وَ صَاحِبۡہُمَا فِی الدُّنۡیَا مَعۡرُوۡفًا ۫ وَّ اتَّبِعۡ سَبِیۡلَ مَنۡ اَنَابَ اِلَیَّ ۚ ثُمَّ اِلَیَّ مَرۡجِعُکُمۡ فَاُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿16﴾ یٰبُنَیَّ اِنَّہَاۤ اِنۡ تَکُ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّۃٍ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ فَتَکُنۡ فِیۡ صَخۡرَۃٍ اَوۡ فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ اَوۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ یَاۡتِ بِہَا اللّٰہُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَطِیۡفٌ خَبِیۡرٌ ﴿17﴾ یٰبُنَیَّ اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اۡمُرۡ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ انۡہَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ وَ اصۡبِرۡ عَلٰی مَاۤ اَصَابَکَ ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ مِنۡ عَزۡمِ الۡاُمُوۡرِ ﴿ۚ18﴾ وَ لَا تُصَعِّرۡ خَدَّکَ لِلنَّاسِ وَ لَا تَمۡشِ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ مَرَحًا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ فَخُوۡرٍ ﴿ۚ19﴾ وَ اقۡصِدۡ فِیۡ مَشۡیِکَ وَ اغۡضُضۡ مِنۡ صَوۡتِکَ ؕ اِنَّ اَنۡکَرَ الۡاَصۡوَاتِ لَصَوۡتُ الۡحَمِیۡرِ ﴿20﴾
He then stated:
‘Today, I wish to speak to you about the topic of shirk [associating partners with God]. This is an evil that has existed from the beginning of time through today. Shirk has not let go of man, and man has not let go of it. In each era, God Almighty sent prophets to eradicate shirk and establish the Oneness of God throughout the world. Man, to whom God Almighty has given a certain degree of freedom has always harboured this evil in his heart. And even though many people received guidance and achieved the ranks of the martyrs and the truthful, there were still a large number of people in the world who did not stop associating partners with God.
The Primary Reason for Rejecting Prophets is Shirk
When God Almighty sends a prophet for the reformation of a people, and, after some time, those people attribute the divine blessings which had occasionally been bestowed on them by God Almighty to their own personal effort and hard work, they then turn away from God Almighty and as a result, the first seed of evil that is planted in their hearts is shirk. Therefore, any prophet who is sent for the reformation of mankind must first compete against shirk and this is Satan’s the greatest weapon against man.
The Sin of Shirk Will Never be Forgiven
God Almighty has stated in His noble book, the Holy Qur’an, that God Almighty will forgive other sins if He wishes to but He will never forgive shirk. How weak and evil is it for man to adopt shirk and turn away from God Almighty, who has created countless blessings for us, such as the earth upon which we walk, work and strive in order to achieve great feats.
Divine Favours of God Almighty
The soil in the earth contains various inherent qualities. It is in this soil that one places a grain of wheat in the soil and after being submerged for a few days, it begins to sprout. Then after some time, after enduring time and winds, the seed becomes capable of producing hundreds more seeds which in turn become a means of sustenance for man. And in that same soil one is able to place a maize seed, which is able to draw the required nutrients from it for it to grow and thus become nourishment for man. Furthermore, there are various other benefits found within the soil that are essential for our lives and well-being. In addition to this, God Almighty has created the birds and other creatures from which we derive countless benefits as well as the four [classical] elements. Thus, harbouring even an iota of shirk in one’s heart is such a ghastly and indecent act that were God Almighty not merciful and benevolent, it was quite possible that man would be crushed to pieces and given a punishment from which there could be no escape. However, it is the mercy of God Almighty that continues to shield mankind. God Almighty has stated that those who are guilty of shirk are the followers of Satan the Accursed; the very Satan who said to God that he would influence a group of people; that is, he would select certain people who would become heedless of God and use the ploy of shirk against them. He stated that he would attack them from in front and from behind, from the right and the left, from beneath them and from above; he would entice them with greed and order them to cut off the ears of the animals, reserving the creatures of God [to offer] to others. So, whoever befriends Satan – and is therefore guilty of shirk, since that is his weapon of attack – will be among the losers. God states that the promises of Satan are just false screens. Regarding one who commits shirk, God Almighty has said that they will not be forgiven, as they are obedient to Satan and will never prosper.
The One Who Commits Shirk Will Never Be Successful
The aforementioned two matters are such that a mushrik [one who commits shirk] can challenge us saying that they will also be forgiven and that they are not the followers of Satan. However, the third point – i.e., that the one who commits shirk will never succeed, supports the first two points. Thus, reflect whether, from the time of Prophet Adam (as) till today, a mushrik ever succeeded when compared with a prophet? Prophet Noah (as), Hud (as), Salih (as), Shu’aib (as), Abraham (as), Moses (as), Jesus (as) and eventually, the greatest of all prophets – the Holy Prophet (sa)– all had to contend with shirk. What was the outcome? Is there anyone today who remembers the names of those mushrik who fought against these prophets? Not a single person today claims to be a descendant of Pharaoh or Abu Jahl [an opponent of the Holy Prophet (sa)]. The progeny of these people do not even wish to be associated with them and in fact, when asked about their ancestors, they name someone else. Why is this the case? Because shirk never succeeds. Since these people were the recipients of the wrath of God and so were failures, their offspring refuses to be associated with their idolatrous forefathers. Thus, this clear evidence is presented by God Almighty to indicate that such people are the followers of Satan and will not be granted forgiveness. Shirk is such a subtle disease that it affects a person in the same way that tuberculosis, slowly but inevitably, consumes its patient. Or the way that an insect, over a period of time, can fell a magnificent and lofty tree and bring it down to the same level as the ground.
Thus, in order to save oneself from this, one ought to adopt perfect righteousness and piety. It is vital for man to always keep in mind the attributes of God Almighty, so that one’s heart stays inclined towards God Almighty every moment and so that God Almighty will shield him, just as God states [in the Holy Qur’an] that He will grant man protection from the attacks of Satan from above. Hence, man ought to rush to come under the shade and protection of God Almighty, since all those who come under His shade are safeguarded from all Satanic attacks. Irrespective of how much Satan strives to cause a righteous person to slip, the furious gaze of God Almighty burns Satan and he is incapable of ever casting his evil gaze on that person again. However, if we fail to do this, and are instead careless and lazy, then we will not have even a second to prepare for the sudden battle with Satan. In such a case, Satan will seize our faith, leaving us empty-handed. We are like lambs, in fact even weaker than them, whereas Satan is like a powerful wolf. Therefore, as long as we are under the gaze of God Almighty, our Custodian, we will remain safe from the bloodthirsty onslaught of Satan. On the other hand, if we show even the slightest bit of carelessness and leave His protection, then Satan will subdue us with a single attack. Moving away from the watchful gaze of God Almighty does not mean that there is ever a time where God cannot see us; in fact, He is the All-Seeing. What I mean by this is that because of our own evil actions, we remove ourselves from God’s merciful gaze. Therefore, we must strive our utmost to draw closer and closer to God Almighty. In regard to this He has promised that if a person walks one step towards God, God will come two steps towards him, and if one walks quickly towards God, He will run towards him. Accordingly, until we move swiftly towards God – or rather run towards Him – our condition will be like that of a chained lamb standing before a wolf who can devour it instantly.
Shirk is the Source of Other Sins
Thus, before one carries out any action or utters any word, one ought to be mindful of shirk, lest he become distant from God and as a result of it falls prey to Satan. At this point, perhaps some of you may be thinking that the manner in which I have described shirk seems as if there is no other sin in the world aside from shirk. However, this is not what I mean; rather what I mean is that it is through the sin of shirk that all other sins emerge.
The Reality of Shirk
When a person is completely free from shirk, how can it be possible for him to commit any sin? Because when he believes in all the attributes of God Almighty, he can do no wrong. If a thief intends to steal, but has faith that God, Who watches over all things and punishes people for their sins, does exist, then he will never be capable of stealing anything. Similarly, if those immersed in other sins feared, not the creation of God but rather the Creator, then they would abandon all forms of vice and indecencies, which would otherwise become firmly embedded in their hearts. Thus, it is impossible for the one who avoids shirk completely to ever commit a sin knowingly. And as for those sins committed unwittingly, God will not punish them. For the reasons above, it is mentioned in a hadith [oral traditions of the Holy Prophet (sa)]:
مَنْ قَالَ لَآ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللہُ فَدَخَلَ الْجَنَّۃَ
(Which means, “Whoever stays away from shirk entirely will be accepted into paradise.”)
The reason for this is that when a person forsakes shirk and truly considers God Almighty to be One and believes in all of His attributes, he will never commit another sin, and this will necessarily result in his being granted divine rewards. For a person like this, his walking, eating and drinking, will all be for the sake of God Almighty. In other words, when he speaks, he does so for the sake of God; when he listens, he does so for the sake of God; when he eats he does so for the sake of God and when he drinks he does so for the sake of God. At this point, even Satan is unable to get close to him and so his Satan becomes a Muslim too, as it were. As the Holy Prophet (sa) himself said, “My Satan has also become a Muslim”. When a person cleanses their heart to this degree, he becomes God’s and God becomes his. It is about such a person God Almighty states:
یٰۤاَیَّتُہَا النَّفۡسُ الۡمُطۡمَئِنَّۃُ ارۡجِعِیۡۤ اِلٰی رَبِّکِ رَاضِیَۃً مَّرۡضِیَّۃً فَادۡخُلِیۡ فِیۡ عِبٰدِیۡ وَ ادۡخُلِیۡ جَنَّتِیۡ
[“And thou, O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. So enter thou among My chosen servants, and enter thou My Garden.”]
At this point we should remember that God Almighty says to the soul at peace to “enter among My chosen servants, and enter My Garden;” But are not other people [those not admitted to heaven] also the creation of God? Indeed, they are, however in this verse, God Almighty has used a metaphor to explain that a true servant of God is one who becomes worthy of being called such. How can people who are immersed in various forms of shirk and other [religious] innovations, and whose souls incite them to commit evil, be declared servants of God?
Who is a True Servant of God?
It is man’s responsibility to become a sincere servant of God Almighty. But if one worships others in addition to God, and expects the same kind of advantages and disadvantages from them that he expects from God, how can he call himself a servant of God? A true servant of God is one whose soul is at peace, whose heart is cognisant of the divinity of God Almighty and who is completely free from associating any partners with God. Such a person considers God Almighty, Who to possesses all noble attributes, to be sufficient for man. Through his devotion and servitude, such a person becomes worthy of being deemed a servant of God. Therefore, in this instance, only one who is a true servant of God is worthy of being called an ‘Abd – the one who submits entirely to the Will of God.
The Holy Prophet (sa) and Abu Jahl
By way of an example, the Holy Prophet (sa) was created by the same God Who created Abu Jahl. However, because of his evil, sinfulness and shirk, Abu Jahl did not show himself to be a servant of God and instead was a servant of idols, eventually sacrificing his life for them. The Holy Prophet (sa), on the other hand, devoted himself sincerely to God Almighty, eschewed all forms of shirk, ensured that his worship and sacrifices were for the sake of God Almighty alone and thus proved himself to be a servant of God. Therefore, compare the end of Abu Jahl with that of the Holy Prophet (sa). Abu Jahl was killed during the Battle of Badr and his body was thrown into a well. Even his last wish – to have his neck cut closer to his torso so that it would appear longer, which was a sign of nobility among the Arabs of the time – was not fulfilled. However, the person who cut his neck severed it near the head, thereby showing that the friends of Satan never succeed. On the contrary, the Holy Prophet (sa) was granted victory in that not only did he become the recipient of paradise in the hereafter, but also in this life. Just as God Almighty states: وَ ادۡخُلِیۡ جَنَّتِیۡ “and enter thou My Garden”. Therefore, whosoever wishes to establish a perfect relationship with God Almighty ought to forsake all forms of shirk, as God Almighty abhors it.
Two Forms of Shirk
I now think it is necessary to explain that shirk is of two types: shirk Jali [manifest shirk] and shirk Khafi [a concealed or hidden form of shirk]. Shirk Jali is evident shirk, for example worshipping idols or people, worshipping graves, worshipping the sun and the moon, etc. People who practise this form of shirk admit it openly and consider it to be a good deed, and this form of shirk can easily be removed.
The Reality of Shirk Khafi
Shirk khafi, or shirk that is concealed, however, is dangerous and an enemy of man. A person who adopts this form of shirk considers God Almighty to be One yet is an idolater all the same. Such a one considers the worship of idols and other things to be evil but is at the same time engrossed in idolatry. They are like a patient who is gripped by a severe disease but avoids all forms of treatment for it. The physician gives him medicine, but the patient simply laughs at the physician, considering himself to be in perfect health. Unfortunately, had he been granted deep insight, he would have realised that instead of laughing at the physician, he ought to be crying about his sickness. Thus, the only way to safeguard oneself from this form of shirk is to have complete trust in God and to pray with the utmost humility and fervency saying: “My Lord! Save me from this fatal disease.”
This type of shirk takes many forms; for example, if a person neglects their prayers because they fear their boss; or if a person thinks that if their boss removes them from their job, they will be left without any income or provisions and will suffer greatly due to it; or when a person thinks that if such-and-such person does not help them then their problem will not be resolved; all such people are guilty of shirk in that they fear their boss more than they fear God Almighty, or they rely on the help of others rather than seeking help from God Almighty. In addition friendship sometimes leads to shirk. For instance, in order to please their friend, a person does something which is against the Sharia [Islamic law]. Such a person completely overlooks the fact that in reality he ought to please God Almighty, as opposed to worrying about pleasing his friend and thereby committing shirk in the process. And sometimes he relies on his wealth or loves his children to such an extent that it falls under the definition of shirk. Thus, one ought to abstain from these forms of shirk. Pray to God Almighty and strive to avoid this, for the one who knocks at the door of the Almighty never returns empty-handed. God Almighty responds to those who supplicate to Him. Observe just how terrifying this era is; just thinking about it makes one shudder, and on the other hand, it is equally blessed, if not more, and reflecting on this will make one jubilant.
These are the Latter Days
This era is one which has ignited the wrath of God Almighty and He is close to destroying the world. Yet, at the same time He has opened His treasures, so that every seeker of the truth is granted above and beyond what he asked for. Prophecies about our current era exist in all nations and religions, in which it was foretold that God’s chosen one and Satan will meet in their final battle. These prophecies describing the signs of the Latter Days exist even among the Parsees. It is stated that there will be a final battle between Ahriman Devo, or Satan, and Yazdaan (referring to the Yazdaani people) in which Satan will be annihilated. Thus, this era is one in which people have taken their money and wealth as their deities and are completely absorbed in shirk.
The Signs of the Reformer of the Latter Days
This was the time when God Almighty ought to have come to the aid of His people, because He is Merciful and Benevolent, and this is what He has done. As has been foretold by past prophets, the appointed one of God in this era was to destroy the ploys of Satan, or eradicate Shirk. Indeed, the world will see just how shirk will be destroyed.
Now is the Time to Put an End to Shirk
It is our responsibility to cleanse our hearts of all forms of shirk and try to save others as well. We should be ever ready to assist the mission of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib (as), the Promised Messiah & Mahdi, to whom God Almighty assigned this task. Now the time has come that those guilty of committing shirk will fall on their faces. The world will have to give up shirk, whether they do so voluntarily or via [God’s] wrath. God Almighty has declared: “A Warner came unto the world, but the world accepted him not; yet God shall manifest His favour and demonstrate his truth with powerful assaults.”
The decline of the Christian faith, which has crossed all limits of shirk and has coerced hundreds of thousands of people into accepting Christianity by promising them money and riches, is near. Do not be amazed by their money and wealth, because far before it existed, God Almighty had declared in Surah Zukhruf that had He not worried that the world would be destroyed by means of it, He would have granted those that reject the Gracious God, that is, the Christians, with so much wealth that they could have made roofs and stairs out of gold and silver. Therefore, worry not, as this is a fulfilment of the prophecy of the Holy Qur’an. However, the time is near when the towering and mighty pillar of Christianity will be destroyed. The iron walls of this fort – which represent the Christian faith, as it were – have begun to crumble and are corroding from rust. They are now so weak that they will collapse with a single strike, as in accordance with the law of nature, iron is constantly subjugated to rain water, it begins to corrode and weaken. Thus, when the spiritual rain began to descend from heaven, the fortified Christian faith began to corrode away.
The Propagation of Islam in Europe
The Christian kingdoms will themselves turn to Islam, and Europe – which is currently home to Christianity – will, one day, become a centre for Islam. Christians themselves have begun oppose the idea of shirk, to the extent that many of them are rejecting the notion that Jesus (as) was the son of God. There are some who even go as far as to say that – God forbid! – Jesus (as) was an illegitimate child. Hence, our era will itself shun all forms of shirk and the time is nigh when God Almighty will manifest the full force of His Grandeur and Might.
Today, the Ahmadiyya Community is the recipient of divine favours and bounties, but its current condition is weak. However, the days are near in which it will spread throughout the world. God Almighty has promised our Imam [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)] that kings will come to seek blessings from his garments. Our feeble condition at present is only due to our own weaknesses. We are like orphans who have been abandoned by everyone. One kind of orphan loses only his father, but the entire world has cut ties with us. If we wish to progress then we should pray [together] with one heart, because God Almighty loves unity since He Himself is One and without any partner. Thus, when the cries of a single orphan can shake the Throne of the Almighty, will not the cries of four hundred thousand orphans have an effect? If you eschew all forms of shirk, you will succeed in all your affairs.
I will now expand upon the second ruku’ [sections within each chapter of the Holy Qur’an] of Surah Luqman which I recited at the beginning of my speech.
An Outstanding Commentary of the Second Ruku’ of Surah Luqman
God Almighty has stated in the Holy Qur’an:
وَلَقَدْ اٰتَیۡنَا لُقْمٰنَ الْحِكْمَۃَ اَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلہِ ؕ وَمَنۡ یَّشْكُرْ فَاِنَّمَا یَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِہٖ ۚ وَمَنۡ کَفَرَ فَاِنَّ اللہَ غَنِیٌّ حَمِیۡدٌ
“And We bestowed wisdom on Luqman, saying, ‘Be grateful to Allah;’ and whoso is grateful is grateful only for the good of his own soul. And whoso is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.”
In this verse God Almighty has stated that it was God Who granted wisdom to Luqman (as) and that people already considered him to be a wise man. There are two types of people in this world; there are those who the world considers to be intelligent, but in the eyes of God Almighty are contemptible, and others who both the world considers intelligent and wise as does God Almighty. In this particular verse, God Almighty has stated that not only did people consider Luqman (as) to be wise and intelligent, but God Almighty Himself granted him foresight and God too deemed him to be intelligent. One ought to ponder who in this world is worthy of being followed? Indeed, it is the one who is intelligent, because the foolish and imprudent are not worthy of being followed.
The Consequences of Shirk and Disbelief
In this verse God Almighty has stated that Luqman (as) was declared to be a wise man by worldly and religious people alike. Hence, the words of such a man would undoubtedly be important. The world should have accepted him, as he was a wise and influential man. What Luqman (as) said will be mentioned later. God Almighty states that the result of wisdom should be gratitude to God, so that God Almighty can then bestow His favours upon one with even more abundance than before. Furthermore, if one shows gratitude, then that is beneficial for himself, for when a person is grateful, it does not affect God Almighty in the slightest, nor does it have any effect on the attributes of God Almighty; instead, the only person who benefits from this quality is the one who is grateful. Despite this, if a person is persistent in their disbelief, then why would God Almighty be concerned about him? Will his disbelief cause any harm to God Almighty in the least? On the contrary, he will only harm himself. Ponder the fact that from the time of Prophet Adam (as) until now, whosoever showed gratitude has progressed and thrived and flourished, however, those who disbelieved were always destroyed. Prophet Noah (as) and Prophet Lot (as) were among those who were grateful, as a result of which they succeeded and were accepted by God but their people rejected them and consequently they were destroyed.
When it was ordained that the people of Noah (as) were to be destroyed, God Almighty promised that all those who had forged a relationship with Noah (as) would survive. When the storm approached, one of the sons of Noah (as) was about to drown. Noah (as) cried out: “O my Lord, this is my son,” to which God Almighty replied: “Silence! He is not your son! If he was your son, then he would have helped you and believed in Me. Since you have established a pure relationship with Me and vowed to abstain from shirk, therefore, only those who love Me will be counted as your associates.”
The Truth about Ahmadiyyat
Thus, my dear Ahmadis! God Almighty is not our relative. Shun all forms of shirk and worship God Almighty alone, so that He can watch over you. Ponder the fact that God Almighty showed no concern even for Noah’s (as) son, therefore to be satisfied simply because one is an Ahmadi is ignorance. Instead one ought to carry out deeds that would make him worthy of being called an Ahmadi.
Similarly, deliberate over what happened to the people of the prophet Lot (as) due to their disbelief, whereas Lot (as) was saved owing to his gratitude to God Almighty. But in the same way as Noah’s (as) son, the wife of Lot (as) perished because she sided with the disbelievers.
In addition to this, God Almighty has stated:
وَ اِذۡ قَالَ لُقۡمٰنُ لِابۡنِہٖ وَ ہُوَ یَعِظُہٗ یٰبُنَیَّ لَا تُشۡرِکۡ بِاللّٰہِ ؕؔ اِنَّ الشِّرۡکَ لَظُلۡمٌ عَظِیۡمٌ
“And remember when Luqman said to his son while exhorting him, ‘O my dear son! As’sociate not partners with Allah. Surely, associating partners with God is a grievous wrong.
God Almighty has recorded this conversation of Luqman’s (as) in the Holy Qur’an that Luqman (as), who was a wise man, not only advised his son [against shirk] – and it is natural to guide one’s child towards what is beneficial – rather he emphasised it so that he could succeed in life and said: “O my son! Never be guilty of associating partners with God Almighty, as this is a grave injustice. To declare others to be equal to the Benevolent God, the One Who showers us with every type of blessing, and Who controls every good and bad thing that happens to us , is a grave injustice indeed.”
At this point it is important to remember that abstaining from shirk does not simply mean that one says “La ilaaha Ilalaahu” – [There is none worthy of worship except Allah] – and will [therefore] become purified. Rather, Hazrat Luqman (as) emphasised that one ought to abstain from all forms of Shirk, be they manifest [Jali] or concealed [Khafi].
God Almighty then further states:
وَ وَصَّیۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ بِوَالِدَیۡہِ ۚ حَمَلَتۡہُ اُمُّہٗ وَہۡنًا عَلٰی وَہۡنٍ وَّ فِصٰلُہٗ فِیۡ عَامَیۡنِ اَنِ اشۡکُرۡ لِیۡ وَ لِوَالِدَیۡکَ ؕ اِلَیَّ الۡمَصِیۡرُ
“And We have enjoined on man concerning his parents — his mother bears him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning takes two years — ‘Give thanks to Me and to thy parents. Unto Me is the final return.”
In this verse, God Almighty has not explicitly stated why one ought to show gratitude to one’s father, but it is obvious that when the mother is in difficulty, the father cares for her and then [also] cares for the child once it is born. Another aspect of this verse is that God Almighty states that one ought to be grateful to Him but has not given a reason, so why should people be grateful to Him? The fact of the matter is that God Almighty instils such love for that child in the hearts of the parents after it is born, that without this love the child would not be able to survive a single day. Furthermore, it has been decreed that after the birth of a child, the mother’s breast swells up with milk. In the same way, [God Almighty has provided] air and water, etc., for us. After this verse, God Almighty declares that everyone has to return back to God, so if one does not show gratitude, they will have to face the consequences. God Almighty states:
وَ اِنۡ جَاہَدٰکَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ تُشۡرِکَ بِیۡ مَا لَیۡسَ لَکَ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ۙ فَلَا تُطِعۡہُمَا وَ صَاحِبۡہُمَا فِی الدُّنۡیَا مَعۡرُوۡفًا ۫ وَّ اتَّبِعۡ سَبِیۡلَ مَنۡ اَنَابَ اِلَیَّ ۚ ثُمَّ اِلَیَّ مَرۡجِعُکُمۡ فَاُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ
[“And if they contend with thee to make thee set up equals with Me concerning which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not, but be a kind companion to them in all worldly affairs; and in spiritual matters follow the way of him who turns to Me. Then unto Me will be your return and I shall inform you of what you used to do.”]
In this verse God Almighty has stated that even if parents – who must be obeyed under all circumstances and disobedience to whom is punishable – order one to commit shirk, one must not obey them. God Almighty further says that aside from this, one must obey their parents and obey all those who turn towards God Almighty, because ultimately everyone has to return to God Almighty, where they will be judged according to their deeds. Here God Almighty has emphasised that one must not obey even his own parents when it comes to this matter. Do not associate partners with Him; when you are thus in a way separated from your parents [because of this] you will be like an orphan but God does not remain indebted to anyone. Just as when you were born God Almighty instilled love for you in your parents’ hearts, in the same way, God Almighty will instil love for you in the hearts of His messengers and those He has appointed. In fact, their love will be far greater, because, when God Almighty takes something away from someone, He returns it to them many times over. In this regard God Almighty states:
وَّ اتَّبِعۡ سَبِیۡلَ مَنۡ اَنَابَ اِلَیَّ ۚ ثُمَّ اِلَیَّ مَرۡجِعُکُمۡ فَاُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ
[“and in spiritual matters follow the way of him who turns to Me”]
meaning obey God’s prophets and consider them to be your parents.
Following this, God Almighty has recorded the conversation of Hazrat Luqman (as):
یٰبُنَیَّ اِنَّہَاۤ اِنۡ تَکُ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّۃٍ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ فَتَکُنۡ فِیۡ صَخۡرَۃٍ اَوۡ فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ اَوۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ یَاۡتِ بِہَا اللّٰہُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَطِیۡفٌ خَبِیۡرٌ
“O my dear son! even though it be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and even though it be in a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, Allah will surely bring it out; verily Allah is the Knower of all subtleties, All-Aware.”
Here, too, Hazrat Luqman (as) reminds his son that God Almighty is aware of even the minutest of things, therefore one ought to abstain from committing even the minutest form of shirk. He then advises his son by saying:
یٰبُنَیَّ اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اۡمُرۡ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ انۡہَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ وَ اصۡبِرۡ عَلٰی مَاۤ اَصَابَکَ ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ مِنۡ عَزۡمِ الۡاُمُوۡرِ
“O my dear son! observe Prayer, and enjoin good, and forbid evil, and endure patiently whatever may befall thee. Surely this is of those matters which require firm resolve.”
Hazrat Luqman (as) informs his son that merely abstaining from sin is no great quality; rather, true greatness lies in keeping others from sin and in enacting virtues. That is why he stated that having safeguarded yourself from shirk, you ought to observe prayer, i.e., to perform worship in the right way, to the extent that when you speak or eat and drink, it is simply for the sake of God Almighty. When you reach such a stage, you will become the chosen ones of God, who enjoin others to do good and forbid them from evil. Then, as is the custom, people will turn against you and wish to harm you, because that is the way all prophets are treated by their people in the beginning. Thus, despite all these difficulties, you ought to show patience as this matter requires firm resolve.
Following this, we find in the Holy Qur’an:
وَ لَا تُصَعِّرۡ خَدَّکَ لِلنَّاسِ وَ لَا تَمۡشِ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ مَرَحًا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ فَخُوۡرٍ
“And turn not thy cheek away from men in pride nor walk in the earth haughtily; Surely, Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.”
Hazrat Luqman (as) then says that when you have demonstrated patience for a sustained period of time, people will turn towards you, because when you cut yourself off from the world for the sake of God and people begin to harbour enmity against you, eventually God Almighty will turn the attention of the people towards you to the extent that it is probable that you will become discourteous towards them. Do not do this; when you walk, do not display even an iota of arrogance, as such an action will displease God Almighty. The next verse states:
وَ اقۡصِدۡ فِیۡ مَشۡیِکَ وَ اغۡضُضۡ مِنۡ صَوۡتِکَ ؕ اِنَّ اَنۡکَرَ الۡاَصۡوَاتِ لَصَوۡتُ الۡحَمِیۡرِ
‘And walk thou at a moderate pace, and lower thy voice; verily, the most disagreeable of voices is the voice of the ass.’
Here, too, it is stated that when he is commissioned as a prophet of God, and people will travel from far and wide to meet him; if he runs to his house and shuts himself in then this will distress those who have come to meet him, who will say, “We came to see him but he has shut himself up in his house”. Similarly, if people come to listen to the words of the prophet, but instead he speaks to them in a harsh tone or raises his voice, they will find it unpleasant, just as the sound of the donkey is the loudest but also the most unpleasant to hear.
In this ruku’ of the Holy Qur’an, Hazrat Luqman (as) advises his son that he must first refrain from committing shirk and abandon sins and establish the worship of God. Once he abstains from committing sin and starts to perform virtues, he will be counted amongst the chosen servants of God.
Understand then that it is obvious from the word of God that shirk is the root of all evil. I now conclude with the prayer that God Almighty purify us remove the corrosion of shirk from our hearts, and that may He enable us to act on the guidance given by Hazrat Luqman (as).
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:13-20. [Author]
 Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili, Al-Musnad, Vol 7, pg 9, Hadith No.3899. [Publisher]
 The Holy Qur’an, 89:28-31. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:13. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:14. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:15. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:16. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:16-17. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:17. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:18. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:19. [Author]
 The Holy Qur’an, 31:20. [Author]