Shirk Asghar (Minor Shirk) and What It Means

Amulet Shirk

In previous post, I dwelled upon the perils of the major Shirk and consequent never-ending punishment and continuous infliction of torture on its perpetrator. In this write-up, I would like to underscore the gravity of the minor Shirk which is often not so apparent but is there. This category of Shirk (polytheism) should never be taken lightly as is the scenario in the Indian sub-continent. There are examples which indicate that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) took this sort of Shirk very earnestly.

Small Shirk or Shirk-e-Asghar includes the following:

  1. To swear by anyone or anything other than Allah

                Our beloved Prophet states,

                “He who swears by anyone or anything other than Allah, has committed an act of Kufr[i] or Shirk”

The message of the Hadess is categorical for it forbids Muslims to swear in the name of the creature, or in the name of parents, Quran, Iman (belief), angels, jinns, Pirs and innumerable deities etc. To prove this point further, I will cite one more Hadees here. The Prophet (SAW) says,

                “Almighty Allah forbids you to swear by your parents. Whosoever wants to swear should do so in            the name of Allah or else should remain quiet”. (Bukhari & Muslim)[i]

  • To consider oneself as the “king of the kings”

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) states, Intensifies the wrath of Allah on the person who considers himself as the king of the kings, there is no king but Allah Subhanahu wa ta’la.

  • If Allah and Fulaan (such and such) wills or wants, I will do this work. This also falls under the category of minor Shirk. One should, instead say, In Sha Aalah (If Allah will want).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            C)                To name a child with the slave of some creature such as Abde-Ali or Abde-Umar or to name a child in such a way that involves some sort of Shirk such as naming a child Abde-Kabaa (slave of Kab’aa)[ii]

One should name his child Abdullah or Abdul Rahman; as directed by the Prophet while informing us that they are two favorite names of Allah.

  • To say that the rain is caused by one star or the other

Rain is sole property of Allah and it obeys the command of none but Allah. This is why to say that the rain was caused due to this star or that star or due to climate change or some disturbances in weather are all constituents of minor shirk.

  • Taking omens from birds

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said: “Whoever lets tiyarah (omen from bird) stop him from doing something is guilty of shirk.” The Companions of the Prophet said, “What is the kafaarah for that?” He said, “To say: Allaahumma la khayra illaa khayruka wa laa tayra illaa tayruka wa laa ilaaha ghayruka (O Allaah, there is no good except Your good, no birds (omens) except from You, and there is no god beside You).” [Classed as Hasan by al-Arna’oot and as Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 6264][iii]

In another Hadees the Prophet said,

“He is not one of us who practices augury [seeking omens in birds] or has that done for him, or who practices divination or has that done for him, or who practices witchcraft or has that done for him.” [iv]

(Divination is foretelling the future or predicting about what is going to happen in future. In India we call such predictor Jyotish or astrologer. ) Nobody knows about the next moment forget about the future. The astrologer himself is not aware about his last breath and the place where he will die and under what circumstances. In short, the astrologers are nothing but a bunch of liars who say nothing but pure lies as the knowledge of the future is sole domain of Allah (SWT).

Quran says in Chapter 31 and Verse 34[v]

And no soul knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and All-Aware.

  • To Wear Amulets

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stated the following:

 ‘Spells (ruqyah), amulets and love-charms are shirk.”

“Whoever wears an amulet, may Allaah not fulfill his need, and whoever wears a sea-shell, may Allaah not give him peace.” [vi]

  • To visit a fortuneteller

“The Prophet SAW said: ‘Whoever has intercourse with a menstruating woman, or with a woman in her rear, or who goes to a fortuneteller and believes what he says, he has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad.'”[vii]

  • Showing Off (Riya)

Riya’ is the practice of performing any kind of worship in order to be seen and praised by people. The intention behind this sort of worship is appreciation of the people and not the will of Allah (SWT).

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) considered “Riya” as shirk. He said,

“The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off, for Allaah will say on the Day when people are recompensed for their actions: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world, and see what reward you find with them.”[ii]

(Musnad: 27742)

The basic difference between the two categories of Shirk (major and minor) is as follows:

The perpetrator of the major Shirk gets out of the fold of Islam whereas the one who commits minor shirk remains under the fold of Islam. The major shirk destroys all the good deeds whereas the other category only destroys the deed in which it was performed. Fasting in Ramadan, for example, will become irrelevant if it was done merely to show-off or to get people’s appreciation. Whereas, a single prostration for a deity will damage all the good deeds as it falls under the category of major shirk. [iii]

The first category ensures a permanent residence in hell for itself whereas the latter category attracts punishment in accordance with the sin committed by the perpetrator. How much punishment the latter will get depends on the will of Allah. Wallahu Aalam Bissawab. (Only Allah Knows Better)

For the purpose of safety and caution, one should equally fear the two categories of polytheism and constantly pray to Allah to keep himself/herself away from these two kinds of major sins.


[i] Kufr actually means to deny and hide the truth. In the Hadees, it means more or less the same as the Shirk. WALLAHU AALAM.   

[ii] For details one could read Tauheed Wa Shirk ke Ahkam by Hafiz Imran Ayyub Lahoori, Page No. 145


[iv] Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 5435. 






[iii] Surah Zumar: 65

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