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Thursday, May 12, 2011

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Shirk - only Allah is to be venerated.

The world cleaved into two - believers and the rest.

by Ferdinand III


Zalimun is clearly the division of the world between Muslims who are 'just' and non-Muslims or impious Muslims who are not supporting in-toto the Koranic obligations laid down by Mohammed on behalf of his alter-ego, the Allah. Zalimun is a singular theme within Islam and one rarely commented upon by our elites, the media or those engaged in distorting Islam and presenting the Allah-cult in a favorable light for Dhimmi or non-Muslim consumption. Along with Zalimun we have a related category, clearly expressed as Zalimun is so clearly enunciated in Koranic theology. It is called 'Shirk'.

To shirk is to associate ‘Allah’ with another gods. This is a cardinal sin in Islam. Shirk is used to describe the crimes of the Jews and Christians for example, as they took the 'pure word' of Allah, given to them by Muslim prophets such as Moses [the Koran assumes that all Prophets within Judaism and Christianity were Muslims], and corrupted the texts and the meaning of various revelations, to honor non-Allah Godheads. Shirk is a broad theological 'law' within Islam. It was designed by Mohammed and the creators of the Koran to ward off and neuter any latent expression of paganism. Most Arab tribes were of course polytheistic and even after Mohammed had conquered roughly ½ of the peninsula, most had little interest in the idea of a monotheistic worship. Even tribes who nominally submitted to Mohammed's yoke were lukewarm Allah worshippers. We know this because the second Caliph Abu Bakr fought a vicious civil war to bring recently conquered tribes back into the Islamic fold. They had rebelled against the zakat tax [now called a charity tax, when in essence it is an obligation to send money to the central Moslem power to fund the Umma including general welfare or programs of sustenance], and other taxes and financial obligations imposed by Mohammed on those conquered by the Muslims.

In order to negate the Arab propensity to shirk, the Koran is expressly clear - ‘Allah’ is the only 'one God' and no other god can be associated with him. Interestingly Hitti and others relate that this Allah, the male moon deity who had 3 Goddesses as wives [or daughters it is not clear], and who was considered by some tribes to be the main deity or al-ilah [the one], most likely adopted from the South Arabian moon-god ar-Rahman (the Merciful), whose name was later adopted by Muslims as one of ‘Allah’s’ titles. C. C. Torrey states:

The South Arabian inscriptions have brought to light a highly interesting parall­el. In a number of them there is mention of the God, who is styled ‘the Rah­man’ (Merciful). A monument in the British Museum... is espec­ially remark­able. Here we find clearly indicated the doctrines of the divine forgive­ness of sins, the acceptance of sacrifice, the contrast between this world and the next, and the evil of ‘associating’ other deities with the Rahman.[1]

Thus Muhammed probably committed this interpretation of shirk when he assumingly associated three Arabian goddesses with ‘Allah’, which is called the ‘affair of the Satanic verses’ made famous by Rushdie in his book of the same name. Muhammed’s troubles had started when Abu Jahl, one of his most fierce adversaries in Mecca, came to him and demanded that he would stop cursing their gods. Although Muhammed hated polytheism, he had a great respect for the Kaaba, the Meccan place of idol worship, and, at this stage, could not afford to invoke any further hostility. Thus he declared:

Do not revile the idols which they invoke besides Allah, lest in their ignorance they revile Allah with rancour. Thus have We made the actions of all men seem pleasing to themselves. To their Lord they shall return, and We will declare to them all that they have done.[4]

According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammed then refrained from cursing the Meccan idols, but called them all by the same name, ’Allah’.[5] Muhammed had now merged all the 300-some idols at the Kaaba into the city’s chief deity, calling all of them by the same name. It was also convenient that his family were the protectors of the Allah idol inside the Kabaa shrine and that Muhammed's own father was named slave of Allah or Abdullah.

Shirk does not target only non-Muslims. It is broad. It can be used against Muslims who might nominally accept the theological unity of the Allah-thing, but who do not engage in the fulfillment of other duties. In this vein we have ‘lesser shirk’ (al-shirk al-asghar) and ‘hidden shirk’ (al-shirk al-khafiy), in the depths of the human’s soul.[2] You might state for instance that Allah is the only Godhead and the only divine power, but in your soul and inside your inner thoughts you might reject this and have thus sinned. For as the Koran states over 250 times, 'Allah knows all'.

From this angle the concept of shirk is very broad indeed and can be employed by fundamentalist Muslims against impious Muslims with impunity. Ibn Ishaq tells about the establishment of Medina’s first mosque, when Muhammed worked side-by-side with his followers. One of the Muslim rhymed, “If we sat down while the prophet worked — it could be said that we had shirked.”[3] Today in the modern world, it seems that shirk is to be applied almost exclusively to the original meaning of the word —the association of other gods with ‘Allah’.

Shirk along with Zalimun is important in Muslim theology. Infidels and impious Muslims are Zalimun who must return to Allah. Shirk demands that non-Allah objects be forsaken and all idols must merge themselves into Allah. Islam is very clear that it is the only true religion, and to Islam all men should surrender in submission, in order not to commit shirk and become zindiqs (those who reject ‘Allah’s’ oneness) kafirs (infidels, lit. unbelievers; kufr=unbelief) or mulids (atheists). The Muslim author Fatima Mernissi discuss­es these terms and, after having declared the opposition of Islam and shirk, states:

Shirk is the most appropriate word for translating the word “freedom” in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, which is posed as an ideal to be attained. “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this includes freedom to change his religion...”[6]

Thus, if shirk, as the opposite term for islam, stands for freedom of thought, conscience and religion, it is not surprising that Islam has had some problems with facing the Western way of thought, with its democracy and varieties of ‘freedoms’. The ideals of Shirk and the Koran are of course the opposite of what Western civilisation has developed.

---

[1] Charles Cutler Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam (New York, 1933), 55.
[2] Goldziher,
Introduction, 42.
[3] Guillaume,
The Life of Muhammad, 228.
[4] The Koran 6:108.
[5] Guillaume,
The Life of Muhammad, 162.
[6] Fatima Mernissi,
Islam and Democracy. Fear of the Modern World (London, 1993), 87.


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