What is Shirk?
Shirk stands in absolute opposition to Tawheed. Where Tawheed specifies the Oneness of Allah subhana wa taala, Shirk opposes Tawheed and elicits the concept of partnership and association with Allah subhana wa taala.
In essence; Tawheed is absolute pure monotheism whereas Shirk is absolute polytheism.
The aspect of pure monotheism in Islam is absolute. There is no concept of 3 or 2 in 1 as we find in the trinity, nor is there the concept of manifestations of a creator as seen in polytheism.
In Islam; Allah subhana wa taala is alone, has no partners, no association of partners, no joining of partners whether they be of prophets, of angels, or of any other creation. Thus Allah subhana wa taala stands independently from creation and is not manifested in creation, Key to note is that creation has a beginning and an end, is limited by time and space, whereas Allah sunhana wa taala is not limited by time and space and neither is He part of creation.
Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship,
but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases,
and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship,
he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.
Tawheed, therefore, elicits the absolute pure monotheism of Islam
Oneness of Allah subhana wa taala in Lordship (Al-Rubbubiyah),
Oneness of Allah subhana wa taala in worship(Al Ubudiyyah),
Oneness of Allah subhana wa taala in His divine names and attributes and in invocation(Al Asma wa sifath).
Oneness of Allah subhana wa taala in rule (Al hakamiyah)
Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy,
and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. T
hen do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).
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