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A Comprehensive Explanation Of Quranic Verse: “And Most Believed Not In Allah Except They Associate Others With Him.”

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Introduction:

Modern day Khawarij characterized by followers often quote the verse of Quran indicated in the heading to argue most Muslims are polytheists. It should be noted that prominent scholars of heterodoxy – like of Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab and Shaykh Shah Ismail Dehalvi and subsequently it has been employed by all those who espouse and promote their brands of ‘pure/true’ Islam. Hence it is imperative this verse is explained in the light of Quran and Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) so the actual meaning of the verse is realised and distortion of heretics is exposed. Considering the context where this verse is employed by heretics the correct understanding will ultimately vindicate majority of Muslims who have been accused of polytheism.

Quranic Verse – Most Believe Not In Allah Except With Shirk:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] If Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) permits, an explanation of 12:106  will consist of evidence which establishes that polytheists believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and in Ilahs besides Him. It will be followed by demonstration of what some of them believed about their idol-god partners of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). And then how their belief manifested in their daily life. And finally contextual and intertextual explanations will solidify and stenthen exstablished understanding of Muslims. The route taken to explain the verse in question will be long but if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) permits it will be the straight path to its proper understanding. So please ensure everything is read and understood until the last part is nipped in the bud.

Polytheists Believed In Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) poses rhetorical questions to polytheists. The first of which is: "...who is it that sustains you (in life) from the sky and from earth?” It is followed by: “Or who is it that has power over hearing and sight?” Then enquires from them: “And who is it that brings the living from the dead and the dead from the living?” The last one in the verse is: “And who is it that rules and regulates all affairs?” Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) knowing what the polytheists of Arabia believed stated: “They will quickly say: Allah. Say : Will you not then show piety to Him'' [Ref: 10:31] The following verse also is in similar style to previous. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) questions the polytheists of Arabia and answers on their behalf: “Say: Unto Whom (belongeth) the earth and whosoever is therein, if ye have knowledge? They will say: Unto Allah.  Say: Will ye not then remember?” The next question is about Lordship of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):” Say: Who is Lord of the seven heavens, and Lord of the Tremendous Arsh? They will say: Unto Allah. Say: Will ye not then keep duty (unto Him)?” Next question in the verse is about control of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) over His creation: “Say: In Whose hand is the dominion over all things and He protecteth, while against Him there is no protection, if ye have knowledge? They will say: Unto Allah. Say: How then are ye bewitched?“ [Ref: 23:84-89] Another verse of Quran indicates polytheists of Arabia believed Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) created heavens and earth: “And if you were to ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they would surely say: ‘Allah!’ [Ref: 29:61] “If thou shouldst ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth? They would answer: ‘Allah! Say: Praise be to Allah! But most of them know not.” [Ref: 31:25] In the following verse question about creation of earth and universe is repeated: "If indeed, you ask them who is it that created the heavens and the earth? They would be sure to say: 'Allah!'. Say : See you then the things that you invoke besides Allah? Can they, if Allah wills some penalty for me, remove His penalty? Or if He will some grace for me, can they keep back His grace?" [Ref: 39:38] About rain Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) asks the polytheists and Himself states what they actually believe: “And if thou wert to ask them: Who causeth water to come down from the sky, and therewith reviveth the earth after its death? They verily would say: ‘Allah!’ Say: Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no sense.” [Ref: 29:63]

Polytheists Believed In Their Idols As Gods Beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states, do the polytheists associate with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) gods who cannot create anything and in matter of fact they are themselves created [by those who worship them], and these idol-gods cannot help anyone, not even themselves: “Do they associate with Him those who create nothing and they are (themselves) created? And they are unable to (give) them help, nor can they help themselves.” [Ref: 7:191/192] Verses 191/192 are explained by following verse of Quran where Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) explicitly indicates what He has stated is about the idol-gods of polytheists, and adds further detail to what has already been stated in verses 191/192: “Yet they have taken besides Him other gods (i.e. alihah) who created nothing but are themselves created, and possess neither harm nor benefit for themselves, and possess no power (of causing) death, nor (of giving) life, nor of raising the dead.” [Ref: 25:3] Polytheists believed in various gods hoping that this god would give them honour and dignity: “And they have taken gods besides Allah, that they might give them honor.“ [Ref: 19:81] But Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says they on the day of judgment will disown each other: “No Indeed! Soon they will disown their worship, and they will be their opponents.” [Ref: 1982] Other verses also indicate that polytheists believed in many gods beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). In one such verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) quotes what the polytheists said regarding Prophet Muhammad and their desire to hold to polytheistic belief: “And (they) said: "Are we going to abandon our gods for the sake of a mad poet?" [Ref: 37:36] In the following verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) quotes what they said rhetorically to each other – indicating they looked down upon Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam), considering him to be too insignificant to invalidate their belief and their gods: “And when those who disbelieved see you they take you not except for mockery (saying): "Is this the one who talks (badly) about your gods?" [Ref: 21:36] Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) had warned the polytheists of Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) punishment if they did not repented from their polytheism and accepted religion of Islam. The polytheists in response to this said: "Have you come to turn us away from our alihah (gods)? Then bring us that with which you threaten us, if you are one of the truthful!" [Ref: 46:22] The polytheists also said that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has nearly lead them astray but their patience and worship of their gods ensured they remained attach to their gods: "He would have nearly misled us from our gods, had it not been that we were patient and constant in their worship!" [Ref: 25:42] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) also quoted words of polytheists which indicate they accused Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) of being magician due to his miracles: “And they wonder that there has come to them a warner from among themselves. And the disbelievers say, "This is a magician and a liar.” [Ref: 38:4] They accused him of being liar because he said he is the Prophet and the Messenger of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and because he taught there is no other god beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and none deserves the worship except Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). They found it strange that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) went against the established tradition of his polytheistic society and taught monotheism: “Has he made the gods [only] one God? Indeed, this is a weird thing." [Ref: 38:5] Due to the monotheistic teaching of Islam the people of influence reached to their polytheistic communities and advised them to be patient: “And the eminent among them went forth (saying): "Continue, and be patient over your gods. Indeed, this is a thing intended.” [Ref: 38:6] They gave this advice it was expected that Islam is a passing phenomenon and after burning bright it will fizzle away and darkness will again reign supreme. Also the following verse indicates that polytheists had experienced many innovated religions – polytheists of Arabia had created true multicultural and multi-polytheistic religious society with tolerance glore – but Islam was new religion with new idea. It also indicates that many beliefs were invented in Arabia but they all had effect of polytheism and these beliefs did not go against the polytheistic grain of society hence they were tolerated, and polytheism was the criteria to judge true and false religion. But with emergence of Islam, and its teaching of monotheism they had no response but to say based on their system of belief: “We have not heard of this in[any of] the latest religion. This is not but a fabrication.” [Ref: 38:7] When all the efforts of polytheists failed, they said their gods might inflict punishment upon Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). In response Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) narrates what the people of Prophet Hud (alayhis salaam) said to him: "We say nothing but that (perhaps) some of our gods may have seized thee with imbecility. “He said: "I call Allah to witness, and do ye bear witness, that I am free from the sin of ascribing, to Him." [Ref: 11:54] Purpose of narrating the story of past was to show to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is that he is not alone in experiencing these things Prophets before him had same things said to them. In response to what they said Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam): “Is not Allah enough for His servant? But they try to frighten you with other besides Him for such as Allah leaves to stray, there can be no guide.” [Ref: 39:36] Finally, when they heard the teaching of monotheism indicated in the following verses: “Your Ilah (i.e. god) is One Ilah (i.e. god). But for those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts deny [the belief in Unity Of Allah] and they are proud.” [Ref: 16:22] “He is the Living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere worship. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!” [Ref: 40:65] The polytheists were surprised and found it strange: “Has he made the gods (all) into one God? Truly this is a strange thing!” [Ref: 38:4/5] Please bare in mind that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not teach that all gods have combined into the One God. Rather it was their misunderstanding and Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) only quoted what they said. In reality Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has taught that there were and are no gods beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) hence there was/is and cannot be combining of gods into the One God.

The Fundamental Proof - They Believed In Allah But With Shirk:

It was established that polytheists of Arabia believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). They believed, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is the creator of universe and earth. It is Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) who sustains with crops and with rain. It is Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) who sends down rain. He gives life to the dead and death to the living. He brings the crops out of dead earth and causes death of living. Shortened – they believed all major affairs regarding governance of universe are in control of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). The Arabian polytheists also believed in many gods beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). This is fundamental proof that polytheists believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) but associated partners with Him in Ilahiyyah (i.e. God-hood) and it is confirmation of what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stated in th following verse: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] And following is demonstration of polytheists believing in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) but not without associating partners with Him in worship: “And when Allah Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust when those besides Him are mentioned, behold, they rejoice!” [Ref: 39:45] The following two section will give example of what sort of belief some polytheists had about their idol-gods.

Angels Are Daughters And Partners Of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states regarding their attribution of partners with Him: “Yet, they assign to some of His slaves a share with Him. Verily, man is indeed a manifest ingrate!” [Ref: 43:15] Birth of daughter was unwelcomed during pre-Islamic era and during life time of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Proof of it is as follows: They assign to Allah that which they dislike (for themselves), and their tongues assert the falsehood that the better things will be theirs. No doubt for them is the Fire, and they will be the first to be hastened on into it, and left there neglected.” [Ref: 16:62] “And if one of them is informed of the news of (the birth of a girl) that which he sets forth as a parable to the Most Gracious (Allah), his face becomes dark, and he is filled with grief!” [Ref: 43:17] The preceeding verse questions the polytheists to challenge their moral compass: “Or has He taken daughters out of what He has created, and He has selected for you sons?” [Ref: 43:16] In this verse there is indication that polytheists attributed daughters to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and this is also attested by another verse: “And they assign daughters unto Allah! - Glorified (and Exalted) is He above all that they associate with Him! And unto themselves what they desire.” [Ref: 16:57] The slaves whom Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mentined and about whom polytheists believed to be daughter-partners of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) were angels: And they make the angels who themselves are slaves of the Most Gracious (Allah) females. Did they witness their creation? Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned!” [Ref: 43:19] This is attested by the following verse in which Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) questions the polytheists regarding granting them sons but having for himself daughters [which the polytheists disliked having]: “Has then your Lord preferred for you sons and taken for Himself from among the angels daughters? Verily you indeed utter an awful saying.” [Ref: 17:40] This explanation was a demonstration of: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106]

Intercessor Ilah Partners Associated With Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: “And they worship besides Allah things that harm them not, nor profit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah." And Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) refutes their claim: “Say: "Do ye indeed inform Allah of something He knows not, in the heavens or on earth?Glory to Him! And far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!" [Ref: 10:18] This verse reveals the polytheists worshiped things beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and believed beside Allah are their intercessors who intercede to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) on behalf of polytheists. In the following verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) instructs Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to bare witness; there is no other Ilah beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and he is innocent of gods they worship: Can you (polytheists) verily bear witness that besides Allah there are other Alihah (i.e. gods)?" Say (O polytheist - ): "I bear no (such) witness!" Say (O Prophet - ): "But in truth He is the only one Ilah. And truly I (Prophet Muhammad) am innocent of what you join in worship with Him." [Ref: 6:19] This reveals the intercessors the polytheists worshiped were their gods and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) freed himself from their polytheism and so is established from following discussion: “And ask those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: "Did We ever appoint Alihah to be worshipped besides the Most Gracious?" [Ref: 43:45] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) answers this question Himself in the following verse: “Say, "Indeed, I have been forbidden to worship those you invoke besides Allah." Say, "I will not follow your desires, for I would then have gone astray, and I would not be of the [rightly] guided." [Ref: 6:56] This has established worship of gods beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was forbidden and indirectly establishes appointing of an Ilah beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was also forbidden because Ilah in Arabic is in meaning of, one who is worshipped. Coming back to the verse 10:18, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states the intercessors they worship beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) are things which cannot harm or benefit. Question arises who are these beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) which neither harm nor benefit and answer is in the following verse: “But they have taken besides Him gods which create nothing, while they are created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit and possess not (power over) death or life or resurrection.[Ref: 25:3] The gods of polytheists were idols and this is established from following verse: You only worship, besides Allah, idols, and you produce a falsehood. Indeed, those you worship besides Allah do not possess for you [the power of] provision. So seek from Allah provision and worship Him and be grateful to Him. To Him you will be returned." [Ref: 29:17] The reason of their appointing creation as gods and worshipping them is stated in the following verse: “Surely the religion is for Allah only. And those who take protectors 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.” [Ref: 39:3] Alhasil, it is soundly established that polytheists took Ilah-partners with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and worshipped them, and believed their idol-gods are their intercessors with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and these intercessor-Ilahs make them closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). This was another example of: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] The following three sections will explain how their polytheistic belief of many gods translated into actions in their daily lives.

Removal Of Aflictions And Affirming Polytheistic Belief:

Polytheists believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and when they went on the journey of the sea they sought protection from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), indicated by the following verse: “And when they board a ship, they supplicate Allah, sincere to Him in religion. But when He delivers them to the land, at once they associate others with Him.” [Ref: 29:65] Yet when they get off the vessel safely they associate others with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) by thanking/praising their gods along with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for their safe return to land. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) reminds the polytheists about their behavior of sincerely and only invoking Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) when they are in stressful situation at sea: “And when adversity touches you at sea, lost are (all) those you invoke except for Him. But when He delivers you to the land, you turn away (from Him). And ever is man ungrateful.” [Ref: 17:67] “And when adversity touches the people, they call upon their Lord, turning in repentance to Him. Then when He lets them taste mercy from Him, at once a party of them associate others with their Lord.” [Ref: 30:33] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states the mind set of polytheists at sea when their lives are in danger: “Say, "Who rescues you from the darknesses of the land and sea [when] you call upon Him imploring [aloud] and privately, 'If He should save us from this [crisis], we will surely be among the thankful?'" [Ref: 6:63] And Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) then tells them who saves them and what they end up doing soon as they are safely on land: “Say, ‘It is Allah who saves you from it and from every distress; then you [still] associate others with Him.’" [Ref: 6:64] In another verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) addresses the polytheists saying you seek His help but then some of you commit Shirk: “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help. Then, when He has removed the harm from you: Behold! some of you associate others in worship with their Lord. [Ref: 16:53/54]

Child And Affirming Polytheistic Creed After Deliverance Of Child:

Moving away from theme of calamity – Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states that polytheists invoke Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) during pregnancy saying: “It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when he covers her, she carries a light burden and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke Allah , their Lord, "If You should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful." [Ref: 7:189] Following verse reveals when the child is granted, they attribute its birth, and good character, and healt,h to blessing of their idol-gods. And give the child names of their idol gods – such as servant of Lat, or servant of Uzza - and due to which they become guilty of additional acts of Shirk with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala): “But when He gives them a good [child], they ascribe partners to Him concerning that which He has given them. Exalted is Allah above what they associate with Him.” [Ref: 7:190] The following Sections

Actions, Crops And Animals, For Sake Of Idols:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: “And they assign a portion of that which We have provided them unto what they know not. By Allah, you shall certainly be questioned about (all) that you used to fabricate.” [Ref: 16:56] This verse is explained in detail by the following:“And they assign to Allah a share of the tilth and cattle which He has created and they say: "This is for Allah according to their claim, and this is for our (Allah's so-called) partners. But the share of their "partners" reaches not Allah, while the share of Allah reaches their partners!” Evil is the way they judge!” [Ref: 6:136] A long Hadith details what sort of practices polytheists engaged in and how they assigned share from their animals for idols: “Narrated Sa`id bin Al-Musaiyab: Bahira is a she-camel whose milk is kept for the idols and nobody is allowed to milk it. Sa'iba was the she-camel which they used to set free for their gods and nothing was allowed to be carried on it. Abu Huraira said: Allah's Messenger said: ‘I saw Amr bin Amir Al-Khuza`i (in a dream) dragging his intestines in the Fire, and he was the first person to establish the tradition of setting free the animals (for the sake of their deities).’ Wasila is the she-camel which gives birth to a she-camel as its first delivery, and then gives birth to another she-camel as its second delivery. People used to let that she camel loose for their idols if it gave birth to two she-camels successively without giving birth to a male camel in between. 'Ham' was the male camel which was used for copulation. When it had finished the number of copulations assigned for it, they would let it loose for their idols and excuse it from burdens so that nothing would be carried on it, and they called it the 'Hami.' Abu Huraira said, "I heard the Prophet saying so.” [Ref: Bukhari, B60, H147] Similary another Hadith indicates how the polytheists made their idol-gods partners with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala): “Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Neither Fara nor Atira (is permissible): Al-Fara nor Atira (is permissible):" Al- Fara was the first offspring (of camels or sheep) which the pagans used to offer (as a sacrifice) to their idols. And Al-Atira was (a sheep which was to be slaughtered) during the month of Rajab.” [Ref: Bukhari, B66, H382] Following Hadith adds bit more detail to previous:  “Narrated 'Aishah: The Messenger of Allah used to sacrifice goat out of every fifty goats. Abu Dawud said: Fara means the first baby camel born (to the Arabs). They used to sacrifice it for their idols, and then eat it, and its skin was thrown on a tree. Atira was a sacrifice made during the first ten days of Rajab.” [Ref: Abu Dawood, B15, H2827]

Summary Of How Their Polytheistic Belief Impacted Their Life:

When they travelled on journey at sea/land or when any calamity touched them, or when they desired something, they solely invoked Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) but when Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) granted them safety and granted them what they desired they then gave credit of it to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and to their idol-gods during their worship. In addition to this, the polytheists attributed portions of their crops to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and assigned it to to their idols. They also had various customs such as, Bahira, Saiba, Wasila, Ham, Al Fara, and Atira. All these customs involed doing something for their idol-gods. Alhasil, Polytheists of Arabia believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and in their idol-gods, and demonstrated their belief by performing actions for them. This is demonstration of how the polytheists believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) but not without Shirk: “"And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106]

Intertextual Understanding Of – Most Believe In Allah:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states mankind sets partners with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala): “And among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah . And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment.” [Ref: 2:165] In the following verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) indicates; out of all those who believe in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) – mankind - most do not believe in Him without major Shirk: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] This reveals that out of mankind most were polytheists at the time of revelation of the verse. In another verse it is stated Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) will enquire from angels: “And (mention) the Day when He will gather them all and then say to the angels, "Did these (people) used to worship you?" They will say: "Exalted are You! You [O Allah ] are our benefactor not them. Rather, they used to worship the Jinn; most of them were sincere believers in them." [Ref: 34:41/42] This verse indicates most of polytheists sincerely believed in angels to be their Ilahs but on the judgment day they will find out; in reality they worshiped the Jinn. It is for this reason Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] With regards to those who preceeded the Message of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated: "Say: "Travel in the land and see what was the end of those before (you)! Most of them were Mushrikoon." [Ref: 30:42]  When punishment of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was to descend upon a nation who had disbelieved in message of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for sake of maintaining their polytheistic beliefs they affirmed belief in One-ness of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and distanced themselves from Shirk: “And when they saw Our punishment, they said," We believe in Allah alone. And disbelieve (in our polytheistic religion) in that which we were Mushrikeen." [Ref: 40:84] They believed in many gods but when the signs of punishment of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) became apparent, as apparent as rising of the sun from West, then they repented from their polytheistic belief and affirmed in belief of One Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). The preceding verse reveals that their repentence and belief was rejected, just as the belief and good actions will be rejected after the appearnce of ten signs. In simple words verse 40:84 connects polytheistic religion with belief in many gods, and this establishes that crime of polytheists was associating with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) many gods, and in verses 2:165, 34:41/42, 30:42, and 12:106 the sin being committed was associating with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) many gods and disbelieve in His One-ness. Alhasil, most of mankind at the time of revelation of verse 12:106, and those who preceeded the message of Islam, and most of mankind at present, were/are polytheists. They believed/believe in many gods and disbelieved/disbeliev in One-ness of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

The Contextual Understanding Of - Most Believe In Allah:

The context reveals this verse was revealed for disbelievers -Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated: “And most of the people as much as you wish will not believe.” [Ref: 12:103] In the next two verses the subject matter changes but in verse 106 Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] Interpreting 103 and 106 with each other gives the meaning; most of the people believe in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) but not without major Shirk and [due to their polytheistic religion they] will not accept religion of Islam even though Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) wishes they do. Both verses come togather to explain each other. In verse 103, people about whom it is said; will not believe, are the same one who are said to be Mushrikoon because they associate with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) other gods. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: Had there been therein Alihah (i.e. gods) besides Allah then verily both would have been ruined. Glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above all that (evil) they associate with Him!” [Ref: 21:22] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) instructed Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to address the polytheists with: “Say: "Only I am man like you. It has been revealed to me that your Ilah is One Ilah. So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." [Ref: 18:110]

Historical Context Of – Most Believe In Allah:

Muslims were a minority in Arabian Peninsula and polytheists were a great majority which was composed of traditional Arabian polytheism and Christian Trinitarian polytheism. Muslims and the polytheists, or monotheists and polytheists both groups believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). In this historical context Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stated: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106] Indirect implication is only a minority – which was composed of Muslims – believes in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) without associating god-partners to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). On global level, Trinitarian Christians [inclusive of Protestants and Catholics], Hindus, Buddhists, and other religions, all are polytheistic. These religions teach and adherents believe in some sort of supreme Diety but associate with Him some sort of gods. There are roughly seven billion people on earth in total and out of which 1.7 are Muslims. In this modern context the polytheists out number Muslims. In ever four people  three are polytheists and one is monotheist. Considering Wahhabi/Deobandi beliefs about what is Shirk and how it is warranted then there are less then hundred million monotheists exist. Everyone not belonging to these two monstrosities is Mushrik. This further increases the gap between world monotheists and polytheist. Based on all this information it can be said the verse is true representation of modern situation as well: "And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him." [Ref: 12:106]

Khawarij The Worst In Creatures In Creation Of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala):

The first sect of Khawarij which emerged when two companions and their followers clashed – Hadhrat Ali and Hadhrat Muawiyah – when arbitration was agreed they protested against arbitration. The party of Hadhrat Ali killed them in Iraq and only ten of them survived the battle. They are the worst of creatures and all this is established from following Hadith: Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) made a mention of a sect that would be among his Ummah which would emerge out of the dissension of the people. Their distinctive mark would be shaven heads. They would be the worst creatures or the worst of the creatures. The group who would be nearer to the truth out of the two would kill them.” [Ref: Muslim, B5, H2324] A more detailed Hadith has following information; they would recite Quran but it would not go beyond their throats - meaning it will not impact their hearts: “Abu Dharr reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Verily there would arise from my Ummah after me or soon after me a group (of people) who would recite the Qur'an, but it would not go beyond their throats, and they would pass clean through their religion just as the arrow passes through the prey, and they would never come back to it. They would be the worst among the creation and the creatures. [Ref: Muslim, B5, H2335] Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said they will continue to appear until last of them joins with army of Al Masih Al Dajjal – established from following Hadith: "A people will come at the end of time; as if he is one of them (i.e. Muslims), reciting the Qur'an without it passing beyond their throats. They will go through Islam just as the arrow goes through the target. Their distinction will be shaving. They will not cease to appear until the last of them comes with Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal. So when you meet them, then kill them, they are the worst of created beings." [Ref: Nasai, Vol5, B37, H4108] These people about whom it is said, they worst in creation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and who are to appear in every age - who are these people in our times? What are the signs from which we can recognise these people? There are many signs recorded in Ahadith by which they can be recognised but Hadith one pin points to their heretical methodology. It is recorded that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) said: “... and the Mulhidun (heretical) after the establishment of firm proof against them:"And the statement of Allah: 'Allah will not mislead a people after He has guided them, until He makes clear to them what to avoid.' And Ibn Umar used to consider them (the Khawarij and the Mulhidun) the worst of Allah's creatures and said: "These people took some verses that had been revealed concerning the disbelievers and interpreted them as describing the believers.” [Ref: Bukhari, V9, P49, Chap6: Killing The Khawarij]

Conclusion:

It was established the vast majority of people of Arabian Peninsula believed Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). But the polytheists who formed the majority believed Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is in control of Amoor Al Azaam (i.e. major affairs) in creation and their idol-gods are means of getting closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and accquiring His favour. The polytheists believed their god-partners of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) are their intercessors with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and offered worship to these gods to appease them so they can intercede for them to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Polytheists were a majority and monotheists (i.e. Muslims) were a minority and both groups believed in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stated out of all people who believe in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) most of people in Arabian Peninsula believe in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) with a deity of some sort. In addition to this, the verses 103 and 106 of chapter Yusuf both explain each other. By interpreting one with the other, it is clear the verse 106 was revealed with regards to disbelievers, and specificly polytheists. Hence a verse revealed incontext of Arab polytheists interpreted and applied to Muslims in any sense – in meaning of major Shirk or minor Shirk - is distortion of speech of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). It is characteristic of Khawarij, the worst in creation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Those who adopt their methodology, and follow their footsteps are from Khawarij, and are not from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi

 

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