Muhammad — The Prophet of Shirk

Sam Shamoun

In a previous article (*) we documented where Muhammad expressly forbade people from swearing by anyone other than Allah. He also prohibited Muslims from swearing by one’s fathers or ancestors:

2094. It was narrated from Salim bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar, from his father, from ‘Umar, that the Messenger of Allah heard him swearing by his father. The Messenger of Allah said: "Allah forbids you from making oaths by your forefathers." ‘Umar said: "I never took an oath by them (i.e., my forefathers) myself nor narrating, such words from anyone else." (Sahih)


It is impermissible to swear by anyone other than Allah, regardless of whether it is a father, grandfather, shaikh, saint, religious leader, highly virtuous person or a Prophet. As some people take an oath by ‘Ali or by five pure personalities, it is all prohibited.

2095. It was narrated from ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Samurah that the Messenger of Allah said: "Do not take oaths by idols nor by your forefathers." (Sahih)


Taking an oath by an idol is, in fact, an oath by a person because of his importance or honor, due to which that person’s state was made. Thus this type of oath is also taken by saints and virtuous peoples; and taking an oath by other than Allah is prohibited. (Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 1783 to 2718, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 3, Chapter 2. Prohibition Of Making An Oath By Other Than Allah, pp. 201-202)

We then showed how Muhammad violated his own teachings by swearing by another man’s father:

Chapter 4: The Prohibition Of Withholding While Alive, Only To Squander Upon One’s Death

2706. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: "A man came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, tell me, which of the people has most right to my companionship?’ He said: ‘Yes, BY YOUR FATHER, you will certainly be told.’ He said: ‘Your mother.’ He said, ‘Then who?’ He said: ‘Then your mother.’ He said: ‘Then who?’ He said: ‘Then your mother.’ He said: ‘Then who?’ He said: ‘Then your father.’ He said: ‘Tell me, O Messenger of Allah, about my wealth – how should I give in charity?’ He said: ‘Yes, BY ALLAH, you will certainly be told…’" (Sahih) (Ibid., pp. 553-554; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Muhammad’s willful violation of his own teachings leads to bigger problems. According to the following narrative swearing by anything besides Allah is a clear act of Shirk, or of the sin of associating partners with Allah:

Chapter 9. What Has Been Related About ‘Whoever Swears By Other Than Allah, He Has Committed Shirk

1535. Sa‘d bin ‘Ubaidah narrated that Ibn ‘Umar heard a man saying: "No by the Ka‘bah" so Ibn ‘Umar said: "Nothing is sworn by other than Allah, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say: ‘Whoever swears by other than Allah, he has committed disbelief or Shirk.’" (Sahih)

[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan.

According to some of the people of knowledge, the explanation of this Hadith is that his saying: "He has committed disbelief or Shirk" is to demonstrate its severity. The proof for that is the Hadith of Ibn ‘Umar: That the Prophet heard ‘Umar saying: ‘By my father! By my father!’ So he said: ‘Verily Allah prohibits you from swearing by your fathers.’" As well as the Hadith of Abu Hurairah from the Prophet, that he said: "Whoever says in his oath: ‘By Al-Lat! By Al-Uzza!’ Then let him say: ‘La Ilaha Illallah (None has the right to be worshiped but Allah)’." (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, From Hadith no. 1205 to 1896, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, final review by Islamic Research Darussalam [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 3, 18. The Chapters On Vows And Oaths From The Messenger Of Allah, p. 309; underline emphasis ours)

The Quran expressly says that Allah will never forgive the sin of Shirk:

God forgives not that aught should be with Him associated; less than that He forgives to whomsoever He will. Whoso associates with God anything, has indeed forged a mighty sin. S. 4:48

God forgives not that aught should be with Him associated; less than that He forgives to whomsoever He will. Whoso associates with God anything, has gone astray into far error. S. 4:116

Even if the person happens to be a prophet:

And this was Our argument which we gave to Ibrahim against his people; We exalt in dignity whom We please; surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing. And We gave to him Ishaq and Yaqoob; each did We guide, and Nuh did We guide before, and of his descendants, Dawood and Sulaiman and Ayub and Yusuf and Haroun; and thus do We reward those who do good (to others). And Zakariya and Yahya and Isa and Ilyas; every one was of the good; And Ismail and Al-Yasha and Yunus and Lut; and every one We made to excel (in) the worlds: And from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren, and We chose them and guided them into the right way. This is Allah's guidance, He guides thereby whom He pleases of His servants; and if they had set up others (with Him), certainly what they did would have become ineffectual for them. These are they to whom We gave the book and the wisdom and the prophecy; therefore if these disbelieve in it We have already entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it. These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance. Say: I do not ask you for any reward for it; it is nothing but a reminder to the nations. S. 6:83-90 Shakir

Since they had been warned concerning the gravity of committing such a transgression:

And verily it hath been revealed unto thee as unto those before thee (saying): If thou ascribe a partner to Allah thy work will fail and thou indeed wilt be among the losers. S. 39:65 Pickthall

With the foregoing in perspective Muhammad swearing by the father of one of his companions shows that he apostatized and committed the sin of shirk. And since he was already a believer when he carried out this heinous crime there was no possibility of Muhammad’s repentance being accepted by his deity since Shirk is unpardonable per Q. 4:48 and 116.

In fact, Muhammad was expressly warned that he would be condemned to hell if he did commit such a sin:

This is (part) of Al-Hikmah (wisdom, good manners and high character, etc.) which your Lord has inspired to you (O Muhammad SAW). And set not up with Allah any other ilah (god) lest you should be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected, (from Allah's Mercy). S. 17:39 Hilali-Khan

This isn’t the only time Muhammad committed idolatry… he did so on another occasion when he praised the pagan goddesses of the Meccans, claiming that they were exalted beings whose intercession was acceptable to God:

Now the apostle was anxious for the welfare of his people, wishing to attract them as far as he could. It has been mentioned that he longed for a way to attract them, and the method he adopted is what Ibn Hamid told me that Salama said M. b. Ishaq told him from Yazid b. Ziyad of Medina from M. b. Ka`b al-Qurazi: When the apostle saw that his people turned their backs on him and he was pained by their estrangement from what he brought them from God he longed that there should come to him from God a message that would reconcile his people to him. Because of his love for his people and his anxiety over them it would delight him if the obstacle that made his task so difficult could be removed; so that he meditated on the project and longed for it and it was dear to him. Then God sent down "By the star when it sets your comrade errs not and is not deceived, he speaks not from his own desire," and when he reached His words "Have you thought of al-Lat and al-`Uzza and Manat the third, the others", Satan, when he was meditating upon it, and desiring to bring it (sc. reconciliation) to his people, put upon his tongue "these are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved". When the Quraysh heard that, they were delighted and greatly pleased at the way in which he spoke of their gods and they listened to him; while the believers were holding that what their prophet brought from their Lord was true, not suspecting a mistake or a vain desire or slip, and when he reached the prostration and the end of the Sura in which he prostrated himself the Muslims prostrated themselves when their prophet prostrated confirming what he brought and obeying his command, and the polytheists of Quraysh and others who were in the mosque prostrated when they heard the mention of their gods, so that everyone in the mosque believer and unbeliever prostrated, except al-Walid b. al-Mughira who was an old man who could not do so, so he took a handful of dirt from the valley and bent over it. Then the people dispersed and the Quraysh went out, delighted at what had been said about their gods, saying, "Muhammad has spoken of our gods in splendid fashion. He alleged in what he read that they are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved".

The news reached the prophet's companions who were in Abyssinia, it being reported that Quraysh had accepted Islam, so some men started to return while others remained behind. Then Gabriel came to the apostle and said, "What have you done, Muhammad? You have read to these people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what He did not say to you." The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for he was merciful to him comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God established His verses i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. Then God sent down: "We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed Satan cast suggestions into his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise". Thus God relieved his prophet's grief, and made him feel safe from his fears and annulled what Satan had suggested in the words used above about their gods by his revelation "Are yours the males and His the females? That were indeed an unfair division" (i.e. most unjust); "they are nothing by names which your fathers gave them" as far as the words "to whom he pleases and accepts", i.e. how can the intercession of their gods avail with Him?

When the annulment of what Satan had put upon the prophet's tongue came from God, Quraysh said: "Muhammad has repented of what he said about the position of your gods with Allah, altered it and brought something else." (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah (The Life of Muhammad), translated by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, tenth impression 1995], pp. 165-167; bold emphasis ours)

This event became known as the "Satanic verses" since Muhammad later stated that Satan made him utter these verses that praised these female idols.

For more on this topic please consult the following materials (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Thus, if the above narratives are true (and since they are classified as sahih or sound they must be accepted as true by Sunni Muslims) Muhammad died an apostate and an idolater with no hope of salvation.

Abraham’s Idolatry:
How Muhammad Turned the Father of the Faithful into a Disbeliever

If this weren’t bad enough Muhammad, in the Quran, slandered Abraham by accusing him of committing shirk even after the patriarch had come to believe in the one true God:

And when Abraham said to his father Azar, 'Takest thou idols for gods? I see thee, and thy people, in manifest error.' So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith. When night outspread over him he saw a star and said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'I love not the setters.' When he saw the moon rising, he said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray.' When he saw the sun rising, he said, 'This is my Lord; this is greater!' But when it set he said, 'O my people, surely I am quit of that you associate. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters.' His people disputed with him. He said, 'Do you dispute with me concerning God, and He has guided me? I fear not what you associate with Him, except my Lord will aught. My Lord embraces all things in His knowledge; will you not remember? How should I fear what you have associated, seeing you fear not that you have associated with God that whereon He has not sent down on you any authority?' Which of the two parties has better title to security, if you have any knowledge? Those who believe, and have not confounded their belief with evildoing -- to them belongs the true security; they are rightly guided. S. 6:74-82

Here, Muhammad ended up making Abraham an idolater by having the father of the faithful worship the sun, moon and a star despite the fact that the patriarch was already aware of the existence of the one God.

Lest a Muslim make the assertion that this took place before Abraham received inspiration from God note the following part says:

Thus did we show Ibrahim (Abraham) the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of those who have Faith with certainty. S. 6:75 Hilali-Khan

Abraham was being guided by God even before he looked to the heavens and worshiped the constellations.

The following Suras further substantiate the fact that the patriarch already knew and believed in the one God when he turned to worship the heavenly host:

And make mention (O Muhammad) in the Scripture of Abraham. Lo! he was a saint, a prophet. When he said unto his father: O my father! Why worshippest thou that which heareth not nor seeth, nor can in aught avail thee? O my father! Lo! there hath come unto me of knowledge that which came not unto thee. So follow me, and I will lead thee on a right path. O my father! Serve not the devil. Lo! the devil is a rebel unto the Beneficent. O my father! Lo! I fear lest a punishment from the Beneficent overtake thee so that thou become a comrade of the devil. He said: Rejectest thou my gods, O Abraham? If thou cease not, I shall surely stone thee. Depart from me a long while! He said: Peace be unto thee! I shall ask forgiveness of my Lord for thee. Lo! He was ever gracious unto me. I shall withdraw from you and that unto which ye pray beside Allah, and I shall pray unto my Lord. It may be that, in prayer unto my Lord, I shall not be unblest. S. 19:41-48


And We verily gave Abraham of old his proper course, and We were Aware of him, When he said unto his father and his folk: What are these images unto which ye pay devotion? They said: We found our fathers worshippers of them. He said: Verily ye and your fathers were in plain error. They said: Bringest thou unto us the truth, or art thou some jester? He said: Nay, but your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them; and I am of those who testify unto that. And, by Allah, I shall circumvent your idols after ye have gone away and turned your backs. Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, that haply they might have recourse to it. They said: Who hath done this to our gods? Surely it must be some evil-doer. They said: We heard a youth make mention of them, who is called Abraham. They said: Then bring him (hither) before the people's eyes that they may testify. They said: Is it thou who hast done this to our gods, O Abraham? He said: But this, their chief hath done it. So question them, if they can speak. Then gathered they apart and said: Lo! ye yourselves are the wrong-doers. And they were utterly confounded, and they said: Well thou knowest that these speak not. He said: Worship ye then instead of Allah that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you? Fie on you and all that ye worship instead of Allah! Have ye then no sense? They cried: Burn him and stand by your gods, if ye will be doing. We said: O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham, And they wished to set a snare for him, but We made them the greater losers. S. 21:51-70 Pickthall

These narratives pretty much start off at the same point that Q. 6:74-82 begins, e.g. Abraham telling his father that he is in manifest error for worshiping idols. It is clear from reading these stories in light of each other that Abraham worshiped the heavenly objects even though he had already been receiving knowledge and guidance from the one true God. (For a possible alternative interpretation of S. 6:74-82, please consult the article Abraham and the Sun.)

Thus, Muhammad turned Abraham into a blatant idolater, thereby bringing him under the wrath of his deity who issued the following warning:

That was the reasoning about Us, which We gave to Abraham (to use) against his people: We raise whom We will, degree after degree: for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge. We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) guided: and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good: And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous: And Isma'il and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot: and to all We gave favour above the nations: (To them) and to their fathers, and progeny and brethren: We chose them, and we guided them to a straight way. This is the guidance of God: He giveth that guidance to whom He pleaseth, of His worshippers. If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them. S. 6:83-88 Y. Ali

Unless noted otherwise, Quranic citations taken from the Arthur J. Arberry version.

Further Reading

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