Chain letters are shirk.

By:Yusuf Atiff Bin Abdel-Lateef Diab

Bismillah, Alhumdulillah wa Salatu wassalaam’alaa RasulAllaah wa ba’ad,

There occurs today a very detestable practice among our muslim sisters in
particular but not specific to them. It is the indulgence and participation in
email chain letters. For those of us not familiar with this activity, it is
where someone sends an email letter with some sort of story pertaining, in most
cases but not always, to something Islamic, and then they put a condition at the
end of this story to distribute this email to a certain number of people. The
condition usually is a severe warning against not forwarding the email to the
certain number of people in which case some calamity or mishap will occur if it
is not done. In other cases the condition proposes a special benefit for
forwarding the email to the certain number of people. Ordinarily this is a form
of shirk that I think most people would be aware of or at least should
recognize. Believing that some act not from the Qur’aan or Sunnah, if done, can
cause some harm and/or benefit is indeed shirk. In doing
so we set up a rival to Allaah, for truly it is only Allaah who can benefit us
or harm us, and only Allaah can remove such harm. As Allaah says in Surah
Al-An’am ayah 17:

“And if Allaah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He
touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things.” One of the things we
learn from this ayat is that any harm that afflicts us can only be removed by
Allaah, so to specifically believe in bad omens, which includes bad luck and the
belief that certain practices, not endorsed by Allaah or The Prophet pbuh.gif , can affect the outcome of future events, is in essence the
meaning of an omen. So to believe in these omens would be belief that other than
Allaah can remove such harm from us, which is setting a rival with Allaah in
this removal of harm, which is shirk! And Allaah says in Surah al-Ma’aidah ayah
72 : “Verily, whosoever sets up rivals in worship with Allaah, then Allaah has
forbidden Al-Jannah for him, and the Fire will be his abode.”

Imam Ahmad reports, on the authority of Ibn `Amr radhi Allahu anhumma, that the
Prophet pbuh.gif said:

“Whoever is turned back from his objective by a bad omen has committed Shirk.”
They asked: “And what is the expiation for that?” He pbuh.gif
replied: “It is to say: “Oh, Allah! There is no good except that which You
bestow and there is no evil except that which You bestow and there is none has
the right to be worshipped but You.”

In many circumstances these chain emails threatens the reader that “if” the
email is not sent to the certain number of people then “such and such” will
occur. As reported in the above hadith this is Shirk! As is reported on the
authority of Ibn Mas’ood radhi Allahu ‘anhu in a marfoo’ form, that he said:
“At-tiyarah (belief in omens) is Shirk, at-tiyrah (belief in omens) is Shirk.
There is none among us who is not afflicted by it, but Allah, by true dependence
on Him removes it from the heart.” [1] So this hadeeth / athar is a
rejection of belief in omens because such beliefs necessitates negation of
belief in Allah’s Qadr and because it causes the heart to become attached to
other than Allah, which is Shirk.

Also it is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah radhi Allaahu anhu that the
Messenger of Allah pbuh.gif said:

“There is no `adwaa [2], no tiyarah (belief in omens) and no
haamah[3] and no Safar [4]” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

Muslim, in his Saheeh, adds: “…and no naw and no ghoul [6].”

Now what is even more disturbing is that these omens are presented and
beautified in the form of “harmless” conditions and mere fun. No doubt a trick
for shaytaan ar rajeem, wa iyaadhu billah.

The most recent one of these shirk chain emails that I came across, put the
condition that “if you love Allaah, then forward this letter to..”!!! This
should indeed be a higher degree of disturbing for Ahl Sunnah as it entails
speaking about an attribute of Allaah without knowledge, namely Allaah’s love.
How is it that one can put a condition to Allaah’s love based on doing an act
that has no precedence in The Book of Allaah or The Sunnah of His Messenger
pbuh.gif ?!?! This is indeed a form of ilhad (deviation)
regarding the attribute of Allaah, and a form of shirk in this category of
Tawheed (Asmaa wa Sifaat). The love of Allaah is attainable through many acts of
ibaadah mentioned to us in the Quran and Sunnah, and thus to innovate in this
noble venture is a disgusting type of bidah, pursued in most part by those of
ahl kalam (The people of false rhetoric), the philosophers, and the sufis. Those
people who chose not to be content with the established
texts of Al-Islaam, but rather engage in exercising their intellect with regard
to the deen. As we should know the Beautiful, Perfect and Lofty Names and
Attributes of Allaah are tawqeefiyyah, meaning they are derived from the text of
The Qur’aan and The Sunnah. Speaking about Allaah’s Names and/or Attributes
without knowledge that which was not mentioned by Allaah or His Messenger
pbuh.gif or the righteous predecessors of this Ummah
constitutes a great offense against Allaah and His Deen. Allaah Subhana wa
Ta’ala says in Surah Al Ar’af ayah 33: “Say: My Lord has forbidden.. and that
you say about Allaah that of which you have no knowledge”. And Allaah says in
Surah al-Isra’a ayah 36: “Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge.” So
we must be extremely careful not to attribute to Allaah or place a condition on
His Ta’ala attributes that was not mentioned in any text of The Qur’aan and
Sunnah, even if it appears to agree with our intellect. This
is the methodology of the Sahabah concerning the Names and Attributes of
Allaah, and it is the methodology that we in turn should adopt.

In conclusion I offer this sincere advise, and straightforward warning, if you
or anyone you know is in the practice of writing these emails, or forwarding
them, please revere Allaah and set not up rivals with him by spreading this
fitnah of belief and indulgence in omens and superstious practices. Like so many
other types of hidden shirk, it is beautified and marginalized until it enters
our home as something that we take to be so minute and insignificant.

May Allah Al-Wakeel rectify the affairs of the Ummah. May He, Al-Walee protect
us from all forms of Shirk, major and minor, hidden and apparent. Ya Allaah
Al-Mawlaa support us against the plots of shaytaan ar rajeem and our nafs and
desires. Wa SallAllahu wasallem wa Barrik ‘alaa RasulAllaah wa ‘alaa ‘Alyhi wa
Sahbihi ajma’een.

———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –

[1] Narrated by Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi, who said it is authentic, but considered
the last part of it to be Ibn Mas’ood’s own statement
       [2] Infectious or contagious disease.

[3] Interpreting omens based on the flight of a nocturnal bird.

[4] Some scholars said that it refers to parasites which infest the stomach and
intestines of mankind and cattle, while others said that it refers to the pagan belief that the
arrival of the month of Safar in the Muslim calendar bodes ill, while the dictionary defines safar as jaundice – and Allah knows best.

[5] belief that the positions of the stars affect the climate

[6] ghosts and ghouls


Published by

Boricua Muslimah

Graduate from Rutgers Newark. Journalist, photographer and videographer.

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