The Humble "I"

Knowing, Doing, Becoming

Beware the Politics of Idolatry

The Qur‘an teaches that whenever the love, longing, loyalty and submission which are due to Allah, are focused upon other than Him, or others along with Him, then this is shirk – idolatry; setting-up partners with Allah. For as Islam sees things, whoever loves something, desires it, values it, and centres their hopes, fears, love and loyalty around it; submitting to it independently of Allah, then this, for them, becomes a deity, a god, an object of sacrilegious worship. Some there are who make a god of wealth. Others make gods of celebrities. Still others make gods of their egos and desires. The Qur’an asks: Have you seen him who takes his desires for his god? [25:43] Of course we have! It is in this same vein that Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote:

فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ شَيْئًا وَأَطَاعَهُ، وَأَحَبَّ عَلَيْهِ وَأَبْغَضَ عَلَيْهِ، فَهُوَ إِلَهُهُ، فَمَنْ كَانَ لَا يُحِبُّ وَلَا يُبْغِضُ إِلَّا لِلِّهِ، وَلَا يُوَالِي وَلَا يُعَادِي إِلَّا لَهُ، فَاللَّهُ إِلَهُهُ حَقًّا، وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ لِهَوَاهُ، وَأَبْغَضَ لَهُ، وَوَالَى عَلَيْهِ، وَعَادَى عَلَيْهِ، فَإِلَهُهُ هَوَاهُ.

‘Whoever loves something and obeys it, loving and hating for its sake, then that is his god. Whoever loves or hates only for the sake of Allah, or forms allegiances and enmity only for Him, then Allah is his god in truth. But whoever’s loving or loathing revolves around his whims, forming enmity or allegiance on its basis, then these desires are his god that he worships.’1

Today’s Monoculture, for all its talk of tolerance, demands that we bow to its beliefs, values and worldview – even if it has to drag us there kicking and screaming. Wisdom enjoins that we engage with it; even partake in its political processes (for the Muslim collective benefit, or a national interest). But let us not forget the Monoculture exists, not for God, but in spite of Him; and even in brazen defiance of Him. That being the case, a believer participates in it as per the following Contention: ‘It is better to engage fully with the Monoculture from a position of dislike than to engage partly with it from a position of admiration.’2 Belief in Allah’s all-embracing knowledge, wisdom and care for creation, and loyalty to His lordship, require nothing less: Who is better in judgement than Allah for those who have certainty of belief? [5:50] In a world that insists we render our ultimate loyalty to liberal ideals, let’s recall that shirk isn’t only bowing to idols of wood or stone. Egos, desires, people and even philosophical ideals and political systems can be deified too!

1. Jami‘ al-‘Ulum wa’l-Hikam (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 1998), 1:524.

2. Abdal Hakim Murad, Contentions, 13/6, at:

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6 thoughts on “Beware the Politics of Idolatry

  1. tabrez on said:

    Allahumma Innee aaoodhubika an ushrika bika wa ana aalamu wa astaghfiruka li maa laa aalam
    YA ALLAH I seek refuge with you lest I should commit shirk with you knowingly and I seek your forgiveness for what I do unknowingly

  2. Maa Shaa’ Allaah, Tabaarak Allaah!

    This is such an important, yet fine and esoteric, point of Tawheed. It forms such an indispensable part of our understanding how to exist in the Dunyaa — especially in this day and age.

    Jazaakum Allaahu Khayran, wa-Baarak Allaahu Feekum.

    • Abu Aaliyah on said:

      May Allah make joyous your heart as you have made joyous mine. It is one of the great and incomparable divine gifts when an author’s deeper intent is so beautifully grasped, as you grasped mine.

      Kindred spirits: may Allah continue to keep us as such Aboo Suhaylah.

  3. Shawn Steven Skifton on said:

    I have Alhamdulillah enjoyed your site and outlook for years. May Allah Preserve Perfect and Protect you. A really great reminder!!

    • Abu Aaliyah on said:


      Barakallahu fikum Shawn. And thank you for your kind words and du‘a. May Allah shower you with an increase in barakah, fiqh and ma‘rifah.

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