Explanation of verse 6:121
Fatwa No: 296650

  • Fatwa Date:5-10-2015 - Thul-Hijjah 22, 1436
  • Rating:


Assalaamu alaykum. I sent this question before Shaykh. The site sent me a answer, but it answered only one small part, and a lot of the question was not answered. I asked about shirk (polytheism) in that ayah (verse), but the site gave me a fatwa on shirk in genreal. Sorry Shaykh, but can u please answer this particular question? Could you please explain surah (chapter) 6:121, {And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allaah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience. And indeed do the devils inspire their allies [among men] to dispute with you. And if you were to obey them, indeed, you would be associators [of others with Him].} How come Allaah says that if you do that, you would be a polytheist. Is it not so that eating haram food or unlawful food is only haram, or is it talking about making it halal when it is haram? If that is so, then please provide evidence for that in terms of other hadith, ayahs or opinions.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Tafseer scholars advised that the reason for revealing the verse no. 6:121 was that the idolaters of Quraysh argued with Muslims saying, "How is it, then, that the animal that you slaughter with a knife is lawful, but that what Allaah slaughters with a golden knife (i.e. a dead animal) is unlawful?" Therefore, Allaah, The Exalted, revealed this verse.

We have previously underlined the different types of shirk (associating partners with Allaah) in Fatwa 7386. One of the types of shirk is shirk in worship, which is divided into (three) sub-categories, one of which is shirk in submission. That is when one submits to the rulings that are stipulated by those who are not authorized by Allaah Almighty that state the lawful and the unlawful. This is the general ruling; the ruling of special cases entailing further detailing is different based on the relevant contexts.

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

"Whoever arrogantly disobeys Allaah and refrains from submitting to His worship in any given aspect and instead submissively obeyed other than Him has failed to implement and abide by the genuine essence of 'La ilaaha illa Allaah (no deity is worthy of worship save Allaah)' in this regard. Those who took their rabbis and monks as lords instead of Allaah are of two types:

Firstly, those who know that they changed the religion of Allaah and follow their example in those changes and believe in the permissibility of what Allaah has deemed forbidden and the prohibition of what Allaah has deemed lawful, following in the footsteps of their leaders, even though they know that they have gone against the religion with which their Messengers have been sent. This constitutes disbelief, and Allaah and His Messenger regard it as shirk even though they do not pray nor prostrate to them because whoever followed other people in what is against the religion of Allaah while knowing that it is so and believed what they said otherwise what Allaah and His messenger said, then he has committed shirk like those people.

Secondly, those whose belief in the permissibility of what has been deemed permissible and the prohibition of what has been deemed forbidden is firm, but they obeyed them in disobeying Allaah, in the same manner the Muslim does when he commits sins that he believes they are sins. They come under the same ruling as other sinners." [Majmooʻ Al-Fataawa]

Hence, it becomes clear that the intended meaning is not merely committing the prohibited acts.

In any case, you should bear the views of the scholars suggesting that a certain act or statement may be considered an act of disbelief but the doer or sayer may not be declared a disbeliever because of a valid excuse such as ignorance, misunderstanding, or compulsion in mind. This has been detailed in Fataawa 8106 and 15255.

Allaah knows best.

Related Fatwa