Fear that amounts to Shirk
Fatwa No: 329347

Question

Which type of fear is Shirk (polytheism)? Suppose that I walk on a road and see places of Shirk, temples, and so on, and I intentionally spit there and while doing this feel a sort of uneasiness and fear in my heart. I know that only Allaah can inflict harm. But what about this uneasiness and fear that I feel sometimes while disrespecting idols, bad Sufi saints, and so on? My family or some people warn me that this or that will happen to me, and then I get some uneasiness and fear in my heart. What is the ruling on this issue? Also, do not recommend other questions as I have already gone through them. May Allaah reward us abundantly from his endless bounty.

Answer

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.

Among the types of fear that reach the point of Shirk is (what is called) the secret fear. Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him when explaining the three Islamic principles, said:

"Fear is of three categories:

1- The secret fear ... this is when a man fears a special secret power that is not tangible. It is for this reason that the worshipers of graves believe that some people have the ability to act in the universe along with Allaah. They also believe this about idols, jinn, and so forth, and this is the major Shirk. They also believe that they have the ability to give and prevent, control the hearts, and kill souls without tangible reasons..."

Shaykh Saalih Aal Ash-Shaykh said in At-Tamheed Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed, "The fear that is Shirk is the secret fear; that is when a person has inner fear of an entity because of what he believes that this entity has that he hopes for or fears, or because he believes that it may secretly harm him.” 

As regards what you find within yourself as just a feeling of fear that does not entail worship of the thing that you fear or belief that idols or what is worshiped beside Allaah can have an effect, then this does not amount to Shirk. Shaykh Al-Fawzaan said in I’aanat Al-Mustafeed bisharh Kitaab At-Tawheed, "The secret fear, which is the fear that is accompanied with the worship of other than Allaah or abandoning what Allaah has enjoined: it means that a man fears something other than Allaah, such as idols and statues and what is worshiped other than Allaah, like graves and tombs, or fears devils and jinn and gets closer to them with what they like of committing Shirk in order to be safe from their evil. This is major Shirk that takes a person out of the fold of Islam."

Allaah knows best.

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