On television, I saw a person who was so grateful for being given food that he called the person who gave that person food a god. By saying this, he meant to say that he was 'a very nice person'. I laughed at this outburst of joy. Is what was done regarded as Shirk (associating partners with Allaah)? Does the intention with which the person said this make it acceptable? I read on an Islamic QA site that a person did something Islamically objectionable and that the apparent meaning implied Kufr (disbelief), but he was saved from Shirk due to his intended meaning. However, I am not so sure whether this applies here as well.
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
The word god (Arabic: Ilaah) means the worshiped deity, which is a most exclusive Attribute of Allah, The Exalted. He is The One and Only True God worthy of being worshiped. His name “Allah” includes this Attribute of “Uloohiyyah” (derived from Ilaah). Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “To Allah belongs the Uloohiyyah (divinity/right of absolute worship) over His creation.”
This is why it is prohibited to refer to any being as a 'god', and doing so is Shirk in this Attribute. However, this does not mean that whoever says this word in reference to other than Allah is automatically declared to be a Kaafir (disbeliever). Rather, there is a difference between the words of Kufr and the person who says them. A Muslim may utter words of Kufr but not be declared a Kaafir because certain conditions (for declaring a Muslim to be a Kaafir) are not met and certain impediments exist. Scholars set strict conditions and rules governing Takfeer (declaring a Muslim individual or group to be a Kaafir). Please, refer to fatwas 8106 and 87963 in this regard.
Judging Muslims to be disbelievers is a serious matter entailing (the application of) many consequent religious rulings in the worldly life and the Hereafter. In the Hereafter, the disbeliever shall abide in Hellfire eternally. In the worldly life, the Muslim ruler subjects such a person to the Hadd (corporal punishment) of apostasy; his marriage with his Muslim wife is terminated; he does not inherit from his Muslim relatives, nor do they inherit from him; Muslims do not offer the funeral prayer over him after his death, and he is not buried in Muslim cemeteries; and so on.
Allah knows best.
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