Terms Like: ‘A Woman Worships Her Husband’ or “A Mother Worships Her Son’ Must Be Avoided
Fatwa No: 433303

  • Fatwa Date:2-12-2020 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 17, 1442
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Question

“You alone we worship and you alone we ask for help”Worship in English can mean different things, is it haram to use it in the second meaning when addressing someone?“transitive verb1: to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power2: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion”Eg. People say this mother worships her son meaning she cares for him dearly but not Godly worship. Also, this wife worships her husband meaning she cares for him dearly and thinks highly of him not in a Godly way of course but in a loving way. Is this prohibited?

Answer

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is wrong to say, “a woman worships her husband” or “a mother worships her son” even if the sayer means something else other than actual worship. The Islamic Sharee‘ah enjoins the elimination of all means that lead to Shirk (associating partners with Allah in worship) or whatever alludes to the approval of Shirk even with regard to words. It is prohibited for a master (slave owner) to use words like ‘Abdi (my slave) or Amati (my slave girl) in reference to his slaves because the Arabic term ‘Uboodiyyah (lit. servitude; the word ‘Abd, meaning slave, is derived from the same root, and the word Amah, meaning female slave, denotes the same meaning) is frequently used in reference to Allah, The Exalted, to express our humility and submission to Him, and therefore the Sharee‘ah forbade using it in reference to other than Him to avoid alluding to Shirk. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “None of you should say ʻAbdi or Amati, and no slave should say Rabbi (my lord) or Rabbati (fem. form of Rabbi), but the owner should say instead Fataay (my boy/lad) and Fataati (my girl/lass), and the slave should say Sayyidi (my master) and Sayyidati (my mistress). Verily, you are all slaves of Allah, and the Lord is Allah, The Exalted.” [An-Nasaa’i, Al-Bukhaari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, and others]

The author of Mirqaat Al-Mafaateeh said: “None of you should say, ‘my slave,’ or, ‘so-and-so is my slave,’ to avoid the allusion to Shirk in ‘Uboodiyyah (associating partners with Allah in worship).” [End of quote]

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in I‘laam Al-Muwaqqi‘een: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade a man from referring to his slave boy and slave girl as ‘Abdi and Amati and commanded him to refer to them as Fataay and Fataati instead. He also forbade saying to a slave, ‘help your lord to perform ablution,’ or, ‘feed your lord,’ to eliminate the means leading to Shirk in words and meaning, although the word lord here means owner, like the lord of the house or the lord of the camels. The Sharee‘ah enjoins using the words Fata (boy/lad) and Fataah (girl/lass) instead of ‘Abd and Amah and forbade the use of the word Rabb (lord) in reference to the master so as to protect the creed of Tawheed (Islamic monotheism) and block the means leading to Shirk.” [End of quote]

There is no doubt that saying that a wife worships her husband and a mother worships her son is similar to what we stated above or even worse because, in addition to its being worse and closer to Shirk, it is unnecessary to begin with, unlike a man’s saying to his slave ‘Abdi, as he may need to summon him, so he says “Ya ‘Abdi”, and despite that, the Sharee‘ah forbade the use of the word ‘Abd in reference to one’s slave.

Allah Knows best.

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