Q: How to differentiate between sin and shirk (especially major shirk) Example:
1# If a person does many haram acts because of his desire and continues it without fearing Allah then will it be just a sin or it will be considered as he is following his desire? Is it shirk as mentioned in Quran [45:23] “Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil?
2# We know interest is haram. If a person continues to take interest after knowing it haram or does not pay zakat, does it mean that he loves money more than Allah and doing shirk as mentioned in hadith “He who became the slave of the Dinar or the Dirham will perish and be destroyed.” [Hadith Bukhari] So are these just sin or they are shirk or they may lead to shirk even major shirk?
A: Shirk means to ascribe partners to Allah Ta’ala in His being or in His attributes. Through committing shirk one comes out of the fold of Islam. By committing a haraam act which one believes is haraam (e.g. involvement in interest or not paying zakaat), one will be sinful for committing the sin. However, this will not constitute shirk and one will not come out of the fold of Islam.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)