Question: Does supplicating for sinful things such as the ability to do magic constitute associating partners (shirk) with Allah? Likewise, does reading poetry that contains the poet complaints against Allah constitute associating partners (shirk) for the reader?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
In brief, none of what you have mentioned constitutes associating partners (shirk) with Allah Most High [Sawi, Sharh al-Sawi ala Jawhara al-Tawhid].
What is Shirk?
Shirk or associating partners with Allah Most High is defined as a belief that Allah Most High has a partner in His divinity, His essence, His attributes, or His acts [Sawi, Sharh al-Sawi ala Jawhara al-Tawhid]. Below are examples of each for clarity:
His divinity – This is to believe that there is more than one god [Ibid.]
His essence – This is to believe that God is made up of parts or is composite [Ibid.]
His attributes – This is to believe that the perfect attributes of Allah Most High are shared with another [Ibid.]
His acts – This is to believe that anything other than God has an intrinsic effect in the outcomes of life separate from Allah Most High. For example to believe that medicine cures intrinsically distinct from Allah’s decree [Ibid.]
Supplicating for the Impermissible
Although not considered shirk, supplicating to Allah Most High for something impermissible is a major sin and one must repent from it.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The prayer of the slave is accepted as long as they do not pray for something sinful, the breaking of family ties, and as long as they are not hasty.” It was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is hastiness?’ He said, “For one to say, I’ve been praying, I’ve been praying and I don’t see any response – so they lose hope and stop asking” [Muslim].
In commenting on the narration Mulla Ali Qari, a leading Hanafi scholar, said, ‘as long as they do not pray for something sinful’ is like someone saying, ‘O Allah allow me to kill so and so Muslim; or O Allah provide me wine to drink…” [Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih].
Your supplicating to do magic is of this vein. It is a major sin although not associating partners (shirk).
Reading the Poetry of One Who Complains Against Allah
Reading the poetry of another does not constitute associating partners (shirk) with Allah Most High. As we have explained above, associating partners is an erroneous belief in one’s heart. Even if the poem did contain elements of the poet’s disbelief or associating of partners – your reading of that poetry does not constitute disbelief for you.
Consider taking a basic course on Islamic beliefs. Even a rudimentary course will greatly benefit you in clarifying the distinction between true belief and disbelief. Consider the courses offered here at www.seekersguidance.org/courses
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences