Some of the Most Common Practiced Shirk
In the West
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
All praises belong to Allah the most High and may the Prophet Muhamad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) be showered with Allah’s blessings. Tawheed is the most important aspect of the religion. It’s the belief that Allah is Alone without any partners in His Lordship, the Worship and in His names and attributes. The opposite of Tawheed is Shirk, which is to give someone or something a right that ONLY belongs to Allah. Briefly in this article I’m going to mention some of the most common acts of Shirk that some Muslims might still practice, or remain unaware about of the danger of their beliefs.
Sometimes, we’ve heard people say things like , “I swear on my mother’s grave “ or throw salt over your shoulder , or even request that the umbrella remain unopened while indoors. These beliefs are dangerous on the faith of a Muslim, so here let’s look at a few and warn others about them.
Four leaf clover
The four leaf clover is perhaps one of the most commonly known good luck symbols in the Western world. The four leaves symbolize hope, faith, love and luck. This is the most shared belief; however other people say the four leaves stand for fame, wealth, love and health. At any rate, around the world it stands as a sign for good luck. This belief is partially built on the fact that the chances of finding a four leaf clover are 1 out of 10,000, so if a person finds one ,then they say he’s lucky.
In some Christian legends the belief is Eve brought the four leaf clover with her to Earth when she and Adam were expelled from Paradise. Therefore, anyone in possession of a four leaf clover has been blessed with something from Jannah.
The problem with this belief
Allah said: To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and (all that is in) the earth and Ad-Din Wasiba is His [(i.e. perpetual sincere obedience to Allah is obligatory). None has the right to be worshipped but Allah)]. Will you then fear any other than Allah? And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah [ Al-Nahl:53]
Each and every blessing that we receive comes from Allah, so we must rely on Him to provide for us our needs.
The Black Cat.
In Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of bad omens although they are considered to be good omens in other cultures. In ancient times black cats were a symbol connected to witchcraft and evil and still today it’s used in the tradition on Halloween with witches. Depending of your region travelling with a black cat or having one cross a person’s path represents good luck, if it happens in the UK, while in America the black cat refers to bad luck.
The problem with this belief
Some scholars in the past have mentioned that the black cat was Satan. Ibn Taymiyyah believed that since this color was the Devil’s choice then not only was the black dog the devil, but also the black cat.
This opinion really isn’t supported with strong evidence from the Quran and the authentic Sunnah. However the Black dog being the devil is mentioned.
The black dog as mentioned by the Prophet is the devil. Abu Dharr said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about the all-black dog and he said: ‘(It is) a devil.’”
The only time a black dog passing in our path affects us is when we are praying and there isn’t anything mentioned about the black cat, not to mention that it causes harm, because this belief in Islam is Shirk. Nothing or no one can bring about good or cause harm without the permission of Allah.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The prayer is severed by a black dog and a woman who has reached the age of menstruation.”
The Prophet instructed us to seek refuge in Allah when we hear the dogs bark at night. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: When you hear the barking of dogs and the braying of asses at night, seek refuge in Allah, for they see which you do not see.
Friday the 13th
When this date is mentioned often times people think about the 1980’s horror franchise starring Jason Vorhees, but this day is counted as an unlucky day in Western superstition. Basically, whenever the 13th of the month falls on a Friday in the Gregorian calendar then people become paranoid.
There isn’t a definitive reason as to where this belief came from, but some people say it’s possibly connected to the so-called crucifixion of Jesus, who’s imaginary image, is seen seated with 12 men in a painting known as , The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci. The Christians believe Jesus was crucified on what they call Good Friday, so that’s it! Friday the 13th.
Some people who’ve collected statistics reported that an estimated number of 17-21 million people in America have a phobia of this day. The fear of this day affects people to limit that some will cancel their flights, or change their regular patterns of business.
The problem with this belief is
Allah said: Be informed! Verily, their evil omens are with Allah but most of them know not.[ Al-‘Araf 131]
This verse proves that everything that happens to a person is by Allah’s Will of Qadr, whether it’s good or bad, difficulty or ease. The people afflicted with the Friday the 13 phobia is similar to Fir’aun and his people. Allah said: But whenever good came to them, they said: “Ours is this.” And if evil afflicted them, they ascribed it to evil omens connected with Musa (Moses) and those with him[ Al-Araf 131].
The calamities that befell them were a result of their sins and disbelief.
Ibn Abbass said the bad omens that occurred to them were a direct result of their disbelief in Allah.
The belief that a certain day can be harmful so therefore certain actions are avoided out of fear we known among the Pagan Arabs in Saudi Arabia. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There is no ‘Adha, nor Tiyara, nor Hama, nor Safar.”
Imam Bin Baz said: In the summary this hadith proves there is no Adha (transmission of infectious disease without the permission of Allah), unlike the belief from Pre-Islamic period. The people of Jahilliyah used to believe the disease was transmitted normally. The spread of the disease is by the Will of Allah. If He decrees ,a healthy person gets sick from the illness, and then he does, otherwise he won’t get ill.
(( Tiyara: superstitious belief in bird omens)) The Prophet’s (ﷺ)words here destroy the belief the pagans held about seeing birds move or hearing sounds from them which they disliked. Based on the movement of this bird they wouldn’t do certain acitons.
((Hama: the omen of an owl)) The people of Jahiliyah used to believe that if he landed on a house and cawed or screeched then someone was going to die.
((Safar : a month in the Islamic calendar)) the pagans held this month to be a bad omen.
Walking under a ladder
Another Western superstition which is believed to be a reason for bad luck is walking under a ladder. There are many theories about this so-called unluckiness. One explanation is connected to Holy Trinity belief which is held by many Christians. This belief makes the number 3 sacred along with the triangle. Hence, a ladder opened or leaning up against a wall forms the shape of a triangle. Therefore walking through it is seen as “breaking” the Trinity, which is a crime and considered blasphemous, and serves as an attraction for Satan.
Breaking a mirror
The act of breaking a mirror is believed to bring 7 years of bad luck. The reason for this belief is the mirror doesn’t only serve as a person’s physical appearance, but for the soul as well. For that reason breaking the mirror damages one’s soul and this breakage doesn’t allow it be protected from any future misfortune or bad luck. On the other hand, some people believe that the damaged mirror represents the captured soul, and once its broken its harmed ,and the person who broke it will be harmed as well. Therefore, people thought of some ways to break the bad luck. i.e throw salt over the shoulder, collect the mirror and burn it , or gather it and place it in a stream.
Don’t Split the Pole
If you find yourself walking down the street with another person and suddenly an obstruction, like a pole, pops up in your path don’t split it– meaning both of you should walk on the same side of the object as you pass it instead of walking on opposite sides. It’s bad luck. This is a belief famous among some people in the inner cities of America.
The feet being swept by a broom
This myth comes from the deep of North America. There are commonly 2 superstitions connected with it today. The first one is if the person’s foot is hit with the broom then they won’t be able to get married and the 2nd one is if the broom hits the person’s feet then sooner or later he’ll be locked up in jail. As a result of the 2nd belief you’ll find people after being swept by the broom grab it and then spit on it as a measure to reverse what they consider to be an omen.
The problem with the belief
- Walking under a ladder
- Breaking a mirror
- Splitting a pole between 2 people while walking
- Having your feet swept by a broom
Allah said: (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allah and sin)[ Al-Ma’idah:3]
These 4 occurrences are all in the same category for the causes of pessimism and belief in bad omens. People find pessimism and the acceptance of bad omen usually in 7 forms.
- Sometimes they say “ Such and such is a bad omen “
- Animals such as, crows, owls, monkey, and chameleons.
- Certain illness, or sickness and this includes seeing a cross eyed person or one with some facial defects.
- Certain countries, areas and regions. People would say “this place is cursed or haunted.”
- Days and months.
- Certain movements, occurrences, mishaps, words or news.
Shirk is found in the belief of these actions from 3 angles;
- It places a person’s reliance and trust in other than Allah. This is Shirk in the Uluheeyah.
- The belief that harm or benefit, the managing of affairs, is with other than Allah. And the reason for things to occur results from these actions. This is Shirk in Ruboobeeyah.
- It ascribes knowledge of the unseen to other than Allah. 
Right or left palm itching
This belief is if the left palm is itchy it means that you will give someone money and if it’s your right then it means that you will receive money. This belief causes people to go out to casinos and play lotteries.
The Problem ith this belief
Allah said: ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a festival and a sign from You; and provide us sustenance, for You are the Best of sustainers.”[Al-Ma’idah:114]
Crossing the fingers
Crossing the fingers is gesture used to wish for good luck. Sometimes it is referred to as a sign for begging God for His protection. Often times the expressions used are “keep your fingers crossed”, “cross your fingers”, or “fingers crossed”.
This gesture goes back to the Catholic Church where its Christians would cross their fingers in order to invoke power associated with the cross for protection. Moreover, when the Romans would capture and torture the Christians they would cross their fingers in order to be recognized by fellow Christians.
Today it’s still common to find people hooking their index fingers as a greeting or sign of an agreement.
The Problem with this belief
The only protector is Allah Alone and not Jesus, the crucifix, or any saint.
Allah said: Say: “Who is he who can protect you from Allah if He intends to harm you, or intends mercy on you?” And they will not find, besides Allah, for themselves any Wali (protector, supporter, etc.) or any helper.[Al-Ahzab:17]
A bird flying in the house
According to superstition, when a bird flies into a home, it is a sign of some important message. If the bird is white or dies while in the home, it is a sign of an impending death.
The Problem with this belief
Allah said: Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things).[Luqman 34]
The belief in the bird as a sign that someone living in the house he visits was known among the Arabs before the Prophet Hood of Muhammad. He said: “ There is no Hamma”, and this is an owl. They used to believe that if an owl landed on the house and screeched then somebody was going to die, so the Prophet clarified this hadith as previous mentioned.
The shirk found in the belief of these actions can either be major shirk or minor and all shirk must be avoided.
It’s major shirk when the person believes that these omens and occurrences, by themselves are the result of attaining good or the befalling of evil, of if a person has fear of them. On the other hand if the person believes that they are reason or signs that something will happen then this is minor shirk.
Imam Bin Baz and Imam Al-Uthaymeen along with Sheikh Fawzan said when we see some something we dislike or causes us to feel uneasy then we should make the following Dua
للَّهُمَّ لاَ يَأْتِى بِالْحَسَنَاتِ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ وَلاَ يَدْفَعُ السَّيِّئَاتِ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ وَلاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِكَ
‘Allahuma la ya’ti bil-hasanati illa Anta, wa la yadfa’us- sayyi’ati illa Anta, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa Bika
(O Allah ! You Alone bring good things; You Alone avert evil things, and there is no might or power but in You).”‘
Imam Bin Baz said: “The Muslim must cling to Allah, rely on Him and do the necessary things according to the Shariah for a good outcome. The Muslim mustn’t be affected by these superstitions nor rely on them. Moreover the Muslim must not base their plans around these things occurring. If he does then he has committed Shirk, similarly to the Pre-Islamic period. Therefore the Muslim must rely solely on Allah and this includes 2 actions;
1-Having certainty that nothing happens except by Allah’s Will and Decree.
2-Taking the legislated means to remove any mishap that has occurred. i.e dua and patience.”
I ask Allah to save me, my family and the Muslims from falling into Shirk.
Presented by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle
 Sahih Muslim 510 a
 Ibn Majah : Vol. 1, Book 5, Hadith 949
 Sunan Abi Dawud 5103
 Tafsir As-Sa’dee.
 Tafsir Al-Baghawee
 Sahih al-Bukhari 5757
 Majmu Fatawa, vol 25,pg 90-91
 Al-Ta’seel wa Taqeed li Dabt kitabat tawheed, by Shaykh Khalid Al-Mardee
 This comes from a Hadith in Abu Dawud where some scholars differ over the authenticity of it, Imam Al-Uthaymeen graded it as being sound. Book 18, Hadith 167
 Majmou vol 8/pg 130