There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut [false deities, evil, devil] and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. [Ch.2:256]
Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (supporters and helpers) are Taghut [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever. [Ch.2:257]
‘Worship Allah alone and avoid the Taghoots (false deities)” [Ch.16:36]
Very first step towards Emaan is rejecting and disbelieving in Taghoots, which include all personalities, leaders, deities or evil things worshipped besides Allah, while being pleased with this worship. This means removing every (false) god that is worshipped besides Allah, such as a tree, a stone, the sun, the moon, an angel, a human, a grave, a dead saint, book and so on and so forth. These things have no right to be worshipped, because they do not have any command over the affairs of the universe.
They (Christians and Jews) have taken their rabbis and priests as lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Mary, although they were commanded to worship no one except the One Allah. There is no Deity but He, glory be to Him above what they associate with Him! [Ch.9:31]
‘Adi bin Hatim, who had been a Christian before accepting Islam, once came to the Prophet (peace be on him). When he heard him reciting the above Ayah [9:31], he said, “O Messenger of Allah, but they do not worship them.” The Prophet (peace be on him) replied, They certainly do. They prohibit to the people what is halal and permit them what is haram, and the people obey them. This is indeed their worship of them. (Reported and classified as Hasan by al-Tirmidhi and others.)
So whenever a Muslim allows someone other than Allah to dictate halal, haraam, right or wrong for him, he commits Shirk and cannot call himself a Muslim anymore. Similarly, anyone who consciously repudiates any clear commandments in the Quran, or a commandment stated in the Sahih Hadith also transgresses the limits set by Allah and is not a Muslim anymore (recall that a Muslim submits his will to Allah). This can be better explained through this example.
Suppose a Muslim admits to the fact that praying five times a day is a fardh (obligation) and if he does not perform that duty, he commits a great sin.
On the other hand, take the example of a Muslim who does not say his prayers but he either invents a new way of praying (as against the teachings explained by Prophet Muhammad – PBUH), or he repudiates a Quranic verse by stating that prayers are not compulsory. Such a person is not a Muslim anymore because he has negated a clear commandment.
And A Muslim is offering prayers five times but following the teachings of his Shaikh, Leader, Ulama which are different form Prophet Muhammad PBUH is the example of above hadith.
Taghoot is a single word but it includes all such influences that compel us to go against the word of Allah. Taghoot includes the obvious pagan practices of worshipping fire or idols. But if we look deeper, Taghoot also includes Bidd’ah of our forefathers, which we have adopted blindly. (For instance, chanting verses on date pits at a funeral, or reciting the Quran and transferring the Sawab to the deceased).
Taghoot also includes the practice of giving Nazar/Niaz in the name of anyone other than Allah, and considering it Islamic. It also includes the practice of celebrating Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s birthday (a significant ritual in the Sub-continent). Taghoot, thus, is any pir, molvi, electronic or print medium, practices borrowed from other cultures, Bidd’ah (innovation) of our forefathers that we have adopted over time, yet they contradict the Quran and the Sahih Hadith. By repudiating the word of Allah, can we then include ourselves in the Muslim Ummah?
Perhaps the most understandable as well as obvious form of Taghoot is social pressure, the fear of “what will people say?” if we dare to abandon popular social practices that are expected of a “good” Pakistani Muslim. For instance, not observing the Chaleeswan (40th day after a person’s death) is looked down upon by the entire community. Wedding traditions borrowed from Hindus, showing reverence to so-called pirs and Sufis, praying to a grave, are all manifestations of the Taghoots that have quiet deliberately created a new Islam for South Asia and that is Biddat as well as shirk because you are doing these worships for the fear of people not for Allah.
The word 'Taghoot' is mentioned in the Quran. Few relevant verses are given below:
Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture (book)? They believe in Jibt (superstition) and Taghoot and say to the disbelievers that they are better guided as regards the way than the believers (Muslims).[Ch.4:51]
Have you seen those (hyprocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgement (in their disputes) to the Taghoot (false judges, etc.) while they have been ordered to reject them. But Satan wishes to lead them far astray.[Ch.4:60]
Those who believe, fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghoot (Satan, etc.) So fight you against the friends of Shaitân (Satan); Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Satan.[Ch.4:76]
Those who avoid At-Taghoot (false deities) by not worshipping them and turn to Allah in repentance, for them are glad tidings; so announce the good news to My slaves.[Ch.39:17]
"Go to Fir'aun (Pharaoh)! Verily, he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved as an arrogant, and as a tyrant)."[Ch.20:24]
People usually mix up the concepts of Taghoot with Takfeer with each other and that leads to sectarian bashing.
First of all, we must understand that Takfeer was never been of any importance in Islamic beliefs (aqaaid) so it has nothing to do with it. The only thing important is the rejection of Taghoot, which itself has a vast definition and application as explained above.
So when we are certain that someone died practicing Shirk or Kufr NOT through our personal opinion about him BUT when we have confirmed evidence that his beliefs or deeds were contradicting Quran and/or Sahih Hadith or his beliefs fell in any of the categories of Shirk then we have to consider him a Mushrik and/or a Kafir. This does not mean that we are being judging him in the same way as Allah would. What it actually means is that we are judging him in the light of Allah and his Prophet (PBUH)’s words and teachings. This is rejection of Taghoot which differentiates Abu Bakr from Abu Jahl!
One very important thing to be understood is that the terms Kafir and Mushrik are not obscenities, abuses or slangs. They are Qur’anic terms or titles used to define a certain type of people who harbour and/or a certain types of beliefs. It must also be understood that Islam is a Deen for the whole humanity and not just for the people who were born in Muslim families.
Kafir, unbeliever or disbeliever is the one who negates or rejects. So in Islamic terms, Kafir is the rejecter of the teachings of Islam. We usually term non-Muslims as Kafirs as they reject the teachings of Islam.
Mushrik (polytheist) is the person who associates other deities such as trees, fire, water, sun, moon and even humans as partners with Allah in His “Lordship”, “Worship” and/or His “Divine Names and Attributes”.
So a Mushrik is not only be a Hindu who worships many gods besides Allah, it can also be a follower of a monotheistic religion (i.e. Christianity, Judaism) who left the actual message of these religions and distorted the teachings of Moses (AS) and Jesus (AS) turned to polytheism at any stage in life. After all Christianity and Judaism are in essence the distorted form of Islam or the original message of Tawheed that Moses (AS) and Jesus (AS) brought.
A Mushrik could be a hypocrite who recited the Kalima (Shahadah) by tongue for some benefit but doesn’t believe in it.
SIMILARLY. a Mushrik could also be a Kalima-go (a recite of Kalima) who was born in a Muslim family and even though he claims to be a Muslim but knowingly or unknowingly practices Shirk.
Otherwise wasn’t Abu-Jahl also one of the biggest scholars of his time? AND, didn’t he also “claim” to be a follower of Deen-e-Ibrahimi (Islam) but was he really?
Similarly we have Muhrikeen-e-Makkah. They weren’t Christians, Jews or Hindus? They were all the “so-called” followers of Islam who claimed to be on Deen-e-Ibrahimi…just like many of us claim to be! But we call them Mushrikeen, don’t we?
I would like to have your comments on Taghut, I hope you understood what Taghut is. Asslam o alaikum..