Many believe they are free from Shirk (associating partners with Allah) and are pure monotheists. The Prophet (sawa), however, once said: “al-Shirk is more hidden than the crawling of the ant upon a black surface in a dark night’.” Imam al-Sadiq (as) gives an example of this

Imam al-Sadiq (as) was asked about the Words of the Prophet (sawa): ‘al-Shirk is more hidden than the crawling of the ant upon a black surface in a dark night’.
So the Imam (as) said: ‘The believers used to abuse what the Polytheists were worshiping, besides Allah (swt), and (as a result) the Polytheists used to abuse what the believers were worshiping. Thus, Allah (swt) Prohibited the believers from abusing gods of others lest the Infidels abuse the God of the believers. (The actions of) the believers meant they would end-up associating with Allah without being aware of it, which is why He (swt) said: “And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest exceeding the limits they should abuse Allah without knowledge’. (6:108)”

Sanad: Ali bin Ibrahim said, ‘My father narrated to me, from Mas’ada’ who narrated the above hadith

Source: Tafseer al-Qummi, Volume 1, Page 213 (See First Image below)

Grading: Sh. Haadi al-Najafi says it is a reliable hadith [Mawsoo`atu Ahaadeeth Ahlul-Bayt (as), Volume 5, Page 26-27 (See Second Image below)]

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Imam al-Sadiq (as) suggests that being the instigator of insults, and encouraging the polytheists to insult Allah (swt) in return – the Believers were taking part in the associating of Allah (swt) with the false gods. (for more on this ayah, click here)

This hadith shows that we are accountable for all our actions, and what we do may result in things we are not even aware of, so we must have foresight and responsibility of our actions. If our actions instigate and encourage others to commit evil, we may have a part in this and be held accountable.

Aside from this hadith, we see the ayah in the Qur’an:

وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُم بِاللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشْرِكُونَ

“And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him)” (12:106)

Imam al-Sadiq (as) said regarding the Words of Allah Mighty and Majestic “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him)” (12:106), he (as) said: ‘They obey the Satan unknowingly, therefore they associate partners’.

Sanad: A number of our people have narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad from Yahya ibn al-Mubarak from ‘Abd Allah ibn Jabalah from Sama’a from abu Basir and Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar who said the above hadith

Source: al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 169, Hadith #3 (See First Image below)

Imam al-Sadiq (as) said regarding the Words of Allah Mighty and Majestic “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him)” (12:106), he (as) said: ‘Association (شرك) of obedience, and it is not association of worship’.

Sanad: Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from Yunus from ibn Bukayr from Durays who said the above hadith

Source: al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 169, Hadith #4 (See First Image below)

Grading: Sh. Haadi al-Najafi says it is an authentic hadith [Mawsoo`atu Ahaadeeth Ahlul-Bayt (as), Volume 3, Page 115 (See Second Image below)]

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Imam al-Baqir (as) said regarding the Words of the High “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him)” (12:106). He (as) said: ‘Association of obedience, and it is not association of worship. And the disobedience which you are committing, so it is the association of obedience. Satan comes during it, thus you end up association with Allah (swt) the obedience of someone else. And it is not the association of worship, but (it’s the obedience, which is similar to) you are worshiping other than Allah’.

Sanad: Ali bin Ibrahim said, ‘Ahmad bin Idrees informed us, from Ahmad bin Muhammad, from Ali bin Al Hakam, from Musa bin Bakr, from al-Fazeyl who said the above hadith

Source: Tafseer al-Qummi, Volume 1, Page 358 (See Image below)

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Abu Abdullah (as) said regarding His Words “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him)” (12:106). He (as) said: ‘It is the speech of the man, ‘Had it not been for so and so, I would have perished. And had it not been for so and so, such and such would have afflicted me. And had it not been for so and so, my family would have been lost’. Do you not see that he has made for himself a partner with Allah in His Kingdom, Sustaining him and Defending him?’
I said, ‘So he should be saying, ‘Had it not been for Allah (swt) Favouring me by so and so, I would have perished’. He (as) said: ‘Yes, there is no problem with this’.

Sanad: al-Ayyashi from Malik bin Atiya who said the above hadith

Source: Tafseer al-Ayyashi, Volume 2, Page 211-212, Hadith #96 (See Image below)

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Of course, we all know the man famous for saying the words: “Woe is you O ‘Umar, if it were not for Ali, ‘Umar would have perished.” (See Here for hadith)

May Allah (swt) remove all Shirk from our Hearts. Ameen