Could You Provide Definitions of Minor Shirk and Minor Kufr?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Could you please provide definitions for both of the above


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

The root, K-F-R, literally means “to cover, conceal, or deny.”


Kufr (Disbelief) is of two types: one who rejects and denies any of the necessary matters of the religion, like denying the existence of the Creator, is disbelief (kufr), which takes one out of the fold of Islam.

The second type is the one who does not carry out an obligatory act, like one who does not perform the prayer intentionally but does not deny it, or covers or denies a favor, which is a type of ingratitude (kufran), so disbelief of this second type can vary according to its degrees, just like faith (iman) can vary according to its degrees.


The definition of shirk is to ascribe partners with Allah Most High regarding divinity, His attributes, or His actions.

Shirk is of two types:

Shirk that takes one out of the religion, which is termed Major Polytheism (Al-Shirk al Akbar), which is to ascribe a partner with Allah Most High.

The other is termed Minor Polytheism (Al-Shirk al-Asghar), like showing off in one action, etc. It is mentioned in a hadith that whoever takes an oath other than Allah Most High has associated a partner with Him. [Abu Dawud] It is known that taking an oath other than Allah Most High does not take one out of the religion nor necessitates the ruling of disbelief. This is why the Prophet said, Polytheism in this umma is more hidden than the crawling ant.

[Shabbir Usmani, Fath al-Mulhim]

How Can One Protect Oneself from Minor Shirk and Ostentation in Worship?

Ma’qil ibn Yasar (Allah be pleased with him) reported, I departed with Abu Bakr to meet the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and the Prophet said, “O Abu Bakr, there is shirk among you more hidden than the crawling of an ant.” Abu Bakr said, “Is there a shirk other than to believe in a god alongside Allah?” The Prophet said, “By the One in whose hand is my soul, there is shirk more hidden than the crawling of an ant. Shall I not tell you something to say to rid you of it, both minor and major? Say:  اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أُشْرِكَ بِكَ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ وَأَسْتَغْفِرُكَ لِمَا لا أَعْلَمُ O Allah, I seek refuge in You that I associate partners with You while I know, and I seek Your forgiveness for what I do not know.” [Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad]

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.


Why not begin your search for knowledge by signing up for a course on SeekersAcademy
I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.