Have I Committed Major Shirk by Participating in a Hindu Ritual Dance?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


I’m a university student doing a module called “A Cultural Introduction To The Indus Valley.” The class just hosted a dancing session in which students were required to participate. I’m simply disgusted because they forced us to conduct a Hindu religious dance without informing us. I was not at all at ease and despised every minute of it, yet I felt obligated to do it.

I left midway through the dance and cried in the toilet, feeling like I did major shirk. In this matter, I would need urgent consultation.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

It is strictly prohibited to participate in any of the religious activities of any religion aside from Islam. This prohibition applies regardless of one’s intentions.

Is It Associating Partners (Shirk)?

Whether or not one’s participation in the religious activities of other religions takes them out of the fold of Islam or not, depends on certain factors:

1) Not Inherently Religious Activities

Many activities are themselves only considered worship via an intention. These activities do not take one out of the fold of Islam and are not considered associating partners unless the one performing them intends worship of other than Allah Most High.

For example, placing food before someone/something, bathing in a river, dancing, etc…

Participating with other religions in doing these things as a religious ritual is a major sin. If one intends by placing down food that they are offering the food to a statue of Buddha, or by bathing in the Ganges they intend what the Hindus intend, or by doing ritual Hindu dances as an act of worship to Vishnu or Shiva, etc.. – this is then associating partners (shirk).

These acts will take one out of the fold of Islam.

2) Inherently Religious Activities

Other acts are inherently considered acts of worship—for example, prostration and bowing.

These acts are strictly prohibited to participate with other religions in, as well, regardless of one’s intention.

If one intends to worship what the others are worshipping, it is associating partners and takes one out of the fold of Islam.

If one does not intend worship, it is still associating partners unless they were fully unaware of what they were doing or what it meant.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.

He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.

In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.