Allah the Most Exalted said: “Have you then considered Al-Lat and Al-Uzzah”. And Manat (idols of the pagan Arabs) the other third? (Ch53: V19-20) At-Tirmidhi reported and declared as Sahih (sound), that Abu Waqid Al-Laithi (r.a.) said: We went out with Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) on the campaign to Hunain while we had just left disbelief (Kufr) for Islam.
The Mushrikin had a Sidr (lote-tree) that they would stay there and hang their arms (weapons) on, called Dhat Anwat. When we passed a Sidr, we asked, “O Messenger of Allah, won’t you make for us another Dhat Anwat just like their Dhat Anwat?” Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said, “Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Most Great)! By the one (Allah) Who holds my soul in His hand, verily these are the ways of earlier nations; You have said exactly as Bani Israel said to Musa (Peace be upon him) makefor us a god just as their gods.’ He said: “Verily you are a people who know not.’ (Ch.7:V138 Certainly you will follow the ways of those who went before you.)
Important Issues of the Lesson
The request by the companions (r.a.) (regarding a tree similar to Dhat Anwat). Their intention was to become closer to Allah by their act, as they thought He would like it. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) rejected their request by saying: “Allahu Akbar, these are the ways of earlier nations, thereby expressing the weightiness of the matter.
If some companions (r.a.) were unaware of the nature of their intended act, it is reasonable to assume that later generations (of much lesser status) are more likely to fall into ignorance. The negation of this act is in the meanings of “There is no true God except Allah”, which is subtle (Hidden), and this was not perceived by them.
Shirk is of two types, i.e. major and minor because the Companions were not turned apostate due to their request alone. It is essential to put an end to all possible ways leading to Shirk (polytheism) and to prohibit any resemblance of people of ignorance (disbelieves). The Prophet (pbuh) expressed the general tendency of mankind by saying: “These are the ways”.
In every place where Allah has censured the Jews and Christians in the Quran He has also warned us against those deeds. The one who has moved from falsehood (i.e. became Muslim) and get accustomed to certain beliefs or habits is not totally safe from having remnants of these habits, as is evidenced in the Companions’ words “and we had just left disbelief (Kufr).”