THE ORIGINS OF SHIRK
Mankind was in the beginning was a single nation upon true Tawheed, then Shirk (directing any part or form of worship, or anything else that is solely the right of Allaah, to other than Allaah) gradually overcame them.
Allaah - the Most Blessed, the Most High: "Mankind was one Ummah, then Allaah sent prophets bringing good news and warnings." Qur’an Surah Baqarah 2:213
Ibn 'Abbas - radiallaahu 'anhu - said: "Between Nuh (Noah) and Adam were ten generations, all of them were upon Sharee'ah (law) of the truth, then they differed. So Allaah sent prophets as bringers of good news and as warners." Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree in his tafseer (4/275) and al-Haakim (2/546) who said: "It is authentic according to the criterion of al-Bukhari." Adh-Dhahabee also agreed
Ibn Hibban reported in his book Saheeh on the authority of Abu Umamah that a man asked the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam, O Messenger of Allah, was Adam a Prophet? The Prophet replied, “Yes, a prophet that Allah spoke to.” the man then asked, “Then how much time was there between the two of them?” The Prophet replied, “There was ten Qarn (centuries) between the two of them. Silsilatus Sahiyah 3289
In a hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas, the Prophet (S) said: “There were ten Qarn between Adam and Noah, all living according to Islam.” Nuh was the first Messenger to be sent upon earth.
A qarn is a period of time. It can either mean a century or a generation. If it is ten centuries, then we know that is 1,000 years, or a millennium. If Qarn means generations, as according to how Quran define Qarn is, then it would mean ten generations. Thus that amount of time could be much more than a 1,000 years.
Firstly: His (the prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying that he related from his Lord (Allaah) : "I created all my servants upon the true Religion (upon Tawheed, fre from Shirk). Then the devils came to them and led them astray from their true Religion. They made unlawful to people that which I had made lawful for them, and they commanded them to associate in worship with Me, that which I had sent down no authority." Sahih Muslim Vol 8:159 and Ahmad 4/162 from 'Iyaadh ibn Himaar al-Mujaashi'ee radiallaahu 'anhu
It is of the upmost importance for the Muslim to know how Shirk spread amongst the believers, after they were muwahhideen (people upon Tawheed). Concerning the saying of Allaah - the most perfect - about the people of Nooh: "And they have said: You shall not forsake your gods, nor shall you forsake Wadd, nor Suwaa', nor Yaghooth, nor Ya'ooq, nor Nasr." Qur’an Surah Nuh 71:23
It has been related by a group from the Pious Predecessors, in many narrations, that these five deities were righteous worshippers. However, when they died, Shaytaan (Satan) whispered into their people to retreat and sit at their graves. Then Shaytaan whispered to those who came after them that they should take them as idols, beautifying to them the idea that you will be reminded of them and thereby follow them in righteous conduct. Then Shaytaan suggested to the third generation that they should worship these idols besides Allaah - the most high - and he whispered to them that this is what their forefathers used worship them!!! So why don’t you worship them too? And that is how they came to worship them.”
So Allaah sent to them Nooh alayhis-salaam, commanding them to worship Allaah alone. However none responded to his call except a few. Allaah - the mighty and majestic - related this whole incident in Soorah Nooh Ibn 'Abbas relates: "Indeed these five names of righteous men from the people of Nooh. When they died Shataan whispered to their people to make statues of them and to place these statues in their places of gathering as a reminder of them, so they did this. However, none from amongst them worshipped these statues, until when they died and the purpose of the statues was forgotten. Then (the next generation) began to worship them." Sahih Bukhari (8/534)
Recorded from Ibn `Abbas(R) that he said, “The idols that were among the people of Nuh wound up among the Arabs afterwards. In reference to Wadd, it became the idol of the people of Kalb in the area of Dawmat Al-Jandal. Suwa` became the idol of the people of Hudhayl. Yaghuth became the idol of the people of Murad, then the people of Bani Ghutayf at Al-Juruf in the area of Saba’ worshipped it after them. Ya`uq became the idol of the people of Hamdan. Nasr became the idol of the people of Himyar for the family of Dhi-al- Kala`. These idols were all named after righteous men from the people of Nuh. And when they died Satan inspired their people to (prepare and place idols at the places where they used to sit, and to call those idols by their names. The people did so, but the idols were not worshipped till those people (who initiated them) had died and the origin of the idols had become obscure, whereupon people began worshipping them.Sahih al Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 442
Ibn-al-Atheer said in an-Nihaayah (3/457): "Al-Fitr: means to begin and create, and al-Fitrah is the condition resulting from it. The meaning is that mankind were born upona disposition and a nature which is ready to accept the true Religion. So if he were to be left upon this, then he would continue upon it. However, those who deviate from this do so due to following human weaknesses and blind following of others....." Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said in Al-Fath (3/248): "The people differ concerning what is meant by al-Fitrah and the most famous saying is that it means Islaam. Ibn 'abdul-Barr said: That is what was well known with most of the Pious Predecessors, and the scholars of tafseer are agreed that what is meant by the saying of Allaah - the Most High - "Allaah's fitrah wiht which He created mankind." is Islaam
Thus the wisdom of Allaah - the Blessed, the Most High - was fufilled, when he sent Muhammed sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam as the final prophet and made his Sharee'ah the completion of all divinely Prescribed Laws, in that He prohibited all means and avenues by which people may fall into Shirk - which is the greatest of sins. For this reason, building shrines over graves and intending to specifically travel to them, taking them as places of festivity and gathering and swearing an oath by the inmate of a grave; have all been prohibited. All of these lead to excessiveness and lead to the worship of other than Allaah - the Most High.
Originally Written by Shaykh Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albaanee (Rahimahullaah)