Why did Allah ask angels and Satan to prostrate to Adam while it is considered shirk in Islam?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
“I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” Quran (51:56)
Shirk=Polytheism= joining or associating partners or equals with Allah in worship BUT when Allah HIMSELF ordered angels to prostrate to Adam= Angels Obeyed Allah. Adam did NOT ask anyone to prostrate to him for a start
Shirk=Polytheism is assigning partners with God Himself. God was not commanding the angels and jinns to see Adam as His partner
Allah created Angels who do NOT sin for exclusive purpose of hymning and worshipping Allah AND angels do not sin, Angels Prostration to Adam was to honour him AND TRAIN him to know how to Prostrate to Allah as they do so when he starts to pray, he would know too how to prostrate to Allah Exalted He
Allah ordered the angels and Iblis (Satan) to prostrate to his new creation: Adam
“Then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who prostrate.” Quran (7:11)
The angels obeyed Allah Exalted He as He commanded except someone, his name’s Iblis you may know him as Satan he was very jealous of Adam to the point, he disobeyed Allah and didn’t prostrate, which was a test.
(Allah) said: ‘What prevented you (0 Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?” Quran (7:12)
(Iblis) said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.”
(Allah) said: “0 Iblis, get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.” Quran Surah 7: 11-13
(Iblis) said: “Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (i.e., The Day of Resurrection).”
(Allah) said: “You are of those allowed respite.”
(Iblis) said: “Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e., they will not be dutiful to You).”
(Allah) said (to Iblis): “Get out from this (Paradise) disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all.” Quran Surah 7: 14-18
Voila! prayer being the central form of ‘‘worship in Islam, with prostration and putting the forehead on the ground to be the peak of the prayer, which means A closest point to Allah is when A Muslim is praying, and he prostrates by putting his/her forehead on the ground during the prayer. It is a sign of obedience to our creator Allah Exalted He.
And that’s why Allah Exalted He in His infinite Wisdom taught Adam the Act of prostration as soon as He blew into him the soul. And the Angels were created before Adam, for the exclusive purpose of hymning and worshipping Allah, so they were ordered to fall into prostration as soon Adam came into existence, so Adam would know what prostration is through the demonstration shown to him by the angels.
Order to Prostrate was for Jinns & Angles not Man
◆ Allah Almighty is ordering ANGLES & JINNS to Prostate a Man Adam (father of Humanity), this incident happened at heaven (skies), not on Earth
Prostration was to show Man’s Superiority to both of Jinns and Angles.
Allah Almighty says
“And surely, we have honoured the children of Adam (humans) and carried them on the land and at the sea, and provided them with good things, and we have made them to excel by an appropriate excellence over many of those we created.” (Quran chapter 17: verse 70)
◆ Mankind is the Best ◆
Allah Almighty says
Verily We created man (al-insān) in the best of forms, Quran (95:4)
When we Humans are sent in this World, we are ordered and instructed not to Prostrate any Creature (due to our Superiority over others), but only Almighty God superior then us
We need understand the difference of PLACE and PEOPLE from Allah Almighty’s command
And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone). Quran (51:56)
We must learn pondering to an incident or Issue in complete light, looking all aspects
If your dog or pet Prostrate you then it will be not any kind of SHIRK=polytheism= associating partners with God- SHIRK – (associating partner with God)
What is the real message of Quran while stating this incident in Quran?
A mere tale or something more than that for our guidance? Is it to teach us kinds/ sorts of prostration or to give us a universal pragmatic message to shape our lives?
In many of my answers I have tried to explain the greatest value, purpose, and revolutionary aspects of this episode!
Allah wanted to tell us:
- He decided to create a khalifah/ the vicegerent of humans on Earth.
- He has given him all qualities and made all required forces under his command to execute this viceroyalty.
- He has taught Adam the knowledge of reality of all His creations; (the Quranic words are’ knowledge of all nouns ‘noun always is to indicate reality of a thing e.g., when we named ‘refrigerator ‘, it indicates it is reality)
- He gave Adam and his progeny a potential collective human analytical ‘intellect ‘to discover reality of all His creatures and execute this potential to discharge his duties as his viceroy on the planet earth. Life on earth is associated with the whole universe under a very complex but scientific system. Therefore, subjugation of universe and its forces is essential to prolong and ensure versatility of life.
- He therefore urged Angeles to prostrate before Adam because he was worthy of such respect as His Viceroy!
- He reminded us of our greatest responsibility to act as His Viceroy and demonstrate such high qualities of head and heart that will prove the justification of Allah’s choice!
- He through Quran reminded our great responsibility to seek knowledge and subjugate universe for collective human progress and not for hegemony of the one sort or the other!
- This is what was the purpose of this prostration; no question of Shirk=polytheism or such mean analysis in which we have indulged! Those who are making discoveries day and night and shaping human life and civilisation by subjugating the universe are acting upon the true spirit of Quran,
which all this should be at the end subjected to appreciating, respecting, and worshipping our lord Allah exalted he alone without associating any equals, sons, partners, or anything beside him.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. And may the prayers of Allah be upon Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad, the Imams and the Mahdis.
- Allah Exalted created Adam pbuh and his offspring to be Successors of each otheron His earth, this is a matter which is accepted by all the Divine religions. Note that Adam is not successor or vicegerent of Allah, as Allah Exalted, He has NO successors or vicegerents.
- Allah Exalted He[commanded] all of His angels to prostrate to Adam pbuh, and prostration is a sign of submission and compliance and obedience to the command of the one whom they prostrated to.
- The matter was not only obedience to the command of Allah Exalted He, but otherwise specificity would also be absurd/random, and far away is Allah swt from being absurd/random!
There is difference between Prostration for respect and prostration for Worship (Prostration for respect had been abrogated in Islam.
Prostration is a sign of submission and compliance and obedience to the command of Adam.
[ As Adam is the first Prophet, Satan denied the preference of Adam]
Prostration for Worship is only for (Al- ilah) (The- God) Allah- The one the only
Shirk=polytheism is assigning partners with God Himself. God was not commanding the angels and jinns to see Adam as His partner.
Shirk means to not obey Allah’s command and see another being worthy of commanding.
From Book Ihtijaj:
قال الصادق عليه السلام : إنّ من سجد بأمر الله فقد سجد لله ، فكان سجوده لله إذا كان عن أمر الله
Imam Sadiq: Indeed, whoever who prostrates by the command of Allah has prostrated to (worshiped) Allah. Their prostration was for Allah when it was commanded by Allah.
قال امیر المومنین علی (ع) إن سجودهم له لم يكن سجود طاعة أنهم عبدوا آدم من دون الله عز وجل ، ولكن اعترافا بالفضيلة
Imam Ali: Their prostration was not a prostration of obedience, it wasn’t that they are worshiping Adam and not Allah, rather it was their recognition of his virtue.
With the exact same logic, we are prostrating towards a Ka’ba which is a building also becomes shirk, so the premise is incorrect.
At the same time, prostrating towards Ka’ba with the intention of worship some other entity is considered shirk!
Prostration, Bowing, Bending, Kneeling in Greetings
Prostration is from the greatest of form of worship and is due only to Allah alone, and after the Shari’ah of Islam was revealed, what was permitted in previous nations (of prostration of respect and welcome greeting) was prohibited and declared unlawful, and the Scholars of Islam explain it to be major shirk when offered to other than Allah.
We should also know that all the creatures do prostrate for Allah Exalted He alone as He says in this ayah (interpretation of meaning):
“See you not that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Dawâbb [moving (living) creatures, beasts], and many of mankind prostrate themselves to Allâh.
But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allâh disgraces, none can honour him. Verily, Allâh does what He wills”. (Soorah al-Hajj, Q22V18).
Allah Exalted He also says in the Qur’an (interpretation of meaning):
And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun or to the moon but prostrate yourselves to Allâh Who created them if you (really) worship Him.
But if they are too proud (to do so), then there are those who are with your Lord (angels) glorify Him night and day, and never are they tired. Quran (Surah Fussilat, Q41V37&38).
We should also know that Allah (Exalted he) uses the word “sajdah” to mean bowing or bending which means bowing and bending are included in the meaning of Sujood=prostration in Shari’ah.
Allah (Exalted he) says (interpretation of meaning):
And (remember) when We said: “Enter this town (Jerusalem) and eat bountifully therein with pleasure and delight wherever you wish, and enter the gate in prostration (i.e., bowing with humility) and say:
‘Forgive us,’ and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Q2V58).
It is very clear to us in this verse that those people cannot enter the gate in a form of Sujood=prostration that we normally do in Salaat, so it simply means bowing or bending. So, when Allah (Exalted he) prohibits prostration to others, it includes bowing and bending as indicted in the verse.
Allah Exalted He also says (interpretation of meaning):
And the masaajid are for Allâh (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allâh. Quran (Surah al-Jinn Q72V18).
The word “masaajid” stands for plural of masjid and can also mean places of prostration as we can see in the hadith below:
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abases may Allah be pleased with him narrated that the Prophet peace be upon him said “We were ordered to prostrate with seven bones, namely forehead (he pointed his nose with his hand), two palms, two knees, the tip of both feet…. (Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, Abu ‘Uwaanah).
So, we Muslims should not use any part we use in prostration to Allah (Exalted he) to other human beings or non-living beings as indicated in this above verse.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also forbids bowing or bending in greeting as we can see in this hadith:
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) says that a man asked the Prophet peace be upon him:
“O Messenger of Allah peace be upon him! When any one of us meets a Muslim brother or a friend then should he bow his head (as a sign of courtesy to him)?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man said: ‘Should he embrace him?’ He said: ‘No.’ The man then asked: ‘Should he clasp his hands?’ He said: ‘Yes.” (Tirmithi).
It was also authentically reported that Abu Hurayrah may Allah be pleased with him narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If I were to order anyone to prostrate to a human, I would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband, for the magnitude of the rights he has on her.
(Irwaahul ghaleel of Sheikh al-Albani, 7/54-55). The Prophet even forbids the women to do it for their husbands because it can only be done for Allah (Exalted he) alone.
Statements of Scholars of Sunnah
It should be noted here that all the Salafi scholars condemned this act and called it Shirk Akbar=Grand Polytheism which can put someone outside the fold of Islam if the terms of Takfir=excommunication from Islam of one Muslim by another are fulfilled and there is absence of prohibition of Takfir
Takfir is a theological declaration that a Muslim has become an apostate or a person is an infidel, or an act or idea constitutes a disbelief in Islam. Engaging in takfir is a serious matter in Islam because it is considered a great sin with punishment in the afterlife.
Below are statements of some of them:
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Regarding bowing when greeting someone, it is forbidden as is narrated in al-Tirmidhi from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); they asked him about a man who meets his brother, can he bow to him?
He said: “No.” And it is not permissible to bow or prostrate to anyone except Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, even though that may have been a form of greeting in other religions, as in the story of Yousuf – “…and they fell down before him prostrate.
And he said: ‘O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime!’” Quran [Yousuf 12:100]. But in our religion, it is not acceptable to bow or prostrate to anyone except Allah; in fact it is also forbidden to stand as the non-Arabs stand before one another, so how about bowing and prostrating? Similarly, a partial bow is also included in this prohibition
End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 1/377
And he said:
Regarding lowering the head when meeting prominent figures such as shaykhs and so on, or kissing the ground and so on, these are things concerning which there is no difference of opinion among the imams that they are forbidden.
In fact, merely inclining the back to anyone other than Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is forbidden. In al-Musnad and elsewhere it is narrated that when Mu‘aadh bn Jabal came back from Syria, he prostrated to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), who said:
“What is this, O Mu‘aadh?” He said: O Messenger of Allah, I saw them in Syria prostrating to their bishops and patriarchs, and they narrated that from their Prophets. He said: “They are lying, O Mu‘aadh; if I were to instruct anyone to prostrate to anyone else.
I would have instructed a woman to prostrate to her husband because of the greatness of his rights over her. O Mu‘aadh, do you think that if you were to pass my grave you would prostrate?” He said: No. He said: “Do not do that,” or words to that effect.
To sum up:
Standing, sitting, bowing and prostrating are due only to the only One Who is deserving of worship, the Creator of the heavens and the earth; with regard to that which is due only to Allah, no one should have any share in it; this also applies to swearing by anything other than Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.
End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 27/92, 93
Sheikh ‘Abdul’Azeez bn ‘Abdullaah bn Baz may Allah be pleased with him
Respected Shaykh, what is the meaning of the kufr of action that occurs in the various states (al-ahwaal at-tabee’iyyah, i.e., conditions) that humans undergo)?
Imam Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaahu): Such as prostrating to other than Allah, sacrificing to other than Allah, such as reviling the religion, or mocking the religion, this is kufr of action – we seek pardon from Allah – this is kufr akbar (major kufr)”.
Question: Prostrating and sacrificing (to other than Allah), when it is done in ignorance, is there to be a differentiation between ignorance, and willful intent (i.e., with knowledge)?
Imam Ibn Baaz: There is no ignorance in this matter. This is from the matters that are not unknown amongst the Muslims, he sacrifices to other than Allah, and hence he becomes a disbeliever, and upon him is repentance. And if he was truthful, upon his repentance, and whoever repents to Allah, Allah turns to him.
The Mushriks repented and Allah turned to them on the day of al-Fath (the conquest). And their disbelief and misguidance are known. And so, when Allah opened up Makkah (for the Muslims) and they (the Mushriks) entered into the religion of Allah, Allah accepted that from them.
[Taken from “Hiwaar Hawla Masaa’il at-Takfir”, from a lecture given by the Shaykh (rahimahullaah) in 1418H. Prepared by Khalid al-Kharraaz and published by Maktabah al-Imaam adh-Dhahabee, Kuwait, 1420H (2000CE)]
Sheikh Muhammad bn ‘Abdulwahaab (Rahimahullaahu) in his book Shuroot Salaat also condemned the act when he was talking about at-Tahiyyaat he said “Bending, Ruku’, Sujuud….and all what we use to magnify the Lord of the Worlds are for Allah alone. Whoever that performs any of them to other than Allah is a Mushrik (Idolator) Kaaffir (Disbeliever).
[Usool thalaathah wa Qawaa’idul ‘Arba’h wa Shuroot –us- Salaah, Page 37]
Fatwa (Scholarly Verdicts)
Is it true that a person who testifies that Allah is the Creator and Provider, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, and performs Salah (Prayer) is a Muslim even if they make Sujud (Prostration) to their shaykh and offer sacrifices for people other than Allah?
Making Sujud and sacrificing for anyone other than Allah is Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). People who indulge in any of these practices after being aware of the ruling of doing so, are Mushriks (people who associate others with Allah in worship) and Kafirs (disbelievers). Allah will not accept any of their deeds even if they offer Sawm (Fast) and Salah. Deeds of Mushriks are rejected.
Moreover, if they die in this case, Allah will not forgive them. Allah says: <Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills>
Allah also says, <Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong doers) there are no helpers.>
Also Allah says: <But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.> But if they return to Allah in sincere Tawbah (repentance to Allah) before death, Allah will forgive them, as Allah (Exalted be He) says: <Say: “O ‘Ibâdî (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)!
Despair not of the Mercy of Allâh: verily, Allâh forgives all sins.> Muslim scholars unanimously agree that this Ayah (Qur’anic verse) speaks about repentant people.
As for the Ayah of Surah Al-Nissa’:
<Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills>, it speaks about the unrepentant people, namely, those who died in Kufr (disbelief) and sin.
May Allah protect us from that.
(Fatwas of the Permanent Committee [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Portal of the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta’], Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter on Aqidah, Creeds: Prostration before anyone or anything other than Allah, Fourth question from Fatwa no. 4360: Prostrating before other than Allah and slaughtering animals for them, pp. 336-337).
Is it permissible to perform Ruku‘(bowing) to one’s parents?
This is impermissible and is tantamount to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). Ruku‘ =bowing is a form of worship, just like Sujud (prostration); therefore, it is impermissible to bow or prostrate before anyone other than Allah the Exalted. (Ibid, The Seventh Question of Fatwa no. 9868: Bowing to Parents).
What are the types of worship that can never be correct or accepted except when done solely for Allah Alone?
ANSWER: From its types are, Du’aa (supplication), Ista’aanah (seeking help and aid), Istaghaathah (seeking deliverance and rescue), Dhabh (slaughtering), Qurbaan (sacrifice), Nadhr (making vows),
Khawf (fear of His punishment), Rajaa’a (hope for His mercy), Tawakkul (dependence and reliance on Allah), Inaabah (turning in repentance), Mahabbah (love), Khashyah
(awe), Raghbah (fervent desire), Rahbah (dread), Ta’alluh (taking one as a deity), Rukoo’ (bowing in prayer), Sujood (prostration), Khushoo’ (humility), Tadhallul (humbleness and self-abasement), and the glorification and exaltation that is from the specific traits of al-Uloohiyyah.
(The Proofs of Tawheed From the Book: Dalaa’il at-Tawheed Khamsoon Su’aalan wa Jawaaban fil-‘Aqeedah, by Shaykhul Islaam Muhammad bin Sulaym at-Timimee)
The scholars of the Standing Committee said:
It is not permissible to bow when greeting or to take off one’s shoes for him.
And they said:
It is not permissible to bow when greeting a Muslim or a kaafir, whether with the upper part of the body or the head, because bowing IS A FORM OF WORSHIP, and worship can only be for Allah alone.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz,
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi,
Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ghadyaan,
Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Qa‘ood
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 1/233, 234.
Clarification of Doubts
This clarification becomes necessary because some people normally use some verses of Qur’an and hadith to justify their claims that we can bow, bend, or prostrate for one another when greeting. Among there evidence is:
And (remember) when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam.’ And they prostrated…’ Quran [C=Surah al-Baqarah (2: 34)
This is the kind of prostration which Allah (Exalted he) commanded the angels to do in the case of Adam, so they prostrated to him as an act of honouring him. It was an act of worship towards Allah (Exalted he) on their part, because they were obeying His command to prostrate to Adam.
This prostration of the angels before Adam was a sign of honour and respect and out of obedience to the command of Allah. Qatadah commented, ‘The obedience was for Allah and the prostration was before Adam. Allah honored Adam and commanded the angels to prostrate before him.’ [See Tafseer at-Tabaree (1): 512]
Allah (Glorified be He) says (interpretation of meaning):
And he (Yusuf) raised his parents to the throne, and they fell down before him prostrate (Surah Yusuf 12:100).
The prostration of Yousuf’s parents and brothers was also a prostration of greeting and honouring, which was permissible according to the law (of Allah) at that time. But according to the sharī’ah brought by the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), it is not permissible to prostrate to anyone at all except Allah. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If I were to have commanded anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands.
The prohibition in this sharī’ah against prostrating to anyone at all except Allah is an aspect of its perfection in achieving true Tawhid=monotheism. It is the perfect sharī’ah whose perfection is manifested in all its rulings. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]
Sheikh ‘Abdul’Azeez bn ‘Abdullaah bn Baz may Allah be pleased with him commented on the two incidences narrated in the Quraan as thus:
Knowing that then, prostration was Mubah (permissible) as a form of honoring and greeting, and not of worship. It is similar to the way the angels prostrated to Adam in honor and veneration, not in worship, of him. Here, prostration in greeting and honoring others was permissible in the Shari`ah (Islamic law) of those before us. However, this is forbidden in the Shari`ah of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, it was authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) said:
If I were to order anyone to prostrate to a human, I would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband, for the magnitude of the rights he has on her. He also pointed out that prostration is due only to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), and thus one should not prostrate except to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says in the end of Surah (Qur’anic chapter) Al-Najm (The Star):
So, fall you down in prostration to Allah and worship Him (Alone) (Surah Al-Najm 53:62) and says in Surah Iqra’ (Read):
Fall prostrate and draw near to Allah (Surah Al-’Alaq 96:19).
Prostration is for Allah Alone, and the Shari’ah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) – the most perfect and complete Shari’ah – declared it impermissible to prostrate to other than Allah, neither in honor and greeting of others, nor in worship. As for worship, it is not permitted to anyone except Allah Alone in all laws. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents (Surah Al-Isra’ 17:23) and
And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone). (Surah Al-Dhariyat 51:56)
Thus, worship is the right of Allah Alone, at every time and place, while prostration was practiced as a form of greeting in the past, as Yusuf’s (Joseph) parents and brothers did to him, and as the angels did to Adam. Such was a form of greeting and honoring, not a form of worship.
In the Shari`ah of Muhammad (peace be upon him), however, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) forbade this, and ordered that prostration be done to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Alone.
It is not permissible for a person to prostrate to anyone else, be they prophets or other than them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade the Companions to prostrate to him and told them that prostration is due to Allah Alone (Glorified and Exalted be He).
They learnt from this that all forms of worship should be done for the sake of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Alone, and the greatest and best form of worship is prostration, being a manifestation of humility and submissiveness to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). Hence, it should not be paid to anyone else, either prophets, Jinn (creatures created from fire) or mankind or anything else. Indeed, Allah is the One sought for help.
Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa narrated: When Mu‘adh (may Allah be pleased with him) arrived from Sham, he prostrated to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Thereupon, he said: “What is this, O Mu‘adh?!” He said: “I went to Sham, and I found them prostrating to their high priests and their patriarchs, so I wished in my soul to do this for you.”
Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Don’t do [this], for were I to instruct [anyone] to prostrate to another besides Allah, I would instruct the woman to prostrate to her husband.” Ahmad and Ibn Majah narrated it.
These people want to use this hadith that Mu‘adh (may Allah be pleased with him) prostrated to the prophet and the Prophet did not call him a Mushrik; they say prostration is ordinary sin and that was why the Prophet just corrected Mu‘adh (may Allah be pleased with him).
Sheikh Rabee’ bn Haadee al-Madkhalee (hafidhahullaahu) declared this hadith has da’eef (weak). He said the hadith is weak by isnad (chain of narration) and matn (text).
As for isnad: The hadith comes through the way of Qaasim bin A’uf as-Shaybaanee and scholars of hadiths decalred him as da’eef (a weak narrator).
Their statements concerning him are:
Yahya bn S’ad al-Qataanee – Da’eef
Shu’bah – Da’eef
Abu Haatim – Mudtaribul hadeeth
Nasahee – Da’eef
Ibn Hibban – Da’eef
Imaam Dhahabee – Mukhtalif fee haalihi
Then in another riwayah in Musnad Imaam Ahmad, there is Inqitaah (broken chain) between abee Dhabyaan and Mu’adh which rendered this hadith weak as well.
As for matn: Sheikh said it was not established that Mu‘adh (may Allah be pleased with him) travelled to Shaam during the lifetime of the Prophet peace be upon him What was established was that he went to Shaam during the time of khilaafah of ‘Umar bn Khattab (radiyAllahu ‘anhu)
and he died there as a result of sickness. Then Mu’adh only went to Yemen during the late lifetime of the Prophet peace be upon himand the Prophet died while he was still there. He then came back during the khilaafah of Abubakr as-Sideeq may Allah be pleased with him
Then Mu‘adh (may Allah be pleased with him) was among the elders of ṣahābah=Companions of the Prophet and very knowledgeable among them that he could not be ignorant of this aspect of Shari’ah.
With the permission of Allah (Exalted he), this issue of bending, prostrating, bowing and kneeling while greeting has been clarified. It is Shirk to do all these actions to other than Allah (Exalted he) and this is derived from the Words of Allah (Exalted he) in Quraan, the authentic hadiths of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)
And the statements of Scholars of Sunnah (May Allah have Mercy upon them). Muslims should try to distance themselves from indulging in these acts and follow the teachings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for Allah (Exalted he) has commanded us to emulate him in all our dealings as Allah (Most Exalted is He) says in the Qur’an: “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah, a beautiful pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day.” (Qur’an, Al-Ahzaab 33:21).