The Quran is explicitly clear that invoking/calling on/praying to other beings, especially those who are dead, is a means of worship, and therefore a blatant act of the sin of associating partners with Allah (shirk):

Say: I am forbidden to worship (abuda) those on whom ye call (tad’oona) instead of Allah. Say: I will not follow your desires, for then should I go astray and I should not be of the rightly guided. S. 6:56 Pickthall

I shall withdraw from you and that unto which ye pray (tad’oona) beside Allah, and I shall pray (wa’adoo) unto my Lord. It may be that, in prayer unto my Lord, I shall not be unblest. So, when he had withdrawn from them and that which they were worshipping (yabudoona) beside Allah, We gave him Isaac and Jacob. Each of them We made a prophet. S. 19:48-49 Pickthall

Those whom they (Al-Mushrikun) invoke (yad’oona) besides Allah have not created anything, but are themselves created. (They are) dead, lifeless, and they know not when they will be raised up. Your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but He). But for those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts deny (the faith in the Oneness of Allah), and they are proud. S. 16:20-22 Hilali-Khan

And rehearse to them (something of) Abraham’s story. Behold, he said to his father and his people: “What worship ye (ta’budoona)?” They said: “We worship (nabudu) idols, and we remain constantly in attendance on them.” He said: “Do they listen to you when ye call (tad’oona) (on them)? Or do you good or harm?” They said: “Nay, but we found our fathers doing thus (what we do).” He said: “Do ye then see whom ye have been worshipping (tabudoona), – Ye and your fathers before you? – For they are enemies to me; not so the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds; Who created me, and it is He Who guides me; Who gives me food and drink, And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me; Who will cause me to die, and then to life (again); And who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the day of Judgment.” S. 26:69-82 Y. Ali

And let them not divert thee from the revelations of Allah after they have been sent down unto thee; but call (mankind) unto thy Lord (waod’u ila rabbika), and be not of those who ascribe partners (unto Him). S. 28:87 Pickthall

That is because, when God was called to alone (du’iya l-lahu wahdahu), you disbelieved; but if others are associated with Him, then you believe. Judgment belongs to God, the All-high, the All-great. It is He who shows you His signs and sends down to you out of heaven provision; yet none remembers but he who repents. So call unto God (fa-id’u l-lahu), making your religion His sincerely, though the unbelievers be averse. S. 40:12-14 Arberry

And your Lord says, `Pray unto ME (od’oonee); I will answer your prayer. But those who are too proud to worship ME (ibadatee) will, surely, enter Hell, despised.’… HE is the Living God. There is no god but HE. So pray unto HIM (faod’oohu), devoting your worship wholly and sincerely to HIM. All praise belongs to ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds. Say, I have been forbidden to worship (a’buda) those whom you call upon (tad’oona) beside ALLAH since there have come clear proofs unto me from MY Lord; and I have been commanded to submit myself solely to the Lord of the worlds.’ S. 40:60, 65-66 Sher Ali

The places of worship (al-masajida) belong to God; so call not, along with God, upon anyone (fala tad’oo ma’a Allahi ahadan). When the servant of God stood calling on Him (yad’oohu), they were wellnigh upon him in swarms. Say: ‘I call only upon my Lord (innama ad’oo rabbee), and I do not associate with Him anyone.’ S. 72:18-20 Arberry

Shirk is the one sin that Allah never forgives:

Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped). S. 2:22

Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 Hilali-Khan – Cf. v. 116

And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.” S. 39:65 Hilali-Khan

This explains why there are narrations where Muhammad is said to have taught that du’a, the word of supplication/invocation/prayer, is itself ibadaah or worship:


An-Nu’man bin Bashir reported: The Prophet said, “DU’A (SUPPLICATION) IS WORSHIP.”

[Abu Dawud]. reference: Book 17, Hadith 1

Arabic/English book reference: Book 17, Hadith 1465 (; capital emphasis ours)


296. The excellence of supplication

712. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, “Nothing is dearer to Allah than supplication.”

713. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, “The noblest ACT OF WORSHIP is supplication.”

714. An-Nu’man ibn Bashir reported that the Prophet said, “Supplication IS WORSHIP.” Then he recited, “Call on Me and I will answer you.” (Aisha Bewley, Al-Adab al-Mufrad al-Bukhari, XXX. Supplication; capital and underline emphasis ours) 


 3828. It was narrated from Nu‘man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said: “Indeed the supplication IS THE WORSHIP.” Then he recited: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me, I will respond to you.”[1](SAHIH(English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah – Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, 34. The Chapter On Supplication, Chapter 1. The Virtue of Supplication, p. 95; capital and underline emphasis ours)

[1] Ghafir 40:60. (Ibid.)


3372. An-Nu‘man bin Bashir narrated that the Prophet said: “The supplication, IS WORSHIP.” Then he recited: And Your Lord said: “Call upon me, I will respond to you. Verily, those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell humiliated.” (SAHIH)

[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih. Mansur and Al-‘A‘mash narrated it from Dharr, and we do not know it except from the narration of Dharr. [He is Dharr ‘Abdullah Al-Hamdani, trustworthy, the father of ‘Umar bin Dharr.]


Supplication IS WORSHIP IN ITSELF, and for proof the Prophet recited the Verse of Surat Ghafir, “Call upon Me, I will respond to you. Verily, those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell humiliated.” This Verse shows that not begging His favors is a sign of scorn. As supplication IS THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP, and without its essence, the supplication is nothing but lifeless utterances. (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, From Hadith no. 3291 to 3956, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), Ahadith edited & referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 6, 45. The Book Of Supplications From The Messenger Of Allah, pp. 102-103; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Herein lies the problem for Muslims as I am going to show in the next installment: INVOCATION AND WORSHIP: THE ISLAMIC DILEMMA PT. 2.


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