The Likeness of the Polytheist with the Spider’s Home

And from these examples is the ayah,

“The example of those who take awliya other than Allah is like the example of a spider who makes a home. If they but knew.” (Surah Al-Ankabut:41)

Allah, the Most Glorious, mentions that they (the polytheists) are weak and those that they take as their allies are even weaker than them; and they (the polytheists) in their weakness and what they seek through their taking of allies and supporters (other than Allah) is like a spider taking its home (as a web) which is the flimsiest and weakest of homes. Under this example, those polytheists are as weak as can be when they took allies and supporters other than Allah and gained nothing from them except more weakness, as Allah, the Most High, said in the ayah,

“And they have taken besides Allah [false] deities that they would be for them [a source of] honour. No! Those ‘gods’ will deny their worship of them and will be against them opponents [on the Day of Judgement].” (Surah Maryam:81-82)

And His saying,

“And they have taken besides Allah [false] deities, hoping that they would have helped. They are not able to help them, and they will be brought forward as soldiers in attendance (against those who worshipped them).” (Sarah Yasin:74-75)

He also said – after mentioning the destruction of (past) polytheistic nations:

“And We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves. And they were not availed at all by their gods who they invoked other than Allah when there came the Command of you Lord. And they did not increase them in other than ruin.” (Surah Hud: 101)

So these are four places in the Qur’an that show that the one who takes a supporter or an ally (i.e. deity) other than Allah, seeking strength or support from them, receives nothing except the exact opposite of what he seeks. In the Qur’an there are more instances of this case, and this one is from amongst the best examples and most manifest and indicative of the utter falsity of associating partners with Allah (committing shirk). The loss of the one who does so, is attaining only what is completely contrary to his aims. If it is argued that they are aware of the fact that spider’s home is the feeblest of homes, then how is it that the knowledge of this is negated by Allah’s saying, “if they but knew”? The answer is that He, the Most High, did not negate from the knowledge of the feebleness of the spider’s home, but rather he negated them having the knowledge that their taking of protectors (supporters) other than Him was like the spider taking his home (as a web); for if they knew that, they would never had done it. Rather they assumed that their taking of protectors other than Him benefits them in terms of might and power – while the reality of the situation is contrary to what they assume.

Paragons of the Qur’an by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah Pages 30-33

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