Arabic Terms: Yusuf Estes Explains “Shirk”, “Dua”, and “Ibadah”

Yusuf Estes, controversial American preacher, explains the meanings of three important Arabic terms: shirk, dua, and ibadah.

In this new innovative explanation, he introduces the idea that when a Muslim asks another Muslim, who is both alive and present, to make dua for him to grow a beard, that this is a clear act of shirk!  He says:

A brother comes to me and he says, “Imam, please make dua for me.”

I said, “OK, for what?”

He said, “Make dua I can grow my beard. Make dua I’ll grow my beard.”

I said, “I can’t do that.”

He said, “Why?”

I said, “That’s shirk!”

He said, “Shirk?! How is it shirk that you make dua for me to grow my beard?!”

Shirk means to make partners with Allah. You want me to make partners with Allah?!”

He said, “I just asked you to make dua that Allah… I wanna grow my beard, just… just make dua I’ll grow my beard!”

I said, “I can’t. Because it is Allah who grows your beard, not you! But I will make dua that you quit cuttin’ it off.” (crowd laughs)


This is a very strange verdict indeed, one that the scholars of Islam and their students have never heard of before.  It is, in fact, totally baseless and thus incorrect.  A Muslim may ask another (live, present, capable) Muslim to call upon Allah alone for any need he has. This is from the legislated ways of tawassul (drawing near to Allah) in our supplications.  This is towheed, and absolutely not shirk.

This is not an isolated teaching of Yusuf Estes, nor a slip of the tongue, as Yusuf Estes repeats this same story at different events at different places, enforcing this new fatwa of how someone asking a Muslim to make dua for him to grow a beard is shirk.

At another lecture:

Another one alongside of Dr. Bilal Philips:

Our sincere apologies go to the poor Muslim man who heard some words about Islam and became enthused and interested in practicing Islam, but was then unjustly blamed for an act of shirk that he did not commit.  May Allah increase him in patience and guidance.

A proper Islamic response to such a request would be simply:

Of course, brother, I’ll make dua for you to grow a beard.  Make sure you ask Allah yourself and try your best to practice what you know to be correct.  May Allah aid you and give you success.

Educate yourself with more clarifications about the misleading errors of Yusuf Estes by reading this informative e-book:

The Teachings of Yusuf Estes About the Quran (PDF)

3 responses to “Arabic Terms: Yusuf Estes Explains “Shirk”, “Dua”, and “Ibadah”

  1. assalaamu 3alaykum

    I’m not sure, please correct me, but I understand from his statement, that he wanted say that not the human being let grow the beard, it is Allah who let grow it. the Human being has no control over it. Its Allah who has the power to do so. You know what I mean?
    The different in language: I let grow my beard, and Allah let grow the beard.

    I did not understand from it that to make dua for a other person by Allah is Shirk.

    I want not hide anything, but I did judt understand like that.

    Your brother

    • wa alaykum as-salaam wa rahmatullaah.

      Respected brother Said, you really need to think carefully about how you could have come to this conclusion, especially when Yusuf Estes is a man of rhetoric who dazzles people. Seek refuge with Allaah alone from the magic of people’s speech.

      Honestly akhee, I think you are a native English speaker, if someone asked you to make du’aa’ for them to grow a beard, would you say, “May Allaah aid you to grow a beard,” or “We don’t grow beards, Allaah grows our beards, asking me to do such a thing is shirk!” Honestly, akhee. The second one is totally uncalled for, unjustified harassment of a Muslim with pure falsehood.

      If someone asks you to make du’aa’ for him to become a better provider for his family, would you honestly say, “I can’t, that’s shirk. Only Allaah provides.” Or, “May Allaah help you to provide for your family.” The former is just unending whimsical doubletalk with no benefit that runs people away from Islaam. Remember that the poor man in this issue was accused of asking his brother in Islaam to commit an act of shirk. Don’t you feel sorry for the poor guy, likely someone who became enthused about Islaam after a lecture, and eager to practice, but then he is accused of requesting people to commit shirk?!

      By the way, our Messenger (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) commanded US to grow our beards in full. So we do say, “WE grow OUR beards,” and of course a Muslim means: by the permission of Allaah alone, like ALL ACTIONS in our lives.

      I hope this helps, and I ask Allaah to distance the people from the pointless and useless rhetoric of Yusuf Estes.

  2. No I’m not a native speaker, maybe thats why I understood it not so clear. But I understand now what you mean, baarak allahu feek.

    baarak allahu feek for all your efforts, you make a good work.

Your comment about Yusuf Estes

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s