They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah , and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. -- Qur'an 9:31

They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah? Have the Christians and Jews believed in the divinity of their priest, pastors, monks etc. beside Allah? Do we see them worshiping Saints aside from Allah? if no then what does the verse imply, since AFAIK they seem to only worship a trinitarian belief and/or monotheistic belief?

  • They forgot Jesus Alayhisssalam(Peace be upon him) and turned to the version of Paul. In any way no Human not even Prophets equate to Allah, The verse implies that you should not do it as was done by the followers of earlier prophets
    – user9301
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 15:47

5 Answers 5


It is true that none of the Jews and Christians prostrate themselves before their rabbis and priests. They didn't worship them nor performed any prayers for them, as God is usually worshiped. But they followed and obeyed them so unconditionally, blindly and unquestionably that one cannot deny that they actually worshiped their rabbis and priests. Particularly performing papal orders that are in direct contradiction to the commandments of God and His Laws is considered worshiping other than God, and ascribing partners to the only one God.

According to our Holy Book Quran no one is ever allowed to obey another one unconditionally, and if they do, they have adhered to some kind of idolatry in which man has taken the place of idol! Principally, this sort of idolatry in which the idol has given its place to a human, is more dangerous than the worship of images and idols who at least are inanimate and cannot drive their worshipers this way and that way.


The best tafsir (explanation of verses) are the ones that can be found in the Quran itself, then the very next level is that can be found in the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH). About this specific verse, I know of this important Hadith:

I came to the Prophet (PBUH) while I had a cross of gold around my neck. He said: 'O 'Adi! Remove this idol from yourself!' And I heard him reciting from Surah Bara'ah: They took their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah (9:31). He said: 'As for them, they did not worship them, but when they made something lawful for them, they considered it lawful, and when they made something unlawful for them, they considered it unlawful.'

[Narrated through at-Tirmidhi, graded da'if by Darussalam]

Notice: 'Adi is 'Adi ibn Hatim, who was an Arab Christian at the time.


If scholars made something lawful unlawful and vice-versa they are acting like God. If they make an obligatory thing non-obligatory then they are acting like God. So anyone who follows these scholars blindly in effect worshiping them as God.

What was the main mission of Jesus? Were the Jews of Israel at that time worshiping idols? No. They were following man-made rules.

  • do those people you refer to include the prophets and messengers personal opinions/interpertations? please back up your answer thanks Commented May 7, 2014 at 3:06

The great Qur'an says,

They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. http://tanzil.net/#9:31

Following a scholar should be in direction of obeying God.

When a believer (from any religion) see the scholars are teaching somethings that have conflict with clear and evident commands of God then they are worshiping that scholar instead of worshiping God.

For example divine books say God has no son. God is alone. But when a scholar comes and talks against this and says God has a son, when people accept him and follow him in fact they are worshiping him instead of God.

Currently, Christianity and Judaism have many laws against their original books. Their scholars keep original knowledge of books secret and feed the people their own interpretations.

This verse is not limited to Jews and Christians and applies to Muslims too. based on this verse:

Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, "When is the help of Allah?" Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near. http://tanzil.net/#2:214

Based on this verse all things that happened for past nations (specially stories of Bani Israel mentioned in Quran) will happen for Muslims.


QA: some people say according to verse 9:31 following the "Vilayat-e Faqih" is equal to Shirk. is it true?


It may be referring to this concept of "Binding and Loosing" in Ancient Judaism:


The power of binding and loosing was always claimed by the Pharisees. Under Queen Alexandra, the Pharisees, says Josephus ("B J." i, 5, § 2), "became the administrators of all public affairs so as to be empowered to banish and readmit whom they pleased, as well as to loose and to bind." This does not mean that, as the learned men, they merely decided what, according to the Law, was forbidden or allowed, but that they possessed and exercised the power of tying or untying a thing by the spell of their divine authority, just as they could, by the power vested in them, pronounce and revoke an anathema upon a person. The various schools had the power "to bind and to loose"; that is, to forbid and to permit (Ḥag. 3b); and they could bind any day by declaring it a fast-day (Meg. Ta'an. xxii.; Ta'an. 12a; Yer. Ned. i. 36c, d). This power and authority, vested in the rabbinical body of each age or in the Sanhedrin (see Authority), received its ratification and final sanction from the celestial court of justice (Sifra, Emor, ix.; Mak. 23b).

In other words, them taking scholars/monks as lords besides God may not simply be a question of following a learned person's opinion upon a particular subject, but rather regarding the person as having a power to permit and forbid on others by the "Spell of Divine authority" , as described in the concept of Binding and loosing above. This may explain the hadith mentioned in a poster above about the Jews and Christians following monks and rabbis in what they permitted and prohibited as being a form of worship.

Another relevant historical passage from the Jewish Encyclopedia: http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12087-pharisees

Most of these controversies, recorded from thetime previous to the destruction of the Temple, are but faint echoes of the greater issues between the Pharisaic and Sadducean parties, the latter representing the interests of the Temple, while the former were concerned that the spiritual life of the people should be centered in the Torah and the Synagogue. While the Sadducean priesthood prided itself upon its aristocracy of blood (Sanh. iv. 2; Mid. v. 4; Ket. 25a; Josephus, "Contra Ap." i., § 7), the Pharisees created an aristocracy of learning instead, declaring a bastard who is a student of the Law to be higher in rank than an ignorant high priest (Hor. 13a), and glorying in the fact that their most prominent leaders were descendants of proselytes (Yoma 71b; Sanh. 96b). For the decision of their Scribes, or "Soferim" (Josephus, σοπισταί; N. T., γραμματεἴς), consisting originally of Aaronites, Levites, and common Israelites, they claimed the same authority as for the Biblical law, even in case of error (Sifre, Deut. 153-154); they endowed them with the power to abrogate the Law at times (see Abrogation of Laws), and they went so far as to say that he who transgressed their words deserved death (Ber. 4a). By dint of this authority, claimed to be divine (R. H. 25a), they put the entire calendric system upon a new basis, independent of the priesthood. They took many burdens from the people by claiming for the sage, or scribe, the power of dissolving vows (Ḥag. i. 8; Tosef., i.).


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