Mushrikoon Believed in Allah but still Committed Shirk
“And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him).” (Yousuf, 12: 106)
The majority of people believed in Allah but still commit shirk. This means the belief alone is not sufficient. Ibn Abbas interpreted this statement to say that their belief in Allah is to say if you ask them who created the mountains they would say Allah, yet they worship other than Him (Tabari). This shows they had some part of Tawheed but not the entire Tawheed.
Indeed, ayah itself shows that they believed (had Eemaan) but that emaan was mixed with shirk.
One proof of this is the fact that the mushrikoon turned to Allah at times of distress. It shows that they realized their idols were useless in matters of life and death. It also shows the fitrah of mankind is to call out to Allah alone. This is why The Prophet (SAW) also said, “Each child is born in a state of “Fitrah”, then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian, the way an animal gives birth to a normal offspring. Have you noticed any that were born mutilated?” (Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).
“When they ride on a ship, they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him. But as soon as He saves them to the shore, they associate others (with Him).” (Al-‘Ankaboot :65)
When the Prophet(saw) conquered Mecca, he granted amnesty to and forgave everyone for their transgressions except 6 people who he ordered to be put to death. One of them was Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl. He realized he would not live when the Muslims came so he ran away to Abysinnia (whis is today Ethiopia). On his way there, on the ship, the ship entered into a storm and the waves tossed them up and down. It was exactly as described in the Quran. The captain of the ship called out to the people to make dua to Allah and sincerely call out to Him because you know your idols will not save you now. Ikrimah said that it struck him then that if his idols were of no use now, then why did they worship them outside of that? So Ikrimah made up his mind to accept Islam and said O Allah if you save me I will put my hand in the hand of the Prophet (saw) and I will find him to be forgiving and merciful.