What Does Islam Say About Idolatry?

Many historical references are available of the accounts of Muslim rulers who’ve defaced or deformed the idols that people worship. Under what context they did that is a matter of lengthy debate. But we now talk of the hatred that the Muslims have against idolatry. Why do they hate them so much?

Muslims who believe in the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), follow the commands of Allah and His prophet. We are commanded to worship only Allah. We don’t worship any prophet, sage, creature or idol. And that’s the essence of the Kalima that we utter to witness the truth of our faith – Ash-hadhu allaa-ilaaha illAllah. Wa ash-hadhu anna Muhammadar RasoolUllah – I bear witness that there is none worthy to be worshipped, but Allah. And I bear witness that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

The Qur’an says that the common mission of all the prophets who lived on earth was to call people to the worship of Allah, the Lord of the universe. Allah says in the Qur’an, in Sooratun Nahl, Chapter no. 16, aayath no. 36:
To every nation and tribe We have sent messenger, that they worship Allah, and keep away from false deities.

Idols are amongst the things that people worship on earth, or amongst the things that they consider as gods. God Almighty hates that people worship anything besides Him. God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is not present in every thing by His Self. He is above the heavens, watching us, hearing us and knowing everything. His knowledge is present everywhere. But He is not there inside the stones and pillars as the polytheists and idolaters believe. The Qur’an says in Soorah Taaha, Chapter no. 20, Aayath no. 5:
The Most Beneficent rose over the mighty throne (above the heavens).
There are many proofs from the Qur’an and Hadeeth to understand this matter.

God is beyond comparison. In Soora Ash-Shoora, Chapter no. 42, Aayath no. 11, God says:
There’s nothing like unto Him. He is the All Hearing, The All Knowing.
In Sooratul Ikhlaas, Chapter No. 112, Aayath no. 4, Allah says:
There’s nothing comparable or co-equal to Him.
Humans, animals, idols and other things can be compared. But Allah is beyond comparison.

Allah can be seen in the paradise by the believers. As the Qur’an says in Sooratul Qiyaamah, Chapter no. 75, Aayath 22 and 23:
On that day, the faces of the believers will shine (with radiance), while they are looking at their Lord.
As the Prophet said: Verily Allah is the Most Beautiful One, and He loves beauty.
Hence God can be seen. But He is not like anything that we can imagine.

Amongst the greatest crimes and sins, the most hateful crime in the sight of Allah is to associate partners to Him. Allah doesn’t like people worship anything besides Him. And that would be the greatest injustice. Worshiping a thing that doesn’t speak or hear, or benefit or harm; or never created even a fly, is a great injustice. Allah sees, hears, knows and He will resurrect all the humans on the day of judgement. Equating The Creator to the creations is a detestable act in Islam. Hence it is a deplorable act to worship idols or to worship any human or animal.
Allah says in Soorah Luqman, Chapter no. 31, Aayath no. 13:
The greatest crime (sin or wrongdoing) is to associate partners to Allah.
And Allah says in Sooratun Nisaa, Chapter no. 4, aayath no. 116:
Verily Allah will not forgive the act of associating partners to Him. And He may forgive other sins of whomever He wants.

Hence idolatry is a sin according to the religion of Islam. Many other arguments and thoughts on this topic shall be continued in the next post In’shaa’Allaah.

Umar Shariff

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