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Friday, December 10, 2004

destroying statues

The prophet did destroy the statues stationed in the kaaba. He sent Ali (ra) to destroy the statues and buildings over graves, and level the graves. He told us how veneration turns into worship. He told Ayesha (ra) that the angel Gabriel did not enter her "house" because there were pictures of living things on the pillow she had made.

We have the history of people of this world to learn from. First of all, knowledge gets corrupted or lost, and then people start honoring the statues or pictures. With time, stories are spun around how someone's wishes were granted when he prayed to the person whose statue was so venerated, and thus you have false ilahs.

Can you make sure that your children and children's children are protected through acquiring the right knowledge of the deen. Should some mishap occur (say a natural disaster, or war, or the invasion by the net), wouldn't the knowledge be lost? Would then not our children's children lapse into worship of statues, and jinns, and trees, etc.

The message is clear, but haven't you met people praying to ghairAllah? How did they come to it? Why did they install these statues in the churches and the temples? Culture and entertainment and everything looks all right to us now, but take away a little of the knowledge you have, or corrupt it, and think of the consequences. This is what has happened in the past, and there is no way to ensure it doesn't happen again. The prophet told us about this when he explained the worship of the idols by Noah's (as} people, and when he explained the worship of Jesus (as) and Mary in Abbysinian churches.

may Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) guide us and keep us on the right path

Today it would be wrong to go into temples and destroy the statues there, but tolerance has reached levels where our children, and perhaps even we, are in danger of being swept off in shirk.

In societies with non-Muslim majorities, the Muslim youth finds it hard to stick to Islam. We have many cases of Muslims marrying non-Muslims, and many of the offspring veer way from Islam. We have cases of Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men, which is against the shariah.

The old Testament also warns of marrying or befriending those who worship idols.

There was a famous Muslim authoress in India. I read one of her interviews once. She says in that: "My daughter is married to a Hindu Kashmiri Brahmin. There is an idol in her house at Srinagar. When we visit her house, we prostrate before that idol".
I read a book on Lahore's saints by a Muslim. He wrote it after the British had established control over India after 1857. He worked for them and was asked to compile such a book. He writes that he believes everyone is right, so he prostrates before every idol, and in every place of worship.

Many, many years ago, pre-Pakistan, the new English Deputy Commissioner of Sanghar or Kingri was invited by the Pir of Pagaro. The Pir was suspected of fomenting rebellion. When the Englishman reached there, he was brought to the presence of the Pir in an outfield. A table was laid and food was being cooked for the honored guest. A huge hole had been dug in the ground, and logs placed in it. After obtaining the Pir's permission, the master of ceremonies called people who poured lots of oil on the logs. The logs were lighted. It was cold, but the heat from the logs warmed the guest. The master of ceremonies asked permission again, and then a troop of finely dressed, smart , healthy and ferrocious-looking young men came, saluted the Pir, and stood in line. The Pir raised his hand, and dropped it. The first young man in line ran, stopped near the Pir, saluted him, and ran towards the fire, and jumped into it. The Englishman went white with fear, and saying no, no pir, clapsed the hand of the Pir, lest he raise it again and another young man should die. The young Hurs were dismissed, and these well-built men went crying for not having been allowed to sacrifice themselves for their lord.

The Pirship of Pagaro is a very influential seat in Sind, which was conquered by Mohammad bin Qasim, the nephew and son-in-law of Hajjaj bin Yusuf. Sind is where the scholars of Hadith had flourished before the Muslims here became divided into two states, and were conquered by the Hindus, then by the Qaramita (an offshoot of Ismailis, whose Arabian branch had carried off the Hajre Aswad to Yemen). After that, the Islam in Sind and India became corrupted with the worship of graves and pirs and statues.

I have met Agha Khanis who declare that the Agha Khan is God, and who prostrate before his picture.

I have a colleague who went into a village mosque for Jumma3a wen he was seventeen. The Pir came and led the prayer, but no khutba was said. This young man stood up and said to peoole: "Friends, this Friday prayer is invalid as the khutba has not been delivered, so please say the Zuhr. Having said that, he got up and prayed Zuhr. After he finished, he looked up, and saw the people going to the Pir and prostrating before him, kissing his feet, and returning without turning their backs on him. He was so upset, he shouted out "This is shirk". The people looked at him with anger, but the Pir motioned them to stay where they were, and beckoned this young man. Then the Pir said to the young man: "You know the ayah where Allah says O prophet, you didn't throw that dust in the face of the kuffar (at Badr), but I threw it. Then you know at Hudaybia the prophet took bayiah from the believers and said about his hand that this was Uthman's hand. I am a descendent of Uthman. So, you see, prostrating before me is the same as prostrating before Uthman, which is same as prostrating before the prophet, andd which is the same as prostrating before Allah.

There are many, many stories like this. These have come about because of loss/ lack of knowledge, and a tolerance for behavior and practices that are unIslamic. Perhaps also a lack of Hammiyyah.

The missionary and convent schools set up in Muslim lands did not initially produce the converts the missionaries had hoped for, but they gradually produce people who think all paths lead to God. And this is the wisdom being propagated o the net, and in the movies.

No, I say emphatically: all paths do not lead to God. The last prophet drew lines in the sand. One, he said, led to God, and was the straight path. At every other path Satan lies in wait, to waylay people. So, while we do not go into temples to break the idols, we should build enough eemaan to be outraged at shirk, but explain it so that people come the One and Only God, al-ilah.

I am sorry I was unable to convince you that cultural statues become idols for worship with the loss of knowledge, which comes, because every nation and every individual is to be tested. I have told the story of the prophet, Ayesha (ra) and the angel Jibrael. I wish I were able to convey what it means to me.

Our aim should be to protect as many people from shirk as possible.

I also noticed another sick phenemon in the muslim world. Alot of people especially in the middle east get obssessed with hanging up pictures of leaders and important people. Of course they would claim there not worshipping them, but if you were to destroy the pics they would flip out or maybe even start crying, so I think subconciously they are sort of holding the picture in excessive reverence and therefore worshipping it.

The Hindus venerate their dead by standing before their pictures, and putting garlands round the frames, and then praying to them.

This has become common among the Muslims, too. The unIslamic cultural practices have made us into half-Muslims already. The ruling on statues, with daleel:



hmm...this thread seems to be going in different directions. Awesome topic though Kathy
Kathy you asked if the Sphinx is that important to us...and the first thing that popped to mind is that no one worships the pyramids. They were burial grounds weren't they, for ancient pharaohs? They are cited as one of the wonders of the world, given their sheer magnitude, architectural excellence and beauty. People from all over are awed and historians/archeologists/anthropologists etc are still working to figure out how, centuries ago, without the advantage of technology, "primitive" people could have built them. In the modern times, even if we tried to do something vaguely similar, with all the scientific advantages we have; we wouldn't be able to do it.
The Quran talks about the people in the past who built out of rocks/mountains and had stronger foundations than ours; and yet how they were destroyed. It is interesting that palaces of great stature have recently being uncovered in different places of the world, from deep under the ocean or sands. At the same time, Pharaoh's body (and architecture?) have been left for us as a symbol to contemplate what happens to those who arrogate themselves before God.
If I ever got to visit the pyramids, I would reflect/ponder on how certain architectures even bigger than those have been destroyed and think of the Greatness of Allah in that context.
I think it would be a travesty for Muslims, however good intentioned they are, to go destroy the pyramids or anything else out there for the sake of eradicating shirk. There are so many lessons to be learned from Historical places, so many hidden wisdoms to be gleaned, why would we even think along these lines?
The biggest shirk nowadays has little to do with people worshipping stones or idols. For every religion, Christianity, budhism, hinduism, etc are noticing a huge decline in the active worshippers of their faith. Modernity is about apathy, its about cynism, and how cool to talk about the "history of God" (astaghfirullah) and the "end of the need for organized religion". This is the trend of thought amongst at least the educated ones of our times; and the biggest idol they worship and are encouraged to worship is the *Self*. Isn't the very notion of consumerism and capitalism laid on the foundation of "pleasing thy desires" ? of worrying about no one but "you". Of seeking *your* dreams, finding *your* space, regardless of who you trample and hurt in the process? What Muslims do in other countries as far as worshipping saints/pirs etc. has nothing to do with the presence of statues but a lot to do with sheer ignorance and illiteracy. Why is the notion of seeking knowledge so important to our deen? Why does the Quran consistently appeal to our logic, higher emotions, psychology and challenge every ounce of intelligence in our being? One can hardly be a good Muslim when he/she has blinded their consciousness/faculties. Isn't there a saying roughly "One learned man is harder on the devil than a thousand dilligent worshippers" ? There is a lot of wisdom in that saying.
The Quran outlines so beautifully how our interactions are to be with people who don't believe. Unless we are being fought physically (and even then a lot of restrictions are placed); the message is largely of dealing with them peacefully and with Wisdom. The tone of the Quran is consistenly one of overwhelming Mercy and heart rending beauty; the Rasul was sent to humanity as a Mercy to all; we are hailed as being the Balanced Ummah teaching by the highest example to all...what do all these mean? Like someone often repeated on this board: Do we want people to become Muslims *because* of us; or *inspite* of our dealings with them? I highly doubt a hindu would wanna hear much about Islam; after a well intentioned Muslim went to destroy his/her temple. I highly doubt Ali's instructor would be impressed with his fervor of Islam if he went in with an axe and destroyed their statues.
As impressive as it sounds from a Muslim perspective; there is a little hikma missing there and perhaps Kathy its one of the rough spots that you talked about. But he is young and many people much older than him don't even think of relating the stories of the Prophets (AS) to our daily life. So mad props to him and you sis Anyway, I have rambled enuff for now. May Allah grant us all hidayah and help us be amongst the Wise, compassionate, and righteous of His Ummah. (Amin).

" i am slippin' and slidin' the path's too steep...bleeding mercilessly, from a wound too deep." "Weep and if you cannot weep, then make yourself weep. If only you knew, you would pray until your back broke, and weep until your voice was no more"
wal a3aqibatu lil muttaqeen - والعاقبة للمتقين:
Kathy wrote:
I am glad this topic is taking off, because I have never understood how statues, idols, etc... have prospered so long in Islamic lands. I mean how important is the Sphinx to our lives?
I have so little time at my disposal, and will be unable to find the references or elaborate what I am going to write here, but please if you can, search it out in tafaseer. I will give below an outline only. First the origin and the worship of statues is explained in the tafsir of the verse when the leaders of the people of Nuh (as) warn their nation not to give up the worship of their statues. Whose statues these were and how did they come to be worshipped is explained in tafsir ibne kathir, taken from Abdullah ibne Abbas (ra). Locate the verse, I think it is in Surah Nuh, and see its tafsir in
Or look up the many salafi sites for Tawheed and shirk, and statues and graves.
How these statues and idols prospered in Islamic lands, is partly due to some of the Christian population of the lands of the Middle East accepting Islam while retaining some of their concepts of veneration of the dead, their graves, and items associated with them. As we know Christianity by that time had become heavily tainted with erection, veneration and worship of statues of the prophet Jesus (as) and saints.

Some idol worshippers, too, accepted Islam not in its purity. This applies to the Arab idol worshippers as well as the Hindu and Buddhist ones. They brought their superstitions with them when they accepted Islam.

There arose a group of people who looked for inner meanings of the Quran, and said that this meaning was so specialised that only the select few could be taught that. This was the Batini (hidden) movement. Gradually the concept of Allah becoming manifest in the Ismaili Imams took root, and with it the practice of worshipping things associated with the Imam. The Druze and Alawis and many other deviants which worship men like Hakim biAmrillah or Hadrat Ali (ra) also belong to them. The ME has been a ripe ground for breakaway groups.
Another route was non-Muslim wives of the Muslims. Many a times their children concocted hybrid concepts for both their Muslim and non-Muslim roots.

Wars or natural disasters have caused knowledge to be lost. When the Muslims (Moors) of Andalucia were subjugated by the Christians, even the Muslim women had many a times to accept non-Muslim husbands. Many Moors were forcibly converted to Christianity. They practiced islam in secret, but their children lost part of the deen, and when many were exiled to Morocco, they retained some Christian concepts. Som even went so far as to protest that they were Christian, and retained this claim in exile. The same phenomanon is noticed in the Balkans, and the Russian/Soviet Republics, where Muslims had to marry non-Muslims.

Yet another route is when a group has to hide itself or lives in isolation or among non-Muslims where it has to adapt itself to conform to the dominant group or culture, it bends some of the tenets of its religion to survive.

An abundance of the world's wealth has resulted in the human mind seeking recognition through invention or re-invention of corrupting practices. The fitna of Quran being a creation by the Muatezillah is an example.

My explanation for all this is summed up in the verse where Allah says something like will you not be tested when you declare yourself to be a Muslim? please reflect on this and the examples I have quoted.

That was very brief, but if you reflect and are still unable to find explanations, ask here, although I cannot promise that I will be able to write a satisfactory explanation even when I come back from Hajj. But do ask questions if you are unable to expand on what I have written.

Nur_al_Layl wrote:
What Muslims do in other countries as far as worshipping saints/pirs etc. has nothing to do with the presence of statues but a lot to do with sheer ignorance and illiteracy.

sis Nur, what you wrote in the rest of your post is very apt, but I don't agree with what I have quoted you on. I have read some very eloquent defence of the practice of worshipping the pirs and saints and graves, so these people cannot be called illiterate. They are quite knowledgeable, too, as they can quote the Quran and AHadeeth, although they misinterpret these.