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Reader comment on item: Destroying Sculptures of Muhammad
in response to reader comment: Idol Worship

Submitted by RAFI (Canada), Apr 12, 2008 at 15:43

You are right on many points. As a Muslim I only look upto Muhammad as God's messenger and not an idol for worship. The old Western thinkera used to call us Muhammadans (similar to Christ's followers being called Christians). A brief history of this messenger will briefly tell you th difference between the wrong concepts of the secular and pre dominantly Christian West about Islam and Muhammad.

The ideas that inspired the French Revolution and the Declaration of
Rights that guided the framing of the American Constitution and inflamed
the struggle for independence in the Latin American countries [and
elsewhere] were not inventions of the West. They find their ultimate
inspiration and source in the Holy Koran. - Robert Briffault

1. Despotism: At the time of the advent of Islam in 610 CE, kings and
tyrants were ruling countries, nations and tribes. There was no idea of
human liberty and rule of law, no concept of people having any say in
the government. Islam's was the first voice against that universal
exploitation of the masses.
No person has the right to command obedience of people even though he be
a messenger of God (3:79).
Command belongs only to (the Law of) Allah (6:57).
Now look at the recent history. Isn't the world moving away from
despotism, kingdoms and autocracies?

2. Democracy: It is often thought that Bacon, Rousseau, Locke and
other European thinkers laid down the foundations of modern democracy.
But the Quran decreed 14 centuries ago:
The affairs of the believers are a matter of counsel (42:38).
This Injunction was meticulously observed in the seventh century Islam.
The Muslim rulers had to be elected and then obtain allegiance of the
masses. They always worked with an advisory council.
Today, mutual consultation in political matters is the hallmark of
democracy. (Ironically kingdoms, sheikdoms, despotism and autocratic
rule today are seen mostly among countries that call themselves Muslim.
This is another instance of the Muslims' departure from the Quran).
It may not be out of place to mention here that mutual counsel in
today's democracies will soon take one more vital step; all legislation
would take place in the Light of Divine Guidance. Whichever country
takes that vital step will formulate a truly Islamic government and
become a model state for the rest of the world. Other nations will
follow suit. This is no utopia. Please see the conviction in Al-Quran
2:213, 9:32-33, 10:19.

3. Human worship: The exalted Messenger broke the idols of
personalities. The greatest man who ever walked this earth kept
"I am but a human like you." (18:110)
"O People! I am only Muhammad son of Abdullah."
"I am the son of an ordinary Quraishi woman who used to (save and) eat
dry meat."
Further, Muhammad (S) said, "One who loves that people keep standing
before him, should seek his abode in hellfire."
We observe that since the exalted Messenger's advent human worship has
been dwindling throughout the world. (Ironically again, today it is
mostly Muslims who are prostrating before religious people, before their
ancestors' graves or humbling themselves in front of those in power and

4. Racism: 14 centuries ago the whole world was drenched in racism.
Aristotle taught around 500 BC that the Greeks were superior to all
nations. The Romans divided their own people among classes. There were
about 8 slaves per Roman elite. India demonstrated racism to the extreme
degree where a newborn's whole life depended on whether he was born into
a Brahman, Khatri, Vaish, or Shudra family.
Muhammad (S) toppled the world of false ideas, "There is no superiority
of a black over a white or a white over a black. All of you humans
belong to the same single stock. The best among you is the one who is
best in conduct." (Farewell Address)
Now let us think. Is not the world moving away from racism? At least
open expression of racial bias has become condemnable in most parts of
the world.

5. Human Rights: Here I suggest that the reader s examine three most
celebrated documents on human rights:
- The British Magna Carta
- The American Constitution
- The United Nations Charter of Human Rights.
Then study only the brief "Farewell Sermon" of Messenger Muhammad, the
exalted, and compare. The intelligently written human documents seem to
fade away and pale in comparison to just one sermon of Muhammad (S)!
Please see Robert Briffault's quote at the beginning of this chapter.
Haven't human rights become a vital issue at the international scene?
True, the world including Muslims have to go a long way. But, Islam is
on the march. The Quran had declared in the 7th century, "Now, indeed,
We have conferred dignity on all children of Adam (as their
birth-right)." (17:70)
History stands witness to the blessings of the Quranic Way of Life. In
the truly Quranic era of Islam, the (emancipated) black slave of
Ethiopia, Bilal, the poor laborer of Rome, Suhaib, and the lonely
wanderer of Persia, Salman, were equal to, and had the same rights as,
the most powerful man of the time. Umar Farooq the Great, the second
Caliph of Islam, used to address Bilal, "O My master!" He requested
that Suhaib lead the Caliph's funeral. And the exalted Messenger had
himself honored Salman by calling him a member of his own household.
A brief resume of human rights given in the Quran will now be given.
These points also reflect the Moral Code of Islam.
a. Equal human dignity by birth (17:70, 95:4)
b. Gender equity (
4:32, 33:35)
c. Superiority by character only (
49:13, 46:19)
d. Rule of law, not of individuals (
e. Full compensation of work (
53:39, 53:41, 39:70, 37:39)
f. Provision of basic needs (
g. Security of faith, life, mind, honor, and property
6:152, 2:269, 17:36, 24:2, 22:40, 6:152, 5:90, 2:195, 5:32, 17:32,
17:35, 17:29, 83:1)
h. Choice of spouse (4:3, 4:19)
i. Freedom of religion (
22:40, 6:109, 2:256)
j. Freedom of expression (
2:42, 3:71)
k. Redress of grievances (
l. Privacy (
33:53, 24:27)
m. Care of the handicapped (
4:36, 70:24)
n. Presumption of innocence (
o. Sanctity of name and lineage (
49:11, 33:4)
p. Right to residence (
4:100, 2:85, 6:41)
q. Aesthetic choice (
18:31, 76:13-15)
r. Protection of chastity (
17:32, 24:2)
s. Race, color, gender, lineage, wealth are no criteria of
t. Degrees of people according to their deeds (
2:212, 3:163,
It is noteworthy that the United Nations and the UNESCO Commission
subject human rights to certain conditions and limitations. They further
differentiate between a person owning those rights and application of
those rights according to the local law. Human rights outlined in the
Quran are not subject to the whims of nations or individuals.

6. The Caste System: The exalted Messenger declared and established
human brotherhood and equality by personal example. He belonged to the
noblest of tribes and families. Yet, he humbly repeated "I am a human
just like you." He further advised his closest family members that being
a relative of Muhammad will be of no avail to them. Last, he established
that the only criterion of superiority among men and women is their
conduct. Color, creed, family, gender, wealth would not impart honor to
any individual.
Now which way is the world moving? India, which has been the chief
cradle of the detestable caste system, is trying to get rid of this
curse of humanity. The Untouchables are being called "Harijan", ‘the
bearers of Divine Spirit'. And India is just one example. Remember what
happened to apartheid in South Africa?

7. Slavery: The exalted Messenger shook up the so-called masters of
men, "Their mothers had born them free. How could you enslave them?
What if you were made their slaves and they were made your masters!"
The Quran, while explicitly pronouncing equality and brotherhood of all
men, ordered to "Free all slaves for ransom or better as kindness"
(47:4). Few people know that the Islamic methodology resulted in the
emancipation of slaves (male and female) without the least friction and
bloodshed. Islam initiated a noble revolution in the hearts of people.
Without the Divine Light, the 19th century America, even under the great
leadership of Abraham Lincoln, had to sacrifice one million dead and
wounded attempting to abolish slavery!

8. Priesthood: At the Dawn of Islam, priesthood was the worst
oppressor of humanity. They were considered to possess infinite occult
powers. They were thought to know the Unseen and supposed to be
intercessors between man and God. They enjoyed greater authority than
the kings did. Well, they knew what was in a person's heart! They could
condemn the "Children of God" to be hanged, crucified or burnt alive!
Their tyranny outlasted their own lives. Their tombs remained centers of
worship and exploitation.
The Quran announced that Allah is the only Knower of the Unseen (72:26).
There is no medium between man and God because He is "closer to him than
the Vena Cava" (50:16). Now we see that humanity has been gaining
freedom from priesthood the world over. (Ironically once again, Muslims,
not currently heeding the Quran, are lagging behind even in this arena.)
The modernization of my nation consists Of what has been outworn by all creation
-Sir Iqbal

9. Womens' Rights: In the times when the woman was considered the
property of the man and was treated worse than slaves; when "Eve" and
"evil" were thought to be synonymous and woman was a "shameful load of
sin", when she spent her life in bondage first to her father, then to
her brothers and eventually to her husband; when Christian conferences
were discussing questions such as
- Does the woman have a soul?
- Is she human?
- Will she be resurrected?
The Quran thundered that Allah has created people males and females.
"Women have rights unto you as you have rights unto them."
"Every person will be rewarded according to one's actions; male
or female." (
And the "Mercy for the Worlds" Muhammad, the exalted taught:
"Paradise lies at the feet of your mothers."
"The best among you is the one who is best to his wife."
"O Men! You will be questioned about your treatment of women."
On the other hand, Michael Hart notes that the New Testament still
teaches: "Let the woman learn in silence . . . She is to keep silent
. . Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a
transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children (Timothy
2:11-15). "The head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her
husband . . . for if a woman will not veil herself then she should have
her head shaved . . . woman [was created] for man" (Corinthians
Now, look back with an open mind. Which way has the mankind moved in the
last 1400 years? Surely, Islam is on the march! It may also be of
interest to note here that in the USA women gained the right to vote in
1920. When did Muslim women attain it? In the 7th century!

10. Science: While Europe was struggling through the Dark Ages,
Muslims were performing scientific miracles under the Quranic teaching
that natural laws had been made subservient to man. (This topic of the
Quran and Science will be further discussed in a later chapter). Here is
an example of the scientific guidance in the Quran: Until recently, the
sun was thought to be stationary in the center of the solar system. The
Quran had, however, revealed 1400 years ago, "The sun is moving along
toward its appointed destination."(36:38) The great Russian philosopher,
astronomer and scientist, P.D. Ouspensky (1878-1947) maintained that any
science that contradicted the Quran would turn out to be false. Then,
during Ouspensky's lifetime, it was discovered that the sun is moving
toward a specific destination at 12 miles per second i.e. 43,200 miles
per hour! This destination has even been assigned names, the Solar Apex,
the Constellation of Hercules. Guess what Ouspensky did! He embraced I
slam."Roger Bacon owed his illumination to the Muslim Moors of Spain. The
great figures of European Renaissance could see further because they
stood on the shoulders of the giants of the Muslim world. — Those
achievements represent what the Muslim world has been in the past. They
also point to what it could become in the future." (Richard Nixon -
Nixon's Ten Commandments)

11. Nationalism: Arnold Toynbee in his 1952 work, The World and the
West, called nationalism a form idol worship. In his writing and
lectures he repeatedly urged the world leadership to break this idol.
After all, who is unaware of the devastation caused to our planet by the
World Wars I and II. Nationalism was the obvious root cause of this
massive trauma to humanity.
Years before Toynbee, Sir Iqbal, on the authority of the Quran, called
nationalism "the modern idol which the humanity has sculpted". The Quran
ordained all mankind to be one nation and declared that all believers in
the Final Revelation, regardless of where and when they live, are tied
in the sacred bond of brotherhood and sisterhood (49:10). That
announcement left no room for manmade geographical boundaries.
It is heartening to note that great western minds such as Nicholes
Berdyeau, Henry Bergson, A.C. Ewing, Rene Guenon, Alfred Cobban,
Frederick Hertz, H.G. Wells, and numerous others, not only support the
unity of mankind but also predict it!

12. Pragmatism: At the dawn of Islam, Greeks were the torchbearers
of knowledge in the world. Many scholars including Briffault and Higgins
have correctly remarked that the Greek knowledge rested on theory and
logic. Experimentation had no place in the Greek system of learning.
Aristotle had written that women were deficient in intellect because
they had only 28 teeth. He never even bothered to look! He also stated
that an egg would float in the ocean! It was only Islam that taught
mankind of the necessity of testing a theory or ideology by way of
experimentation.17:36 And you shall not follow blindly any information of which you
have no direct knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and
conception) you must verify it for yourself. In the Court of your Lord,
you will be held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of

"The Renaissance of Europe did not take place in the 15th century.
Rather it began when Europe learned from the culture of the Arabs. The
cradle of European awakening is not Italy. It is the Muslim Spain."
(Robert Briffault, The Making of Humanity).

If Muslims are showing their intolerance it is their fault and not Isla's or Muhammad's.


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