Monotheism is the belief in a single all-powerful god, as opposed to polytheism or the belief in multiple gods. Polytheistic religions believe in a multitude of deities, usually with a supreme deity presiding over an array of minor ones. Most of us believe that Islam is a monotheistic religion which loathes idolatry.
But, this is far from the truth. Islam is, to a great extent, idolatrous and polytheistic. In fact, most of its rites and practices were adopted from the pagan Arabian rituals of Prophet Muhammad’s time. Moreover, what the prophets of Islam are to Muslims, deities are to pagans.
According to [Bukhari, 2: 24: 553], Prophet said, “A man keeps on asking others for something till he comes on the Day of Resurrection without any piece of flesh on his face.” The Prophet added, “On the Day of Resurrection, the Sun will come near (to, the people) to such an extent that the sweat will reach up to the middle of the ears, so, when all the people are in that state, they will ask Adam for help, and then Moses, and then Muhammad (p.b.u.h.).”
In the aforementioned passage, Prophet Muhammad has equated Adam, Moses and himself to Allah. This is undeniably polytheism.
In Srinagar, Kashmir a Masjid keeps Prophet Mohammad’s hair as a relic, which Muslims consider holy and worship it. According to a legend, the relic was first brought to India by Syed Abdullah, a purported descendant of Muhammad who left Medina and settled in Bijapur, near Hyderabad in 1635. The relic was reported disappeared on 26 December 1963. There were mass protests all over the state on the disappearance of the Moi-e-Muqaddas (the Hair of the Prophet) with hundreds of thousands out in the streets. The Awami Action Committee was formed to recover the relic. On 31 December the Prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru made a broadcast to the nation on the disappearance of the sacred relic. The relic was recovered on 4 January 1964. This veneration of Prophet Muhammad is akin to that of an idol in a pagan religion.
Shia Muslims worship Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Imams, and relatives of Muhammad. They don’t just invoke their names, but they worship them like deities.
Sufi Muslims worship graves of saints called “Dargahs”. In South Asia, dargahs are often the site of festivals (Milad) held in honor of the deceased saint at the date of his “Urs”, which is a day dedicated to the saint which usually falls on the saint’s death anniversary. The shrine is illuminated with candles or strings of electric lights at this time. The grave of the saints are worshipped in the same way idols are in Hinduism. Many Muslims argue that it is not a standard practice in Islam, but it is in Sufism. Nonetheless, Sufism is a branch of Islam.
During Muharram, Muslims mourn by theatrically re-enacting the Battle of Karbala. This is called taziya. During the processions, icons and geometric shaped idols are carried around as holy objects.
Moreover, every year countless Muslims travel to Mecca and literally bow before the Kaaba and pray. They circumambulate the Kaba, because it represents that there is only one God, “Allah” just like there is only one center of a circle. Some touch and kiss the Black Stone that is embedded in the eastern corner. Adoration is offered there in the form of bowing down and praying in front of the cube. It is worshiped because it is believed to be intrinsically sacred. Moreover, Kaba is called Qibla (direction) and Muslims face in the direction of Kaba even while praying alone.
Does this qualify as idolatry? Yes, it does !!!
More than just being an Idol, the Kaaba is actually the exact same sanctuary that the Pagans used to worship during pre-Islamic Arabia. The entire Hajj ritual (stoning devils, running between two peaks, circling Kaaba, animal sacrifice) is a copy of the pagan Hajj ritual in pre-Islamic Arabia. The only difference is that early Muslims destroyed the idols in the Kaaba and changed some of the stories associated with them.
The ruins of pre-Islamic Arabian paganism form the bedrock of Islamic rituals and belief system. Unfortunately, almost nothing from the pre-Islamic period survives today, and probably we will never know to what extent Islam is indebted to paganism.
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