ARE STATUES AND IMAGES UNLAWFUL (HARAM)?

According to the Quran, if one’s intention is to worship them – then, yes.

21:51-52 “And We verily gave Abraham of old his proper course, and We were aware of him, When he said to his father and his folk: What are these statues (Arabic: Thamatheel) to which you pay devotion?”

Note the Arabic word ‘Thamatheel’ which means statues.

Those who are familiar with Quranic narratives, an obvious question arise. If a statue in itself is unlawful (Arabic: haram), then why did Prophet Solomon instruct the Jinn under his control to make them as captured in the following verse?

34.13 “They made for him what he willed: synagogues and statues (Arabic: Thamatheel), basins like wells and boilers built into the ground. Give thanks, O House of David! Few of My bondmen are thankful”

We note from the two examples above that the same Arabic word ‘Thamatheel’ (plural of Timthal and derived from its root M-TH-L) has been utilized. Would a Prophet of God (Solomon )) go against the teachings of the Prophets before him and make statues / images that pleased him when these were forbidden?

Furthermore, it is clear from the verse that these actions were carried under the sanction of God.

The two simple examples above should make it clear that it is not the ‘statue’ in itself, which is unlawful, but its intended purpose that determines whether something becomes forbidden or remains lawful.

A counter argument is usually presented by some Muslims that appeal to the differences in ‘shariah’ or ‘laws’ of different Prophets. The argument continues with the assertion, that whereas statues were allowed at one time, they became forbidden later.

There is absolutely no support from the Quran that any difference in Shariah (law) extends to the making of statues or images. However, it has always been forbidden to worship statues.

This argument is nothing more than an attempt to reconcile an extant theology, which forbids any statues or images regardless of purpose and emanates purely from Islamic secondary sources. If the secondary source argument is followed, is one really expected to find plausible, the notion that during Prophet Abraham’s ministry, statues were forbidden, then became lawful at, or by the time of Prophet Solomon’s ministry and then were made forbidden again at, or by the time of Prophet Mohammed’s ministry? Is one truly expected to accept that Divine Shariah (law) is really based on such a trial and error method?

Furthermore, the same essence of religion (Arabic: Deen) was inspired in all the Prophets of God (42:13) and nothing was said to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that was not said to the Prophets before him (41:43)

The Quran makes it absolutely clear that it remains the only source which dictates what is lawful and unlawful and the believer is strongly advised not to forbid something which God has made lawful and or vice versa.

5:87 O you who believe, do not make unlawful the good things that God has made lawful to you, and do not aggress; God does not love the aggressors.

16.116 And, for what your tongues describe, do not utter the lie, (saying) This is lawful and this is unlawful, in order to forge a lie against God; surely those who forge the lie against God shall not prosper.

It is to be noted in the Quran, that even the Prophet was admonished for making unlawful something for which God had given him no warrant. The Prophet had absolutely no authority to prohibit anything, which God had not sanctioned.

66.1 O Prophet! Why do you ban/prohibit/make unlawful (Arabic: tuharrimu) that which God has made lawful (Arabic: Ahalla) for you, seeking to please thy wives? And God is Forgiving, Merciful

6:114 “Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you the Book fully detailed?” Those to whom We have given the Book know it is sent down from your Lord with the truth; so do not be of those who have doubt.

CONCLUSION

If the Quran claims to be a fully detailed scripture and the only source of law (6:114), then should it not remain the only sole guidance of what makes something forbidden and lawful?

Does the guidance with regards statues and images not simply extend to other areas such as paintings, singing and music too, where the Quran has not expressly forbidden it?

Source: http://quransmessage.com

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