A simple definition of idol worship is to believe that anything beside Allah can help us, or to hold something as more important to us than Allah. Thus if we hold our property (for example) as more important than Allah or give our jobs more time and attention than Allah – we are committing idol worship. Unfortunately, the majority of people who believe in Allah commit this gross offense without even realizing it. If you ask them, “Who is your Allah?”, they will be outraged to hear this question. “What do you mean, `Who is your Allah?’ they will ask, “My Allah is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.” And most of these people will be shocked to find out that their proclamation that their Allah is the Creator of the heavens and the earth is no more than lip service, and that they are in fact destined for Hell (12:106). Idol worship is a gross injustice, the violation of the first commandment in all the scriptures of Allah, and is an unforgivable sin if maintained until death.
[31:13] Recall that Luqmaan said to his son, as he enlightened him, “O my son, do not set up any idols beside ALLAH; idolatry is a gross injustice.”*
Footnote: *31:13 How will you feel if you take care of a child, give him the best education, and prepare him for life, only to see him thank someone else? Thus is idolatry; injustice.
[12:106] The majority of those who believe in ALLAH do not do so without committing idol worship.
IDOL WORSHIP IS THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN
[4:48] ALLAH does not forgive idolatry,* but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside ALLAH, has forged a horrendous offense.
Footnote: *4:48 Idol worship is not forgivable, if maintained until death. One can always repent from any offense, including idolatry, before death comes (see 4:18 & 40:66).
[4:116] ALLAH does not forgive idol worship (if maintained until death),* and He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who idolizes any idol beside ALLAH has strayed far astray.
ALLAH TELLS US THAT IDOL WORSHIP NULLIFIES ALL WORK
Any work we do, if not devoted absolutely to Allah, does not serve to grow our souls. On the day of Resurrection, if our souls have not grown strong enough to withstand the presence of Allah – we will have to forsake Allah’s kingdom on our own volition. Everything we have done in this world will be nullified.
[39:65] It has been revealed to you, and to those before you that if you ever commit idol worship, all your works will be nullified, and you will be with the losers.
The natural instinct of monotheism that Allah has placed in us ( 30:30; to make it easier for us to choose the right path) commands us to dedicate our worship to Allah Alone, and not associate anything with Allah. All places of worship should be dedicated to Allah Alone. Belief in Allah includes the understanding that He alone is worthy of worship.
[72:18] The places of worship belong to ALLAH; do not call on anyone else beside ALLAH.
Many so-called Muslims commit mistake by associating Muhammad with Allah at the places of worship, and by upholding Hadith and Sunna falsely attributed to prophet Muhammad. For example, mentioning the names of Abraham, Muhammad, and Ali in the Azan or in the Salat/Prayer violates Allah’s commandments in 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, & 72:18. Unfortunately, this is a common idolatrous practice throughout the corrupted Muslim world. Many Christians commit this same mistake by exalting Jesus to the same level as Allah, or sometimes by even calling him GOD. This is idol worship. In Matthew 7:21-23: Jesus clearly disowns those who call him “Lord.”
TYPES OF IDOLS
Idol worship is not just restricted to worship of any statues or picture frames, etc. The Quran cites many forms of idol worship.
1. CALF, STATUES AS IDOLS.
[2:51] Yet, when we summoned Moses for forty nights, you worshiped the calf in his absence, and turned wicked.*
[21:51-53] Before that, we granted Abraham his guidance and understanding, for we were fully aware of him.* He said to his father and his people, “What are these statues to which you are devoting yourselves?” They said, “We found our parents worshiping them.”
2. WORSHIPPING FEMALE IDOLS (IS WORSHIPPING THE DEVIL).
[4:117] They even worship female (Idols) besides Him; as a matter of fact, they only worship a rebellious devil.
3. JESUS AS IDOL.
[5:72] Pagans indeed are those who say that ALLAH is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah himself said, “O Children of Israel, you shall worship ALLAH; my Lord* and your Lord.” Anyone who sets up any idol beside ALLAH, ALLAH has forbidden Paradise for him, and his destiny is Hell. The wicked have no helpers.
4. JINNS AS IDOLS.
[6:100] Yet, they set up beside ALLAH idols from among the jinns, though He is the One who created them. They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.
5. CHILDREN AS IDOLS.
[7:190] But when He gives them a good baby, they turn His gift into an idol that rivals Him. ALLAH be exalted, far above any partnership.
6. HUMANS AS IDOLS.
[7:194] The idols you invoke besides ALLAH are creatures like you. Go ahead and call upon them; let them respond to you, if you are right.
7. “INTERCESSORS” AS IDOLS. FROM THE QURAN, IT IS OBVIOUS – THERE IS NO INTERCESSION BY ANYONE ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
[10:18] They worship beside ALLAH idols that possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors at ALLAH!” Say, “Are you informing ALLAH of something He does not know in the heavens or the earth?” Be He glorified. He is the Most High; far above needing partners.
8. SATAN AS AN IDOL.
[14:22] And the devil will say, after the judgment had been issued, “ALLAH has promised you the truthful promise, and I promised you, but I broke my promise. I had no power over you; I simply invited you, and you accepted my invitation. Therefore, do not blame me, and blame only yourselves. My complaining cannot help you, nor can your complaining help me. I have disbelieved in your idolizing me. The transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.”
9. PROPERTY AS AN IDOL.
[18:32-36] Cite for them the example of two men: we gave one of them two gardens of grapes, surrounded by date palms, and placed other crops between them. Both gardens produced their crops on time, and generously, for we caused a river to run through them. Once, after harvesting, he boastfully told his friend: “I am far more prosperous than you, and I command more respect from the people.” When he entered his garden, he wronged his soul by saying, “I do not think that this will ever end. “Moreover, I think this is it; I do not think that the Hour (the Hereafter) will ever come to pass. Even if I am returned to my Lord, I will (be clever enough to) possess an even better one over there.”
[18:42] Indeed, his crops were wiped out, and he ended up sorrowful, lamenting what he had spent on it in vain, as his property lay barren. He finally said, “I wish I never set up my property as a Allah beside my Lord.”
10. THE DEAD PROPHETS, MESSENGERS AND SAINTS AS IDOLS.
[16:20-21] As for the idols they set up beside ALLAH, they do not create anything; they themselves were created. They are dead, not alive, and they have no idea how or when they will be resurrected.
[3:79] Never would a human being whom ALLAH blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, “Idolize me beside ALLAH.” Instead, (he would say), “Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone,” according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
11. ALLAH’S SERVANTS AS IDOLS.
[18:102] Do those who disbelieve think that they can get away with setting up My servants as Gods beside Me? We have prepared for the disbelievers Hell as an eternal abode.
12. EGO AS AN IDOL.
This is a common form of idolatry. Most humans, because of their ego cannot bring themselves to worship Allah, nor can they make their opinion subordinate to Allah’s opinion spelled out in the Quran because of their ego. If we disobey Allah and His messenger, we are committing idol worship even though there is no image in front of us. This is because we would be giving our opinion more importance than Allah’s words.
[25:43] Have you seen the one whose Allah is his own ego? Will you be his advocate?
[45:23] Have you noted the one whose Allah is his ego? Consequently, ALLAH sends him astray, despite his knowledge, seals his hearing and his mind, and places a veil on his eyes. Who then can guide him, after such a decision by ALLAH? Would you not take heed?
13. Upholding religious Sources other than Allah’s words, as an idol
As a Submitter (Muslim) if we follow a source other than Quran for religious guidance it would be idolatry. The following verse makes it clear that the Quran is Allah’s Testimony. Following any other source is defined as idolatry. Worshipping Allah is to obey His words only (Quran) and not the words of humans (scholars, religious leaders, mullahs, etc.).
[6:19] Say, “Whose testimony is the greatest?” Say, “ALLAH’s. He is the witness between me and you that this Quran* has been inspired to me, to preach it to you and whomever it reaches. Indeed, you bear witness that there are other Allahs* beside ALLAH.” Say, “I do not testify as you do; there is only one Allah, and I disown your idolatry.”
Footnote: *6:19 This verse proclaims the Quran as the only source of religious guidance. Those who uphold additional sources, such as Hadith & Sunna (lies attributed to the Prophet), are defined as idolaters.
14. RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND SCHOLARS AS IDOLS.
(sub-title) Upholding the Teachings of Religious Leaders, Instead of Allah’s Teachings
[9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords,* instead of ALLAH. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one Allah. There is no Allah except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.
Footnote: *9:31 If you consult the “Muslim scholars” about worshiping Allah alone, and upholding the word of Allah alone, as taught in this proven scripture, they will advise you against it. If you consult the Pope about the identity of Jesus, he will advise you to uphold a trinity. If you obey the “Muslim scholars” whose advice is contrary to Allah’s teachings, or if you take the Pope’s advice instead of Allah’s, you have set up these religious leaders as Idols instead of Allah.
15. CREATING SECTS IN RELIGION IS IDOL WORSHIP.
The Quran forbids dividing ourselves into sects. Those who divide into sects are termed as idol worshippers.
[30:31-32] You shall submit to Him, reverence Him, establish the Salat, and – whatever you do – do not ever fall into idol worship. (Do not fall in idol worship,) like those who divide their religion into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have.
16. DIVIDING BELIEVERS AND PROVIDING COMFORT TO THOSE WHO OPPOSE ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGERS IS PRACTICING IDOL WORSHIP.
[9:107] There are those who abuse the masjid by practicing idol worship, dividing the believers, and providing comfort to those who oppose ALLAH and His messenger. They solemnly swear: “Our intentions are honorable!” ALLAH bears witness that they are liars.
Footnote: *9:107 Any Mosque (Masjid) where the practices are not devoted absolutely to Allah ALONE belongs to Satan, not Allah. For example, mentioning the names of Abraham, Muhammad, and Ali in the Azan or in the Salat/Prayer violates Allah’s commandments in 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, & 72:18. Unfortunately, this is a common idolatrous practice throughout the corrupted Muslim world.
We learn from the Quran that idols cannot judge (40:20), idols cannot create anything and are powerless (13:16, 46:4) and idols do not bring us closer to Allah (39:3). We learn that idolaters follow conjecture (6:148) and that idolaters deny idol worship – now & on the Day of Judgment (6:22-24).
Allah grants perfect security and happiness for believers who are devoted to Him alone without committing idol worship.
[6:82] Those who believe, and do not pollute their belief with idol worship, have deserved the perfect security, and they are truly guided.
[39:17] As for those who discard the worship of all idols, and devote themselves totally to ALLAH alone, they have deserved happiness. Give good news to My servants.
May Allah protect us from worshiping idols.
[14:35] Recall that Abraham said, “My Lord, …. protect me and my children from worshiping idols.
6:162-164] Say, “My Salat, my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to ALLAH alone, the Lord of the universe.He has no partner. This is what I am commanded to believe, and I am the first to submit.” Say, “Shall I seek other than ALLAH as a lord, when He is the Lord of all things? No soul benefits except from its own works, and none bears the burden of another. Ultimately, you return to your Lord, then He informs you regarding all your disputes.”