By Imam Abdullah El-Amin
First, I want to say it is extremely difficult these days to make something positive in our lives with whatâ€™s going on around the world, most recently in the Middle East. We pray ALLAH ends this carnage of innocent people everywhere it is happening.
To the Muslim, correct worship of ALLAH, our Creator, is laid out plainly in the scripture of ALLAH, sent to mankind through the last and universal prophet, Muhammad, son of Abdullah (s). One problem I see often in our Muslim community is so many people being afraid of things that can neither help you nor hurt you. ALLAH gives a perfect example through Prophet Ibrahim (as) when, as a youth, he destroyed the idols his people were worshiping.
I had a conversation recently with a brother who expressed his fear of pictures and objects because they were â€œimagesâ€. He was under the erroneous assumption that a picture or statute was dangerous, just because it is a picture or statue. What he didnâ€™t realize is we donâ€™t make images of objects of worship. It is impossible to get away from images. Everything you see is an image. The idea is not make that image an object of worship.
I was informed that pictures may be kept, but they must be kept in a drawer and taken out periodically when you want to view them. What he didnâ€™t realize is he was giving those pictures more power than they deserved. The picture or statue is something that an imperfect man created. It certainly canâ€™t be an image worth any type of devotion or power. It cannot help you nor hurt you.
But at the same time I see these Muslims partake in things which are clearly disliked or haram by Allah. This is why I always advocate looking at, and adhering to, the basic teachings of ALLAH in Qurâ€™an. Al-Anbiya:51-67, it is a great story.
This brother, while being afraid of pictures, was smoking cigarettes and leading an un-productive life, both disliked by ALLAH. He told me that it was OK to smoke cigarettes because it was only disliked by ALLAH, not forbidden. So I asked him, â€œDo you feel comfortable doing something you know ALLAH doesnâ€™t like?â€ After a little contemplation he admitted he should always keep the desires, as well as the orders of ALLAH foremost in his mind.
This may sound trite, but it is more of a problem than many of us realize. Most Muslims who focus on these things donâ€™t realize they are elevating objects to a status the objects donâ€™t deserve. ALLAH ordered the entire creation to bow to Adam. He put Adam in charge of everything except Him. This means nothing that we can see or even conceive of is worth our attention as an object of worship.
So when you have the correct understanding of â€œLa `illaha `illal Lah,â€ it is unnecessary to break the arm of a statue so it wonâ€™t be worshiped. It is already unworthy because it was fashioned with manâ€™s mind, which in itself is imperfect. Prophet Muhammad (s), upon his return to Mecca, used his staff to knock over idols that were in the Kaâ€™aba to show these things are nothing. There is no deity except ALLAH.
Let us focus on the worship of ALLAH, alone, and let us increase our fear of displeasing Him by partaking of things He dislikes.
As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin