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Message Icon Topic: Are These Acts of Idolatry? Post Reply Post New Topic
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 28 June 2014 at 8:19pm
Originally posted by islamispeace

Calm down, Ron.  You missed the point.  My point was that despite the fact that the black stone was missing from the Kaaba for over 20 years, it did not effect Muslim rituals.  Muslims were still able to make their prayers and to perform the Hajj.  If the black stone was so important to Islam, then its seizure would have been a terrible constraint on Islamic rituals, but it wasn't.  Now of course the Muslims tried their best to get it back.  The reason is that it is an important relic, going back to the time of Adam (peace be upon him).  It is a fragment of Paradise, so why wouldn't they have tried to get it back?!  It is like the Kaaba itself.  If the Kaaba was damaged and destroyed, why wouldn't Muslims simply rebuild it?  But in the meantime, would the absence of the Kaaba stop Muslim rituals?  Of course not!  The reason is that neither the Kaaba nor the black stone are the object of Muslim prayers, unlike the idols used in some religions.  Without these idols, they would not be able to pray.

Who says they couldn't pray?  Certainly Christians can pray without their statues and crosses, etc.  I don't know much about Hinduism but I see no reason why they couldn't pray without an idol.
 
Oh please.  I do believe you are over-exaggerating!  How is kissing the stone akin to the actual worship of idols?  Please enlighten me!  Do Muslims pray to the stone?  Do they ask it for help?

I'm saying that anyone looking at a picture of Muslims near the black stone, and comparing it with the pictures given in the opening post, would not be able to see any difference.  Therefore the pictures themselves are not evidence of idol worship, as was implied.

You missed the point again!  Hazrat Umar was simply pointing out that he did not believe that the stone had any power.  He wanted to show that the stone is just a stone with no power, but that since the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kissed it, then so should all Muslims.  The reason for this is as I have said already.  The stone is a fragment of Paradise.

Surely an (alleged) fragment of Paradise would be more than a "mere stone".

How is this akin to Muslims kissing the stone out of respect for its origin (Paradise)?  How is kissing something an act of worship?

Why would you show respect for a "mere stone"?  On the other hand, if your respect is for the alleged divine nature of the stone (which by the way is not Islamic doctrine, but pure mythology), then surely that is idolatry.

Just because a person might construct "some kind of mental image or concept" does not mean it is right to do so and that we should automatically take that as a sign that idol worship is fine.  That would be like if a man sees an attractive woman, and feels sexually attracted to her as a result, and then decides that this is reason enough to have intercourse with her.  From a religious point of view, committing fornication or adultery are forbidden even though "mental" attraction is not something people can always control.  But we can control our actions.  Thoughts are a different matter.

I'm not sure I follow you.  Are you saying it's okay to imagine an image of God, as long as you don't draw or sculpt it?  If so, is it okay to think evil thoughts about God, as long as you don't write them down or share them with anyone?  I think most religions would say that if something is a sin, then thinking about it is also a sin.  (I don't agree, but then I don't agree with a lot of religious ideas.)

Your analogy with adultery is not apt because adultery has potential real-world consequences (pregnancy, STDs, social disruption) that the mere thought does not.  IMHO a better analogy would be to fantasizing about sex, versus writing down that fantasy.  Is the former any better or worse than the latter?

Why don't you address the point raised by the website I referenced?

Partly because as far as I can tell it was just a personal web site, and I'm not sure on whose behalf Mr. Krishnamurthy is writing.  But mostly because he really isn't saying anything substantially different.  As he says, "in Hinduism the same question will have different answers to different levels of questioners."  So at a basic level of understanding, the idol may be regarded as the god itself; but a more sophisticated practitioner will recognize that "an idol serves the same purpose ... as a flag does for an army,", i.e. as a symbol for an abstract ideal.
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islamispeace
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 29 June 2014 at 11:16am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Who says they couldn't pray?  Certainly Christians can pray without their statues and crosses, etc.  I don't know much about Hinduism but I see no reason why they couldn't pray without an idol.


Certainly Christians can pray without the need of their statues, but Hindus are idol worshipers, period.  You may "see no reason" why they cannot pray without an idol, and yet, they do!  So you point is moot. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I'm saying that anyone looking at a picture of Muslims near the black stone, and comparing it with the pictures given in the opening post, would not be able to see any difference.  Therefore the pictures themselves are not evidence of idol worship, as was implied.


Well then, they would be wrong then, wouldn't they Ron? 

I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that the pictures above "are not evidence of idol worship".  I would think a person kneeling to a statue or an idol would be "evidence of idol worship"!  LOL

Moreover, we already know that Hindus worship idols and that some Christians (mostly Catholics) pray to statues of the Virgin Mary and the saints (as well as Jesus).  So the above pictures are just a visual example of what we already know.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Surely an (alleged) fragment of Paradise would be more than a "mere stone".


Sure, which is why Muslims tried very hard to retrieve the stone from the Qarmathians.  Otherwise, they could have just placed another stone to serve as a marker.  The point is that it is believed to be a fragment of Paradise (your personal opinions about whether it is or isn't is irrelevant Wink), and not an object of worship or prayer.  Anyone who otherwise thinks so is an i-d-i-o-t.  In contrast, some Christians literally pray to their statues and Hindus literally worship their idols and pray to them for help.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Why would you show respect for a "mere stone"?  On the other hand, if your respect is for the alleged divine nature of the stone (which by the way is not Islamic doctrine, but pure mythology), then surely that is idolatry.


Still not getting it, eh?  We show respect to its origin from Paradise (again your personal opinions whether it is "mythology" or not are irrelevant Big%20smile), because Paradise is essentially our origin as well.  Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) were originally in Paradise before they were removed.  Paradise is the "eternal home" of the believers, and one which we must strive to reach:

"Say: Shall I give you glad tidings of things Far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home; with companions pure (and holy); and the good pleasure of Allah. For in Allah's sight are (all) His servants,-" (Surah Al-Imran, 3:15)   

You can try to redefine what "idol worship" is all you want.  The fact remains that Muslims do not pray to the stone or worship it.  You still haven't explained why you think that merely showing "respect" is somehow "idol worship".

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I'm not sure I follow you.  Are you saying it's okay to imagine an image of God, as long as you don't draw or sculpt it?  If so, is it okay to think evil thoughts about God, as long as you don't write them down or share them with anyone?  I think most religions would say that if something is a sin, then thinking about it is also a sin.  (I don't agree, but then I don't agree with a lot of religious ideas.)


No, that's not what I am saying.  I am saying that just because you may draw an image of God does not mean that it is an excuse to commit idolatry, since God is formless.  I am also saying that such thoughts should be shunned, but that sometimes we cannot control our thoughts.  But as long as we do not act on those thoughts, then it is not necessarily a sin.  How can it be if you cannot help it?  However, we should strive to avoid such thoughts as much as we can.  Such thoughts, from an Islamic point of view, are from Satan.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Your analogy with adultery is not apt because adultery has potential real-world consequences (pregnancy, STDs, social disruption) that the mere thought does not.  IMHO a better analogy would be to fantasizing about sex, versus writing down that fantasy.  Is the former any better or worse than the latter?


Actually, with things like condoms and contraception, it is pretty easy to avoid such things as pregnancy and STDs.  So my analogy is still apt.  Moreover, things like pregnancy and STDs are clearly not a deterrent against adultery.  In many western countries, it is a common occurrence. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Partly because as far as I can tell it was just a personal web site, and I'm not sure on whose behalf Mr. Krishnamurthy is writing.  But mostly because he really isn't saying anything substantially different.  As he says, "in Hinduism the same question will have different answers to different levels of questioners."  So at a basic level of understanding, the idol may be regarded as the god itself; but a more sophisticated practitioner will recognize that "an idol serves the same purpose ... as a flag does for an army,", i.e. as a symbol for an abstract ideal.


Oh so the website you referenced was somehow the "official" view?  Don't make me laugh!

You still haven't explained why, if the idol is not literally the deity to the "more sophisticated practitioner", then why do these "sophisticated practitioners" make offerings to the idol and literally pray to it?  Why can't they pray without it, as you suggested above?


Edited by islamispeace - 29 June 2014 at 11:28am
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote Caringheart Replybullet Posted: 30 June 2014 at 6:22pm
Originally posted by Lachi

So the examples A-D can be judged solely on the image without taking into account the participants' intent. But the Black Stone needs you to understand the intent because it is 'different'.

Double standards are very evident.

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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 30 June 2014 at 8:08pm
Originally posted by Lachi

So the examples A-D can be judged solely on the image without taking into account the participants' intent. But the Black Stone needs you to understand the intent because it is 'different'.

Double standards are very evident.


LOL It does not go unnoticed that, so far, none of you have bothered to actually answer the question, and instead, have tried to change the subject.  Oh well...

So Lachi, can you elaborate some more on your post?  What "intent" are you referring to with regard to the people seen in the pictures?  Does "intent" change the fact that they are praying to statues?  As I explained to Ron, the pictures serve as visual examples of behavior which is already widely known.  We know for a fact that Hindus pray to idols of their gods.  We know for a fact that some Christians pray to statues of the Virgin Mary and of the saints and of course Jesus (peace be upon him).  Do you deny these facts?  Here is another fact for you: Muslims do not...to repeat...DO NOT pray to the black stone.  So what "double standards" are you referring to?  Confused 

Now back to the question which you all seem to want to desperately ignore:

Which of the pictures shown exhibit the act of idolatry?  Cue the Jeopardy theme...
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 30 June 2014 at 8:11pm
Originally posted by Caringheart

Originally posted by Lachi

So the examples A-D can be judged solely on the image without taking into account the participants' intent. But the Black Stone needs you to understand the intent because it is 'different'.

Double standards are very evident.

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Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 01 July 2014 at 5:45am
Originally posted by islamispeace

Certainly Christians can pray without the need of their statues, but Hindus are idol worshipers, period.  You may "see no reason" why they cannot pray without an idol, and yet, they do!  So you point is moot.

They do?  Go to Google Images and search for "Hindus praying".  You'll see a fair number of idols, but in most pictures there are none.
 
Originally posted by Ron Webb

I'm saying that anyone looking at a picture of Muslims near the black stone, and comparing it with the pictures given in the opening post, would not be able to see any difference.  Therefore the pictures themselves are not evidence of idol worship, as was implied.

Well then, they would be wrong then, wouldn't they Ron?

Yes, they would be wrong, just as you would be wrong to infer idol worship merely from the pictures.  That's my point.

I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that the pictures above "are not evidence of idol worship".  I would think a person kneeling to a statue or an idol would be "evidence of idol worship"!

Well, we just established that a Muslim bowing to a black stone is not evidence of idol worship.

Moreover, we already know that Hindus worship idols and that some Christians (mostly Catholics) pray to statues of the Virgin Mary and the saints (as well as Jesus).  So the above pictures are just a visual example of what we already know.

But you just agreed that Christians can pray without statues.  Are you still insisting that they worship idols?  Why?

You can try to redefine what "idol worship" is all you want.  The fact remains that Muslims do not pray to the stone or worship it.  You still haven't explained why you think that merely showing "respect" is somehow "idol worship".

One can only have respect for a person, not for an inanimate object.  But let me repeat: I am not saying that Musims worship the stone.  I am simply saying that the question is more complicated than merely showing pictures of worshippers bowing or prostrating before an object.

No, that's not what I am saying.  I am saying that just because you may draw an image of God does not mean that it is an excuse to commit idolatry, since God is formless.  I am also saying that such thoughts should be shunned, but that sometimes we cannot control our thoughts.  But as long as we do not act on those thoughts, then it is not necessarily a sin.  How can it be if you cannot help it?  However, we should strive to avoid such thoughts as much as we can.  Such thoughts, from an Islamic point of view, are from Satan.

The Christian view is that it's still a sin even if we can't help it.  ("All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.")  Anyway, I don't care about that.  What I'm saying is that no modern religion, properly understood, believes that man-made objects of wood or stone or paint can have magical, god-like powers.  At best that is a simplified view and represents a naive understanding of the religion's true teaching.

And all religions, as far as I am aware, have some sort of physical object as the focus for their worship.  Whether you call it an idol or not depends on your definition, but merely pointing to such an object does not prove idol worship.

Actually, with things like condoms and contraception, it is pretty easy to avoid such things as pregnancy and STDs.  So my analogy is still apt.  Moreover, things like pregnancy and STDs are clearly not a deterrent against adultery.  In many western countries, it is a common occurrence.

The point is that actions have consequences, while thoughts alone do not.

Oh so the website you referenced was somehow the "official" view?  Don't make me laugh!

The web site I referenced is the official site of the Sanskrit Religions Institute.  I don't know much more about it, but it's clearly more than one man's personal web site.

You still haven't explained why, if the idol is not literally the deity to the "more sophisticated practitioner", then why do these "sophisticated practitioners" make offerings to the idol and literally pray to it?  Why can't they pray without it, as you suggested above?

As far as I know they can.  Have you any evidence to the contrary?
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 01 July 2014 at 5:50am
Originally posted by islamispeace

Which of the pictures shown exhibit the act of idolatry?

Short answer: it's impossible to know from the pictures alone.


Edited by Ron Webb - 01 July 2014 at 5:50am
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Quote Lachi Replybullet Posted: 01 July 2014 at 3:32pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb



Originally posted by islamispeace

Which of the pictures shown exhibit the act of idolatry?
Short answer: it's impossible to know from the pictures alone.



This was my point. Without understanding the intent of the people you cannot know whether it is idolatry. Just as Muslims 'appear' to pray to the Kaabah, once their intent is explained it is seen that such an image could be misleading. Each of the pictures 'could' be idolatry, but when the intent of the participants is explained the situation might be very different.
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