The Secret Beyond Matter

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Those Who Ascribe Equals to Allah in
His Name And in The Name of Religion

At the end of the previous chapter, we mentioned those idolaters who claiming to be religious ascribe equals to Allah by inventing and imposing, in His name, various provisions and rules, as well as restrictions and injunctions, that have nothing to do with Islam. Such people attempts to change religion so that it accords with their own wishes and desires, interests and advantages, and turn it away from its true essence. They thus witlessly create false religion that they call also "Islam"; however, its contents are totally different from those of the true religion revealed by Allah.

In this way, they lead not only themselves but also large numbers of other people into idolatry. They impose their perverse religion to people. Ignorant people who are unaware of the essence of true Islamic moral values and of the Qur'an and the hadith's true teachings adopt this new distorted religion. These were the real idolaters that we mention in this chapter. As a result, these people have put themselves into the same situation as earlier communities have done. Allah reveals the situation of these people in the earlier communities who deviated into ascribing equals to Him :

They have taken their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah, and also the Messiah, the son of Mary. Yet they were commanded to worship the Only One God. There is no deity but Him! Glory be to Him above anything they associate with Him! (Surat al-Tawba: 31)

Allah reveals in the following verses about this idolatrous community's general logic and mindset.

In the same way, their idols have made killing their children appear good to many of the idolaters in order to destroy them and confuse them in their religion. If Allah had willed, they would not have done it; so abandon them and what they fabricate. They say: "These animals and crops are sacrosanct. No one may eat them, except those we wish" – as they allege – and animals on whose backs it is forbidden to ride, and animals over which they do not mention Allah's name, inventing a falsehood against Him. He will repay them for the things they have invented. They say: "What is in the wombs of these animals is exclusively for our men and forbidden for our wives. But if it is stillborn, they can share in it." He will repay them for their false depiction. He is All-Wise, All-Knowing. [As for] those who kill their children foolishly [and] without any knowledge and make what Allah has provided for them forbidden, inventing lies against Allah, such people are lost. They are misguided. They are not guided. (Surat al-An'am: 137-140)

As the above verses show, idolaters have a great tendency to forbid Allah's blessings and what He has made lawful by proclaiming their own rules in His name. Their generally prohibitive mentality distorts religion. Allah reveals in the Qur'an those of their slanders and lies that are directed toward Him. As can be seen from this, these people appear in Allah's name. In the first verse Allah tells us that they engender confusion in religious matters. In the following verse Allah says that they establish a completely different religion, one that He has not permitted and of which He does not approve:

Or do they have partners who have laid down a religion for them for which Allah has not given any authority? Were it not for the prior Word of Decision, the judgment between them would already have been made. The wrongdoers will have a painful punishment. (Surat al-Shura: 21)

No matter how religious they may see themselves to be, they are no more than idolaters in Allah's Sight. Allah reveals in the Qur'an how idolaters have adhered to the same deviant conception and passed it on from one generation to another:

Those who associate others with Allah will say: "If Allah had willed, we would not have associated anything with Him, nor would our fathers [have done so], and we would not have made anything forbidden." The people before them also lied in the same way until they felt Our violent force. Say: "Do you have some knowledge you can produce for us? You are following nothing but conjecture. You are only guessing." (Surat al-An'am: 148)

Allah states in this verse that idolaters follow their own conjectures and speculations, thereby leaving to one side the definitive facts that come from Him. Other verses describe how the idolaters prefer their distorted ancestral religion that they learned from their ancestors; that is from their fathers or grandfathers to true Islam which Allah reveals in the Qur'an:

No, in fact they say: "We found our fathers following a religion, and we are simply guided [by following] in their footsteps." Similarly, We never sent any warner before you [O Muhammad] to any city without the affluent among them saying: "We found our fathers following a religion, and we are simply following in their footsteps." Ask: "What if I have come with better guidance than what you found your fathers following?" They reply: "We reject that with which you have been sent." (Surat al-Zukhruf: 22-24)

Blindly determined to persist in their ancestral religion, idolaters refuse to listen to reason. This, as well as their conservative and biased mindset, is described in several verses, some of which read as follows:

When they are told: "Follow what Allah has sent down to you," they say: "We are following what we found our fathers doing." What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided! (Surat al-Baqara: 170)

When they are told: "Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger," they say: "What we found our fathers doing is enough for us." What! Even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided! (Surat al-Ma'ida: 104)

Whenever they commit an indecent act, they say: "We found our fathers doing it, and Allah commanded us to do it too." Say: "Allah does not command indecency. Do you say things about Allah that you do not know?" (Surat al-A'raf: 28)

So far, we have seen that these idolaters deviate from the true path because they do not take the Qur'an and the hadith as their foundation. Instead of the Book revealed by Allah and the hadith of our Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), they prefer to implement their ancestors' false legacy, works, and handed-down knowledge. If their ancestors banned things that Allah made lawful, then they regard them as forbidden. But following the way of one's ancestors has nothing to do with true religion. Those who fear and respect Allah and seek His approval are responsible only for abiding by the commands issued by the Qur'an and our Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), not for preserving their ancestral traditions.


Idolaters who are members of a social class

A close examination of the Qur'an verses dealing with idolaters reveals that some of these people constitute a social grouping with shared characteristics, beliefs, and structures and are distinct from the idolaters of other faiths. Allah reveals this in the Qur'an:

As for the believers and those who are Jews, Sabaeans, Christians, Magians, and idolaters, Allah will distinguish between them on the Day of Rising. Allah is witness of all things. (Surat al-Hajj: 17)

When we review the time of our Prophet Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), we can easily comprehend the characters and corrupted morality of these idolaters. Arab societies in that period had adopted a system of belief and worship that deviated from the true faith which Allah revealed to them by means of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh); they worshipped idols and yet did not deny Allah's existence. Even though they knew of His existence, they unwisely regarded their various fabricated idols as His equals (Surely Allah is beyond that) and thus descended into idolatry. They even had a false belief that these idols could intercede on their behalf in His Sight. Allah reveals the perverted belief of these people in the Qur'an:

Instead of Allah, they worship that which can neither harm them nor help them, saying: "These are our intercessors with Allah." Ask: "Would you inform Allah of something about which He does not know either in the heavens or on earth?" May He be glorified and exalted above what they associate with Him! (Surah Yunus: 18)

Allah tells in the Qur'an that these idolaters went on pilgrimage, welcomed pilgrims, visited the Ka`bah, prayed, and spent money for His sake. In other words, they introduced themselves as devout, law-abiding individuals in His Sight. However, since they did not worship Allah alone and since they performed these actions within an idolatrous framework, they derived no benefit from them. No matter how devout, superior, or close to Allah they may have regarded themselves, Allah forbade them to enter the Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque). Allah reveals this in the Surat al-Tawba:

O you who believe, the idolaters are unclean, so after this year they should not come near the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram). If you fear impoverishment, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Surat al-Tawba: 28)

Since the Qur'an is addressed to people living at all times and all ages, we have to see how its wisdom can be applied in our own day. The verses concerned with the idolaters, the attitudes and mindsets of those who attempted to devise a new faith in the name of Islam, and of those who followed them and summoned others to do so, clearly describe such people. Therefore, those of our contemporaries who have a similar attitude and mindset, as well as those who practice an invented religion, match the verses' general description. Indeed, when distorted beliefs proclaimed in religion's name are widespread in some societies, those who impose rules and obligations, define what is lawful and prohibited, and those who follow such people constitute a idolatrous group that "slanders Allah", "abides by the ancestral religion instead of Allah's religion", and "say things about Him that they do not actually know".

In addition, these people proclaim that their religion is the true one and that they are the true believers. For that reason, they have tried to distort the true faith and turned to idolatry. Regardless of time and place, such people have always rejected the messengers sent to return them to the true path and the true faith, and have regarded themselves as being devout and steadfast in faith. Some of them have even witlessly accused Allah's messengers of inventing lies against Allah. (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 186 and Surah Saba': 8). The same accusation was also hurled at our Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), as recorded in Surat al-Shura: 24.

Allah also reveals in more verses of the Qur'an about these idolaters who claim to "maintain the religion" and in this way slander His Messengers:

They are surprised that a warner should come to them from among themselves. The unbelievers exclaim: "This is a lying magician. Has he turned all the deities into One God? That is truly astonishing!" Their leaders went off, saying: "Carry on as you are! Hold fast to your deities. This is clearly something planned. We have not heard of this in the old religion. This is merely something contrived. Has the Reminder been sent down to him out of all of us?" They are in doubt about My Reminder. They have yet to taste My punishment. (Surah Sad: 4-8)

Having convinced themselves that they are on the true path, even on the Day of Judgment they will be unwilling to accept the fact that they were actually idolaters, ascribing equals to Allah. Allah reveals their situation in the Qur'an:

On the Day We gather them all together, We will ask those who associated others with Allah: "Where are the partner-deities for whom you made such claims?" Then they will have no recourse except to say: "By Allah, our Lord, we were not idolaters." (Surat al-An'am: 22-23)

As Allah shows in these verses, what lies at the heart of these people ascribing equals to Allah is their adherence to the rules that they themselves have invented in the name of religion, as opposed to those revealed by Allah. This is not the only reason why those who follow something other than the Qur'an and the hadith of our Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) as their guide, fall into idolatry. Above all else, they go astray because they fail to recognize and appreciate Allah properly and thus have a false belief depending on superstitious tales. They make their beliefs equal to Allah. In addition, their love and conception of Allah has nothing to do with what is described in the Qur'an. Therefore, the only way to appreciate Allah and understand His religion properly and correctly is to take the Qur'an and the hadith as one's guide. Allah reveals that everything is explained in the Qur'an and that Qur'an is a blessing to believers:

… We have sent down the Book to you, making all things clear and as guidance, mercy, and good news for the Muslims. (Surat al-Nahl: 89)



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