The information you are about to read has been researched and verified by the writer to the best of his knowledge. It is in the interest of the readers particularly the Muslims to follow suit. The writer used to be the typical next door Muslim, but series of revelations like what you are about to read led him to rediscover Islam and reform.
Against The Grain
One reason why i have a hard time identifying myself with the word “Muslim” is that i find the creed of mainstream Muslims too contrary to the teachings of the scriptures. In a world where the clergymen and jurists define the Muslim creed, i rise against the grain.
And most of them believe not in God without associating others with Him~ Quran 12:106
We often oversimplify idolatry or polytheism to mere disbelief in God and prostration before other deities. In the text of the scriptures, polytheism is a broader issue that may manifest in several areas of our spiritual life. So serious is this issue that it was discussed far more than any other issue in the Qur’an.
In the course of this paper, we will realize how distant mainstream Islam stands from pristine Islam and how a purely monotheistic faith has been reverted into a polytheistic cult by adherents of this same faith, leading themselves and whoever seek Islam farther from it.
What does Polytheism entails?
The Book of God often defines polytheism as associating partners with God or joining others along with God in worship. Quranic reference on polytheism covers;
A. Commemoration and Reverence.
B. Religious rulings from other than God.
D. Veneration and Consecration.
We will discuss each of this elements drawing comparisms between the historic Arab polytheism and orthodox or mainstream Islam.
Commemoration and Reference
When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied
Alas, the single verse in the scriptures that summarizes polytheism; aversion to God Alone. Phony monotheists and typical polytheists are dissatisfied when only God is commemorated and reverenced during their religious rites. Except for Synagogues, you will not set foot in any temple where only God is referenced. It is either God + Jesus in the Churches or God + Muhammad in the Mosques. Particularly in the call to prayers(Adhan), start of prayers(Iqama) and declaration of faith(shahada), most Muslims reverence Muhammad alongside God. Their justification for this that they intend no more than acknowledge and pay Muhammad due respect as God ‘s messenger.
Of course, acknowledging and respecting an individual is fine but when this become incorporated into religious rites where all devotions, respect and reverence should be be due to God, that individual has being joined alongside God in worship, associated with God and this is polytheistic. Paradoxically, the same people who insist their mention of Muhammad is mere respect and not idolization will be utterly displeased as the above verse has stated, where a fellow did not mention Muhammad in his ritual. Trust me, i have been there before. I publicly commenced my salat, reverencing God without Muhammad and the Muslims who heard me went berserk!
They say: Our Lord! Twice hast Thou made us die, and twice hast Thou made us live. Now we confess our sins. Is there any way to go out?
This is because, when God Alone was invoked you disbelieved, but when partners were joined to Him, you believed! So the judgement is only with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great!”
Despite the fact that Muhammad would never mention another name along with God in his rituals, despite the fact that Muhammad is not the only or greatest messenger of God, many have been misled into reverencing and commemorating him daily in their rituals, setting him as a partner of God.
Relious rulings from other than God
Or have they partners who have prescribed for them in religion that which God prescribed not?
And but for a decisive word, it would have been judged between them. Lo! for wrong-doers is a painful doom.
As the historic Arab polytheists wouldn’t understand that every religious rule had to be from God, in the name of their idols, they did keep rules which God did not fix. Of course, they attributed these rules to God, afterall they believed their idols rule on authority of God. Similarly, God is not the only ruler or legislator in the ideology of mainstream Islam. Traditional clergy differentiate “Obey God” from “Obey messenger”, holding that God decrees and His messenger also decrees. Indirectly Muhammad is set on virtually the same level with God, where he not only expand God ‘s law but over rule or abrogate them.
From my experience, the defense by the clergy over their position is that the messenger decrees on inspiration from God. However, this defense is no more convincing than the defense of the historic Arab polytheists;
Those who associate partners say: “If God had so willed, we would not have served anyone but Him – neither we nor our fathers,- nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His.” So did those who went before them. But what is the mission of messengers but to preach the Clear Message?
Have they taken others as intercessors besides God? Say: “Even if they have power over nothing whatever and have no intelligence?”
Most orthodox Muslims are of the belief that Muhammad will intercede for Muslims as spelt out in their traditions. The tradition even goes further to guarantee power of intercession to individuals that complete certain tasks like memorizing the entire Arabic Quran. Though, a number of verses in the Qur’an tells that permission for intercession will be granted to those God is pleased with on the last day, several verses indicate that intercession will not be useful to anyone. Those who did not pass God ‘s test before death will have no one on the last day, so God rules that man must strive for himself.
None shall have the power of intercession, but such a one as has received permission from Most Gracious.
Then guard yourselves against a day when one soul shall not avail another nor shall intercession be accepted for her, nor shall compensation be taken from her, nor shall anyone be helped.
And warn by it(Qur’an) those who fear that they will be gathered before their Lord – for them besides Him will be no protector and no intercessor – that they might become righteous
Hence, there is no big deal about intercession, non is assured the right to intercede and non will find it beneficial either. Hence, there is no place for intercession or intercessors in genuine monotheism.
In this area, the difference between historical Arab religion and mainstream/orthodox Muslim creed is that the former endorsed several beings like angels, spirits and dieties as intercessors while the latter mainly endorse Muhammad. Aside Muhammad, saints and sages are accorded power of intercession by minor Muslim sects.
We tend to conclude that belief in the last day is just belief in ressurection. If so, why did God condemn the historic Arab as polytheists and deniers of the last day when their admission of intercession should simply pass of as belief in the last day?
Basically, belief in intercession or intercessors on the last day is disbelief in the last day which God reiterate will not involve intercessors. The end result is idolization of these intercessors and undercover polytheism.
They serve, besides God, things that hurt them not nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with God.” Say: “Do ye indeed inform Allah of something He knows not, in the heavens or on earth?- Glory to Him! and far is He above the partners they ascribe!”
Veneration and Consecration
They on whom ye call beside Him have no power to help you, nor can they help you, nor can they help themselves.
In the realm of polytheism, sanctification of tombs, altars or shrines is customary. Hoping to expiate their sins, purify their souls or earn bountiful reward from God, polytheists visit and venerate these centres, deemed noble or sacred. All such beliefs and practices have no place in pristine Islam but those who couldn’t grasp the concept of monotheism introduced them into Islam as can be observed today.
The second holiest site of orthodox Islam is the “The Mosque of the Prophet” in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The Mosque originally built by pioneer Muslims was numerous times smaller than it is today. Subsequent expansion by Arab emperors incorporated the Muhammad ‘s house site and tomb into the mosque, with a dome erected over the tomb. There are several other tombs in this mosque.
Customarily, Muslim pilgrims visit this mosque after their pilgrimage to Makkah, where they sanctify and venerate the tombs within it, particularly Muhammad ‘s tomb. They stand before this tomb addressing the Prophet as if he could hear and respond to them. Starting by greeting, saluting and praising him, then invoking for his intercession on the last day and supplicating to God. Some pilgrims even go further than this. An area in the mosque that formerly spans from Muhammad ‘s house to his pulpit is also venerated above other areas as paradise on earth. To learn more, see; Etiquette of Visiting Muhammad ‘s Tomb
There is just one holy site in Islam; the Mosque in Makkah. Even here, no area or object is accrued divine power in the scripture. Decades after the Prophet it was the so-called Muslims who began to idolize these sites and objects. Of course, they claim to intend no more than respect Muhammad but none of them will be pleased to have a Muslim visit Makkah without visiting Medina where Muhammad ‘s tomb will be invariably venerated.
Given that the objective of the pilgrimage is focus on God, one is left wondering why a genuine monotheist will engage in rites that entails veneration and sanctification of other figures upon completing the pilgrimage.
To Him is prayer in Truth: any others that they call upon besides Him hear them no more than if they were to stretch forth their hands for water to reach their mouths but it reaches them not: for the prayer of those without Faith is nothing but wandering.
Say, “Invoke whatever idols you have set up beside Him.” They have no power to relieve your afflictions, nor can they prevent them.
I have discussed these issues with Muslims in the past, not because i have a thing for religious argument but because i often get confronted by these Muslims over my approached to certain Islamic matters like salaat. In the end they maintain that they never invoke anyone besides God in their rites.
How true is that?
Orthodox Muslim clergy teach that supplication to God without greetings to Muhammad is null. They teach that when a Muslim supplicates, his supplication is first suspended mid-way between Heaven and Earth.
[At- Tirmidhi, Hasan Al- Albani:
“Duaa is suspended between heaven and earth and none of it is taken up until you send blessings upon your Prophet.”
As stated in the above tradition, the supplication never reaches God, untill the supplicant sends his greetings to Muhammad.
Here is the main problem, the clergy also teach that Muhammad hears and respond to this greeting from wherever the supplicant is!
Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al- Albani:
Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon me except that Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.”
To invoke a god, spirit or dead is to speak or address them verbally in expectation of their hearing and response to you. In a nutshell, sending greetings to Muhammad according to orthodox teachings is basically invoking Muhammad!!!
Here, we have it that Muhammad is the mediator between man and God, for supplications cannot proceed to God without greetings from the supplicant to Muhammad and his response to it. The implication is that Muhammad ‘s response confirms the supplicant, enabling the supplication to proceed through Heavens to God. Muhammad ‘s role as a mediator invariably renders him a partner of God, an idol and this is the severest form of undercover polytheism.
Are you shocked to learn this? After the conquer of Makkah by the Muslims, most of the Arab polytheist embraced Islam for political reason but the seed of polytheism remained within them. Forced to give up their gods for one omnipotent being, the carved the messenger of God into their new idol or partner with God. The historic Arab polytheists didn’t believe supplications from man could reach God directly, they too had gods to serve as mediator to God. They invoked these idols hoping to draw themselves closer to God. We can see how the same belief or doctrines have crept into Islam via human traditions(Hadith) deceptively attributed to God.
Is it not to God that religion is due? But those who take for partners other than God (say): “We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to God.” Truly God will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But God guides not such as are false and ungrateful.
Say: “Call upon those whom ye set up beside God! They possess not an atom’s weight either in the heavens or in the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor hath He an helper among them.”
Is not God enough for his Servant? But they try to frighten thee with other besides Him! for whoever God leaves to stray, there can be no guide.
Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly commited a tremendous sin.
Stop sheer compliance with saints or sages and adopt independent thought and analysis. Read Chapter 39 of the Qur’an, it deals thoroughly with features of polytheism in several verses like 3, 43, 45. Get a less orthodox translation like “Monotheist Translation” or “Reformist Translation” available on google in PDF for free.
Peace and Have Faith.