Worshiping Idols

Aug 8th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest, Religion, Social

While reciting Kalma-e-tayyaba, every Muslim knows that he is negating all idols and testifying that he will worship none other than Allah (SWT).

But do we negate all the idols in our life? Especially those hidden modern day idols which we worship knowingly or unknowingly.  Love for anything blown out of proportion is start of idolism.  At times we are not even aware of these invisible idols. Here are few of them.

Capitalism is the main idol we are worshiping. Our entire economy is revolving around and worshiping this idol.  The fact is that the wealth itself is one of the blessings of God, the problem is with capitalistic mindset. One of the main concepts in capitalism is ‘self interest’ instead of mutual interest. Adam Smith, while giving this concept of self interest, argued that it will increase the efficiency and productivity; but actually it paved the way for cut-throat competition and criminal attitude towards humanity. Another concept of capitalistic economics is to manage the scarcity of resources to fulfill unlimited wants. Every Muslim believes that Allah has ensured his ‘rizq’, capitalism make him strive for capturing and accumulating the resources to have an absolute control over them. Capitalism has inculcated the phenomenon in the hearts and minds of the people that ‘money is power’, no matter how it is accumulated. The merit for honour, dignity and influence is the amount of capital one possess. And the aftermath of this capitalism is that UNDP reports that more than a quarter of the inhabitants of developing countries still have nothing to live on and 20% of the world population in industrialized countries account for 86% of the world consumption. The gap between haves and havenots is widening and Occupy Wall Street movement is one reaction to it.

The problem with the idol of Capitalism is that people are trying to ‘islamize’ this concept of sheer oppression and brutality. Capitalistic economy is snatching bread n butter from the poor while the rich elite is enjoying their lives to the fullest. Islam has clearly forbidden interest and usury, which is the basis of capitalistic economy. Islam discourages accumulation of wealth and usage of unfair means to earn money. Also, the system of Zakat is given in Islam to help the poor and take them out of their miseries. So the philosophy of Islamic economic system is entirely different from capitalism.

Careerism is another significant idol and focus of all of our efforts. Its related with capitalism, but more importantly, its related to our lust for money and worldly desires. Islam has given prime importance to the teaching that this life is temporary and a testing field for the permanent hereafter; yet all of our efforts are directed towards achieving a wonderful career with a bright future and healthy fortunes. The career we pursue pretty much decides what sort of a life we will lead and whom will we marry.  Earning ‘rizq-e-halal’  through fair means is strongly appreciated in Islam; but running  blindly after the worldly career is problematic. We tend to spend the best of our time in building a career and in the meanwhile we forget how to live a life. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are ideals for a vast majority and are actually idols being worshiped. The purpose of life for a Muslim is to please Allah almighty. If career becomes the purpose of life, it is surely turning into an idol.

Media has become an idol itself. Media portrays itself as a holy cow which is above all ethical and moral standards. It propagates whatever the corporate giants (capitalists) dictate and then people believe it as if it’s a word of God. It is the media which has objectifyed women as a sellable commodity and people have started believing in it. Labeling anyone as terrorist and sparing anyone else is their major contribution towards spreading hate and earning money. Electronic media in specific is a massive propaganda machine. It is badly affecting the lifestyles of the people. Advertisements worth billions of dollars only focus to tell people what do they need which infact they do not need.

Freedom is another one. Capitalistic economy and media has influenced us so much that we want to twist the religion as per our own desires. Unfortunately, a lot of muslims want to defy every order of Quran and Sunnah, and yet they want to be champion of faith.  While its mentioned categorically in Quran that don’t cherry pick the issues and accept the religion in a holistic manner; yet people want to blindly follow their desires in the name of personal freedom. It must be clear that after reciting the Kalima, we have surrendered the freedom to Allah (SWT) and now every muslim has to live in the framework of Quran and Sunnah. Once a person exercises his freedom to choose Islam, then he must follow Islam in its true letter and spirit. Thus the liberty for every muslim is limited and not absolute, therefore, those who recite Kalima and choose to be Muslims, should follow Islam, instead of following their own desires and twisting the religion for their own wishes.

Last but not the least, our so called leaders are idols in most cases. The followers won’t listen even a single word against their leader no matter how corrupt or unethical he or she is.  This is worst form of slavery we are facing in Pakistan. Be it any fake ‘pir/fakir’ or a party leader, almost everyone has his quota of blind followers. This creates a chaotic situation when people do not listen to any argument against their favourite personality. Specifically on social media, if you dare touch the holy cows, their followers will be at you, using all the abusive language they can. This is worst form of mental slavery and unfortunately, alot of our countrymen are slaves mentally.

Having testified Kalma, It’s a commitment that we will get rid of all these idols from our lives and only bow in front of Allah. They are present in our daily lives, invisible though and most often they are unknown. May Allah help us to get rid of these idols (ameen).

Muhammad Saad Khan

About the author

Muhammad Saad Khan is a Biomedical Engineer with a diverse background of engineering and management.

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  1. Masha’allaah great piece. May Allaah enlighten us with the nur of the Kalima.

  2. Dear Mr Muhammad Saad Khan,

    Although I don´t know how does Linkedin works at all, I am continuing receiving the actualizations
    and I just have a look for your writing, and it seemed very interesting to me.
    Even I don´t know many of the meadest cultere and thear believing because I was born in Argentina
    having other habits in life, but for what I´ve learnt at schooll many years ago is that people from east or medeast are happiest than our culture because I think that they live differnt as we use to do, always
    thankful to God, and in modern life I think Is the most importan we have to learn, because
    all we have in life comes from God The Creaitor, then, when we have learnt the lesson, we could do the next step, ceasing having any bad idols for more.

    My humble thinking,
    Thank you for doing this reflective´s article.
    Best Regards.

  3. And excellent read. Especially the part about shirk of materialism.

  4. good work

  5. This is a really good piece Saad. Very insightful. Especially the career and freedom points. Never thought of the in terms of idols, but you’re absolutely right.

  6. In Europe danger of exploitation was seen quite early.
    There were two rival ideas to deal with it- one was communism which failed because you cannot make economy of “equal piece of cake for everyone” without impact on it’s whole- and also it is so against basic human needs that it had to be enforced by brutality and mass murders of the elite – and Islam also has it’s own romance with communist economic ideas – think twice before you decide to take this path.

    Another way which actually works quite well in some European countries up till now was taken at the last half of 19th Century. Rerum Novarum stated that to make sure redistribution of wealth and rights for citizens the state must make sure that the capital and labor do not rival – capital pays it’s share to the state so the state supports services for both. There was also some more about share of capital, and later pieces about redistribution by fair wages. This is a social model of economy which works quite well in Europe – where there was never any communism.

    But humanity suffers for greed. Greed is the root of all evil. Greed with corruption and stiff social ledder will push any nation into dark…

    My American bf says that USA which used to be a promised land had actually created cast system so I agree with you on the main argument. But I do not wish you taking communist course…it did not make anyone happy as yet.

  7. Dr Israr Ahmed (may Allah be pleased with him) exactly explained what you wrote. What is Shirk? Keep up good work brother. Excellent article..

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