September 27, 2015
by J. Barkley Rosser, Jr.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”
Holy Bible, King James Version, Exodus 20: 3-5 (First three of the Ten Commandments)
“God does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside God, has forged a horrendous offense.”
Sacred Qur’an, Surah 4, Verse 48
(List of objects identified as being possible idols in different parts of the Qur’an include 1. calf, statues 2. other gods 3. Jesus 4. Jinns 5. children 6. humans 7 intercessors 8. Satan 9. property 10. dead prophets, messengers, saints 11. God’s servants 12. ego 13. religious sources other than God’s words 14. religious leaders and scholars 15. creating sects 16. dividing believers)
“Verily the most grievously tormented people amongs the denizens of Hell on the Day of Resurrection would the painters of pictures.”
Sahih Muslim (Hadith, alleged quotations of Prophet Muhammed), vol. 3, no. 5271, (p. 1161), on authority of Abu Mu’awiya.
Note that nowhere in either the Qur’an or the Hadith is making an image of the Prophet Muhammed specifically forbidden, and in the Qur’an the Prophet never called for the punishment of painters.
So today we have headlines about radical Islamists engaging in attacks and destruction of objects based on the ban on idolatry. In January, 12 people were killed at the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo by people protesting alleged disrespectful cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. Last month (August) saw the destruction of the nearly 2,000 year old Temple of Bel at Palmyra, Syria, by members of Da’esh, ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State. They also killed 83 former Director of Antiquities there, Khalid al-Assad, who refused to reveal to them locations of hidden objects on the site. In March 2000, the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the world’s two largest statues of the Buddha at Bamiyan, which had been made in the 6th century.