بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Ilahs/Idols or false gods are those which obstruct a person from following Allah’s orders and His straight path. Ilah’s can be physical or psychological.
Allah has granted human beings with wisdom and emotions. The wisdom must control the emotions and it should govern itself as per Allah’s orders . If emotions start controlling wisdom instead, then they have the potential of becoming a person’s ilah or false god, which starts controlling a person.
In human beings certain emotions can become so uncontrollable that they become ilah/idols thus obstructing the person from Allah’s path or commands. For example in some societies, people can murder in the name of honor knowing fully well that murdering is not allowed and they will burn in hell-fire for that crime but the ilah/idol of honor is so strong that it overpowers the person to make him go against Allah’s commands.
Some Quranic Words related to the topic and their meanings:
- Was(t)an / Autan: Idols
- Sanam/Asnam: Idols coupled with love
- Tamaseel: Images
Idols mentioned in Quran: (plz note most of them are emotions that are within our psyche/nafs)
- Wida= Love
- Laat= Reproachment/self censuring
- Manat= Desires
- Uzza = Honor, Ego
- Hawa = Desires
- Yaghos = Helper
- Nisra = Vulture, to point out weaknesses in others
- Yaooq = Delayer/ procrastinator
- Sowaa = time, period
- Baal = Husband
- Other idols mentioned:
- Jesus and his mother
- Jinns (the shielded or covered ones)
- Ulama and those who strike terror in people hearts
The ilah’s are not only physical stuff, there are psychological ilahs as well. Ayat 12:106 states that majority of people who believe in Allah do so by associating others with Allah.
The best practice to follow is mentioned of Ibrahim (a.s) and his people (60:4). Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is the Idol breaker in Quran. We can follow Ibrahim’s practice by breaking the smaller ilah’s of people, so that they can turn to the Biggest one (21:58). The biggest ilah is always Allah/God (The Creator) in everyone’s mind. As long as, there is no communication or only one way communication between Allah and a person, Allah is the biggest ilah in one’s mind. (The person has formed some ideas and concepts from the environment about Allah but he does not know Allah by His Book). Once, two way communication is established i.e one gets to know what Allah is communicating through His Book, about Himself and His orders, the biggest ilah in ones mind can become the real Allah.
25:43 أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا
Have you seen him who has taken ‘Huwa’ (desire) as his ilah. Would you then be a solicitor/wakil over him.
This is the ilah affecting most people at some time or most of the times of their lives. People become slaves of their desires. Their desires dictate the course of their lives.
37:125 أَتَدْعُونَ بَعْلًا وَتَذَرُونَ أَحْسَنَ الْخَالِقِينَ
“Do you call upon Baal/Husband and forsake the best of Creators,-“
This ilah affects most married women. They spend most of their time thinking about their husband, fearing his dis-favor fearing their security in case they lose their husband.
53:19-20 أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّىٰ وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَىٰ
So do you see Laat (Would be) and Uzza (Honour), And Manat ( Longing) third of the other.
71:72-73 وَمَكَرُوا مَكْرًا كُبَّارًا وَقَالُوا لَا تَذَرُنَّ آلِهَتَكُمْ وَلَا تَذَرُنَّ وَدًّا وَلَا سُوَاعًا وَلَا يَغُوثَ وَيَعُوقَ وَنَسْرًا
And they planned a great scheme. And they said! “don’t leave your gods and don’t leave Wadda (Love) and not Soowa (Time / Hour) and Yaghoos (Seek aid) and Yaooq (Delay) and Nasr (Vulture)
So the disbelievers have made a very elaborate scheme and system to deceive people. They encouraged people to hold on to their false gods. The deities are loaded with Love (Wudda) with brain washing stories instilled since their childhood. There are elaborate stories relating to a certain period of time (Soowa) making people feeling attached to a certain period of time. There are certain super-humans who people think can be rightfully called for help (Yaghoos), while Allah declares that don’t call anyone with him (72:18 and 22:62). There is a tendency in people, of delaying (Yaooq) their inclination towards Allah to a far off time or till retirement, when they think they will get time to study Allah’s Book and correct themselves. People take great interest and pleasure in picking faults (Nasr/Vulture) especially with other sect’s beliefs and practices.
9:31 اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
They have taken other than Allah, their Ahbar / Scholars and their Rohban / Terrorists and the Christ son of Mary as lords. And they were not ordered except to serve one Allah. There is no ilah except Him. He is pure from what they associate (with Him).
Many people take directions and guidance from clergy instead of Allah and his Book, believing that the specific sect’s clergy in which they were fortunate to be born with, is the rightly guided one. For most of the matters of daily life, their guidance comes from solutions books written by this particular clergy. Very seldom is that they will take guidance from Allah’s Book instead of solution books from clergy.
12:106 وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُم بِاللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشْرِكُونَ
And majority of them, do not believe with Allah without associating (other as partners) with Him!
Majority of the people who believe in Allah, take Allah’s orders but they associate others, with Allah by taking their orders as well (in divine matters)
27:62 أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ
Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil/suffering, and makes you (mankind) inheritors of the earth? (Can there be another) illah/god besides Allah? Little it is that ye heed!
The above ayat states that who is the one who when called upon, responds to the caller and removes the problems of the caller (in divine matters). This is definitely Allah. Any one else who is called upon in divine matters, as ‘mushkil-kusha’ (problem solver), is deemed as an ‘illah’ as per above ayat as Allah asks is there any illah besides Allah who can do that?
A lecture describing false gods and how prophet Ibrahim (a.s) breaks Idols in people’s minds;