The Story of Statues and the Destruction of Civilizations

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To begin with, there is no single Muslim on earth who worships a statue, believes in it, preaches it or thinks about it. Rather, no single person from among the followers of heavenly religions believes in these statues at all. It is true that Islam prohibited the making of statues in the early days of Islam. However, this prohibition was based on two grounds. First, people were recent converts to Islam who were recently worshipping idols thinking that they bring them nearer to Allah, the Almighty. The Holy Quran expressed this belief of theirs in the statement of Allah, the Exalted, “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” (The Quran, 39: 3). Second, these statues were made to be worshipped or they were made in order to match the creation of Allah, the Almighty. This is confirmed by the fact that apart from the purification of the Ka’bah from idols that were worshipped, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) have not demolished a temple, a statue or a monument in anyone of the provinces they opened. This is because they were the best generation who correctly understood the objectives and purposes and were not satisfied with the apparent meanings of texts. On the contrary, they deeply and consciously reflected on their purposes and objectives. This profound understanding of texts is confirmed by the decision of the Second Caliph, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), when he denied the new converts whose hearts were to be inclined to Islam their stated share of Zakah even though it was established by an explicit text as Allah, the Exalted, says, “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler.” (The Quran, 9: 60). When he was asked, “How do you stop a share that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to give?” He replied, “We used to give them when Islam was weak to incline their hearts to faith. Now that Allah has strengthened Islam with His bounty, there is no need to give out this share.” Furthermore, Umar suspended the penalty of theft during the year of famine. He wrote to one of his governors and asked him about what he would do if people brought him a thief. The governor replied that he would cut his hand. Umar said to him, “But, if a hungry person came to me, I would cut your hand.” Unfortunately, our nation has been plagued by some narrow-minded people who began to issue edicts that this is lawful and that is unlawful without knowledge, understanding or study. They have taken themselves, students, followers and elements into the affairs of fatwa for which they are unqualified and thus they went astray and misled other people. Moreover, they opened a wide door before international colonial and imperial powers that work hard to suppress our cultural monuments including the Arab, Islamic, Christian, Pharaohic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman or otherwise in order to blot out the Arab memory and the monuments of the Arab, Islamic and Christian civilizations. This is because they are foolish people who have no morals, religion, values or principles. For them, the end justifies the means regardless of the enormity and seriousness of this means even it led to the destruction of human beings, statues, offspring and the monuments of human civilizations. The worst thing in this regard is that this destruction is perpetrated in the name of Islam and from people who falsely attribute themselves to it. In fact, Islam and its tenets have nothing to do at all with their acts even if they lied to themselves and deceived their victims from among the youth who joined them that they are on the truth. They have been rightfully described by Allah, the Exalted, in His statement, “And a group deserved [to be in] error. Indeed, they had taken the devils as allies instead of Allah while they thought that they were guided.” (The Quran, 7: 30). Allah, the Almighty, says, “Say, [O Muhammad], Shall we inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.” (The Quran, 18: 103-104) and He also says, “And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents. And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.” (The Quran, 2: 204-205). The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyib, the Ministry of Awqaf and the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa stressed that it is unconscionable to assail these cultural monuments in any way, either by demolishing, distorting, selling, looting or destroying and that assailing them is tantamount to an act of aggression against civilization and human heritage. The reaction of the western world and international institutions to these crimes and their complete silence concerning them are remarkable and surprising and raise many questions. Had these crimes been committed anywhere else other than our Arab region, the whole world would strongly and differently react. This is a natural reaction from our enemies who are waging unjust wars against us. However, the thing that adds more fuel to the fire is these fatwas that support and nourish this crooked thinking, the matter which stresses what we have repeatedly called for that there is an urgent need to issue a law to regulate the affairs of fatwa and restrict it to qualified scholars alone.