Who Became Lost In The Idol House Of The West?

Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] was born into the atmosphere where people worshipped rocks ,trees ,planets and stars. The head of the family [Ibrahim’s uncle] was not even an ordinary idolater, but was one who totally rejected Allah and who used to make the idols with his own hands. According to traditions Prophet Ibrahim’s father died before his birth and he was raised by an uncle whom Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] called father. Into that family Ibrahim was born, destined to stand against his own family, against the entire system of his community. In brief, he stood against all kinds of polytheism.

Today we are living in a society, which has some striking similarities with the society Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] lived in. That society was plagued with polytheism, there was no value for human life. Whenever calamities struck, the tribal elders used to sacrifice humans to please their Gods. Our society is not very different; the believers of one God have become slaves to a million Gods.

Allama Mohammad Iqbal very thoughtfully penned down this state of ours in his book “Armaghan e Hijaz”

Nida Masjid ki deewaron se aayi… Firangi but-kade main so gaya kon?
A voice sounded from the walls of the mosque… ”Who became lost in the idol house of the west?”

A prudent analysis of our current situation will reveal that we have become enslaved. Enslaved from two perspectives. Firstly, at a personal level, we have succumbed to the desires of our “self” and fallen prey to the evil of materialism. The desire to be the best, to be at the top of social pyramid has made us forget our religio-cultural values. The consumer culture has made us forget our roots. Deceived by the glitter of this world we have plunged ourselves into an abyss and the only way out is to revolutionize our lives by going back to the basics, going back to the message of Quran and Hadith.

Allama Mohammad Iqbal said in Armaghan e Hijaz:

Bouton ko meri ladeeni mubarik… Kay hai aaj aatish e Allah Hoo sard
Greetings to the idols for my secularism… For the flame of “Allah hoo” chants is dead

Secondly, the “Corrupt System” of governance has enslaved us at a macro or societal level. Whether someone likes it or not, we are still living in a society which is based on ancient tribal system. The tribes have been replaced with political parties and tribal heads have been replaced with political leaders.

Back then tribal elders had control of most of the wealth, as only the most wealthy and socially respectable person was made the chief. In other words, in pre-Islamic era there was concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, similarly today we have gone back to that time as wealth has once again become concentrated in the hands of a few families. History has taught us that when this accumulation of wealth happens, those who are at the top of society make loopholes in the system to cover their tracks and strengthen their hold over the masses. The pagans of Makkah did this by controlling Holy Kaaba and the revenue, which was generated each year. Political leaders of today do the same by inventing new ways to fool the people. Sometimes they fool us by the false hopes of democracy.

What they portray as democracy is in fact political dictatorship, they left out loopholes in the electoral process so that even the ineligible pass through the filters of Article 62 & 63, which were placed only to showcase to the people about false transparency of the whole process.

The process of election is no longer free and fair and thus it has lost its true meaning. Election has now become “Selection”. People can no longer elect true representatives. You must be wondering why am I discussing our corrupted political system because I started my discussion with the story of Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H]. I decided to take this course because this is why Allah revealed these stories to us, so that we can take lesson from the condition of past nations.

I have established my case that like the nation of Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] we are also involved in corruption and polytheism, albeit of a different category. They worshipped idols made out of clay and rejected God. We accept God yet we worship so many idols. If Prophet Ibrahim`s story can help us identify our problem, then it can most certainly help us identify the solution as well. So lets go back to the story.

Ibrahim Breaks the Idols

He explained to them the beauty of Allah’s creation, His power and wisdom. Idol worship is detested by Allah for Allah is the Lord of the universe Who created mankind, guided him and provided him with food and drink and cured him when he was sick and Who will cause him to die and be raised up again. It was He to Whom Ibrahim prayed and who would forgive his sins on the Day of Judgment. However, they would not give up but clung fast to idolatry. Ibrahim left his father’s house and abandoned his people and what they worshipped. He decides to do something about their state of disbelief, but did not reveal it. He knew that there was going to be a great celebration on the other bank of the river that would be attended by all the people.

Ibrahim waited until the city was empty, and then came out cautiously, directing his steps towards the temple. The streets leading to it were empty and the temple itself was deserted for the priests had also gone to the festival outside the city. Ibrahim went there carrying a sharp axe. He looked at the stone and wood statues of the gods and at the food laid in front of them as offerings.

He approached one of the statues and asked: “The food in front of you is getting cold. Why don’t you eat?” the statue kept silent and rigid. Ibrahim asked all the other statues around him:

 ”Will you not eat of the offering before you?” (Ch – 37:91)

He was mocking them for he knew they would not eat. He once again asked then:

“What is the matter with you that you do not speak?” (Ch 37:92)

He then raised his axe and started smashing the false gods worshipped by the people. He destroyed them all except one on whose neck he hung the axe. He left the temple. He had fulfilled his vow to show his people a practical proof of their foolishness in worshipping something other than Allah.

Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] took it to himself to destroy the idols. Back then the idols were of clay, today the dimensions have changed, the idols are no longer physical in form, they are in the form of corrupt system, which has spawned corrupt leaders. People believe that rounding the corrupt people and everything will come back to order. I disagree, Prophet Ibrahim[P.U.B.H] did exactly the same thing in beginning by trying to talk the people out of their foolishness, he tried to reason with them, but they did not listen. It is human psychology that when an idea takes firm roots in our mind, it takes a monumental effort to remove it. Rounding the corrupt people and making a handful of them accountable will only bring momentary change, eventually the system will spawn more corrupt people who`ll make sure to suppress anyone who challenges their authority in future.

The only long lasting solution to our problems is the removal of this corrupt system. Like Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] we have to take up axes and smash the system. One would ask how? Shall we resort to violence? No. Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] did not resort to violence, Islam prohibits violence. We have to challenge the values of the system.

However, super imposing the model of revolution brought by Prophet Ibrahim [P.U.B.H] on our society won’t be easy. One has to remember that we live in a society where 60% of people live in less than $3 a day. Any attempt to bring a peaceful revolution will result in failure if the masses are not made aware of the mess they are in. The people need to be made aware about the inherent weaknesses of this system. Revolutions only happen once the masses become aware. The Revolution brought by Prophet Mohammad [P.U.B.H] took almost 20 years, for 20 years our beloved prophet kept on spreading awareness and enlightening the people. When conquest of Makkah took place, the total population of Makkah was almost 10-15 million and only 10000 enlightened men were able to subdue 10-15 million Meccans.

Allama Mohammad Iqbal, synthesized this whole topic beautifully.

Garam Ho Jata Hai Jab Mehkoom Qoumon Ka Lahoo… Thartharata Hai Jahan-E-Chaar Suay-O-Rang-O-Boo
When the enslaved people’s rage boils and they rise in revolt against the master… This world of near and far, of colour and smell, becomes the scene of tremors and convulsions.

Pak Hota Hai Zan-O-Takhmeen Se Insan Ka Zameer… Karta Hai Har Rah Ko Roshan Charagh-E-Arzoo
It purifies man’s conscience-eschewing all doubts and misgivings …When the lamp of high ideals is lit, brightening all paths leading to the goal.

Zarbat-E-Peham Se Ho Jata Hai Akhir Pash Pash… Hakmiat Ka But-E-Sangeen Dil-O-Aaeena Roo

The master’s sturdy body—with a heart of stone and face of a mirror… gets soon smashed up and beaten down at the repeated blows of the weak slave.

Stories of Prophets by Ibn e Katheer
Armaghan e Hijaz by Sir Allama Mohammad
by Danial Ahmed
Team Operation Pakistan

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