Monday, June 20, 2016

The broken god

Many years ago, I was on my way to a friend's house on a cycle rickshaw. The rickshaw was cycling fast through a broad road with houses and other buildings on one side and a park and dumpster on the other side. I was sitting and enjoying the scene of green plants and the blue skies that were in my view. Suddenly my vision struck on the dumpster on the way and in a matter of seconds we were ahead of it. But what I saw near the dumpster or big trash bin is still fresh in my memory. There lay a broken god. It was dumped there by some "devotee" who thought that now his god was no more worth keeping in the house. The statue of that god was quite big and it was dumped in the trash. It was lying there on its face and it had a broken shoulder and arm.

I reached my friend's place and had a good time there but I could not get this scene out of my mind. I was reminded of the story of Abraham or Ibrahim, the Prophet of Allah (May peace be upon him) who was the son a idol maker named Azar. Ibrahim alyhissalaam, at a very young age, realized that gods can not be handmade and they can not be designed by the creation themselves. He started to seek the reality of the Creator and sought the signs of sun, moon and stars and when they all went out of sight or got overpowered by other things he realized that God is the One who is above all these things that experience change and decline. God is the Creator of all things and He never tires, never breaks and does not need any one for anything.

Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.
Surah Al Baqarah 255

Those who argue that the images are made and statues are designed for focus and meditation do not realize that this has a reverse effect as these images and particular shapes and designs lead to distraction and not focus. An idol maker makes the statue of god as and how he pleases giving the deity whatever features he likes. He makes it look attractive, beautiful, powerful or whatever but this is what is given by him to the lifeless model. If the same sculpture is broken it is he who repairs it and some even do not bother repairing...they just dump their broken gods.

If some fly comes and sits on the deity it does not have the power to get rid of it. We as Muslims believe in One Supreme God, God the Almighty. No one can make an image of Him. He is the One who Makes, Creates, Changes, Destroys and will bring every living thing back to life again for account. Allah the Almighty is all powerful. He is the One who has Created the sun, the moon and the skies and everything that is there in the Universe and beyond. We believe in Him without seeing Him and without making an image of Him because He has no image. There is none like Him. Even the old scriptures of Hindus, Sikhs etc, state that there is no image of God.

O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued. 
Surah Al Haj 73

In our religion, Islam, we are told not to make fun of anything that others worship as gods besides Allah. But we are commanded to spread the message of Islam and invite every one to ponder on the fact that God is way above what is ascribed to Him. Some faiths ascribe sons to God but they fail to realize that God is some one who is far above every need and base desires.

There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
Surah Al Baqarah 256

If the people keep image or statue of gods for focus and devotion then they should realize that focus comes for directing one's thoughts toward some entity that is free of any artificiality and superficiality.

According to one definition of focus:
Focus is your ability to center your attention and energy on a specific task, object, or activity for a sustained length of time. It allows you to shut out distractions, so that you can work persistently to achieve a desired state or goal.

The same god when broken is thrown out and now you need a new one to regain your focus. I am not making fun of those who worship idols I am just trying to bring you to realize what Abraham, the prophet, realized even after he was brought up in the environment of idol worship and idol makers. He realized that God cannot be made rather He is the Maker. He realized that God can not be broken and thrown out rather He can break you and throw you out or He can make you and take care of you as He is the Most Merciful and the Most Kind.

Pray that God, the Creator of heavens and the earth and all that is within them, Guides His servants to the straight path and helps them achieve the real success. Ameen.

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