Thursday 18th of April 2024
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Is There any Deity Besides Allah?

One thing about which the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali has drawn our attention is that if there existed any other deity other than Allah, he too must have sent his prophets, or he must have revealed some signs in proof of his divinity. Apart from that if there exists two gods and both have divine power both of them will be having limitations and if any god exists at all with limitations then he cannot be a true god, because limited power is that which at one stage reached its ultimate end and we know it quite well that limited power cannot be god itself. Or alternatively both powers can be limitless. But if both powers happen to be limitless, both of them cannot be termed as limitless powers. In this regard I can cite an example quoted by a scholar. "If you ask an architect to construct a building which has an unlimited area, he cannot obviously make more than one building with unlimited area because for the other one there will remain no space at all".


Polytheism, that is to depend upon some one other than Allah and to consider Allah's creature as god and to believe in another power in contrast to Allah.

Polytheism, that is to obey any god other than Allah unconditionally .

Polytheism, that is to say any type and manner of worship which is not meant for Allah.

In the narrations made in the Holy Qur'an the following two things have been generally mentioned:

(i) Strengthening one's faith with the firm belief in Allah's Power, believing in Divine help and blessings and fearing Allah's Wrath.

(ii) To shake off one's belief in receiving help from any power other than Allah, to belie all false standards and to abolish all bases and traces of polytheism.

We read in the Holy Qur'an that Prophet Nuh had warned his deviated son that all the infidels of his time would be perished in the Deluge because of Allah's wrath. The son replied that as long the wrath of his father's Allah persisted he would perch himself safely on the top of the mountain. Just imagine the logic of the son of Prophet Nuh. He had thought the mountain and its protection as counter to Allah's wrath. This is the glaring example of polytheism. Thus if we also, like the son of Prophet Nuh, take anybody else—man or any other thing—as equal to Allah, we are polytheists.

Examples of Polytheism

A person says there is no necessity of offering Salatul Istisqa (prayers for rains) as water can be stored now in dams and lakes for our needs. Another person says that it is not the time now that Allah sends down His wrath so that people are struck with famine because ship-loads of food-grains can now be had from abroad. Still another one argues that he admits the sanctities of the religious laws but by this it does not mean that we should violate the international laws, or he says that on the face of the commands of Allah he should also take into consideration the consent of the people and as such sometimes he obeys the commands of Allah and sometimes of the people also. Such a kind of notion or view-point is in contravention to the belief in the Oneness of Allah.

In the Holy Qur'an about 200 times the words, "dunillahi" or "dunihi" have been repeated in connection with polytheism. It refers to a god other than Allah. If we want to pinpoint the true sign of a polytheist's belief, which should be correct and be according to the Holy Qur'an, the word "dunillahi" i.e. beside Allah will be more appropriate.

Hence, those who go after others and expect their honour and success from non-Divine beings and establish the laws of others instead of Allah; those who have pinned their hopes on others besides Allah and their article of faith depends on pleasing others besides Allah; and those who fear beings other than Allah and work for them have undoubtedly excluded themselves from the bounds of monotheism.

The Number of Polytheists: In the above mentioned sense the number of devout people, who have not considered any other being besides Allah as their centre of attention or have not pinned any hope on them and who are not hypocrites but honour the commands of Allah and who only enforce the commands of Allah, is very small. The Holy Qur'an says:

Most of them do not believe in Allah, they are but pagans. (Surah Yusuf, 12:106)

Anxiety, The Sign of Polytheism

A big problem of psychology is anxiety and to check worries is its main object. But in my opinion anyone who has entered the fold of monotheism and his thought and deeds are only for Allah there is no chance of his suffering from nervous exhaustion and depression. But when the thoughts and deeds of man are not for the sake of Allah only, he is likely to suffer from neurosis. In other words as soon as a man sets his foot on the path of Allah, Allah rewards him for his deeds. Allah hears his implorations and watches his deeds and that man is the one who does not pin his hopes on anyone except Allah.

All that we discuss in our daily talks about problems that such and such person's work was hampered or not hampered, or he achieved success or was doomed to failure, or he prospered or got ruined, and besides all that psychology deals with them by saying that such and such failure was the cause of anxiety, are outside the pale of monotheism because in the belief of monotheism there is no such thing as failure.

It was immaterial for the Holy Prophet and it made no difference with him when he used to tend sheep or migrated to Madina, or took refuge in the Cave of Thaur, or was in the battlefield, or delivered a sermon from the pulpit of the Masjid, or performed circumambulation of the Holy Ka'bah or carried bricks for the construction of the masjid, or wore martial dress or ordinary civilian dress. True, responsibilities do change, but wishes do not have any effect.

On the other hand we are such that if someone in authority deprives us of our position, dress, pulpit, office or residential place we go to the extremes of grieving or on the point of committing suicide, because these things have become so loving to us or in other words these have become our part and parcel and an idol of worship for us.

In some countries the government in power put pressure on religious leaders to invoke Allah's blessings for the ruler in the masjid and sometime lure them with bribe or intimidate them to do so. Just as we have learnt from the hadith that when crimes are given appreciation the domination of the despot is strengthened and as a natural consequence it invites the wrath of Allah. As a despot becomes more powerful the commands of Allah become weakened. Under this situation if a religious leader instead of submitting to the pressure of such despots abandons his seat, or gives up the job of sermonizing and leading the people in congregational prayers, he can relieve himself from that pressure and thereby save himself from sins. But when residential place, professional security, dress and status become the centre of attraction for him, they make him their captives.

May Allah save us, for the sake of sincere believers, from those captivities and gods (temptations) which have entered our hearts.

Signs of Polytheism

Associating anyone with Allah is the worst sign of evil and we deal here with one aspect of it:

1. Practical Effect of Polytheism Polytheism is the cause of nullifying the good deeds. According to the Holy Qur'an, man's total deeds go in waste because of polytheism. Sometimes a small deed defeats all our efforts. Following are some examples:

(i) A student studies throughout the year but he does not appear in his examinations. His lessons remain unchecked, and though they happen to be intact, yet he loses social status.

(ii) A man who has been very particular about keeping his health but if he takes a small quantity of poison all his life long precautions become useless.

(iii) If a student kills a son of his teacher he nullifies all his good deeds despite his lifelong efforts, services and the affection of his teacher.

Thus associating someone with Allah is like taking a poison or killing a teacher's son. The Holy Qur'an says:

If people worship idols, their deeds will be turned devoid of all virtues. (Surah Anam, 6:89)

2. Psychological Effect of Polytheism It is abundantly clear that the root cause of man's anxiety is that he cannot please all people because people are in good number and each one of them expects one or the other thing from him. As he cannot possibly please everybody he becomes worried because in order to please one person or a group of persons, one will have to displease another person or group of persons. Here the question of monotheism comes under discussion. The monotheist only knows to please one Being and that Being is Allah. It is of no concern to him as to what other people want or expect from him. By this he is naturally wellcontented. In this context the Holy Qur'an cites two examples:

(i) Can many different lords be considered better than One All-Dominant Allah? (Surah Yusuf, 12:39)

It means whether man can be happy in pleasing One Allah or he can be so in pleasing so many with varying kinds.

(ii) Allah advances the example of a man who is owned (as a slave in common) by a number of men at loggerheads, and another man who is owned by only one. Are these two alike in attribute? (Surah Zumar, 39:29)

Hence, a man who is subservient to only one person remains in peace but the one who is under the domination of many people of bad habits and temper, cannot be in peace.

It is too difficult to please others but it is Allah Who becomes pleased with His servants. In the Supplication of Kumayl we come across the following words: Ya sari'ar riza (He whose pleasure is quickly achieved!)

However if others get pleased with us at all they never forget our shortcomings. It is only Allah Who is so kind as to overlook our mistakes and shortcomings, as we recite in the Supplication of Kumayl: "O Allah! You reveal our merits and cover our faults". (See: The Supplication of Kumayl, ISP 1985)

In principle if people do not act within the sphere of monotheism or the bounds of Allah and are pleased with me, it will have no value at all. What will they do for me? They can just clap their hands or name the street after me or do similar other useless things for encouraging me. What else can they do?

Apart from this was there anyone else except Allah Who took care of me while I was still in my mother's womb? Am I not still under His care? Will I have no concern with Him on the Day of Judgement? Are all the virtues and merits not from Him? Are not the hearts of the people under His control? Then why should I forsake Him and run after frivolous things?

In short, instead of trying to please others who have varying tastes when their pleasure does not affect my past and future, it is better to please only Allah the One, Whose pleasure is quickly achieved and Who can change the people's mind for me, and with whom rest my past and future. The Holy Qur'an says:

Do not consider anything equal to Allah lest you should become despised and neglected. (Surah Bani Israil, 17:22)

We ran after people for receiving their attention throughout our life and ultimately came to the conclusion that people liked us only because of their selfish motives. It is only Allah who likes us for our own sake. Our friends make new friends and then desert us to let us remain in perpetual misery. As mentioned in the following verse of the Holy Qur'an:

Believers some of your wives may prove to be your enemies, so beware of them. (Surah Taghabun, 64:14)30

If it is told that some of our wives and children are our enemies it is in this very sense that some of our wives and children want us only for the sake of their own comforts no matter if we are recompensed with misfortune and ruination.

3. Collective Effect of Polytheism

In a society based on monotheism personal interests, governing laws and collective thinking are on one and the same plane. Authority, commands, laws and the path are the same and it is the path of Allah and the command of Allah and Allah is the Patron and Guardian of everybody. But in a polytheistic society instead of one law and one direction there are several laws and directions and everyone defends his own line of direction which he has adopted for himself. The Holy Qur'an says:

In that case each god would have taken away his creatures and claimed superiority over the others. (Surah al-Mu'minun, 23:91)

That is to say in this society the lawyers defend their clients and not the truth. In this society the aim of life is not to worship Allah but to flatter the people.

The Holy Qur'an says:

Lord, when we obeyed our chiefs and elders they led us astray. (Surah al-Ahzab, 33:67)

According to the Holy Qur'an:

People are envious of each other. (Surah al-Mu 'minun, 23:91)

Hence, everyone adopts the way of his liking and seeks pleasure in it, wants to please himself without caring for the truth and falsehood. He is concerned only with his own interest, his well-wishers, and his social standing, but he does not respect his opponents even though they have reasons to be on the right side. The Holy Qur'an says:

Who have divided themselves into various religious sects, each one happy with their own belief. (Surah al-Rum, 30:32)

Domination, suppression, false propaganda and opposition are the collective signs of polytheism. The Holy Qur'an says:

Do not associate yourselves with the pagans who have divided themselves into various religious sects, each one happy with their own belief. (Surah al-Rum, 30:31—32) Do not think that only the idolater is the polytheist, but it means that you should not join the school and path of that person who sows the seeds of discord and thrusts his personal opinion, likes and dislikes on some school and deprives it from its reality and piety, otherwise you too will become a polytheist because side by side with Allah's command you introduce your own views in which you are interested.

The Effect of Polytheism in the Next Life

To enter the Hell with disgrace in the Hereafter is included in the effects of polytheism. We read in the Holy-Qur'an at several places that on the Day of Judgement the polytheists will be addressed that they followed the gods besides Allah and worshipped the deities in the hope that they would remove their sufferings. On that Day they will be told to call those deities to come to their rescue! The Holy Qur'an says:

Do not consider anything equal to Allah lest you be thrown into Hell, despised and driven away from Allah's Mercy. (Surah Bani Isra'il, 17:39)

Grandeur of Monotheism

It is the style of the Holy Qur'an that apart from chalking out a mode of action of doing good and abstaining from evil, it teaches us in parables and uses analogies which by themselves are interesting. The Holy Qur'an says that for the believers the example of Fir'aun's wife (Asiya) is so good and interesting, for despite being under alluring atmosphere she did not swerve from the right path. She was so truthful and steadfast in her belief that all the pomp and glamour of the court of Fir'aun could not shake her faith and she achieved greater success in her belief so much so that she prayed to Allah for her salvation in the Hereafter. The Holy Qur'an says:

To the Believers, as a parable, Allah has advanced the event of the wife o f Fir'aun who said, 'Lord, establish for me a house in Paradise. Rescue me from Fir'aun and his deeds and save me from the unjust people'. (Surah Tahrim, 66:11)

We also read in the Holy Qur'an that there is a clear example of the infidel wife of Prophet Nuh. She was prevented from the right path by her lust and obstinate nature to the extent that despite being lodged in the House of revelation and being in the proximity of Prophet Nuh she went astray. The Holy Qur'an says:

Allah has reminded the disbelievers about the event of the wives of Nuh and Lut by advancing a parable. (Surah Tahrim, 66:9)

Progenitor of Monotheism

The Holy Qur'an says about Prophet Ibrahim:

Say: Allah has spoken the truth. Follow the upright rites of Ibrahim who was not an idolater. (Surah Ale Imran, 3:95)

Now we proceed with the historical events that took place in the time of Prophet Ibrahim so that we may prepare a list of his achievements by which it becomes evident that he was the loyal and noble hero of the school of monotheism.

Prophet Ibrahim was obedient to Allah in the discharge of his obligations and no power on earth could distract him or prevent him from the right path. He came out with flying colours from the trials and tribulations. The Holy Qur'an says:

When his Lord tested Ibrahim 's faith and he satisfied the test, He said, "I am appointing you as the leader of mankind" (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:124)

Merits of Prophet Ibrahim

Desecrated the Idol of Temporal Desires: Prophet Ibrahim was ordained by Allah to slaughter his beloved son, Prophet Isma'il. When he was born his father's age was hundred years. Without advancing any excuse Prophet Ibrahim obeyed the command of Allah to which he gave priority over his paternal love. He broke the idol of personal desires and wishes. When he suppressed his sentiments and emotions and laid down his son and started slaughtering him with a knife, there came the following Divine command:

O' Ibrahim! you have fulfilled what you were commanded to do in your dream. Thus do We reward the righteous ones. It was certainly an open trial. (Surah Saffat, 37: 105)

Crushed the Tyrant Ruler of His Time: Prophet Ibrahim disagreed Namrud by shattering his vanity through logic and reasonings The Holy Qur'an says:

O Muhammad, have you heard about the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord for His granting him the kingdom? Ibrahim said, "It is only my Lord who gives life and causes things to die" He replied: "I am the giver of life and death". Ibrahim said, "Allah causes the sun to rise in the East. Can you make it rise in the West?" Thus the unbeliever was confounded. Allah does not guide the unjust people. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:258)

Destroyed the Idolatry of Heavenly Bodies: The Holy Qur'an says:

When it became dark at night he (Ibrahim) saw a star and said: "Is this my Lord?" But when it disappeared, he said: "I don't adore those who fade away" When Ibrahim saw the rising moon, he said: "Is this my Lord?" But when it faded away, he said: "If my Lord had not guided me, I should have certainly gone astray. (Surah al-An'am, 6: 77-78)

Severed Relations with his Relatives: Prophet Ibrahim severed relations with his relatives for the sake of Allah. The Holy Qur'an says:

Lord! the idols have misled the people. Whoever follows me is my friend, as for those who disobey, you are certainly All-Forgiving and All-Merciful. (Surah Ibrahim, 14:36)

Abandoned his Wife and Suckling son: Prophet Ibrahim abandoned his wife and the suckling son for the sake of Allah. The Holy Qur'an says:

O Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley near your Sacred House so that they could be steadfast in prayers. Lord! fill the hearts of the people with love for them and produce fruits for their sustenance so that they may glorify You. (Surah Ibrahim, 14: 37) 

Never Cared for His Life: Prophet Ibrahim cheerfully obeyed Allah when he was thrown in the fire. The Holy Qur'an says:

O We said, O fire! be a comfort and peace to Ibrahim. (Surah Anbiya, 21:69)

The Holy Qur'an has dealt with this subject in detail but we have quoted some relevant verses only for the sake of brevity.

Deceit is Polytheism

We read in the hadith that every sort of false pretence is polytheism. Of course polytheism is of varying degrees. Sometimes it is very apparent as for instance worship of the idols, the sun, the moon and the stars, and sometimes it is so hidden that man himself is unable to detect it. We have read in the hadith that the problem of this type of polytheism and monotheism is as difficult as perceiving the movement of an ant on a slab of stone in the dead of the night. Therefore, without the ever-present guidance of Allah and of one's own deepest consideration and quest for searching truth one cannot prevent himself from falling into the trap of polytheism.

Signs of Sincere Believer

1. Does not Wait for Any Return: The Holy Qur'an considers those people as the embodiment of virtue and sincerity who offered their food which they needed most at the time of breaking their fast to the needy ones for three consecutive days, and simply said that they did not do it in the hope of any reward, or praise or thanks. (Vide: Surah Dahr, 76: 7—9).

Therefore, anyone who expects something in return of the favour done to a third person by way of a word of appreciation is void of sincere devotion and purpose. Such a person finding no appreciation of his deed feels sorry for it. Such a person should make an appraisal of his true intentions.

2. Controls the Fury of Inherent Tendencies: The second kind of sincerity is that one is not swayed away by his inborn passions. We all have heard that when Imam Ali overpowered his enemy and laid him on the ground for severing his head from his body, the wretched fellow spat on his face out of his deepest rancour and disrespect and the Holy Imam got infuriated. For a while Imam Ali paused till he composed himself and then he proceeded to behead the enemy. Afterwards, he explained that the reason of his making a pause was that he did not want to be swayed away by the dictates of his personal desire as the enemy had made him infuriated, hence he did not want to mar the noble spirit of Jihad as otherwise it would have appeared as an act of retaliation.

3. A Sincere Person is Never Sorry and Unsuccessful: A sincere person performs his action for the sake of Allah only and his reward remains preserved before Allah and thus he is not affected by consideration of victory or defeat, happiness or grief. As we have already said before such a man never has any anxiety or worry as these originate from unbridled desires, failures and frustrations. The object of such a man is to attain Allah's pleasure only and thus leads a happy life.

How One Can Avoid Polytheism and False Hopes?

The Holy Qur'an has severely warned against polytheism and in fact if we come out of the clutches of the Satan and on the one hand suppress our inwardly dominant temporal desires and on the other hand eradicate the external power of ruthless despots, then there will remain no question of polytheism and hypocrisy. The causes of all our misfortunes and difficulties are polytheism, intemperate desires and despotic domination, and getting rid of all these things is the prerequisite of monotheism. It is because unless we cleanse a utensil from bad food we cannot put fresh food in it. Thus, in the realm of monotheism the declaration of the words La ilaha (There is no god) come prior to Illallah (except Allah). In this regard the Holy Qur'an points out the following causes of polytheism:

The belief considering other things as one 's guardians besides Allah is as feeble as a spider's web. (Surah Ankabut, 29:41)

Why then have you taken guardians other than Allah when such guardians cannot benefit or harm themselves. (Surah ar-Ra'd, 13.16)

Those whom you worship instead of Allah do not have the power to create even a fly, even though all of them would come together for the task. (Surah al-Hajj, 22:73)

Do those who establish friendship with disbelievers instead of the believers seek honour? Let them know that all honour belongs to Allah. (Surah an-Nisa, 4:139)

The Holy Qur'an further teaches in parables how the notorious despots like Qarun, Fir'aun and Namrud and their coteries failed to avoid the wrath of Allah. In short the Holy Qur'an has advanced the following guidelines for the abolition of polytheism:

(i) Unravelling the Reality: By exposing the weakness and the vulnerability of polytheism it is sufficient to know that all those guardians who have no power to benefit or harm or to create or bestow honour can become the center of our hopes and aspirations!

(ii) Teaching in Parables: By teaching in parables as to how people depended on all their guardians, idols etc. and could not get any benefit from them, but Allah protected Prophet Ibrahim from the blazing fire, Prophet Yusuf from the well, Prophet Yunus from the belly of the fish and Prophet Muhammad from his sworn enemies who had surrounded his house.

(iii) Drawing Comparison: To root out polytheism the Holy Qur'an uses the method of drawing a comparison between polytheism and monotheism and warning how man falls into the ditch of total disgrace by accepting one thing for the other in place of the right and correct thing. To illustrate the point a few verses of the Holy Qur'an can be quoted below:

Is the One who can create, equal to those (idols), who cannot create anything? Why then do you not understand? (Surah an-Nahl, 16:17)

Those whom you (pagans) worship besides Allah, are themselves servants just like yourselves. (Surah al-Araf, 7:194)

In fact these are as helpless, feeble and wanting as you are. After all why have you so simply sold your honour and dignity and why are you so submissive to those who are just like you!

However, if you lose your faith in Allah you will lose your sense of honour and self-respect. On this occasion it is pertinent to mention what Allama Iqbal says.

"If a man out of his sheer blind foldedness adopted the servitude (worship) of another person, he will be like the one who possessed a grain of self-respect and freedom, handed it over to qayhobad and jamshed "

"In the servile attitude he is worse than a dog. I have never come across an instance in which one dog may have lowered his head before another dog". The Holy Qur'an says:

Can any of your idols guide you to the Truth? (Surah Yunus, 10:35)

4. Prayers, Invocation and Remembrance of Allah

The fourth important weapons for demolishing polytheism are the offering of prayers, glorifying of Allah, invocation, ancl the remembrance of Allah, for if each word and each sentence of it is uttered with rapt attention, it will fill the human heart with the belief of monotheism. To take an example if we ponder for a while over the following recitals:

Allah u Akbar (Allah is Great), bihawlillahi (With Allah's Power) and "iyyaka na'budu" (You alone do we worship), we shall come to know that the meaning of Allah u Akbar by any measure and standard is greater than man's power of conception worthy of looking at, hearing, saying and writing, far superior to all, and mightier than the might of all temporal powers and despots and their tricky contrivances.

bihawlillahi wa quwwatihi qqumo wa aq'ud, (I lie and rise only by the Might of Allah).

iyyaka na'budu wa iyyaka nasta'in (We worship only Allah). Neither we owe allegiance to the East nor to the West. We seek help only from Allah. He is All-Powerful and His Might is infinite. Whatever is on earth is His Kingdom. He helps man with air, sand, clouds, moon and water. He has helped mankind through His angels. He has frightened His enemies and has destroyed them by hailstones on their heads and has helped the believers by pacifying them. We seek help from Allah in Whose hands is our life's existence.

In short every word of our supplication enlivens the spirit of the belief in monotheism and does away with our attachment with everything except Allah. But it does not mean that we should give up efforts and quest for learning and that we should refuse to take personal benefits from the world resources.

This is almost certain that in this book our discussions are not exhaustive, for if we have described four cardinal points for elaborating the inspiring effect of monotheism and rooting out polytheism, it does not mean that there is not the fifth point. While teaching the fundamentals of belief these are the cardinal points which Allah has instilled in my brain. Perhaps there may be other methods of approach on this subject.

Signs of Idolatrous Nations

The Holy Qur'an says:

When Allah, the One is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Day of Judgement begin to shrink but when the idols are mentioned, they rejoice. (Surah az-Zumar, 39:45)

For example when we say that according to the commands of Allah we should oppose such an idea or person or group of persons, they become annoyed, and when we say that according to such and such international law they become joyful. This is the sign of polytheism of these people. When we say that Allah wills they become unhappy but when we say that according to the people's will they become happy. In all matters these people have pinned their hopes on the East and the West instead of the Divine revelations. They are attracted in things and persons other than Allah and are only interested in submitting to their passions and temptations instead of Divine commands! This is the sign of the downfall and of a nation's going astray.

When Obedience to Parents is Forbidden?

In the Holy Qur'an at five different places obedience to one's parents is greatly stressed and at four other places respect and reverence to parents have been dealt with side by side with belief in monotheism and obedience to Allah. It is so because the very existence of man is in the first instance due to Allah and at the second stage it is concerned with the parents. This is one aspect of this issue but on the other aspect of being kind to one's parents is another important issue which has been mentioned side by side with monotheism, belief, worship, and obedience to Allah. In the ahadith (traditions) respect and reverence to parents have been so emphasized that looking at them with love and affection constitutes a kind of worship to Allah. But in spite of all these recommendations if the parents try to distract their off-springs from the path of Allah, their obedience is forbidden and it will be incumbent on the off-springs to disobey their parents. Such disobedience has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in following two verses. The meaning and explanation of both are one and the same:

We have enjoined man, to be kind to his parents; but if they try to make you associate with Me that o f which you have no knowledge then do not obey them. (Surah al-Ankabut, 29:8)

If they try to compel you to associate Me with that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. (Surah Luqman, 31:15)

Such sort of direction from the parents' side is sometimes manifest in the shape of sympathy when they say, "O my son! If we do not obey such and such despot, we shall be deprived of our means of sustenance. Our property, status and honour will be safe by acting as their yes man". Sometimes they castigate their sons by saying that their forefathers too were following the similar path as they themselves had obeyed the despots of their times with respect and veneration and had passed a fully satisfied life. "It is the tradition of our forefathers", they say, "to adopt such and such methods and to reject such and such procedure". With such notions, according to the Holy Qur'an, the parents with all their dominating influence wish to put their offsprings on the wrong track of polytheism.

Thus under the circumstances when the question of belief in gods other than Allah arises, the parents should not be obeyed.

Polytheism—an Unpardonable Sin

Polytheism is an unpardonable sin. The Holy Qur'an declares in the following two verses:

Allah does not forgive the sin of associating others with Him but He may forgive other sins. Whoever believes in other gods besides Him has indulged in a great sin. (Surah an-Nisa, 4:48)

Allah does not forgive the sin of associating others with Him but He may forgive the other sins of whomever He wants. One who considers anything equal to Allah has certainly gone far away from the right path. (Surah an-Nisa, 4:116)

Thus the benevolent will of Allah is for those whom He wants to pardon and the will of All-Wise Allah is related to man's piety and virtuous deeds.

Counter-measures Against Polytheists

It is imperative that we should not be unaware of those whose focus of attention is on gods other than Allah and whose endeavours are directed towards defeating the purpose of the obedience to Allah. Their main objective is to raise themselves and to strengthen the position of their followers. It is because if we do not follow the path of Allah, we shall attract the attention of all such groups of people. We shall be like blind creatures, and shall fall into their trap and they will devour us like cannibals, who after fulfilling their mission will leave us in the lurch and will go after chasing other victims like us.

The revered teacher martyr Murtaza Mutahhary used to advise us to recite often the following piece of supplication: "O Allah! Whosoever abandoned the righteous path of Yours and entered into a different fold, got defeated and whosoever went after other gods besides Allah suffered a terrible loss".

The esteemed readers should please pay their attention towards the under-mentioned established facts:

Man should choose one of the following three alternatives:

(i) That path which man determines by his own free will.

(ii) That path which others fix for him.

(iii) That path which Allah chooses for him.

The first path is not correct because we decide to act on one day and on the second day we think that our decision was wrong. Actually, it is certain that owing to lack of proper knowledge and under the influence of inborn tendencies we cannot select a right path from amongst the hundreds of paths.

The second path is also not correct because according to the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali: "Since my mother gave birth to me as a free man why should I become the slave of anything whatsoever?" and therefore blind following is in itself a form of polytheism. The Holy Qur'an says:

If you obey them, you shall most surely be polytheist. (Surah al-Anam, 6:122)

Now remains only the third path which is the path of Allah (sabilillah). The Holy Qur'an says:

This is My path and it is straight; follow it and do not follow other paths which will lead you far away from the path of Allah. Thus, does Allah guide you so that you may become pious. (Surah al-Anam, 6:153)

He has sent the Book to His servant and has made it a flawless guide for mankind. (Surah al-Kahf, 18:1)

Muhammad, you are a Messenger and you follow the right path. (Surah Ya Sin, 36:3—4)

O Lord! Keep us on the right path—the path of those upon whom you have bestowed favors, not (the path) of those upon whom your wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray, (Surah al-Fatiha, 1:6, 7)

And we would certainly have guided them in the right path. And whoever obeys Allah and the Prophet is with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours. From among the Prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and how an excellent company are they! (Surah an-Nisa, 4:68, 69)

In short this path is the path of obedience to Allah and this path is the path which has come down to us from the Infinite Knowledge of Allah through the medium of Divine revelations which have been conveyed to us by infallible Prophets, the Holy Imams and just and upright jurists.

Now that the path of Allah has been fully defined, we should show our reaction to the other paths and schools, otherwise people would take wrong advantage of our lethargy and would try to distract us from the path of monotheism.

Allah orders the Holy Prophet to keep aloof from the pagans. The Holy Qur'an says:

The pagans do not have any right to establish the Mosque of Allah. (Surah Tawba, 9:17)

After it was made clear that the pagans are to be the dwellers of Hell, the Prophet and the believers should not have sought forgiveness from Allah for them even if they may have been relatives. (Surah Tawba, 9:113)

Prophet Ibrahim and those with him are the best examples for you to follow. They told the people, 'We have nothing to do with you and with those whom you worship besides Allah. We have rejected you. Enmity and hatred will separate us for ever unless you believe in One Allah'. (Surah al-Mumtahinah, 60:4) 

source : Lessons From Quran (Majmua-i-Dars hai-az-Quran) by Professor Muhsin Qaraati
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