By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
20 May 2017
Out of the three hundred and sixty idols, some say three hundred and sixty five, one each for each day of the year--which were there in the temple of Makkah; only these eight are named in Quran viz- Waad, Suwaa, Yauq, Yaguth and Nasr in verse 71:23 and Laat, Manaat and Uzza in verses 53:19 & 20.
The commonly accepted tales associated with these idols is that when Messenger Muhammad conquered Makkah, one year before his death; he ordered the destruction of all the idols stored around the temple Kaabah in Makkah. The most revered idols however were inside the Kaabah itself that is, Laat, Manaat and Uzza, he destroyed them himself. This he did so to dispel the superstition and fear that had prevented his followers to initiate the destruction of idols as ordered by him.
A further twist in the above story, of interest to the people of the sub-continent of India, is in connection with the important idol Manaat. This idol however is said to have been installed not in Kaabah but in a minor temple on the Eastern coast of Arabia where the Indian traders would land, to then proceed to the annual trade fare that was an important feature of the city of Makkah. Thus Makkah has always been a significant trading city where many traders of different nations and religions would congregate once a year.
As the Messenger Muhammad had subjugated most of the area of Hijaz as it was called, the Indian traders took their idol Manaat to India to save it from destruction mentioned above, and installed it in a Temple in Gujarat, later called Somnaath. The word ‘So’ in So-mnaath is perhaps a Hindi or Sanskrit prefix and is supposed to mean exalted or revered, for example So-raaj. Thus Manaat ended up in Somnath. Nothing of the above is mentioned in Quran.
From here onwards one more twist is given. It is laced and braced with religious fervour of a ‘good Muslim’, Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi of Ghazni, who reigned around thousand AD!
One version of the story briefly, is that he was instructed by God or the Messenger, in a dream to spread Islam as his religious obligation and to seek out and destroy the idol Manaat, which was not destroyed but was brought to India from Arabia during the time of the Messenger Muhammad’s conquest of Makkah, over three centuries before.
Mahmood invaded India for this purpose seventeen times and eventually found the idol installed in Somnath Mandir, which like many other temples of the time was stacked with golden statues and precious artefacts! So Mahmood’s wealth basically was accumulated by the plunder and loot that was collected during these raids.
He may have accomplished the second part of his dream, that of destruction of Manaat and in the process many towns and temples too as was the general outcome of all wars. But as for the first part, of spreading Islam, it is highly questionable.
In the light of the Quranic teachings, it has been argued here on many occasions that the Messenger whose duty was to propagate and practically demonstrate the application of the message by all his merciful acts. He could not have destroyed the idols at Makkah.
But on common sense level, assuming for a moment that he did so, then the questions remains as to why he left the Kaabah, the temple, the dark-hole of Makkah intact?
Could it not be argued that the Messenger, in the light of the Quranic teachings, did not order the destruction nor destroyed ‘the symbols of worship’ of other religions; and thus he may have even facilitated the removal of Manaat? After all there were Jews and Christians in large numbers in Makkah and there is no mention of their symbols of worships and temples destroyed during that event.
This proposition is particularly significant from the standpoint of accepted history of the event that he, having conquered the city of his birth and ancestral homeland Makkah from where he was driven out. He left it intact and returned to Madinah where he was given refuge a decade ago, and passed away there a year later. The shrine over his grave there, standing in all its splendour for Muslim to visit as a second Haram to Makkah is a testimony of that history!
Over fourteen centuries; intellectual, cultural, historical, political, economic, educational and particularly religious changes had played their part in shaping and changing Arabia, Arabs and Muslim people to what they are today. The Kaabah- the ancient temple has once again taken up the role of a house of worship and Makkah as the temple city with its annual market gathering place instead reinvented as the Muslim Vatican where they congregate annually for religious pilgrimage called Hajj.
It is in chapter named Hajj 22, verse 40 that Quran mentions the divine security and protection given to houses of worship of other religions:
22:40- “Those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say ‘ our Lord is God’ and if God did not repel some people with other, cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques in which Lord’s name is invoked would have been pulled down…”.
It is therefore noteworthy that the followers of Quran are instructed not only to defend their own houses of worship but also to put their lives on line to defend others against persecution.
It is a matter of shame, disappointment and regret that today the various protectors, the martyrs and so called soldiers of Islam not only persecute and drive their brethren out of home and hearth but destroy their own as well as other religious houses of worship on the holydays where the name of the Universal Creator Lord is invoked, and deprive them of all semblance of life, let alone the dignity of life that their Book ordains for all!
The recent spate of attacks on mosques, synagogues and churches – the houses of worship the world over by these savages with Arabic sounding titles of their organisations is a matter of utter disgust, particularly when for their political strategies they invoke the name of Islam, such as ISIS.
Ironically “Isis” is the name of an Egyptian pagan goddess. It therefore makes perfect sense that her modern day followers should take upon themselves to eliminate the houses of worship in Egypt and murder tens of worshipers in St Mark’s monastery on the holyday of Palm Sunday as recently. This is significant in that the same monasteries and churches there were; it is reputed to have been given written guarantees by the State for protection by Islam’s final Messenger Muhammad! A copy of that document is supposed to be in the possession of the monastery.
Hence the argument given above of the Messenger facilitating the removal of Manaat to safety also appears to be not all that farfetched.
Could then there ever be more vivid and practical example of BLASPHEMY by all those who fraudulently claim to be followers of the same Messenger but carry out acts of BARBARISM against humanity in his name and his propagated faith?
Should not they be condemned to death for blasphemy as they claim it to be ordained in their religion, an Arabic religion now centred round a re-furbished temple—an idol itself of worship; from which centuries ago all idols were removed by their worshipers and taken away for safety. Officially allowed by the Messenger of Islam?
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer
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