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Marching To Makkah In Search Of My Iconoclast Aba Ibrahim the Haneef

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

09 August 2016

Contrary to established religious beliefs it is here argued from Quran that Ibrahim the Haneef did not build the iconic temple that Muslims venerate, the God’s house ‘Ka’abah’ in Makkah. As shown below, he had never even been there. Also that Muhammad the last messenger in the series of Messengers did not re-activate the ancient pagan rituals there that continue till today as a shrine for Muslim nation.

6-74-Lo! Ibrahim said to his father Azar “you take idols for gods? I see you and your nation in manifest error”.

All the Messengers were monotheist and intellectual iconoclast. But old habits die hard. A little after the last Messenger’s death the roles were reversed. The so called ‘seed’ of Ibrahim, became the iconolaters and custodians of the temple who revived the ancient rituals.

The common message brought by all the Apostles: Thou shall not carve graven images for worship had fallen on deaf ears. The tunes of the Pied Pipers of the ‘Hidden Church’ as Dr Rashid Shaz calls it; lure the Muslim masses to the rituals that Muhammad is falsely accused of reactivating.

The Judeo-Christian history too is beset with this about-turn. The eighth century schism of Roman and Byzantine Christianity shows that from long ago this conflict has pervaded the theologies of the iconoclasts and the iconolaters. It holds true of many other intra and inter religious conflicts; some very bloody at that!

The precedent is set. In the name of two of the messengers above, who would be turning in their graves for what their intellectual iconoclasm has been replaced with! The Arabs and their monarchy hold the monopolistic custodianship of the “two shrines”; the cubic windowless dark house of God and the tomb over Muhammad’s grave.

The exhortation in the Book 25-73 for mankind not to follow as deaf and blind makes these rituals and rites of passage intellectual deafness and blindness. The theology therefore must be examined rationally in the light of Quran that is the primary source of Guidance 2-2 :-

6-161- Say, indeed my God Cherisher has guided me to a path that is straight- Code of righteousness followed by Ibrahim the true in Faith. And he certainly associated not gods with God…

Although, for sure Hajj is ordained in Quran, the first house in Bakkah 3-96 is given as the abode of peace and security in the universe. The places in Makkah mentioned there are examples of manmade icons that the desert pagan Arabs had been worshipping; so as to make them comprehend the paradigm change that the ideology of monotheism and iconoclasm of Ibrahim, Muhammad and all the messengers in between was instead advocated to them.

The essentials of that ideology are the community of Messengers, the common revelations and distribution of wealth and they are given in the very beginning of the Book at 2-3 & 4 and many other places too. So, if the common command for all of them was to pay homage and perform hajj at Makkah at God’s house Ka’abah, then they had committed Kufr by not following the commandment? Unthinkable!

Apart from the contentious issue of Ibrahim who “raised the foundation for service to God…” 2-127, something that cannot be done with stones and mortar; there is no reference to any other Messenger ever to have journeyed to Makkah. Not even Musa from Egypt and Isa from Nazareth, geographically closer to the city of Makkah. So, was the journey to Makkah – given as the city of peace from where Muhammad had to escape (17-1), so hazardous for them; yet Ibrahim with his family was able to undertake it centuries before from Mesopotamia to Arabia?

As for Ibrahim being in Makkah and constructed the Ka’abah:-

32-3: … it is the truth from your Lord that you (Muhammad) may warn a people to whom NO warner has come before you, in order that they may receive guidance!

34-44: …, NOR sent apostles to them before you (Muhammad) as warner? ……But then the most often recited chapter “Yaseen”;

36-6- “In order that you (Muhammad) may warn people (Arabs) whose forefathers had NOT received such warning previously and therefore they remained unaware” (also 62-2). The above confirm to lay persons that neither Ibrahim nor any other Messengers had visited Makkah before Muhammad.

It is said: “All religions are founded on the fear of the many and cleverness of the few”. In the environment of his iconolater-high-priest Father Azar, Ibrahim searched for an organic tangible ‘god’, as is in the nature of mankind to do so. Not locating one, in despair he says: 6-79: “I have my attention firmly and truly towards Him who created the heavens and the earth…”, and settled for the intellectual concept of ‘Primal Creator’ that mankind calls “God”. The irony is, insisting to focus on Makkah- the Qibla, this verse is repeated by Muslims in the liturgy of their prayers five times a day; limiting the Universal Creator God to a spec of real state on earth!

No less a spiritual person than Sufi and poet Syed Bulle Shah echoed Ibrahim’s despair, with ref. to 2-115:-

 Rabb is neither in Tirath nor in Makkah

 - (yet) His luminescence is all around! 

62-1: Everything in the Universe declares the luminescence of the Creator. So, is it still necessary for mankind to have manmade icons for Qibla 2-142, 3, 4, 5 to conceptualise the Creator 45-5? Then why would the Creator of the Universe command a change from one manmade icon in Jerusalem to another manmade icon in Makkah, as say the exegetists and the traditions?

Many issues emerge that need frank analysis, applying rational thinking; a prerequisite of the Book. In Islam commands for action are given to benefit individual and mankind as a whole, not for Arabia only.

For example, the practical benefit 22-28, for which the Hajj is meant for, which is now totally lost in the liturgy expressed in Makkah. Quran commands travel through the land to acquire knowledge:

22-46: Do they not travel through the land so that their hearts and mind may thus learn wisdom…”?  And 20-114…and say, My Lord Cherisher make increase in my knowledge. And many more! Not just to the one spot on earth. Therefore, travel is almost an integral part of Muslim’s Belief.

Would not Quran’s requirements of “acquiring knowledge” and “distributing wealth” therefore be fulfilled if Hajj took place in different countries? Millions of People would travel to these places and acquire geographic, historical, archaeological, cultural and even culinary knowledge and also spend their hard earned cash there, boosting the country’s economy thus spreading benefits of hajj widely. That would be practical spirituality! Is it such a mixture of madness to propose? 

Aristotle had said, “No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness”? There were and are many excellent souls that ask such mad/‘Junoon’ laden questions. According to the tradition Apostle Muhammad and his companions had physically destroyed the idols at the Ka’abah; then why did they leave the temple standing for the later day iconolaters? There are many more of such questions though! The answers to which can be found in the Book when they are looked for with open mind.

All forms of idols, cults and influences: superstitious, cultural, historical, religious, political etcetera, carved and created by mankind that compel it to BOW to them are “graven images” 17-22, because they rob mankind its dignity that Creator wishes for it 17-70. There is no god but God the Creator to bow to, is the foundation of all the messengers’ mission.

Iqbal the poet had quite rightly said:

یہ دَور اپنے براھیم کی تلاش میں ہے— صنم کدہ ہے جہاں، لَااِلاہَ اِلااللہ

 This age is in search of its Ibrahim—where there is a temple for idols: Laa ilaaha-illallaah!

The Ulil Albab- the knowledgeable and those in authority, must seek the Creator’s guidance to acquire wisdom to distinguish between the worship of “graven images” which is shirk and the “service to mankind”- which is Iba’daa the true worship of the Creator and seek courage to change the mindset of the ignorant masses so that the custodians do not exploit them; or else the curse of 2-79:“ woe to those who write the books with their own hands,…woe to them … for the gains they make thereof!” 

Presently the Muslim world already seems to be cursed!

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer


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