Asking Questions and Breaking Idols

Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah..

1. In some of your writing, it is mentioned that once Nabi [sa] was informing about the obligation of Hajj. A person asked a obvious question that is it for every year but Rasool [sa] warned him about what is mentioned there. I am thinking that there might be something more on which the Rasool [sa] has advice [or scolded] him on. Or may be the person has done mistake by asking again and again after being seeing the Rasool[sa] silence.

 Many takes this narration  as an argument to avoid public from asking questions!!.

2. In the Quran it is mentioned that Ibrahim [as] is a Uswah for us. But I was tense thinking the act of Ibrahim [as] of  broking the Idols by entering in the temple can be ideal for us.

Shujath Imran

Hyderabad, India

Wa alaikum us salam wa Rahmatullah e wa Barakatuhu

It is a pleasure to know that you restarted your studies. Keep it up and try to increase your pace. Ideally, you should aim one lesson per day for both Quranic Arabic and Comparative Studies.

We should always write full صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم with the name of the Prophet and full علیہ الصلوۃ والسلام with the names of other prophets. 

The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم discouraged asking questions about minute details of rituals. The reason was to avoid any hardship for Ummah and he said that the worst person is one who asks questions and something is forbidden due to his question. The Prophet wanted to keep things open so that people will have less things to do or not to do. Other than that, questions were permissible and we find hundreds of Ahadith in which companions رضی اللہ عنہم asked questions from him. Therefore, presenting such Hadith to stop questions is not correct. Now, there is no fear of something become forbidden / obligatory due to question of a person as prophethood is ended.

 The Uswah Hasana (the best example) of Prophet Ibraheem علیہ الصلوۃ والسلام is mentioned in Al-Mumtahina 60:4. I am copying the translation of these verses and you can see that it has nothing to do with breaking idols in temples.

قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنْكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَداً حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلاَّ قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لأَبِيهِ لأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنْ اللَّهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ رَبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ۔

 “Indeed, ‘you have had a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, when they said unto their [idolatrous] people: “Verily, we are quit of you and of all that you worship instead of God: we deny the truth of whatever you believe; and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last until such a time4 as you come to believe in the One God!” The only exception was Abraham’s saying to his father “I shall indeed pray for [God’s] forgiveness for you, although I have it not in my power to obtain anything from God in thy behalf.” [And Abraham and his followers prayed:] “O our Sustainer! In You have we placed our trust, and unto You do we turn: for unto You is all journeys’ end.” (Al-Mumtahina 60:4)

So the good example of Prophet Ibraheem is about denouncing polytheism and not for breaking idols. Breaking idols was his specific act under the direction of Allah which is not an example for us. It was specific to him and later to Prophet Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم to eradicate polytheism in Arabia. About us, it is agreed upon among the entire Ummah that such directive was limited for Arabia only. Because of that, when Muslims conquered India, they unanimously treated Hindus like the people of Book and protected their temples. We should convey the message of monotheism in a humble and decent way to our non-Muslim compatriots. We should respect their religion, their sacred symbols and personalities so that it does not become an obstacle in their search for truth.


Muhammad Mubashir Nazir

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Asking Questions and Breaking Idols
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