This is the second in what is projected to be a long-term series of articles by Sam under the general topic, "Shining God's Light on the Koran." The first topic in this series was, "Was Abraham a Jew or a Christian?" This current artticle begins a three-part discussion of Idolatry. In future articles Sam will further comment on the subject of Idolatry.
Islam opposes idolatry which is the worship of someone or something other than the true God as a god. An idol can be imaginary as in something one thinks in the mind. Or an idol can be something made by the hand of an artist. An idol can be a creature such as the cow in Hindu believing India. The Koran states that idols can neither help you nor can they harm anyone. Therefore you should not pray to them for this is wrong (1).
The Judeo-Christian Scripture says that idols can not see, nor hear, nor breathe, and have to be carried around totally dependent on others (2).
In Isaiah 44 God tells of a man who goes into the woods and cuts down a tree. With some of the wood he bakes his bread. With some of the wood he builds a fire and says, “Ah, I am warm.” Then the residue of the wood he takes to an artist and has an idol made. He hammers gold and silver on it; and then bows down before it and claims it as his god. The thought never occurs to him that he is worshipping a block of wood (3).
The Apostle Paul writes that idols are nothing but are really representations of demonic spirits (4). It is possible that demonic spirits could be associated with a particular idol and cause supernatural phenomena. When Moses threw down his staff and it became a serpent, the magicians of Pharaoh were able to throw down their staffs and they also became serpents (5).
Once I won in a contest the statue of a man and when I got it home I could feel pressure on my legs trying to make me bend my knees before the statue and worship it. It was not an idol. Had I worshipped, it would have become an idol. The pressure on my body, I realized, was demonic activity.
God is jealous and does not like false rivals. While the idol itself can do nothing God can send His judgment on a person, a people or a nation for false worship (6).
(1) Koran p. 155 paragraph 10:107
(2) Psalm 115:4-8
(3) Isaiah 44:9-20
(4) 1 Corinthians 8:4; 10:10-22
(5) Exodus 7:10-12
(6) Exodus 20:3-5: 34:14-17; 1 King 11; 1-43; 12:1-33