The article is referring to a tweet that I sent quoting an ayat from the Quran. The problem with twitter is that due to the short messages, certain issues cannot be explained fully or as clearly. I am therefore grateful for this opportunity to discuss the question raised by Anas in his letter to FMT through a medium which allows lengthier discourses.
First it has to be clarified that the Ayat 3 of Az-Zumar was raised in connection with the debate on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. This was a discussion which Anas may or may not have been following originally. I posted the ayat as proof that the Meccan idolaters also used the word “Allah” as the Quran quoted them as saying, “We worship them for no other reason than that they bring us nearer to God.”
This meant that the main object of worship of the Meccan idolaters was Allah and the idols were mere go betweens.
Given that explanation, it is ridiculous for anyone to then say that non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah as the Quran itself proves otherwise. Of course such practice of appointing go betweens between man and Allah and ascribing to them some form of divinity to these go betweens is rejected by Islam.
This then was the original context of the discussion for which the ayat was referred. Anas came in by posing a question as to whether political parties can also become “idols”. Realising this was a new issue, I did not want to delve into it too much and made a response as follows:
Khalid: Yup unless they specify that the Quran and Sunnah are their guiding principles. Those using other guides may be a berhala.
Anas: Specification or practice? And r u saying d DAP is a berhala if u follow them coz they specify otherwise?
Seeing the discussion going away from the original intention, I chose not to pursue the matter. It would take a few more tweets than what I was ready to do at that time to clarify the issue.
It is important to note that I used the word “may” and not “is” or “has become” a berhala or idol or object of worship. Whether it becomes a “berhala” or not depends on the individual member and how he or she understands their relationship with the party. When does something become berhala?
When does something become a “berhala” or an “idol” an object of worship in the eyes of the scholars of “Tauhid” or “Unity of God” in Islam? This question is quite easily answered by referring to another ayat in the Quran, i.e. from Chapter At-Taubah ayat 31 which means,
“They (The Christians) have taken their priests and their monks as gods besides Allah and also the Messiah son of Maryam (is taken as a god besides Allah)…..”