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First Characteristic

The first characteristic of the community of Jahiliyyah in the concept of the Holy Qur'an is that its individuals worship gods other than Almighty Allah. Of course, worship stands for obedience and loyalty. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). 9/31" Explaining this holy verse, the holy Imam says: "Indeed, those priests and anchorites did not call those people to worship them, for had they done so, those people would not have obeyed them. Rather, they decided the unlawful as lawful and the lawful and unlawful; therefore, those people, by complying with these things, worshiped them." [1]

This kind of worshipping things other than Almighty Allah was common in the ancient community of Jahiliyyah; therefore, a verse in the first Surah of the Holy Qur'an, namely Surah of al- 'Alaq (Chapter of the Clot; No. 69), has demanded with obeying none other than Almighty Allah. It reads: "Nay! Obey him not!"

On these days too, obedience and loyalty were made to various gods. In this regard, the Holy Qur'an reads:

"But those who take for protectors other than Allah (say): We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah. 39/3"

"We erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. 3/64"

"And they would say: Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us as to the (right) Path. 33/67"

"They followed the command of Pharaoh and the command of Pharaoh was no right (guide). 11/97"

"But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts soon, then, will they face Destruction. 19/59"

"When it is said to them: 'Follow what Allah hath revealed.'

They say: 'Nay! We shall follow the ways of our fathers.' What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance. 2/170"

"And yet among men there are such as dispute about Allah, without knowledge, and follow every evil one obstinate in rebellion. About the (evil one) it is decreed that whoever turns to him for friendship, him will he lead astray, and he will guide him to the penalty of the Fire. 22/3-4"

"The unbelievers got up in their hearts heat and cant—the heat and cant of ignorance (Jahiliyyah). 48/26"

These were a part of the gods that were worshipped in the ancient Jahiliyyah rather than Almighty Allah. Namely, these gods were the idols, the dishonest scholars of religion, the tyrants, the passions and lusts of the souls that are prone to evil, Satan, sectarianism and the inherited customs and traditions. The origin of all these gods is the adherence to one's passions. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an says: "But if they hearken not to thee, know that they only follow their own lusts: and who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah? For Allah guides not people given to wrongdoing. 28/50"

Are the people of this age different? By 'people' I do not mean those who claim being civilized while they are completely sinking in the mire of ignorance; rather I address those who allowed themselves to carry the name of 'Muslims' while they are joining the caravan of the atheists and immersing themselves in the obedience to the lusts, capricious passions and the gods that are exported to them from the unbelievers, such as sports, arts and a set of crooked conceptions and etiquettes. Hitherto, the Muslims are still obeying their masters and great ones, such as chiefs of their tribes and noted personalities, without any observance of the sacred Shari'ah (code of Muslim law). They therefore decided as lawful that which Almighty Allah has deemed unlawful and vise versa. In addition, the customs and traditions that have been inherited from fathers and forefathers are still observed more than the law of Almighty Allah in such an abominable way that the individuals are ready to violate the regulations of Almighty Allah but they will never break these baseless customs and traditions. Opposite to the slogan of Islam that was raised by Imam al-Husayn in Karbala' on the Day of Ashara [2] that says, "Death must be preceded to dishonor; and dishonor must be preceded to Hellfire," those individuals have raised the slogan of `Hellfire is preceded to dishonor.' This slogan can be easily made clear through the tribal and social traditions.

At the level of explicit polytheism; worship, obedience and loyalty to other than Almighty Allah can be manifestly noticed in' the behaviors of those poor women who obey the mode, fashion houses and etiquettes as well as every modern thing produced by the West, such as clothes, cosmetics and luxuries even if these will cause a violation of the religious laws and regulations. The Holy Qur'an has predicted that, on the Resurrection Day, these gods will disavow those who worshiped them, "Yet there are men who take for worship others besides Allah, as equal with Allah: They love them as they should love Allah. But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the penalty. Then would those who are followed clear themselves of those who follow (them). They would see the penalty, and all relations between them would be cut off. And those who followed would say: 'If only We had one more chance, We would clear ourselves of them, as they have cleared themselves of us.' Thus will Allah show them (the fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire. 2/165-167"

Describing these gods that human beings worship, obey and patronize, the Holy Qur'an says, "The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider's house;- if they but knew. 29/41"

"But the unbelievers—their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: But he finds Allah (ever) with him, and Allah will, pay him his account: and Allah is swift in taking account. 24/39"

This noteworthy topic must be studied carefully since it invites the people's attentions to the deviation of their beliefs and shows that they are far away from the pure monotheism and that their obedience to Almighty Allah is inadequate if compared to their obedience to the many idols that they follow. I suggest that this topic is discussed under a thesis entitled 'Idols of Modern Jahiliyyah'. In addition to ordinary people, this point has not been taken into consideration by the faithful believers; and this fact increases the gravity of the matter.

At the level of implicit polytheism, the matter is more complicated. It is seldom to find an act that is purely intended for the sake of Almighty Allah. For instance, at the gates of mosques you can find the names of their establishers written on big and stony signboards. If the establisher of that mosque has built it for the sake of Almighty Allah, it will be unimportant to write his name so readably, to remind others of this deed or to inform others about it.


[1] The Qur'anic term of "Ibadah (worship)' requires elaborate elucidation since it is not very clear in the mentalities of the people who think that 'worship' is no more than the performance of the prayer or prostration, not the pure obedience to Almighty Allah. As a result, these people think that they are worshipping Almighty Allah so long as they perform the ritual prayer and fasting even if their behaviors and activities are opposite to the instructions of Almighty Allah that He has revealed in the Holy Qur'an. Indeed, this is an extremely serious catastrophe that must be exposed. In this regard, Imam Muhammad al-Jawed is reported to have said, "He who listens to a speaker has in reality worshipped it. If that speaker utters on behalf of Almighty Allah, then the listener to him will be worshipping Almighty Allah; but if the speaker utters on behalf of Satan, then it is Satan that is worshipped." (Ibn Shu'bah al-harraniy: Tuhaf al-uqul pp.336)


[2] Day of 'Ashura is the tenth of Muharram, AH 61; the day on which Imam al-Husayn, along with his family members and companions, was martyred.