The origin of worshiping idols
Fatwa No: 33976

  • Fatwa Date:7-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 14, 1433
  • Rating:

Question

When Aadam (Adam), may Allaah exalt his mention, descended to earth he had the sound creed of monotheism. Therefore, how did the worship of idols, stars, or any other creatures originate?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

It seems that you want to know how polytheism originated after the descent of Aadam  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention who was also one of the prophets of Allaah, may Allaah exalt their mention. The following Hadeeth has the answer to your question.  It was reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them that between Nooh (Noah) and Aadam  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention there were 10 generations, all of which were followers of the true religion. Then they differed in their religion and therefore Allaah The Almighty sent His messengers to bring the good news of the reward of Allaah The Almighty and to warn people against His punishment.  [Al-Haakim (Al-Haakim and Ath-Thahabi: Saheeh)] 

According to this narration, the ten generations between Nooh and Aadam  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention testified to the monotheism of Allaah The Almighty and acted according to His laws.  After that, when they spread in earth their number increased and time elapsed and monotheism began to disappear, due to the ignorance of people and their exaggeration in exalting righteous people. In this regard Allaah the Almighty Says (what means): {And said, 'Never leave your gods and never leave Wadh (Wadd) or Suwaa‘ ( Suwac) or Yaghooth (Yaghuth) and Ya‘ooq (Ya'uq)  and Nasr (Nasr).} [Quran 71: 23] 

Commenting on the story of Nooh  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and the aforesaid verse, scholars of Tafseer (exegesis) mention that these were names for righteous men from the people of Nooh  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. When these men died, their people grieved for them and the accursed Satan seized the opportunity and inspired them to erect statues in honor of these righteous people so that they would be remembered. During that period they did not worship these statues, however, during the next generations, the accursed Satan inspired them that their ancestors had worshipped the statues and therefore they obeyed and worshipped them besides Allaah the Exalted.

This story has been mentioned by many scholars of Tafseer on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them and the core meaning is reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhari.

The following points can be deduced from the story:

•        It indicates that the offspring of 'Aadam  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention continued to worship Allaah and testify to His monotheism for 10 consecutive generations, the period between 'Aadam and Nooh, may Allaah exalt their mention.

•        It also indicates that the reason behind their deviation from the truth was exaggeration in exalting righteous people just before  Nooh  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was sent with his message.

Allaah Knows best.

Related Fatwa