Impact on Creed - From Polytheism to Monotheism - I
‘Amr ibn Al-Jamuuh: A Martyr’s Story
‘Amr ibn Al-Jamuuh, may Allah be pleased with him, was one of the chiefs of Banu Salamah before he accepted Islam. His son, Mu'aath ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, embraced Islam before him, and began to call the people of Madeenah to Islam along with his friend Mu’aath ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him.
At the time, it was customary for idols to be kept in the houses of nobles and chiefs as well as in places of public gathering, and ‘Amr was no exception. He kept an idol called Manaaf in his house, which he would pray to and worship. His son Mu'aath, may Allah be pleased with him, wished that his father would see the error of his ways. So, he and Mu'aath ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with them both, entered ‘Amr’s house at night, took the idol and threw it into a cesspit.
On waking up, ‘Amr did not find Manaaf in its usual place, and he searched for it diligently until he found it in the pit. He was enraged and infuriated at the apparent defilement of the idol. It was a gross desecration in his eyes, and he said, "Woe unto you, who transgressed on our gods this night!" Then he washed and perfumed the idol and returned it to its former place.
When night fell, the incident was repeated, and so on.
‘Amr grew exasperated; he was tired of retrieving the idol from the cesspit. He took his sword and put it on Manaaf's neck and said to it, "If you are a beneficial god defend yourself." When he woke up and did not find it in its place, he went to look in the pit, where he saw it had been thrown again. This time, not only was it in the filthy pit, but it was also tied firmly to a dead dog.
While he stood there, dismayed, angered and astonished, some of the nobles of Madeenah who had preceded him in Islam approached him. They pointed at the idol tied to the dead dog and talking to ‘Amr about the Most True and Most High Allah, who is incomparable, whose likeness cannot be made by human hands and grasped by human imagination. They told him about the trustworthy Prophet, , who had come with guidance for the ignorant, and with the true creed. Islam had come to liberate humankind from the shackles of ignorance, misguidance and blind dependence on powerless gods that could neither save themselves, nor those who supplicated to them.
Thus, the eyes of ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, were opened to the error of idolatry, and he embraced Islam wholeheartedly. He purified himself with a bath, applied scent to his clothes and body, and then went on to the Prophet, , to join the ranks of the believers.
Intelligent men of high status like ‘Amr ibn Al-Jumuuh, may Allah be pleased with him, certainly improved far more after abandoning idol worship, and are still remembered today by the Muslims. How can people with reason, assets and status believe in idols made of stone and wood to such extents that they think all must depend on them? Why does their reason not lead them to think that the very hands that fashioned these idols were human hands? Those who make images of deities, bow before them and worship them do not care to think that they are a figment of the human imagination.
These primitive pagan practices still find their way into so-called modern societies, where people are unwilling to give up what their fathers and forefathers worshipped, believed in and made sacrifices for. These people suppress their innate belief in Allah, the one true God, choosing instead to practice false pagan traditions, rituals and customs. For instance, in the age of philosophers in Greece and would-be progress in thought, people still worshiped sculptured idols. Thus, progress in philosophy overtook progress in searching for the truth, believing in it and living by it. Was this true progress?
On the other hand, discerning people like ‘Amr ibn Al-Jamuuh, may Allah be pleased with him, dedicated their lives to Allah The Almighty, the Lord of the Worlds. After embracing Islam, ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, channeled all his resources to the service of Islam and Muslims. Indeed, he was also more than willing to sacrifice himself in the cause of Allah The Almighty.