Refuting Sam Shamoun's Arguments Against The Monotheism of Islam: Part 4
Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "The Kabah - The Great Idol of Islam"
[Introduction, Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals to Shamoun, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Tawassul in Christianity]
This is in response to Sam Shamoun's two part article over here and here.
Shamoun again displays his inability to understand basic Islamic teachings.
First of all Muslims do not bow down to the Ka'bah, but in the direction of the Ka'bah. As Shaykh Saalih Al Munajjid pointed out, it has nothing to do with the Ka'bah per se, but its location:
What we should point out here is that our prayer facing the direction of the Ka'bah has nothing to do with the structure of the Ka'bah, rather it has to do with its location. If it were to be destroyed, we would still pray in that direction, not to that structure. (Source)
He also points out the major difference between Muslims praying towards the direction of the Ka'bah and idol worshippers:
Hence we find that nowadays Muslims pray on the second storey and on the roof of the Grand Mosque in the Sanctuary of Makkah, facing the direction of the Ka'bah even though it is not directly in front of them. This is what millions of Muslims do throughout the world, praying in the direction of the Ka'bah even though they cannot see it. This demonstrates the great difference between the laws of Islam and the actions of the mushrikeen (polytheists) whose worship of their idols, stones and trees ceases when these objects cease to exist. Therefore if the mushrik cannot see his object of worship or idol, he does not face the direction of that thing. (Ibid.)
Dr. Zakir Naik points out how ridiculous it is to believe that Muslims view the Ka'bah as an idol:
No religion is more vocal in condemning idol worship than Islam. The Muslims do not worship Kabah, only God, or Allah. While circumambulating the Kabah they chant: La Illa Ha Ill-lal-lah. (There is no object worthy of worship but Allah).
The Kabah is for unifying Muslims at prayer. It would be chaotic if Muslims prayed in any direction they chose. The Kabah provides a chance to unify in prayer as all Muslims face one spot, the Kabah. Throughout the globe people from various countries face North, South, East and West only to face the Kabah. When the Arabs drew the map of the globe, they put Makkah in the center; but when the Western people gained power, they put Greenwich in the center. But if you look at the map, Makkah continues to be in the center of the globe even today. Alhamdulillah!
Some accuse Muslims to be idol worshippers because they kiss the black rock at Kabah. This they do only because they saw the prophet do it. The black stone has no power to benefit or harm you. In olden times, the call to prayer was given by standing on the top of Kabah. If Muslims were idol worshippers, would they stand on top of their 'idol' and call people to pray. Does a Hindu or a Christian stand on top of their idols and call others to join in the worship? (Source)
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty states:
How could you equate turning in the direction of Ka`bah as idolatory? Idolatory is to consider anything other than Allah as an object of worship to seek favors or blessings or entreat. No Muslim ever worships the Ka`bah; nor does he seek favors or address petitions or entreaties to it. We address all our prayers and entreaties only to Allah and Allah alone, and we also place our ultimate trust in Him alone.
We turn towards the Ka`bah not for reasons of worship or reverence. We do so only for the reasons that the Qur'an has stated: it is the first house of worship built for mankind. Since Islam is a universal message intended to unite all of humanity into a single fraternity transcending all barriers of race, ethnicity, and language, we are ordered to face towards the Ka`bah, the most ancient house, in our Prayers. We are also told that the Ka`bah was first built by Adam, the father of humankind. So by turning towards the Ka`bah, we are going back to our Adamic roots.
While turning towards the Ka`bah in our Prayers, we firmly believe that the Ka`bah possesses no divine powers. It has no power either to benefit or harm anyone, as such powers, according to the categorical and unequivocal teachings of the Qur'an, rest with Allah and Allah alone, Who alone is the Creator, Sustainer and Lord of all beings. (Source)
Shamoun does not accept our appeal to Abraham and Ishmael because:
there is absolutely no archaeological proof that they ever went to Mecca, let alone built this pagan cube structure
What kind of archaeological evidence is Shamoun looking for? Does he want a stone with Abraham's signature carved in it stating that he built the Ka'bah? There is no early historical or archeological evidence that Abraham even existed, let alone that he built anything anywhere. The earliest mention of his name is from about 1,000 years after him in Egypt (c .900BC).
Scholars who argue for his historicity do so solely from the Old Testament, and from the fact that some of the details from his surroundings in the Genesis narrative can be shown to be historically accurate, such as the existence of a city called Ur, for example.
Since Genesis says nothing of him visiting Arabia, this is - relatively speaking- even less of a possibility than him living in Ur, according to modern scholars. However, absence of evidence does not necessarily imply evidence of absence.
Also, Shamoun is completely forgetting the point and digressing away from the topic. The point is not that Muslims prove what their faith teaches to be true; rather the question that we are addressing is what the Islamic faith teaches about prostrating towards the direction of the Ka'bah. In the Qur'an (3:96; 22:96) we see that Allah specifically chose the location of the Ka'bah to be sanctified and had Abraham build it. That is why it is special. That is the point. No where do we see that Islam teaches that the Ka'bah is divine and could answer our prayers.
Shamoun argues that while the Muslims were in Madinah and before they conquered Makkah to destroy the idols, the Ka'bah was filled with idols and the Muslims used to pray towards the Ka'bah knowing that the idols were in it. So he argues that this is idol worship.
This is indeed a ridiculous argument. The following hadith shows that once the Muslims conquered Makkah the idols surrounding the Ka'bah were destroyed...
Volume 3, Book 43, Number 658:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Masud:
The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka'ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: "Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished."
Book 019, Number 4397:
It has been narrated by Ibn Abdullah who said: The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) entered Mecca. There were three hundred and sixty idols around the Ka'ba. He began to thrust them with the stick that was in his hand saying:" Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Lo! falsehood was destined to vanish" (xvii. 8). Truth has arrived, and falsehood can neither create anything from the beginning nor can It restore to life
If it was the Muslim's intention to worship the idols surrounding the Ka'bah then why did they go and destroy them once they conquered Makkah? It makes no sense.
Moiz Ahmad was asked regarding this issue and he replied back very logically:
All that I can say about your statements cited above is that you have very successfully criticized your own interpretation of the referred incident. However, a more honest and a more academic approach of criticizing Islam, in my opinion, would rather have been to first understand the implication of facing the Ka`bah (with or without the idols) according to the Muslim mind, and then to criticize that implication. Nevertheless, rather than going through this academic exercise, you have ascribed a certain implication to the act of facing the Ka`bah during the Muslim prayers and have criticized that implication, as if it were the real implication held and ascribed to by the Muslims as well as promoted by the Prophet (pbuh). Do you consider this as being intellectually honest?
Idolatry, I am sure you know, is to worship idols. Had Mohammed (pbuh) been so fond of worshiping idols, as you have implied in your comments, he would have made the necessary adjustments and compromises in his message, while he was still in Mekkah, and thereby avoided his own and his family's persecution, when the time was right for it. After all, what benefits would now have accrued of worshiping idols, when he had already enflamed the enmity and hatred of all of the Arab nations against himself, in particular, and his followers, in general.
If your interpretation of the incident is held to be correct, then facing the Ka`bah, with or without the idols, is itself idolatry. However, contrary to what you have interpreted from the incident, when Muslims offer their prayers facing the Ka`bah, it is not the Ka`bah that they worship, but the one God. Facing the Ka`bah symbolizes a number of things, but worshiping the Ka`bah is definitely not one of them, just as the Jews did not worship the Ark, when they turned toward it, during Amidah. In exactly the same manner, when the Prophet (pbuh), according to the directives of the Qur'an, turned toward the Ka`bah in his prayers, even while it was filled with idols, it did not signify worshiping or paying homage to the idols. It only signified worshiping the one God, facing the direction ordained by Him. (Source)
Moiz makes an excellent point appealing to the Old Testament. Shamoun seems to be aware of this Muslim counter response (*) and for some very odd reason Shamoun thinks he successfully refuted it.
To summarize Shamoun's argument, he basically argues that the Jewish direction of prayer to the Temple was justified because God literally dwelled there and sanctified it making it holy while in Islam that is not the case with the Ka'bah. (I could argue back using Shamoun's twisted logic and insincerity to discover the truth that Psalm 138:2 states that the bowing down occurs towards the temple itself and not God who is in the temple, however we won't sink down to Shamoun's level since we are better than that.)
First, the Qu'ran makes it clear that Allah has made the location of the Ka'bah a sanctified place just as He ordered Abraham to build it. Hence, for Allah to make a place holy He doesn't need to be literally present there.
Secondly, if Shamoun wants to be consistent with his logic (i.e. its okay to worship an area which is holy due to God's literal presence) then that would mean that its perfectly okay for Christians to bow down to each other, since they believe that God literally dwells inside of them making their bodies holy (1 Corinthians 3:6&17, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). So as we see, Shamoun's logic leads us to ridiculous consequences.
In conclusion, Shamoun has not proven that Islam views the Ka'bah as an idol and he has made known to all Muslims who read his article that he doesn't understand first grade level Islamic theology.
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