Never mind what they say, Idolatry or Monolatry; the fact is that all gods have some representative pictures or statues of the holy one, who is adored and revered by the follow-ers of the creed; except of course the creed of the Arabs and blind non-Arab followers.
Let us look at Christianity. The most visible are of course Jesus and his mother, Virgin Mary. There are umpteen statues and pictures of them all over the world. Since it is in the human nature, the adoring people desire to see the adored to be one of them; at least not too far removed as an alien.
Thus the same Jesus in Sweden has blond hair, blue eyes, a fine nose, thin lips and a white skin. Now let us go to Africa. There too many pray to Jesus. What does Jesus look like in Africa? He is dark-skinned, has curly black hair, black eyes, a flat nose, thick lips and so on. This transformation enables Jesus to be close to those who pray before him. Jesus becomes one of them. No doubt, the worshippers feel comfortable with their own kind of Jesus.
Now let us have a look at Buddha. Buddhism is a great religion with many devoted fol-lowers. Buddhism was born many years before Christianity and Mohammedanism. Buddha was the son of a Kshatriya king of India. He was born in the State of Bihar. He looked like an Indian prince. If one visits the numerous Buddhist temples (and even Hindu temples, for Buddha is considered to be an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu), one would find Buddha a handsome Hindu man of north India. Tall, slender, with fair skin, a fine nose, thin lips, black but not curly hair, and so on.
There are millions of practicing Buddhists in many countries where people of Mongolian descent reside, such as in China, Japan, Korea (South Korea has recently been largely
Christianized, which will no doubt eventually produce Chinese-looking idols of Jesus there). Look at Tibet for instance. Tibetan Buddhism is a special kind of Buddhism and there are many statues of Buddha in Tibet as well as in China, Japan and many other Asian countries, which the westerners steal and the Mohammedans break. Do the idols of Buddha that the Asians worship, look like the idols of Buddha wor-shipped in India? Not at all. The Buddhas of the East look more Chinese than Indian. The Buddhas there are short, fat and happy faced. They have slit eyes like the Chinese and the transformation goes to prove the inherent tendency in humans to worship a God who they can, however remotely, identify with. Man and God come closer!
But such is NOT the case with Mohammedanism or Islam, as they call it these days. Does it mean that no one has ever seen Mohammed, ever? That cannot be true! Let us look at Mohammed as described by Muhammad Husayn Haykal, well-known Egyptian scholar and writer, in his book The Life of Muhammad, page 63. There, Haykal describes the physical attributes of Mohammed thus: “…Muhammad was handsome of face and of medium build, and neither conspicuously tall nor inconspicuously short. He had a large head with very black thick hair, wide forehead, heavy eyebrows, and large black eyes with a slight redness on their sides and long eye-lashes to add to their attractiveness. He had a fine nose, well spaced teeth, a thick beard, a long handsome neck, wide chest and shoul-ders, light colored skin, and thick palms and feet. He walked resolutely with firm steps. His appearance was always one of deep thought and contemplation. In his eyes there lurked the authority of a commander of men…”
It is clear that there are enough elements here for a fairly precise composite mental picture of Mohammed for his adorers. And no doubt such a composite picture would be very pleasing to the eyes of his followers. Then why did Mohammed, the Prophet, deny them, his followers, this good fortune? What was the harm? That alone would not make them sinful!
It is true, Mohammed was against idolatry; he had destroyed many idols of other faiths. The Christians too did the same and then in-stalled in the destroyed houses of worship of the vanquished peoples, their own statues, not so much for idolatry as such but as repre-sentatives of the God of Jesus, the eternal Father. Why didn’t the handsome Mohammed do the same? Here is a question for which there is no easy answer.
But then for every phenomenon there is a reason and it has intrigued human mind why indeed Mohammed didn’t want any of his own or his Allah’s, physical attributes to be dis-played to his followers! It should be borne in mind that the handsome Mohammed, as described by Haykal, was a young man. Although chosen by Khadija, he was not yet chosen by Allah to be His Prophet. Becoming a Prophet is a long drawn out process. Gibril’s approach to Moham-med only started the process. There were many battles to be fought. And in battles one does not win always; sometimes, Mohammed lost. Then he surely had scars on his face. His wounds were deliberately kept a secret. Descriptions of the cuts and damages done to his body are not known. But it is reasonable to imagine that the handsome Mohammed of the early days was no longer all that handsome. He was aging too. Old men, are no longer handsome!
So, it is assumed that Mohammed decided not to have his physical attributes to be repro-duced to remind his followers how he looked like when he had become the Prophet, already at an advanced age.
And so, in the end, it is believed that the idea of preservation of the Prophet’s own image, was finally abandoned, unlike the pharaohs of Egypt, who mummified their bodies. It was not to display their likenesses but to preserve the bodies and they were not even objects of prayer. In the case of Mohammed also, the ultimate object of prayer is Allah and not Mohammed. But whoever has studied the Koran and the Hadis carefully, will dis-
cover that in Mohammedanism, Allah has a somewhat lower profile than the Prophet. Mohammed is the one who decides, on the final day of judgment (or qiyamat), who will and who will not, go to jannat or heaven. Allah has no say in the matter. The Koran has thus made it quite clear, unlike all other religions, that the Prophet has a special place vis à vis God or Allah Himself.
It appears therefore that Mohammed wanted that no one, but no one, could damage or insult him after his death, by disfiguring his statues or images, if such statues or images were permitted to be made and preserved after his death. After all, he himself had destroyed many statues of others’ Gods and objects of devotion; there was no certainty that the same fate would not befall his statues too.
That explains, in short, the underlying reason for Mohammedanism not having any statue or idol, even pictures. Even his burial place is unknown. Later, much later, the idea of geometrical pictures came to abound in Mohammedanic sketches and pictures. That was because Mohammed’s followers eventually dis-covered that sketches and pictures permitted human mind to focus their thoughts more pre-cisely and accurately. But then again, when we come to think of pictures of men and animals, as they are reproduced in books and magazines today, such representations are nothing but a conglomeration of dots and lines, which when put together in a certain fashion, make the final product look like a picture. The whole thing is representation!
Mohammed could not read, had no education. He was no Aristotle. It is probable that if Mohammed had been educated, he might have permitted such reproductions to be made. But his followers, the camel drivers, are so afraid of doing anything original, that they have literally frozen the creed. Mohammedanism forbids even drawing of birds and animals, not to speak of men and women. How stupid can one be? Here is a creed that has willingly put itself in a blind lane. Like gold fish, it is doomed to swim for ever in the same bowl.