Idol Worship, the Unforgivable Sin

What is the meaning of idol worship?

A simple definition of idol worship is to believe that anything beside God can help us, or to hold something as more important to us than God. Thus if we hold our property (for example) as more important than God /or give our jobs more time and attention than God – we are committing idol worship. Unfortunately, the majority of people who believe in God commit this gross offense without even realizing it. If you ask them, “Who is your god?“, they will be outraged to hear this question. “What do you mean, `Who is your god?’ they will ask, `My god is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.’ ” And most of these people will be shocked to find out that their proclamation that their god is the Creator of the heavens and the earth is no more than lip service, and that they are in fact destined for Hell (12:106). Idol worship is a gross injustice, the violation of the first commandment in all the scriptures of God, and is an unforgivable sin if maintained until death.

[31:13] Recall that Luqmaan said to his son, as he enlightened him, “O my son, do not set up any idols beside GOD; idolatry is a gross injustice.”*

Footnote: *31:13 How will you feel if you take care of a child, give him the best education, and prepare him for life, only to see him thank someone else? Thus is idolatry; injustice.

[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

(sub-title) The Unforgivable Sin

[4:48] GOD does not forgive idolatry,* but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside GOD, has forged a horrendous offense.

Footnote: *4:48 Idol worship is not forgivable, if maintained until death. One can always repent from any offense, including idolatry, before death comes (see 4:18 & 40:66).

(sub-title) The Unforgivable Sin

[4:116] GOD does not forgive idol worship (if maintained until death),* and He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who idolizes any idol beside GOD has strayed far astray.


God tells us that idol worship nullifies all work

Any work we do, if not devoted absolutely to God, does not serve to grow our souls. On the day of Resurrection, if our souls have not grown strong enough to withstand the presence of God – we will have to forsake God’s kingdom on our own volition. Everything we have done in this world will be nullified.

[39:65] It has been revealed to you, and to those before you that if you ever commit idol worship, all your works will be nullified, and you will be with the losers.

The natural instinct of monotheism that God has placed in us ( 30:30; to make it easier for us to choose the right path) commands us to dedicate our worship to God Alone, and not associate anything with God. All places of worship should be dedicated to God Alone. Belief in God includes the understanding that He alone is worthy of worship.

[72:18] The places of worship belong to GOD; do not call on anyone else beside GOD.

Many so-called Muslims commit mistake by associating Muhammad with God at the places of worship, and by upholding Hadith and Sunna falsely attributed to prophet Muhammad. For example, mentioning the names of Abraham, Muhammad, and/or Ali in the Azan and/or the Salat prayers violates God’s commandments in 2:1362:2853:84, & 72:18. Unfortunately, this is a common idolatrous practice throughout the corrupted Muslim world. Many Christians commit this same mistake by exalting Jesus to the same level as God, or sometimes by even calling him God. This is idol worship. In Matthew 7:21-23: Jesus clearly disowns those who call him “Lord.”


Types of Idols

Idol worship is not just restricted to worship of any statues or picture frames, etc. The Quran cites many forms of idol worship.

1. Calf, statues as idols.

[2:51] Yet, when we summoned Moses for forty nights, you worshiped the calf in his absence, and turned wicked.*

[21:51-53] Before that, we granted Abraham his guidance and understanding, for we were fully aware of him.* He said to his father and his people, “What are these statues to which you are devoting yourselves?” They said, “We found our parents worshiping them.”

2. Worshipping other gods (is worshipping the devil).

[4:117] They even worship female gods besides Him; as a matter of fact, they only worship a rebellious devil.

3. Jesus as idol.

[5:72] Pagans indeed are those who say that GOD is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah himself said, “O Children of Israel, you shall worship GOD; my Lord* and your Lord.” Anyone who sets up any idol beside GOD, GOD has forbidden Paradise for him, and his destiny is Hell. The wicked have no helpers.

4. Jinns as idols.

[6:100] Yet, they set up beside GOD idols from among the jinns, though He is the One who created them. They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.

5. Children as idols.

[7:190] But when He gives them a good baby, they turn His gift into an idol that rivals Him. GOD be exalted, far above any partnership.

6. Humans as idols.

[7:194] The idols you invoke besides GOD are creatures like you. Go ahead and call upon them; let them respond to you, if you are right.

7. “Intercessors” as Idols. From the Quran, it is obvious – there is no intercession by anyone on the Day of Judgment.

[10:18] They worship beside GOD idols that possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors at GOD!” Say, “Are you informing GOD of something He does not know in the heavens or the earth?” Be He glorified. He is the Most High; far above needing partners.

8. Satan as an idol.

[14:22] And the devil will say, after the judgment had been issued, “GOD has promised you the truthful promise, and I promised you, but I broke my promise. I had no power over you; I simply invited you, and you accepted my invitation. Therefore, do not blame me, and blame only yourselves. My complaining cannot help you, nor can your complaining help me. I have disbelieved in your idolizing me. The transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.”

9. Property as an idol.

[18:32-36] Cite for them the example of two men: we gave one of them two gardens of grapes, surrounded by date palms, and placed other crops between them. Both gardens produced their crops on time, and generously, for we caused a river to run through them. Once, after harvesting, he boastfully told his friend: “I am far more prosperous than you, and I command more respect from the people.” When he entered his garden, he wronged his soul by saying, “I do not think that this will ever end. “Moreover, I think this is it; I do not think that the Hour (the Hereafter) will ever come to pass. Even if I am returned to my Lord, I will (be clever enough to) possess an even better one over there.”

[18:42] Indeed, his crops were wiped out, and he ended up sorrowful, lamenting what he had spent on it in vain, as his property lay barren. He finally said, “I wish I never set up my property as a god beside my Lord.”

10. The dead prophets, messengers and saints as idols.

[16:20-21] As for the idols they set up beside GOD, they do not create anything; they themselves were created. They are dead, not alive, and they have no idea how or when they will be resurrected.

[3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, “Idolize me beside GOD.” Instead, (he would say), “Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone,” according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.

11. God’s servants as idols.

[18:102] Do those who disbelieve think that they can get away with setting up My servants as gods beside Me? We have prepared for the disbelievers Hell as an eternal abode.

The idol need not be an image in front of you.

12. Ego as an idol.

This is a common form of idolatry. Most humans, because of their ego cannot bring themselves to worship God, nor can they make their opinion subordinate to God’s opinion spelled out in the Quran because of their ego. If we disobey God and His messenger, we are committing idol worship even though there is no image in front of us. This is because we would be giving our opinion more importance than God’s words.

[25:43] Have you seen the one whose god is his own ego? Will you be his advocate?

[45:23] Have you noted the one whose god is his ego? Consequently, GOD sends him astray, despite his knowledge, seals his hearing and his mind, and places a veil on his eyes. Who then can guide him, after such a decision by GOD? Would you not take heed?

13. Upholding religious Sources other than God’s words, as an idol

As a Submitter (Muslim) if we follow a source other than Quran for religious guidance it would be idolatry. The following verse makes it clear that the Quran is God’s Testimony. Following any other source is defined as idolatry. Worshipping God is to obey His words only (Quran) and not the words of humans (scholars, religious leaders, mullahs, etc.).

[6:19] Say, “Whose testimony is the greatest?” Say, “GOD’s. He is the witness between me and you that this Quran* has been inspired to me, to preach it to you and whomever it reaches. Indeed, you bear witness that there are other gods* beside GOD.” Say, “I do not testify as you do; there is only one god, and I disown your idolatry.”

Footnote: *6:19 This verse proclaims the Quran as the only source of religious guidance. Those who uphold additional sources, such as Hadith & Sunna (lies attributed to the Prophet), are defined as idolaters.

14. Religious leaders and scholars as idols.

(sub-title) Upholding the Teachings of Religious Leaders, Instead of God’s Teachings

[9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords,* instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.

Footnote: *9:31 If you consult the “Muslim scholars” about worshiping God alone, and upholding the word of God alone, as taught in this proven scripture, they will advise you against it. If you consult the Pope about the identity of Jesus, he will advise you to uphold a trinity. If you obey the “Muslim scholars” whose advice is contrary to God’s teachings, or if you take the Pope’s advice instead of God’s, you have set up these religious leaders as gods instead of God.

15. Creating sects in religion is idol worship.

The Quran forbids dividing ourselves into sects. Those who divide into sects are termed as idol worshippers.

[30:31-32] You shall submit to Him, reverence Him, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and – whatever you do – do not ever fall into idol worship. (Do not fall in idol worship,) like those who divide their religion into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have.

16. Dividing believers and providing comfort to those who oppose God and His messengers is practicing idol worship.

[9:107] There are those who abuse the masjid by practicing idol worship, dividing the believers, and providing comfort to those who oppose GOD and His messenger. They solemnly swear: “Our intentions are honorable!” GOD bears witness that they are liars.

Footnote: *9:107 Any masjid where the practices are not devoted absolutely to God ALONE belongs to Satan, not God. For example, mentioning the names of Abraham, Muhammad, and/or Ali in the Azan and/or the Salat prayers violates God’s commandments in 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, & 72:18. Unfortunately, this is a common idolatrous practice throughout the corrupted Muslim world.

We learn from the Quran that idols cannot judge (40:20), idols cannot create anything and are powerless (13:1646:4) and idols do not bring us closer to God (39:3). We learn that idolaters follow conjecture (6:148) and that idolaters deny idol worship – now & on the Day of Judgment (6:22-24).

God grants perfect security and happiness for believers who are devoted to Him alone without committing idol worship.

[6:82] Those who believe, and do not pollute their belief with idol worship, have deserved the perfect security, and they are truly guided.

[39:17] As for those who discard the worship of all idols, and devote themselves totally to GOD alone, they have deserved happiness. Give good news to My servants.


May God protect us from worshiping idols.

[14:35] Recall that Abraham said, “My Lord, …. protect me and my children from worshiping idols.

[6:162-164] Say, “My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.He has no partner. This is what I am commanded to believe, and I am the first to submit.” Say, “Shall I seek other than GOD as a lord, when He is the Lord of all things? No soul benefits except from its own works, and none bears the burden of another. Ultimately, you return to your Lord, then He informs you regarding all your disputes.”

Interpretation of Quran Verse by Sahih Bukhari...

Image via Wikipedia


12 thoughts on “Idol Worship, the Unforgivable Sin

    • Dear Reader, Islam’s evidence for God and His Prophets is the Holy Quran. Muslims believe in ALL of God’s Prophets and we don’t distinguish between them. Human dignity is a sacred trust and a permanent value system in Islam which is a “way of living”, we call it Deen, and Deen means SINCERITY.

      • Dear Friend, Islam is NOT a religion. Islam is a way of living. Life and Civilization are the only proofs for ‘way of living’. However, I feel you might have a more specific query…

      • Arif,

        I’ll change my question a bit, and will come to the point. So, you think Islam is a way of life. Now answer me, that do you think Islam is a only true way of life?
        Is there any logical proof of Allah being the true god??

      • I would not take my ‘way of life’ from Islam if I did’nt think it was the truth. One should take Islam as the DEEN after they are convinced that Islam is the truth. No compulsion.
        Yes, ofcourse there is proof of the Creator, Allah. Our existence is the immediate proof that we were created. We did not create ourselves, and neither can we create a creator. Therefore, only the everliving God, the Creator, must have created us.

      • Arif, now you come to point, but when you say “Yes, ofcourse there is proof of the Creator, Allah. Our existence is the immediate proof that we were created. We did not create ourselves, and neither can we create a creator. ”

        Isn’t it true that every religious people claim their god to be true? Why should I not except Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism,Hinduism etc, why only Islam??

        What is ur point, why not other religions? Except Islam. Now can you prove Only Islam, without using Muhammad’s own word.Because I know he came in 6th century(after every revealed scripture). He may have studied it and after knowing about them, he declared his prophethood and gave all credit to Allah for pre revealed scriptures.. So I can’t believe in his words. Is there any other proof??


      • You can accept anything you want.

        Can you prove that there is more than One Ceator? If you can’t prove the existence of multiple gods why then should I get into theological debates?

      • Well Arif, what if I think there is no creator. I truly consider Allah as not a creator,but just an imagination of epileptic Mind. Why should I pray or submit my will to any such imagination.

        I don’t need to prove existence of Multiple Creator, I just asked you to prove Allah a true god, as I think opposite of your thinking..

      • can you prove that there is NO CREATOR? Do you have proof of “your” claims?? You want me to prove my beliefs to you whereas you dont have any proof for yours.
        When you have enough evidence and proof for your own belief system only then can we have a meaningful discussion.

      • Arif, I think you need to re-read my last message. I agree there is no Multiple creator. But Allah too is not a creator. It can be proved through Qur’an and Hadith itself. It is full of errors and contradictions. How can it be a word of GOD??

      • rj3865, you agreed that there cant be multiple creators. There is no proof for non existence of a creator either. who then created the universe and everything in it? there must be only ONE CREATOR based on sound logic. Do you not agree that there is only ONE CREATOR?

        you wanted me to prove Islam to be true without quoting any texts. The proof of the Creator’s existence by using human faculty of reasoning and understanding is Islam.

        You made accusations against our Prophet (PBUH). But you have no evidence. You never met him or his companions, so why would you make false statements against a revered person loved by a billion people? what do you gain by it?

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