Does Idol Worship, the Unforgivable Sin?


According to the Quran, the answer is both yes and no.

[The Quran 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.

For example, according to the Quran, Christian people are also idol worshipper because they take Jesus and his mother as idols beside God. Still we Muslim people can marry a Christian girl. We can eat their foods too, no problem.

Most of the places in the Quran, they are called as “the people of the book.” But, by definition, as Christian people take Jesus and his mother Marry as their lords beside God, they all are idol worshippers. But according to the Quran, Christian people might be forgiven.

[The Quran 5:116]  GOD will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, `Make me and my mother idols beside GOD?’ ” He will say, “Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.

 [5:117]  “I told them only what You commanded me to say, that: `You shall worship GOD, my Lord and your Lord.’ I was a witness among them for as long as I lived with them. When You terminated my life on earth, You became the Watcher over them. You witness all things.

[5:118]  “If You punish them, they are Your constituents. If You forgive them, You are the Almighty, Most Wise.”

[5:119]  GOD will proclaim, “This is a day when the truthful will be saved by their truthfulness.” They have deserved gardens with flowing streams. They abide therein forever. GOD is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. This is the greatest triumph.

[5:120]  To GOD belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and everything in them, and He is Omnipotent.

Please read the above verses very carefully: even Jesus will request God to forgive Christian people and God is basically silent here. The silence is profound indeed! The chapter 5 of the Quran is finished without saying what will be happened to Christian people. The language of the verses hint that Christian people as per Jesus’ request will eventually be forgiven by God. 

Therefore, only Hindu people are not Idol worshippers and you do not need to make a physical idol and worship it to be an idol worshipper, according to the Quran.

Even your own children can be your idols as per the Quran so without worshipping a statue you can be an idol worshipper because you might love your children more than anything and anybody!

[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.

Religious leaders and scholars can also be idols. So many Muslims can be included in this category of idol worshippers!

 [The Quran 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.

Therefore, according to Quranic definition of idol worship, so many Muslims are idol worshippers too! So, will all those Muslims also go to hell forever and get unthinking torments from the most merciful God? It is a billion-dollar question indeed! As per our understanding, the answer is no. Neither those Hindus nor Christians nor Muslims will be sent to hell.

The emphasis here is righteousness (see 2.177, 7.156 etc.), not some blind beliefs. No matter whether you are a Hindu or a Christian or Muslim or Jew or anybody if you are a righteous person God loves you even though if you have millions of idols.

[The Quran 2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

But again there is a terrified verse in the Quran: [The Quran 4:48] GOD does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.

This verse (4:48) contradicts so many other verses of the Quran. So, this verse cannot be interpreted as it seems literally. In fact, based on the most of the verses of the Quran, we believe, the most merciful God will surly forgive idolatry as long as if someone is a righteous person (doing good works as per his/her ability and trying to resist crimes or injustices).

[The Quran 6:107] Had GOD willed, they would not have worshiped idols. We did not appoint you as their guardian, nor are you their advocate.

[39:53] O My servants who exceeded the limits, never despair of GOD’s mercy. For GOD forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, Most Merciful.

The Quran clearly declares God forgives all sins (yes, all sins including idolatry). We should rely on God’s infinite mercy and love. Thank you and may God bless you.


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