After reading the Quran from cover to cover a few times, it becomes overwhelmingly evident that the central theme of the Quran is the One-ness (Tawhid) of God.
This important realization leads to the following: in this journey called life, humankind's worst danger, its true "public enemy number one" if you like, is idolatry.
Our puny minds are conditioned to believe that the worst atrocity a human being can commit is murder. Amazingly, precedent exists in the Quran where even murder is forgiven by God - see the story of Moses. This is not to say that every murderer will go scot free. Far from it. But the point is that, in the right circumstances, ever murder is forgivable. However, contrast this with the one crime that God says in the Quran that is not forgivable (if maintained). Yup - you guessed it - idolatry - public enemy number one.
It is, therefore, inherently important to CLEARLY define mankind's worst enemy. God commands us not to put our opinion over that of God's.
Here are some verses that clearly demonstrate that idolaters are much much more than those that worship stones, wood, metal and paper. Idols can easily be humans, objects, etc. Idolaters can clearly be from among those that profess to worship God alone.
"Have you seen the one whose god is his own ego? Will you be his advocate?" (25:43)
Your own ego can be your god!
"Have you noted those who claim that they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the unjust laws of their idols? They were commanded to reject such laws. Indeed, it is the devil's wish to lead them far astray." (4:60)
Stones don't make up laws, people do!
"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." (5:116)
The classic example. God's messenger, Jesus, clearly set up as an idol.
"You have come back to us as individuals, just as we created you the first time, and you have left behind what we provided for you. We do not see with you the intercessors that you idolized and claimed that they will help you. All ties among you have been severed; the idols you set up have abandoned you." (6:94)
The idolization of intercessors is useless. These are the depths our religion has fallen into.
"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." (6:100)
Jinns have been set up as idols.
"Is it not a fact that they are idolizing idols who create nothing, and are themselves created?" (7:191)
"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." (7:194)
Idols are creatures.
"On the day when we summon them all, we will say to those who worshiped idols, "We have summoned you, together with your idols." We will have them confront each other, and their idols will say to them, "We had no idea that you idolized us." (10:28)
Idols will speak to the idolaters - talking beings!
"These are the ones who lose their souls, and the idols they had fabricated will disown them." (11:21)
Not lifeless objects. "Idols" take action.
"Say, "Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?" Say, "GOD." Say, "Why then do you set up besides Him masters who do not possess any power to benefit or harm even themselves?" Say, "Is the blind the same as the seer? Is darkness the same as the light?" Have they found idols besides GOD who created creations similar to His creations, to the point of not distinguishing the two creations? Say, "GOD is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Supreme." (13:16)
People who profess to worship God can actually be following idols!
"And when those who committed idol worship see their idols, they will say, "Our Lord, these are the idols we had set up beside You." The idols will then confront them and say, "You are liars." (16:86)
Idols will confront idolaters.
"Even the idols that they implore are seeking the ways and means towards their Lord. They pray for His mercy, and fear His retribution. Surely, the retribution of your Lord is dreadful." (17:57)
Perhaps the most compelling verse in this argument. "Idols" are not just rock and metal - they are seeking God too, just like the rest of us.
"You and the idols you worship besides GOD will be fuel for Hell; this is your inevitable destiny." (21:98)
Rocks or people?
"On the day (of judgment) when we gather all the people, we will ask the idol-worshipers, 'Where are your idols whom you set up beside God?' Then, their only answer will be, 'By God our Lord, we were not idol-worshipers.' Note how they lied even to themselves, and note that the idols they had set up will abandon them." (6:22-24)
Most people unaware they are doing this!.
"On the day when He summons them, together with the idols they had set up beside GOD, He will say, "Have you misled these servants of Mine, or did they go astray on their own?" They will say, "Be You glorified, it was not right for us to set up any lords beside You. But You allowed them to enjoy, together with their parents. Consequently, they disregarded the message and thus became wicked people." (25:17-18)
"The day will come when He calls upon them, saying, "Where are those idols you had set up beside Me?" Those who incurred the judgment will say, "Our Lord, these are the ones we misled; we misled them only because we ourselves had gone astray. We now devote ourselves totally to You. They were not really worshiping us." (28:62-63)
The evidence mounts.
The foregoing verses are a sample. I hope they demonstrate the point clearly enough, inshaAllah. I urge you to study the Quran to discover this yourself.
By Sadruddin (firstname.lastname@example.org)