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Graven Images

Ariashalaara and Imam Waly H. Muhammad discuss grave images.

This is a modified transcript of the May 9th 2015 discussion on graven images hosted by Ariashalaara and guest Imam Waly Muhammad

Ariashalaara:  Do you think the cartoon characters of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) resembles him and depicts his character?

Imam Waly M.: No!  No more than I think the many pictures of Jesus, the son of the virgin Mary resembles him. Nor do I think the many things people say of the Messiah depicts his character or describes his mission.

Ariashalaara:  You said “many pictures of the Messiah.” Can you explain?

Imam Waly M.: Yes! In my life time I have seen graven images of the Messiah with black hair, Brown hair and blonde hair.I have also seen graven images of Prophet Jesus(pbuh) with brown irises, black irises, and blue irises.I have seen him with white skin, yellow skin and because of my lost interest I have not seen; nevertheless, I have been informed by many reliable sources that there are graven images of him with black skin.

Ariashalaara: I initially questioned you concerning the cartoon images of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), however, you immediately compared him with the beloved beautiful painting and statues of Jesus the Messiah.

For what reason did you choose to respond in that way?

Imam Waly M.: Simply because Jesus (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh) were of the many prophets and messengers of Allah. They were born into this world. They walked on the earth. They were dependent social beings. They brought a message that they are not to be worship in life or after death.

Jesus the Son of Mary ultimately became an object of worship through the people’s graven
images of him. They bow down at the cross in worship. They call on him throughout the day and throughout the night.
In this way the people made Jesus a god besides God. They did so although everything from his birth to his departure are classified as things not to be worshipped. It does not matter whether it is a rough sketch, or a fine detailed artwork, or a fine lifesize sculpture the prophets and messengers of Allah are not to be made an object of worship besides Allah.
Secondly, just as the people aforetime could not agree on a single description of the Messiah, so will the people of nowadays disagree on a single description of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).
Because after all is said and done, who is living today fhat is an eyewitness companion of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)?

Ariashalaara:  I know that you have heard it in the news and probably read about it; but, did you see the cartoon figure representing Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)?

Imam Waly M.: No! Nor will I seek a way to view it or any other graven images of a Prophet or Messenger of Allah.
Praise be to Allah, I simply do not have interest in graven images.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated: “among the verses in Allahs Book: ‘Oh people! Do not claim to be the offspring of other than your fathers, as it is belief (unthankfulness )on your part that you claim to be the offspring of other than your real father.’ Then Allah’s Apostle said, Do not praise me excessively as Jesus, son of Mary was praised, but call me Allah’s slave and his Apostles…” (Sahib Bukari, Volume *, Book 82, Number 817)

Ariashalaara: You said that you “…lost interest…”Can you explain this once interest of yours?

Imam Waly M.:
When I was a church boy biblical pictures and images were all around me. Naturally the artwork and sculptures of the Messiah were the most of all the graven images in my home and in the homes of my relatives and my friends.
I added to this number by painting a picture of a white European Jesus ascending to the Heavens on the wall of my bedroom. Gas, choosing a color for the hair was a lengthy impasse. Once I decided on the black hair description of Jesus from the various description of him in our apartment my project was completed.
In addition to this, one weekend during our childhood my siblings and I made a new discovery in the showcase window of one of the thrift shop or Salvation Army stores our family frequent. It was a 12 inch statue of the crucifixion with the feet separately nailed to the cross.
There were other revelations that help me to eradicate graven
images from my life in my early adulthood such as the understanding of Exodus 20:2-7
and Deuteronomy 5:7-11.

Ariashalaara:  Exodus and Deuteronomy are of the Old Testament. Are not those books of Moses(pbuh)?

Imam Waly M.: Yes! They are of the first five books of the Bible that are consider to be the Torah.
The pure Torah is the Law that Moses (pbuh) brought and that is what Jesus(pbuh) upheld with his Gospel.

Ariashalaara:  Jesus is found in the New Testament.
How did we get from the New Testament to the Old Testament?

Imam Waly M.: Get rid of the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament.”
Let us follow Jesus (pbuh) and Moses (pbuh) by using the terms “Torah” and “Gospel.”
Now, according to the gospel of Matthew 5:17 the Messiah reiterated his mission to teach the Torah, honor the prophecy
and messages of old and to fulfill his mission by preaching the Gospel. This and the response of the Messiah to the questions of the Sadducees in Matthew 22:23-24 mentions the name of Prophet Moses(pbuh); plus, the response of the Messiah to a lawyer of the Pharisees concerning the commandments/Law/Torah in Matthew 22:36-40 place us squarely in the Torah.
Yes, there are other verses in the four Gospels; but, these verses are sufficient.

Ariashalaara: Did Prophet Muhammad come to uphold the Torah?

Imam Waly M.: Yes! There are many traditions of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) under  Muslim rule judged the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims by their Scriptures. Such as Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book, 82, Number 809, narrated by Ibn ‘Umar of a Jewish adultress that was brought to the Prophet; he asked them. “What is the punishment (for this sin) in your book (Torah)?”  They replied, “our priests have innovated the punishment of blackening the face with charcoal and Tajbiya.” ‘Abdullah bin Salam said, “Oh Allah’s Apostle, tell them to bring the Torah.” The Torah was brought, and then one of the Jews put his hand over the Divine Verse of the Rajam (stoning to death) and started reading what preceded and what followed it. On that, Ibn Salam said to the Jew, “Lift up your hand.”  Behold! The Divine Verse of the Rajam was under his hand. So Allah’s Apostle ordered that the two (sinners) be stoned to death, and so they were stoned. In addition to these tradition to these tradition of Prophet Muhammad there are revealed verses of the Glorious Qur’an which is a confirmation of previous scriptures clearly stating that whoever fails to judge by what Allah has revealed is no better than the disbelievers (Qur’an 5:41-50)
In addition to these tradition of Prophet Muhammad there are revealed verses of the Glorious Qur’an clearly stating that who
ever fail to judge by what Allah has revealed is no better than the disbelievers.

Ariashalaara: A disbeliever?

Imam Waly M.: One who accepts the doctrines of men over the Commandments and Revelations of Allah/God.

Ariashalaara: You constantly refer to Jesus(pbuh) when asked about Muhammad(pbuh)in almost in every one of your
statements. Now you have included Moses(pbuh)
Is there a commonality or unification among this trio?

Imam Waly M.: Yes!
Moses (pbuh), Jesus (pbuh), Muhammad (pbuh) including all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah were Muslims. They were Islamic prophets and messages. Therefore, a believing Muslim must believe in all of them as Allah has revealed in The Glorious Qur’an and as Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) and his companions illustrated. This is why the media will never be able to report of a pious male or female denigrating Jesus (pbuh),Moses(pbuh), Muhammad (pbuh) or any other Prophet and Messenger of Allah. This is why the media will never be able to report of a righteous male or female making graven images of a Prophet or of a Messenger of Allah. This is why the media will never be able to report of one who believes in Allah/God and the Last Day as a person who dishonor a Prophet

or a Messenger of Allah by making distinction between them.

Ariashalaara: But, are not you concerned that these many drawings of Prophet Muhammad(pubh) will be used for idolatry?

Imam Waly M.: My concern is to cultivate my own soul with the Commandments and the Revelation of my guardian Lord. I can only admonish my family members and neighbors. It is up
to them to cultivate their own souls.
I know that Idolaters historically have bought just about everything and everyone imaginable into their idolatry. So you will not find me losing sleep over their rituals.

Ariashalaara: There are those that has been classified as hate groups creating images of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Are you not concerned as to what they will do with those images of
the Prophet?

Imam Waly M.: Again, no one living today in 2015 is an eyewitness companion of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, no one can honestly and positivly swear that the facial features of any sketch, painting or sculpture are exactly his. Truly their transgression has given birth to their own dissatisfaction of their original character. So, they launched a search of an improved image.
Are not their adumbrations mere conjectures propelled by hatefulness and disregard for the
true faith of their neighbors?
Just think of what this great country of ours would look like if every countryman follow this madness of attacking the faith of his or her countryman in the name of freedom of speech. Think of the many responses from love ones and neighbors.
This land would truly be America the ugly!

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