Fighting Idolatry of a different kind

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… The other day, three individuals attacked me in unison about holding the protest against Terrorists on the steps of Lincoln Memorial; all was going good, but the criticism unnerved me. It was a major mile stone and I did not want to make a mistake. I took a deep breath and meditated for a few minutes to restore myself.
A brilliant idea came to my mind; I placed my father’s picture in front me, an affectionate man who had no enemies, even those who thought were his enemies, mellowed with his caring non-hostile affectionate attitude towards them. I gazed at his picture for a while with admiration, in turn I became affectionate in my response to my future friends, one of them apologized later, the other two have not yet, but that’s fine, the hostility seems to has ceased.

This morning, I woke up at 2:30 AM, and could not sleep, so I sat up looking at the things I needed to do this week, reworking the priorities. I looked up, and found my Dad was looking at me and telling me something powerful; I heard him, son, remove my picture, you don’t need me as a symbol to calm you down, go ahead and take it down. He said don’t you worship me, I am gone long time ago, take the picture down but keep me alive in your mind if you want! I hesitated, but took down not only his picture, but out went Mahatma Gandhi’s picture as well. There is nothing wrong with that, but being independent is more important, being inspired without symbolism or idolatry is much better.
I keep wondering why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) insisted on not having his portrait or sculpt his bust, when every King or famous person likes to see his ego boosting images plastered all over. He did not want to be the object of admiration but remain an inspiration, so he said, I will be dead and gone like everyone else, and you keep honoring the eternal energy that created you, and the energy that wants you to keep a balance within you and with others around you. Harmony is they name, that is indeed God’s will.
However, I still have the pictures of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Pope Frances, MLK and my Father on the facebook page, I see them each time I open the facebook, and they inspire me. My main inspirers are Muhammad and Jesus, and I don’t intend to imagine them in any fashion but remembering and following their message of love, equality, mercy and humility. It’s 3:23 AM.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer,
news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign
policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at and bulk of his writings are at  

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