Iconoclasm

avoidance or destruction of religious icons

Iconoclasm is the social belief in the importance of the destruction of usually religious icons and other images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons.

"Triumph of Orthodoxy" over iconoclasm under the Theodora (wife of Theophilos)
Late 14th – early 15th-century icon.

QuotesEdit

  • The demolition of a temple is possible at any time, as it cannot walk away from its place.
    • Aurangzeb to Zullfiqar Khan and Mughal Khan. Kalimat-i-Tayyibat, quoted in Sarkar, Jadu Nath, History of Aurangzeb, Vol. III, p. 188. quoted from Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • When we desire to lead men to God, we must not simply overthrow their idols. In each of these images we must seek to discover what divine quality he who carved it sought.
  • What avails, then, the folly of the painter, who from sinful love of gain depicts that which should not be depicted—that is, with his polluted hands he tries to fashion that which should only be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth? He makes an image and calls it Christ.
    • Iconoclastic Conciliabulum, 754 AD, § 16, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series, Volume XIV, P. Schaff, ed. (1900), p. 543
  • If anyone shall endeavor to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colors which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, let him be anathema!
    • Iconoclastic Conciliabulum, 754 AD, § 16, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series, Volume XIV, P. Schaff, ed. (1900), p. 546
  • Abu Wa'il narrated: "Ali said to Abu Al-Hayyaj Al-Asadi: 'I am dispatching you with what the Prophet dispatched me: "That you not leave an elevated grave without leveling it, nor an image without erasing it."
    • Hadith "Jami at-Tirmidhi Book 10, Hadith 85".
  • Narrated 'Abdullah bin Masud: The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka'ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: "Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished."
    • Hadith Sahih Bukhari 3:43:658
  • Many strong temples which would have remained unshaken even by the trumpet blown on the Day of Judgment, were levelled with the ground when swept by the wind of Islam.
    • Amir Khusrow. About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) and his generals conquests in Jhain (Rajasthan). Amir Khusrow in S.A.A. Rizvi, Khalji Kalina Bharata, Aligarh, 1955, pp. 160
  • The idols he saw amazed him… Next day he got those idols of gold smashed with stones. The pillars of wood were burnt down by his order… A cry rose from the temples as if a second Mahmud had taken birth.
    • Miftahu'l-Futuh by Amir Khusrow. About Sultan Jalalu’d -Din Khalji (AD 1290-1296) in Jhain (Rajasthan) Translated from the Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi included in Khalji Kalina Bharata, Aligarh, 1955, pp. 153-54.
  • So the temple of Somnath was made to bow towards the Holy Mecca; and as the temple lowered its head and jumped into the sea, you may say that the building first said its prayers and then had a bath…
    • Amir Khusrow Khazainu’l-Futuh. About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) and his generals conquests in Somnath (Gujarat). Amir Khusrow , in Mohammed Habib's translation quoted by Jagdish Narayan Sarkar, The Art of War in Medieval India, New Delhi, 1964, pp. 286-87.
  • The King acknowledged that there might be reason in what they said [to accept money from the infidels if the king would desist from iconoclasm], but replied, that if he should consent to such a measure, his name would be handed down to posterity as 'Mahmood the idol-seller', whereas he was desirous of being known as 'Mahmood the destroyer of idols [Mahmud the breaker-of-idols (but-shikan)]': he therefore directed the troops to proceed in their work.
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated into English by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, 4 Volumes, New Delhi Reprint, 1981. p. 38-49 (Alternative translation: "but the champion of Islam replied with disdain that he did not want his name to go down to posterity as Mahmud the idol-seller (but farosh) instead of Mahmud the breaker-of-idols (but shikan)." in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3)
  • And, above all, don't let us forget India, the cradle of the human race, or at least of that part of it to which we belong, where first Mohammedans, and then Christians, were most cruelly infuriated against the adherents of the original faith of mankind. The destruction or disfigurement of the ancient temples and idols, a lamentable, mischievous and barbarous act, still bears witness to the monotheistic fury of the Mohammedans, carried on from Mahmud the Ghaznevid of cursed memory down to Aureng Zeb, the fratricide, whom the Portuguese Christians have zealously imitated by destruction of temples and the auto da fe of the inquisition at Goa.
  • Monotheistic religions alone furnish the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, heretical tribunals, that breaking of idols and destruction of images of the gods, that razing of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi, which had looked on the sun 3,000 years: just because a jealous god had said, 'Thou shalt make no graven image.'

See alsoEdit

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