This is a conversation that happened between a Muslim father and his 5-year-old son. For privacy reasons, they are not named.
A 5-year-old knows it.
I was flicking through the TV channels and came across a program that was showing some Buddha worship. My son suddenly said, “Papa I’m drawing this at school.” I looked at him in surprise and a bit shocked.
Then, he said, “Papa what are they doing?”
I said, “They are praying. We pray to Allāh. They are praying to Buddha.”
“Who is Buddha? Like Chinese Allāh?”
I chuckled and replied knowing too well where this is heading to, “No, remember there is only One Allāh.”
He asked, “Then why are they praying to a statue?”
Feeling intrigued that a 5 years old is able to raise this question yet millions do so without really questioning.
I replied, “Because they think Allāh is in the statue or the statue will help to connect them with Allāh.”
After some moments of silence, he said again something so simple to understand,
“But stones can’t help us, only Allāh can.”
All praises belong to Allāh alone for bestowing such innate wisdom in children, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the young ones have this natural disposition to believe in One God alone.
Let us, the parents, make sure their questions are answered with wisdom and good speech – the best of which is referring to the book of Allāh itself.
In the Qur’ān (29:17), Allāh tells us what Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said to those who worshipped stones and idols:
إِنَّمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْثَانًا وَتَخْلُقُونَ إِفْكًا إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ لَكُمْ رِزْقًا فَابْتَغُوا عِندَ اللَّهِ الرِّزْقَ وَاعْبُدُوهُ وَاشْكُرُوا لَهُ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
“You worship besides Allāh only idols, and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allāh have no power to give you provision, so seek your provision from Allāh (Alone), and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him. To Him (Alone) you will be brought back.”
So, a message to the non-Muslims who pray to idols in the hope they will get God Almighty’s mercy, how can a stone listen to you? Why do you need to ask help from a dead person, no matter how pious the person was when he lived? Allah says in the Qur’an (35:22):
وَمَا يَسۡتَوِى الۡاَحۡيَآءُ وَلَا الۡاَمۡوَاتُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُسۡمِعُ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ۚ وَمَاۤ اَنۡتَ بِمُسۡمِعٍ مَّنۡ فِى الۡقُبُوۡرِ
“And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allah causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves.”
Why do you not simply ask the One who created you and everything between the heavens and the earth? After all, can there be anyone who can do anything without His will, so why do we need an intermediary when Allah, God Almighty, Himself is telling us that (2:186):
وَاِذَا سَاَلَـكَ عِبَادِىۡ عَنِّىۡ فَاِنِّىۡ قَرِيۡبٌؕ اُجِيۡبُ دَعۡوَةَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيۡبُوۡا لِىۡ وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِىۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡشُدُوۡنَ
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.”