There is absolutely no justification for destroying
the Buddha statues as the Taliban have done. Religious freedom for the
minorities demands that these statues be given full protection.
The argument that the Taliban present in support of this
stance is that the Prophet (sws) destroyed the idols that were placed in the
Baytullāh. This analogy, I am afraid, is incorrect and seems to have arisen by
not understanding the specific position occupied by Arabia.
Pre-Islamic Arabia was conquered and given in the
possession of Muhammad (sws) and his companions by the Almighty in accordance
with His established scheme regarding His Rusul. According to this Divine
scheme, a Rasul always triumphs over his nation:
Those who show hostility to Allah and His Rasul are
bound to be humiliated. The Almighty has ordained: ‘I and my Rusul shall be
It is the Almighty who actually takes control of matters
and sees to it that this scheme is implemented. The Rusul and their companions
act as no more than the implementers of His will.
So in accordance with this law, specifically meant for the
Rusul, Muhammad (sws) was also informed that he would triumph over his nation.
He and his companions were told that they would have to fight the idolaters of
Arabia until the supremacy of Islam was achieved:
And fight them on until there is no more persecution and
there prevails the religion of God everywhere [in this land of Arabia].
This Qur’ānic directive has been referred to by the Prophet
in the following words:
No other religion than Islam should be allowed to be
practiced here. (Mu’attā, Kitābu’l-Jāmi‘)
implementation of this divine scheme, Arabia was required to become a symbol of
monotheism. Here every trace of polytheism was to be uprooted. Therefore, all
idols were destroyed. Consequently, in Arabia no one was and is allowed to
In other words,
the stress in this directive is on the land of Arabia. It is only here that no
religion is allowed to be practiced according to 8:38-40. The directive is not
related to other countries and territories in which non-Muslims can live and
practice their religion. So we find the Companions of the Prophet (sws) giving
full religious freedom to their subjects in conquered areas outside Arabia.