In Islam (unlike in Imamism) Images of animals and people are prohibited inside a mosque because of the concern that such images might lead to idol worship (this principle is Sadd al-Dara’i, blocking the means).
The concept of Sadd al-Dara’i is founded on the idea of prevention of evil before it materialises. There are examples of Sadd al-Dara’i in the Quran (for instance, 6:108; 2:104). The means must conform to the ends (objectives of Shariah) and ends must prevail over the means. If the means violate the purpose of Shariah, these must be blocked.
Saint and grave veneration (which is different from honouring the Awliyah) has been historically a means to polytheism and whatever is a means to something unlawful (especially if it’s polytheism) is unlawful itself according to principles of the religion.
Islam is inherently iconoclastic
Islam came to eliminate saint and grave veneration from its very roots, especially in the forms of erected graves, statues, and pictures of religious figures. One of the greatest iconoclasts in Muslim history was none but the Commander of the Believers, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib:
عن أبي الهياج الأسدي قال: قال لي علي -رضي الله عنه-: «ألا أَبْعَثُك على ما بَعَثَني عليه رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم-؟ أن لا تَدْعَ صُورَةً إلا طَمَسْتَها، ولا قَبْرًا مُشْرِفًا إلا سَوَّيْتَه».
[صحيح.] – [رواه مسلم.]
Abu al-Hayyaj al-Asadi said: ”Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said to me: ‘Shall I not send you with the same instructions as the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent me? Do not leave any image without blotting it out, nor any raised or built-up grave without leveling it.’ [Sahih Muslim]
Islam is keen to cut off whatever may lead to polytheism, whether hidden or apparent. In this Hadith, ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) explains that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent him on a mission and commanded him to erase and blot out every image that he would encounter because they represent contention with Allah, the Almighty, in terms of creation. Also, the people may glorify such images and end up as idolaters.
The Prophet (ﷺ) also commanded him to level all built-up graves and any grave raised above the height approved by the Shariah. Raising graves may tempt people into glorifying the dead buried inside them and regarding them as associates with Allah, the Almighty. This keenness aims to guard the pure creed of Muslims, because making images and building over graves leads to overestimation, glorification, and sanctification of such things, as well as granting them rights that are exclusively limited to Allah, the Almighty.
In the light of the teachings of Islam i.e. prohibition of Images (of living beings), let alone statues, I’d like to show you another ugly side of the Iranian regime and mainstream Rafidi culture (of Shirk).
As for the logical fallacy of whataboutism that is often raised in discourses like this: yes, you will find portraits of various kings in many Muslim countries, however, none of those practices are sanctified by the scholars of Ahlul-Sunnah, whereas the Rafidah clerics support the erection of statues of their own!
Safavid Commander Seyid Sadraddin, one of the main Safavid commanders who fought against the Othmans in the battle of Chaldiran, in which Selim I of the Ottoman Empire defeated Ismail Safavi I of the Safavid Empire. This statue was built in 2003.
Statues of the Shia clergy and Imams
Of course, the ‘modest’ and ‘humble’ Shia clergy see no issues with the erection of statues of ‘saints’, especially themselves. Here just a few statues that would make Abu Jahl blush:
The irony is that many Khomeinists celebrated when the anti-statue movement was in full swing in 2020. Numerous statues were toppled but what the Khomeinists don’t realise is that their time will come as well, sooner or later, all idols will fall, from Saddam, the Shah, to the idolatrous Rafidis, in sha Allah!