along with traditional Islam is opposed to the use of images and so
has not developed the Deity Yogas of Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Traditional Islam denigrates Hinduism along with all religions that
use images, which form worship of images is considered to be
idolatry or a worship of devils. Because of this Muslims have felt
that they have the right to attack Hindus and destroy their temples.
In this we see a typical demonization of another religion for
political purposes, which has been a common tool of religious
The very Persian word for idol in Islamic idol-smashing is Bud
for Buddha. Muslims in their invasions to the East starting in the
seventh century first came in contact with the Buddhists who were
then dominant in Central Asia. The horrible heathens (kafirs) of
Islamic and Sufi literature, whose idols Muslims were smashing for
the benefit of God, were in reality non-violent Buddhist and Hindu
monks, hardly demons and certainly not people of less compassion or
self-control than the armies who massacred them.
Unfortunately the Sufis have never really challenged this
anti-image attitude. We don't find any Sufi crusade against Islamic
iconoclasm for the benefit of religious harmony. While Sufism sought
to soar to the Heavens with its mystical impulses it remained tied
to the Earth by two iron bonds. The first is Sufism's attempt to
follow the Sharia or Islamic law and gain the favor of the orthodox,
as already noted. Sufism tried to reconcile itself with the Sharia,
traditional Islamic law, and its cruel and intolerant punishments.