For many generations Noah's people had been worshipping statues that they called gods. They believed that these gods would bring them good, protect them from evil and provide all their needs. They gave their idols names such as Waddan, Suwa'an, Yaghutha, Ya'auga, and Nasran, (These idols represented, respectively, manly power; mutability, beauty; brute strength, swiftness, sharp sight, insight) according to the power they thought these gods possessed. Allah the Almighty revealed:
"They (idolaters) have said: "You shall not leave your gods nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa, nor Yaghuth, nor Ya uq nor Nasr (names of the idols)." (CH 71:23 Quran).
Originally these were the names of good people who had lived among them. After their deaths, statues of them were erected to keep their memories alive. After sometime, however, people began to worship these statues. Later generations did not even know why they had been erected; they only knew their parents had prayed to them. That is how idol worshipping developed. Since they had no understanding of Allah the Almighty Who would punish them for their evil deeds, they became cruel and immoral.
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