Idolatry is the worship of something as a substitute for God. It is prohibited in the first commandment of the Ten Commandments which states: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". Modern secularism is considered to be a form of idolatry. Devotion to the NFL is a form of idolatry, as is obsessive watching of television.
Muslims consider statues of religious figures to be a form of idolatry, and do not refer to themselves as Muhammadans for the same reason, as they feel that this term implies that they worship Muhammad.
Most religions that make use of idols do not actually worship the image itself. Far more often they are regarded as focus points for worship or as a likeness of the god. Only rarely is the image itself considered to be the god. They can also be used to convey or focus on a particular aspect of a many-faceted deity, and this usage is common in Hinduism.
- Schimmel, Annemarie. Islam: An Introduction. State University of New York Press, 1992.