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Opposition to the religious use of images. The term “iconoclasm,” which literally means “image breaking,” became a religious and socio-political movement in the eighth and ninth century c.e. The Byzan-tine empire (see byzantines ) under the pretext of its opposition to icons turned officially against many forms of spirituality, including the cults of saints and monasticism, for more than a century (726-843 c.e.; see monasticism and monks ). Inasmuch as opposition to icons had been expressed long before the rise of Islam, any relationship between Byzantine iconoclasm and the Qurʾān must be seen as peripheral and coincidental, albeit cross-cultural.

in Encyclopaedia of the Qur'ān Online