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Allah as Moon-God is a claim put forth by some Evangelical Christian groups that the Islamic name for God, Allah, derives from a pagan Moon god in local Arabic mythology. The implication is that "Allah" is a different God from the Judeo-Christian deity and that Muslims are worshipping a "false god". The claim is most associated with the Christian apologist author Robert Morey, whose book The moon-god Allah in the archeology of the Middle East is the most cited source of the meme that Allah is a moon-god. It has also been promoted in the cartoon tracts of Jack Chick. The use of a lunar calendar and the prevalence of crescent moon imagery in Islam is said to be the result of this origination.
In 2009 anthropologist Gregory Starrett wrote, "a recent survey by the Council for American Islamic Relations reports that as many as 10% of Americans believe Muslims are pagans who worship a moon god or goddess, a belief energetically disseminated by some Christian activists." Islamic and Western scholars have rejected these claims, one even calling them "insulting". It is argued that "Allah" is just the word for "God" in Arabic, which ultimately derives from the same root as the Hebrew words "El" and "Elohim", both used in the Book of Genesis. Sociologist Lori Peek writes that, "Allah is simply the Arabic word meaning God. In fact people who speak Arabic, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims, often say 'Allah' to describe God, just as God is called 'Gott' in German and 'Dieu' in French." While other gods were certainly referred to using this epithet, this is equally true of the Hebrew words. The Biblical commandment You shall have no other gods before me uses the same word, "Elohim", to refer to the "other" gods that is used for the creator god. It is also true of the English, French and other European-language words for God. Indeed the English word "God" evolved from pagan Germanic terms for invocation; the Latin word Deus, from which "Dieu" derives, can be traced to the same root as Dyeus, which gives the names of the ancient Indo-European divinities Zeus, Jove and Dyaus Pitar.
Islamic groups have said that the teaching that Allah is a moon god is a lie. CAIR, for example, calls the Moon-God theories of Allah evangelical "fantasies" that are "perpetuated in their comic books".
The word Allah certainly predates Islam. As Arthur Jeffrey states,
"The name Allah, as the Quran itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Arabia".
The 19th century scholar Julius Wellhausen also viewed the concept of "Allah (al-ilah, the god)" to be "a form of abstraction" originating from Mecca's local gods. Alfred Guillaume notes that the term "al-ilah" (the God) ultimately derives from the Semitic root used as a generic term for divinity.
"The oldest name for God used in the Semitic world consists of but two letters, the consonant 'l' preceded by a smooth breathing, which was pronounced 'Il' in ancient Babylonia, 'El' in ancient Israel. The relation of this name, which in Babylonia and Assyria became a generic term simply meaning ‘god’, to the Arabian Ilah familiar to us in the form Allah, which is compounded of al, the definite article, and Ilah by eliding the vowel ‘i’, is not clear."
Guillaume notes that some scholars have argued that the epithet "the god" was first used as a title of a moon god, this is purely "antiquarian" in the same sense as the origins of the English word "god". "Some scholars trace the name to the South Arabian Ilah, a title of the Moon god, but this is a matter of antiquarian interest...it is clear from Nabataean and other inscriptions that Allah meant 'the god'."
The moon plays a significant role in Islam because of the use of a lunar Islamic calendar to determine the date of Ramadan. The crescent moon, known as Hilal, defines the start and end of Islamic months. The need to determine the precise time of the appearance of the hilal was one of the inducements for Muslim scholars to study astronomy. The Quran clearly emphasises that the moon is a sign of God, not itself a god. Muslim scholars cite the 37th verse of the Sura Fussilat as proof against the Moon-God claim:
However, the crescent moon symbol used as form of blazon is not a feature of early Islam, as would be expected if it were linked to Pre-Islamic pagan roots. The use of the crescent symbol on Muslim flags originates during the later Middle Ages. 14th-century Muslim flags with an upward-pointing crescent in a monocolour field included the flags of Gabes, Tlemcen (Tilimsi), Damas and Lucania, Cairo, Mahdia, Tunis and Buda.
It has been suggested that the star-and-crescent had been adopted from the Byzantines. Franz Babinger suggests this possibility, noting that the crescent alone has a much older tradition also with Turkic tribes in the interior of Asia. Parsons considers this unlikely, as the star and crescent was not a widespread motif in Byzantium at the time of the Ottoman conquest.
Turkish historians tend to stress the antiquity of the crescent (not star-and-crescent) symbol among the early Turkic states in Asia. In Turkish tradition, there is an Ottoman legend of a dream of the eponymous founder of the Ottoman house, Osman I, in which he is reported to have seen a moon rising from the breast of a Muslim judge whose daughter he sought to marry. "When full, it descended into his own breast. Then from his loins there sprang a tree, which as it grew came to cover the whole world with the shadow of its green and beautiful branches." Beneath it Osman saw the world spread out before him, surmounted by the crescent.
Islamic flags containing the calligraphy of the Quran were commonly used by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, it was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who is known to have inlaid the Crescent and Star symbol upon his personal shield, his son Aurangzeb is also known to have used similar shields and flags containing an upward Crescent and Star symbol. Various Nawabs also preferred to utilize the Crescent and Star symbols such as the Nawab of the Carnatic.
Before Islam, the Kaaba contained a statue representing the god Hubal, which was thought to have powers of divination. Robert Morey's book The Moon-god Allah in the Archeology of the Middle East claims that Allah is identical in origin to Hubal, who he asserts to be a lunar deity. This teaching is repeated in the Chick tracts "Allah Had No Son" and "The Little Bride". It has been widely circulated in Evangelical and anti-Islamic literature in the United States. In 1996 Janet Parshall asserted that Muslims worship a moon god in syndicated radio broadcasts. In 2003 Pat Robertson stated, "The struggle is whether Hubal, the Moon God of Mecca, known as Allah, is supreme, or whether the Judeo-Christian Jehovah God of the Bible is Supreme."
Farzana Hassan sees these views as an extension of longstanding Christian Evangelical claims that Islam is "pagan" and that Muhamamad was an impostor and deceiver,
Literature circulated by the Christian Coalition perpetuates the popular Christian belief about Islam being a pagan religion, borrowing aspects of Judeo-Christian monotheism by elevating the moon god Hubal to the rank of Supreme God, or Allah. Muhammad, for fundamentalist Christians, remains an impostor who commissioned his companions to copy words of the Bible as they sat in dark inaccessible places, far removed from public gaze.
These claims draw to some extent on historical secular scholarship about the origins of the Islamic view of Allah and the polytheism of pre-Islamic Arabia, which date back to the nineteenth century. These concern the evolution and etymology of "Allah" and the mythological identity of Hubal. On the basis that the Kaaba was Allah's house, but the most important idol within it was that of Hubal, Julius Wellhausen considered Hubal to be an ancient name for Allah. in 1905 David Samuel Margoliouth wrote that "Between Hubal, the god whose image was inside the Ka'bah, and Allah ("the God"), of whom much will be heard, there was perhaps some connection", but argued that Wellhausen's equation of the two was merely hypothetical.
The claim that Hubal is a moon god derives from the speculation of the German scholar Hugo Winckler in the early twentieth century. Recent authors do not identify Hubal as a god of the moon. David Leeming describes him as a warrior and rain god, as does Mircea Eliade. Islamic sources make no mention of the moon in connection with Hubal. Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi's Book of Idols describes the idol as a human figure with a gold hand (replacing the original hand that had broken off the statue). He had seven arrows that were used for divination.
More recent authors emphasise the Nabataean origins of Hubal as a figure imported into the shrine, which may have already been associated with Allah. Patricia Crone, professor of Islamic history at Princeton University argues that "If Hubal and Allah had been one and the same deity, Hubal ought to have survived as an epithet of Allah, which he did not. And moreover there would not have been traditions in which people are asked to renounce the one for the other."
Many of these theories are consistent with mainstream Islamic thought, which holds that worship of Allah was passed down through Abraham and other prophets, but that it became corrupted by pagan traditions in pre-Islamic Arabia. Before Muhammad, Allah was not considered the sole divinity by Meccans; however, Allah was considered the creator of the world and the giver of rain. The notion of the term may have been vague in the Meccan religion. Allah was associated with companions, whom pre-Islamic Arabs considered as subordinate deities. Meccans held that a kind of kinship existed between Allah and the jinn. Allah was thought to have had sons and that the local deities of al-ʿUzzā, Manāt and al-Lāt were His daughters. The Meccans possibly associated angels with Allah. Allah was invoked in times of distress. Muhammad's father's name was ʿAbd-Allāh meaning "the slave of Allāh".
Islamic scholars argue that Muhammad's role was to restore the purified Abrahamic worship of Allah by emphasising his uniqueness and separation from his own creation, including phenomena such as the moon. The alleged miracle of the splitting of the moon shows that God is not the moon, but has power over it. Whether or not Hubal was even associated with the moon, both Muhammad and his enemies clearly identified Hubal and Allah as different gods, their supporters fighting on opposing sides in the Battle of Badr. Ibn Hisham notes that Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, leader of the defeated anti-Islamic army, called to Hubal for support to gain victory in their next battle;
When Abu Sufyan wanted to leave he went to the top of the mountain and shouted loudly saying, 'You have done a fine work; victory in war goes by turns. Today in exchange for the day (of Badr). Show your superiority, Hubal,' i.e. vindicate your religion. The apostle told ‘Umar to get up and answer him and say, God [Allah] is most high and most glorious. We are not equal. Our dead are in paradise; your dead are in hell.
Likewise, Sahih al-Bukhari clearly differentiates between the worshippers of Allah, and the worshippers of Hubal, referring to the same event.
Abu Sufyan ascended a high place and said, "Is Muhammad present amongst the people?" The Prophet said, "Do not answer him." Abu Sufyan said, "Is the son of Abu Quhafa present among the people?" The Prophet said, "Do not answer him." Abu Sufyan said, "Is the son of Al-Khattab amongst the people?" He then added, "All these people have been killed, for, were they alive, they would have replied." On that, 'Umar could not help saying, "You are a liar, O enemy of Allah! Allah has kept what will make you unhappy." Abu Sufyan said, "Superior may be Hubal!" On that the Prophet said (to his companions), "Reply to him." They asked, "What may we say?" He said, "Say: Allah is More Elevated and More Majestic!" Abu Sufyan said, "We have (the idol) al-‘Uzza, whereas you have no ‘Uzza!" The Prophet said (to his companions), "Reply to him." They said, "What may we say?" The Prophet said, "Say: Allah is our Helper and you have no helper." 
In 2001, Osama bin Laden called America the modern Hubal. He referred to allies of America as "hypocrites" who "all stood behind the head of global unbelief, the Hubal of the modern age, America and its supporters" Al Qaeda's then-number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, repeated the phrase ("hubal al-'asr") in describing America, during his November 2008 message following Barack Obama's election to the presidency.
According to Adnan A. Musallam, this use of Hubal as a symbol of the modern worship of "idols" as un-Islamic gods can be traced to one of the founders of radical Islamism, Sayyid Qutb, who used the label to attack secular rulers such as Nasser. It may have been passed on to Bin Laden by one of his teachers, Abdullah Azzam.
Moreover, the question is what the symbol of Constantinople was at the time it was captured by the Turks. And an inspection of the coins issued by the Christian rulers of that city during the thousand years and more it was in their hands, will reveal to the enquirer that though the crescent with a cross within its horns appears occasionally upon the coins of the Emperors of the East, and in one or two instances we see a cross of four equal arms with each extremity piercing a crescent, it is doubtful if a single example of the so-called "star and crescent" symbol can be found upon them."—John Denham Parsons, The Non-Christian Cross