1996 Research and Education Foundation

Is The "Allah" of the Qur'an the true universal God?

Dr. Robert Morey

 

Introduction

        The art of asking questions is the very soul and substance of all 
scholarship and research.  Asking questions is the only way to find out the 
Truth about any religion including Islam. We must always remember that Truth 
is never afraid of the spotlight of investigation.

        In order to find an answer to the topic of our dialogue, we must be 
willing to ask some very hard questions. We must probe deeply into the sources 
of Islam. We must be willing to let history and science answer our questions 
instead of blindly following the dictates of dogmatism.

The Qur'an and Questions

        We recognize that this will be especially hard for Muslims because they 
are forbidden by the Qur'an to ask questions about their own faith! They are 
warned that if they start asking questions, they may lose their faith in Islam!

    O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things
    which if  made plain to you, may cause you trouble.
    Some people before you did ask such questions, and on
    that account lost their faith." (Surah 5:101-102).

        In his famous commentary on the Qur'an, Maududi warns Muslims not to 
probe too deeply into Islam.

     The Holy Prophet himself forbade people to ask questions
     ...so do not try to probe into such things.
     The Meaning of the Qur'an, Maududi, vol. III, pgs. 76-77.

        The questions were not the problem. The answers "made plain" caused 
people to lose their faith in Islam. Whenever people tell you not to ask 
questions because if you find the answers you will lose faith in them, they 
are trying to hide something.

        Bukhari's Hadith tells us how Muhammad responded to those who asked 
him questions:

                The prophet was asked about things which he did not
                like, and when the questioner insisted, the Prophet
                got angry. (vol. 1, no. 92)
                The Prophet got angry and his cheeks or his face
                became red. (vol. 1, no. 91)
                "Allah has hated you...[for] asking too many questions."
                                (vol. 2, no. 555; and  vol. 3, no. 591)

        We must ask ourselves, "What kind of god is Allah who hates people for 
asking questions? This is not like the God of the Bible who encourages us to 
seek, to ask, and to knock! Why is Muhammad pictured as hating those who asked 
him questions? Why were people warned not to ask any questions? What is Islam 
trying to hide? Is Islam so weak that merely asking questions threaten to 
destroy it? Do Muslims assume that blind faith is the way to Islam?"

The Freedom To Question

        Thankfully, we live in a wonderful country where we are free to ask all 
the questions we want. We are free to probe deeply into the sources of Islam, 
its god and its religious ceremonies until we find the answer. Indeed, any Muslim 
who fails to ask questions about the sources of the Qur'an and Islam will be 
guilty of blind fanaticism and gross ignorance. He should remember that if his 
religion is true, then there is nothing to fear from asking questions.

The Infidel's Challenge

        According to the Qur'an, the infidels of Muhammad's day rejected the 
Qur'an because it was composed of old stories and myths.

                  But the unbelievers say, "This is nothing but a lie
                  which he has forged, and other have helped him do it
                  ...Tales of the ancients, which he has caused to be
                  written; and they are dictated before him morning
                  and evening."  (Surah 25:4-5)

        The accusation is quite clear: The Qur'an is not a "revelation" brought 
down out of heaven to Muhammad but it is a forgery composed of previously 
existing stories. The sources of the material found in the Qur'an was the main 
point of their  accusation.

 The Qur'an's Response

        How did the authors of the Qur'an handle this accusation? Surprisingly, 
all they did was attack the character of those who made the accusation and then 
simply repeat that the Qur'an was brought down from heaven.

                  In truth, it is they who have put forward an iniquity
                  and a falsehood. (Surah 25:4)
                  Say: "The Qur'an was sent down by Him who knows
                  the mystery that is in the heavens." (Surah 25:6)

        In his commentary, Yusuf Ali states,

               3058 In their misguided arrogance they say, "We
               have heard such things before: they are pretty tales
               which have come down from ancient times: they are
               good for amusement, but who takes them seriously?"

               3059 The answer is that the Qur'an teaches spiritual
               knowledge of what is ordinarily hidden from men's
               sight, and such knowledge can only come from God
               to Whom alone is known the Mystery of the whole
               Creation.

        The question of the sources of the Qur'an is crucial to whether Islam 
is true or false. Why? The famous Muslim commentator Maududi explains,

Apparently this is a weighty argument.  For there can be no greater proof of 
the "fraud" of Prophethood than to specify its source.  But it looks strange 
that no argument has been put forward to refute this charge except a mere 
denial, as if to say, "Your charge is an impudent lie: you are cruel and unjust 
to bring such a false charge against Our Messenger; for the Qur'an is the Word 
of Allah Who knows all the secrets in the heavens and the earth.  The Meaning 
of the Qur'an, Maududi, vol. III, pgs. 178-179.

        The question of whether Islam derived its beliefs and ceremonies from 
heaven or from earth is crucial. If it obtained its god, its rites, and its 
doctrines  from pre-existing pagan religions, then the claim that it was 
"brought down from heaven" falls to the ground.


Foundational Principles

1. We can all agree on this common ground: the Qur'an is literature.

2. Our interpretation of the Qur'an is subject to the same rules of analysis 
and exegesis that govern the interpretation of any other piece of literature: 
grammar, syntax, literary context, historical context, and cultural context.

3. One literary rule is that when a book refers to things without explaining 
them to the readers, the author is assuming that these things are so well 
known that no explanation is needed.

4. The Qur'an refers to gods, people, places, and things which are nowhere 
explained or defined within the Qur'an itself.

5. The authors of the Qur'an assumed that everyone already knew of these things 
and thus no explanation was needed.

6. There are many passages in the Qur'an which would be unintelligible if we 
did not go outside of the Qur'an to the historical and cultural context of 
pre-Islamic Arabia. Such surahs as "The Blind Man" (80), "The Elephant" (105), 
etc. are unintelligible if recourse is not made to historical sources.

7. All scholars use pre-Islamic history to explain the contents of the Qur'an.

8. What kind of literature is the Qur'an? Is it rational discourse or historical 
narative? Is a book of songs or poems? What is it? The authors of the Qur'an 
tell us that it is primarily composed of  "pretty stories." Indeed, if we 
removed all the "pretty stories" from the text of the Qur'an, it would be 
reduced to a few pages of threats and warnings.

                   We relate to you the most pretty
                   stories in what we reveal to you
                   in this Qur'an.     (Surah (12:3)

9. From where did these "stories"originate? Were they "brought down" from 
heaven or were they derived from old myths and legends?

        Many scholars are agreed that the stories found in the Qur'an were 
derived from the legends and myths of  Arabs, Jews, Persians, and Christians. 
In other words, they did not come from heaven but from earth. Their source is 
not Allah but human story tellers. This is why many scholars view the Qur'an 
as a fanciful book of ancient tales.

        This will not  come as a surprise to anyone who actually reads the 
Qur'an. It is primarily composed of old fables and myths which convolute 
the names, dates, events, and places of biblical and secular history into 
incoherent fantasies. Such fantastic stories as the youths in the cave, the 
she camel, the monkey people and the night journey are only faint garbled 
reflections of the original tales.

         Example: Yusuf Ali's translation and commentary on the Qur'an is well 
known and accepted all over the world. In his comments on the text, he traces 
the stories of the Qur'an  back to the original Arab, Jewish, Persian or 
Christian legends from which they were derived. He does not deny the earthly 
sources of the Qur'an. Instead, he documents them!

        If the Qur'an is a confused and jumbled record of ancient "stories" 
drawn from the various nations conquered by the Arabs, this becomes the most 
serious threat to Islam's claim of divine revelation. Maududi was right. 
Once we identify the sources of the Qur'an, it is no longer a revelation.



                    Yusuf Ali's Translation and Commentary

Surah         verse               source of  story     
2               60                Jewish and Arab legends
                65                Jewish legends
               125                 Arab legends
               158                 Arab legends 
               189                 Arab legends  
               194                 Arab legends            
               196                 Arab legends
               197                 Arab legends
               198                 Arab legends
               200                 Arab legends
               259                Jewish legend

3               49                Christian legend

7		65                   Arab legends
                73                   Arab legends
                85                   Arab legends

11		59                   Arab legends

18		 9                 Christian legend
               110                 Persian source

74              32                 Arab legends



10. It is thus proper and appropriate to apply the question of sources to the 
god of Islam. Did Islam derive its god from revelation or from previously 
existing sources?


General Questions

Is it possible to believe that you are worshipping the true God when you are 
actually worshipping a false god? Yes.

Do most religions have sacred books which claim that the God, gods or goddesses
revealed in their books are true? Yes.

Does merely claiming that you worship the true God prove that you are in fact 
worshipping the true God? No.

Does the Qur'an claim that Allah is the true God? Yes.

Is it possible that the Qur'an could be in error and thus Allah is a false god? 
Yes.

Is it possible that Islam derived the name  "Allah" from pre-Islamic sources? 
Yes.


Specific Questions

Does the Qur'an define the word "Allah"? No.

Was the name "Allah" revealed for the first time in the Qur'an? No

Does the Qur'an assume that its readers have already heard of  "Allah"? Yes

Should we look into pre-Islamic Arabian history to see who "Allah" was before 
Muhammad? Yes.

According to Mulism tradition, was Muhammad born into a Christian family and 
tribe? No

Was he born into a Jewish family or tribe? No

What religion was his family and tribe? Pagans

What was the name of his pagan father? Abdullah (Abd + Allah)

Did Muhammad participate in the pagan ceremonies of Mecca? Yes

Did the Arabs in pre-Islamic times worship 360 gods? Yes

Did the pagans Arabs worship the sun, moon and the stars? Yes


         Yusuf Ali: pgs. 1619-1623 "The Forms of Pagan Worship."
It will be noticed that the sun and the moon and the five planets got 
identified with a living deity, god or goddess, with the qualities of its 
own.
Moon worship was equally popular in various forms...It may be noted that the 
moon was a male divinity in ancient India; it was also a male divinity in 
ancient Semitic religion, and the Arabic word for the moon (qamar) is of the 
masculine gender. On the other hand, the Arabic word for the sun (shama) is 
of the feminine gender. The pagan Arabs evidently looked upon the sun as a 
goddess and the moon as a god.
If Wadd and Suwa represented Man and Woman, they might well represent the 
astral worship of the moon and the sun...
The Pagan deities best known in the Ka'ba and round about Mecca were Lat, 
Uzza and Manat...They were all female goddesses.

        In his explanation of why the Qur'an swears by the moon in Surah 74:32, 
"Nay, verily by the Moon," Yusuf Alli comments, "The moon was worshipped as a 
deity in times of darkness"(fn. 5798, pg. 1644).

Did the Arabs built temples to the Moon-god? Yes

Did different Arab tribes give the Moon-god different names/titles? Yes

What were some of the names/titles? Sin, Hubul, Ilumquh, Al-ilah.

Was the title "al-ilah" (the god) used of the Moon-god? Yes

Was the word "Allah" derived from "al-ilah?" Yes

Was the pagan "Allah" a high god in a pantheon of deities? Yes.

Was he worshipped at the Kabah? Yes.

Was Allah only one of many Meccan gods? Yes

Did they place a statue of Hubul on top of the Kabah? Yes.

At that time was Hubul considered the Moon-god? Yes.

Was the Kabah thus the "house of the Moon-god"? Yes.

Did the name "Allah" eventually replace that of Hubul as the name of the 
Moon god? Yes.

Did they call the Kabah the "house of Allah"?

Did the pagans develop religious rites in connection with the worship of 
their gods? Yes.

Did the pagans practice the Pilgrimage, the Fast of Ramadan, running around 
the Kabah seven times, kissing the black stone, shaving the head, animal 
sacrifices, running up and down two hills, throwing stones at the devil, 
snorting water in and out the nose, praying several times a day toward Mecca, 
giving alms, Friday prayers, etc.? Yes.

Did Muhammad command his followers to participate in these pagan ceremonies 
while the pagans were still in control of Mecca? Yes (See Yusuf Ali, fn. 214, 
pg. 78).

Did Islam go on to adopt these pagan religious rites? Yes.

                ...the whole of the [pagan] pilgrimage was
                spiritualized in Islam..."  (Yusuf Ali: fn. 223 pg. 80).

Were al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat called "the daughters of Allah"? Yes.

                Yusuf Ali explains in fn. 5096, pg. 1445, that Lat,
                Uzza and Manat were known as "the daughters of
                God [Allah]"

Did the Qur'an at one point tell Muslims to worship al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat?
Yes. In Surah 53:19-20.

Have those verses been "abrogated" out of the present Qur'an? Yes.

What were they called? "The Satanic Verses." Yes.

Was the crescent moon an ancient pagan symbol of the Moon-god throughout the 
ancient world? Yes.

Was it the religious symbol of the Moon-god in Arabia? Yes

Were stars also used as pagan symbols of the daughers of Allah? Yes

Did the Jews or the Christians of Arabia use the crescent moon with several 
stars next to it as symbols of their faith? No

Did Islam adopt the pagan crescent moon and stars as it religious symbol? Yes.

As Islam developed over the centuries, did it adopt pagan names, pagan 
ceremonies, pagan temples and pagan symbols? Yes

Is it possible that most Muslims do not know the pagan sources of the
symbols and rites of their own religion? Yes.

Are they shocked to find out the true sources of their ceremonies and stories? 
Yes

Can Islam be the religion of Abraham if it is derived from paganism? No

What then is Islam? A modern version of one of the ancient fertility cults.

Is the "Allah" of the Qur'an, the Christian God of Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit? No

Do the Jews say that the Muslim "Allah" is their God too? No

Then whose god is Allah? Paganism

Documentation

        The following citations reveal that there is a general consensus 
among Islamic scholars that Allah was a pagan deity before Islam developed. 
He was only one god among a pantheon of 360 gods worshipped by the Arabs. 
Even if he was at times viewed as a "high god," this does not mean he was 
the one true God.


The word Allah was derived from al-ilah which had become a generic title for 
whatever god was considered the highest god. Each Arab tribe used Allah to 
refer to its own particular high god. This is why Hubal, the Moon god, was 
the central focus of prayer at the Kabah and people prayed to Hubal using 
the name Allah

"Historians like Vaqqidi have said Allah was actually the chief of the 360 gods 
being worshipped in Arabia at the time Mohammed rose to prominence. Ibn Al-Kalbi 
gave 27 names of pre-Islamic deities...Interestingly, not many Muslims want to 
accept that Allah was already being worshipped at the Ka'ba in Mecca by Arab 
pagans before Mohammed came. Some Muslims become angry when they are confronted 
with this fact. But history is not on their side. Pre-Islamic literature has 
proved this."  
G. J. O. Moshay, Who Is This Allah?, (Dorchester House, Bucks, UK, 1994), 
pg. 138.


"Islam also owes the term "Allah" to the heathen Arabs. We have evidence that 
it entered into numerous personal names in Northern Arabia and among the 
Nabatians. It occurred among the Arabs of later times, in theophorous names 
and on its own."
Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not A Muslim, (Prometheus, Amherst, 1995) p. 42.


"In any case it is extremely important fact that Muhammad did  not find it 
necessary to introduce an altogether novel deity, but contented himself with 
ridding the heathen Allah of his companions subjecting him to a kind of dogmatic 
purification."
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, I:664.


"The name Allah, as the Qur'an 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 Africa."
Arthur Jeffrey, ed., Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (New York: The Liberal 
Arts Press, 1958), p. 85.


"Allah" is a proper name, applicable only to their [Arabs'] peculiar God."
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,  I:326.

"Allah" is a pre-Islamic name. . ."
Encyclopedia of Religion, I:117.

"Allah is found. . .in Arabic inscriptions prior to Islam." 
Encyclopedia Britannica, I:643.

"The Arabs, before the time of Muhammad, accepted and worshipped, after a 
fashion, a supreme god called Allah."
Encyclopedia of Islam, eds. Houtsma,	Arnold, Basset, Hartman 
(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1913), I:302


"Allah was known to the pre-Islamic Arabs; he was one of the Meccan deities." 
Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Gibb, I:406.

"Ilah. . .appears in pre-Islamic poetry. . .By frequency of usage, al-ilah 
was contracted to allah, frequently attested to in pre-Islamic poetry."
Encyclopedia of Islam, eds. Lewis, Menage, Pellat, Schacht 
(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1971), II:1093.

"The name Allah goes back before Muhammed." 
The Facts on File: Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, ed. Anthony 
Mercatante (New York, The Facts on File, 1983), I:41.

"The source of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a 
common name meaning "God" (or a "god"), and the Muslim must use another word 
or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity."
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ed. Hastings), I:326.

"Allah was already known by name to the Arabs."
Henry Preserved Smith, The Bible and Islam: or, The Influence of the Old and 
New Testament on the Religion of Mohammed (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 
1897), p. 102.

"The name Allah is also evident in archeological and literary remains of 
pre-Islamic Arabia."
Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1956), p. 31.


"In recent years I have become increasingly convinced that for an adequate 
understanding of the career of Muhammad and the sources of Islam great 
importance must be attached to the existence in Mecca of belief in Allah as 
a "high god."  In a sense this is a form of paganism, but it is so different 
from paganism as commonly understood that it deserves separate treatment."
William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad's Mecca, p. vii. 

"The use of the phrase "the Lord of this House" makes it likely that those 
Meccans who believed in Allah as a high god - and they may have been numerous - 
regarded the Ka'ba as his shrine, even though there were images of other gods 
in it. There are stories in the Sira of pagan Meccans praying to Allah while 
standing besides the image of Hubal."
William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad's Mecca, p. 39.

"The customs of heathenism have left an indelible mark on Islam, notably in 
the rites of the pilgrimage (on which more will be said later), so that for 
this reason alone something ought to be said about the chief characteristics 
of Arabian paganism. 

The relation of this name, which in Babylonia and Assyrian 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. 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 Nabataen and other inscriptions that Allah meant 
'the god.'

The other gods mentioned in the Quran are all female deities: Al-Lat, al-Uzza, 
and Manat, which represented the Sun, the planet Venus, and Fortune, 
respectively; at Mecca they were regarded as the daughters of Allah...
As Allah meant 'the god', so Al-Lat means 'the goddess'."
Alfred Guilaume, Islam, (Penguin, 1956) pgs. 6-7

"As well as worshipping idols and spirits, found in animals, plants, rocks 
and water, the ancient Arabs believed in several major gods and goddesses 
whom they considered to hold supreme power over all things. The most famous 
of these were Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Manat and Hubal. The first three were thought 
to be the daughters of Allah(God) and their intercessions on behalf of their 
worshippers were therefore of great significance.

Hubal was associated with the Semitic god Ba'l and with Adonis or Tammuz, 
the gods of spring, fertility, agriculture and plenty...Hubal's idol used 
to stand by the holy well inside the Sacred House. It was made of red 
sapphire but had a broken arm until the tribe of Quraysh, who considered him 
one of their major gods, made him a replacement in solid gold.

In addition to the sun, moon and the star Al-Zuhara, the Arabs worshipped 
the planets Saturn, Mercury, and Jupiter, the stars Sirius and Canopus and 
the constellations of Orion, Ursa Major and Minor, and the seven Pleiades.

Some stars and planets were given human characters,. According to legend, 
Al-Dabaran, one of the stars in the Hyades group, fell deeply in love with 
Al-Thurayya, the fairest of the Pleiades stars. With the approval of the 
Moon, he asked for her hand in marriage. "

Khairt al-Saeh, Fabled Cities, Princes & Jin from Arab Myths and Legends, 
(New York: Schocken, 1985), p. 28-30.  


"Along with Allah, however; they worshipped a host of lesser gods and 
"daughters of Allah.""
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and	Legend, I:61.

"It must not be assumed that since Moslems worship one God they are very 
close to Christians in their faith. The important thing is not the belief 
that God is One, but the conception that the believers have of God's 
character. Satan also believes and trembles!  As Raymond Lull, the first 
great missionary to Moslems, pointed out long ago, the greatest deficiency 
in the Moslem religion is in its conception of God. ...For as we know, 
Jehovah the God of the Bible, known both to Jews and Christians, is revealed 
much differently than Allah, the god of Islam."
Howard F. Vos, Ed., Religions in a Changing World (Chicago, 1961), pp. 70,71.

"Allah was the name of a god whom the Arabs worshipped many centuries 
before Muhammed was born."
The World Book Encyclopedia, (Chicago, 1955), Vol. 1, p. 230.

"But history establishes beyond the shadow of doubt that even the pagan 
Arabs, before Mohammed's time, knew their chief god by the name of Allah 
and even, in a sense, proclaimed his unity...Among the pagan Arabs this 
term denoted the chief god of their pantheon, the Kaaba, with its three 
hundred and sixty idols."
Samuel M. Zwemer, The Moslem Doctrine of God (New York, 1905), pp. 24-25.

"There is no corroborative evidence whatsoever for the Qu'ran's claim that 
the Ka'aba was initially a house of monotheistic worship. Instead there 
certainly is evidence as far back as history can trace the sources and 
worship of the Ka'aba that it was thoroughly pagan and idolatrous in 
content and emphasis."
Gilchrist, The Temple, The Ka'aba, and the Christ (Benoni, South Africa, 
1980), p. 16.


"In pre-Islamic days, called the Days of Ignorance, the religious background 
of the Arabs was pagan, and basically animistic. Through wells, trees, stones, 
caves, springs, and other natural objects man could make contact with the 
deity... At Mekka, Allah was the chief of the gods and the special deity of 
the Quraish, the prophet's tribe.  Allah had three daughters: Al Uzzah 
(Venus) most revered of all and pleased with human sacrifice; Manah, the 
goddess of destiny, and Al Lat, the goddess of vegetable life.. Hubal and 
more than 300 others made up the pantheon. The central shrine at Mekka was 
the Kaaba, a cube like stone structure which still stands though many times 
rebuilt. Imbedded in one corner is the black stone, probably a meteorite, 
the kissing of which is now an essential part of the pilgrimage."
John Van Ess, Meet the Arab (New York, 1943, p. 29.

"...a people of Arabia, of the race of the Joktanites...the Alilai living 
near the Red Sea in a district where gold is found; their name, children of 
the moon, so called from the worship of the moon, or Alilat."
Gesenius Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, 
translated by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1979), p. 367.

"That Islam was conceived in idolatry is shown by the fact that many rituals 
performed in the name of Allah were connected with the pagan worship that 
existed before Islam. And today, millions of Moslems pray towards Mecca, 
where the famous revered black stone is located.

1. Before Islam Allah was reported to be know as:
--the supreme of a pantheon of gods.
--the name of a god whom the Arabs worshipped.
--the chief god of the pantheon.
--Ali-ilah, the god, the supreme.
--the all-powerful, all-knowing, and totally unknowable.
--the predeterminer of everyone's life) destiny).
--chief of the gods.
--the special deity of the Quraish.
--having three daughters: Al Uzzah (Venus), Manah (Destiny), and Alat.
--having the idol temple at Mecca under his name (House of Allah).
--the mate of Alat, the goddess of fate.

2. Because the Ka'aba, the sacred shrine which contains the Black Stone, in 
Mecca was used for pagan idol worship before Islam and even called the House 
of Allah at that time.

3. Because the rituals involved with the Islamic Pilgrimage are either 
identical or very close to the pre-Islamic pagan idol worship at Mecca.

4. Because of other Arabian history which points to heathen worship of the 
sun, moon, and the stars, as well as other gods, of which I believe Allah 
was in some way connected to.

This then would prove to us that Allah is not the same as the true God of 
the Bible whom we worship, because God never changes."

M. J. Afshari, Is Allah The Same God As The God Of The Bible?, pgs. 6, 8-9

"If a Muslim says, "Your God and our God is the same," either he does not 
understand who Allah and Christ really are, or he intentionally glosses 
over the deep-rooted differences."
Abd-Al Masih, Who Is Allah In Islam?, Villach, Austria, Light of Life, 1985, 
p. 36.

"Sin.--The moon-god occupied the chief place in the astral triad.  Its other 
two members, Shamash the sun and Ishtar the planet Venus, were his children.  
Thus it was, in effect, from the night that light had emerged....In his 
physical aspect Sin--who was venerated at Ur under the name of Nannar--was 
an old man with along beard the color of lapis-lazuli.  He normally wore a 
turban.  Every evening he got into his barque--which to mortals appeared in 
the form of a brilliant crescent moon--and navigated the vast spaces of the 
nocturnal sky.  Some people, however, believed that the luminous crescent 
was Sin's weapon.  But one day the crescent gave way to a disk which stood 
out in the sky like a gleaming crown.  There could be no doubt that this 
was the god's own crown; and then Sin was called "Lord of the Diadem".  
These successive and regular transformations lent Sin a certain mystery.  
For this reason he was considered to be 'He whose deep heart no god can 
penetrate'...	Sin was also full of wisdom.  At the end of every month 
the gods came to consult them and he made decisions for them...His wife 
was Ningal, 'the great Lady'.  He was the father not only of Shamash and 
Ishtar but also of a son Nusku, the god fire."
Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology,  (New York, 1960), pp. 54-56.

"Allah, the Supreme Being of the Mussulmans:
1. Before Islam. That the Arabs, before the time of Muhammed, accepted 
and worshipped, after a fashion, a supreme god called Allah,--''the Ilah, 
or the god, if the form is of genuine Arabic source; if of Aramaic, from 
Alaha, "the god"--seems absolutely certain.  Whether he was an abstraction 
or a development from some individual god, such as Hubal, need not here be 
considered...But they also recognized and tended to worship more fervently 
and directly other strictly subordinate gods...It is certain  that they 
regarded particular deities (mentioned in 1iii. 19-20 are al-'Uzza, Manat 
or Manah, al-Lat(?); some have interpreted vii, 179 as a reference to a 
perversion of Allah to Allat) as daughters of Allah (vi. 100; xvi, 59; xxxvii, 
149; 1iii, 21); they also asserted that he had sons (vi. 100)..."There was 
no god save Allah".  This meant, for Muhammed and the Meccans, that of all 
the gods whom they worshipped, Allah was the only real deity.  It took no 
account of the nature of God in the abstract, only of the personal position 
of Allah.
...ilah, the common noun from which Allah is probably derived..."
First Encyclopedia of Islam, E.J. Brill (New York, 1987), p. 302.

"Islam for its part ensured the survival of these pre-Islamic constituents, 
endowed them with a universal significance, and provided them with a context 
within which they have enjoyed a most remarkable longevity.  Some of these 
significant constituents, nomadic and sedentary, the pre-Islamic roots which 
have formed the persistent heritage, deserve to be noted and discussed...
The pre-Islamic Pilgrimage in its essential features survives, indeed is 
built into the very structure of Islam as one of its Five Pillars of Faith."
 The Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. I, ed. P.M. Holt (Cambridge, 1970), p. 27

"The Quran (22.52/I) implies that on at least one occasion 'Satan had 
interposed' something in the revelation Muhammad received, and this probably 
refers to the incident to be described. The story is that, while Muhammad 
was hoping for some accommodation with the great merchants, he received a 
revelation mentioning the goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat (53.19), 
20 as now found), but continuing with other two (or three) verses 
sanctioning intercession to these deities. At some later date Muhammad 
received a further revelation abrogating the latter verses, but retaining 
the names of the goddesses, and saying it was unfair that God should have 
only daughters while human beings had sons." 
The Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. I, ed. P.M. Holt (Cambridge, 1970), 
p. 37.

"This notation at times might be very simple, as can be illustrated by 
such equations as the sun or winged sun for the sun-god (Sumerian, Utu; 
Akkadian, Shamash), a crescent moon for the moon-god (Nanna/Sin), a star 
for Inanna/Ishtar (the planet Venus), seven dots or small stars for the 
constellation Pleiades (of which seven are readily visible, our "Seven 
Sisters")..."
 Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Vol. III, ed. Jack M. Sasson, 
(New York), p. 1841.

"...the Ka'aba was dedicated to al-Llah, the High God of the pagan Arabs, 
despite the presiding effigy of Hubal. By the beginning of the seventh 
century, al-Llah had become more important than before in the religious 
life many of the Arabs. Many primitive religions develop a belief in a 
High God, who is sometimes called the Sky God...But they also carried on 
worshipping the other gods, who remained deeply important to them." 
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, (New York: San Francisco, 1992) p. 69. 

"The cult of a deity termed simply "the god" (al-ilah) was known throughout 
southern Syria and northern Arabia in the days before Islam--Muhammad's 
father was named 'Abd Allah ("Servant of Allah")--and was obviously of 
central importance in Mecca, where the building called the Ka'bah was 
indisputably his house.  Indeed, the Muslims shahadah attests to precisely 
that point: the Quraysh, the paramount tribe of Mecca, were being called 
on by Muhammad to repudiate the very existence of all the other gods save 
this one.  It seems equally certain that Allah was not merely a god in 
Mecca but was widely regarded as the "high god," the chief and head of 
the Meccan pantheon, whether this was the result, as has been argued, 
of a natural progression toward henotheism or of the growing influence 
of Jews and Christians in the Arabian Peninsula...Thus Allah was neither 
an unknown nor an unimportant deity to the Quraysh when Muhammad began 
preaching his worship at Mecca."
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, ed. John L. Esposito, 
(New York, 1995), pp. 76-77.

"The religion of the Arabs, as well as their political life, was on a 
thoroughly primitive level...In particular the Semites regarded trees, 
caves, springs, and large stones as being inhabited by spirits; like 
the Black Stone of Islam in a corner of the Ka'bah at Mecca, in Petra 
and other places in Arabia stones were venerated also...Every tribe 
worshipped its own god, but also recognized the power of other tribal 
gods in their own sphere...Three goddesses in particular had elevated 
themselves above the circle of the inferior demons.  The goddess of fate, 
al-Manat, corresponding to the Tyche Soteira of the Greeks, though known 
in Mecca, was worshipped chiefly among the neighboring Bedouin tribes of 
the Hudhayl.  Allat--"the Goddess," who is Taif was called ar-Rabbah, 
"the Lady," and whom Herodotus equates with Urania--corresponded to the 
great mother of the gods, Astarte of the northern Semites; al-'Uzza, 
"the Mightiest," worshipped in the planet Venus, was merely a variant 
form... In addition to all these gods and goddesses the Arabs, like many 
other primitive peoples, believed in a God who was creator of the world, 
Allah, whom the Arabs did not, as has often been thought, owe to the 
Jews and Christians...The more the significance of the cult declined, 
the greater became the value of a general religious temper associated 
with Allah.  Among the Meccans he was already coming to take the place 
of the old moon-god Hubal as the lord of the Ka'bah...Allah was actually 
the guardian of contracts, though at first these were still settled at 
a special ritual locality and so subordinate to the supervision of an 
idol.  In particular he was regarded as the guardian of the alien guest, 
though consideration for him still lagged behind duty to one's kinsmen."
History of the Islamic Peoples, Carl Brockelmann, (New York), pp. 8-10.

"The Romans and Abyssinians were identified with Christianity.  Whole 
tribes and districts held up the banner of Judaism and waged war in its 
propagation.  The Persian power was the exponent of fire-worship; and 
the Arabs in general were devoted to that native idolatry which had its 
center in the national sanctuary of the Kaaba...The religion most widely 
prevalent in Arabia, when Mohammed began life, was a species of heathenism 
or idol-worship, which had its local center in Mecca and its temple...
According to a theory held by many, this temple had been sourceally 
connected with the ancient worship of the sun, moon and stars, and its 
circumambulation by the worshippers had a symbolical reference to the 
rotation of the heavenly bodies.  Within its precincts and in its 
neighborhood there were found many idols, such as Hobal, Lat, Ozza, Manah, 
Wadd, Sawa, Yaghut, Nasr, Isaf, Naila, etc.  A black stone in the temple 
wall was regarded with superstitious awe as eminently sacred...The attempt 
of the Mussulmans to derive it direct from a stone altar or pillar, 
erected by Abraham and his son Ishmael, in that identical locality, is 
altogether unsupported by history, and, in fact, flagrantly contrary to 
the Biblical record of the life of Abraham and his son.  The pagan 
character of the temple is sufficiently marked by the statement of 
Mohammedan writers that before its purification by their Prophet, it 
contained no less than 360 idols, as many as there were days in their 
year; and that on its walls were painted the figures of angels, prophets, 
saints, including those of Abraham and Ishmael, and even of the Virgin 
Mary with her infant Son...Mohammed, with great practical insight and 
shrewdness, seized on this advantage and retained the heathen shrine of 
his native city as the local center of Islam.  He sanctioned it by his 
own example as a place of religious pilgrimage for all his followers.
 Mohammed and Mohammedanism, S.W. Koelle, (London, 1889), p. 17-19.

"According to D. Nielsen, the starting point of the religion of the Semitic 
nomads was marked by the astral triad, Sun-Moon-Venus, the moon being more 
important for the nomads and the sun more important for the settled tribes.
Studies on Islam, trans., ed. Merlin L. Swartz, (New York, Oxford, 1981), 
p. 7.

"One detail which already impressed the Greek authors was the role played 
by sacred stones,...The material object is not venerated for itself but 
rather as the dwelling of either a person being (god, spirit) or a force." 
Studies on Islam, ibid., p. 8.

"The final divinity to be considered is Allah who was recognized before 
Islam as god, and if not as the only god at least as a supreme god.  The 
Quran makes it quite clear that he was recognized at Mecca, though belief 
in him was certainly more widespread..  How is this to be explained?  
Earlier scholars attributed the diffusion of this belief solely to 
Christian and Judaic influences.  But now a growing number of authors 
maintain that this idea had older roots in Arabia...If, therefore, Allah 
is indigenous to Arabia, one must ask further: Are there indications of 
a nomadic source?  I think there are, based on a comparison of the beliefs 
of the nomads in central and northern Asia with those of northeastern 
Africa.  Like the supreme being of many other nomads, Allah is a god of 
the sky and dispenser of rain."
Studies on Islam, ibid., p. 12.

"The ibex (wa'al) still inhabits South Arabia and in Sabean times represented 
the moon god.  Dr. Albert Jamme believes it was of religious significance to 
the ancient Sabeans that the curved ibex horn held sideways resembled the 
first quarter of the moon."
Wendell Phillips, Qataban and Sheba,	Exploring the Ancient Kingdoms on the 
Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia (New York, 1955), p. 64.

"The first pre-Islamic inscription discovered in Dhofar Province, Oman, this 
bronze plaque, deciphered by Dr. Albert Jamme, dates from about the second 
century A.D. and gives the name of the Hadramaut moon good Sin and the name 
Sumhuram, a long-lost city....The moon was the chief deity of all the early 
South Arabian kingdoms--particularly fitting in that region where the soft 
light of the moon brought the rest and cool winds of night as a relief 
from the blinding sun and scorching heat of day.  

In contrast to most of the old religions with which we are familiar, the 
moon god is male, while the sun god is his consort, a female.  The third 
god of importance is their child, the male morning star, which we know as 
the planet Venus...

The spice route riches brought them a standard of luxurious living 
inconceivable to the poverty-stricken South Arabian Bedouins of today.  
Like nearly all Semitic peoples they worshipped the moon, the sun, and the 
morning star.  The chief god, the moon, was a male deity symbolized by the 
bull, and we found many carved bulls' heads, with drains for the blood of 
sacrificed animals." 
Qataban and Sheba, Wendell Phillips,  (New York), p. 227.

"Arabia in Muhammad's time was polytheistic in its conception of the cosmos 
and tribal in its social structure.  Each tribe had its own god(s) and 
goddess(es), which were manifest in the forms of idols, stones, trees, or 
stars in the sky."
Islamic Studies, A History of Religions Approach, 2nd Ed., Richard C. Martin, 
(New Jersey), p. 96.

"The verses of the Qur'an make it clear that the very name Allah existed 
in the Jahiliyya or pre-Islamic Arabia.  Certain pagan tribes believed in 
a god whom they called 'Allah' and whom they believed to be the creator of 
heaven and earth and holder of the highest rank in the hierarchy of the 
gods.  It is well known that the Quraish as well as other tribes believed 
in Allah, whom they designated as the 'Lord of the House' (i.e., of the 
Ka'ba)...It is therefore clear that the Qur'anic conception of Allah is 
not entirely new."
A Guide to the Contents of the Qur'an, Faruq Sherif, (Reading, 1995), 
pgs. 21-22.

"II. The Religion of the Pre-Islamic Arabs

The life of the pre-Islamic Arabs, especially in the Hijaz depended on trade 
and they made a trade of their religion as well.  About four hundred years 
before the birth of Muhammad one Amr bin Lahyo bin Harath bin Amr ul-Qais 
bin Thalaba bin Azd bin Khalan bin Babalyun bin Saba, a descendant of 
Qahtan and king of Hijaz, had put an idol called Habal on the roof of 
the Kaba.  This was one of the chief deities of the Quraish before Islam.  
It is said that there were altogether three hundred and sixty idols in 
and about the Kaba and that each tribes had its own deity...The shapes 
and figures of the idols were also made according to the fancy of the 
worshippers.  Thus Wadd was shaped like a man, Naila like a woman, so 
was Suwa. Yaghuth was made in the shape of lion, Yauq like a horse and 
Nasr like a vulture..Besides Hodal, there was another idol called Shams 
placed on the roof of the Kaba...The blood of the sacrificial animals 
brought by the pilgrims was offered to the deities in the Kaba and 
sometimes even human beings were sacrificed and offered to the god...
Besides idol-worship, they also worshipped the stars, the sun and the 
moon."
Muhammad The Holy Prophet, Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar (Pakistan), p. 18-19.

"The Beduin do not seem to have had much time for religion.  They were 
realists, without a great deal of imagination.  They believed the land 
was peopled by spirits, the jinns, who were often invisible but appeared 
also in animal form.  The dead were thought to live on in a dim and 
ghostly state.  Offerings were made to them and stelae and cairns of 
stones erected on their graves.  Certain trees and stones (especially 
meteorites and those shaped to resemble human forms) housed spirits and 
divinities.  Divinities dwelt in the sky and some were actually stars.  
Some were thought to be ancient sages made divine.  The list of these 
divine beings, and above all the importance with which was regarded, 
varied from one tribe to the next; but the chief of them were to be 
found all over the peninsula.  This was especially true of Allah, 'the 
God, the Divinity', the personification of the divine world in its 
highest form, creator of the universe and keeper of sworn oaths.  In 
the Hejaz three goddesses had price of place as the 'daughters of Allah'. 
The first of these was Allat, mentioned by Herodotus under the name of 
Alilat.  Her name means simply 'the goddess', and she may have stood for 
one aspect of Venus, the morning star, although hellenized Arabs 
identified her with Athene.  Next came Uzza, 'the all-powerful'; whom 
other sources identify with Venus.  The third was Manat, the goddess of 
fate, who held the shears which cut the thread of life and who was 
worshipped in a shrine on the sea-shore.  The great god of Mecca was 
Hubal, an idol made of red cornelian...Homage was paid to the divinity 
with offerings and the sacrifice of animals and perhaps, occasionally, 
of human beings.  Certain sanctuaries were the object of pilgrimage (hajj) 
at which a variety of rituals were performed, consisting notably of 
ceremonial processions around the sacred object.  Certain prohibitions 
had to be observed during these rituals, such as in many cases abstention 
from sexual relations.  Magic was common. People feared the evil eye 
and protected themselves with amulets."
Mohammed, Maxime Rodinson, (New York), pgs. 16-17.

"These and many other verses show clearly that the existence of a god 
called Allah and even his highest position among the divinities was 
known and acknowledged in Jahiliyyah, but He was, after all, but one 
of the gods. ..Was the Koranic concept of Allah a continuation of the 
pre-Islamic one, or did the former represent a complete break with the 
latter?  Were there some essential--not accidental--ties between the 
two concepts signified by one and the same name?  Or was it a simple 
matter of a common word used for two different objects?
In order to be able to give a satisfactory answer to these initial 
questions, we will do well to remember the fact that, when the Koran 
began to use this name, there immediately arose serious debates among 
the Arabs of Mecca.  The Koranic usage of the word provoked stormy 
discussions over the nature of this God between the Muslims and the 
Kafirs, as is most eloquently attested by the Koran itself.

What does this mean from the semantical point of view?  What are the 
implications of the fact that the name of Allah was not only known to 
both parties but was actually used by both parties in their discussion 
with each other?  The very fact that the name of Allah was common to 
both the pagan Arabs and the Muslims, particularly the fact that it 
gave rise to much heated discussion about the concept of God, would 
seem to suggest conclusively that there was some common ground of 
understanding between the two parties.  Otherwise there could have 
been neither debate nor discussion at all.  And when the Prophet 
addressed his adversaries in the name of Allah, he did so simply and 
solely because he knew that this name meant something--and something 
important--to their minds too.  If this were not so, his activity would 
have been quite pointless in this respect.
As regards the 'basic' meaning of Allah, ... In pre-Islamic times each 
tribe, as a rule, had its own local god or divinity known by a proper 
name.  So, at first, each tribe may have meant its own local divinity 
when it used an expression equivalent in meaning to "the God"; this is 
quite probable.  But the very fact that people began to designate their 
own local divinity by the abstract form of "the God" must have paved 
the way for the growth of an abstract notion of God without any 
localizing qualification and then, following this, for a belief in the 
supreme God common to all the tribes.  We meet with similar instances 
all over the world.
...Before the name [Allah] came into Islam, it had already long been 
part of the pre-Islamic system, and a considerably important part, 
too...the pagan concept of Allah, which is purely Arabian--the case in 
which we see the pre-Islamic Arabs themselves talking about "Allah" as 
they understand the word in their own peculiar way."
God and Man in the Koran,  Toshihiko Izutsu, (Tokyo, 1964), pp. 95-99, 
103-104.


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