Please make sure to read page I first, which was published yesterday.
Robert Morey et al. argue that the pre-Islamic pagans of Arabia worshiped a moon-god called Allah. The reality, however, is that there was a moon-god but his name was Sin, not Allah. Sin had absolutely no relation whatsoever to Allah. Bible scholar Rick Brown writes:
It is in fact true that before the coming of Islam many “gods” and idols were worshiped in the Middle East, but the name of the moon god was Sîn, not Allah, and he was not particularly popular in [Northern] Arabia, the birthplace of Islam.
Moon-worship was certainly not unheard of in Arabia, something we can safely say based on the Quran itself, which categorically condemns worship of the moon. In other words, one of the strongest proofs for the historicity of moon-worship comes from the Quran’s rejection of it.
No verse in the Quran links Sin or the moon to Allah. Instead, the only mention in the Quran of moon-worship comes in the form of categorical rejection of such a practice. Yet, somehow the anti-Muslim ideologue links Sin and the moon to Allah–without any proof whatsoever to do this. This, as Shabir Ally pointed out, is how Robert Morey draws “conclusions for which no evidence was even suggested, much less established.”
There is no clear evidence that moon-worship was prominent among the Arabs in any way or that the crescent was used as the symbol of a moon god, and Allah was certainly not the moon god’s name.
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Similarly, some anti-Muslim ideologues claim that Allah refers to the pagan idol Hubal, and that Hubal was a moon-god. This seems to be a case of throwing the kitchen sink at Islam and hoping something sticks: well, was Allah the same as the moon-god Sin or the pagan idol Hubal? Since Sin and Hubal were clearly not the same, how can Allah have been both? This exposes the insincerity of the anti-Muslim camp, whereby they will attribute whatever they possibly can to Allah and Islam in general, so long as it is something derogatory, even if it contradicts one of their earlier claims or other anti-Muslim beliefs.
Just as it can be concluded that Allah was not the moon-god based on the Quran’s categorical rejection of moon-worship, so too can we safely conclude that Allah was not the same as Hubal based on the fact that the Prophet Muhammad quite clearly differentiated between the two. When the pagans of Arabia won a decisive battlefield victory against the early Muslims, the leader of the pagans (Abu Sufyan) yelled in triumph:
“Superior is Hubal!”
To which the Prophet Muhammad replied in defiance:
“Allah is more exalted and more majestic!” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 59, #375)
The above narration is found in Sahih al-Bukhari, the most well-respected book of hadith (prophetic traditions). When Islamophobes find a “useful” narration in this collection, they are quick to push the absolute authenticity of it. When a narration like this one is found in the very same collection suddenly they doubt it! [Hat tip: Saifullah et al.]
For example, Christian polemicist Timothy W. Dunkin disregards this prophetic tradition as mere “redaction,” giving absolutely no proof for this claim except his own whim. Thus does the conspiracy theorist construct and reinforce his far-fetched belief: whatever text supports the moon-god theory even in a convoluted and miserably indirect way is accepted, and whatever text clearly and categorically rejects the conspiracy theory (Quranic verses that forbid worship of the moon, hadiths that differentiate Hubal from Allah, etc.) is simply rejected. Once all contrary evidence is taken out of the equation, then aha!, see all the evidence points to Allah being the moon-god!
It is interesting to note, however, that not even Yoel Natan, author of Moon-O-Theism (and the most ardent proponent of the moon-god theory), could accept the claim that Allah was the same as Hubal. Natan admits that “Hubal was not a moon-god” (Vol. II, p.168) and that in fact “Hubal was Allah’s competitor” (Ibid., p.167), which is clear from the prophetic tradition we have cited above.
This is not to say that the pagans rejected Allah altogether. However, they focused their worship on idols such as Hubal, neglecting to worship Allah except in times of severe distress–for which the Quran condemns them (see Quran 29:65). Hubal had become the chief idol of the Kaaba, outstripping Allah in terms of day-to-day importance and cultic worship, even while Allah retained nominal supremacy as “Lord of the Kaaba.” Scholars believe that Hubal was likely a Syrian or Mesopotamian god that was accepted into the Arabian pantheon of deities, much like the Israelite god Allah was accommodated by the pagan belief system as the creator god (more on this later).
The Prophet Muhammad was intent on aligning the early Muslims with the Israelite god Allah and away from the pagan god Hubal, exclaiming the superiority of Allah over Hubal. This culminated in the eventual destruction of the Hubal idol by the Prophet Muhammad once he conquered Mecca. How could Allah be the same as Hubal when the Prophet Muhammad declared Allah’s supremacy to Hubal, and even went on to destroy the idol Hubal?
The only “evidence” used to link Hubal to Allah is the fact that the Quran does not mention Hubal by name. The argument goes: the Quran repudiates al-Lat, Manat, and al-Uzza but makes no mention of Hubal; therefore, Hubal is Allah. This, as rightfully pointed out by M.S.M. Saifullah and Abdullah David, is an argumentum e silentio–using the absence of proof as a proof in and of itself:
…While the Qur’an railed against Allat, Manat, and al-ʿUzza, whom the pagan Arabs referred to as the “daughters of Allah”, it stopped short of attacking the cult of Hubal. Although such an argument can be applied to any of the pagan idols not mentioned in the Qur’an, such as Dhul-Khalasa and Dhul-Shara, the argumentum e silentio of Wellhausen became a rallying cry for the missionaries and apologists to claim that Hubal was none other than Allah. This is clearly a logical fallacy.
The verse in the Quran that “railed against Allat, Manat, and al-‘Uzza” can be found in verses 53:19-23, which reads:
Have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza–and the last of the three–Manat? What! Why for yourselves you would choose only male offspring, whereas to Him you assign females? What a bizarre distribution! These are nothing but names you have invented yourselves, you and your forefathers, for which God (Allah) has sent no authority for. These people merely follow guesswork and their own whims, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord. (Quran, 53:19-23)
The Islamophobes argue that the Quran mentions al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat by name but not Hubal and that this somehow means that Hubal is Allah. This is a very dubious claim, based only in the negative vacuum of proof.
It should be noted that the style of the Quran is very different than the Bible in that it does not generally name names–rather, general and generic references are made. To this effect, it should be noted that Muhammad is only mentioned by name in the Quran a grand total of four times. Only one of the many disciples of the Prophet Muhammad is mentioned by name. The most revered disciple, Abu Bakr, is not mentioned by name a single time in the entire Quran; instead, his story is told using generic pronouns (the Arabic equivalent of he and him). Therefore, it is not at all surprising that the name Hubal is not taken in the Quran.
Secondly, if we were to accept the dubious claim that Hubal was the moon-god, then in that case the Quran does mention him in verses 7:54, 13:2, and 21:33, in which worship of the moon is rejected. After all, if we accept (as we must) the idea that the Quran in general refrains from naming names and focuses instead on concepts and stories, then in that case–if Hubal was indeed the moon-god–then he is referenced in those verses. Here, the Islamophobic opponent is caught in a Catch-22: if Hubal was really the moon-god, then he is rejected in the Quran in those passages; if he was not the moon-god, then proving Allah was Hubal would actually prove that Allah was not the moon-god.
Thirdly, the Quran mentions al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat in a very specific context: the passage condemns the pagans for attributing daughters to Allah even while they themselves prefer sons for themselves. Hubal was a male deity and therefore it would not make sense to mention him in a verse about daughters. Saifullah et al. write:
…The Qur’an is referring to the concept of “daughters of Allah”, and to mention a male deity like Hubal would be against the very argument the Qur’an is drawing attention to.
What! for you the males and for Him the females! This indeed is an unjust division! [Sūrah al-Najm:21]
The Qur’an uses irony to drive home a point. While many of the Arabs buried their daughters alive, as well as holding the position that women were inferior to men in all aspects, they still fabricated daughters for Allah.
Fourthly, there were over three-hundred idols worshiped by the pagans of Arabia, Hubal being one of them. The Quran doesn’t mention any of the rest of them; by the logic of argumentum e silentio could we argue that Allah was not Hubal or the moon-god but any or all of the many gods in the pantheon of deities? This indicates the flawed logic behind argumentum e silentio.
Fifthly, some argue that Hubal originated from–and is the same as–the Semitic god Baal. This is certainly something accepted by many anti-Muslim ideologues who wish to link the evil Baal to Allah through Hubal. Yoel Natan, for example, endorses the idea that Hubal came from–and was–Baal. If this was indeed the case, then the Quran does mention Hubal/Baal by name:
Will you invoke Baal and forsake the best of Creators, Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers? (Quran, 37:125-126)
In the process of trying to make this fantastic juxtaposition between Allah and the moon-god, the Islamophobes attribute any and all negative points to Islam that they possibly can, often unknowingly furthering multiple, contradictory claims. The truth-seeker should doubt their sincerity, and refrain from taking them seriously. Whichever way you slice it, it is very difficult to link Allah to the moon.
Stay tuned for page III…