۱۳۹۲ دی ۱۵, یکشنبه

Pagan-Based Cult of Allah

by Anwar Hekmat
When it is said "If there is a will, there is a way," what is really meant is there are those who will always find a way to justify a their "means to an end" - to rationalize their preconceived ideas - to justify evil, even when done in the name of good. Having the ability to think is a biological necessity for survival even when it is faith based belief, even if it is wrong minded and morally repugnant belief and full of errors, as is the case with the Koran. Faith is rationalized belief because it cannot depend on evidence; it cannot be proved. There is no proof for it. And Jihad is justified on faith. Abuse of women is justified by religious dictum. Believers can and often do find justification even when faith ideas are predicated on falsehoods and full of hate and they advocate for conquest and plunder as with the pagan-based cult of Allah. -- Hank Roth

Islams Pagan Rites
In fact, the pilgrimage ceremonies of Muslims today are in no way different from what Muhammad's ancestors and other desert Arabs did hundreds of years before him. Only the name is changed and the pagan cult has become Islamic rite.

Pre-Islamic Religion and its Influence on Muhammad
The nomadic desert dwellers had worshiped a multitude of male and female deities for many centuries before the Arab Prophet was born. Al-Lat was a goddess widely revered on the Arabian peninsula. Some scholars maintain that the word al-Lat is possibly derived from the Babylonian god Allata.
Among the nomadic Arabs, the word El (or Il) was generally used to designate gods or deities. This is an old Semitic word which is found in different combinations such as Beth-El in Hebrew, which means the "house of God." Allah is a contracted form of al-Ilah. Al is a definite article used with all proper nouns, such as al-Medina (city) and al-Islam (Islam), and is preserved in English words such as Algeria, algebra, and so on. The definite article was also affixed before the names of deities. The ancient Arabs believed that Allah was a male god and therefore the father of three female deities, al-Lat, al-Uzza, and al-Manat. Hubel was also the city god of Mecca.
Thus, the word Allah was not coined by Muhammad. One can find many examples of this proper name in pre-Islamic literature. This word was used repeatedly among the pagan Arabs, especially with other combinations.The three daughters of Allah are even mentioned in the Koran: "Have you thought upon al-Lat and al- Uzza and al-Manat, the third, the other? Are yours the males and His the females?" (Koran 53: 19-21)
According to Muslim chronologists, Allah was the tribal god of the Quraysh, Muhammad's own clan. But at certain religious ceremonies held in pre-Islamic days, many of the tribes would call themselves "the family of Allah." In ancient Arabia, the deity of each tribe was respected according to the social status of that tribe. When the Quraysh clan became the overlords of Mecca, their god, Allah, was elevated to a supreme position and equal to the most important deities of Arabia, such as al- Uzza, al-Lat, and al-Manat.
We have clear proof that Allah was worshiped in Arabia before the time of Muhammad. Pre-Islamic personal names often contain the name of Allah as an element.It was the custom among the Arabs, in order to show their respect to their gods, to name their sons "the servant" or "the slave" of such and such deity. Muhammad's grandfather named his sons 'Abd-Allah and 'Abdul-Uzza, the slaves of Allah and Uzza, respectively, the father and daughter deities of his clan.
'Abd-Allah was Muhammad's father. He died before his son was born. Muhammad's own cousin, from his mother's side, was called 'Abd-Allah ben Djahsh (slave of Allah). His brother was 'Ubayd-Allah (humble servant of Allah). This brother migrated to Abyssinia as a Muslim, but there he became fascinated by Christianity, and subsequently repudiated Islam to become a Christian.
Another man whose name was associated with Allah before the time of Muhammad was 'Abd-Allah ben Djudan, a Qurayshite notable of the clan Tayn ben Murra; he lived at the end of the sixth century of our era. He acquired a fortune through the slave trade. 'Umar, the close associate of the Prophet and the second caliph, had two sons, 'Abd-Allah and 'Ubayd-Allah, born before Islam.
Thus, Muhammad universalized Allah as the Supreme Being because this god was the tutelary deity of his own clan and his own father was named "the slave of Allah" ('Abd-Allah).

The Ka'aba was the sanctuary in Mecca where the different pre-Islamic deities were worshiped.Among the images of the various gods and goddesses, the image of Allah was preserved alongside those of the female deities mentioned above. The sanctuary of Mecca, like any other house of god among the Semitic peoples (e.g., Beth-el), was in a rectangular shape and for this reason the Arabs called it Ka'aba, which is an Arabic word meaning "cube." Some scholars maintain that the word means house and they have suggested that it comes from an Ethiopic word meaning double or two-storied building." But this does not seem to be correct, as the Arabic meaning of Ka'aba very clearly signifies rectangular.
The different idols were placed either around the rectangular structure in the open air or inside a niche (qibla) under the vault. It is believed by some circles that the rectangular structure was probably constructed after the shape of the typical nomad's tents. The Ka'aba dates back to the second century c.E.; thus, contrary to the text of the Koran and Muslim exegetes, it could not have been made by Abraham. The Old Testament makes no mention of the patriarch traveling to Arabia, much less building a sanctuary in Mecca! More importantly, there is no chronological or archeological evidence to prove that Mecca is older than the first century C.E., and Abraham, if he really existed, probably lived around 1800 B.C.E. The story was apparently fabricated by Muhammad himself to attract the attention of Jewish Arabs in the early days of his mission to win converts.
In the pre-Islamic period stones, especially soft and cube-shaped ones, were often considered sacred by desert Arabs and were venerated as the residences of gods. Nomads living in cube-shaped tents themselves probably thought the gods, too, would have similar abodes but of stone.
Among the many places of worship in Arabia, the Ka'aba was respected more than other sanctuaries because it held the Black Stone, which the pre-Islamic Arabs believed was given to them by the deities of the skies to be worshiped. The Black Stone is thought to consist of hardened lava, or basalt, but it is not easy to determine its real nature as it has been touched and kissed rapturously by millions of people since it was placed in the structure. It may have a meteoric origin. Islam has thus perpetuated the ancient pagan rite of stone worshiping by ordaining the pilgrimage to the Ka'aba as the fifth pillar of the religion.
Millions of Muslim pilgrims visit Mecca each year to pay tribute to the Black Stone placed at the east corner of the structure. Mecca was already in existence in the second century of our era, and it is recorded as "Mecoraba" by Ptolemy, the famous astronomer and geographer who flourished in Alexandria about 130 C.E.
From the early Muslim chronologists, we learn that Qussay, one of Muhammad's early ancestors, developed a carefully regulated cult for the worshiping of the sanctuary of Ka'aba. He appointed two of his sons as the supervisors (around 450 C.E.) of the cult.These two sons were named, 'Abd al-Dar and 'Abd al-Manf, i.e., "the slave of the house (of the pantheon of Ka'aba)" and "the slave of Manf" (another stone idol), respectively. A number of stone idols were placed in Ka'aba, each of which belonged to a different tribe as their tribal god. The nomadic Arabs would travel each year to Mecca to pay homage to their clan's deity. The pilgrimage was traditionally made on the last month of the Arabian calendar, the month of pilgrimage (Dhu-Hajjathe word hajj is perhaps the Arabic equivalent to the Hebrew word hug meaning to draw around). The early nomads who visited the sanctuary each year would go around the structure (the rite is called tawaf) to pay tribute to the deities there.
In the months of pilgrimage and the month immediately before and after, the Arabs, according to an old custom, would stop all armed warfare with one another. No blood was to be spilled during those sacred months to make it safer for all the pilgrims to travel to Mecca for the ceremonies.In these sacred months, no armed robberies, ambushes, or vendettas were permitted.
The sanctuary of Mecca was known as the "harem," literally, the "reserved space"; for this reason the whole area of Mecca was also considered a sanctified territory. The word harem was used later for the women's quarters in large palaces, where usually more than one wife was kept. In this sense, it signified a private space to which no trespassing was permitted, allocated for women only.
In the month of festival (or hajj), each pilgrim brought his or her offering for a particular deity and sacrificed animals to please a particular god. Upon arrival, the devotees circumambulated the pantheon and then ran between two great stones called Safa and Marva upon two distant hills, which were believed to be the residences of a male and female deity.
Another practice in this festival was the ceremonial abstinences. The pilgrims would stay away from profanity, irreverence, and sexual intercourse, since each of these practices is prohibited in the presence of the gods of the pantheon.
The most diverse pagan tribes of the Arabian Peninsula would take part in the festivities of the pilgrimage. Since the performing of ceremonies was possible only when there was peace in the land, and as the Arabs were constantly fighting one another, the carrying of arms in Mecca during the pilgrimage was forbidden.
All of these ancient pagan rites survive in Islam today. Each year Muslims from all over the world make pilgrimages to Mecca during the Arabian month of Dhu- Hajja, and they perform the same rituals that prevailed several centuries before Islam.
The pilgrims put on a special white robe, circumambulate the rectangular structure in the middle of the Sacred Mosque, behead their animals while calling Allah's name, stay away from sexual intercourse during the ceremonial period, abstain from profane language, run between the two distant hills of Safa and Marva, and throw pebbles at the abode of Satan, a rock believed by the heathens to be the residence of the devil.
In fact, the pilgrimage ceremonies of Muslims today are in no way different from what Muhammad's ancestors and other desert Arabs did hundreds of years before him.Only the name is changed and the pagan cult has become Islamic rite. What Muhammad actually did was to perpetuate his ancestral customs and make them divine laws for his followers, calling it Islam.
There is only one difference: in pre-Islamic days, everyone was allowed to go to Mecca for pilgrimage pagans, atheists, polytheists, as well as monotheists. Today, no one but Muslims are permitted in Mecca's sanctuary. And Muhammad's private god became the deity of all the clans.
Before Muhammad, each tribe had its own deity, but when they went to Mecca for pilgrimage, they would also worship, or at least respect, the other prominent gods. The followers of the goddess al-Lat would pay their tribute to Allah, her father. Those who believed in al-Uzza, would pay homage to her sister goddess, al-Manat.Relations among gods were thought to be friendly if the tribes were at peace with one another. When hostility prevailed, each tribe devoted its attention solely to its individual deity, ignoring the other members of the pantheon.
This is clearly seen from the life history of Muhammad's ancestors. As mentioned earlier, his great-grand- father, Qussay, named his sons after different gods. It is therefore obvious that at his time Arabian clans of the desert and especially clans of the towns were on friendly terms.When Muhammad started his preaching of Islam, his own clan, Quraysh, opposed him.His uncles, cousins, and all of his kinfolk were against him because he wanted to elevate his god, Allah, above all the other clan deities.When he saw the great opposition, he took a step backward and tried to quiet his adversaries by accepting their deities on an equal footing with his Allah.
That is why some of the early Muslim chronologists held that first Muhammad agreed to pay homage to the other deities, especially the three goddesses who were believed to be the daughters of Allah. But, later, after hostilities had broken out between him and many of the other Arab clans, including his own, he changed his mind and insisted upon the superiority of his god, Allah, the god of his father, 'Abd-Allah.
From then on he did not miss an opportunity to make Allah the supreme lord. He repeatedly affirmed that there were no other gods except Allah. One of the last chapters of the Koran, called "Unity" (at-tawhid), reads:
"Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternal Besought of all! He begotteth not nor was begotten.And there is none comparable unto Him." (Koran 112: 1-4)
The point of this sura is to insist on the fact that his Allah is the only god. Furthermore, he emphasizes that Allah does not beget children, otherwise the followers of the three goddesses, sometimes called the daughters of Allah, would also claim the same privileges as the believers of Islam. Since there is no god comparable to him, the other pagan gods or goddesses are not in equal standing with Allah.

The Muslim claim that before Muhammad the whole Arabian Peninsula was polytheistic and that he, for the first time, presented a new monotheistic religion in the region is simply not true. Many centuries before Muhammad, the two great empires that exerted their never-ending influence in Arabia the Byzantine and Persian were both monotheistic in their creed. Christianity had penetrated into the north of Arabia, and Zoroastrianism as well as Manicheism had prevailed in the eastern and southern parts of the peninsula long before Christianity and Judaism came to Arabia.Moreover, various Jewish tribes were the residents of Medina and Khaybar. By Muhammad's time, many of them had business relationships with Syria to the north and Yemen to the south of Mecca.These people were later destroyed by Muhammad and their wives and children sold to the other Arab tribes.
A few Sabian inscriptions of the fourth and fifth centuries C.E. permit historians to conclude that Sabians believed in Allah as the supreme deity, calling him compassionate and the lord of heaven and earth, a title which is ubiquitously found in the Koran. "Above all," says Zwemer, "this tutelary and mediator god was the supreme deity whom they called Allah.This name occurs very frequently in pre-Islamic poetry on the inscriptions and in proverbs and personal names."
For many years before Islam, the Arabs, though in a sense polytheists, were worshiping one supreme God, whom they thought was ta'ala (superior) to others. St. Clair-Tisdall says, "Although polytheism had even in a very early time found an entrance into Arabia, yet the belief in the one true God had never entirely faded away from the minds of the people."
But perhaps the most important document proving the existence of monotheism among the pre-Islamic Arabs is the text of the Koran itself. The Koran talks about four groups of people ( Koran 22: 17) who were monotheists and had their own scriptures, viz, Sabians, Christians, Magians (Zoroastrians), and Jews. Some of the Sabians' cult was incorporated into the Koran, such as thirty days of fasting, praying several times a day, and breaking the fast by observing the new moon (fitr). In fact, Islam and Sabianism are so interrelated that, "When Banu Jadhimah of Taif and Mecca announced to Khalid (Ben Walid) their conversion to Muhammadaism, they did so by crying out loud, 'We have become Sabian.' "madaism, they did so by crying out loud, 'We have become Sabian.'"
Moreover, there are several hundred Persian words in the Koran which prove the influence of the Iranian cult in Islam. A great part of the Islamic belief regarding the resurrection and the hereafter is based on Zoroastrianism. The similarities between some of the Islamic rites and the Persian customs were so striking that some of Muhammad's opponents accused him of being taught by a Persian teacher. To this allegation Muhammad snapped back: "And we know well that they say, 'verily a human being teaches him.' The language of him at whom they aim is Persian, and this book (Koran) is clear Arabic speech." (Koran16: 103)
As far as the story of the Jewish prophets is concerned, the Koran is a poor imitation of the Old Testament. Muhammad did not know any other language except Arabic. Some biographers held that he could not read or write even that language correctly and for this reason he was called ummi, which means unlettered. There are others who maintain that he was schooled enough to write in his native vocabulary. He was a merchant; therefore, he must have had some rudimentary capacity to read and write. One thing, however, is certain: he was unable to speak Greek or Hebrew, much less read it.
For this reason, he could not have read the stories of the ancient Jewish personalities in the Old Testament. He must have heard these tales from the people who were monotheistsnot necessarily Jews or Christians alone and adapted their ideas of monotheism. The difference in the accounts of the prophets in the Bible and the Koran proves that Muhammad's source of information was not the Old Testament; rather he must have taken these accounts from the common people's hearsay.
Thus, monotheistic tenets were quite prevalent in Arabia at the time of Muhammad, and he did not present something unknown or extraordinary as a cult on the peninsula. "More fascinating and more tangible are the indications that in the last few pre-Islamic centuries, an Arabian monotheism developed."
Besides these religious influences on Muhammad, he may also have come into conflict with the Hanifs, monotheistic Arabs who rejected all of the other Arabian deities associated with Allah. The Hanifs believed in one supreme God, but they also practiced an ancient cult.Among the features of this cult were regular pilgrimages to Mecca, sacrifice of animals to the Lord of the Ka'aba, and a belief in doomsday and the hereafter. It is possible that the presence of Christianity and Judaism provided the necessary requirements and conditions for the development of such a faith. The word hanif may be related to a Hebrew term meaning "to conceal, to pretend, to lie." Apparently, it is a Syriac word meaning "heathen" or "impiety."
It is not unreasonable to suppose that these people were probably acquainted with Jewish and Christian tenets, for the Hanifs claimed they were promoting the religion of Abraham. While believing in one God, they also maintained and preserved their old customs, which were mostly pagan rites.For this reason they were called Hanifs, or "heathens," because they could or would not renounce their ancestral beliefs.
The early history of Islam shows that there were at least four Hanifs among the relatives and close friends of Muhammad. One who had a great influence upon Muhammad before he started his preaching of the new faith was Zayd ben 'Amir. It is narrated from Ibn Hisham (who reported from Ibn Ishaq) that Zayd's uncle persecuted him because he had denied his ancestral religion. He, therefore, left Mecca and traveled around the neighboring towns. He eventually came back and resided in the cave of Hara near Mecca.
It is a well-known fact that Muhammad was a regular visitor to the cave, and sometimes he would stay there for days. There is no doubt that Zayd played an important role in shaping Muhammad's mind as he was developing his new faith. Muhammad always respected Zayd, and later even called him his precursor. The word Islam was used by Zayd for the first time, and there are many verses in the Koran that are merely a repetition of what Zayd had said earlier. For example this verse: "Lo! Religion with Allah is Islam (i.e., to surrender to Allah's will)." (Koran 3: 19)
Zayd died five years before Muhammad made his prophetic call. It is possible that Muhammad was waiting for his teacher to pass away before he began preaching these new ideas as his own. Apparently, Muhammad's association with the Hanifs, especially Zayd and Nufel ben Warqa (his wife's cousin), made the people of Mecca angry against him and they accused him of being a Hanif. It was against such allegations that Muhammad defended himself and the Hanifs. The Koran clearly explains Muhammad's tendencies toward Hanifs and his own beliefs when he states: "And (O Muhammad) set thy purpose resolutely for religion as a Hanif and be not polytheist." (Koran 10: 105)
Muhammad claimed that Abraham was a Hanif: "Lo! Abraham was ... obedient to Allah, by nature a Hanif, and he was not a polytheist." (Koran 16: 120) According to the Koranic verse, the term "Hanif" is equated with monotheist, and so Abraham was also a monotheist. Moreover, Hanif is taken to mean one who is obedient to Allah, a submissive believer.There are many verses in the Koran in which Muhammad repudiates the idea that a Hanif is a pagan or a heathen. For example, he tells his adversaries that Abraham was a Hanif, therefore a Muslim. (Koran 2: 130-32) In another passage, he denies that Abraham was a Jew: " Abraham was not a Jew, not yet a Christian; but he was Hanifian and submissive, he was not of the idolators." (3: 67)
In the light of the above, it is perfectly clear that Muhammad, through a close association with the Hanifs of Mecca, the most distinguished among whom were his relatives, became acquainted with their beliefs, which were called Islam. He became an ardent devotee of the new religion and, when fully convinced, started to act as a promulgator of Islam, which was originated by the Hanifs as a mixture of Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, and, last but not least, ancient Arab paganism.
It is interesting to note that not only his adversaries, but his ardent followers and even his close friends, pointed out to him on many occasions the inconsistencies in his scriptures. It was to impugn his opponents' accurate criticisms that he came up with a verse like, "This is a clear Arabic Koran with no crookedness in it." (Koran 39:28; see also 18:1; 41:3) And again on another occasion, he tried to quiet his critics when he said: "But those in whose heart is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah." (Koran 3: 7)

Anwar Hekmat

The above has been excerpted from the Introduction to "Women and the Koran: The Status of Women in Islam" by Anwar Hekmat, published by Prometheus Books - 1997, are in accordance the Fair Use Doctrine per 
Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, Copyright Law.

"Before the existence of Islam, there were at least 360 different pagan idols that were worshipped among the pre-Islamic Arab world. The highest of these pagan gods was the moon god who was given many names, depending on the historical timeline and region." (Islam Exposed)
"The teachings of Islam claim that Mohammad smashed all the pagan idols and destroyed idol worship, however, what information isn't offered, is the fact that Mohammad smashed all but one pagan idol, which was the moon god (Allah). We know for a fact that the moon god idol was not destroyed because it was unearthed in the 1950's by "Sir Leonard Woolley and is displayed in a British Museum this very day!" (ibid)

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