Leaving Islam




An additional version of Allah came from Hadramawt in south Arabia . There, Allah was known as Sin, the moon god. A famous south Arabian ancient city was Saba, where the queen of Saba or queen Bilqis ruled. The Sabaeans also worshipped Allah. People there called Allah as Almaqah (Hitti, 2002, p. 60). In the Qur’an we find the reference of queen of Saba in sura 27 (sura an-Naml), where this ancient biblical city is called Sheba and the queen Bilqis is referred simply as queen Sheba . Sabaean religion was based on planetary astral system in which the cult of the moon was prevalent. Invariably, the Sabaeans worshipped Allah as a moon God. However, unlike the Pagan Arabs, they had no clear picture of their Allah and thought Him to be a shapeless, male deity of supreme power. On this deity, Benjamin walker writes:

         A shadowy ineffable deity, Allah was not represented by any image, nor did he enjoy popular cult adoration, as did the lesser gods and goddesses. To distinguish him from the other gods, he was given the title of Allah Taala, ‘God Most High’ (Walker, 2004, p. 42).


Besides Allah and other Gods, the Nabateans also worshipped two other gods (probably lesser to Allah), namely; ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim. Both ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim were devoutly worshipped together in conjunction with honor and prestige. The Qur’an, surprisingly, retains the names of these two Pagan deities, though claiming that these two names belong to Allah. The very first sura of the Qur’an (sura Fatiha) mentions these two names, just during the beginning. Furthermore, sura 19 (sura Maryam) is dominated by the names of these two deities.

According to Professor Hitti, the Pagan Nabateans of north Arabia first introduced ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim probably from southern Syria . Later these two names of Pagan gods found their place in the pantheons of South Arabian temples (Hitti, 2002, p. 105). Muhammad’s competitor, Maslama (or Musaylima) preached in the name of ar-Rahman, the south Arabian Allah (Rodinson, 2002, p. 67, 119). This could probably be the reason why Muhammad, later abandoned ar-Rahman and adopted the Allah of the Meccan Pagans as his only God.

According to Arab historians, Petra (north Arabia, close to Syria , the home of the Nabateans), had a kind of Ka’ba with Dushara (Dusares), worshipped under the form of a black rectangular stone, at the head of the pantheon (Hitti, 2002, p. 72).

This very short history of Allah is not complete without Jehovah (Yahwa), the Allah of Moses (read the description of Jehovah depicted in a German coin). Islam claims Moses worshipped the same Allah as the Muslims. If the Qur’an is true then simple logic says: Jehovah = Allah.

As per historical records, Jehovah was a desert Allah, simple and austere. His abode was a tent (Hitti, 2002, p. 40). Although the Jews admit that Jehovah is their Lord, the Hebrew Allah, they avoid every mention of it. Jehovah also means: “The great and terrible”, and that is the reason why the Jews refrain from mentioning the name Jehovah (Hughes, 1994, p. 226). Instead, Rabb—Lord, stands in the relative position of the Jehovah (Ibid, p. 141). So, as far as the Qur’an goes, if Jehovah is Allah then He must be the terrible Allah of the Jews.

As for the Jewish Rabb, Muhammad had his version too: his Allah is also known as ar-Rab—the Lord, the Sustainer, the Supreme: ‘Allah is my Lord and your Lord (3:51)’; ‘Our Lord (Rabb) is the Lord (Rabb) of the heavens and the earth (18:14); occupies the place of Hebrew Jehovah (Hughes, 1994, p. 531).

The Bedouin Arabs’ primary concern was with the moon Allah, their supreme deity and His daughters, Allat, Uzza and Manat. As explicated before, the moon is the central religious theme in a pastoral society. The illiterate, half–starved and ill-informed Bedouin Arabs associated the moon with strength, vitality, force, power and everything to do with masculinity. As such, the moon (and Allah) was really a male God; there should be very little doubt on this (you will read more on this later). So, how about the sun? Had the sun any position as god in the Pagan society? The answer is yes. The Bedouins also worshipped a sun god. Its name was Baal. Curiously, the Syrians and the Phoenicians also worshipped Baal—Lord, an idol. It is believed that Baal was worshipped in the days of Prophet Elisha (Hughes, 1004, p. 35). The Egyptians adopted Baal as their Lord (or sun Allah). Baal (see Baal here) was represented as a man with pointed beard and with horned helmet. He was a god of war, sky, storm, fertility and good harvest. In Qur’an we find the mention of Baal when Prophet
Elias admonished his people for worshipping Baal (the sun Allah), instead of the moon Allah, the best of creators (37:125). A contradictory version of the sun god is that the sun was a goddess, called Shams (Rodinson, 2002, p. 23). Oddly, there is a sura in the Qur’an (sura 91, a Meccan sura) whose title is Shams or the Sun. Muhammad clearly preferred Shams to Baal, the Egyptian sun god. Not surprisingly though, there is also a sura in the Qur’an titled Qamar or the moon (sura 54, a Meccan sura).

Why Muhammad had a profound dislike for the sun Allah, Baal? The answer is quite simple. The sun is the principal source of an agricultural society. Therefore, it is natural that an agricultural society will adopt the sun Allah, Baal as its principal deity. That was why, Egypt , an agrarian society adopted Baal. Muhammad, who belonged to a pastoral society, was not interested in agriculture (more on this later)—so, why should he bother about Baal? Thus, Baal, the sun Allah was not that popular in Muhammad’s Arabia .

learly, the Meccan Pagans were very familiar with their moon Allah (read more on this below). They were so used to their moon Allah that they practiced to divide their offerings of crops to Allah and other idols, like: Ammanas in the Khaulan country (6.136) (ibn Ishaq, 2001, p. 37). It was a customary religious system for the Pagan Arabs that they had practiced for generations. Then Muhammad started preaching, exhorting the Meccan Quraysh to worship Allah only (kind of only Allah’s monotheism). Muhammad had now his own version of Allah, which the Pagan Arabs found very confusing and distressing. He started admonishing them for sharing their crop with other deities besides Allah, Muhammad’s variety of Allah, to be specific. But the Meccan Quraysh were tolerant. They let Muhammad preach whatever he wished. The trouble came when Muhammad wanted to hit the Quraysh’s principal source of revenue, the pilgrimage and the tourism which were closely connected with the visit of their pantheon of many gods and goddesses. The Meccan Pagans even had the images of Abraham, Jesus and Mary—just to attract Christian and Jewish tourists. During Muhammad’s time, according to Phillip Hitti, the eminent Arab historian, Mecca had a colony of Abyssinian Christians (Hitti, 2002, p. 106).

Thus Mecca pilgrimage-tourism was a great source of income (Ibid, p. 64). In the beginning, the Meccan Pagans did not want to disrupt severely their flourishing tourism’s attractiveness by creating anarchy with Muhammad’s followers. Despite Muhammad’s harangues and tirades they left him alone. Even the eminent historian al-Tabari admits that Muhammad had very little sufferings from the Meccan Pagans. According to Tabari, Muhammad’s followers were largely young men, some of whom were sons and younger brothers of the leading merchants. Muhammad had very little suffering in the hands of the Quraysh, apart from little annoyance. Abu Talib’s (Muhammad’s uncle) protection had saved Muhammad from personal harassment (Tabari, 1988, p. 6.43).

The main reason for the opposition of Muhammad was the requirement of generosity which would diminish the profit of the greedy Meccan merchants. These merchants also felt that Muhammad was probably threatening their political control of the Meccan affairs. The Quraysh were not particularly hostile to Muhammad until he mentioned their idols. In particular, the rejection of Allat, one of the daughters of Allah, affected the business of Taif merchants (Ibid, pp. 6.42, 43).

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