Bogus Quotations Concerning
Allah Being a Pre-Islamic Moon God
This datasheet was provided by Yoel Natan, a researcher who believes there is enough data to show that Allah was a pre-Islamic moon god, but he was concerned about a number of inaccuracies floating around the Web concerning the topic.
Most of the information concerning the "Allah was a pre-Islamic moon god" theory on the Web and in books seems to be accurate. Due to human fallibility, there are a few apparently bogus quotes being disseminated on the Web and in books. Since the topic is popular and is mostly carried out on the "Wild West" Web, it is surprising there are remarkably few bogus quotes.
Stick to the Web sites and books that purport to be scholarly, and footnote their quotations with complete bibliographical information. One reason this is necessary is there are often more than one edition of the work cited. For instance, The Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology has had many editions and editors over a period of decades.
If one sees quotes by Samuel Zwemmer with a double "m," it would be wise to check the source for validity. Samuel Zwemer is usually spelled with one "m," but the sources with two ms may be valid, too.
One attempt to verify a two md Zwemmer quotation failed. I offered the guy who runs a Website $20 for a scan or photocopy of the original journal or book, which we agreed to. Then, however, the guy emailed me rudely about a week later telling me to look it up myself in some library hundreds of miles away from my home. Needless to say, I doubt the veracity of the quotation now.
If some scholar is quoted as saying that Allah definitely was a sun god, or Allah was a moon god without any qualification, you might want to check the validity of that quote. Usually the scholars either hedge their assertions, or put the burden of proof on other scholars.
After extensive checking of several quotations, only two of the several quotes where scholars supposedly said Allah was a moon god actually panned out. One scholar used the word "seems," and the other scholar said some other unnamed scholars think Allah was a pre-Islamic moon god.
Here are just some examples of what floating around out there:
Flawed quote 1:
Dr. Moreys book Islamic Invasion seems true to its sources, except for this one suspect passage:
According to Middle East scholar E. M. Wherry, whose translation of the Quran is still used today, in pre-Islamic times Allah-worship, as well as the worship of Ba-al, were both astral religions in that they involved the worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars (Morey, Robert. The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the Worlds Fastest Growing Religion. Christian Scholars Press, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1992, p. 50).
Moreys endnote #16, p. 222, cites: Wherry, E. M. A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran (Osnabruck: Otto Zeller Verlag, 1973), p. 36. Morey does not give the volume number, and there are four volumes. A researcher checked p. 36 of all four volumes, and found no basis for Moreys statement. By the way, Volume I & II can be found online at: www.answering-islam.org/Books/Wherry/index.htm.
Flawed quote 2:
Allah, the moon god was married to the sun goddess. Together they produce the three goddess (the daughters of Allah), Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Manat. All of these gods were viewed as being the top of the pantheon of Arab deities (The Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Anthony S. Mercatante, I. 61)
There is only one volume, so it is not known why "I." is indicated in the citation. The bibliographic entry is: Mercantante, Anthony S. The Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend. Facts on File, Inc. New York, NY, 1988.
The Allah entry is on p. 41, not on "I:61." P. 61 has the entries: Antelope, Antenor, Anteros and Antero Vipunen. The Allah entry on p. 41 is nothing like the above quote. The actual entry begins:
In Islam, the proper name of God. The origin of the name Allah goes back before Muhammad, who found that the Meccans worshipped a supreme deity whom they called Allah. Along with Allah, however, they also worshipped a host of lesser gods and daughters of Allah. Etc., etc.
Facts of File may not be the most authoritative book on Islam. On p. 463 in the entry on "Muhammad" it has some questionable detail. This may be an odd Muslim tradition, or it may have begun with the infamous historical fiction writer Washington Irving. Irvings book is Mahomet and His Successors (1849). Mercantante wrote that the moon ...
... descended to the top of the Kaaba, made seven circuits, and coming to the Prophet, entered his right sleeve and came out his left. It then entered the collar of his robe, descended to the skirt ... etc. etc.
On p. 375, the entry for "Kaaba" reads: "The Black Stone is now in a silver casing about ten feet across." I havent seen any measurements, but it seems from photographs that the silver casing is at most five feet acrossunless the people standing next to the Black Stone are five feet wide!
Flawed quote 3:
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).
In the Qataban book, the only mention of ibexes mentioned in the index is on p. 63, not 64. The quote on p. 63 reads:
The ibex was an animal of special veneration among the ancient peoples of Arabia, and frequently adorned sacrificial tables of offerings to the gods, such as the one we found.
Note that this quote is vastly different than the alleged bogus quote.
Flawed quote 4:
The source of this quotation is unknown and is never cited. Surprisingly, it is not quoted very frequently on the Web, as attested by Google searches. What is problematic, however, is that for the last year or so the pages that have the following quote just happen to appear at the top of Googles search results for the terms: Allah moon god.
There are over fifty reference works that state...that Allah was the Moon-god in pre-Islamic times.
If the above statement were true, someone would have compiled all the quotations by now. Currently, there is only a handful of works that speculate that Allah was a moon god, and none of them make any unqualified assertions.
Flawed quote 5:
This next bogus quotation of a book by Arthur Jeffery is found in dozens of Web pages:
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 theophoric names in inscriptions from North Africa (Jeffrey, Arthur (editor). Islam: Muhammad and His Religion. The Library of Liberal Arts, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, New York, 1958, p. 85).
The correct quotation has "North Arabia" rather than "North Africa." Also, the publisher of the book is not "The Liberal Arts Press," as is asserted in the Web quotations, and the name of the author is not always but often misspelled as "Jeffrey." The correct citation would be:
Jeffery, Arthur (editor). Islam: Muhammad and His Religion. Volume 137 in "The Library of Liberal Arts," The Bobbs-Merrill Company, New York, 1958, p. 85
This incorrect quotation extends the Allah religion a thousand miles from Arabia to North Africa. The incorrect quotation gives the impression that the pre-Islamic religion of Allah was a world religion rather than a localized Arabian phenomenon. Misquotations like the one above may seem trivial, but flawed quotations spell havoc for the study of the origins of Islam.
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