by Yoel Natan
Robert Morey sought to prove that Islam was a moon-god religion by reviewing: 1) the moon-god religion elements in Islam, e.g. Ramadan, and 2) the archeological evidence from the Mideast and especially north and south Arabia. Saifullah addresses only the second line of evidence.
Morey concluded: “The archeological evidence demonstrates that the dominant religion of Arabia was the cult of the Moon-god.” Saifullah sought to debunk Morey’s conclusion by discrediting Morey’s scholarship as well as the “old school” of south Arabian scholarship that Morey relied upon. Saifullah sided with revisionist scholars such as Ryckmans, Breton and Beeston against traditionalist scholars who rely on Dr. Ditlef Nielsen’s pioneering scholarship from the 1920s.
The “old school” posited that each kingdom in South Arabia had a moon-god as the high-god who headed a triad: father-moon, mother-sun and son-Venus. The revisionists say that the high-gods Almaqah of Marib and Syn of the Hadramawt were sun-gods rather than moon-gods, but admit that the high-gods of the other kingdoms may have all been moon-gods. So while revisionists may reject the triadic theory, only two of their many speculations come into significant conflict with the findings of the traditional school.
So even if the revisionists were to prove correct about Almaqah and Syn, these are just two exceptions to the rule, meaning that the triadic theory is useful in that it holds true in the majority of cases. Moreover, even if the revisionists were correct about these two gods in this specific part of Arabia, Morey’s contention that “The archeological evidence demonstrates that the dominant religion of Arabia was the cult of the Moon-god” is not refuted. 
III. Astral Triads.
In the absence of a theogonic narrative that explained the origin and relationships of south Arabian deities, Ditlef Nielsen promoted the triadic theory in the 1920s. No theogonic myth has been found to date.
Saifullah wants the reader to have faith in revisionists such as Jacques Ryckmans, Jean-François Breton, and A.F.L. Beeston. These revisionists say that the traditional assignment of South Arabian deities to father-moon, mother-sun, son-Venus astral triads is incorrect. They would argue that, at least in Saba and in the Hadramawt, the high-god was the sun, and the moon-god was a minor god.
Saifullah wrote in two places: “Nielsen’s triadic hypothesis was handed a devastating refutation by many scholars.” Similarly, Islamic Awareness touts Saifullah’s piece as “a devastating refutation of Dr. Robert Morey’s Moon-god Allah hypothesis…” These statements are at best exaggerations because:
1) The revisionist Jacques Ryckmans stated that Nielsen’s theory has only “been widely contested.” “Contest” is not as strong as the word as “rebut” or “refute,” so “widely contested” should not be construed as “a devastating refutation.” Saifullah himself notes that even some contemporary scholars “still retained…[Nielsen’s] arbitrary assignment of astral significance to the deities.” One authoritative scholar in the field who maintains that Almaqah and Syn were moon-gods is St. John Simpson. He wrote the book Queen of Sheba: Treasures from Ancient Yemen (2002) published by The British Museum Press. Simpson says “the lunar nature of ‘Almaqah and Ta’lab is speculative” and Syn’s “connection with the moon is merely speculative.” While Simpson views the arguments to be speculative, nevertheless he does side with the speculations of the traditional school over those of the revisionists.
2) About the only way to decisively refute the triadic theory would be if a theogonic myth was unearthed that explained the South Arabian pantheons differently, or the theory proved less than useful in explaining the data, yet there is a serious debate about only two of the gods.
It is well known that the moon, sun and Venus were worshipped everywhere in the ancient world, and it was most natural for pagans to worship them as a triad of closely related gods. The triads in south Arabia were comprised of:
1) The sun-goddess Shams or her equivalents who were worshipped everywhere in Arabia.
2) Athtar, who was a male Venus and was, as J. Ryckmans wrote, “worshipped throughout South Arabia.”
3) The moon-gods of the south Arabian kingdoms were (according to the traditional view): Syn of the Hadramawt, Wadd of Ma’in, ‘Amm of the Kataban, and Almaqah of Saba and Himyar.
The Koran even mentions a moon-sun-Venus triad, which would be odd if the worship of these triads was not common in south Arabia. In keeping with the commonest Semitic view that the moon-god was the high god, Ibrahim appears to have rejected his first impression that the dazzling sun was greater than Allah the moon-god (K 006:078a). He then seemingly accused his fellow compatriots of worshipping a moon-sun-Venus triad rather than just Allah the moon-god (K 006:075-079).
Muhammad wrote that a story about Allah’s manipulating the direction of sunlight was one of Allah’s signs and it constituted guidance (K 018:017). The story, the Sleepers in the Cave, prominently features Christians and the sun, and so would be consistent with Muhammad’s belief that Christians worshipped an astral triad: the Father as a moon-god, Jesus as a sun-god, and Mary as Venus.
Muhammad may have had in mind a moon-sun-Venus triad when he:
1) Ended intercalation at Mekka and instituted the lunar calendar for Islam. The fact that he commanded the fighting of polytheists in the same verses that he disallowed intercalation suggests that Muhammad believed: a) a lunar calendar was consistent with his moon monotheism, and b) a solar-lunar calendar was a form of polytheism, i.e. honoring the sun-goddess Allat in addition to Allah the moon-god (K 009:036-037).
…the term ‘Mother of God’ given to the Virgin Mary could mean only one thing to an Arab—the sexual trinity [triad] of the old heathen world, which was never a unity.
Saifullah’s pointing out that Nielsen’s father-moon, mother-sun, son-Venus triad theory was contested actually helps Morey’s thesis since Morey’s triad does not exactly fit Nielsen’s paradigm. Morey says that Allah is a moon-god, Allat is the sun-goddess and Uzza is a Venus goddess, and not a male Venus as Nielsen’s theory would predict.
Saifullah et al preface their remarks with K 041:037. This verse says that Muslims ought to worship the creator of the sun and moon and not the sun and moon. K 041:037 and similar verses (K 002:189; 022:018) are often said to disprove the Allah moon-god theory. However, no one is saying that Allah is the rock called the moon, and no pagan worshipped the rock called the moon, but rather they worshipped the deity who claimed the moon as his own. After all, it was thought, the deity that has the best perch in the sky must be the top deity.
Ancients merely associated the moon-god with the moon. Pagan creation and theogonic myths usually relate that the moon-god and the moon rock came into existence separately. For instance, Zeus, Bel, and the family of gods existed before the heavenly orbs were created as perches for the gods. Ancients worshipped the person associated with the planet Jupiter, not the orb itself. The ancients could very well have had verses like K 022:018 and 041:037 in their scriptures and followed these verses to the letter without changing their astral religion at all.
Allah’s association with the moon is plain to see in the Koran, and one might add on top of every mosque, yet Muslims tell people not to believe “their lying eyes,” but rather believe that Allah is the God of the Bible and not a pagan moon-god.
In the Koran, King Zulqarnain is considered a good Muslim. Zulqarnain means “two-horned one,” which refers to the crescent atop the royal crown he wore. The crescent crown indicates allegiance to the moon-god. That crown, together with the fact that Zulqarnain watched the sun set in a mud puddle (K 018:083), shows that the Zulqarnain parable, and the Koran besides, has a pro-lunar and anti-solar message.
In the Koran, the Queen of Sheba was wrong to worship the sun-goddess Shams in addition to Almaqah, the moon-god (K 027:024). Egerton Sykes wrote that Allah “seems to have been preceded by Ilmaqah [aka Almaqah] the [Sabean] moon-god” who ultimately was modeled on the Mesopotamian moon-god Sin. The Koran’s Queen of Sheba account shows that the Koran is a pro-lunar, anti-solar scripture.
Muhammad tells the reader about Ibrahim’s skygazing. Tafsirs on K 006:076 by al-Jalalayn and Ibn ‘Abbas relate that the star Abraham saw was Venus. Ibrahim did not like Venus, but preferred the stars in the polar sky that did not set.
Ibrahim liked the northerly stars because they spun around the polestar counter-clockwise, a behavior the pagan Arabs copied by circumambulating around their temples and kabas counter-clockwise. Muhammad had Muslims continue this pagan form of worship at the Kaba at Mekka.
Ibrahim then viewed the moon and said that Allah had guided him (K 006:077). Finally, Ibrahim viewed the sun and seems to have rejected his first impression that the sun was greater than Allah the moon-god (K 006:078a). Then Ibrahim seems to accuse his countrymen of setting up Venus and the Sun as deities next to the moon-god Allah (K 006:078b-082).
Muhammad had Ibrahim conclude in K 006:078 that the moon was greater than the sun, despite the fact that Ibrahim was dazzled by the sun when it first rose. The reason for including the parable in the Koran is that many pagans, especially those of non-Semitic religions, said that the sun (e.g. Sol, Apollo) or Jupiter (e.g. Zeus, Hubal) was greater than the moon. For instance, in the battle of Uhud against the Mekkans, Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb said “Hubal, be thou exalted’ (i.e. ‘may thy religion triumph’),” to which Muhammad replied “Allah is more exalted and more majestic.”
Allah guided Ibrahim (K 006:075-079) and Muhammad by the moon on the horizon (K 002:144; 053:002, 004-005, 007, 013; 081:022-023), and Allah shows believers “our portents on the horizons” (K 041:053).
Fasting during the month of Ramadan during the daytime while feasting at night is an anti-solar, pro-lunar rite (K 002:183-185).
In Section II, Saifullah points out that in Hazor there was a temple to the moon-god and to Hadad, a storm god. The fact that Hadad was the high-god in Hazor, Canaan and Syria at the time would undercut Morey’s argument that moon-god worship was the dominant Mideast religion. However, the Canaanites at Hazor were descendants of Ham and not Shem (Gen 09:18). Among the Semites the moon-god was generally the most revered god outside of some city-states like Babylon where the high-god was Jupiter (Bel).
Also in Section II, Saifullah present a straw-man argument with the title “The Statue at Hazor: ‘Allah’ of the Muslims?” Morey nowhere says that the Hazor statue with the crescent pendant is Allah. After all, Morey’s Appendix C is merely entitled “The Moon-god and Archeology,” not “Allah and Archeology.”
Whether the statue with the crescent pendant actually is a moon-god, a moon-god priest or moon-god devotee is irrelevant since any of these would show that the object of affection at that particular Hazor temple was the moon-god. This would be enough to support Morey’s point that moon-god religion was prevalent in the Mideast.
Saifullah goes on to point out that in Morey’s book on p. 214, the caption to Diagram 4 says “The inscription identifies some smaller statues as ‘daughters of god.’” On p. 213, however, Morey says the inscriptions identify the statuettes “as the daughters of the moon-god.” Here Saifullah mistakes Morey’s inference for a direct quotation, and then accuses Morey of “fabricating evidence” because he inserted the word “moon-god.” The reader can see that Morey’s use of punctuation shows that “daughters of god” is a direct quote, while “as the daughters of the moon-god” is an inference. Thus, while one is free to argue that Morey made an incorrect inference here by inserting the word “moon,” one ought not say that “Morey…has been caught red-handed fabricating evidence.”
Revisionists tend to say that Almaqah of Marib and Syn of the Hadramawt region were male solar gods rather than lunar gods as the traditional view posits. The revisionists argue that Syn is spelled differently than Sin (aka Su-en) of Mesopotamia, and Syn’s animals on Hadramawt coins are an eagle and a bull, which are solar symbols. Also, Almaqah is associated with a vine, a bull and a lion that tend to be solar symbols. Moreover, no inscription found so far explicitly says that Almaqah and Syn were moon-gods.
The traditionalists have long been aware of the revisionists’ facts, but still classify Syn and Almaqah as moon-gods. While no inscription explicitly says Syn and Almaqah are moon-gods, no inscription says they are sun-gods either. Moreover, at each temple there are crescent-and-orb symbols, and these tend to be lunar symbols especially in the absence of solar symbols such as sun disks with rays.
The spelling difference between the Mesopotamian Sin and the Hadramawt Syn is remarkably close given the fact that the name Sin (or Su-en) passed through the Sumerian and Aramaic languages and the proto-Arabic that people in the Hadramawt spoke. Other examples of how the names change when gods are transported to south Arabia from Mesopotamia and the Levant are: Hubal from HaBaal, Shams from Shemesh, ‘Athtar from Ishtar, Anbay from Nabu, and Il and Ilah from El.
Often foreign words were barely recognizable by their ancient transliterations, and one can only decipher them by referring to contextual clues. The fact that the Roman Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) transliterated the name Syn as Sabin (sic) does not carry enough weight to conclude thereby that Syn was pronounced Sayin and that he was not the moon-god Sin. One can make this assessment from Pliny the Elder’s other transliterations; for instance, he transforms Shabwa(t)into the Latin Sabota, and Qatabanites into the Latin Gebbanitae.
Saifullah wrote that in the 1970s, J. Pirenne and G. Garbini posited that Almaqah was a solar deity because “a lion’s skin on a human statue [of a devotee] are solar and dionysiac attributes.” However, the statue with the lion skin has a curved Jambiya knife in his belt, and that suggests devotion to a moon-god. Moreover, lions mostly hunt by moonlight. In the Gilgamesh Epic, Gilgamesh prayed to the moon-god Sin for help in fending off lions at night. Also, at Hazor’s moon-god temple, a lion orthostat guarded the entrance.
According to Saifullah, A.F.L. Beeston wrote that Garbini showed Almaqah’s attributes were “rather those of a warrior-deity like Greek Herakles or a vegetation god like Dionysus.” Interestingly, Ditlef Nielsen observed that:
…the main god, the national god of war…this is in all South Arabian, yes, nearly in all Semitic monuments, a sure identifying mark of the moon-god.
So perhaps the symbols of Almaqah that are said to be solar are in fact martial in nature. If so, the score in this debate is Nielsen two, revisionists zero!
While the bulls and bullheads associated with Almaqah and Syn could be sun-god symbols, the fact that ibex icons with curved horns, and other moon-god symbols, are often found with bulls and bullheads figures suggest that the bulls are lunar icons. For instance, a Sabean bucranium (bull’s head) coin issue from the early 2nd to mid-3rd century AD has a bull’s head, an orb and crescent, Almaqah’s bent ladder symbol, and a Bakhkh symbol that meant “Glory be to Allah.” Moreover, Almaqah is called the “Lord of the horned goats” and “Master of the Ibex.”
The closer one gets to the equator in the Mideast, the more bulls are used as moon-god symbols. Their curved bleached white horns form the shape of a crescent moon lying on its back. Near the equator the horns of the moon appear nearly even like the horns of oxen or the boat of a moon-god. The more one travels north, the more the crescent moon is tilted. This is why northern peoples envisioned the moon deity has being a hunter or huntress holding a bow.
The coins of the Sabean kingdom show that Almaqah was a moon-god. They either have owls or bull’s heads, they usually have crescent-and-orb symbols, and often Almaqah’s bent-ladder symbol is present too.
Coin inscriptions suggest that Almaqah, ‘Amm and Syn were moon-gods. Sahar Hilal, which means “Oh moon crescent,” is mentioned on the Katabanian “series with two heads” coins (1st C BC-1st C AD), on Katabanian owl-and-amphora coins (mid-2nd C BC), and on Sabean owl-and-amphora coins (late 2nd-1st C BC).
On a few Katabanian and Sabean coin issues, the obverse has a male bust and the reverse has an owl with an inscription next to the owl that reads: “Shahar Hilal, Ynp!” meaning “Moon Crescent, the Exulted.” Similarly, an issue of Hadramawt Syn-eagle coins has the tri-literal inscription Y.Sh.H. standing for “Ynp, Shahar Hilal” meaning “The exulted, Moon Crescent.”
While eagles are usually sun-god symbols outside of South Arabia, Walker notes instances where eagles are associated with moon-gods. An amulet in the Berlin Museum has an eagle and the words “May ‘Amm make happy.” Ryckmans wrote: “In Kataban the national god ‘Amm, ‘paternal uncle,’ may have been a moon-god.” Thus, a South Arabian moon-god is associated with an eagle.
An amulet in the British Museum has Himyarite and Pahlavi (Persian Sassanian-era) scripts and shows an eagle standing on a crescent. The Himyarites were the successors to the Sabeans and retained Almaqah as their moon-god, so the eagle on the amulet is likely associated with a South Arabian moon-god. The eagle may have been associated with the moon-god because, while hunting food, they may have perched on crescents and horns that were placed atop buildings in South Arabia.
That the Hadramawt Syn-eagle coin is a moon-god coin is evident from the fact that it has the inscription “The exulted, Moon Crescent,” as was noted above. Moreover, the eagle is standing on a bull’s horn which itself is a primitive half-crescent called a Sukr (or Suqer). The coin has the three-letter inscription that says Sukr. The Sukr were horns placed at the top of buildings in South Arabia, often in pairs that formed a crescent to honor the moon-god and ask for his protection.
Saifullah’s “Reply to Robert Morey…” has two pictures of the Syn-eagle coin issue. One is worn and so it is missing the horn, the second coin shows the crescent horn the eagle stands upon, and the third shows an illustration of an anomalous example with a crescent with a down-turned horn. All ancient coins were made by hand, and this type of variation was common, especially in coins that were issued for years and decades.
Saifullah and David wrote: “Is Hubal the Same as Allah?” dated 24 June 2006. Hubal means “The Baal” just as “Allah” means “The god.” The topic of Hubal is pertinent to this paper’s focus since some have theorized that Hubal was Allah, Baal, or a rival Mekkan moon-god, and that Hubal was the high-god of Mekka.
The account of the Battle of Uhud and K 037:125 show that Hubal was not Allah, but rather a rival of Allah. Since the Kaaba was an astral shrine, the natural rival of Allah the moon-god would have been Jupiter. Since the sun in Arabic is feminine, the sun goddess would not be a rival to a male moon-god. Some have said that Hubal could have been the old or the new moon-god, but in syncretistic paganism, the old and new moon-gods would have been easily merged into one moon-god.
Islamic traditions relate that Hubal came from Syria. Philip Schaff noted that the Greeks and Romans thought of any god called Baal as being Zeus or Jupiter. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states that Jupiter was equated with Zeus, and that…
…in accord with the syncretism of the period, [Jupiter] was identified with countless deities in the local cults of Asia Minor and elsewhere.
Thus, Hubal was likely thought of as Baal and Jupiter in Syria before the idol was transported to Mekka.
All the foregoing data correlates well with the idea that Hubal was short for Ha-Baal, which means “the Baal.” Torrey wrote about the definite article Ha- (i.e. the): “Ha is so pervasive in all Semitic speech.” The difference in spelling between Ha-Baal and Hubal, like that between Syn and Sin mentioned above, is to be expected. The Ha-Baal to Hubal transformation reminds one of how Allah was originally spelled Hallah and Alaha in pre-Islamic inscriptions.
The Hubal versus Allah clash was an incarnation of the rivalry between the moon-god Sin and the Jupiter-god Marduk that brought down the Babylonian empire. Allah was derived from Sin and Hubal was derived from Marduk. While Allah lost to Hubal at the Battle of Uhud, Allah eventually won the war.
Most of this essay is extracted from the “Critique of the Revisionist View on the Sun- and Moon-gods in Southern Arabia” section of Yoel Natan’s book Moon-o-theism (volume I, pages 338-359, section: “Critique of the Revisionist View on the Sun- and Moon-gods in Southern Arabia”) where one can find much more evidence, illustrations, sourcing and further refutation of the revisionist critics. The section on Hubal being Jupiter was extracted from Moon-o-theism (volume II, pages 768-774, section: “Hubal as Baal”). Moon-o-theism shows that beyond a doubt Allah was a war- and moon-god, and both volumes are well worth the read.
The first to present his case seems right
until another comes forward and questions him (Proverbs 18:17).
© Yoel Natan. All Rights Reserved.
 “A Reply to Shabbir [or Shabir] Ally’s Attack on Dr. Robert Morey: An Analysis of Shabbir Ally’s False Accusation and Unscholarly Research,” Faith Defenders, Orange County, California, no date.
 Morey, Robert A. The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion. Christian Scholars Press, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 1992, p. 215.
 Morey, Robert A. The Islamic Invasion…Ibid, p. 215.
 The underlying Meta content html tag for Saifullah’s piece says this, and search engines pick it up.
 J. Ryckmans, “The Old South Arabian Religion,” in W. Daum (ed.), Yemen: 3000 Years Of Art And Civilization In Arabia Felix, 1987, op. cit., p. 107.
 Simpson, St. John (editor). Queen Of Sheba: Treasures From Ancient Yemen. The British Museum Press, London, 2002, pp. 162-163.
 Lewcock, Ronald. The Old Walled City of San’a., United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris, 1986 (online).
 Ryckmans, Jacques. Encyclopedia Britannica, “Arabian Religions” entry, 2004.
 Guillaume, Alfred. Islam. Penguin Books, New York, 1956 (second edition), pp. 52-53.
 Sykes, Egerton. Everyman’s Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology. E. P. Dutton & Co, New York, 1952, p. 7, Allah entry.
 Al Kalbi, Hisham (died 821-822 AD/206 AH). Book of the Idols [Arabic: Kitab Al-Asnam]. Introduction and notes by Nabih Amin Faris (translator), Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1952 (online), p. 24.
 “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan)” (Gen 09:18).
 Pliny the Elder. Natural History, bk. 12, sec. 32, para. 63.
 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, bk. 12, sec. 32, paragraphs 63-64; see Breton, Jean-Francois. Arabia Felix From the Time of The Queen of Sheba: Eight Century BC to First Century AD. Translated by Albert LeFarge. U. of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1999, p. 65
 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, bk. 12, sec. 42, paragraphs 87-88; see Breton. Arabia Felix…Ibid., p. 87.
 Phillips, Wendell. Qataban and Sheba: Exploring the Ancient Kingdoms on the Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1955, p. 287.
 Gilgamesh, “The Search for Everlasting Life.” Also, Pritchard. Ancient, I:62, middle of Tablet IX.
 Yadin, Yigael. Hazor: The Rediscovery Of A Great Citadel Of The Bible. Weidenfield and Nicolson, London & Jerusalem, 1975, pp. 44-47.
 Nielsen, Dr. Christian Ditlef (1874-1949 AD), Copenhagen, Denmark, 1912, as translated by Hans Krause from German to English in: Hans Krause’s Research Reports (hanskrause.de), “Ancient Arabia and its Religion, Part 3,” Chapter 2: “Haram–Harimat: The Old Arabian Sanctuary, God and Goddess,” accessed Feb 2004, pp. 593-594.
 Lindemans, Micha F. pantheon.org, 9 Oct 2004, Almaqah entry.
 Simpson, St. John (editor). Queen Of Sheba, op. cit. p. 55.
 Walker, John. “A New Type of South Arabian Coinage,” The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of The Numismatic Society, 1937, volume 17 (XVII), series 5 (V), pp. 271-272.
 Ryckmans, Jacques. Encyclopedia Britannica, “Arabian Religions” entry, 2004.
 Schaff, Philip (1819-1893 AD). The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. i: Aachen–Basilians, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 1952, online edition, Baal entry.
 The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Jupiter,” entry 5183, authored by Burton Scott Easton.
 Torrey, Charles Cutler. The Jewish Foundations of Islam. Ktav Publishing House, Inc., New York, 1933, p. 20.