Question: You say that Allah is a contraction of al-ilah, meaning “the chief God.” So why couldn’t that be the same as “the most high God” in the Bible (Genesis:14:18-22, etc.)? And since Muhammad destroyed all of the idols in the Ka’aba, denounced polytheism, and Islam rejects idolatry to this day, how can you associate it with paganism?
Answer: For centuries before Muhammad was born, Allah was the al-ilah (chief god) among the more than 300 idols in the Ka’aba. Allah was the moon god, who had no son but three daughters, al-Uzza, al-Lat and Manat (see TBC reprints for Feb ’00, April ’03). Allah was represented by one of the idols in that pagan temple. Yet Islam blasphemously teaches that this sanctuary for false gods was built by Abraham and Ishmael. Surah 3:96,97 claims that the Ka’aba was “the first Sanctuary appointed for mankind...where Abraham stood up to pray; and...pilgrimage [hajj] to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither.”
There is no claim in Islam that the Ka’aba, as Abraham (supposedly a Muslim) allegedly built it, was without idols, or that they were added later, justifying Muhammad in smashing them, including the one representing Allah. Yes, he did away with that part of paganism—yet he retained every other pagan ritual that had long been associated with the Ka’aba; only the idols themselves were no longer present.
In A.D. 622 Muhammad fled to Medina in the Hijrah, from which the Muslim calendar dates. In 628 (A.H. 6)* he returned with some followers seeking to join in the worship at the Ka’aba. The Meccans, who at the time were stronger than he, would not allow it. Out of that encounter came the Hudaybiya Treaty, a ceasefire for ten years, which remains the rule for Muslims to this day. No permanent “peace” can end the perpetual jihad between dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb (non-Muslims). Only if the Muslims are not strong enough to continue their attack is a ceasefire (temporary cessation of jihad) allowed,and thenfor no longer than ten years. It can be broken at any time that the Muslims have regained the power to do so. (This fact of Islamic law makes a joke of any “peace” documents Arafat or anyone else may sign with Israel pursuant to Oslo or the current “Road Map to Peace.”)
As part of the Hudaybiya Treaty, Muhammad and his followers (the Muslims of Medina) were allowed to make their hajj to Mecca the following year. This they did, joining pagan Arabs in ceremonies which had been associated with the Ka’aba for centuries. The next year (A.H. 8)Muhammad captured Mecca and with it the Ka’aba. Thereafter, Muslims continued to mingle with pagan Arabs in the hajj.
Eventually, however, the Prophet gave the pagans four months in which to convert to the new religion or be killed. Thereafter, only Muslims were allowed to approach the Ka’aba, now purged of its idols—a restriction which holds to this day. In A.H. 10, the year of his death by poisoning, Muhammad led his followers in the traditional pagan ceremony, making it part of Islam. Thus Muslims continue today in the same rituals practiced by their pagan ancestors for centuries before Muhammad was born.
These pagan practices associated with the Ka’aba were sanitized by identifying them with Abraham, David and the prophets. Because Islam falsely claims to be the original and only true religion, all of the early Bible characters from Adam to Jesus are wrongly portrayed in the Qur’an as Muslims. (Allegedly, the Bible has been corrupted, or it would read just like the Qur’an today.) That would mean that the Israelites who conquered Canaan were Muslims and therefore all of so-called Palestine and Jerusalem have a Muslim history, belonged to Muslims in the beginning and belong to Muslims today! (Yet the Qur’an itself says in Surah 5:3 that Islam began with Muhammad.)
The elaborate ritual which pagans practiced to aid in their salvation is still continued by Muslims for the same purpose. While on the hajj, upon approaching Mecca, one must prepare oneself several miles outside the city through purification rituals. Only then may one proceed to the sacred mosque al-Masjid al-Haram and kiss the sacred Black Stone embedded in the eastern corner of the Ka’aba within the mosque’s interior courtyard. One then goes around the Ka’aba three times at a run and four times at a slow pace, each time touching the Yamani corner, where another sacred stone rests, and kissing the Black Stone again. Muhammad said the latter came down from heaven “as white as milk, but was made black by the sins of the children of Adam.”
The pilgrim then goes to Maqam Ibrahim where Abraham supposedly prayed toward the Ka’aba, repeats two prayers, returns and kisses the Black Stone again. He must then drink from the sacred well of Zem Zem from which, supposedly, Hagar and Ishmael drank. Leaving the mosque by one of its 24 gates, he climbs the nearby Mt. as-Safa while reciting from the Qur’an. From there he runs back and forth seven times to the summit of as-Marwah, commemorating Hagar’s search for water. It is now the evening of the sixth day and he returns to Mecca, circumambulates the Ka’aba again and remains in Mecca. On the seventh day he attends a sermon in the Great Mosque, and on the eighth proceeds to Wadi Mina to another ritual and spends the night. On the ninth day he climbs Mount Arafat for the rite of “standing” (wuquf) where Adam and Eve supposedly met after being expelled from the Garden. Prayers are recited and a sermon on repentance attended before he hurries to Muzdalifah, a place between Mina and Arafat, in time for sunset prayer.
The next day prayers are recited again at Muzdalifah, and then the pilgrims proceed to Wadi Mina, where they throw seven stones at each of three pillars representing Satan, while reciting “In the name of Allah, the Almighty, I do this in hatred of the devil and his shame.” Then follows the sacrifice of a goat or lamb in commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice of Ishmael (not Isaac) according to Islam.
Is this paganism? Of course it is, yet it remains the holiest part of Islam, and Muslims who have participated in the hajj (required at least once in a lifetime) testify to the transforming spiritual experience of this pagan ritual. Polygamy, easy divorce, and slavery are only some of the other pagan practices retained in Islam along with numerous superstitions. One of the latter was Muhammad’s warning, “If any of you wakens up from sleep, let him blow his nose three times. For the devil spends the night in a man’s nostrils.”