Thursday, August 31, 2006

Allah, the moon god?

This is my research on Allah:
Muslims may claim that Allah is the same God that Christians worship however, the term Allah is a purely Arabic term used in reference to an Arabian deity. In fact Allah was known to pre-Islamic Arabs. He was one of many deities that already existed in Mecca. The tribe into which Muhammad was born was particularly devoted to Allah, which was the moon god. It was represented by a black stone that was believed to have come down from heaven.
In Arabia the sun god was viewed as female, and the moon god was viewed as the male god. In pre-Islamic times, Allah the moon god, was married to the sun god and together they produced three goddesses called The Daughters of Allah. They were viewed as being at the top of the pantheon of Arabian deities, those 360 idols in the Kaaba, at Mecca. When Muhammad took control of Mecca, he destroyed all the idols in the Kaaba except the stone deity, Allah.
Do not ever accept Allah as just another name of the true and living God! -MT

While I find some of your research to be in agreement with my own, I strongly disagree about the origins of "Allah".
Allah is truly just another name for the God of the Bible, even as the names "God" and "Jehovah" are but translations of Hebrew words, even so, "Allah" is also just a translation of the Hebrew word for God, "Eloyah". And so Muslims are worshipping the same God as the Christians and the Jews. But this does not mean that Muslims are necessarily worshipping or serving God in the way God wants—even as it may be that anyone who names themselves a Christian or a Jew might be serving God in a way displeasing to God. However, it does not help communicating a truth to a Muslim by presupposing a lie. Let us set petty differences aside, and get to the heart of the matter—what is the best way to please the Ruler of the Heavens? I could pull out a lot of references on my side-- saying that "Allah" is rooted in the words "El" and "Eloah" in Hebrew-- and you can pull up a bunch of references on your side, all to no avail, as we would not convince the other.
But let's say that the name "Allah" WAS rooted in a moon god. To then claim that whatever use that word is used in worship is actually going to a moon god is what is called in linguistics a "root fallacy". To claim that something is now what it's source was is simply not true.
For instance, let's take the Hebrew word "El" for God. This word has a Canaanite origin and was used by many languages for a creator god who sired many children, including Baal. Baal, in that religion, became stronger than El, and El depended upon him for his war-making skills. El was also defeated by Baal. Is this the God of the OT? Of course not. Then why did they use that word? Because it was the best word they had to explain who God was. It's origin isn't perfect, but they re-defined who "El" was in their literature so they could understand who the "real" El is. So we use the same term today when we say "El Shaddai" or "Beth-el". We don't worry about it's root, because WE know what we mean.
So let's use the same logic for Muslims and Allah. They know what they mean and they explain it very clearly and in many different ways. They certainly do not mean a moon god of any kind, but they are clearly articulating an ultimate spiritual power , ruler of heaven and earth, whose greatest characteristic is mercy. We need to just believe them, and not get tripped up on the roots of words. Because any old ancient meaning of a word is not what it means today.
A similar kind of thinking goes on when some Christians oppose Christmas. They say that the original holiday on Dec 25th had pagan origins, therefore it is pagan. Of course, Christmas is just as pagan or Christian (or commercial) as how one celebrates it and what meanings one gives to it. Even so, "Allah" is an Arabic word-- let's let the Arabs define what it means, not us to whom Arabic is foreign, even if we have some knowledge of it.

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