Do Muslims Worship Allah The Moon God? Refutation To The Myth By Etymological Evidence

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Christians who try to claim that Allah is the name of the moon god are influenced by the writings of Dr. Robert Morey, who wrote as such in his book The Islamic Invasion. Regardless, they (and Dr. Morey included) are playing a silly game. The writings of Dr. Morey are nothing more than the thoughts of a mid-Western creationist closet-fascist, and were not originally intended for a wide audience. Lane’s Lexicon defines the meaning of the word “Allah” as referring to “the only one true God”, and that should have been the end of the discussion:

Edward William Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon (London: Willams & Norgate, 1863), under the entry “Allah” (Ar.)

Going back to Morey, his “evidence” of a so-called moon deity named Allah actually hurts his religion as much as it does Islam. The basic claim is that the pre-Islamic Semitic world (not just Arabia) was the home to widespread worship of a moon god or goddess named “Allah”. The problem with such speculations about pre-Islamic deities in this case is the fact that any inscription prior to the advent of Islam is also prior to the introduction of diacritical marks in the Semitic languages. Why is this a problem? Well, if one claims to have found evidence of a moon god named “Allah” in Palestine, Syria, or Lebanon, this claim applies to the respective deities of both Christianity and Islam.

The first time the word “God” appears in the Bible, it is in Genesis 1:1, when it states:


    B’reshit bara ELOHIM et ha-shama’im, V’et ha-arets.
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

While Christians will forever speculate on the word “Elohim”, honest Hebrew speakers would admit that this archaic word for God has a history that is lost to us. The “royal plurality” hypothesis may be a possible explanation for why the word is plural, but this seems to have been unknown to early Hebrew speakers (such as the Jewish missionary who, according to the Kuzari, competed with Muslims and Christians to convert the king of the Khazars in the eighth century). It is difficult however to translate this word to “gods,” as the Hebrew text conjugates the verb “to create” in the singular. Regardless, this word (Elohim) is a plural forum of a more basic root-word for God, which is (eloh).

However, if one were to find the word eloh (alef-lamed-heh) in an inscription written in paleo-Hebrew, Aramaic, or some sort of Nabatean script, it could be pronounced numerous ways without the diacritical marks to guide the reader. This letter combination (which can be pronounced alah) is the root for the verb “to swear” or “to take an oath,” as well as the verb “to deify” or “to worship”, as can be seen as follows:

    Milon Ben-Y’hudaah, Ivri-Angli (Ben Yehuda’s Hebrew-English Dictionary), under ALEF LAMED HEH (ALH)

The root itself finds its origin with an older root, el, which means God, deity, power, strength, etc..

So one of the basic Hebrew words for God, eloh, can easily be pronounced alah without the diacritical marks. Not surprisingly, the Aramaic word for GodAccording to the Lexicon offered at http://www.peshitta.org. is (alah). This word, in the standard script Standard script or the Estrangela script Estrangela script is spelled alap-lamad-heh (ALH), which are the exact corresponding letters to the Hebrew eloh. The Aramaic is closely related to the more ancient root word for God, eel.According to Robert Oshana’s Online Introduction to Basic Assyrian Aramaic, which is at http://learnassyrian.com. The Arabic word for God, Allah is spelled in a very similar way, and is remotely related to the more generic word for “deity”: (ilah). The following entry from the B-D-B demonstrates what has been discussed aboveStrong’s H433 entry / Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, retrieved from https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H0433&Version=KJV:

An Arabic example was noted further down in the same entry, which is the shahada in Arabicibid.:

We are quickly starting to notice the obvious linguistic and etymological connections between the respective words for God in these closely related Semitic languages (e.g. Allah, Alah, and Eloh being related to Ilah, Il, and El, respectively). So, in conclusion, if monolingual tri-theists want to claim that Allah/Alah was the name of a tribal moon god, and that worship of such a deity is a gross pagan practice, they should throw their Bibles in the dustbin for including this deity in its text. They should also repudiate Jesus(P) for calling on a version of this deity while on the cross (as per the Biblical account).

Interestingly enough, there is proof from various Christian sources that clearly demonstrates the above.

    W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Exposition Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1996

The above lexical entry mentions that Ezra and the Prophet Daniel called their God as “Elah”. The passage above is more than enough to counter the allegation made by misguided Christians about Allah being a moon god. For, if Allah is the moon god, then what were Ezra and Daniel worshipping?

Conclusions

A philosophical thinker was reported to have once said of the Christians that they are reformed Jews and do not even know it. Indeed, much of Christianity finds its roots in the Semitic world, yet the believers of this religion are notorious for their interpretations of the faith in a European world view. This is the reason they would actually try to find fault with a religion that acknowledges the existence of the exact same God they do; this is the reason they would erroneously claim that Eloh, Alah, and Allah are different Gods. In giving his conclusions on the issue, the Bible scholar and missionary Rick Brown admits that:

Those who claim that Allah is a pagan deity, most notably the moon god, often base their claims on the fact that a symbol of the crescent moon adorns the tops of many mosques and is widely used as a symbol of Islam. It is in fact true that before the coming of Islam many “gods” and idols were worshipped in the Middle East, but the name of the moon god was Sîn, not Allah, and he was not particularly popular in Arabia, the birthplace of Islam.Rick Brown, Who Is “Allah”?, International Journal of Frontier Missions 23:2 (Summer 2006), p. 79

Michael Abd El Massih, the director of Arabic Bible Outreach, echoes the same point and asserts that:

It is an unproven theory, so it may well be false. Even if it turns out to be true, it has little bearing on the Muslim faith since Muslims do not worship a moon god. That would be blasphemy in Islamic teachings. If we use the moon-god theory to discredit Islam, we discredit the Christian Arabic speaking churches and missions throughout the Middle East. This point should not be discounted lightly because the word Allah is found in millions of Arabic Bibles and other Arabic Christian materials.Michael Abd El Massih, “The word Allah and Islam”, in Arabic Bible Outreach Ministries [online document]

The question of why Islam adopted the crescent moon as its symbol, or why it uses the lunar calendar, is addressed in our companion article What is the Significance of the Crescent Moon in Islam?

And certainly, only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Do Muslims Worship Allah The Moon God? Refutation To The Myth By Etymological Evidence," in Bismika Allahuma, Fri 4 Ramadan 1426AH 7-10-2005AD, last accessed Sun 4 Jumada Al Oula 1439AH 21-1-2018AD, https://www.craftora.com/islam/do-muslims-worship-the-moon-god/

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dr.Robert Morey proves in his book that Allaah is the name of the moon god worshipped in Arabia before Islam. Is he right?
    Answer

    The book you refer to is entitled The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion. The author, Dr.Robert Morey, sees Islam as an invasion into North America and a threat to his religious heritage. Unfortunately, Dr.Morey has resorted to dishonest tactics in combatting Islam. To prove his contention that Allaah is not the God of Christians and Jews, he quoted from several books in such a dishonest fashion that the quotations say the opposite of what we find in those books.
    Dr.Morey quoted from the Encyclopedia Britannica to support his case. But in fact the Encyclopedia says:

    “Allaah is the standard Arabic word for “God” and is used by Arab Christians as well as by Muslims” (Britannica, 1990 Edition, vol.1, p.276).

    Dr.Morey also quoted from H.A.R.Gibb to support his case. But Gibb actually says the opposite. In his book Mohammedanism, Gibb says on page 26 that both Muhammad and his opponents believed in “the existence of a supreme God Allaah.” Gibb further explained this on pages 37-38. Dr.Morey should have checked his references more carefully before his book went into print.

    Dr.Morey said that Alfred Guillaume agrees with him, and he refers to page 7 of Alfred Guillaume’s book entitled Islam. But here is what Alfred Guillaume actually says on page 7 of his book:

    “In Arabia Allaah was known from Christian and Jewish sources as the one God, and there can be no doubt whatever that he was known to the pagan Arabs of Mecca as the supreme being.” How could Dr.Morey Misquote like this?

    Dr.Morey quoted from page 28 of a book by another non-Muslim writer Caesar Farah. But when we refer to that book we find that Dr.Morey gave only a partial quotation which leaves out the main discussion. The book actually says that the God who was called II by the Babylonians and El by the Israelites was called ilah, al-ilah, and eventually Allaah in Arabia. Farah, says further on page 31 that before Islam the pagans had already believed that Allaah is the supreme deity. Of course they had 360 idols, but, contrary to Dr.Morey’s assertion, Allaah was never one of the 360 idols. As Caesar Farah points out on page 56, the prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, personally destroyed those idols.

    Dr.Morey also quoted from William Montgomery Watt. But Watt says on page 26 of his book that the Arabic word Allaah is similar to the Greek term ho theos which we know is the way God is referred to in the New Testament.

    Dr.Morey quoted from Kenneth Cragg’s book entitled The Call of the Minaret. However, on page 36 of Kenneth Cragg’s book we find the following: “Since both Christian and Muslim faiths believe in One supreme sovereign Creator-God, they are obviously referring when they speak of Him, under whatever terms, to the same Being.”

    Further on the same page, Cragg explains that the One whom the Muslims call Allaah is the same One whom the Christians call ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ although the two faiths understand Him differently.

    Dr.Morey should know that as a scholar he has the academic obligation to quote honestly. He should also know that as a follower of Jesus, on whom be peace, he has an obligation to speak the truth.

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