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For discussion of this subject please click here.
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Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists - everyone - should read Dr. Amari's very well researched and heavily footnoted book "Islam: In Light of History".
THE GREAT PILGRIMAGE OF ISLAM
By Dr. Rafat Amari
Historical Facts Exclude Mecca as a Station in the Pilgrimage of Pre-Islamic Times
Making a pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca and to its hills is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim has an obligation to make this pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime.[i]
Mohammed bestowed the Hajj with magical consequences for those who perform it. Mohammed said this in his Hadith, which is considered second in importance only to the Qur’an. He said:
He who makes the pilgrimage, returns to how he was when his mother begot him.[ii]
By this, Mohammed meant those who go on the Hajj become sinless. So many things in Islam hinge on the Islamic Hajj, that now I’m going to discuss the Hajj and its pagan roots.
There are some groups that make their pilgrimages to pagan places seem important by claiming Biblical figures made pilgrimages to these spots.
Historically, the Hajj was known as a pagan rite to certain sects in the Middle East. One of the sects that practiced pilgrimages were the Harranians. Harran is a city on the border between Syria, Iraq and Asia Minor – today’s Turkey. The main deity of the Harranians was the moon, but they also worshipped the sun, other planets, and other deities, such as the Jin. They conducted their pilgrimages to the mountains around Harran. Al-Hashimi, an Arabic historian, mentions one of their feasts, “the feast of the lords of the coming forth of the New Moons.”[iii] Harran became a famous city and a place of pilgrimage because of the worship of Sin, the god of the moon. Ibn al-Nadim, another Arabic historian, mentioned the pilgrimage of the Harranians to different places where they worshipped several gods, including Sin, god of the moon. They also worshipped planets, and other gods, such as Hermes and the Jin.[iv]
The Harranians exercised great influence over Mohammed. Mohammed joined a group at Mecca called “al-Ahnaf,” which had connections to the Harranians. Many members of the group went to visit to the al-Jazirah area which lay on the border between Northeastern Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Historians tell us that members of these groups, such as Zayd Bin Amru, went there to search for religious knowledge.[v] Through these contacts, many rituals passed from the Harranians to Islam. Zayd Bin Amru was one of the founders of Ahnaf. He was related to Mohammed, and Mohammed was known to meet Zayd in the caves of Harra', where the members of Ahnaf often met.[vi] (see Introduction)
Because of Harran’s effect on Mohammed, Harran became an important place in the Qur’an. The Qur’an intimates that Solomon subdued the wind, then mounted it to travel to a distant land. The Qur’an says in Surah 21:81:
To Solomon the violent wind flows under his command to the land we had blessed.
Many writers in Islamic tradition interpret this verse to claim that Solomon mounted the wind to make a pilgrimage to Harran. Harran was considered a city of pilgrimage,[vii] especially for the Harranians, who worshipped the moon. Many groups were influenced by Harranians, who made Harran a place where people went to worship heathen gods like Sin, the moon god. These groups wanted to think of Harran as an old city to which people had been making pilgrimages for many years. They wanted to look to important personalities of history, such as Solomon, and claim they went to Harran on pilgrimages. It would add importance to their religion, if the prophets of the Old Testament recognized it.
The same is true concerning Mecca. Islamic tradition sought to make Mecca an ancient center for pilgrimages. They connected Abraham with Mecca when they said Abraham mounted a Baraq, which was a winged camel, and flew to Mecca. It was a habit for religious groups to make their pagan cities important places of worship in history, and they did so by connecting it with to Biblical figures.
The Qur’an and Islamic Writers Claimed That Abraham Called the People of the Earth to Make a Pilgrimage to Mecca
The Qur’an, in Surah al-Hajj 22, verse 27, claims that Allah ordered Abraham to present himself at a minaret, which is the tower from which faithful Muslims are called to prayer. Abraham was to call the people to perform the rite of the Hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca. Then people from all over the world would respond to Abraham’s call in his generation. Ibn Abbas claimed that when Abraham called for Hajj to Mecca, all the stones, the hills and the trees that heard him, even the dust, went in Hajj to Mecca.[viii]
Qur’anic verses claim Abraham used the Athan ????, or loud voice, to call the people to prayer. Crying in a loud voice from over a minaret is still the way Muslims call people to prayer. This method was known and practiced throughout the history of Arabia. The worshippers of various sects of Jin at the time of Mohammed used to cry out from a minaret to call people to pray. This was adopted mainly by people who claimed to be prophets in Arabia, and they were known to have connections with the Jinn. Before Mohammed, Musaylimeh Bin Habib claimed to be a prophet in the city of Yamama. He had a person cry out to the people from minaret, calling them to pray, or to go to Hajj to a certain temple. This kind of rite was not known outside Arabia, nor was it used in the centuries prior to Mohammed.
The verse which shows Abraham crying out from the minaret also says that the voice of Abraham was heard by every human being on the earth. This is a myth that cannot possibly be true. Historically, no one on earth has ever heard the voice of Abraham calling him to make Hajj to Mecca. Further, we saw historically that Mecca was not in existence until the 4th century AD. So, how can people in every part of the earth come to an unknown place in the desert of central western Arabia where no one in history had ever walked before?
Mecca’s poverty of pasturing fields, and its scarcity of water, exclude it as a place of Hajj prior to Islam.
Mecca could not possibly have been a place to which pilgrims made the Hajj before Islam. Mecca was a city in poverty, with few places to pasture livestock. How could it provide grazing for the tens of thousands of camels that would carry the people on the Hajj? There were already other places with more conducive pasturing fields in Arabia. The Kaabahs of these cities were prepared to host pilgrimages.
Another important factor which excludes Mecca as a place of Hajj is the scarcity of water. Mecca was without water until Abdel Mutaleb, the grandfather of Mohammed, dug the well of Zamzam, 50 to 75 years before Mohammed. Mecca was unable to provide enough water for even the small tribe of Khuzaa'h, who first built and inhabited the city during the 4th century A.D. How, then, could Mecca provide enough water for the thousands of pilgrims who would have needed it? How would they water their camels, and the other animals they brought with them, to sacrifice as part of the Hajj ceremonies?
Before the well of Zamzam was dug just 50 or 70 years before Mohammed’s times, it was impossible that Mecca could have been a place of Hajj for the Arabians, because of the reasons I just mentioned.
There was a Hajj in the region around Mecca in pre Islamic times, but Mecca was not among the stations of the Hajj.
Years before Islam, a kind of pagan Hajj existed in the hills outside of Mecca, but it was revered by a limited number of pagan Arabians. With the advent of Islam, Mecca was included in this pagan Hajj. Under Mohammed, the pilgrimage to Mecca later became a main pillar of the Islamic religion.
In pre-Islamic times, Mecca was known to be part of what is called “the small Hajj,” but it was purely occult, and part of the rites of the Arabian religion of Jin. I will discuss this in detail when I will next treat the subject of “the small Hajj.”
It is well-known that the Arabians used to conduct trade while on the Hajj, or religious pilgrimage. In pre-Islamic times, the people who came to the area for a Hajj didn’t trade in Mecca, but traded in Ukkaz and other nearby places, such as Majanna and Dhul-Majaz. Arabian writings tell us that Ukkaz was a city of “Haram,” which means no one could kill, or do certain other things there, during the month of Hajj. We find that when Quraish, the tribe from which Mohammed came, visited these places, they ought to visit them in a state of Ihram, or a state of consecration. Ibn Habib tells us that the tribe of Quraish never visited Dhul-Majaz except in a state of consecration or Ihram[ix]. We see that the tribe of Quraish was in state of Ihram, or consecration, when it was in Ukkaz, when the war of Fujjar started.[x] Fujjar means “miscreant, villain or malefactor.” In the war of Fujjar, an alliance was formed by the tribes of Quraish and Kinaneh. Toward the end of the 6th century A.D., they fought against other Arabian tribes who were their enemies. The war was called Fujjar because it happened in the months of Haram, during which Arabians were prohibited to fight. Al-Azruqi, an old Islamic author who wrote about Mecca, also said that no one could visit Ukkaz or Dhul-Majaz or Majanna except in a state of Ihrah, or consecration.[xi]
These historical witnesses show that the pre-Islamic Hajj started in centers other than Mecca. Pilgrims gathered in these places to visit temples there, conduct trade, and prepare themselves to make the pilgrimage to the sacred places which were in the hills of Mina’, Arafa and Muzdalifah. These places were the true objects of the Hajj, as we will see later. Mecca is excluded from the Hajj, because its official rites began at the hill called Arafa and ended in Mina’, where the state of Ihram concludes. It is clear that the Hajj was made to those hills where the Arabians worshipped their gods, and they did not include Mecca. These facts show us that Mecca was excluded from the Hajj, but the evidence does not end here. We notice that the officials at the city of Arafa were people from the tribe of Tamim not from Quraish.[xii] This also tells us that Mecca and Quraish, the tribe who lived there, had nothing to do with the Hajj.
Crone, a scholar, in her work, “Mecca’s Trade and the Rise of Islam,” also noticed that discussions concerning trade during the pilgrimage are focused on Arafa and Mina’, to the exclusion of Mecca. People would trade during the pilgrimage, but not at Arafa and Mina’. When, according to their religious rites, they were eventually allowed to trade during the pilgrimage, they began to trade at Arafa and Mina’, but there is no reference to Mecca in the discussions.[xiii] It is clear that Arafa and Mina’ are the original places for the Arabian pilgrimage, and that pre-Islamic Mecca was not considered a pilgrimage station.
After Mohammed failed to convince people to become proselytes to Islam, he changed his strategy, and searched for a tribe he could deal with, and who would recognize him as a “prophet of Allah.” He would lead the tribe to war against the Arabian tribes, kill the men, and give them the women and daughters of the Arabians and Jews they conquered. The women would become their concubines, the sons would be sold as slaves, and the houses and personal properties would become booty for the conquerors. For many years, Mohammed went to Ukkaz, Majanna, Mina’ and Dhul-Majaz, stations of the Hajj, to display his program. However, he never met anyone like the tribes at Mecca.[xiv] But in these places he did meet representatives of Aos and Khazraj, the two tribes who accepted his offer.[xv]
Although Islamic tradition endeavors to connect the pagan Arabian ceremonies of the pilgrimage with Abraham, the historical facts clearly contradict their claims. We can see that it is in vain for Muslims to rely on pagan Arabian ceremonies to try to obtain the remission of their sins. The remission of sins was never connected with religious rituals; otherwise, only rich people could afford to receive remission because, in ancient times, one encountered great expense to travel such long distances in the Hajj. For example, Traveling from Bangladesh before the invention of motorized transportation was very troublesome and arduous. Taking this trip meant spending seven months in the journey to reach Mecca, and another seven months for the return. There was also a good chance the pilgrim would never survive the journey. Through the deserts of Asia and Arabia, he would encounter many dangers, such as thieves, pirates, ferocious animals and snakes, not to mention the lack of food and water. The risk of epidemics spread among the huge numbers of pilgrims who gathered for the long trip. The time needed for a pilgrimage from a distant region could take as much as 12 to 16 months, a long time to separate the pilgrim from his family and his work. It also cost the man a large amount of money for his own expenses during this period, considering he was not working or living with his family. The Hajj was an extra-costly, illogical ritual that could destroy the family, and the social and economic life of the one who undertook it, and endanger his own health and, perhaps, require his life.
Mohammed and his tribe who lived at Mecca were the only people who benefited from the ritual of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Because pilgrims brought their animals to sacrifice, all the meat was left to the inhabitants of Mecca. Many goats and lambs were left behind, not to mention the money pilgrims brought with them, or the trade which they conducted. In reality, the pilgrimage each Muslim was to perform at least once in his lifetime, was instituted by Mohammed in order to bring the riches of other Muslims to his own tribe of Quraish. Given the arduous and costly journey each pilgrim had to endure, the poor would be deprived from such presumptuous privileges.
The Hajj is an unnecessary sacrifice for men to perform when, in fact, the price for the remission of sins was paid on the cross by Jesus, the only person who never sinned. He paid for our sins by his atoning death on the cross in order that we would be liberated from our sin and considered righteous before a holy God. The salvation of God, through Christ, is accessible to any person, whatever his culture, social or economic condition. No one is required to make a pilgrimage to any place in order to receive the free gift of God's salvation and the remission of sins. The gift of God can’t be bought through religious activities. Salvation was purchased with a costly price – the blood of the incarnate Son of God. We can only receive it by faith, not by creating religious rituals and works to earn it.
Mecca was Part of an Occultic Hajj, Which Took the Name Umra
We already saw that pre-Islamic Mecca was never one of the cities served by the great pilgrimage called Hajj, although Muslims claim it was the key city.
We’ll see that Mecca was part of Umra, a small occultic Hajj, which could be performed at any time during the year. In pre-Islamic times, this Hajj was connected to occult worship in Arabia. The pilgrimage began at the site of two Kuhhan statues, named Asaf and Naelah. The Kuhhan were priests in Arabian Jin worship. Their statues were placed on the main sacred stones at the temple in Mecca. Other pilgrims began the Hajj from similar statues of Asaf and Naelah located on the seashore near Mecca. The Hajj then proceeded to the hills of Safa and Marwa, where there were other statues of Asaf and Naelah. Historically, Safa and Marwa were the center for the occult Jinn religion. Mohammed incorporated the idea of the Hajj into Islam.
THE STAGES OF THE GREAT HAJJ AND THEIR PAGAN MEANINGS AND ORIGINS
The Hajj Toward the Hill of Arafa
The Hajj, also called “the great pilgrimage,” begins on the 7th of Du al-Hijjah, the month of the pilgrimage. At Mecca, pilgrims listen to preaching about the pilgrimage, but there are no rituals performed there which prove Mecca was originally part of that pilgrimage.
On the second day, the 8th of Du al-Hijjah, the pilgrims depart for the hill Arafa, located east of Mecca. It takes more than four hours to reach this hill by camel. In the middle of the journey to Arafa, there is a place called Muna, currently known as Mina’, where they pray the prayer of noon time. Muna is an important place in the Hajj. Both the words Muna and Manat have the same Arabic meaning, “to wish or aspire.” Manat was the daughter of Allah. This indicates Muna was dedicated to the worship of Manat. Later, I’ll discuss the rituals of Hajj which were performed at Muna on their way back to Mecca.
On the third day, the 9th of Du al-Hajj, pilgrims continue to the hill called Arafa. They all wear white, showing they are in a state of consecration, according to tradition. They stand in a plain near a mount called the “Jabal Al-Rahmah,” which means the “mountain of mercy,” and they cry in loud voices from afternoon until sunset “Labeik Allahumma Labeik.” Allahumma means “Allah, are them,” so their cry is translated, “Allah are them, I am here.”
The Cry “Allah are Them, I am Here,” and Its use In The Pagan Worship in Arabia
The meaning of this cry has special significance, because the worshippers of the Arabian Star Family would recite this sentence before each member in the Star Family to confirm their belief that all members of the Star Family are worthy of honor. Mohammed incorporated this cry into Islam, just like he incorporated the pilgrimage, itself, into Islam.
We also find that the worshippers at Hubol, the main shrine of the temple at Mecca, would recite this sentence.[xvi] “Hubol” was a symbol for the moon god.[xvii] Many scholars think Hubol was Allah, before the planet, Venus, replaced him with the title of Allah.
The same cry was spoken by Arabians before Manat. They said:
Allah are them, I am here. Without the prayerful who come early before you, people will fail and abandon you, but they will still come to you in one pilgrimage after another.[xviii]
This cry before Manat, the daughter of Allah, teaches us that it was a ritualistic formula which the worshippers of the Arabian Star Family presented when they conducted a Hajj to any sacred place dedicated to any member of the Star Family. Manat has places where her worshippers went to perform the same cry and conduct other rituals, like cutting their hair.[xix] The same rituals of cry and cutting the hair at Muna were incorporated by Mohammed in the Islamic Hajj. Quraish and Khuzaa'h, the tribe who built Mecca, were among those who worshipped Manat and went there on pilgrimages.[xx]
All these historical incidents reveal the reason why pilgrims used to cry the same cry on the hill of Arafa until the sun set, “Allah are them, I am here”. Arafa was a place to worship Ellat, the sun, until it set. Ellat, like her husband, Allah, the moon, and her daughters Manat and al-'Uzza, was treated with the same honor and the same cry.
Mohammed has prohibited his followers to pray on the hill of Arafa after sunset,[xxi] which reminds us of the pagan Arabians when they went on a Hajj to the hill of Arafa. They continued their worship and cried before the sun until it set.
The term, “Allah are them,” was adopted by the tribe of Quraish, from which Mohammed came, before he claimed to be prophet. Quraish used to begin their letters or treaties “in the name of Allah are them.”[xxii] Mohammed was from the clan of Beni Hashem, of the tribe of Quraish. Quraish wrote a document against Beni Hashem which started with the same term, “In your name Allah are them.” The Quraish document prohibited their members from having any relationship with the Beni Hashem, because Beni Hashem refused to yield Mohammed to Quraish in order to be judged. The paper they wrote began with the phrase, “In your name Allah are them.”[xxiii] This pagan tribe used this formula because it honored each member of the Arabian Star Family.
Suhail Bin Amru, one of the leaders of the Quraish tribe, negotiated a treaty between the tribe of Quraish and Mohammed. In writing the terms of the treaty, Mohammed wanted to begin with the words, “In the name of Allah the Rahman al-Rahim.” This formula was initiated before Mohammed by Musaylimeh Bin Habib, a man who claimed to be a prophet, with ties to a Jin/Devil. Quraish was opposed to Musaylimeh. The tribe’s spokesman, Suhail, objected to beginning the treaty with the words, “In the name of Allah, the Rahman al-Rahim.” Suhail told Mohammed:
“I do not know who is the ‘Rahman.’ Instead, write it this way, ‘In your name Allah are them,’ As you were accustomed to write.”[xxiv]
This shows that when Mohammed initiated a treaty, or wrote an important document, he used the same words his tribe used in honoring the members of the Arabian Star Family.
The religion of the Jinn-devils in Arabia spread their form of paganism through a theology which said that many gods were to be worshipped. That was contrary to the Biblical announcement that people are to worship only the one, true God.
Umayya bin abi al-Salt was a cousin of Mohammed, from his mother. Umayya was also involved with a Jin-devil who taught him many things, among which was the phrase, “In your name, Allah are them.”[xxv] Umayya claimed that two birds opened his chest and took “the black al-a'laka'” away from his heart. According to a Gnostic concept, “the black al-a'laka'” is a black substance in the human body which caused men to sin. After it was removed, Umayya became sinless. Mohammed copied Umayya’s claim, but Mohammed said it was two angels who opened his heart and took away the “black al-a'laka'” making him sinless.
Mohammed would often sit with Fari’ah, the sister of Umayya, because Mohammed was fond of her beauty. She used to recite many poems which her brother, Umayya, wrote. Mohammed incorporated many of them into the Qur’an. Mohammed, like Umayya, adopted the phrase “In your name, Allah, are them ” which the Jinn-devil taught to Umayya.
The Arabian Jinn-devils spread the message that all the Arabian gods and idols were to be respected and honored. In this way, the Jinn-devils attracted Arabians to their gods. The term “In your name, Allah, are them” expressed their diabolic intention to compete with the Biblical concept of deity which prohibited anyone to honor any god except the Triune God.
The Hajj proceeds to Muzdalifah where pagan pilgrims worshipped the moon
I would like to return to our discussion of what happened in the month of the Hajj. I mentioned that on the 9th day of the month of pilgrimage called Du al-Hijjah, the pilgrims stand on the hill of Arafa until sunset, crying “Allah are them, I am here.” After sunset, the pilgrims begin a journey to a place called al-Muzdalifah, where they pass the night and pray the prayers of evening. The second day, the 10th day of the month of pilgrimage called Du al-Hijjah, they conduct Waqfa before dawn, which means they stand and cry to Allah.
When we study the books which contain the Hadith of Mohammed, and give us an account of his life, we find Muzdalifah was a place where pagan Arabians of the area of Mecca and Medina often went to pray. They prayed from the time the moon rose until it disappeared. The books of al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are two authoritative books which contain the Hadith of Mohammed. They quote the words of Abdullah, the servant of Asmaa, who was the sister of Aisheh, the youngest wife of Mohammed:
Asmaa went to Muzdalifah, and started to pray. She prayed for an hour, then she said, “My son, does the moon disappear?” I answered “no.” Then she prayed an hour and said, “Did the moon disappear?” I said “yes,” and she said “depart,” so we departed.[xxvi]
Mohammed, in one of his Hadiths, also speaks about praying in Muzdalifah until the moon disappears.[xxvii] These words tell us that Muzdalifah was located in a place where pilgrims of the Arabian Star Family honored and worshipped the moon. Therefore, Asmaa worshipped at Muzdalifah while the moon was rising in the sky, and she could not stop her prayer while the moon was visible. She stopped only when she knew the moon had disappeared. It is clear to us that Muzdalifah was the place where the phase of the moon was right for the worship to begin during the Hajj. The fact that pilgrims had to leave Arafa after sunset, indicates that they fulfilled their duties toward the sun in this stage of the Hajj, and that they didn’t need to sleep at Arafa, the location dedicated to the sun in the Hajj. Perhaps, even before the Hajj was instituted, they were to reach Muzdalifah during the night when the moon was worshipped.
This discussion of the Hajj, and its Arabian pagan roots, is an attempt to help our Muslims friends understand the true nature of these Arabian rituals involving the Arabian Star Family, and to avoid considering them part of the worship of the true God. Even if Mohammed could have clothed the worship of his pagan ancestors with more claims, it does not make this kind of worship to be a legally, divine worship.
We already looked at the stations of the Hajj located near Mecca. In the pre-Islamic Hajj, each station had a place to invoke a member of the Arabian Star Family. We learned that pilgrims stopped to worship the sun at the station of Arafa, and they invoked the moon at the station of Muzdalifah. I will continue explaining the phases of the Hajj.
Different tribes gave more importance to some stations of the pilgrimage than they did to other places. In the past, we assume that these locations were disconnected. A tribe would dedicate each place to one member of the Arabian Star Family. Eventually, they unified and coordinated all of these worship sites, resulting in one great Hajj, accepted by all the tribes who previously venerated their own preferred star deity.
A Waqfa was a stop on the pilgrimage. Pilgrims made a Waqfa at Muzdalifah. They always stopped at Muzdalifah before dawn. This confirms that, before they unified the rituals, Muzdalifah was a place dedicated exclusively to the worship of the moon, and only the hours of the night before dawn gave worshippers the opportunity to spend several hours with the Arabian moon before it disappeared. They made at least two Waqfa, one during the night and the other before dawn, before the moon disappears.
At Muna, or Mina, they had a station in the Hajj dedicated to the worship of Manat, one of Allah’s two daughters.
Pilgrims visited Muna before the sun rose to perform special rituals. First, they cast seven pebbles, or small stones, onto a small mountain; second, they made animal sacrifices; and third, they cut their hair, officially terminating the Hajj. Rituals conducted at this station are identical to rituals the Arabians performed when making pilgrimages to places dedicated to Manat, one of Allah’s two daughters.
Muna, or Mina’, is an important station on the pilgrimage. We see this by the way pilgrims cast the seven stones. Mecca was to be on their left side and Muna on their right side.[xxviii] In the mind of Arabians, putting Mecca on the left side meant it had much less importance than Muna where they honored Manat, one of the two daughters of Allah, and a definite deity of the Star Family. The names for both Muna and Manat, the daughters of Allah, have the same meaning, which is “wish,” or “aspiration.” Manat was worshipped in many locations in and around Mecca and Medina. Medina was the city to which Mohammed emigrated. One of the worship locations was Mashlal, seven miles from Medina.[xxix] Also, there were many places for the worship of Manat between Mecca and Medina ; one was Khadid,[xxx] and still others were along the sea-shore.[xxxi] We assume that Muna, or Mina’, was the main location on the pilgrimage to worship Manat, because Muna was named after Manat.
According to many Arabic historians who wrote about pre-Islamic Arabia, such as Ibn al- Kalbi, Khazraj and Oas were the two tribes whose worshippers were most attached to Manat.[xxxii] These two tribes helped Mohammed wage war against the Arabians to bring them into submission to Islam. That’s one of the reasons Mohammed incorporated the ceremonies of Hajj to Muna into the Islamic Hajj. In order for Mohammed to please Khazraj and Oas, he adopted many of their religious laws and ceremonies. He kept Friday as the day the two tribes worshipped, and continued the pilgrimage between the two stones of Safa and Marwa, the ritual which was observed by these two tribes.
I previously mentioned Mashlal, the place which was seven miles from Medina where Khazraj and Oas lived. There was a temple there, built around a rock representing Manat. The temple had a Sidneh, or service, like the one observed in the temple at Mecca.[xxxiii] Another temple for Manat was at Khadid. Among the tribes who worshipped there were Khuzaa'h, the tribe that built Mecca.[xxxiv]
Manat was the deity to whom the Arabians would plead when they needed rain. At the end of their Hajj, they presented animal sacrifices to Manat.
Manat, originally a planet, was represented by a rock on which sacrifices to the various gods were made during the Hajj ceremonies. According to many narrators, this was due to two factors connected with Manat. First, the word Mana means “to shed blood” suggesting to some narrators that the rock of Manat received its name because of all the sacrifices made on the rock of Manat.[xxxv] Second, because Manat means “wish or aspiration,” it was a place where many tribes came to present their animal sacrifices, which represented their own aspirations and pleading for rain.[xxxvi] All this may shed some light on the origin and the motives of the Hajj, as it is still practiced by Muslims today. We see why sacrifices are presented only in the station of the Hajj called Muna. Different tribes in the region presented their sacrifices to their gods on the rock of Manat.
We also see that one of the purposes of the Hajj in pre-Islamic times was to plead with the gods for rain. That’s why they dedicated their sacrifices and finished the Hajj in the place where Manat is worshipped because Manat was the god with whom they pled for rain. Aridity and draught are serious problems for Arabs. It seems that when the draught season lasted for several months, Arabian tribes in the areas around Mecca and Medina organized a special retreat to the hills, to invoke the members of the Star Arabian Family for the return of rain. The pleading terminated when they presented their sacrifices to Manat, the goddess whom they thought was capable of granting their wish for rain.
The Islamic Hajj is the same Hajj instituted by pagan Arabian tribes to plead to their gods to give them rain. When Islam came, Mecca was added to this Hajj, and other ceremonies were developed.
Ibn al-Kalbi, who wrote about the customs of Arabians before Islam, mentioned a kind of pilgrimage that the tribes of Khazraj and Aos, along with the tribes of Ozd and Ghassan, made to al-Mashlal, the place located seven miles from Medina and dedicated to the worship of Manat. He said:
They used to make a pilgrimage and make “Waqfa,” a religious stop, at various places. They would not cut their hair. When they finished visiting the various places of Hajj, they would come to Manat, where they cut their hair. They did not consider their pilgrimage as complete without doing this.[xxxvii]
This is exactly what happens today in the Islamic Hajj. After pilgrims visit the different places, they stop at the hill of Arafa, which we saw was the place where Arabians made “Waqfa” to invoke the sun. They went on to Muzdalifah, where they stopped to invoke the moon, then concluded at Muna, where they presented their sacrifices and cut their hair. Today, the Hajj of Islam surely reflects the same pagan rituals as it did in pre-Islamic times. The pagan Arabians were united in the efforts to plead with their gods, specifically the sun, the moon and Manat, three of the four members of the Star Family. This was before the planet, Venus, replaced the moon as the title for Allah. The Hajj, as I mentioned, most probably was for the purpose of pleading for rain. Since the presenting of the sacrifices and the cutting of their hair was the last phase of the pilgrimage which pagan Arabians performed, we know that the Hajj was terminated officially at the station of Muna. Everything that came later, and is practiced in Islam today, was added to the old ceremonies of the Hajj practiced before Islam.
Mohammed added several things to the pagan Hajj. The Hajj returned to Mecca. The people circled the Kaabah of Mecca seven times. Those who didn’t perform the Umra, or the small Hajj, had to make a course between the two stones of Safa and Marwa seven times before returning again to Manat where the state of consecration, called Ihram, stops. The pilgrims enter into a state of entertainment and amusement during the days 11, 12 and 13 of Du al-Hijjah, the month of pilgrimage. Pilgrims were instructed to throw stones in all directions. They were to drink water from the well of Zamzam and to visit the tomb of Mohammed.
Later, three tribes returned to Mecca after performing the Hajj to Manat. Several ceremonies were added to the original Hajj.
The first ceremony is the return from Muna or Mina, to Mecca. We find a key to this ceremony in the narrations of Arabic writers who wrote about the pilgrimage and the religious customs of tribes in western central Arabia. They tell us that the tribes of Khuzaa'h, Oas and Khazraj honored Manat in Mashlal, about seven miles from Medina. It was the main place where Manat was worshipped, and from Manat they returned to march around the Kaabah of Mecca.[xxxviii]
From this we see that the tribe of Khuzaa'h, which first built Mecca during the 4th century A.D., would go to the rock of Manat to present their sacrifices, pleading for rain. For Khuzaa'h, returning to circle around the Kaabah was understandable, because the Kaabah was their temple, built for them by the Himyarite leader, Abu Karb Asa’d, when he occupied Mecca. He reigned in Yemen from 410-435 A.D. Khuzaa'h had as its main deity, Venus, who was called “Allah,” a title snatched from the moon. For Khuzaa'h, honoring Manat, the daughter of Allah, and pleading to her for rain without returning to her father, Allah, in his sanctuary at Mecca, would have meant disloyalty to the head of the Arabian Star Family. So they were instructed to return to the Kaabah and circle around it. This was not Quraish, Mohammed’s tribe, who occupied Mecca and drove Khuzaa'h away. Quraish is not listed with the three tribes who returned from Manat’s rock to circle around the Kaabah.
Mohammed added Mecca to the Hajj, to institute an occult custom of Aos and Khazraj in their Hajj called Umra', which was performed to two statues of the old priest of Jinn of Mecca.
Two other tribes, who used to visit Manat and return to Mecca, were Aos and Khazraj. These were the two tribes which helped Mohammed subdue the Arabians and make them converts to Islam through the sword. When we study the religious history and rites of these tribes, we understand why Aos and Khazraj would return to Mecca after making a Hajj to Manat. These two tribes conducted a special Hajj to the two statues which, according to tradition, were two priest of the Jinn-devils. The two priests were Asaf, a male, and Naelah, a female. Arabians around Mecca and Medina believed these two priests committed fornication inside the Kaabah, and were transformed by gods into stones. These stones were revered over the two main stones, called Rukun, in the Kaabah of Mecca. Since the stones in a temple were the places where the main idols stood, we can understand the importance of Asaf and Naelah in the worship system of Mecca.
Oas and Khazraj, as well as the rest of the worshippers who revered the old priests of the Jinn-devils, Asaf and Naelah, had a special Hajj called Umra'. They began the Umra Hajj by kissing the two statues of Asaf and Naelah at Mecca. But the tribes of Oas and Khazraj, instead, began by kissing copies of the statues which were placed on the shore opposite Mecca. Then they went to a hill near Mecca to the two rocks called Safa and Marwa, upon which were placed the other two statues of Asaf and Naelah. They were to walk seven times between these two rocks, then return to Mecca to kiss the two statues of Asaf and Naelah. The two rocks of Safa and Marwa were connected with occult worship.
To this Umra, or small Hajj, was added the drinking of water from the well of Zamzam, where other statues of Asaf and Naelah, the old priests of the Jinn-devils, were placed. Mohammed incorporated the small Hajj into the larger Hajj. Only three tribes would return to Mecca after finishing the great Hajj at Muna. They were Khuzaa'h, the builder of Mecca, and Khazraj and Oas, the two tribes of Medina.
I mentioned that the people of Khuzaa'h returned to Mecca after visiting Manat, to honor their god, Allah, or Venus. Oas and Khazraj returned to Mecca to fulfill their vows to pay homage to Asaf and Naelah, the statues of the famous priests of the Jinn-devils, before they continued the Hajj by going to Safa and Marwa, where the two statues of Asaf and Marwa were placed.[xxxix] Then they proceeded to the well of Zamzam, which had no statues except Asaf and Naelah. This tour around the statues of Asaf and Naelah is a clear indication that those priests of Jinn were subjects of the Umra' Hajj, which was instituted to honor them.
The statues of Asaf and Naelah were placed at the well of Zamzam by Abdul Mutaleb, the grandfather of Mohammed, the man who first dug the well. Abdul Mutaleb was a worshipper of the religion of the Jinn of Arabia, and of Asaf and Naelah, so he placed their statues on the well he dug.
Today, we have seen through a study of history, that Mohammed incorporated the small Umra Hajj which was, in pre-Islamic times, connected with the Jinn religion of Arabia, into the great Hajj. He did so to please the two tribes of Khazraj and Oas, who accepted him as their leader, and accepted his agenda to subdue the Arabians and convert them to Islam through many wars. But, prior to the pre-Islamic times of Mohammed, Mecca had nothing to do with the Hajj which was called Islam’s great Hajj. Instead, Mecca practiced Umra', the occult Hajj of the Jinn religion of Arabia.
I would like to pose this question which should be important to my Muslim friends. Is the occult religion of the two tribes which helped Mohammed convert Arabians to Islam, and the pagan customs of a few desert tribes of central western Arabia which pled with their gods for rain, something to be maintained and professed by your mind and heart when you are thirsty for the truth of God?
The “Great Hajj” which was incorporated into Islam, was a pilgrimage made by only a few pagan local tribes who instituted it in the area around Mecca and Medina.
I previously mentioned that only three tribes returned to Mecca to circle around the Kaabeh after they made the Hajj to Manat, which was located near Medina. Those tribes were Khuzaa'h, Aos and Khazraj. This tells us that Mecca had special importance for these tribes in particular, but concluding the Hajj by returning to Mecca was not considered part of any Hajj for any other Arabian tribes. Although they were limited in number, a majority of the tribes who were involved in the original pagan Hajj around Arafa, Muna and Muzdalifah, were tribes who lived in the region around Mecca and Medina. These three locations, Arafa, Muna and Muzdalifah, drew a small number of local tribes, which indicates that the Hajj was originally a local ceremony for the worshippers of the sun, moon and Manat, the daughter of Allah. None of the eastern, northern or southern Arabian tribes were involved in this Hajj, even though they were among the strongest tribes of Arabia.
We can tell which tribes began the Hajj prior to the advent of Islam by examining the kind of ceremony each tribe performed in each station of the Hajj. Each tribe honored its own preferred deity among the members of the Star Family. Quraish, the tribe from which Mohammed came, made Muzdalifah the central location for the Hajj. Muzdalifah was the place which was dedicated to honor and worship the moon in the ceremonies of the Hajj. Aisheh, the youngest and most beloved wife of Mohammed, reported many of Mohammed’s Hadiths and described the customs of Jahiliyah. Aisheh said:
Quraish, and all who follow the religion of Quraish, called Hummas, used to make the Waqfa, or primary stop, in the Hajj at Muzdalifah, while others stopped at Arafa. When Islam came, Allah ordered his prophet to come to Arafa and make it their main stop before continuing on to other locations on the Hajj, such as Muzdalifah and Mina.[xl]
Quraish wanted to honor the moon, which was the head of the Star Family, so they instituted a Hajj which was designed to return to Mina’ to plead for rain with Manat, the daughter of Allah. Another group selected Arafa as their Waqfa, or main stop. They did so to emphasize the importance of Ellat, who was the sun, and their preferred deity over the rest of the Star Family. We see that, before Islam, Arafa, which was among the hills where these Arabian tribes performed the Hajj, was the place where the sun was venerated and worshipped.
Prior to Islam, competition between worshippers of the sun and worshippers of the moon was obvious in the Hajj. Umar Bin al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Mohammed, and one of Mohammed’s fathers-in-law, said:
The pagans did not walk after their own Waqfa, unless the sun had risen. Mohammed had contradicted their custom, beginning his walk before the sun rose.[xli]
We can understand the conflict between rituals when we realize that Ellat, the sun, was the main deity for many Arabian tribes in the region. They could not leave their Waqfa before sunrise. Because Beni Hashem, the clan from which Mohammed came, was part of the tribe of Quraish, it was more attached to the moon; thus, they had no problem neglecting the sunrise. In their tradition, the moon was more revered than the sun. Mohammed claimed that the moon looked on him with tenderness and affection when he was a child. Mohammed would hear noises from the moon when it prostrated itself before the throne of Allah,[xlii] because the family of Mohammed venerated the moon more than the sun.
The tribe of Sufa conducted their religious ceremonies from Arafa to Muna. It was at Muna where they conducted the casting of stones. A particular man of Sufa was designated to cast the first stones. No one could throw stones before he did.[xliii] This shows that Sufa initiated the first Hajj, or pilgrimage, which started at Arafa and proceeded to Muna. It seems likely that they were the ones who developed the first laws and ceremonies, and routed the Hajj to those two locations. First, they honored the sun at Arafa; then they proceeded to Muna, where they pled for rain in ceremonies performed for Manat. The ceremonies included animal sacrifices made to Manat, the cutting of their hair, and throwing or casting stones. All this was initiated by the tribe of Sufa and performed at Muna.
Qusayy Bin Kilab, the 8th ancestor of Mohammed, encouraged participation in the local pagan Hajj after he occupied Mecca, although neither he nor any member of his family was responsible for its ceremonies.
Until Qusayy’s time, Sofa led the ceremonies. Qusayy, the 8th ancestor of Mohammed, was also the one who gathered many families together to form the alliance which became Quraish, and occupied Mecca, driving away the tribe of Khuzaa'h, which had founded the city. Qusayy then fought the tribe of Sofa, who developed the Hajj which included Arafa and Mina.[xliv] When Qusayy Bin Kilab found some pagan Arabians conducting the Hajj as part of their pagan customs, he encouraged them to continue these rituals.[xlv]
Qusayy was of Yemeni origin, meaning that none of his ancestors ever took part in the Hajj. Even after Qusayy occupied Mecca, no one in his family led the ceremonies or the functions of the Hajj. In fact, we are told in the Tabari that, after Sofa was extinct, the clan of al-Safwan assumed responsibility for the Hajj.[xlvi] All these historical facts show us that Quraish, the tribe to which Mohammed belonged, had nothing to do with the Hajj. Therefore, claiming that Quraish was a religious tribe which existed from the time of Ishmael, and were defenders of the faith who led religious ceremonies in Arabia, is unhistorical and preposterous.
Originally, the Hajj was conducted by two groups; one worshipped the sun, and the other worshipped the moon. Later, the two ceremonies were combined into one Hajj.
Udwan was yet another tribe which initiated the Hajj based on worshipping the moon at Muzdalifah. They made religious Waqfa at Muzdalifah; then they walked to Muna.[xlvii] It is clear that they were mainly worshippers of the moon. The difference between where Sufa and Udwan began the Hajj shows that the Hajj in pre-Islamic times was not a united ceremony, but was specific to two groups – the worshippers of the sun and worshippers of the moon. But they held one similarity in common. The ceremonies of both groups ended with a visit to Mina’, the nearest location to where Manat, the daughter of Allah and the goddess of rain, was honored. They both had the same goal:to plead for rain.
Quraish and the fanatic group, Hummas, followed Udwan on their ceremony to plead for rain, beginning at Muzdalifah and proceeding to Muna. Other groups followed Sufa, beginning at Arafa, where they worshipped the sun, and concluding at Muna where they honored Manat, the goddess of rain. Even though the two ceremonies where later unified, each group continued to honor its own deity, making Waqfa, or stops, in the same places, and on the same hills, they used to honor their specific deities. When he prevailed over the region, Mohammed took the old custom developed by the tribe of Sufa and imposed it on the others, making everyone’s main stop at Arafa.
Muzdalifah, and the Occult Worship in Central Western Arabia
Now we turn our attention to Muzdalifah, and the occult worship in central western Arabia. The station of the Hajj called Muzdalifah was mentioned by Arabian authors who wrote about Arabian customs before Islam. They said that Muzdalifah was a place which had a mountain called Khazeh, named after a devil.[xlviii] Khazeh was a famous Arabian idol,[xlix] showing us that the worship of the devil, Khazeh, had spread into central western Arabia, especially around Mecca and Medina. Jawad Ali, an Iraqi scholar, believes that this idol was worshipped at Muzdalifah.[l] Arabian historians say that before Islam, the person who performed, or led the Arabians in the ceremonies at Muzdalifah, stood on the mountain of Khazeh.[li]
The religion of Jinn-devils in Arabia, and the Arabian Star Worship, became the two main religions in Arabia. The Kaabahs in Arabia often had Kuhhan of the Jinn religion serving as priests. Therefore, many of the ceremonies of both of these religions were combined or united. The Arabians considered the Jinn-devils as kindred to Allah. This tells us why Muzdalifah was important for the pagan Arabians of central Arabia before Islam. It was a place where both the devil, Khazeh, and the moon were worshipped.
Mohammed added another ceremony to the Hajj. People walked seven times between the two stones, Safa and Marwa. Mohammed did this ritual in spite of the hatred harbored by some of his followers, who saw it as a pagan ritual connected to Jahiliyah and practiced in pre-Islam times.
Walking seven times between the two stones, Safa and Marwa, was a custom of Jahiliyah, the pagan period before Islam.This is confirmed by Mohammed’s biographers and the authoritative reporters of his sayings and customs. Ibn Abbas, one of Mohammed’s most significant reporters, confirmed that walking between Safa and Marwa was Jahiliyah’s custom.[lii] Another important reporter of Mohammed’s Hadith was Uns Bin Malek, who said:
Asem has told us saying “I said to Uns Bin Malek, you used to hate to walk making a pilgrimage between the Safa and Marwa.” He answered, “Yes,” because it was from the pagan rituals of Jahiliyah until Allah inspired that “Safa and Marwa are from the rituals of Allah, he who makes a Hajj to the temple, or the Hajj of Umra', has no sin if he encompasses around them,” [liii] quoting Surah 2:158.
The reason why some Muslim followers of Mohammed hated this pilgrimage involving Safa and Marwa because it came from the pagan ritual of Jahiliyah. Without doubt, they were aware of its connections with occult worship. Sahih Muslim, another authoritative book of Hadiths, reveals that the majority of Muslims revolted against the tendency of a few Muslims to consider Safa and Marwa as part of the Hajj. Those who refused to appear before Safa and Marwa were armed with the knowledge that such worship belongs to the pagan Jahiliyah.[liv]
But Mohammed claimed he was inspired to write a new verse of the Qur’an. Surah 2:158 states:
Behold Safa and Marwa are part of the ritual of Allah. So, if those who visit the house in the season of Hajj, or make the Hajj of Umra' at other times, should encompass them, there is no sin in them.
This way the ritual of Safa and Marwa became a ritual of Allah.
This pagan Hajj, limited to a few Arabian tribes around Medina and Mecca, had become one of the main pillars of Islam, like the Jihad. Mohammed endeavored to attract the pagan Arabians by adopting their rituals and their Hajj to Arafa, Muzdalifah and Mina, where they worshipped three of the members of the Arabian Star Family. In addition, they engaged in occult worship at Muzdalifah, where ceremonies for the devil, Khazeh, were performed.
Though we know the names of the pagan tribes who instituted this Hajj, these rituals were later attributed, by Islamic tradition, to Abraham, even though he never set foot in central western Arabia. Connecting these pagan ceremonies with Abraham can deceive only those who accepted its claims without comparing them with the facts of history.
THE ORIGINS OF THE HAJJ CEREMONIES
The month the Hajj is conducted is called Du al-Hijjah. The Hajj, or religious pilgrimage, was a custom practiced by pagan Arabians, in which they made a trip to visit their gods and sanctuaries. The month in which the Islamic Hajj is performed is the same month in which pagan Arabians performed their Hajj. Among inscriptions found in Arabia, the term “Du Hajjinin,” which means “Du al-Hijjah,” is the same month the pagan Arabians made their pilgrimages.
Northern Arabians also had a month in which they visited their sanctuaries and honored their gods. Epiphanius speaks about this month during which the pagan Arabians perform their ritual of Hajj. Muslims, today, perform their Hajj in the same month of Du al-Hijjah. While classical writers also wrote about the sacred months for Arabians, Photius wrote about the months which the Arabians considered as “Haram,” in which they agreed not to fight. Scholars, such as Winekler, have identified those months to be the same months when Arabians did a Hajj, in addition to the month when they fasted, which they called Ramadan[lv]. During the month of Du al-Hajjeh, each Arabian went to his sanctuary, or special hill, to worship his own god. There were many places where Arabians used to do Hajj.[lvi]
This helps us to see that the Hajj around Mecca was separately conducted by two groups during the same month of the Hajj. One group went to Arafa to worship the sun, the other group went to Muzdalifah to worship the moon. After making their religious stops to honor their own gods, both groups made stops to give homage to Manat and plead for rain. The rituals of the Hajj and Du al-Hijjah, the month of pilgrimage, were well-known among pagan Arabians, a fact which Islamic historians and writers confess[lvii].
The Ceremony of Casting Stones at the Hill
We already mentioned that at Muna, or Mina, the pilgrims cast seven stones at a hill. Islamic tradition claims this locality is where Abraham met with the devil and threw stones at him. History tells us that Abraham never visited Mecca, because Mecca was not in existence during Abraham’s time. Mecca appeared later, after the 4th century A.D. Central western Arabia, where Mecca was later located, was uninhabited at the time of Abraham who lived in the 21st century B.C. It was a desert, unknown to the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, where Abraham was raised, and unknown to the country of Canaan, where Abraham went to live.
North Arabian cities, such as Dedan and Qedar, were built around the 9th century B.C. Cities like Yathrib were built after the route between Yemen and the Fertile Crescent flourished, around the 6th century B.C., but the route along the Red Sea between the northern cities of Arabia and Yemen, was not developed until the 3rd century B.C. as attested to by Greek geographers. Although Greek geographers and classical writers tell us some stations appeared then, the area where Mecca was eventually built was uninhabited until after the Christian era. So, how could Abraham have abandoned his sojourn in the Land of Canaan, to come to a desert where no one had ever lived before?
Further, striking the devil with stones is an illogical myth because the devil is a spirit, not affected when material things are thrown at him. The devil does not have a material body to be injured by the stones. The same is true when stars are thrown at him. The Qur’an claims that meteorites were stars which Allah used to strike the devils. Rather, the casting of stones at the devil was a pagan ceremony practiced by various pagan sects in the Middle East.[lviii] Casting the stones was a ritual initiated in Muna by the tribe of Sofa who led the ceremonies on the hill of Arafa. The tribe of Sofa did not allow anyone to walk from Arafa to the next Hajj station before all the tribe had done so. No one was allowed to cast stones before they did.[lix] This indicates that Sofa began casting the stones as part of their Hajj in that part of Arabia, and made it part of their tradition.
The Zoroastrian rite of Casting Pebbles and Other Persian Customs Left an Impact on the Arabian Hajj
Zoroastrians also cast stones on the water and in bull’s urine. The water and urine were prepared for ablutions and the purification of bodies and objects. Once they were cast, these stones, or pebbles, were deposited in holes in the ground, evidently to strike the insects and worms in the ground which were considered devils by the Zoroastrians. We read about this ceremony in many chapters of the Epistles of Manuskihar, part of the Pahlavi Texts, traditional literature for the interpretation of the Avesta, which are the sacred writings of Zoroastrianism.[lx]
The concept behind making Ablutions in Zoroastrianism was to expel, or drive away, the devil from the body. In the Zoroastrian books, such as the Vendidad, part of the Zenda Avesta, we find that the devil is driven away from a part of the body each time the water of Ablutions reaches that part. Then the devil flees to inferior parts, until the water touches the toes of the feet, and the devil is driven away completely.[lxi] We find the same concept in the Pahlavi texts, such as in the “The Bareshnum Ceremony.”[lxii] Also, in Shayast La-Shayast, Chapter XX, where we find written that, in order for the devil to flee from the body, man should perform ablution in water and bull's urine before the sunrise.[lxiii] The water in Zoroastrianism is a god that cleans the soul and removes away the stain and effect of the devil. The Qur’an contains the same teaching concerning the importance of water: to clean the soul of the man and to drive the devil and his stain from the body. We read in Surah 8, called al-Anfal, verse 11:
He covers you with drowsiness … and he makes the water descend from heaven on you in order to purify you and to remove from you the stain of Satan.
The Zoroastrians believed in the power of bull's urine in purifying and healing. In the Zoroastrian literature called the Epistles of Manuskihar, Epistle I, Chapter VII, the urine is described as “well curative in performance.”[lxiv] In the Vendidad, the Zoroastrians claimed that Ahura Mazda, the main deity of Zoroastrianism, recommended to drink milk and bull's urine for curing diseases.[lxv] Mohammed borrowed this kind of treatment from the Zoroastrians, but he changed the use of the bull's urine with the urine of female camel. He claimed that the urine of the female camel can treat all diseases. People who came to him with diseases were ordered by Mohammed to drink the female camel's urine.[lxvi] People used to drink Mohammed’s urine in front of him, and he was happy, alluding that his urine was a curative for diseases.[lxvii] We know how nocuous and harmful urine is, whether of the camel or humans, because of the germs that the body eliminates with the urine, besides other harmful acids and materials which the body removes.
We find other rituals in the pre-Islamic Hajj coming from Zoroastrianism. One of Zoroastrian’s Persian gods was the fire. Qusayy, the 8th ancestor of Mohammed, came from Yemen and occupied Mecca. He lit a fire on Muzdalifah, the place where the moon was worshipped in the pre-Islamic Hajj. Al-Tabari wrote that this fire continued to burn during the time of Mohammed, and the three Caliphs who came after him.[lxviii] We can understand how this Persian religious exercise became part of the Hajj, when we understand the influence of the Persians on Yemen and the southern regions of Arabia. In Yemen, there was a fire continually burning for years according to Persian worship.[lxix]
Another Zoroastrian custom calls on its followers to make good works and religious practices on behalf of dead relatives and friends.[lxx] We find Mohammed adopting the same rite. In a Hadith, reported by al-Bukhari, Mohammed advised a woman to make Hajj for her dead mother.[lxxi]
Phases through which the moon passes affect worship in the Middle East, especially in Arabia. The way in which the moon was worshipped in Muzdalifah in pre-Islamic times reminds us of the Persian worship of the moon. The moon in the Nyayis, a Zoroastrian sacred literature, is addressed three times a month: first, at the time when the moon is first visible; second, when it is the full; and, finally, when it is on the wane.[lxxii] It reminds us of how Arabians worshipped the moon at Muzdalifah until the moon disappears. They concluded by fasting, and then feasting when the crescent moon reappears. In fact, the feast of Ramadan begins when the crescent of the moon reappears. The moon plays an important part in Islam today, as we see from the crescent which is Islam’s identity symbol.
The rituals connected with the moon and its worship also have roots in Aryan worship. We read in the Apastamba, a sacred Aryan book, that a feast is established when the moon’s crescent appears. The religious man can’t study, or do anything, for two nights [lxxiii]. This ritual is repeated in Ramadan. After a month of fasting, the Muslims feast when they see the crescent appearing in the sky.
We know that Ramadan was originally a Harranian ritual which took place in the city of Harran, on the border between Syria, Iraq and Asia Minor. The Harranians fasted for one month, beginning the first or second week in March, identical to Ramadan. This fasting was for Sin, the god of the moon. Some Arabic historians identified the fasting of the Harranians with the fasting of Ramadan. When the moon’s crescent appeared, the Harranians ended their fasting and began a feast, the same way Arabians celebrate Ramadan each year. We assume the celebration of Ramadan was transferred from Harran to Arabia during the 6th century B.C. when Nabonidus, the Harranian King of Babylonia, occupied North Arabia from 556-539 B.C. For more on this topic, I refer the reader to the subject of Ramadan.
The Third Ritual of the Hajj is Cutting the Pilgrim’s Hair
The cutting of the hair was a habit practiced by some Arabian tribes after a pilgrimage to honor their gods. One of their gods was an idol named al-akyaser. They conducted a pilgrimage to the idol where they cut their hair, mixed it with flour and threw it in the air. The same celebration was also observed by many pagan Yemeni tribes. Tribes which emigrated to Medina, and the area around Mecca, came from Yemen after the collapse of the dam at Ma'rib, about 150 A.D. This helps us understand why the cutting of hair was the ritual which ends the Hajj.
I mentioned earlier that some Yemeni tribes honored Manat, the daughter of Allah. Manat was represented by a rock, to which these tribes went on their Hajj. At the end of the Hajj, they cut their hair. Ibn al-Kalbi, al-Azruki, and others wrote about the customs of Arabia. They tell us tribes, such as Aos, Khazraj, Ozd, and Ghassan, were all tribes of Yemeni origin which made the Hajj to Manat. In many places, they made religious stops to honor their gods without cutting their hair until they reached Manat, where they ended their Hajj by cutting their hair. They didn’t see their Hajj as complete unless they did so.[lxxvi]
You may remember that Manat was the goddess to whom they would plead for rain. After they performed the Hajj to their gods, they would come to Manat, cut their hair and present their animal sacrifices. Stations of the pre-Islamic Hajj included Arafa, the place where they would stop to worship the sun, and Muzdalifah, where they would stop to worship the moon. Then the Hajj would conclude at Mina, called Muna, the place dedicated to Manat, where they cut their hair and presented their animal sacrifices. In Mohammed’s time, this same Hajj was transferred to Islam with the same rituals, including the ritual of cutting the hair at Manat.
The Ritual of Crying in the Hajj
Another ritual conducted during the great Hajj was to cry two things: “Allah are them, I am here” and “Allah is greater.” Al-Ya'akubi, the Arabic historian, wrote that each Arabian would stop before his idol and cry “Allah are them, I am here.”[lxxvii]
We find that when the Hajj was transferred to Islam, it presented the same religious words. When they came to the hill dedicated to the worship of the moon, they cried “Allah Akber,” which means “Allah is greater.” This is because the moon, who was Allah was viewed as head of the Star Family and was greater than the other members, Ellat, the sun, and Manat and al-'Uzza, two of the planets. The cry “Allah is greater” is not an Islamic cry but, rather, a pagan cry which the worshippers of the Star Family used to say. Pre-Islamic Arabian poetry often honored members of the Star Family by emphasizing Allah as the head of the Star Family by repeating the words “Allah Akber." For example, Loas Bin Hagar, the Arabian poet of Jahiliyah, which was the pre-Islam period, said:
I swear by Ellat and al-Uzza and all who follow their faith, and in Allah, Allah is greater than they.[lxxviii]
Abdel Mutaleb, the grandfather of Mohammed, who was not a Muslim but was a worshipper of the Arabian Star Family also attached to the Arabian Jinn religion, used to cry the same cry, “Allah is greater.” They held this cry in common with all the worshippers of Star Family members. This explains why we find this cry in the rituals of the Hajj, which were originally dedicated to three of the members of the Star Family: the moon, the sun, and Manat, the daughter of Allah and the goddess of rain .
It seems that when the Hajj was initiated, the moon still enjoyed the title of Allah before the title was snatched by Venus. When pre-Islamic pagan Arabians would see the moon in its crescent, they would cry with a loud voice “Allah Akber,” which is “Allah is greater.” From ancient times, the moon was“ Allah” to many Arabian tribes and, as such, was their visible deity. The moon in the form of a crescent, after it disappeared for a period of time, stimulated them to cry in worship to him.
Crying, and honoring the moon when the crescent appears, still has its impact on Islamic rituals today. Today, you will notice when Muslims see the crescent appearing, they end their fasting and start the feast of Ramadan, following exactly the old rituals of the worshippers of the moon. For those worshippers, the moon was their deity and focus, and to the moon they initiated the fasting of Ramadan.
Al-Shahrastani, the Arabic historian, wrote about the pagan people of Jahiliyah. He says they often had the Hajj in months other than Du al-Hijjah, but they performed the same rituals as the Islamic Hajj, respecting the days of the month. They made the 10th of the month the day for animal sacrifices, just as Muslims today perform sacrifices on the 10th day of the month of Du al-Hijjah. In other words, sometimes they selected other months, but followed the same rituals in the same places.[lxxix] With this evidence, we conclude that the Islamic Hajj was practiced by pagan Arabian tribes. The Hajj was initiated by few tribes for their own gods. Later, the various elements of the Hajj were consolidated. Today, the Islamic Hajj presents rituals which were known to be practiced by pagan tribes around Medina and Mecca, founded by tribes who emigrated from Yemen, and performed these rituals to their gods.
Although Muslims claim that the Hajj was connected to Abraham, this Hajj was not connected with Abraham at all.
None of those tribes ever mentioned a connection between their pagan Hajj and Abraham or Ishmael, as Islam claims. None of the Arabian poets before Jahiliyah attributed their Hajj to Abraham or Ishmael. The Hajj, originally conducted around the Arabian Star Family, was attributed to Abraham only after Islam came on the scene.
For Muslims to go on a Hajj to where pagan Arabian tribes honored Star Family members will never connect them with the true God. This ritual is similar to many rituals performed by the pagans of the middle East and Asia. Adding the name of Abraham to the pagan rituals of a few Arabian tribes around Mecca and Medina will never change the nature of their pagan ceremonies. Muslims, instead, need to study the faith of Abraham as it is told in the Bible. Abraham never fasted when the moon disappeared, nor cried and feasted when the crescent appeared. He never connected his worship with the movements of any of the bodies of the solar system, or with the stars or with the rocks. Neither did he throw stones at the devil, or cut his hair in front of a stone.
We live in a tolerant society where people are free to believe what they want, and have the freedom of speech to solicit converts. Muslims today are seeking converts by propagating false teachings, and many are being deceived. Many people have assumed that Allah and God are the same, and it’s not important which religion we embrace. However, today we have learned that God and Allah are not the same. The doctrine of Allah in Islam was blended from many forms of pagan worship and rituals over many years. It was formed from worship of the moon at one point, and worship of Venus at another.
[i] Sahih Muslim, 9, page 100
[ii] Bukhari, 2, page 141; Sahih Muslim 9, page 119
[iv] Al-Biruni,op.cit.,page 318 ( cited by The Knowledge of Life, Sinasi Gunduz, Oxford University, 1994, page 183
[v] Ibn al-Nadim, al-Fahrisit, page 322
[vi] Ibn Kathir, Al Bidayah Wal Nihayah, Dar Al Hadith, (Cairo, 1992), 2 : 243
[vii] Ibn Darid, Al-Ishtiqaq 84; Qastallani Ahmad ibn Muhammed, Irshad al-Sari, 6, page 171 ; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah Wal Nihayah 2, page 244; Ibn al-Atheer, Asad al-Ghabah Fi Maarifat al-Sahabah 2, page 231
[viii] M. A. al-Hamed, Saebat Harran Wa Ikhawan al-Safa, ( al-A'hali- Damascus, 1998), page 199
[ix]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, 156, 157
[x] Ibn Habib, Munammaq, page 275 ; cited by Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade, Princeton University Press, 1987, page, 173
[xi] Muhammad Ibn Habib, Kitab al- Munammaq, page 196
[xii] Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, page 132
[xiii] Wellhausen, Reste , page 83; cited by Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade, Princeton University Press, 1987, page, 174
[xiv] Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade, Princeton University Press, 1987, page, 175
[xv] ( Ibn Saad, Tabaqat, 1, page page 216 ); Ibn Hisham, page 281 ; Cited by Crone, page 175
[xvi] Ibn Hisham, page 286; ( Ibn Saad, Tabaqat 1, page 217;
Cited by Crone page 175
[xvii] Ibn Habib, Kitab al-Muhabbar, page 315
[xviii] Jawad Ali, al-Mufassal, vi, 328
[xix] Ibn Habib, Kitab al-Muhabbar, page 313
[xx] al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah, Cairo-Egypt, 1925, 14; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan, 8: 169; Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, I, 73
[xxi] al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah, Cairo-Egypt, 1925, pages 13, 15; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan 8, page 169
[xxii] Al- Bukhari, 2, page 166
[xxiii]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 553
[xxiv]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 553
[xxv] Bukhari, 3, page 181
[xxvi] Al-Aghani, by Al Asfahani, 4, pages 122- 195
[xxvii] Sahih Muslim 9, page 39; Bukhari, 2, page 178
[xxviii] Bukhari, 2, page 178
[xxix] Suhih Muslim 9, pages 42 and 43
[xxx] Taj Al Aruss 10, page 351; Tafsir al-Tabari 27
[xxxi] Al-Tabarsi al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan, Majma' al-Bayan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, 9, page 176; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam Al Buldan 2: 944; Jawad Ali, vi, page 246
[xxxii] Al-Ya'akubi, I, page 312
[xxxiii] al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah, Cairo-Egypt, 1925, 14 ; see also Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam Al Buldan 8; page 169
[xxxiv] Tafsir al-Tabari 27, page 35
[xxxv] Tafsir al-Tabari 27, page 35
[xxxvi] Tafsir al-Tabari 27, page 32
[xxxvii] Tafsir al-Tabari 27: 32; Al Zamkhari al- Khawarismi, Al Kashaf , 3, page 144
[xxxviii] Al Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, 1, page 73; Al Kalbi, Alasnam, page 14; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan, 8, page 169
[xxxix] Tafsir Ibn al-Kathir 4, page 252
[xl] Al Shahrastani, Al Milal Wa Al Nah'el, page 578
[xli] Sahih al-Bukhari, 5, page 158
[xlii] Sahih al-Bukhari, 4, page 235
[xliii] Halabieh, I, 127 and 128
[xliv] Ibn Hisham, I, page 100; Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 507
[xlv]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 507
[xlvi]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 508
[xlvii]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 508
[xlviii] Ibn Hisham I, page 101
[xlix] Taj Al Aruss 2, page 207
[l] Jawad Ali, al-Mufassal Fi Tarikh al-Arab Khabel al-Islam, vi, page 384
[li] Jawad Ali, al-Mufassal Fi Tarikh al-Arab Khabel al-Islam, vi, page 384
[lii] Taj Al Aruss 2, page 207
[liii] Sahih al-Bukhari, 4, page 238
[liv] Sahih al-Bukhari, 2 , page 171
[lv] Sahih Muslim 9, page 23
[lxxx] D.Nielsen, Die Altarabischen Mondreligion (Strassburg, 1904), S. 86 ; Jawad Ali, al-Mufassal Fi Tarikh al-Arab Khabel al-Islam, vi, page 348
[lxxxi] Shorter Encyc.of Islam, page 124; quoted by Jawad Ali, vi, page 348
[lvi] Winekler, ALF., II, Reihe, Ibd., S.336; quoted by Jawad Ali,vi,page 349
[lvii] Wellhausen, Reste, Arabischen Heidentums, Berlin, 1927, p. 84; quoted by Jawad Ali, vi, page 351
[lviii] Al Masudi, Muruj Al Thahab, II, pages 212 and 213
[lix] Alessandro Bausani, L’Islam, Garzanti Milano, 1980, page 61
[lx]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 508; Ibin Hisham, I, page 100
[lxi] Epistles of Manuskihar, Epistle I, Chapter VII, 16, Pahlavi Texts, Part II, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 18, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, page 308; Epistles of Manuskihar, Epistle II, Chapter III, 12, ; Epistles of Manuskihar, Epistle I , Chapter IX , 6 ;Appendix- The Bareshnum Ceremony, Pahlavi Texts, Part II, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 18, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, page 447
[lxii] Vendidad, Fargard VIII :41-71, translated by James Darmesteter, The Zenda –Avesta part I , The Sacred Books of the East, Volume IV, pages 105-110
[lxiii] Appendix- The Bareshnum Ceremony, Pahlavi Texts, Part II, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 18, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, page 437
[lxiv] Shayast La-Shayast, Chapter XX, 5, Pahlavi Texts, Translated by E.W. West, Part I, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 5, Published by Motilal Banarsidass 1970, page 394
[lxv] Epistles of Manuskihar, Epistle I, Chapter VII, 17, Pahlavi Texts, Part II, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 18, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, page 309
[lxvi] Vendidad, Fargard VII:66
[lxvii] Sahih al-Bukhari, 5, pages 64 and 70
[lxviii] Halabieh, I, page 86
[lxix]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 512
[lxx] Al-Nuwayri, Nihayat al-arab fi funun al-adab, I, page 109; Alusi al-Baghdadi Mamud Shukri, Bulugh al-arab fi ma'rifat ahwal al-arab, 2, page 102
[lxxi] Dadistan-I Dinik, Chapter VIII, 1, Pahlavi Texts, Part II, Translated by E.W. West, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 18, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, page 26
[lxxii] Sahih al-Bukhari, 8, page 150
[lxxiii] Comment on Nyayis, The Zenda –Avesta part II, translated by James Darmesteter, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 23, page 349
[lxxiv] Apastamba, Prasna I, Patala 3, Khanda 9, 28, Sacred Laws of the Aryas, Part I, Translated by Georg Buhler, The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 2, Published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, page 35
[lxxv] al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah, Cairo-Egypt, 1925, 18; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan, 1, page 341
[lxxvi] Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan, 1, page 341
[lxxvii] Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, I, page 73; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan, 8, 169; al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah ( Cairo, Egypt, 1925), 14
[lxxviii] Al-Ya'akubi, I, page 225
[lxxxii] al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah (Cairo, Egypt, 1925), 11
[lxxxiii] Ibn Hisham I, page 118
[lxxx] Al Shahrastani, Al Milal Wal Nahel, page 590