Apart from the claim that “Allah” is the name of the moon god, the Christian missionaries also tend assert this claim by questioning why do Muslims use the crescent moon as a symbol for their religion, or why is the moon being used in Islam to mark a new month in the Islamic calendar. They engage into the logical fallacy of equivocation to justify their allegation; since Muslims use the crescent as the symbol of Islam, therefore it also follows that Muslims worship some kind of “moon deity”. This is no more truer than claiming that since Judaism adopts the Star of David symbol, it follows that the Jews considers it as an object for worship, or that Christians worship the Crucifix since it is used as its symbol.
To begin, let us define the meaning of the Arabic word “Allah”, as used by Muslims to refer to God. Lane’s Lexicon defines the meaning of the word “Allah” as referring to “the only true god”:
However, let us look at a different approach, i.e. the purpose of the moon. This paper will attempt to explain the significance of the moon in Islam, insha’allah.
Islam and the Moon
Islam never teaches nor does it expound moon worship. It in fact repudiates it, as the following verse confirms:
“Among His Signs are the Night and the Day and the Sun and Moon. Prostrate (adore) not to the Sun and the Moon but prostrate to God, Who created them, if it is Him ye wish to serve.” (Qur’an, 41: 37)
So what is the function of the moon in Islam? The only function it plays in Islam is that it determines the Islamic lunar calendar. The Qur’an confirms this when it speaks of the moon being subject to God’s Law. This is confirmed when we read the following verse:
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, “They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj.” And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah. And enter houses from their doors. And fear Allah that you may succeed.” (Qur’an, 2:189)
We are also informed of the following:
“Seest thou not that God merges Night into Day and He merges Day into Night; that he has subjected the sun and the moon (to His Law), each running its course for a term appointed: and that God is well acquainted with all that ye do?” (Qur’an, 31:29)
If Allah” (God) is indeed the “moon god” as claimed by misguided Christians, why would that very same “moon-god” create the moon for the use of mankind? In short, the claim that Muslims worship “Allah the moon-god” is nothing but a heinous lie which is not based on any concrete evidence.
Judaism and the Moon
It is interesting to note that the Jews also adopt the lunar calendar to mark their holy festivals. The Jewish religious calendar, of Babylonian origin, consists of 12 lunar months, amounting to about 354 days. Six times in a 19-year cycle a 13th month is added to adjust the calendar to the solar year. The day is reckoned from sunset to sunset.2
The moon also plays an important role in a symbolic comparison with the Jewish nation. We reproduce below an article written by Rabbi Avrohom Berger that states as such.
The article above would clearly refute the nonsense that Islam based its calendar on the moon because it was a religion of the moon god, for if Islam was really the religion of the moon god, what is the religion of the Jews who used (and still use) the lunar calendar and constantly analogises itself to the moon? In fact, a Jewish site confirmed the above by stating:
The Jewish Nation has been likened to the moon. Our history, cyclical in nature, waxes and wanes like the moon through its cycle hidden at times, but always reemerging to full blossom.3
Condemning the Jewish religion as “moon worship” based on the “logic” (or rather, the lack of it!) of the Christian missionaries would, however, lead to serious implications that could undermine their own faith, as Jesus(P) was a learned Rabbi and faithful Jew himself. However, they have no qualms condemning Islam for using the lunar calendar. Such double standards are not alien to Christian thought, after all the end justifies the means, just as (St.) Paul did the same.
Christianity and The Solar Calendar
We have seen that both Judaism and Islam, as in the tradition of Semitic culture, use the lunar calendar to mark their months. The question now is why Christianity adopted the solar calendar, instead of the lunar? As surprising as it is to the missionary, the adoption of the sun as the official calendar of ‘Christianity’ occurs as late as 325 C.E. and was due to the prevailing pagan influences of sun worship. The cult of the sun-god was the most popular creed at the advent of Jesus, and was prevalent in all the countries into which the religion called “Christianity” is later introduced in. Pagan gods such as Appolo or Dionysus among the Greeks, Hercules among the Romans, Mithra among the Persians, and Osiris, Isis and Horus in Egypt et. al., are all sun-gods4. In the face of the evidence, one cannot help but conclude that the adoption of the solar calender is certainly due to the strong Hellenistic influences of the sun-god cult during its adoption.
It is clear that the creation of a calendar is for the purpose of keeping time in perspective. Time is measured in relative terms, from sunrise to sunset; from the time the sun casts the shortest shadow to the same time the next day; from one harvest time to another. In ancient times, the phases of the moon were an easy means of measuring the passage of time. The first calendars were lunar calendars. Ancient civilizations such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and the Chinese used the lunar calendar. The Semitic culture also adopts this calendar, with the exception of Christianity, which uses the solar calendar due to pagan Hellenistic influences by Greco-Roman culture. There is therefore no logical reason to associate the lunar calendar of Islam with moon worship.
And certainly, only God knows best!