What Is The Significance Of The Crescent Moon In Islam?

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”:

1

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.

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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 Symbolic Comparision of the Jews and the Moon

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.

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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.

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Conclusions

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!

Cite this article as: Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, "What Is The Significance Of The Crescent Moon In Islam?," in Bismika Allahuma, October 12, 2005, last accessed September 3, 2018, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/polemical-rebuttals/crescent-moon-in-islam/

Footnotes

  1. Edward William Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon (London: Willams & Norgate, 1863), under the entry “Allah” (Ar.) []
  2. http://www.webear.com/reliengl.htm#*top4 []
  3. http://www.judaism.com/calendar2000/backgroud.htm []
  4. See Ahmad Zidan, Christianity: Myth or Message?, A.S. Noordeen (Malaysia), 1995 []

4 Comments

  1. I had never heard the claim that Muslims worship a moon god, but I guess people come up with all kinds of nutty things. I’m a Christian but I’ve read the Q’uran and know it does not endorse worship of any object.

    The adoption of a solar calendar by the Christians was not a matter of sun-worship either. Julius Caesar established an updated solar calendar that became the standard for the Roman world before the birth of Christ. Christianity grew up mainly in this world, and adopted the same calendar largely without premeditation…it was just the normal calendar for most of them. There was some early dispute between those in the western half of the empire and those in the eastern half over setting the date of Easter…the eastern churches insisted on following the Jewish Passover date, which meant Easter happened at a different time of year every year, while the western churches insisted on setting a specific date in the Roman calendar and sticking with it. Probably a more rational, if less biblical, decision.

    After Constantine, with the church tied more closely to the empire, dating followed the imperial calendar, which was Julian. Festivals were placed to correspond with pagan festivals in some cases (Christmas, Easter) in order to support evangelism.

  2. The concept of Trinity has been dealt with here. You don’t know much about Islam, do you? Muslims don’t fast for “48 hours” without stopping and the injunction for fasting in Ramadhan came long after the Prophet Muhammad arrived in Madinah. The Caliphate was established only after Muhammad’s passing. A lot of anachronisms in your “comments”: I suggest that you take your own advice and learn about the basics of Islam first before commenting again!

  3. 1 Corinthians 11:26
    Revelation 12

    Why would God pick a worthless man to be His new leader (Muhammad), then declare war on the world to erect a caliphate, yet you can’t believe the God would choose to walk in this world in the flesh. Yeah yeah, 1+1+1=3, but what does 1*1*1=? What is 1^3? You set limits on your god, believing some “hustler” who took the best of Judaism and Christianity, and denounced a only a few things to make his religion better. Don’t believe me? What about when Muhammad arrived at whatever holy city it was, asked the Hebrews “what are you doing?” When they said they were fasting for 24 hours, instead of saying “we will fast with you and worship the one true God,” he instead said “we’ll do it better. We will fast for 48 hours.” Islam is a bunch of one uppers that think they can get to “paradise” if they follow the whole Quran to a T, but only God judges ALL THINGS. You may be a perfect Muslim, and yet you may be kept out of Heaven because you failed to understand that everything is the will of God, including your salvation.

    God Bless you and your family, and read a bible some day. I pray you understand your place in this universe. It is whatever God wants from you.

  4. Jesus is the Sun of God?
    The history of the sun, is the history of Jesus Christ. The sun is born on the 25th of December, the birthday of Jesus Christ
    . The first and greatest of the labors of Jesus Christ is his victory over the serpent, the evil principle, or the devil. In his first labor Hercules strangled the serpent, as did Krishna, Bacchus, etc. his is the sun triumphing over the powers of hell & darkness; &, as he increases, he prevails, till he is crucified in the heavens, or is decussated in the form of a cross (according to Justin Martyr) when he passes the equator at the vernal equinox. (ibid, p. 200)
    In reading the New Testament we must cease to think of the man Jesus, & even of the “Son of God”, & think of him
    rather of the sun of god, for this is a solar myth, & its dying hero, a dying sun. (Lloyd Graham, Deceptions and Myths
    of the Bible, p. 361)
    “The divine teacher is called, is tested by the “adversary”, gathers disciples, heals the sick, preaches the Good News
    about God’s kingdom, finally runs afoul of his bitter enemies, suffers, dies, & is resurrected after 3 days. This is the
    total pattern of the sun god in all the ancient dramas”. (The Pagan Christ, p. 145)

    When the Council of Nicea took place, the Emperor Constantine
    – Declared the Roman Sun-day to be the Christian Sabbath
    – Adopted the traditional birthday of the Sun-god, & the twenty-fifth of December, as the birthday of Jesus;
    – Borrowed the emblem of the Sun-god, the cross of light, to be the emblem of Christianity;
    – And, although the statue of Jesus replaced the idol of the Sun-god, decided to incorporate all the ceremonies which were performed at the Sub-gods birthday celebrations into their own ceremonies.
    How can they accuse others of moon worship ?

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