“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not bow down (prostrate) to the sun nor to the moon, but only bow down (prostrate) to “Allah” Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.”
[Holy Quran 41:37]
The Christian acquaintance who sent me a copy of Morey’s booklet also sent me five questions related to this subject. I will attempt to answer them below:
What is the significance of the crescent moon in Islam?
The crescent moon and star often seen on mosques and Islamic archecture is actually a symbol of the last rulers of the Muslims called the Ottoman Empire. The Qur’ân answers this question before you asked it. Read this verse:
“They ask you about the new moons. Say: These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.”
[Holy Quran 2:189]
Why does Islam follow a lunar calendar?
Jewish and early Christians also followed the lunar calendar as do many farmers even today. There are some very practical reasons for this. However, Islam makes it clear there is no worship of the moon, only that we use the moons shape and position to determine the months and occassions. In both the Bible and the Qur’ân religious festivals are regulated by the lunar calendar. Jews and Muslims have kept to these regulations which they believe to be from God. Modern day Christianity follows the solar calendar because it was instituted by the Roman emporer Constantine at the council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.
Why is the feast of Ramadan marked by the appearance of the crescent moon?
I think you mean the fast of Ramadan. God commanded Muslims in the Qur’ân to fast from dawn to sunset during the month called Ramadan (see Qur’ân 2:185, 187). The beginning and end of the month is determined by the crescent (2:189) based on the instruction of God’s Messenger, on whom be peace.
Why this method and not another is not for us to say but for God and His Messenger to prescribe. However, I find it an efficient method. It is a universally applicable method, and it allows for Ramadan to move through all the seasons. This allows believers to have the pleasure of worshipping God by fasting in all the various seasons: one year in the summer, some years later in the winter.
Why does the Quran place the Sabeans on the same level with Jews and Christians when scholars have clearly proven that the Sabeans were involved in the moon cult?
The Quran not has placed the Sabeans on the same level with Jews and Christians. Perhaps you have in mind the following verse:
“Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians and Sabians, whoever believes in “Allah” and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”
[Holy Quran 2:62; also 5:69]
This verse, however, does not place the Sabeans on the same level as the Jews and Christians except in a particular context. The verse speaks of four distinct communities, and offers all four the opportunity to fear not nor grieve if only they would believe in “Allah” and the Last Day and do right. The four communities are:
The Believers (i.e., the Muslims)
While they are all offered the same opportunity for improvement, nothing, is said in this verse about the validity of the existing faiths of these four communities. Otherwise the Jews and Christians who are criticized in the Quran for their deviations will not be placed on the same level with the believers. The matter becomes clear when you realise that believers here does not mean saved persons but those who ostensibly belong to the community of Muslims. They, as well as the other three groups, must do the following to be saved: believe in “Allah” , believe in the Last Day, and do right. Doing right, according to the Quran, includes following every teaching of Muhammad.
Did the Meccans worship the true God since they recognized “Allah” ?
Was “Allah” one of the gods of the Ka’bah?
And if so, where did the Meccans derive the recognition and the name of “Allah” from?
First, “Allah” was not one of the 360 idols which were in the Ka’abah, although Morey has claimed this without evidence. When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) entered Makkah victorious he went into the Ka’bah and broke the idols therein.
Second, the word “Allah” has been used all along for the name of “God” in the Arabic Bible for Jews and Christians alike. The proof is easy to verify; simple go to any hotel or motel on the earth and look in the drawer next to the bed and take out the complimentary Bible, placed there by the Giddeons and then look on page 5 or 6 where they list the examples of translations they have made into other languages. The second example given is for Arabic speakers. The verse is from the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16. Everyone knows this one; “For God so loved the world…” and the word in Arabic for “God” is “Allah.” Then if you have a Bible in Arabic, look on page one in Genesis, and you will find the word “Allah” 17 times.
Check out the website for www.godallah.com/moon_god.php
And also: www.islamtomorrow.com/allah/moon_god.asp