Archaeological photo gallery of the Arabian Moon-God

Archaeological photo gallery of the Arabian Moon-God

Archaeological photo gallery of the Arabian Moon-God

The names of the moon god in Arabia were Wadd, `Amm, Sin, Il Mukah, Hubal and Allah.

Islam: Truth or Myth? start page

The crescent moon symbol of Islam is a remnant of ancient pagan moon worship.

Muhammad grew up worshipping many pagan gods in the Kabah including the moon, either called Hubal and Allah. After his conversion to monotheism, through the influence of Christians, Muhammad stopped worshiping the moon. The same is true for all Muslims since, down to the present day. However, the crescent moon is the universal symbol of Islam. Muslims will argue that there is no archeological evidence for the crescent moon symbol being used in Islam for the first few centuries after Muhammad. Yet Muslims also claim that Koran in its completed form existed in the time of Muhammad, yet there is no archeological evidence for this claim either. What we can be sure of, is the moon worship was more prevalent in Arabia than any other part of the world and that the symbol of the crescent moon has been used by the Arab religions as far back as the time of Abraham. It is a falsification of history to think there is no connection with the history of the crescent moon symbol of pagan moon god worship and Islam. The fact remains that most Arab/Muslim countries today still use the crescent moon symbol on their flags and atop of their mosques. The connection is so powerful that only the blind would reject any connection.

Sîn: Moon god in 2100 BC

"Sin.—The moon-god occupied the chief place in the astral triad. Its other two members, Shamash the sun and Ishtar the planet Venus, were his children. Thus it was, in effect, from the night that light had emerged....In his physical aspect Sin—who was venerated at Ur under the name of Nannar—was an old man with along beard the color of lapis-lazuli. He normally wore a turban. Every evening he got into his barque—which to mortals appeared in the form of a brilliant crescent moon—and navigated the vast spaces of the nocturnal sky. Some people, however, believed that the luminous crescent was Sin’s weapon. But one day the crescent gave way to a disk which stood out in the sky like a gleaming crown. There could be no doubt that this was the god’s own crown; and then Sin was called "Lord of the Diadem". These successive and regular transformations lent Sin a certain mystery. For this reason he was considered to be ‘He whose deep heart no god can penetrate’... Sin was also full of wisdom. At the end of every month the gods came to consult them and he made decisions for them...His wife was Ningal, ‘the great Lady’. He was the father not only of Shamash and Ishtar but also of a son Nusku, the god fire." (Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1960, p 54-56)

The worship of the Moon god " Sîn" was widespread and common during the time of Abraham. Contrary to Muslim claims, Abraham was asked to leave Ur of the Chaldees where the moon god Sîn was worshipped and migrate to Canaan and worship Jehovah. The Ur of Chaldees is in the region of Babylon.

The Mesopotamian Ziggurat: Temple of the moon God 2100 BC.

"Sîn, moon god of Semitic origin, worshiped in ancient Middle Eastern religions. One of the principal deities in the Babylonian and Assyrian pantheons, he was lord of the calendar and of wisdom. The chief centers of his worship were at Harran and at Ur, where he was known as Nanna." (encyclopedia.com, Sîn)

The tower of Babal in Gen 10 may in fact have been a Ziggurat.

The ziggurat of Ur. , and the of the moon god Sîn who is seen being carried in procession to the temple called the "Hill of Heaven".

Above is actual drawing at the British Museum in London.

Nanna was worshipped in the ziggurat of Ur. There was also a smaller temple for Ningal the moon goddess. Nanna was worshipped both by a High Priestes and priests. Great Kings throughout history from Sargon 2600 BC to Nabonidus 550 BC had their daughters officiate as high-priestess of Nanna at Ur. The tradition begins with the first dynasties of Ur around 3400 BC and continued through to the fall of Ur around the time of Nabonidus, a period of some 3000 years. As we shall see this tradition continued for another 1700 years at Harran and still underlies the Islam of today.

"The Sumerians, in the first literate civilization, left thousands of clay tablets describing their religious beliefs. As demonstrated by Sjöberg and Hall, the ancient Sumerians worshipped a moon-god who was called by many different names. The most popular names were Nanna, Suen, and Asimbabbar" (Mark Hall, A Study of the Sumerian Moon-god, Sin, PhD., 1985, University of Pennsylvania).

Harran, City of the Moon God
At the Northernmost end of the Sumerian empire the city of Harran likewise had the Moon Deity as patron God, under the name of Sin. From about 2000 BC to 1200 AD Harran continued an evolving tradition of Moon God worship. Harran is the place of Abraham's family and ancestors and the centre of many of the early events of genesis, including the naming of Israel. As described by Ezekiel 27:23, Harran along with Sheba and other cities were traders 'in blue clothes and broidered work, in chests of rich apparel , bound with cords and made of cedar.'

The status of Sin was so great that from 1900 BC to 900 BC his name is witness to the forging of international treaties as the guarantor of the word of kings. The temple was resotred by Shalmanester of Assyria in the 9th century BC, and again by Asshurbanipal. About550 BC, Nabonidus the last king of Babylon, who originated from Harran, rebuilt the temple of the Moon God, directed by a dream. His mother was high priestess at Harran and his daughter at Ur. Ironically his devotion to the Moon God caused a rfit between him and his people and contributed to his defeat by the Persians. The worship of the Moon God at Harran evolved with the centuries. It included E-hul-hul, the Temple of Rejoicing, and a set of temples of distinctive shape and colour dedicated to each of the seven planets as emissaries of the cosmic deity. Many of the descriptions of Harran through Christian and Moslem eyes include exaggerated tales of sacrifice which are probably not factual. It was said by one writer that they sacrificed a different character or type of human to each planet. A garlanded black bull was however sacrificed in public ceremony, as the bull was at Ur, and Moslem sources refer to seasonal weeping for Ta'uz at Harran, and up to the 10th century among bedouin in the desert.

Star and Crescent of Harran coin

Sign of sin

Stele of Nabonidus

"His symbol was the crescent moon. Given the amount of artifacts concerning the worship of this moon-god, it is clear that this was the dominant religion in Sumeria. The cult of the moon-god was the most popular religion throughout ancient Mesopotamia. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Arkkadians took the word Suen and transformed it into the word Sîn as their favourite name for this deity." (Austin Potts, The Hymns and Prayers to the Moon-god, Sin, PhD., 1971, Dropsie College, p.2).

"Sîn is a name essentially Sumerian in origin which had been borrowed by the Semites" (Austin Potts, The Hymns and Prayers to the Moon-god, Sin, PhD., 1971, Dropsie College, p 4)

Anatolian mural from Karum - notice the boxed pre-Islamic Crescent-and-Star glyph

Assyrians had established 20 independent trade colonies throughout Anatolia known as KARUM. It can be said that the Assyrians had developed the most sophisticated trading system of their time

Anatolian mural from Karum

Another pre-Islamic crescent moon and star from the same location

close up of Anatolian mural from Karum

In the Ugaritic texts, the moon-god was sometimes called Kusuh.

Ancient Persian Moon-goddess

Ancient Egyptian Moon-goddess

Ur of the Chaldees was so devoted to the moon-god that it was sometimes called Nannar in tablets from that time period. A temple of the moon-god was excavated in Ur by Sir Leonard Woolley. He dug up many examples of moon-worship that are now displayed in the British Museum.

Nannar with the 'three muses' and Eternally Fruiting Orb - Ur-Nammu (Maspero 655)

Harran was likewise noted for its devotion to the moon-god. is shown to the right. Note the presence of the crescent moon on the Babylonian moon-god.

Moon God Aksum 0-600 AD

Moon God Aksum 0-600 AD

Yerah - The Moon God of Canaan

In the 1950's a major temple to the moon-god was excavated at Hazor in Palestine. Two idols of the moon-god were found. Each was a statue of a man sitting upon a throne with a crescent moon carved into his chest (below left). The accompanying inscriptions make it clear that these were idols of the moon-god (below right). The worship tablet found at the same sight shows arms outstretched towards the Moon-god here represented by the full moon within the crescent moon. Several smaller statues were also found which were identified by their inscriptions as the daughters of the moon-god.

Thousands of inscriptions from walls and rocks in northern Arabia have also been collected. Reliefs and votive bowls used in worship of the "daughters of Allah" have also been discovered. The three daughters, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat are sometimes depicted together with Allah the moon-god represented by a crescent moon above them (North Arabian archaeological finds concerning Al-Lat are discussed in:

  • Isaac Rabinowitz, Aramaic Inscriptions of the Fifth Century, JNES, XV, 1956, pp.1-9;
  • Another Aramaic Record of the North Arabian goddess Han'Llat, JNES, XVIII, 1959, pp.154-55
  • Edward Linski, The Goddess Atirat in Ancient Arabia, in Babylon and in Ugarit: Her Relation to the Moon-god and the Sun-goddess, Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica, 3:101-9
  • H.J.Drivers, Iconography and Character of the Arab Goddess Allat, found in Études Preliminaries Aux Religions Orientales Dans L'Empire Roman, ed. Maarten J. Verseren, Leiden, Brill, 1978, pp.331-51)

Nabonidus the last King of Babylon, (555-539 BC), built Tayma, Arabia, as a centre of moon-god worship.

"South Arabia's stellar religion has always been dominated by the Moon-god in various variations" (Berta Segall, The Iconography of Cosmic Kingship, the Art Bulletin, vol.xxxviii, 1956, p.77).

In 1944, G. Caton Thompson revealed in her book, The Tombs and Moon Temple of Hureidah, that she had uncovered a temple of the moon-god in southern Arabia. The symbols of the crescent moon and no less than 21 inscriptions with the name Sîn were found in this temple.

In 1944, G. Caton Thompson also found an idol which is probably the moon-god himself was also discovered. This was later confirmed by other well-known archaeologists

Richard Le Baron Bower Jr. and Frank P. Albright, Archaeological Discoveries in South Arabia, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1958, p.78ff

Ray Cleveland, An Ancient South Arabian Necropolis, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1965; Nelson Gleuck, Deities and Dolphins, New York, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1965).

This MAY be the moon god but it is not certain check the references.

Written by Brother Andrew

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