Evangelicals Claim that Muslims Worship the “Moon God”. Is this True? NO!
The claim is a false claim as Muslims worship Allah, Allah simply means ‘the god’ in Arabic (1).
The reason why I am writing this article is because I, although being familiar with this piece of Christian evangelical propaganda, came in direct contact with this claim quite recently.
I was in my local Waterstones (A well-known chain of bookshops in the UK); I had already purchased a book by Bart Ehrman from one of its competitors but went into Waterstones and purchased Karen Armstrong’s Islam a Short History. Before purchasing this book I browsed through it and found a little comic strip booklets entitled Allah Had No Son (published by Chick Publications). My initial reaction was that this booklet was a free complementary booklet to introduce the reader to the idea of the Islamic belief; God is One and has no partner or co-equal, i.e. Islamic (pure) monotheism. I looked into this booklet and realised it was Christian evangelical propaganda in the form of a comic strip claiming that Muslims are worshipping a ‘moon god’. Simultaneously, it became quite apparent that a Christian missionary had been into the store and left this material in the book so to cloud any research of Islam an honest individual may be undertaking. Looking at it personally, the comic-booklet did seem to be bordering along the lines of racial-stereotyping.
Condemning the methodology of sabotage that the evangelist employed is not the purpose of this article; the purpose is solely in the view of debunking the Christian evangelical claim.
This claim is more prevalent in north America and seems to have originated from that region as well as that region containing many of the propagators and believers in such a claim. The ‘moon god’ claim is in fact quite old and has been debunked and refuted many times over by Muslims so it is a little surprising that the Christian evangelical community still use it in their attempts to ensnare Muslims. Of course, their continued usage of this claim, suggests either dishonesty or ignorance of the solid refutations Muslims have put forward.
Dr Robert Morey is infamous for this claim amongst Muslims, in fact the comic strip booklet (Allah had no Son by Chick Publications) uses Morey as a reference! Jack G. Shaheen, outlines an instance of an eager evangelist spreading the claim; in 1996 Janet Parshals, a Christian evangelical host of a radio program, told listeners that Muslims worship the “moon god”(2)(3). Ibrahim Hooper (CAIR), in 1996, informed Shaheen that the “moon god” myth is commonly believed amongst evangelical Christian communities ‘who perpetuate such fantasies in their comic books’ (3).
Having said all this we still need to show this claim to be incorrect to avoid any confusion and doubt. The best place to start is the Quran. The Quran is believed to be the verbatim Word of God (Allah) by Muslims. What has the Quran outlined about ‘moon worship’ or believing in a ‘moon god’? The Quran teaches us not to worship the moon or the sun but to worship Allah (the One who created them)
41:37- Among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the Sun and the Moon. Adore not the sun and the moon, but adore Allah, Who created them, if it is Him ye wish to serve. (4)
So Muslims do not deify the moon nor the sun but worship Allah. As touched upon earlier, Allah is the personal name for God. W.Montgomery Watt tells us that Arab Christians, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant use Allah as the word for God. Infect he goes on further and teaches us the word Allah is similar to the New Testament ho theos and both simply mean ‘the god’ (1). The meaning of Allah as ‘God’ is also confirmed by Karen Armstrong (5). Interestingly enough, these two famous Western scholars of Islam do not suggest Allah is a moon god but these claims come from the evangelical Christian camp that has an agenda of evangelism that compromises their objectivity.
So, again the message to the Christian missionary is thus:
If you make a claim in a scholarly field then you must bring evidence to back your claim up and not conjecture and your own faulty interpretations that differ to all the authoritative interpretations and sources.The first rule of making a claim is:‘Bring your evidence if you are truthful’
The missionary is making the claim, therefore the burden of proof is on him, just to remind him; your own interpretation, speculation and conjecture does not constitute as evidence and nor can it be substituted for evidence.
Please note this is a shortened rebuttal to the ‘moon god’ claim, It is my intention (Insha’Allah, god-willing) to add to this, however I do believe it is suffice for the average attention span on the internet. It is my desire to go into a bit more depth but the fact of the matter is that this claim has been dealt with by so many Muslims that it is difficult to add further insight. The most comprehensive work refuting the ‘moon god’ claim is a real scholarly effort by M.S.M. Saifullah et al (http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Sources/Allah/moongod.html). I have added the link to the reference section for those who wish to undertake further research. Limited time and scholarly capacity on my side preclude me from producing anything as expansive or well-researched as their work so it is best to direct the more interested reader to their work. In fact, going back to Robert Morey, I will quote a paragraph from their (MSM Saifullah et al) conclusion section in order to show the lack of evidence the Christian apologist provides for his claim:
Morey claimed that "Allah" of the Qur'an was in fact a pagan Arab "Moon-god" of pre-Islamic times. To support his viewpoint, he presented elaborate evidences from an archaeological site in Hazor, Palestine, and the Arabian "Moon temple" at Hureidha in Hadhramaut, Yemen. An examination of these two evidences confirms that none of them support the view that Allah was the "Moon-god" of pre-Islamic times. The evidence from Hazor suggests that the interpretation of the statue of a man with an inverted crescent suspended from his necklace and holding a cup-like object in his right hand, which Morey labelled as "Moon-god", is disputed among the scholars. This statue could be of a deity, king or priest. None of the scholars, however, say that the statue represents a "Moon-god", let alone the statue representing Allah! (6)
Further reading of the article leads us to a Christian (Rick Brown) denouncing the ‘moon god’ claim as a false claim.:
and Allah was certainly not the moon god's name (7)
1. What Is Islam by W.Montgomery Watt, Longman Group, Second Edition, 1979, pg 47
2. Janet Parshals, WABC Radio, Washington, D.C. May 15, 1996.
3. Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture, By Jack G. Shaheen, Center or Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs, 1997 pg9
4. Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation of the Quran into English.
5. Islam A Short History by Karen Armstrong, Phoenix Press, 2001, pg 3
7. R. Brown, "Who Is "Allah"?", International Journal Of Frontier Missions, 2006, Volume 23, No. 2, p. 79. http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Sources/Allah/moongod.html