crescent moon in islam

Mis­con­cep­tion Addressed : 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 sym­bol as a sym­bol for their reli­gion, or why is the moon being used in Islam to mark a new month. They engage into the log­i­cal fal­la­cy of equiv­o­ca­tion ; since Mus­lims use the cres­cent as the sym­bol of Islam, there­fore it 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.

Lane’s Lex­i­con defines the mean­ing of the word Allah” as refer­ring to the only true god“1 :

What is the Significance of the Crescent Moon in Islam? 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.

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.

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.

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 !Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, Mis­con­cep­tion Addressed : What is the Sig­nif­i­cance of the Cres­cent Moon in Islam ?,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Octo­ber 12, 2005, last accessed May 27, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​p​o​l​e​m​i​c​a​l​-​r​e​b​u​t​t​a​l​s​/​c​r​e​s​c​e​n​t​-​m​o​o​n​-​i​n​-​i​s​l​am/
  1. Edward William Lane, An Ara­bic-Eng­lish Lex­i­con (Lon­don : Willams & Nor­gate, 1863), under the entry Allah” (Ar.)[]
  2. http://​www​.webear​.com/​r​e​l​i​e​n​g​l​.​h​t​m​#​*​t​op4[]
  3. http://​www​.judaism​.com/​c​a​l​e​n​d​a​r​2000​/​b​a​c​k​g​r​o​u​d​.​htm[]
  4. See Ahmad Zidan, Chris­tian­i­ty : Myth or Mes­sage ?, A.S. Noordeen (Malaysia), 1995[]

6 Comments

  1. The claim here that Chris­tians cel­e­brate the birth of Christ on Decem­ber 25th because of the pagan Sol Invic­tus fes­ti­val is incor­rect. Sol Invic­tus was unin­flu­en­cial cult until 274 AD when Roman emper­or Aure­lian made it an offi­cial cult. Pri­or to this year there is no asso­ci­a­tion with Sol Invic­tus with the date Decem­ber 25th. Over 50 years ear­li­er we already had Chris­t­ian writ­ers explain­ing how the birth of Christ was cal­cu­lat­ed to be Decem­ber 25th. A sim­i­lar cal­cu­la­tion in the East Ortho­dox church­es based on the lunar calan­der cal­cu­lat­ed the date as Jan­u­ary 6th. Please cor­rect this misinformation.

  2. I was look­ing into the com­ments of the blas­phe­mous chris­t­ian these chris­t­ian dare to attack the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the prophet muhammed i call upon such idiots to look at fol­low­ing side islamqa​.com response to the chris­t­ian who called muhammed sin­ner and bible prophe­cies about muhammed by abdul haque vid­yarthi jesus him­self acknowl­edge his per­fec­tion by say­ing eloi eloi lama sabach­tani oh lord why have you for­sak­en as far as saved by grace it has already been reject­ed lord has already for­giv­en adam and eve and raise them to sta­tus and jesus him­self said suf­fer the chil­dren in tem­ple which clear­ly rejects the false doc­trine i believe chris­t­ian must read quran and hadith under known schol­ar and know the fal­la­cy of the people

  3. 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.

  4. 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 13 ? 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.

    1. 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 !

  5. 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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