Monday, August 27, 2012

Origin of ALLAH

Isaiah 14: 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!




In Romany oral tradition we can find mainly elements of the Hebrew mythology with a marked accent on the kabbalistic aspect and some features connected with fire-worship of ancient Persia. There is not any slight hint related with Indian mythology, nor sacred animals, nor fantastic characters that may be traced to any of the traditions of India — Even though many authors try to find in a forced manner elements that in any way might support the hypothesis of the alleged Indian origin of Roma (just because of Romany language, not culture or ethnicity), they do not achieve in getting anything more than weak coincidences, which are present in any other European or Middle-Eastern culture, customs that have been adopted by Roma in Europe and that actually do not belong to their ancestral tradition. The very few elements that may apparently be connected with Indian traditions are in fact originated in the Hurrian culture, in Mesopotamia, that is the common source of the Assyrian-Babylonian, Persian and Indian mythologies as well as the origin of the traditions of the Danubian peoples, with whom most of Roma have coexisted during centuries. Therefore, the so-called "Indian" features of Roma are indeed elements that are found, even in a larger amount, among Hungarians, Russians and Slavic peoples, features that they have inherited from Khwarezm, and farther in the past, from Sumer and Subartu.
Concerning the religious aspect, the Roma traditionally profess a monotheism in which the Personality of the Supreme Being is well defined, a monotheism that is tainted with the Roman-Byzantine idolatry, typical of Christianity and the religions with which Roma have been in touch during the last centuries. There is not any trace of pantheism or belief in transmigration of souls, nor anything that may connect Roma with the peoples of India. On the contrary, the only characters that represent animals or imaginary beings are to be found only in the Hebrew/biblical symbolism. It is not feasible that such elements would have been acquired during the long sojourn among Christian cultures, because the approach of Romany tradition is rather in the style of Hebrew interpretation or even of Midrashic commentaries, although with a less emphasized mysticism. Indeed, it is not even correct to speak about "festivals" which may be typical, exclusive of Roma, but only of peculiar interpretations that they have done of the popular celebrations of the countries where they are dwelling. It is possible to speak only of a Romany "style" of expression of the European culture.
In this site we will consider some legends that Roma have kept and transmitted for generations, in order to analyse their historic and symbolic content.


A Story of Roma of the Balkan Area

Excerpts from: "Traditions, coutumes, légendes des Tsiganes Chalderash"; textes recueillis par le R. P. Chatard présentés par Michel Bernard; La Colombe, Paris, 1959.
«In the beginning, there were O Del and the Beng, who challenged each other. One of those days, while they were walking about by the shore of the great river, the Beng said: "I am able to go down to the depth of the river"…
O Del with His stick commanded the pear-tree and the apple-tree to bear fruit, then He commanded both of them to eat the fruit, respectively Damo to eat the pears, and Yahvah the apples. So they felt desire for one another and after O Del's command they made love. Yet the woman, insatiable, asked the man to repeat many times the act. Therefore, O Del said: "You, woman, will never be satisfied; your desire will always be for your husband". And He left them to their destiny.
O Del created from the earth the Sherkano or serpent and his female partner Halla, and the pairs of all the other animals.
In this primeval world O Del Sinpetri had some companions: Sunto Yakof, Sunto Avraham, Sunto Moisheland Sunto Krechuno. These were the suntse, the ancestors. With them there was also Pharavono, who later separated from them causing the division of mankind - until then being one race and speaking one language - into two groups: the Horaxané led by Sinpetri and the Pharavonuria led by Pharavono. This group kept self-isolated in the beginning, but then, multiplying themselves and being full of intelligence and boldness, decided to conquer the whole earth. Therefore, Pharavono moved war against Sinpetri; but he did not know that Sinpetri was O Del Himself. Heading his army, Pharavono crossed the river, invoking O Del's power; but when crossing the sea, plenty of pride, invoked his own power and was overwhelmed by the water. His last attempt to worship a stone idol was punished by a thunderboltThe whole inhabited land was flooded. O Del Sinpetri remade the earth and enlarged it, and gave it to His Horaxané and carried the suntse to the Rhayo, the other world above the stars. The Pharavonuria, drowned, fell down in the Yado, the underground abyss where all the dead of evil death go. The few Pharavonuria that survived - that is, the Gypsies - are sentenced to never have their own national territory, nor political organization, nor church, nor alphabet, because all their culture was flooded by the sea
This myth of the origins belongs to the tradition of Balkan Roma, and even though drenched with Christian interpolations, the purely Hebrew elements appear evident as well as the Zoroastric conception of dualism. Now we will analyse mainly the phrases and words written in bold in the text above.
The personality of "O Del", that is God, is that of the God of Israel, Who is often represented in an anthropomorphic manner. The God that was "walking about " is a clear image of Genesis 3:8, where it is said that He did so in the garden, which was indeed by the shores of a great river (Genesis 2:10); consequently, the image is approximately the same in the legend and in the Bible. In this case He speaks with His antagonist, while in the biblical account He speaks with man.
The Beng, name that originally meant a frog, is the evil force, quite like AnghraMainyu of Mazdeism, but with typically Hebrew characteristics: the fact that "he goes down to the depth of the great river" identifies him with Leviathan (Isaiah 27:1), a biblical figure of Satan. The serpent "Sherkano" is the Beng himself, and has a female counterpart that coincides with Lilith* of Hebrew tradition (Isaiah 34:14), who was also in Eden. Not only this, but also her name "Halla" recalls that of "Helel" (Isaiah 14:12 - Hebrew), that is indeed the female name of "Satan". Moreover, since the original meaning of the name "Beng" is frog, this is also a Hebrew image of the apostolic period - when the first Christians were all Jews - representing the impure spirits that come out of the serpent's mouth (Revelation 16:13) like frogs.
God created all the animals from the earth (Genesis 1:24), among which the serpent is distinguished (Genesis 3:1), as in Hebrew tradition.
The woman's name, "Yahvah" is very enigmatic, because it is written in the same way as the Name of God, "YHVH". Eve's Hebrew name is "Havah". The Spanish Gypsies call Eve "Hayah", that is a Hebrew name derived from the verb "to live" - Genesis 3:20 "the man called his wife 'Havah' ('Hayah', 'Yahvah'), because she was the mother of all living". Also the expression that the woman's desire will always be for her husband is biblical (Genesis 3:16) and is the consequence of having eaten the fruit.
The names of the "suntse" (saints) are evidently those of the main Hebrew Patriarchs, Yakov, Avraham and Mosheh - it is interesting the fact that to Mosheh's name it has been added the Hebrew ending "-El". Only "Krechuno" and "Sinpetri" (Saint Peter) are interpolations of the Orthodox Christianity.
As well as in Jewish tradition, Pharaoh's pride ("Pharavono") is compared with Satan's - invoking his own name instead of God's. In fact, in Judaism there are two main prototypes of pride: Satan and Pharaoh. In this story two events are mixed: the Egyptian troops overwhelmed by the Red Sea water while pursuing the Israelites and the universal Deluge; this results from an oral transmission of both events of the Hebrew tradition which along the time got confused. The division of mankind into two groups recalls the antediluvian split between the "sons of Elohim" and the "sons of the Adam" (Genesis 6:2). The survivors of the Deluge here identified with the "Pharavonuria" may coincide with the descent of Kayin (Cain), who were wanderers, smiths and musicians, like Roma are by tradition - and often it was alleged that the Roma were Cain's offspring. Also the "multiplication" of mankind and their intellectual development recalls Cain's generation in Genesis 6:1-5. Pharaoh however has not any problem in crossing the "great river", that is the Nile, of which the Bible says that Pharaoh considers himself to be the master (Ezekiel 29:3), passage in which he is compared with Leviathan - therefore, the identity Pharaoh = serpent = Satan. There are also mixed the persons of Pharaoh and Nimrod - as he is also a prototype of pride -, who has been a rebel when the whole mankind still "spoke one language" (Genesis 11:1) and tried to "conquer the whole land" and gather all men under his rule. The idea that man was a wanderer in origin coincides with the period of the Hebrew Patriarchs, all of whom were stateless (Avraham, Yitzhak, Yakov). Also Pharaoh's identity as a "worshipper of stone idols" is Jewish, as well as being "struck by lightning" as punishment for idolatry. Nevertheless, in this story the Roma identify themselves just with the survivors of Pharaoh's army, sentenced to never have their own country, a written language and their own religion - this is exactly the curse of the Tribes belonging to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, sent to exile to lose their independence and identity as a punishment for having worshipped the golden calf, namely, because of their return to the Egyptians' religion… "You shall not be a nation" (Isaiah 7:8).
God's Throne "above the stars" is a biblical image (Isaiah 14:13), while the underground abyss is the dwelling place of the rebel spirits according to the Book of Henok. The Balkan environment has contributed to identify the "Gadgé" (non-Roma) with the "Horaxané", (muslims), and with their "god" Saint Peter (Roman/Byzantine Christianity), to whom "Sinpetri" has given a homeland, an alphabet and a political system, in contrast with Roma, that because of their disobedience are sentenced to perpetual exile, just like the Israelites of the Kingdom of Samaria.



Enter The Moon god
We now turn to another line of development that led to the Allah of Islam - ancient Near Eastern lunar idolatry. As is often the case when intercourse between proximate cultures occurs, conceptions of deity and even the deities themselves can be exchanged, syncretized, and amalgamated. The case of the ancient Near Eastern moon gods, their spread throughout the Fertile Crescent, and their ultimate development in Arabia is no different.
Again, we must turn to Mesopotamia for a starting point. In Sumeria and Akkad, the god of the moon was Nanna, known also by the name Sin (a Semitic name probably derived from the Sumerian "Su-En", also an epithet for Nanna). Nanna was traditionally considered to be the son of Enlil. Nanna/Sin was one of the most important deities in ancient Mesopotamia, and was one of the gods that were widely and generally worshipped throughout the region.
“Yet others, though more especially worshipped in certain towns, were by virtue of their nature the objects of a general cults. Such were, for instance, the moon-god Nanna (called Sin by the Semites), the patron-god of Ur, and his son the sun-god Utu (Semitic Shamash), the patron-god of Sippar and Larsa.” 51
Ur, an ancient and prestigious Sumerian city, was especially devoted to the worship of the moon god. British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley excavated the great moon temple of Ur, which yielded depictions of the moon god with the crescent moon symbol. On the Stela of Ur-Nammu (late 3rd millennium BC), the moon god Nanna/Sin was placed at the head of the register of gods mentioned, indicating his place of importance. In the Enuma Elish, an important source for our knowledge of Sumerian cosmology, the moon was created before the sun, and in the Sumerian astral triad, the evening star and the sun are both the offspring of Nanna52.
However, as commonly occurs with gods which were widely revered, the conception of Nanna/Su-En developed far beyond the primitive view of him as just a moon god. In Mesopotamian mythology, he took on a plethora of divine properties, as shown by the titles which he accrued. Lambert has noted that Nanna/Sin bore titles such as "the fruitful life" (referring to his furthering of the well-being of cattle), "the lord of the fates", "the splendor of heaven", and "the universal lord"53. Among many groups, Sin the moon god was often exalted to the position of highest god, and a number of properties were ascribed to him that were not connected with his position as lord of the moon. He was the unfathomably wise god, the guardian and leader of mankind, the judge of heaven and earth, the lord of destinies, and the originator of life54. His power of illumination was shown in the epithets he received, such as "the lamp of heaven" and "the luminary of heaven and earth", but his power of illumination went beyond the mere physical - to the later Mesopotamians, he was viewed as the oracle of the gods, the provider of enlightenment and of the knowledge of the will of the gods55. In many respects, the conception of Sin as the high god overtook the earlier dominance of Enlil. This makes sense, as his center of worship was at Ur, and Ur was the single most important city in the Sumero-Akkadian civilization for millennia, often dominating the region militarily, and nearly always revered for its religious and cultural preponderance among the city-states. It is not surprising that Ur's patron god would eventually take the place of Enlil as the most revered god, and would thus adopt the conceptions of deity and the status as ilu formerly enjoyed by his father Enlil. This transition seems to have taken place well within the development of Sumero-Akkadian civilization, and as such, the Il/Ilah discussed above is not surprisingly often equated with Sin and other moon gods in Arabia and the Semitic Near East, as will presently be shown.
One other interesting aspect of the moon god's sphere of influence is the development of fertility symbolism associated with his iconography in Mesopotamia. The crescent associated with the moon was connected with the horns of the bull - a widespread symbol of male fertility, and from that, male political power. Green says,
"The masculine gender of the moon in Mesopotamian cultures allows the establishment of a connection between the deity's dual functions in both the worlds of nature and human experience, for the moon god serves as a divine bridge between male fertility and male political power. The most frequent iconographic representation of the moon is the lunar crescent, which is linked to the sphere of masculine sexuality by its further transformation into the horns of the bull, a universal symbol of male generative power; it is the animal that is most frequently sacrificed to the Moon god. His Sumerian title of En-Su designates him as "Lord Wild Bull," whose horns are mirrored in the crescent of the moon."56
This is important because, as we will see later, there is a connection between the moon god and atmospheric/fertility deities such as Baal and much later, Hubal, which was already seen in his evolution from Enlil. Sin - whose title En-Su, or Su-En, from which the name is contracted, represents the joining of atmospheric, astral, and fertility powers. This conjoining of attributes is traceable all the way down to the pre-Islamic Allah. Even into the Islamic era, the moon was still worshipped by the pagans at Harran by means of the sacrifice of bulls and through fasting for an entire month57.
Devotion to the moon god was prevalent all over the Near East, and was intimately connected with the symbology of the crescent moon, which seems to have radiated outward from Mesopotamia throughout the region. The Canaanite city of Jericho was named after the Canaanite moon god Yarih, who can be directly traced to the Mesopotamian Sin by the fact that he was associated with a female consort, Nikkal, who is the same consort (also known as Ningal) 58 assigned to Sin in the Mesopotamian myths. An excavation of a major temple to the moon god carried out at the Canaanite site of Hazor in Palestine in 1955-58 yielded an idol of the moon god, depicting a man-figure with a crescent moon carved into his chest, believed to be a representation of the moon deity himself. Also found at the site was a worship tablet depicting arms outstretched towards a crescent moon symbol59. In ancient Syria and Canaan, the moon god was usually represented with the symbol of a crescent moon. In many places in the ancient Near East, his wife or consort was the sun-goddess, and their children were the stars. For instance, in a stelae of the Neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus, Bath Nikkal ("daughter of Nikkal") is identified with the planet Venus through the sign of the morning star, and is linked to the moon god and to the sun via the lunar and solar symbols found with her sign60. This corroborates with the Arabian depiction of Allah with his three daughters, one of whom was Al-Uzza who corresponds to Venus, the brightest “star” in the night sky. Depictions of the moon god from Egypt, Persia, Ugarit, and Ras Shamra (in northern Syria) all include the crescent moon symbology intimately connected with the moon god. Indeed, Arabia was as steeped in lunar idolatry as any place in the ancient Near East, perhaps more so. It was to Arabia that Nabonidus in the 6th century BC turned in his religious reforming efforts in which he sought to set the moon god at the head of the Neo-Babylonian pantheon (in place of Marduk). He was involved in building the great center of moon-worship in northern Arabia at Tayma.
One center of moon-worship, in particular, is of interest to us here - Harran. Harran was a city early devoted to and placed under the protection of the moon god Sin. In Harran as elsewhere, Sin evolved into a high god whose spheres of influence extended far beyond the original boundaries of his position as a lunar deity. What makes Harran somewhat unique in our study is that in the Islamic era, Harran’s devotion to the moon god was exploited (according to the traditions) by a group known as the Sabians, a sect that combined elements of astral religion with the transcendent aspects of the neo-Platonic theologies of Plotinus and Porphyry. It was in this syncretism that the highest form of transcendent astral religion was achieved before the rise of Islam. Even after its conquest by the Muslims in the 7th century, Harran remained an important center of neo-Platonic learning and theology. Its influence in the Caliphate was such that one important Islamic sect, the Isma’ilis, developed their heterodox theology largely from this Neo-Platonism found in Harran and other centers of study that had been conquered by the expanding Islamic empire61. Allah in the Qur’an certainly does not exhibit some of the more peculiar theological traits found in the neo-Platonic conception of deity, such as creation through eternal and ongoing emanations coming out from himself. However, the possibility of influence by the transcendent view of deity held by the Harranians upon the developing theology of the early Arab religion that eventually became Islam must be entertained. This view of the remoteness of deity and its lack of personal concern for the created world, coupled with the very real astral element to their worship, suggests the Harranians may have had a stimulating effect on the transformation of Allah from henotheistic high god to transcendent, all-powerful (yet originally astral) supreme god in the emerging Islamic monotheism.
The worship of astral deities (those associated with the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies) was common-place in Arabia and the Near East. Green notes the moon god played an important part in the religion of both the Nabataeans and the Bedouin, Arab groups located in the northern part of the peninsula and in the deserts skirting Syria-Palestine and Mesopotamia62. In discussing the commonality of this sort of worship in Semitic paganisms, Henninger records,
“According to D. Neilsen, the starting point of the religion of the Semitic nomads was marked by the astral triad, Sun-Moon-Venus, the moon being more important for the nomads, and the sun more important for the settled tribes.” 63
Neilsen is widely recognized to have overestimated the importance of astral triads in the religion of the nomadic Bedouin peoples of Arabia (but not necessarily of astral religion itself), though he was closer to the truth concerning the religion of settled Arabian peoples, especially in the South, but also in more northerly centers of settlement such as Mecca. Particular to Arabia, Coon elucidates on this phenomenon of astral preference,
"Among the northern Semites the sun was the most important, as the promoter of fertility in vegetation; in southern Arabia, where the sun is too hot for comfort, and scorches and withers, the night is the time for coolness, and, in the moonlight, the time for travel and work. Nomads travel much at night, and the moon with its phases gives them their yardstick for measuring time. Thus, whereas the sun was the important god to the northern Semites, the moon was supreme among the southern groups, including not only the southern Arabian peoples, but also the pre-Islamic Arabs proper, who lived farther north in the peninsula."64
There is much evidence to connect Allah (an Il/Ilah derived deity) with the worship of the moon god in Arabia. The moon god, whether by the name of Sin or by some other, was worshipped in temples all across the peninsula. At Khirbet Tannur, a Nabataean stele was found that was dedicated to a god called Qos-Allah65. Negev likewise notes epigraphic evidences from the Nabataean period for the personal theophorous name Qos'-allah - "Qos is allah"66. Qos, in turn, is identified with Qaush, a god worshipped by the Edomites who inhabited the region around Petra before being displaced and absorbed by the Nabataean tribes between the 4th-2nd centuries BC. Qaush has been recognized as a lunar deity from an Edomite seal found near Petra that was dedicated to him, and bore the typical crescent and star symbology of the ancient Near East moon gods67. Among the Sabaeans of South Arabia, Allah appears to have derived from an earlier moon god. Sykes, in his description of Allah, says this,
"Islamic name for God. Is derived from Semitic El, and originally applied to the moon; he seems to have been preceded by Ilmaqah, the moon god." 68
While Sykes is incorrect in his derivation of the name from the west Semitic El (as noted above, the Arabian Il/Ilah names, while related to the west Semitic El/Alaha, are evolutionarily derived through the Mesopotamian Lil/Il/Ilu), he does note that in South Arabia (where Ilmaqah was the moon god and national high god of the Sabaeans), Allah derives from a god of the moon, and in fact the name was originally applied to the moon before it became the name for high/only god. In all likelihood, the conception of Allah as a high god, preceded by Ilmaqah the moon god, demonstrates yet again the development of the high god "ilah" from the earlier local high gods of the various Arabian people groups. This same sort of argument can be applied to Landau's statement concerning the Ka'bah in Mecca,
"Now there dwelt in Mecca a god called Allah. He was the provider, the most powerful of all the local deities, the one to whom every Meccan turned in time of need. But, for all his power, Allah was a remote god. At the time of Muhammad, however, he was on the ascendancy. He had replaced the moon god as lord of the Kaaba, although still relegated to an inferior position below the various tribal idols and three powerful goddesses: al-Manat, goddess of fate, al-Lat, mother of the gods, and al-Uzza, the planet Venus."69
The moon god was called by various names, one of which was Ilah. Guillaume has noted that certain scholars believe that Ilah in pre-Islamic Arabia was a title of the moon god,
"The oldest name for God used in the Semitic world consists of but two letters, the consonant 'l' preceded by a smooth breathing, which was pronounced 'Il' in ancient Babylonia, 'El' in ancient Israel. The relation of this name, which in Babylonia and Assyria became a generic term simply meaning ‘god’, to the Arabian Ilah familiar to us in the form Allah, which is compounded of al, the definite article, and Ilah by eliding the vowel ‘i’, is not clear. Some scholars trace the name to the South Arabian Ilah, a title of the Moon god, but this is a matter of antiquarian interest...it is clear from Nabataean and other inscriptions that Allah meant ‘the god’."70
He states that this identification is of "antiquarian interest", since this view of Ilah as a moon god existed prior to the development of the conception of Ilah as high god in these Arabian cultures. Gray, likewise, notes that Il was a South Arabian moon god71. Further, al-Ilaha, a sun goddess, was paired with Allah in several places in the Arabian peninsula, including in South Arabia, where it is said that 'lhtn(with the typically South Arabian suffixed article "n"),
"....may be considered and understood in association with the Sabaean deity 'lhn"72
We know that 'lhtn correlates with the more northern Ilat/Allat, therefore 'lhn most likely corresponds to the Ilah/Allah who is often associated with Allat. Ilat/Allat as a sun goddess would then be paired with Ilah/Allah as a moon god, per the typical South Arabian astral arrangement. Further, a Hadramautic inscription on Delos was dedicated to Sin Dhu Ilim, roughly "Sin he of the gods"73, suggesting that in later periods, Sin was understood as a high god among Arabians. Further, Thompson uncovered a spectacular temple to the moon god in southern Arabia. In discussing her work, she revealed that the symbol of the crescent moon and 21 inscriptions made with the name “Sin” were found in this temple, along with a statue which she tentatively identified as the moon god74. Her findings were later corroborated by other scholars75. This finding is important in light of the fact that, as has been found in numerous inscriptions both at this Arabian site and elsewhere, while the name of the moon god was "Sin", his title was “al-ilah”, the same al-ilah which was glossed to form "Allah" over time in Arabia.
Alfred Guillaume noted that, in much of Arabia, the sun was viewed as a female goddess and the moon as the male god76, which follows the Mesopotamian conception of the moon god as male, but alters the gender of the sun, which was also male in Sumero-Akkadian mythology. It has often been argued that ascribing to the Arabians the view of the moon as male and the sun as female is questionable due to the variance of this state of affairs from the male sun/female moon found in some Semitic mythological systems. However, Smith noted that it is common within Semitic mythologies to find female deities being adapted to take on the male gender77. Finegan also points out that Allat, a northern Arabian moon-goddess, corresponded to the moon deity (male) in South Arabia, known under various names such as Sin, Almaqah, 'Amm, and Vadd78. Also, Henninger noted that in both South Arabia and among the Beduoin, the planet Venus was originally viewed as a masculine deity, only later becoming feminine in aspect79. Indeed, the gender of astral deities throughout the Semitic world is often changeable, and a process of "solarization" has been noted in some ancient Near Eastern mythological systems, whereby moon gods and sun goddesses switch genders, becoming moon goddesses and sun gods. Müller demonstrated the early solarization of several celestial goddesses in ancient Egyptian mythology80. Dirven provides a likely late example of this phenomenon among the Palmyrenes, when she notes that Iarhibol (Yarhibol), a sun god associated with Bol (discussed below), could originally have been a moon god who later adopted solar characteristics, based upon an interpretation of his name as "new moon of Bol."81 Green points out that in Mesopotamian mythos, the moon could take on both genders, depending on which aspect of the lunar cycle was in view.
"Despite the clearly masculine character of the moon deity in myth, there seems to be evidence for a feminine aspect of the moon in Mesopotamia which manifests itself only in the full moon. Those cultures which traditionally have seen the moon as feminine in gender have connected its cycles with those of female fertility: the moon's appearance of growing fullness is a manifestation of woman's fecundity. If the crescent of the moon is the symbol of male virility and sexual power, the full moon may be seen to portray the gravidity of a woman about to give birth thus, within the moon's periodic nature there is a constant cycle of alternation between male and female. The moon is born and dies in its masculine form, but it is as female that it reaches its fullness."82
Due to the patriarchal nature of Arabian societies, it is not surprising that the moon which they reverenced more than the sun, and viewed as the more powerful source of life, would take on male gender. The appearance of the crescent moon symbology in Arabian and west Semitic iconographies suggests that in these societies, the male aspect of the moon predominated, but no statement can be made that the moon in ancient Near Eastern mythologies only took on one gender. Further, it has become apparent in the light of more recent archaeological and epigraphic discoveries that the moon deity in Arabia was (most often) unquestionably male. Even Islamic sources recognize this, with the popular translator and commentator of the Qur'an, Yusuf Ali, noting about the pre-Islamic Arabian paganism,
"It will be noticed that the sun and the moon and the five planets got identified with a living deity, god or goddess, with the qualities of its own....Moon worship was equally popular in various forms....It may be noted that the moon was a male divinity in ancient India; it was also a male divinity in ancient Semitic religion, and the Arabic word for the moon (qamar) is of the masculine gender. On the other hand, the Arabic word for the sun (shama) is of the feminine gender. The pagan Arabs evidently looked upon the sun as a goddess and the moon as a god."83
Let us now turn to another line of development for Allah, this one also originating in Mesopotamia. Among the epithets applied to Enlil in Akkad, one stands out in importance for future religious development in the ancient Near East: Bel. In Semitic Mesopotamia, Enlil was often known as "Bel", meaning "lord"84. MacKenzie noted that Enlil was known as "the older Bel" so as to distinguish him from the later Bel Merodach of Babylon85. Frazer likewise identified Enlil/Illil with Bel86. Like Allah in Arabia, Bel of Nippur originally had Allat as his consort87, which further suggests the connection between Enlil/Ellil and Il/Ilah-derived deities, as well as the evolutionary relationship between Bel and Allah. In the process of time, this title was transferred to the Babylonian deity Marduk (Merodach), who was generally identified with Enlil, and to whom was ascribed a sovereignty and omnipotence indicative of monotheizing tendencies. At the same time, Marduk and Sin were also sometimes identified with each other in later myths - one of Sin's epithets was "Marduk who illuminates the night"88. Not surprisingly then, Marduk also was associated with astral religion, as Ringgren notes,
"In the ritual for the New Year Festival in Babylon Marduk is identified with a series of astral deities, and the prayer ends with the words" 'My lord is my god, my lord is my ruler, is there any lord apart from him'?"89
Thus, we again see the familiar association of Mesopotamian henotheism, of the high god, with astral deities, which would include the moon god. Later, in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the worship of Bel spread to Palmyra, a caravan city in the Syrian desert. The population of Palmyra was mixed, with several distinct groups inhabiting the city and bringing their gods with them. Migrants from northern Mesopotamia and the surrounding regions brought the reverence for Bel with them. In Palmyra, Bel was a high god (termed a "cosmocrator", ruler of the universe) and was associated with two astral gods, Yarhibol, a solar deity and Aglibol, a lunar deity90. Both of these gods carry names containing "Bol", which is identified as a pre-Hellenistic Syrian name for Bel (to which the name Bol was changed through the influence of the Bel-Marduk cult brought in by Mesopotamian immigrants)91. Teixidor notes that the cult of the triad of Bel, Yarhibol, and Aglibol arose in the first century AD as the result of both theological and political pressures that led to the association of these two astral deities with the Bel, who received a cosmic role. This association, unattested in the epigraphic evidence until a dedicatory inscription of 32 AD, is thought to have developed through a slow process of assimilation that involved the divine patrons of specific groups which populated Palmyra92. As such, it can be surmised that Yarhibol and Aglibol, previously the patron gods of separate tribes or ethnic groups, may have been understood more than just as associates, but rather as subordinated personifications of the emergent supreme god Bel. This would tend to reinforce the henotheistic tendencies of Bel in later times, as well as the association of him with astral religion.
Closely related to the Mesopotamian Bel was a titular deity found in the Syro-Palestinian pagan systems - Baal. "Baal" is merely the west Semitic cognate of the Assyro-Babylonian "Bel", and among the western Semites the term was put to similar use, as much a title or epithet as a proper name. Indeed, the term "Baal" was often used to describe local high deities who were revered as high gods by local groups. For instance, we find Baal-Peor of the Moabites, Baal-Zebul of the Philistines, Baal-Shamin of the native Syrian Palmyrenes, and so forth. Evidence from the Al-Amarna documents and Ugaritic texts indicate that by the sixteenth or fifteenth centuries BC, Baal had taken on a broader scope than just as a title for local deities, and had grown to be understood as a god in his own right93. One interesting thing we should note about Baal is that in the Ras Shamra texts, an early witness to Baal, he was associated with three daughters, much as Allah would be later94. One of these daughters of Allah - al-Uzza - is identified with the Arabic goddess Ruda by Lundin, who points out that the root behind that name, 'RD, can be linked with the Ugaritic Ars.ay, one of these daughters of Baal95.
The local Baals were most likely understood to be localized manifestations of this Baal, perhaps as tutelary personifications particular to each individual city or region. These Baals usually took on the characteristics of atmospheric, vegetation, and fertility deities (see the discussion below of the equivalence of Baal with Hadad/Adad), but in later periods also were identified with astral spheres of influence. This astral character generally took on solar overtones96, but could at times also be lunar. Smith notes that in Phoenician mythology, even after the gods had become more pronounced in their astral character, they still retained their more primitive functions as the givers of rain and other atmospheric phenomena97. This broadly parallels the religious development in Mesopotamia from the original view of the storm and weather god Enlil as the highest god toward the exaltation of Sin, the moon god, into the role of high god, with a concurrent usurpation of much of Enlil's former provenance. Indeed, Roberts notes that in the Ugaritic mythologies, Dagan was analogous to Enlil (both being weather deities), while Ba'al (Dagan's son, also a weather and fertility god) was analogous to Sin/Nanna (Enlil's son, the moon god)98. Like the moon god, Baal was represented by the bull, a symbol of male sexuality and fertility. Further, the Baal title could be applied directly to the astral deities. For instance, Teixidor notes that in Harran, the city in Paddan-Aram devoted to the moon god which was discussed briefly earlier, Sin was known as the Baal of Harran99. This frequent merging of astral with atmospheric and fertility functions in the gods will be revisited shortly.
Earlier, we saw that a god called Mar-Allah was recognized from inscriptional evidences in northern Arabia. We see a probable appearance of this deity again in inscriptions found at Sumatar Harabesi, a site located about 25 miles northeast of Harran. This site contains a number of inscriptions in Syriac that are dated to the mid-to-late 2nd century AD and were made by or on behalf of certain rulers "of the Arab". A number of dedications to Sin, coupled with the typical crescent moon symbology, are found here. As well, however, are a number of inscriptions dedicated to Mrlh'. In Green's discussion of these inscriptions100, she reports that Drijvers transcribes the name as Marelahe, "The Lord of the gods", which is equivalent to the Mesopotamian "Bel-ilani", and that while the title itself can denote the chief god of any pantheon, here at Sumatar Harabesi, it was applied to Sin the moon god of Harran, who is the only god mentioned by name at the site. Segal, on the other hand, transcribes the name as Marilaha, "the Lord god", and suggested it as an epithet of Ba'alshamen, a name that had by this period come to designate any god who was seen as the possessor of the heavens (as was the case with Sin the moon god in the later Mesopotamian myths, as seen above). Either way, we see a clearly identified moon god referred to as a Bel or Baal, and Green sees these inscriptions as evidence for the continuation of Sin's role as bestower of political power101.
In Arabia, Baal (Ba'l) was introduced into the settled agricultural centers, likely being borrowed from the Semitic groups north of Arabia at the same time that the arts of agriculture were introduced102. On the peninsula, Baal was more widely known in later periods as Hubal (meaning "the lord"). There is some controversy over whether Hubal was a traditional deity in Arabia, or if he was introduced at some point in the 3rd century or immediately thereabouts, finding his way to the Ka'bah at Mecca, then a pre-Islamic pagan shrine. For instance, Zwemer states,
"Hobal [Hubal] was in the form of a man and came from Syria; he was the god of rain and had a high place of honour."103
Some scholars view Hubal as a newcomer to the Ka'bah, based upon the tradition that Amr ibn Luhayy, a 3rd century Arab, brought the statue of Hubal to the Ka'bah from Syria.
"Having asked the local inhabitants what was the justification of their idols, `Amr b. Luhayy is said to have received the following reply: .. these are the lords (arbab) whom we have chosen, having [simultaneously] the form of the celestial temples (al-hayakil al-`ulwiyya) and that of Human beings. We ask them for victory over our enemies and they grant it to us; we ask them for rain, in time of drought, and they give it to us". In the Ka'ba, Hubal must have preserved this original character of a stellar deity; but his most characteristic role was that of a cleromantic divinity. Indeed, it was before the god that the sacred lots were cast. The statue stood inside the Ka'ba, above the sacred well which was thought to have been dug by Abraham to receive the offerings brought to the sanctuary. Another somewhat surprising fact indicates a connection with Abraham: in the mural paintings of the pre-islamic Ka'ba, Hubal, represented as an old man holding arrows, seems to have been assimilated with Abraham."104
Hence, after his appearance in Mecca, Hubal would have retained his earlier astral traits. Additionally, he would have gained his well-known oracular function by which suppliants would draw lots using arrows so as to obtain answers for important questions put to the god. Peters states that while Hubal grew to be an important deity in Mecca, he never replaced Allah as the Lord of the Ka'bah, and bases his argument upon the fact that the Qur'an never raises a contention about Hubal being "lord of the house"105. This view, unfortunately, suffers from the traditional over-reliance upon late and redacted Muslim sources which are tainted with apologetic revision. As Coon has observed,
"Moslems are notoriously loath to preserve traditions of earlier paganism, and like to garble what pre-Islamic history they permit to survive in anachronistic terms."106
Hence, it must be understood that much of what is said about the late arrival of Hubal to the Ka'bah, and the attempts to disconnect him from lordship over that House, is suspect because of the tendency of scholars in the earlier days of Islamic studies to rely upon Islamic sources themselves for information pertaining to the Jahiliyya, the pre-Islamic pagan period. Peters, mentioned above, makes his arguments with the dichotomy of Allah versus Hubal in mind. Yet, the possibility must be explored that Allah was Hubal, and that the initial understanding of Hubal as the local al-ilah falls right into line with the tendency, mentioned above, for the developing Arab monotheism to incorporate local high gods into the state sponsored high god. It was shown above that Allah "was preceded" by the moon god Ilmaqah in South Arabian, that Ilah was "originally a phase of the moon" and later became a term for the high god in Southern Arabia, and even that Allah "replaced" Hubal as the Lord of the Ka'bah. What if these are all vestiges of these various Arabian high gods becoming "al-ilah", the god, in developing henotheistic systems that eventually led to the monotheistic Allah of Islam?
With the advent of independent information obtained from direct archaeological and epigraphic studies, it is being more widely recognized that Hubal was not a late arrival to the Ka'bah, but was instead long resident there and was himself the Lord of the Ka'bah, probably arriving not long after the Christian era began. On the originality of Hubal at the Ka'bah, Rodinson writes,
"The Ka'ba at Mecca, which may have initially been a shrine of Hubal alone, housed several idols; a number of others, too, were gathered in the vicinity."107
Ruthven states further,
"Although originally under the aegis of the pagan god Hubal, the Makkan haram which centred around the well of Zamzam, may have become associated with the ancestral figures of Ibrahim and Isma'il as the Arab traders, shedding their parochial backgrounds sought to locate themselves within the broader reference-frame of Judeo-Christianity."108
According to Fahd, the earliest appearance of Hubal in the epigraphic record is in an inscription from Nabataea (a region in northwest Arabia, including present-day Jordan), in which he is associated with Manawat, which is cognate with the name of the daughter of Allah, Manat109. Peters notes that some of his sources also indicate the origin of the Hubal idol (and presumably the cult which came to Mecca) to be from Jordan110.
There is ample evidence to suggest that Hubal was the "Lord of the Ka'bah". Armstrong provides an interesting piece of information, though she still tends to be too reliant upon Islamic tradition instead of scientific facts,
"By the time he began to preach in Mecca, it seems to have been generally acknowledged that the Ka’aba was dedicated to al-Llah, the High God of the pagan Arabs, despite the presiding effigy of Hubal. By the beginning of the seventh century, al-Ilah had become more important than before in the religious life of many of the Arabs. Many primitive religions develop a belief in a High God, who is sometimes called the Sky God...But they also carried on worshipping the other gods, who remained deeply important to them."111
The question which must logically be asked is whether this dedication of the Ka'bah to the high god al-Ilah perhaps was not "despite" the presiding effigy of Hubal, but rather because of it? As noted before, "Hubal" is really a title (considered by many to be of Aramaic origin and imported into the early Arabic dialects) which simply means "the lord", and as such, is no different from the usage of the Baal/Ba'l terminology found all over Syria, Palestine, and northern Arabia. This association of Hubal with Baal is noted by al-Saeh,
“As well as worshipping idols and spirits, found in animals, plants, rocks, and water, the ancient Arabs believed in several major gods and goddesses whom they considered to hold supreme power over all things. The most famous of these were Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Manat, and Hubal. The first three were thought to be daughters of Allah (God) and their intercessions on behalf of their worshippers were therefore of great significance. Hubal was associated with the Semitic god Ba’al and with Adonis and Tammuz, the gods of spring, fertility, agriculture and plenty....Hubal’s idol used to stand by the holy well inside the Sacred House. It was made of red sapphire but had a broken arm until the tribe of Quraysh, who considered him one of their major gods, made him a replacement in solid gold.” 112
It seems very likely that this "al-Ilah" to which the Ka'bah was dedicated was known also by the titular name Hubal, especially as the presiding idol of that house was Hubal's, and it was before Hubal that decisions requiring oracular resolution were brought. Indeed, an excerpt from Ibn Ishaq (an early Muslim biographer of Mohammed, 704-767 AD), in a garbled and oblique manner, seems to suggest the validity of this view. He relates the following story about Mohammed's grandfather 'Abd'ul Muttalib,
"It is alleged, and God only knows the truth, that when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib encountered the opposition of Quraysh when he was digging Zamzam, he vowed that if he should have ten sons to grow up and protect him, he would sacrifice one of them to God at the Ka'ba. Afterwards when he had ten sons who could protect him he gathered them together and told them about his vow and called on them to keep faith with God. They agreed to obey him and asked what they were to do. He said that each one of them must get an arrow, write his name on it, and bring it to him; this they did and he took them before Hubal in the middle of the Ka'ba. (The statue of) Hubal stood by a well there. It was that well in which gifts made to the Ka'ba were stored.“Now beside Hubal there were seven arrows, each of them containing some words. One was marked 'bloodwit'. When they disputed about who should pay the bloodwit they cast lots with the seven arrows and the one on whom the lot fell had to pay the money. Another was marked 'yes', and another 'no', and they acted accordingly on the matter on which the oracle had been invoked. Another was marked 'of you'; another mulsaq, another 'not of you'; and the last was marked 'water'. If they wanted to dig for water, they cast lots containing this arrow and wherever it came forth they set to work. If they wanted to circumcise a body, or make a marriage, or bury a body, or doubted someone's genealogy, they took him to Hubal with a hundred dirhams and a slaughter camel and gave them to the man who cast the lots; then they brought near the man with whom they were concerned, saying, 'O our god this is A the son of B with whom we intend to do so and so; so show the right course concerning him'. Then they would say to the man who cast the arrows 'Cast!' and if there came out 'of you' then he was a true member of their tribe; and if there came out 'not of you' then he was an ally; and if there came out mulsaq he had no blood relation to them and was not an ally. Where 'yes' came out in other matter, they acted accordingly; and if the answer was 'no', they deferred the matter for a year until they could bring it up again. They used to conduct their affairs according to the decision of the arrows.
“'Abdu'l-Muttalib said to the man with the arrows, 'Cast the lots for my sons with these arrows', and he told him of the vow which he had made. Each man gave him the arrow on which his name was written. Now 'Abdullah was his father's youngest son, he and al-Zubayr and Abu Talib were born to Fatima d.'Amr b.'A'idh b.'Abd b.'Imran b. Makhzum b.Yaqaza b. Murra b. Ka'b b.Lu'ayy b.Ghalib b.Fihr (113). It is alleged that 'Abdullah was 'Abdu'l-Muttalib's favorite son, and his father thought that if the arrow missed him he would be spared. (He was the father of the apostle of God). When the man took the arrows to cast lots with them, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib stood by Hubal praying to Allah. Then the man cast lots and 'Abdullah's arrow came out. His father led him by the hand and took a large knife; then he brought him up to Isaf and Na'ila (T. two idols of Quraysh at which they slaughtered their sacrifices) to sacrifice him; but Quraysh came out of their assemblies and asked what he was intending to do. When he said that he was going to sacrifice him, they and his sons said 'By God! you shall never sacrifice him until you offer the greatest expiatory sacrifice for him. If you do a thing like this there will be no stopping men from coming to sacrifice their sons, and what will become of the people then?' Then said al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. Makhzum b. Yaqaza, 'Abdullah's mother being from his tribe, 'By God, you shall never sacrifice him until you offer the greatest expiatory sacrifice for him. Though his ransom be all our property we will redeem him'. Quraysh and his sons said that he must not do it, but take him to the Hijaz for there was a sorcerer who had a familiar spirit, and he must consult her. Then he would have liberty of action. If she told him to sacrifice him, he would be no worse off; and if she gave him a favorable response, he could accept it. So they went off as far as Medina and found that she was in Khaybar, so they allege. So they rode on until they got to her, and when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib acquainted her with the facts she told them to go away until her familiar spirit visited her and she could ask him. When they had left her 'Abdu'l-Muttalib prayed to Allah, and when they visited her the next day she said, 'Word has come to me. How much is the blood money among you?' they told her that it was ten camels, as indeed it was. He told them to go back to their country and take the young man and ten camels. Then cast lots for them and for him; if the lots falls against your man, add more camels, until you lord is satisfied. If the lots falls against the camels then sacrifice them in his stead, for your lord will be satisfied and your client escape death. So they returned to Mecca, and when they had agreed to carry out their instructions, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was praying to Allah. Then they brought near 'Abdullah and ten camels while 'Abdu'l-Muttalib stood by Hubal praying to Allah. Then they cast lots and the arrow fell against 'Abdullah. They added ten more camels and the lot fell against 'Abdullah, and so they went on adding ten at a time, until there were one hundred camels, when finally the lot fell against them. Quraysh and those who were present said, 'At last your lord is satisfied 'Abdu'l-Muttalib'. 'No, by God', he answered (so they say), 'not until I cast lots three times'. This they did and each time the arrow fell against the camels. They were duly slaughtered and left there and no man was kept back or hindered (from eating them).”113
Thus we can see that this man was essentially praying to the idol of Hubal, while praying to Allah. As Hubal was the "Lord of the Ka'bah" and the tutelary deity of Mecca, it is instructive to note that after the rise of the Arab Empire, Allah seems to have maintained his place as the Lord of that “House”, even if under a different name and with an innovative conception of deity. Indeed, the Ka'bah was often known by the name beit Allah, "house of Allah", even though it was presided over by Hubal.
Interestingly, we should note the early interest among the Muslims in (re-)establishing the original religion of Abraham, at least as they conceived it. Arabic lore, extending into the period before Islam, held that Abraham himself had built the Ka'bah, dug its well, and established its worship. In the centuries before the rise of the Arab Empire, there were many Arabs who, while accepting neither Christianity nor Judaism, did conceive of the idea of establishing a pure monotheism to replace the paganism of their day. Many of these groups could have been called "Abrahamic", as they desired to renew the deen, the religion, of Abraham. This Abrahamism emphasized its link to Abraham as its putative founder, and its followers were described by the Christian historian Sozomenus, writing circa 450 AD, as Ishmaelite monotheists who followed a loose analog of Judaism114. Indeed, Pines notes evidence for Abrahamists as early as the time of Tertullian (~200 AD), who disputed with a group of them115. The Abrahamists were one of many groups of hanifiyya, emergent monotheists who preceded Islam in Arabia. The monotheism of these groups engendered the belief in a high god who was without partners. It is likely that these hanifiyya, who were more or less independent of Judaism and Christianity, were the next natural step in the progression from pure paganism to the henotheistic belief in a "high god" to monotheism. As a result, it is likely that their views were arrived at by elevating one of their native gods at the expense of the others, and accepting him as the "only" god. That this seems to have been the case, at least with those who revered the Ka'bah as the "house of Allah" (including, of course, local groups of Abrahamists), seems evident in the association with Abraham of the oracular method of divination through Hubal. Rubin notes that the ritual of casting arrows before Hubal was itself Abrahamic (referring to the pre-Islamic religious system, not to the Biblical Abraham), and that when Mohammed conquered Mecca, he ordered the removal of a painting of Abraham holding arrows from within the Ka'bah116. The deen of Abraham, at least as it appeared to the Arabs both pagan and hanif, involved reverence for both the Ka'bah and its lord, and this suggests that the god which they were monotheizing was probably Hubal.
This understanding of the "lord of the Ka'bah" as a high god again points to the familiar pattern of henotheism that can be found all across the Semitic world. Wellhausen considered Hubal to be an ancient name for Allah117. In this is meant the sense that he believed Allah to be an abstraction which originated in the many local gods (one of whom was Hubal), and gave rise to a common word for the high god. This view has been judged as inadequate by many later scholars118. I would note, however, that much of the later impetus against Wellhausen's initial view stems from the over-reliance of scholars upon Islamic sources for information concerning the period ofJahiliyya, the pagan period prior to Islam. It would seem natural that Islamic traditions, produced two centuries or more after the fact, would present an artificially sanitized view of the pre-Islamic period. As noted previously, this was common in early Muslim works for polemical purposes. We have seen earlier that it was common for cultures in the ancient Near East to hold up a high god, and to attribute to him various spheres of influence, depending on the prior nature of the henotheized deity. This would seem to support the arguments made above and by Wellhausen that the high god of the Arabs was not one original deity, but rather became such by the synthesis of the various local high gods of Arabia and the regions conquered by the Arabs.
As has been alluded, Hubal seems to have also had a variety of characteristic spheres which he dominated. Zwemer above identified Hubal as a god of rain, which correlates well with the typical station of Baal among the Arabs' northerly neighbors. Hubal also, however, had several marked astral stations among the Arabs. Hommel tells us that in southern Arabia, Hubal was to be identified with the planet Venus, understood by these groups to be male. In northern Arabia, including the region of Mecca, Hubal was understood to be a lunar god.
“First of all, as regards the religion of the South Arabians, as we find it in their inscriptions, it is a strongly marked star-worship, in which the cult of the moon-god, conceived as masculine, takes complete precedence of that of the sun, which is conceived as feminine. This is shown in the clearest fashion by the stereotyped series of gods (Minaean: ‘Athar, Wadd, Nakruh, Shams; Hadramawtic: ‘Athar, Sîn, Hol, Shams; Qatabanian: ‘Athar, ‘Amm, Anbai, Shams; Sabaean: ‘Athar, Hawbas, Al-maku-hu, Shams); here we find throughout, a. ‘Athar (the planet Venus conceived as masculine...as symbol of the sky) the god of the heavens mentioned first, b. Wadd or as the case may be, Sîn, ‘Amm or Hawbas the real chief god i.e. the moon; c. Nakruh (the planet Saturn or Mars), or Hol, Anbai (messenger of the gods, Nebo) or Almaku-hu, his (the moon’s) servant or messenger, and finally, d. Shams, the daughter of the moon-god to whom women may have appealed by preference and who therefore stands at the end of the whole enumeration. Besides these, a certain part was played by a great Mother-goddesses, the mother and consort of the moon-god conceived as a personified lunar station, the Minaean Athirat, who was called Harimtu among the Sabaeans and who was in all probability universally known as Ilat (e.g. as a component part in names of persons, also in the shortened form Lat). We may also mention various lesser ‘Athar deities (confined later to the part played by Venus as morning or evening star), and among the West Sabaeans Ta’lab, a god of the bow who also bears merely the epithet Dhû Samawî ‘lord of the heavens’, and to whom especially camels (ibil) are sacred (hence in Midian but probably in South Arabia Habul or Hubal etc.). It is a particularly favourite mode of thought to conceive the two chief aspects of the moon (waxing and waning moon) as twin deities, in which connection sometimes the one and sometimes the other phase is specially favoured according to the locality....In North West Arabia from Mekka onwards to Petra and further onwards to the Syrian desert (Palmyra) and the Hawran, the same ideas prevailed, partly even appearing under the old names partly with new designations. Here we have especially to do with the cults of Mekka and of the whole Hidjaz shortly before Muhammad (al-Lat and Hubal, in certain cases also al-Lat, and Wudd, in addition al-‘Uzza, a feminine form of...Aziz-Lat, the goddess of death Manat, a god Ruda and others) and at an earlier period the still more important cult of the Nabataeans. Among the latter also we find the moon divided into twin deities: Dhu Shara (‘He of the mountain’) and his Kharisha (the sun), the former especially in Petra, and Habul (or Hubal) and his consort Manawat...."119
Other scholars have also noted the place of Hubal as the moon god. Concerning Hubal Glassé writes,
"An idol, the god of the Moon..."120
Occhigrosso further illustrates,
"Before Muhammad appeared, the Kaaba was surrounded by 360 idols, and every Arab house had its god. Arabs also believed in jinn (subtle beings), and some vague divinity with many offspring. Among the major deities of the pre-Islamic era were al-Lat ("the Goddess"), worshiped in the shape of a square stone; al-Uzzah ("the Mighty"), a goddess identified with the morning star and worshiped as a thigh-bone-shaped slab of granite between al-Taif and Mecca; Manat, the goddess of destiny, worshiped as a black stone on the road between Mecca and Medina; and the moon god, Hubal, whose worship was connected with the Black Stone of the Kaaba."121
Once again, we see that the high god of this locality was thus a moon deity, and yet also strongly connected with the realm of atmospheric phenomena and fertility through his being a bringer of rains and storms. The astral aspects of the Ka'bah, over which Hubal ruled, have been noted by scholars. Occhigrosso notes that the black stone in the Ka'bah was said by the pre-Islamic Arabs to have come from the moon122. The fact that the number of idols in the pre-Islamic Ka'bah is repeatedly said to be 360 is viewed by some as having astronomical overtones related to the worship of the heavenly bodies,
"The earliest Muslim sources suggest that the pre-Islamic cult of the Ka'ba had some astronomical significance. The historian Mas'udi (896-956) stated that certain people had regarded the Ka'ba as a temple dedicated to the Sun, Moon and the five visible planets (making up the mythical figure of seven, the number of circumambulations required for each tawaf). The story that there were exactly 360 idols placed round the temple also points to an astronomical significance. Among the votive gifts said to have been offered to the idols were golden suns and moons."123
This connection of the Islamic religion with a site sacred to the moon god is not unique to the Ka'bah. Speaking of the ancient temple to the moon god Sin located at Harran (who, as we saw above, was the "Baal of Harran"), Green says this,
"It is most likely that it was on the site of his great temple that the Muslim rulers of the city constructed the Great Mosque."124
Let us now turn to yet another pre-Islamic Arab god with close associations, both conceptual and through lineage, to the deities previously mentioned as precursors to Allah. This deity is Dushara, a god worshipped primarily in Nabataea and nearby regions in northern Arabia. Dushara, whose name appears in many cases to be an epithet, rather than a proper name, was worshipped as the supreme god among the Nabataeans, but may have been known by several other names125. Indeed, Healey notes that scholars are still trying to find the true name of the supreme god to whom this epithet applied126. The name/title Dushara is commonly understood to mean "he of the mountain", indicating a local geographic extent as a mountain-god (but which also recalls the place of Enlil as a lord of mountains, seen above). In this vein, Browning identifies the name as Dhu-esh-Shera, “He (Lord) of Shera (Seir)”, thus placing Dushara as a local deity based around Mount Seir, in Edom127. However, it cannot be ruled out that the second part of his name describes a general characteristic of the god instead. One of the most prominent meanings suggested is that of vegetation128. Healey also suggests that Dushara may have had astral characteristics as well129, which was supported above by the statement of Hommel to the effect that Dhu Shara was one of two moon deities found among the Nabataeans, along with Hubal. Healey also notes that there is a close relationship, perhaps a non-spousal pairing, between Dushara and Hubal, as indicated by certain Nabataean funerary inscriptions130. Though Healey himself notes a secondary solar role for this deity rather than a lunar, it is possible that both characters were combined in this god. Hitti also points out Dushara's solar role, discusses the worship of Dushara through the box-like ka'bah mentioned previously, and notes that Dushara was associated with Allat, viewed in northern Arabia as a moon goddess131. The name itself is traced by some even further back than the Nabataeans, to the Mesopotamian divine name "Du-shar-ra" found in cuneiform records from Mesopotamia. It has been suggested that this name entered into West Semitic mythology from Assyro-Babylonia132.
Among the Nabataeans and other Northern Arab tribes, Dushara was often known simply as 'lh', "the god", par excellence133. For the Nabataeans, this accorded to Dushara the role of high god, as Healey states,
"On this basis Dushara (or the god behind the title....) was regarded as the god par excellence and this would in part explain why the name of Dushara appears rather rarely in theophoric personal names, while derivatives of 'lh', 'the god' ('lhy, etc.) appear quite often. 'The god' in the Nabataean context meant 'the one and only significant god, also known as Dushara'."134
There appears to have been the same tendency to both develop him into a high god, and to associate both lunar and fertility/atmospheric spheres together into his character, which parallels this same phenomenon as it occurred all across the ancient Near East. Indeed, among this Arabian tribe, Dushara was associated with a consort, Allat, placing him firmly within the Arabian Allah-Allat milieu. Healey questions the view that Allat was the consort of Dushara however, instead suggesting that she may have been viewed as his mother, and that she and another goddess, al-Uzza (also found in the Islamic descriptions as a “daughter of Allah”) were originally the same deity, later diverging to separate deities at some time prior to the rise of Islam135. Further, references to other deities previously associated with Allah, such as Manat and al-Uzza, and also Baal, had been found among the Nabataean remains136. Dushara is mentioned alongside Hubal and Manawat (Manat) in a Nabataean inscription found in Edom137. In several Nabataean inscriptions, Dushara is closely associated with Manotu138, and it is significant that the inscription series was found in the vicinity of the Nabataean center of Hegra, which is in Northern Arabia, much closer to the Hijaz than is Petra, and thus geographically adjacent to the classically Arabian milieu. Also notable is that Dushara was worshipped through a typical Semitic litholatric block, described by the Byzantine historian Suidas (from his antique sources) as a cubic black stone139, a view also supported by Glueck140.
Another aspect of this overall conjoining of astral, atmospheric, and fertility spheres is to be found with the deity known in Sumeria as Ishkur, and in the Semitic world as Adad or Hadad. This deity also was a storm, thunder, and weather god, and at various points in time was worshipped as the high or highest god in some pantheons, especially among the Aramaeans. Adad appears in many cases to have been synonymous with Baal (another storm god), being also called Hadd at various points and associated in parallel with Hadad at one point in the Ras Shamra texts141. Kapelrud notes from texts from Ras Shamra that Ba'l as a name was applied to and eventually was used virtually in place of the name Hadad/Haddu142. Adad was understood in Babylonian texts not simply to be a fearsome god of storms, but also as the "lord of abundance, the controller of the floodgates of the earth" (because of his role as a weather god) 143. There naturally would seem to be a strong conceptual connection between the weather/storm sphere of a god's influence, and his capacity for producing fertility and agricultural abundance, especially in many places in Syria and Palestine which rely primarily upon rainfall for the sustenance of farming and flocks.
Corroboration for the joining of astral and vegetation/fertility spheres in Hadad/Adad is found in Arabian evidences from North Arabia and the Transjordan region. Later iconographic evidence from the Nabataean temple site at Khirbet Tannur is identified by Knauf144 as denoting Dushara-Zeus-Hadad, and there is ample evidence from Nabataean inscriptions to indicate the integration of the Nabataean high god, Dushara, with Zeus, the high god of the Hellenistic Greeks who were present in the region from the time of Alexander’s conquests onward145. Gleuck identified the main deity of the temple at Tannur as Zeus-Hadad146 (so-called because of the combination of Hellenistic and Semitic characteristics) on the basis of the “eagle” iconography associated with the images of the main deity in the complex, suggesting this god to be an atmospheric deity, though as has been previously noted, this deity was Dushara. Healey, following Starckey, instead identifies this deity as Qos based upon the fact that Qos is the only god mentioned in the inscriptional evidence from the site. This connection is also made, however, on the basis of the lightning/storm iconography associated with the god in this temple, which suggests an association with Zeus-Hadad147. Either way, whether this god was Qos or Dushara, the evidences from Tannur clearly connect him with the atmospheric god Hadad (associated in Hellenistic times with Zeus). Qos, as was seen earlier, very clearly had lunar attributes (and was directly coupled with Allah), and Dushara was also associated with astral idolatry as well. The evidence for the conjoining of astral and fertility spheres given by Tannur is strengthened through the appearance of a grain (and dolphin!) goddess, thought by Gleuck to be Atargatis, with the main god of that temple148.
Another point of evidence for the joining of astral and weather traits is in the South Arabian god known as Almaqah/Ilmaqah, who was suggested above as a South Arabian antecedent to the more generally known Allah. Ringgren notes that Baal, also called Hadd, sits enthroned upon his mountain, and that the iconography of Baal included his being surrounded by seven lightning flashes, among other details149. Elsewhere, we see that the symbol often associated with Adad is a fork-shaped flash of lightning150, emphasizing his role as a storm and weather god. Almaqah, the national god of the South Arabian Sabaeans, is also widely recognized as a moon god151. Almaqah, however, also demonstrates iconographic evidences which suggest a storm/weather role. The Sabaeans symbolized this god using a cluster of lightning flashes and a weapon that looks like a slightly-bent capital S152, which is quite similar to the symbology used with Adad and Teshub (an analogous Hurrian storm god).
Just as Sin and other moon gods were often associated with Shamash (the sun) and Ishtar (representing Venus, and also a fertility goddess), so was Adad/Hadad153, known also by the epithet Rimmon (meaning "pomegranate"). This suggests a link between Sin and Adad/Rimmon, probably another example of assimilation rather than a direct attribution of lunar province to Adad. Both were high gods worshipped in Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the northern and western Semitic areas, and thus it is natural that both would essentially become the same deity, even if not specified as such, in the minds of their followers. Hence, this could suggest an association of the Rimmon/Hadad deity with lunar idolatry, a tendency which has been shown above for several weather and/or fertility gods.
But what of the potential connection between Rimmon and Rahman (which is presented as an epithet for Allah at several points in the Qur'an)? Some Muslim apologists will attempt to deny the association of Rahman with Rimmon/Rammanu. It is argued that Rahman (from the rhm root, having the meaning “compassionate“) cannot be related to Rimmon or Rammanu (from the rmn root, meaning “pomegranate”). They will argue that because the Semitic triconsonantal roots are different, there cannot be a connection between Rahman and the ancient Syro-Babylonian storm god Rimmon/Rammanu. However, this argument does not take into account the fact that languages can change over time, diverging and converging, and that phonemes may evolve, causing words and roots to change over time. This can be seen in the comparison of the Arabic and Hebrew roots meaning “compassion”. In Arabic, the root is rhm, with the hindicating the letter h’aa, which has a sound approximated by a heavy, open “h” sound made from the soft palate at the back of the throat. In Hebrew, the root is rchm, where ch denotes the letter cheth, which has a sound approximated by the “ch” in the Scots pronunciation of “loch”. Same root, yet a somewhat different phoneme. Further, the apologetic argument ignores the fact that similar words can have divergent and/or multiple meanings across different cultures and time periods.
In the linguistic case of Rimmon and Rahman, it is important to first note that Rimmon/Rammanu was also known by the name “Ragimu” among Mesopotamian Semitic groups154. This is enlightening because both the “g” and “h“ are sounds with very similar articulation. Both of these phonemes are velar sounds, produced by pushing air over the velum, or the soft palate that sits right in front of the uvula. The primary difference between these sounds is that the “g” is a stop (meaning that the flow of air is stopped after the initial sound is made), while the “h“ is a fricative sound produced by forcing air through a narrow opening between the tip of the tongue and the velum, and hence can be extended. The shift from "g" to "h" would be the result of a process in Semitic phonetic development called "spirantization", in which a stop consonant changes into a fricative consonant. The point to this linguistic digression is that it is certainly very possible (and perhaps even likely from a phonetic standpoint) for the “g” in Ragimu to have developed into the “h“ of Rahman in the course of the development of the set of Arabian languages from their Mesopotamian Semitic precursors. After all, we see that Ragimu is related to Rammanu, probably developing through a process of epenthesis (a process in which a phoneme is inserted into the middle of a word to clarify or simplify pronunciation), so the theory proposed above is certainly not at all unlikely. The dropping of the final “n” in the course of the development from rmn --> rgm --> rhm is easily explained by noting that nasal sounds (such as “n”) tend to drop out from the end of words which find common use or have a systematic history of development, a form of apocope (a process where word final phonemes are dropped). This is seen in English, whereby many words ending in “ing” (the “ng” is a single nasal sound) tend to either lose that final “ng” completely, or else become the softer “n” sound, in everyday or hurried speech. Thus, the Muslim arguments against the identification of the very ancient Rimmon/Rammanu with the much later Rahman are not necessarily valid.
Scholars have noted that the rhm root, usually said to mean "compassionate", may have an earlier and/or alternative meaning. Ringgren notes that the epithet rhm can stress youthfulness, as well as the powers of life and generation, traditional roles of Ancient Near East fertility deities. He connects it with the Hebrew rechem, a cognate word meaning "womb"155. It is likely that the later attachment of the ideas of mercy and compassion to rhm sprang forth from these earlier fertility aspects. It is entirely logical to postulate that a god who was responsible for bringing in the rains and causing the earth to bring forth fertility (as was the function of Rimmon/Rammanu and the implication of his name meaning “pomegranate”) would evolve into a god whose name was associated with compassion. One of the most compassionate things a god in the arid Near East could do was bring in the rains with some regularity. The connection of this epithet with Allah is natural, then, and the appearance of Allah as a rain-bringer in pre-Islamic Arab myth is well-known156.
Indeed, this sort of connection between the rain/storm god Rimmon/Adad and the compassionate god Rahman is made in the literature,
"...If this were Umm-ar-Rahma, we would not hesitate for a moment to choose the first solution; but the antiquated or archaic reading of Umm-Ruhm, specified by the authors, causes us to see in Ruhm a vestige of the old Semitic religion. Indeed, its Semitic root r'/h/hm puts us face to face with one of the oldest Semitic names of the god Adad, expressing what characterizes it primarily, namely the rain which makes "soft" and "tender" the ground, the vegetation and, by analogy, the hearts of humans, and also the thunder, source of rain, which symbolizes it. From the double significance of the root there occurs the two series of names which are given to him, on the one hand, Ramman, Rihamun, Ramimu and Ragimu, expressing roaring thunder and the howling of the bull which symbolizes this aspect of it; on the other hand, Rh/hm, Rhman (Akk. remenu), which expresses the grace and the mercy of Ba'l of the sky. But, in this last sense, this epithet applied to other gods."157
Fahd notes the dual development of Rahman and Rimmon from this common Semitic root, even stating that Rahman is the Akkadian "remenu". Fahd goes further, showing that the rhm root was a specific epithet applied to a number of ancient Near East gods,
"The use of the root rhm in Arab paganism, to qualify the divinity, is attested, in addition to the testimony of Ibn Durayd, by another no less important, provided by the Palmyrene epigraphy, where a god RHM is named at the side of Allat. In addition, within Thamudic onomastics, a theophore, Raham'il, confirms the existence of this use in Northern Arabia. These weak indications for the name were to enjoy in Islam a very great expansion, in particular in the two forms of Abd ar-Rahman and Abd ar-Rahim, and are the echoes of an ancient usage, going back to Assyro-Babylonia, one of the principal hearths of Semitic paganism, where the epithet 'merciful' or the invocation 'have mercy upon me' was joined to the names of principle gods, such as Marduk, Ishtar, Sin, Shamash, Adad, and Assur. In the isolated state, Ri-mi-nu-u became an epithet of Marduk."158
Again, the equation of rhm with rmn is taken for granted. Rahman was applied to many deities, including both Adad the storm god, Sin the moon god, and Marduk, another name for Bel (identified by Fahd further above as Ba'l). Indeed, the god-name Ri.ha.mun appears on ancient god lists from ancient Assyro-Babylonia, attesting the antiquity of rhm far before the appearance of this god in Arabian mythology159. In one of these appearances, the name is accompanied by a descriptor meaning "he who holds the nose/bridle for Utu". Utu was an archaic Sumerian name (though apparently still being used in Babylonia at the time) for the sun-god Shamash. The description seems to indicate Ri.ha.mun as being in an inferior position, holding the horse of his master Utu/Shamash. This same combination of Rahim with the sun god is noted much later in Palmyra, where Rahim appears as an associated acolyte of Shamash, along with Allat as the third member of the triad160. One other point of interest is that Fahd noted that the "howling of the bull" was associated with this fertility god Rimmon/Rahman, just as the bull symbology was seen with other deities with fertility functions, such as the moon god and Baal.
By the Roman period, the transition had been made of rhm from fertility/compassion deity to a more abstracted idealization of mercy and compassion. Rahim was a god of mercy in the Palmyrene, Dura-Europan, and Safaitic pantheons, and Rahman was a god of compassion in the South Arabian pantheon of this period. Rahman in the South gradually was raised to the position of being an epithet for the unique god appearing in the nascent South Arabian monotheism, and would seem to be a strong candidate for the entrance of this deity into the developing Islamic belief system after the Arabs had cemented their hold on the Arabian peninsula and needed a cohesive religious system to unify their conquests. Healey has postulated that the traditional South Arabian epithet rhmn (with the suffixed South Arabian articular n) appearing in the monotheizing cult of the Merciful One in South Arabia could easily have arisen from earlier pagan usage, as he notes that the worship of the Merciful One was widespread throughout Syria in the first century AD in a non-Christian and non-Jewish context, instead tracing to Mesopotamian cultural influences161. The appearance of the same sort of cult in South Arabia (as well as elsewhere in Arabia, including the Nabataeans), suggests the natural development of this view of rhmn applied to emergent native monotheism. It would further then seem natural that this Rahman would be adopted into the theology of Islam as a way of bringing his worshipers in Southern Arabia into the fold of the developing monotheistic state religion. Indeed, both Rahman and Rahim appears as epithetic names for Allah in the Qur'an in numerous places.
Essentially, we must understand and accept that Allah of the Islamic religion is not the same as the God of the Bible. Allah can be traced backwards through ancient Near Eastern religious history as the latest development in a series of astral and atmospheric deities in the ancient Semitic world, all the way back to very ancient Mesopotamia, the original seat of both civilization, and also idolatry. Muslims, when they worship Allah, are not worshipping the true Creator God, but are rather worshipping a false god, one whose worship is condemned in the Bible:
“...And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either, the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded.” (Deuteronomy 17:3)
"And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them all that burned offering unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.” (II Kings 23:5)
For the Muslim who wished to deny or ignore this evidence, the question is posed: Why does Islam have such a fixation with the crescent moon symbol, a symbol which is intimately and widely associated with the worship of the moon god throughout history, under whatever name, in Sumer, Akkad, Syria, Persia, Canaan, Egypt, and Arabia? Though some Muslim apologists will argue that the crescent moon symbology entered Islam very late as a result of Turkish influence in the 15th century, this is simply not the case. The physical evidence for the crescent moon as a religious symbol in Islam goes back to 75 AH (696 AD), where it is used as a symbol on Islamic coins162. Why do many mosques and other Islamic religious buildings have depictions of the crescent moon on their spires and pinnacles? Why do the flags of twelve Muslim nations (Algeria, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Comoros, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) go so far as to include this crescent moon symbol? Why is the knowledge of the timing of thehilal, the crescent moon, so important for starting the Muslim holy month of fasting, Ramadan? All the evidence points to the fact of the moon symbol being important to the early Arabs among whom the religion of Islam gradually developed, and that this pre-Islamic pagan symbol was imported into Islam, along with the rest of the ancient trappings.
For the Muslim to be free of idolatry means, ultimately, that he or she must turn from Islam, with its worship of this created god, and turn to the True Creator God of the Bible, who has said that He will not share His glory with other “gods” (Isaiah 42:8).
In short, the notion that Allah is the same as the God of the Bible, and that Allah is just the fullest revelation of God who had previously been revealed in the Torah and the Bible, must be rejected. As Caesar Farah has said in his book about Islam,
"There is no reason, therefore, to accept the idea that Allah passed to the Muslims from the Christians and Jews". 163
The God of the Bible is not the same as the Allah worshipped in Islam. Instead, the roots of Islam's deity are found in Middle Eastern mythology, and as such represent the latest manifestation of idolatry in that region, and wherever Islam has spread.



Although there are Christian interpolations, all the traditions listed here cannot be considered as the result of Christian influence, because they come from a purely Hebrew biblical instruction, which in the Balkan region has never been available for common people and much less for Roma. Almost nobody was able to read the Bible except clergy and some individuals of the privileged classes that knew Greek or Latin, the only languages in which the Bible was written in Europe in that period. The scarce Bible knowledge given to people was rather about the New Testament and tainted with traditions concerning the life or sayings of the saints of the church, not commentaries of the Scriptures like the Parashat, as these Romany stories may be considered. Therefore, it is more than likely that this tradition is much older than Roma's arrival in Europe, dating back to the first and second centuries c.e. in Mesopotamia. On the other hand, the interpretation of biblical figures is not Christian at all, but quite Jewish, with evident kabbalistic features. From this and other similar traditions it is inferred that the development of Romany spirituality is the same as that of the Israelites in exile, in which zoroastric elements contributed to their mysticism. And it is certain that the Roma did not read the Scriptures until very recently, when the Evangelical revival developed among them…
* Lilith: it is interesting to notice that there is a parallelism between "Adam's first wife" in the Jewish and Romany traditions. Both of them conceive the idea that before Eve there was another woman, who sinned against her man and was replaced by Eve - in Hebrew mythology she is called Lilith (allegedly Cain's mother), in the Romany one she has not a specific name, but is considered "Roma's mother", that having been expelled before Adam's sin that brought the consequent curse -namely, "by the sweat of your face will you eat bread"-, her descent was not affected by it. The idea of such replacement of the first woman is not found in any mythology except Jewish and Romany, and certainly not even in Christian tradition.

Stories of Bulgarian Roma  
O Bashnuvosko Dzhes (The Day of the Cock)

«Long time ago the Turkish decided to wipe out the Roma genus – no children, no boys. They went from door to door and wherever they found a boy they killed him. A woman had a three-year-old son. She wondered how to save him. She took a cock and slaughtered him. She spread the blood upon the door. The soldiers came, saw the blood on the door, and said: “They have already been here. There is no boy any more”. Thus the boy was saved. That is why we celebrate Bashnuv Day, because we, the Roma, have been always chased».
By Malina Antonova
This story is obviously a tradition about the slaughter of the Hebrew male children in Egypt by order of the Pharaoh, mixed with the tenth plague in which it was required that the Hebrews paint the doorposts and the lintel of their houses with animal blood so that the Angel of Death would pass over and not murder the firstborn. A similar tradition is the following one:
Ihtimya

«Roma people have several feasts they celebrate in a special way. One of them is Ihtimya. It is the child’s day. Whoever has a firstborn male child, he has to find a rooster and slaughter it in the morning. They spread the blood all over the gate of the house. This is a cast left by the Lord. He has said that if they do it otherwise He would strike each house where a male child has been born».
By Raziika Pamukova

Stories of Russian Roma
Prophet Elijah and the Fire

«When our ancestors lived in caravans and a lightning storm was coming, they prayed Prophet Ilija to send the thuderbolts far away from the camp, because Prophet Ilija has the command on fire. One day he was offering a sacrifice to O Del, and it began to rain so heavily that the altar got completely wet and he was not able to set fire on it. So he ordered a lightning to fall on the sacrifice and burn it, and suddenly, a flash with a noisy thunder fell on the altar and burnt the whole offer, leaving only ashes. Since then, Prophet Ilija took the command on the storms, and he made to rain when he wished, or not to rain any more until he commanded. One day he wanted to go to Heaven, and ordered a fire whirlwind to take him away, and since then, he commands the storms from Heaven. That is why our Roma since ancient times, when a storm is approaching, ask Prophet Ilija to be merciful and to send the storm away».
By Toma, a Kalderash Rom from Argentina, of the Roma that immigrated from Russia.
This story was undoubtedly originated in the Bible account about Prophet Elijah's offering (1Kings 18:35-38), his power over the rain (1Kings 17:1) and his rapture to Heaven (2Kings 2:11). Elijah was a Prophet of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, whose people was later deported by the Assyrians to Media, and from there they reached India. This is an oral tradition that was passed from generation to generation, and the relationship of Elijah as the Prophet of fire is not taught in Christian churches ‒ and Elijah has never been a common subject for sermons. This image belongs to Jewish symbolism. Let us remember that Roma had no knowledge of the written Scriptures until very recent times. The way in which Roma associate the Prophet with his power over lightning and storms is amazingly Jewish.
Roma Women and Drabarimós
«Why do Roma women go around for drabarimós? One day, O Del warned all Roma to leave their country as He was going to punish the king of the Gadje and his people. Roma elders were worried, because they had nothing for the journey. Then, O Del said: ‹You will get whatever you need for the journey if you send your wives to ask from the Gadje women jewels and clothes, and they will give them also food, because I will daze their minds and they will not deny your wives to give them whatever they ask. So you will take from them what you need to afford your wandering around the world›. This is a commandment that we have kept since old, as we have still not finished our journey...».
By Fardi, a Kalderash Rom from Argentina, of the Roma that immigrated from Russia.
Terms:
Drabarimós is the custom of going around for fortune-telling with the aim of getting some compensation in money or items.
Gadje means "non-Roma".
This story has no parallel in any tradition and not any possible source except the Scriptures: Exodus 3:21-22 and 12:35-36, in which Mosheh gave these instructions to the Hebrews under God's command. This event of the Bible is hardly heard in any Christian church, and such a detailed explanation cannot be the result of hearsay within a Christian environment.
There are many tales like these among Roma all over the world. On the contrary, there is not any oral tradition that may be traced back to any event, real or mythical, of Indian peoples.

A Legend of Roma of CamargueThe Legend of Sara Kali

One of the favourite topics of the supporters of the alleged Indo-Aryan origin of Roma is the legend of Sara kali, through which they hopelessly clutch at straws trying to find a relationship with the bloodthirsty Indian idol Kali. These scholars speculate on the name coincidence, like this:
"Sara kali was black; Kali is a black Indian goddess; therefore, Sara kali is the Indian Kali";
such reasoning is comparable to the following one:
"Elvis Presley died in Memphis; Memphis is in Egypt; therefore, Elvis Presley died in Egypt"...
No, this comparison is not an exaggeration, is quite objective, because they do not search if there is any real relationship between both Kalis, and even do not realize that the legend of Sara kali is absolutely unknown by the largest majority of Roma (that have not any similar legend). Now let us consider which is the origin of this legend, and its relationship with Roma, by quoting the oldest account ascribed to Roma that we have:

«One of our people who received the first revelation was Sara the kali. She was of noble birth and was chief of her tribe on the banks of the Rhône. She knew the secrets that had been transmitted to her... The Roma at that period practised idolatry, and once a year they took out on their shoulders the statue of Ishtari [Astarte!] and went into the sea to receive benediction there. One day Sara had visions which informed her that the saints who had been present at the death of Jesus would come, and that she must help them. Sara saw them arrive in a boat. The sea was rough, and the boat threatened to sink. Sara threw her dress on the waves and, using it as a raft, she floated towards the saints and helped them reach land».
(Franz de Ville, "Tziganes", Bruxelles, 1956).
It is interesting that Roma, not having read the Bible by that time (it was impossible, as it was written in Latin and banned from the popular reach; what is more, almost all people were illiterate, and Roma more than anybody), had knowledge of the Canaanite/Babylonian goddes Ishtar! They did not know anything aboutLakshmiParvatiIndraniAnnapurna, or any other Indian idol, but they knew Ishtar, that by the time when Roma arrived in Europe, was no longer worshipped under that name for at least a millennium! The account is trustworthy, as the name "Ishtari" cannot have been invented by the author, as the name sounds quite like a purely Romany word. Ishtar was indeed worshipped by ancient Israelites of the Northern Kingdom, those that were exiled by Assyrians and reached India. It is also remarkable the fact that Roma in those times were able to recognize that the Roman catholic religion consisted in replacing the pagan idols with the saints but keeping the same rituals, and that the worship of Mary was exactly the same one of the ancient Ishtar.
A further detail (purposely ignored) is that the character of Sara kali is completely the opposite to that of the Indian Kali, as she (Sara) is presented as a pious believer. The scholars that assert that Roma once were devotees of Kali show how they utterly ignore the Romany character: Roma would never worship a deity of death, violence and destruction! Much less when such worship involves sexual promiscuity! To ascribe such a past to Romany belief is greatly offensive towards Roma.
Another detail that is ignored is the very name of the saint: Sara, whom Roma consider to be the mother of their people. But Sara, until proved otherwise, was the mother of the Hebrew people... Oh, yes, the biased scholars may argue that Sara kali is Sarasvati - in this case, Brahma is Abraham, why not?... If one wants to find name coincidences, usually succeeds.
A further detail is that Sara kali is known only by Western-European Roma (Kalé and Sinti), while the whole Eastern Roma group knows nothing about her, and has not any equivalent legend. The first historical mention of Saint Sara dates back to 1521 c.e. (
The Legend of the Saintes-Maries, by Vincent Philippon), and tells of her as a charitable woman that helped people by collecting alms, which led to the popular belief that she was a Gypsy. By that time, Roma were in that region since more than a century. They adopted Sara as their saint because they found in her a common character, and because her name was the one they recognized as that of their ancestress. As the saint was dark-skinned, they called her "e kali", that is, "the black" ‒ it is not a name, but an attribute! When Roma arrived in Europe, they were already Christian. Where did they learn about Sara, Ishtar and Jesus? In muslim-occupied territories? How would they come to know such things, on the way from India through the whole muslim world, until they reached Europe?
Other traditions concerning the origin of the legend of Sara kali are that she was an Egyptian maid of two women called Mary (the "Saintes Maries") that were among the followers of Jesus or else relatives of his mother, and that allegedly reached the Camargue by sea.
Whatever be the origin of this legend, it always leads to the Holy Land, not to India, and has not any common feature with the Indian Kali as some scholars try to demonstrate with unlikely theories.
 



All false religion comes from the religions created at the Tower of Babel by Nimrod. As God confused the languages for their rebellion and scattered these peoples , the oral traditions morphed and grew into all the heresy's today that is in opposition to the One True God of the Holy Bible. From apostate Hebrew false religion/secret-societies come the religion of Beng & Halla: The Beng, name that originally meant a frog, is the evil force, quite like AnghraMainyu of Mazdeism, but with typically Hebrew characteristics: the fact that "he goes down to the depth of the great river" identifies him with Leviathan (Isaiah 27:1), a biblical figure of Satan. The serpent "Sherkano" is the Beng himself, and has a female counterpart that coincides with Lilith* of Hebrew tradition (Isaiah 34:14), who was also in Eden. Not only this, but also her name "Halla" recalls that of "Helel" (Isaiah 14:12 - Hebrew), that is indeed the female name of "Satan". 
helel: a shining one
Original Word: הֵילֵל
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: helel
Phonetic Spelling: (hay-lale')
Short Definition: morning
Word Origin
from halal
Definition
a shining one.. ..Halla the serpent's wife is worshiped as moon-goddess. The Muslim Crescent Moon with moring star/shining one... is the Serpent/Satan and wife halla....halla spelled backwards is Allah!
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