Pray to a Moon-god
Facts About Allah, Worship & Hajj in Islam
"What do we say to someone who reads an article on the web attacking Islam & the people trying to share Islam?
Like 'Why do Muslims pray to a black stone (or black box) in the desert?'
Many misunderstandings and misconceptions today confuse even our Muslim youth. This is true even regarding the way we believe in our Lord, our Creator - our God - Allah.
Harsh Questions with lies about Allah & God in ISLAM:
1. Why do Muslims pray to a black cube in the desert in Mecca!
(Answer - Muslims do not pray to anything or anyone, except Allah)
2. Why do they kiss a black rock haning on the black cube!
(Answer - Not because we think it is Allah)
3. How come they do a pilgrimage (Hajj) like some kind of pagan ritual!
(Answer - These rituals are from Abraham and Ishmael, even before Jewish times)
4. Why do they pray to a "moon-god" idol - actually inside the cube building (kabah)?
(Answer - There is no 'idol' - or anything else for that matter - inside the kabbah)
More Answers ~
Begin by following the
"Way of Dawah"
by Yusuf Estes:
Be polite and kind and offer to sit together over tea or coffee to have a nice discussion about this subject. Then begin by saying,
1. "Thank you, for asking about my religion"
Smile & be calm in a soft, pleasent voice to avoid harsh statements and hard feelings.
2. "Islam has two important points for providing answers to questions":
A. Truth - we are not permitted to lie, this means Hell Fire to us and is not something taken lightly by Muslims.
B. Proof - The evidence for Islam is in two parts:
Only the Quran in the original Arabic language
Only the authenticated teachings and sayings of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, are considered as authorative references for answers to anything about Islam.
Examine the samples of our evidence [Below]
3. "You see, everything in Islam has been accurately documented and preserved for over 1,400 years and preserved in the hearts and minds of those who have consistantly memorized it all, word for word and passed it on in the same manner."
4. "Even if someone tells a lie about Islam, or tries to change Islam in some way, it is easy enough to prove what Islam really teaches as we can refer to the original sources at any time, which we intend to demonstrate in our answers for you now.
5. There are some important facts, long established as part and parcel of Islam, without which a person could not be a Muslim. These essentials will help you in understanding the concept of Islam and the behavior of Muslims much better and could help you in providing answers to any questions about Islam.
There are three additional items that we find are very effective in presenting answers and helping a non-Muslim to wake-up to the beauty of Islam:
ANSWER CONTINUES ~
"O.K. Now we can get started on your question about who it is Muslim worship and how we do it"
"We've already understand Muslims worship only One God - no partners or gods beside God. This is the same as the first Commandment in the Old Testament, book of Exodus, chapter 20 - in the Ten Commandments: "Thou shall not have any other gods besides Me (God)".
[for more details give the link: www.GodAllah.com]
"Let's begin by taking a closer look at your questions. Go ahead, what would you like to ask?"
1. What is the black cube-shapped building (Ka'bah) in the sanctuary in Makkah?
Let us examine closely the square-structured Ka'bah (The Holy House) at Mecca, in Arabia, wherein in its Eastern corner lies the Black Stone set up chest-high. Every pilgrim in Mecca would like to kiss it from the time they arrive there. This action marks the start of the act of Tawaf.
The word "Tawaf" is an Arabic infinitive noun which means to circle, compass or move around something. A pilgrim has to circle the Ka'bah seven times, to complete Tawaf. Each one of the seven rounds begins by kissing, if possible, or by simply pointing at the Black Stone.
The Black Stone thus, serves to mark the start of each round. Tawaf is one of the integral parts of Pilgrimage (Hajj), which is also performed, as a separate act of worship at any time. Thus we find the Ka'bah continually being circled by people day and night.
Let us examine, for instance, the words of God's Oneness, which the pilgrim mentions all throughout his Hajj and especially while going around the ka'bah (we will use English letters for transliteration of the Arabic):Labbaik Allah humma labbaik - (Here I am O Lord!)
Labbaik Allah humma labbaik! Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik - Innal hamda - Wan-ni'mata - Laka walmulk - Laa sharika lak.
O my Lord, here I am at Your service, here I am.
There is no partner with You. Here I am.
Truly the praise and the provisions are Yours,
and so is the Dominion and Sovereignty.
No partners (or false gods) with You.
It is the same step at the beginning eof his tawaf (going around the building) to say,
"In the Name of Allah, Most Great, believing in You, confirming Your Book, fulfilling Your Command and following the way of Your prophet Muhammad!"
In this way the tawaf is done only for the sake of the Supreme God of the universe (Allah), and never in the name of any other god, nor for the black stone, as some people claim.
Worship in Islam can only be for Allah and no one or nothing else.
The act of kissing the stone or pointing toward it while going aorund the ka'bah is nothing more than following the tradition of the prophet himself, who explained it was not the stone or the moon or anything else that was to be worshipped.
Instead, all of our worship, devotion and thanksgiving must be only for Almighty God (Allah).
GLORIFYING THE ONE GOD
Find out, how the pilgrim goes on glorifying Allah the most High, while performing the rounds, with these beautiful sayings: "Glory be to Allah! All Praise be to Allah! There is no deity save God. Allah is Most Great! There is no might, nor power, except by Allah's Help."
A Monotheist (believer in one god) holds these sublime prayers far more valuable than the earth's entire riches. With these, he praises his One and Only Lord, as he circles a spot made Holy by the presence of His House. Is there any remotest trace of Polytheism (multi-god worship) or Idolatry in such an act?
As he has left all his worldly affairs behind, the pilgrim, besides praising Allah, also goes on praying for his worldly betterment, in between. Here is his all-embracing prayer to Allah, the Benevolent: "O Allah! make me content with my appointed lot, and bless me therein. And make good to me all, my losses and needs."
THE TWO-WORLD PRAYER
COULD A STONE BE GOD?
Consider this, when the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, finally gained access to his homeland after being forced out for over a decade, the first and only thing he did was to remove and destroy the 360 idols and statues that had dominated the area for centuries. After destroying all of these fake 'gods' the prophet and his companions made sure to communicate to the next generations after them, to worship only the One God who cannot be contained in a box or a stone or for that matter, anywhere in the universe. This is similiar to what we still find today in the Bible for both Jews and Christians, when King Solomon dedicated his temple to God, saying "The heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you, how much less this house we have built with human hands?"
There is no graven image for the pilgrims to worship in the ka'bah, or in the haram (sanctuary) nor anywhere on this earth. Muslims only worship God, as One. Worshipping anything or anyone other than Allah - is the most heinous and blasphemous crime in Islam.
In light of what the Quran has stated, worshipping anything instead of Almighty God, or making partners in worship by praying through something like a rock, a stick, a stone, a bone or anything else in the universe, would be the last thing any One-God worshipper (Muslim) could ever imagine.
A stone is just a mere rock after all. It has no power whatsoever to do good or inflict harm to any one, apart from Allah, the Sole Deity of mankind. That is a thing cherished either knowingly, ignorantly or figuratively - by those who take to stone-worship instead of God-worship, a belief and practice as unholy as it is senseless.
This is why the Black Stone becomes a mystery to such people, and so, some out of ignorance openly lie by saying Muhammad (Peace be upon him) broke every Idol in Islam except one - meaning the Ka'bah, or the Black Stone. Even some unwitting Muslims got confused about the Black Stone. It was then when 'Umar the second Caliph, removed any doubt from their minds.
Umar made it clear to everyone about the black stone, while going around the ka'bah, he came up to the corner where the black stone is mounted and leaned down toward it and said, "Undoubtly, I know you are nothing but a stone and you can not harm nor benefit anyone. If I had not seen the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, kiss you, I would not kiss you." (Narrated by 'Abis bin Rabi'a in Sahih Al Bukhari, page 396, no. 808 - Summarized version in English)
So when he came to kiss the Stone, he cried out publicly to it: Narrated 'Abis bin Rabi'a: 'Umar (May Allah be pleased
The father and the son, true believers in the One God and submitting to Him on His terms (Muslims), were in this way raising the foundations with trembling hearts, for the Muslims are Allah's most devoted servants, ever fearful of his displeasure. While building the Ka'bah, therefore, both of them were afraid that Allah may not accept their humble service, hence that prayer of theirs. How touching of such fidelity, how moving of such humility towards Allah the Great! It is the essence of Monotheism, the ideal pattern of Faith and Actions great and small for all Muslims to follow. When raised to a certain height, Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) ordered his son to choose a piece of stone to mark the main cornerpoint. Even as the lad was searching for it, the Archangel Gabriel appeared with the Black Stone from Heaven.
Thereupon Allah taught them through revelation the pilgrimage rites, which includes the Tawaf.
Keep in mind thousands, hundreds of thousands and even sometimes millions of people are all going around the ka'bah at the same time. Not only is unlikely for a person to kiss or touch the stone, in many cases you can not even see the stone due to the distance away from the ka'bah. This is very normal and when this is the case, a simple gesture toward the direction of the northeast corner of the building with the outstretched palm of the hand is sufficient.
The pilgrim begins at this corner and can kiss or touch the stone if the crowd is not too heavy, otherwise he can simply point toward it and say, "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar!" (In the Name of Allah! Allah is Greatest!"
This would signify the beginnig of the first of the seven rounds, and each time he passes by he may either kiss, touch or just signal toward it with his hand.
After keeping it there for twenty years, they had returned it back to Mecca in the year 339 AH (see shorter Encyclopedia Leiden 1953, P. 219). In such an event, the Shari'ah (Law) maintains that the pilgrim shall perform his Tawaf without the Black stone. Instead of the Black Stone, the pilgrim shall touch its place at the corner of the Ka'bah, or point at its spot, and continue his Tawaf. Thus the total absence of the Stone itself makes no difference in the validity of the Tawaf and the Pilgrimage. This shows how tiny a part is being played by this stone. How ignorant of others and how childish, therefore, sounds the charge that it is the "most Precious Idol preserved by Islam"!
The idol and its worship simply do not exist. The Bible is kissed in law courts; does that mean then that it is worshipped? Moreover, parents kiss their children lovingly, without any trace of worship in it at all.
A big question-mark that should come to one's mind are the pre-Islamic Arab idolaters who had held the Ka'bah under their control. With all their polytheism and idolatry, they too used to circle the Ka'bah and kiss the Black Stone. Had their kissing been an act of idol- worship, why then was there still a need for them-despite the presence of the "almighty" Black Stone-to install three hundred and sixty idols therein? This proves beyond a shadow of doubt that it is one thing to kiss the Black Stone under Divine Orders, and quite another to worship a stone or an idol. Most notable, perhaps, is the fact that One-God worshippers do nothing beyond simply kissing the Black Stone. They neither venerate it with folded hands, nor kneel down, nor prostrate themselves, nor squat before it. For all these is done only by idol-worshippers before their idols.
It was these rank idolaters who had injected pagan rites into the purely Islamic Pilgrimage laid down by Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), one of the greatest worshippers of God. All honor is due to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the seal of the Prophets and the last of Abraham's (Peace be upon him) line of Prophethood, who first swept clean the Holy Ka'bah from its heathen idols. It was he again who restored the original pilgrimage to its pristine purity.
The Muslims, are in fact the true followers of the Religion of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), the grand-father of Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him), where pilgrimage to Mecca is a notable heritage as well as an important fixture of the religion. How different could these facts be from the Non-Muslims' random conjecture?
Abraham (Peace be upon him) is being himself ordained in this verse to keep perfectly away from idolatry. He is being told, as well, to sanctify the House of God from all kinds of impurities, especially from that of idol-worship. Then follows the two-fold purpose for which that House was being built. First, is its being the center of Tawaf for those who compass it round, and its being the prayer-place for those who pray therein their daily Prayers second. This is as much as to say that the Tawaf and the Pilgrimage do depend upon the house of God, as much as do the prayers. For this reason all those who pray all the world over do turn in the one direction of the Ka'bah at Mecca. After being ordained to build and sanctify God's Ka'bah, Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him) receives in the next verse the command to proclaim the Pilgrimage to the Ka'bah, in this manner:
That definitely proves that it was Abraham (Peace be upon him) who built the Ka'bah, and that it was also he who proclaimed the Pilgrimage, facts that should equally refute the oft-repeated allegation put forth that pilgrimage was some pagan rite invented by the heathen idolaters, and retained by Islam.
HIGHLIGHT OF PILGRIMAGE
Initiated by Abraham (Peace be upon him), and reflected by the Seal of the Prophets, Pilgrimage to the House of God is a unique experience to every true Muslim. For a "Muslim" is essentially the one who shifts from the false to the true Religion - from disbelief to Belief in God, and from multi-god to One-God worship. This trait made Abraham (Peace be upon him) a "Perfect" Muslim when he entered the Pantheon at Babylon, and smashed the idols therein to pieces. Allah entrusted him with building His House at Mecca, and tasked him to proclaim the Pilgrimage to it.
Henceforth, Pilgrimage to the House of God becomes the most predominant trait of being a Muslim. A haven of absolute freedom, and a sanctuary of perfect peace and security, this Holy Mosque is the only spot on earth set up by Allah for one and all the people alike, without any distinction. It is the House of God wherein all men are equal, none being entitled to own it exclusively. This is told in these words of Allah:
The message of this Surah named "The Pilgrimage" (Chapter 22, verses 26-27) itself, is describing the construction of the Ka'bah and its sanctification, it being the focal point of Tawaf as well as the center of Prayers. Thus, the incumbency of Pilgrimage to this "first house of One-God worship", etc. Verses 28-37, do contain the basic elements of the Monotheistic religion of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), wherein one of the main objectives emphasized is the need to celebrate the Name of Allah Alone over the animal-whether ordinarily slaughtered, or offered as sacrifices to Allah, as against those offered to the idolaters' idols, as evidenced particularly by verses 28, 30, 34, 36 and 37. "Avoiding the abomination of idols", and "neglecting the word that is false" (telling and witnessing falsehood), these two cardinal sins, have been specially prohibited in Verse 30.
The crowning message of unparalleled importance is the commandment: "Hunafa' Lillah (i.e. to worship none but Allah), not associating partners (in worship, etc.) unto Him...", which is the soul and the heart of Monotheism (one-God worship), and the annihilator of all Polytheism (multi-god worship).
This last, but not the least message, is the essence of Pilgrimage, as also the topmost concern and happiness of every Muslim. The Meccan idolaters too, used to perform the Pilgrimage, calling themselves thereby as "Hanifs" (followers of Abraham).
Therefore, Muslims are being told to perform the Pilgrimage, and call themselves as "Hanifs" but with this difference: "Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him". Thus the sublime Truths, the essence of the creed: "There is no deity save God", seem to be beyond the comprehension of idol-worshippers, all over the world, and in all ages.
Prayers are an obligatory duty upon every Muslim. This is why every Muslim anywhere around the world turns towards Allah, facing in the direction of the Ka'bah five times daily. Of course, the Ka'bah is for outward direction to face in one's prayers, though inwardly, one faces his entire heart, to the Lord of the Worlds Himself. In this manner, Muslims are so intimately related to the Ka'bah through their Pilgrimage and Prayers, till the last moment of their lives. Not only this, but every Muslim is made to face the direction of the Ka'bah when breathing his last. Nay, even after death he is buried in his last resting place, i.e. in the grave, so that he faces the same direction of the Ka'bah.
And this forms the only straight path, that is the religion of our father Abraham, peace be upon him, as referred to in verse 161.
On the whole, the Hajj is a unique annual gathering of its own kind.
Muslims from all around the world come together to worship in true monotheism, the one-God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, David, Solomon and of course Muhammad, peace be upon all of them.
These people are putting aside any differences of race, color or social status.
They all gather in the ancient city of Mecca to glorify the One Lord of all creation.
Incidentally, this gathering has always provided the chance for dedicated and serious minded people around the world to share in ways to learn of difficulties and problems concerning religious, social, political and family issues concerning all of us around the world and how best to aid each other in solutions.
This has been going on now for hundreds and hundreds of years.
All these manifold benefits are hinted at in the words:
That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days, over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.
The Hajj (pilgrimage) we see, is not a pagan ritual for Muslims, rather it is the fulfillment of an incumbent duty regarding the worship of the One and Only God (Allah).
This is not even a topic of consideration for Muslims. This is a ridiculous claim of a few self-styled "experts" on Islam who know what they are claiming is outlandish and far away from the truth. Read the details for yourself and remember, "Muslims can't lie - or they go to Hell."
INVITATION TO NON-MUSLIMS
So, instead of regarding the Hajj (pilgrimage) duty as a pagan rite, why not consider their own age-old idolatry, and accept and follow the religion of our father Abraham?
The time has arrived for these very people to proclaim of their own free will, "There is no God Worthy of worship except Almighty God!"
And we pray to Almighty God, asking Him to guide them and let them preform the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House of God at Mecca! And offer their prayers regularly facing towards that same House!