Tag Archive: muhammad


This was eye opening for me in terms of how crucial the role of women played in the development of early Christianity and Islam – names of women I had never heard of before (Empress Theodora, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Aisha bint Abu Bakr).  I truly wish their stories and accounts were taught along side that of their male counterparts – that their names were as well known and considered “common knowledge”; but those in power tried to slander, bury and stamp them out for a reason…to demote their significance and thus the social status of women.  “Forget or ignore them, and we impoverish history and ourselves.”

“Programme Three explores a missed ‘golden age’ for women, when historical characters such as the Empress Theodora in Byzantium, Wu Zetien in China (the Empress who called herself Emperor), the early women of Islam and Anglo-Saxon Hilda of Whitby, used the power of ancient traditions and new ideas about religion and philosophy to wield influence in a man’s world – notably through the power of reform, education and the word. We look at evidence through the Byzantine Empire, early Islam, in China, Northumbria and Oxford.”

 

Goddess Al-Lat

“Virgo” by Josephine Wall

“Al-Lat’s themes are religious devotion, meditation, purity, home, justice and children. Her symbols are the moon, silver, and white stones.  A Persian and Arabian moon Goddess, Al-Lat is the feminine form of Allah. Post-Islamic writings banished Her name from holy books, but Her presence remained behind as a domestic guardian, the giver of children and protectess of all good and just deeds.

Around this time of year, Muslims observe Ramadan and begin a time of abstinence to purify themselves and honor their sacred book, the Qu’ran. During this fast, people are instructed to look within and rededicate their hearts to the tenets of their faith. To do this and also honor Al-Lat, fast for this day if physically feasible. Or, just abstain from one well-loved food or beverage for the day and study your own sacred text(s). Pray to Al-Lat for insight into the deeper meanings of the words. Write down any osbervations in a journal so Al-Lat’s presence will inspire good deeds and positive action for many years to come.

To attract Al-Lat’s protective energies into your home, grasp four white items (coral and moonstone are excellent choices), saying,

‘Within these _________of white,
Al-Lat, place your protective light.
Where’er these _________s are placed around,
your safety and presence shall abound.’

Put these as close as possible to the four directional points of the area that needs guardian power.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Evening Wind” by Aaron Paquette

Patricia Monaghan explains that “in Arabic, Allah means ‘god.’ Similarly, Al-Lat means simply ‘Goddess,’ the supreme reality in female form.  Al-Lat is a mythic figure of great antiquity, one of the trinity of desert Goddesses named in the Koran, Al-Uzza and Menat being the others.  Like the Greek Demeter, Al-Lat represented the earth and its fruits; it follows that She also ruled human generation.

Al-Lat was worshiped at Ta’if near Mecca in the form of a great uncut block of white granite, which Her worshipers addressed as ‘My Lady’ or Rusa (‘good fortune’).  Women were required to appear before Her naked and circle the sacred rock; if these conditions were met, the Goddess would grant all requests.  Solid as the earth She represented, Al-Lat was considered unshakable and immovable.  Thus Her people swore their most solemn oaths by Her, with the following words: ‘By the salt, by the fire, and by Al-Lat who is the greatest of all” (p. 41).

“Al’Uzza, Allat and Menat, the Triple Goddesses of Arabia” by Thalia Took

Thalia Took tells us that “Al-Lat, whose name is a contraction of al-Illahat, ‘the Goddess’, is mentioned by Herodotus as Alilat, whom he identifies with Aphrodite. She is sometimes also equated with Athene, and is called ‘the Mother of the Gods’, or ‘Greatest of All’. She is a Goddess of Springtime and Fertility, the Earth-Goddess who brings prosperity. She and Al-Uzza were sometimes confused, and it seems that as one gained in popularity in one area the other’s popularity diminished. The sun in Arabia was called Shams and considered feminine, and may represent an aspect of Al-Lat. She had a sanctuary in the town of Ta’if, east of Mecca, and was known from Arabia to Iran. Her symbol is the crescent moon (sometimes shown with the sun disk resting in its crescent), and the gold necklace She wears is from a pendant identified to Her. As a Fertility-Goddess She bears a sheaf of wheat; and in Her hand She holds a small lump of frankincense, as Her emblem is found carved on many incense-holders.” [1]

According to Wikipedia, “in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian Goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal. She was reportedly also venerated in Carthage under the name Allatu.

The Goddess occurs in early Safaitic graffiti (Safaitic han-‘Ilāt ‘the Goddess’) and the Nabataeans of Petra and the people of Hatra also worshipped Her, equating Her with the Greek Athena and Tyche and the Roman Minerva. She is frequently called ‘the Great Goddess’ in Greek in multi-lingual inscriptions.  According to Wellhausen, the Nabataeans believed al-Lāt was the mother of Hubal (and hence the mother-in-law of Manāt).

Allat-Minerva from As-Suwayda, Syria (National Museum of Damascus)

 

The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, considered Her the equivalent of Aphrodite:

‘The Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta, the Arabians Alilat, and the Persians Mitra. In addition that deity is associated with the Indian deity Mitra (Vedic). The Persian and Indian deity were developed from the proto-indo-iranian deity known as mitra.’

According to Herodotus, the ancient Arabians believed in only two gods:

‘They believe in no other gods except Dionysus and the Heavenly Aphrodite; and they say that they wear their hair as Dionysus does his, cutting it round the head and shaving the temples. They call Dionysus, Orotalt; and Aphrodite, Alilat.’

 

 

 

 

 

In the Qur’an, She is mentioned along with al-‘Uzzá and Manāt in Sura 53: 19–23. The tribe of ʿād of Iram of the Pillars is also mentioned in Sura 895–8, and archaeological evidence from Iram shows copious inscriptions devoted to Her for the protection of a tribe by that name.

Al-lāt is also explicitly attested from early Islamic records discussing the pre-Islamic period. According to the Book of Idols (Kitāb al-ʾAṣnām) by Hishām ibn al-Kalbi, the pre-Islamic Arabs believed Al-lāt resided in the Kaʿbah and also had an idol inside the sanctuary:{{quote|Her custody was in the hands of the Banū Attāb ibn Mālik of the Thaqīf, who had built an edifice over Her. The Quraysh, as well as all the Arabs, venerated al-Lāt. They also used to name their children after her, calling them Zayd al-Lāt and Taym al-Lāt. […] Al-Lāt continued to be venerated until the Thaqīf embraced Islam, when the Apostle of God dispatched al-Mughīrah ibn-Shu‘bah, who destroyed her and burnt Her temple to the ground.

The shrine and temple dedicated to al-Lat in Taif, was demolished by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, on the orders of Muhammad, during the Expedition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, this occurred in the same year as the Battle of Tabuk (which occurred in October 630 AD). Muhammad sent Abu Sufyan with a group armed men to destroy the Idol al-Lat (also referred to as al-Tagiyyah) that was worshipped by the citizens of Taif.  The destruction of the idol was a demand by Muhammad before any reconciliation could take place with the citizens of Taif who were under constant attack and suffering from a blockade by the Banu Hawazin, led by Malik, a convert to Islam who promised to continue the war against the citizens of the city which was started by Muhammad in the Siege of Taif.” [2]

Bas-relief: Nemesis, Allāt and the dedicator (Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon)

Now, what’s interesting is that Muhammad himself commanded his followers to offer prayers to these “Allah’s daughters” (Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Menat).  He later retracted it and blamed it on the Devil after supposedly receiving a revelation from God that the verses should be removed and was “comforted by God” after doing so.  It is important to note that such “after the fact corrective revelations” are very common with cults, using the old time excuse, “The devil made me do it”. [3]

To me, this is nothing more than another example of the patriarchy showing it’s true colors: demanding the rejection and destruction of the Great Mother and forcing Her underground in an attempt to elevate their mighty sky god in order to dominate and control the populace; using tactics such as war – causing suffering and death – to convert and force their religion on the people in order to achieve their own selfish and manipulative means.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Brother Andrew. http://www.bible.ca, “Islamic roots of polytheism: Allah’s Daughters: Lat, Uzza, and Manat “.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Al-Lat”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Arab Triple Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Al-lāt“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Arabianwomen.nielsonpi.com, “Women in the Ancient Arabia and the Middle East“.

Benel. Al-muqaddasarabianblog.blogspot.com, “Deity: Allat”.

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “al-Lāt“.

Isidorus. The Pomegranate Seeds Discussions, Q’re, the Maiden“.

Nabataea.net, “Nabataean Pantheon“.

 

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