69 million page views

dhimmi no more

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: For our dear Ibrahim Ali and Who is really Allah

Submitted by Ibrahim Ali (United Kingdom), May 17, 2007 at 12:10

Sorry our dear Ibrahim Ali but it seems that the Islamic sources tell us that he is indeed Hubal

In the battle of Uhud, the distinction between the followers of Allah and the followers of Hubal is made clear by the statements of Prophet Muhammad and Abu Sufyan. Ibn Hisham narrates in the biography of the Prophet:

When Abu Sufyan wanted to leave he went to the top of the mountain and shouted loudly saying, 'You have done a fine work; victory in war goes by turns. Today in exchange for the day (of Badr). Show your superiority, Hubal,' i.e. vindicate your religion. The apostle told ‘Umar to get up and answer him and say, God [Allah] is most high and most glorious. We are not equal. Our dead are in paradise; your dead are in hell.

The same incident is narrated in Sahih of al-Bukhari with a slightly different wording (also see here).

Abu Sufyan ascended a high place and said, "Is Muhammad present amongst the people?" The Prophet said, "Do not answer him." Abu Sufyan said, "Is the son of Abu Quhafa present among the people?" The Prophet said, "Do not answer him." Abu Sufyan said, "Is the son of Al-Khattab amongst the people?" He then added, "All these people have been killed, for, were they alive, they would have replied." On that, 'Umar could not help saying, "You are a liar, O enemy of Allah! Allah has kept what will make you unhappy." Abu Sufyan said, "Superior may be Hubal!" On that the Prophet said (to his companions), "Reply to him." They asked, "What may we say?" He said, "Say: Allah is More Elevated and More Majestic!" Abu Sufyan said, "We have (the idol) al-‘Uzza, whereas you have no ‘Uzza!" The Prophet said (to his companions), "Reply to him." They said, "What may we say?" The Prophet said, "Say: Allah is our Helper and you have no helper."

Patricia Crone made an argument concerning Wellhausen's suggestion that Allah might simply be another name for Hubal. Commenting on the Islamic tradition she says:

One would have to fall back on the view that Allah might simply be another name for Hubal, as Wellhausen suggested; just as the Israelites knew Yahwe as Elohim, so the Arabs knew Hubal as Allah, meaning "God". It would follow that the guardians of Hubal and Allah were identical; and since Quraysh were not guardians of Hubal, they would not be guardians of Allah, either... When ‘Abd al-Mutallib is described as having prayed to Allah while consulting Hubal's arrow, it is simply that the sources baulk at depicting the Prophet's grandfather as a genuine pagan, not that Allah and Hubal were alternative names of the same god. If Hubal and Allah had been one and the same deity, Hubal ought to have survived as an epithet of Allah, which he did not. And moreover there would not have been traditions in which people are asked to renounce the one for the other.

F. E. Peters makes a clear distinction between Hubal and Allah on the basis that the former was a newcomer and the Quraysh adopted Hubal to further their political alliance with the surrounding tribe of Kinana.

Or, to put the question more directly, was Hubal rather than Allah, "Lord of the Ka‘ba"? Probably not, else the Qur'an, which makes no mention of Hubal, would certainly have mentioned the contention. Hubal was, by the Arabs' own tradition, a newcomer to both Mecca and Ka‘ba, an outsider introduced by the ambitious ‘Amr ibn Luhayy, and the tribal token around which the Quraysh later attempted to construct a federation with the surrounding Kinana, whose chief deity Hubal was. Hubal was introduced into the Ka‘ba but he never supplanted the god Allah, whose House it continued to be.

"Will ye call upon Baal and forsake the Best of Creators,- 37:125


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)