Rich Muslims More Likely to Support Terrorism than Poor Muslims


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In the “official worldview”, terrorism is a product of deprivation. The old, “They’re depraved on account of being deprived” cliche. The reality is that’s a myth.

Terrorism not only has nothing to do with poverty, it’s a hobby for the Muslim middle and upper classes. (Gates of Vienna)

Not a single study could make a cogent case that terrorism had economic roots. This lack of evidence culminated in a recent review of the literature by Martin Gassebner and Simon Luechinger of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute.

The authors estimated 13.4 million different equations, drew on 43 different studies and 65 correlates of terrorism to conclude that higher levels of poverty and illiteracy are not associated with greater terrorism. In fact, only the lack of civil liberties and high population growth could predict high terrorism levels accurately.

So does this relation also hold for Pakistan? It appears so. Christine Fair from Georgetown University documents a similar phenomenon for Pakistan. By utilising data on 141 killed militants, she finds that militants in Pakistan are recruited from middle-class and well-educated families. This is further corroborated by Graeme Blair and others at Princeton University.

They too find evidence of a higher support base of terrorism from those who are relatively wealthy in Pakistan. In a robust survey of 6,000 individuals across Pakistan, it is found that the poor are actually 23 times more averse to extremist violence relative to middle-class citizens.

This should not come as a surprise. Left wing terrorists were also largely drawn from the middle and upper classes. Lenin’s father was a nobleman. Castro’s father owned a plantation.

The reason why Islamic terrorism is so often conflated with poverty is because the left insists on justifying it and willfully ignoring its true causes and agendas.

Like any nationalist or ideological movement, Islamism is not out to remedy some occupation or oppression. It is out to impose a theoretical notion of how things should run developed by its leaders on everyone else by force. This isn’t resistance, it’s tyranny.

We’ve already seen how in Egypt and Tunisia, the revolutions of the Arab Spring gave way to even worse forms of oppression. This is how it always works in such revolutions.

My own work too comes to a similar conclusion. Exploiting the econometric concept of Granger causality and drawing on data from 1973-2010 in Pakistan, I document a one-way causality running from terrorism to GDP, investments and exports.

The results indicated that higher incidence of terrorism reduced GDP, investments and exports. However, higher GDP, exports and investment did not reduce terrorism.

The bottom line: when the economy was not doing well, terrorism did not increase and vice versa.

That should be obvious considering that the Middle East’s core of terrorism is  in oil rich Muslim countries who have the wealth and leisure to plot terrorism and global domination.

To understand what causes terrorism, one need not ask how much of a population is illiterate or in abject poverty. Rather one should ask who holds strong enough political views to impose them through terrorism.

One thought on “Rich Muslims More Likely to Support Terrorism than Poor Muslims

  1. MOHAMMEDANS ARE MAD & POSSESSED BY JINNS ARAB PAGAN WORSHIP In any case, in any religion, worshippers differ widely from one another in their mental conceptions. Doubtless the more simple believed the block of stone to contain magic powers, while the more sophisticated worshippers prayed to the invisible spirit, which perhaps dwelt in the tree or stone. Certainly many Arabs believed that a blessing could be obtained by kissing, touching, or rubbing a sacred object. It is, incidentally, worthy of note that religions of this kind have often been compatible with very high standards of culture. The philosophy of Plato, studied for centuries by pious Christians, was produced under polytheism. Suetonius tells us that Augustus, having lost some ships in a storm, revenged himself on Neptune by refusing to allow his statue to be carried in procession with those of the other gods at the public games. Yet, for centuries, a polite education in Christian Europe involved profound and reverent study of the age of Augustus. In 330, some three centuries before Muhammad, Christianity had, for the first time, been officially tolerated in the Roman Empire. The conversion of the Arabs of the Syrian desert began at about the same time. In 375, Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. Although most of the Arab tribes of the Syrian desert became nominal Christians, however, their new religion seems to have been little more than skin deep. It was doubtless difficult for a people who held such strong views on the honourable duty of revenge to absorb the spirit of a religion which commanded them to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek to aggressors. Unfortunately, in 420, a monk called Nestorius preached a new interpretation of the Incarnation, which was condemned as heretical by the Council of Ephesus in 431. As a result, the Nestorian Christians migrated in considerable numbers to Persia, where they established themselves chiefly in the Euphrates valley as far south as the head of the Persian Gulf. A few years later, another monk, called Eutyches, preached another interpretation, which was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The followers of Eutyches were known as Monophysites, The majority of the people of Egypt and eastern Syria became Monophysitcs, the official faith of the Byzantine Empire being the Orthodox. Judaism was also widely scattered. Iraq had retained a considerable Israelite population since the Babylonian captivity, some six centuries before Christ. Many of the oases of the western side of Arabia held communities who practised Judaism, though these appear to have been converted Arabs rather than descendants of the Children of Israel. In brief, in the sixth century after Christ, the majority of the people of Arabia were still pagans, but monotheism was spreading steadily. The time was ripe for the Arabs to abandon their superstitions in favour of a more spiritual and monotheistic conception of God. History of the Islamic Peoples, Carl Brockelmann, p 8-10 “The religion of the Arabs, as well as their political life, was on a thoroughly primitive level…In particular the Semites regarded trees, caves, springs, and large stones as being inhabited by spirits; like the Black Stone of Islam in a corner of the Ka’bah at Mecca, in Petra and other places in Arabia stones were venerated also…Every tribe worshipped its own god, but also recognized the power of other tribal gods in their own sphere…Three goddesses in particular had elevated themselves above the circle of the inferior demons. The goddess of fate, al-Manat, corresponding to the Tyche Soteira of the Greeks, though known in Mecca, was worshipped chiefly among the neighboring Bedouin tribes of the Hudhayl. Allat—”the Goddess,” who is Taif was called ar-Rabbah, “the Lady,” and whom Herodotus equates with Urania—corresponded to the great mother of the gods, Astarte of the northern Semites; al-‘Uzza, “the Mightiest,” worshipped in the planet Venus, was merely a variant form… In addition to all these gods and goddesses the Arabs, like many other primitive peoples, believed in a God who was creator of the world, Allah, whom the Arabs did not, as has often been thought, owe to the Jews and Christians…The more the significance of the cult declined, the greater became the value of a general religious temper associated with Allah. Among the Meccans he was already coming to take the place of the old moon-god Hubal as the lord of the Ka’bah…Allah was actually the guardian of contracts, though at first these were still settled at a special ritual locality and so subordinate to the supervision of an idol. In particular he was regarded as the guardian of the alien guest, though consideration for him still lagged behind duty to one’s kinsmen.” (History of the Islamic Peoples, Carl Brockelmann, p 8-10) Southern Arabia, Carleton S. Coon, Washington DC, Smithsonian, 1944, p 398 “Muslims are notoriously loathe to preserve traditions of earlier paganism and like to garble what pre-Islamic history they permit to survive in anachronistic terms” (Southern Arabia, Carleton S. Coon, Washington DC, Smithsonian, 1944, p 398) The god Il or Ilah was originally a phase of the Moon God, but early in Arabian history the name became a general term for god, and it was this name that the Hebrews used prominently in their personal names, such as Emanuel, Israel, etc., rather than the Bapal of the northern semites proper, which was the Sun. Similarly, under Mohammed’s tutelage, the relatively anonymous Ilah became Al-Ilah, The God, or Allâh, the Supreme Being. (Southern Arabia, Carleton S. Coon, Washington, D.C. Smithsonian, 1944, p.399) (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492) 2. THE JAHILIYAH PERIOD, A.D. c.525-622 FROM the Muslim point of view the entire time prior to the rise of Islam was jahiliyah. This word appears several times in the Qur’an and is variously translated “Time of Ignorance” or “Paganism.” Finding such a designation not altogether appropriate to the relatively advanced civilizations hitherto discussed, the modern historian is inclined to limit the word to the century just before the establishment of Islam. The chief feature of Arabian life at this time was the return to nomadism.` In the south the breaking of the Marib dam symbolized the downfall of the urban civilization there; in the north the Nabatean state had already disintegrated and its powerful cities lost their greatness. Elsewhere, in the north, in Hejaz and Nejd, nomadic life had always been most characteristic of the people. Only three cities of importance were to be found in Hejaz. These were Taif, Mecca and Medina. Taif enjoyed a picturesque and fertile location in the mountains and Medina (then known as Yathrib ) was in a Well-watered plain, but ‘Mecca” stood in a barren, rocky valley. Despite the sterility and extreme heat of the place, Mecca enjoyed the possession of a famous well called Zamzam and an ancient sanctuary known as the Ka’bah, and was also where important commercial routes intersected. The Bedouins of the desert, who comprised the majority of North Arabia’s population, were basically animistic in their religion. Springs and wells, stones and trees were the dwelling-places of spirits, and wild animals and fearsome places of the Wilderness were inhabited by jinn or demons. Higher gods also were worshiped, and among these the most important, for our account, were Allah, Allat, al-`Uzza and Manat.” While Allah is best known as the principal god of Mecca, he was also worshiped in other places throughout Arabia as is shown by the occurrence of the name in Sabean, Minean and particularly Libyanite inscriptions.” The Qur’an (xxix, 61) refers to the belief of the pagans in Allah as the creator of the heavens and the earth; and Muhammad’s own father bore the name of `Abd Allah or `Abdullah, meaning the slave or worshiper of this god. In Mecca, Allah was worshiped in the Ka’bah and possibly represented by the famous Black Stone in that place. Allat, according to recent study of the complicated inspirational evidence, is believed to have been introduced into Arabia from Syria, and to have been the moon goddess of North Arabia. If this is the correct interpretation of her character, she corresponded to the moon deity of South Arabia, Almaqah, `Vadd, `Amm or Sin as he was called, the difference being only the oppositeness of gender. Mount Sinai (the name being an Arabic feminine form of Sin) would then have been one of the centers of the worship of this northern moon goddess. Similarly, al-`Uzza is supposed to have come from Sinai, and to have been the goddess of the planet Venus. As the moon and the evening star are associated in the heavens, so too were Allat and al-`Uzza together in religious belief, and so too are the crescent and star conjoined on the flags of Arab countries today. As for Manat, her original home seems to have been in Hejaz. The etymology of the name is judged to be connected with the root mana, meaning “to determine” or “to mete out,” and it is thus suggested that she was a goddess of fortune or fate. The same root is at the basis of the name of the god Meni or Destiw mentioned in Isaiah 65:11. Prior to the rise of Islam, these three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters and all were worshiped at Mecca and other places in the vicinity. Articles about all three of them were written by the scholar Ibn al-Kalbi (d. A.D. c.820) in his Kitab al-Asnam or Book of Idols, extensive portions of which are preserved in the Geographical Dictionary of Yaqut (d. A.D. 1229).” According to Ibn al-Kalbi the sanctuary of Allat was in Taif where the goddess was represented by a rectangular block of stone, over which a building was erected.” Al-`Uzza “stood,” says the same authority, in the valley of Nakhla to the right of the road from Mecca to Iraq. This manner of speech leads us to suppose that al-`Uzza also was worshiped in the form of a stone pillar, and Ibn al-Kalbi speaks expressly of the house which was built over her. Manat was the oldest of the three deities, according to the same authority, and was a large stone in the valley of Qudaid between Mecca and Medina. The Aus and Khazraj tribes of Medina were the most prominent worshipers of Manat, while the Quraish of Mecca paid much reverence to Allat and al-`Uzza, most of all to the latter. The Quraish were the tribe to which Muhammad belonged, and Ibn al-Kalbi states that before the prophet began to preach his own message he himself once offered a white sheep to al-`Uzza. Such was the “paganism” in which Muhammad was reared and which he later came to believe it was his mission to dispel. The milieu of the prophet was not one, however, of polytheistic paganism untouched by any other influences. As in South Arabia, so too in North the monotheistic faiths of Judaism and Christianity had long since become known. When the first Jewish communities were established in North Arabia, we do not know, but a plausible hypothesis supposes that the enhanced commercial opportunities consequent upon the residence at Tema (Taima) of the Babylonian king Nabonidus (Nabunaid) attracted colonists as early as the latter half of the sixth century B.c. From there they followed on down the main caravan route to establish other colonies in Khaibar, Medina and Mecca.” The influence of Christianity was brought to bear upon Arabia both from Syria in the northwest and from Mesopotamia in the northeast. In the sixth century A.D. the Arabic kingdoms of the Ghassanids in Syria and the Lakhmids in Mesopotamia were allied respectively with the Byzantine and the Persian empires and were strong centers respectively of Monophysite and of Nestorian Christianity. From these regions and in this time if not also earlier, Christian ideas spread on into the farther reaches of Arabia.” A careful study of the relevant data particularly in the Qur’an shows that Muhammad had a very considerable store of knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, and that it was of the sort which he would have been most likely to obtain through oral channels and personal observation over a long period of time. He was specially impressed, it seems, with the fact that both the Jews and the Christians were People of a Book, and it was his desire likewise to provide his own people with a Book which would be to them what the Torah was to the Jews and the Bible to the Christians.’ The Hadith, p 492 Next to the Qur’an in authority for the Muslim world stands the great body of tradition known as Hadith. This word means “news” and can relate to a communication or narrative of any kind. Here it is used for the whole mass of inherited information about the doings and sayings of Muhammad and his companions. At first this information was handed down orally, and then later was committed to writing in various collections. The first of the written collections was made, according to Muslim belief, about one hundred years after the time of Muhammad, and other compilations were certainly prepared in the next two centuries or so. Any given tradition to be complete should contain two parts: first, the isnad or “support” ,which is a list of the persons who have handed down the information from one to another; second, the math or text itself. In the earlier compilations the materials were arranged according to their transmitters, and such a collection was called a musnad or body of “supported” traditions. In the later arrangements the traditions were put together according to their content, and a collection so ordered was known as musannaf or “arranged.” Of the first type of collection the most important example was doubtless the Musnad of Ahmed ibn-Hanbal who lived in Baghdad in the second century of the Muslim era (A.D. 780-855). As edited by his son `Abd Allah, this voluminous work contained nearly thirty thousand traditions grouped under the names of seven hundred companions of the prophet. Of the second type, some six collections, all of which arose during the third Muslim century, attained the highest recognition. These were made by the following authorities: (1) al-Bukhari (d. A.D. 870) ; (2) Muslim (d. A.D. 875) ; (3) Abu Dawud (d. A.D. 888) ; (4) al-Tirmidhi (d. A.D. 892) ; (5) al-Nasa’i (d. A.D. 915) ; (6) ibn-Madja (d. A.D. 886). Together these works are known as “the six books” (al-Kutub al-Sitta ), while the first two are singled out for designation as sahih or “sound,” meaning that their tradition is utterly faultless. The first, by al-Bukhari, is the most highly regarded. Its remarkable author is said to have been acquainted with six hundred thousand traditions, to have himself memorized more than two hundred thousand, and to have put more than seven thousand in his book. His labors were performed with the utmost piety. His inspiration came, he said, from a dream in which he was driving flies away from Muhammad. An interpreter explained the flies as falsehoods which had gathered around the tradition of the prophet, and it was these which he made it his task to dispel. He never put a tradition in his collection without first making an ablution and offering a prayer. So vast was the total literature of the Hadith that it became desirable also to make synopses and anthologies. Of these we may mention, for a single example, the Mishkatu-l-Masabih or The Niche of the Lamps by Waliu-l-Din Abu `Abd Allah, who flourished in the fourteenth century A.D. Ibn al Kelbi reports that Manat was a large stone in the territory of the Hudhail tribe, that Allat was a rectangular stone upon which a Jew used to grind wheat, and that Sa’d was a high block of stone in the desert. In some cases the divinity was identified with a particular part of the natural rock. Al-Fals was a reddish projection, resembling a man, on an otherwise black mountain. But specially erected stones might also serve as the dwelling-places of the divinity or the seats of his power. The most famous of all of the stone fetishes of Arabia was, of course, the black stone in the sanctuary of Mecca. The Ka’ba was, and still is, a rectangular stone structure. Built into its Eastern corner is the black stone which had been an object of worship for many centuries before Mohammed appropriated the Ka’ba for his new religion, and made the pilgrimage to this holy place one of the pillars of Islam. (Mohammed: The man and his faith, Tor Andrae, 1936, Translated by Theophil Menzel, 1960, p13-30) The Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad) Quotes and notes: 1. The kiss which the pious Muhammadan pilgrim bestows on it is a survival of the old practice, which was a form of worship in Arabia as in many other lands. (The Original Sources of the Qur’an, Tisdall, p. 43). 2. Of the numerous baetyls, the best known is the Black Stone of the Ka’bah at Mecca, which became the central shrine object of Islam. (Britannica, Arabian Religions, p1059, 1979) 3. Narrated Salim that his father said: I saw Allah’s Apostle arriving at Mecca; he kissed the Black Stone Corner first while doing Tawaf and did ramal in the first three rounds of the seven rounds (of Tawaf). (Sahih al-Bukhari 2:673) 4. Narrated ‘Abis bin Rabia: ‘Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2:667, 675, 676, 679, 680) 1. This was like a small house, in the shape of a square box, called the Kaba, which means the cube. The object of especial veneration was a black stone, of meteoric origin, which may have been the cornerstone. Stones of this kind were worshipped by Arabs in most parts and by the Semitic races generally. When the young Syrian Arab Elagabalus, High Priest of the Black Stone of Emesa, was Emperor of Rome in 219, he had the holy thing transported solemnly to Rome and built a temple for it, much to the horror of the old Romans. (Mohammed, Maxime Rodinson, 1961, translated by Anne Carter, 1971, p 38-49) 2. A celestial Black Stone, brought to Abraham by an angel and now thought to be a meteorite, is built into the southeast corner of the Kaaba; Muslims today kiss the stone as the Prophet used to do. (The Joy of Sects, Peter Occhigrosso, 1996, p394-397) 3. The pagan Arabs practiced polytheism. They worshipped nature, stones. angels and demons. Particular reverence was accorded the three ‘daughters of God’, and various national, local and family idols. Each tribe gave allegiance to a special protector: one god to whom it turned in time of distress. Our modern altars may have had their beginnings in the stone worship of the ancients. One stone still holds a revered spot in the Arab heart. This is the stone that fell from paradise at the fall of Adam. Pure white it was and housed in a temple built by Seth, Adam’s son, until a great flood ravaged the land, destroyed the temple, and buried it under the mud and debris. Tradition relates that the stone remained hidden until Abraham sent his wife Hagar into the desert with their infant son Ishmael. One day, weakened by thirst, Hagar laid her baby on the sand to rest. His fitful thrashings uncovered a spring of clear water near the site of the lost relic. It is told that an angel descended from heaven and helped recover the sacred stone and that Ishmael rebuilt the holy house of Seth with the assistance of Abraham and the archangel Gabriel. This, in brief, is the story of the Kaaba,’ holiest building in Islam. (Islam and the Arabs, Rom Landau, 1958 p 11-21) 4. One aspect of the worship of the pre-Islamic Arabs that attracted the attention not only of Greek and Latin authors who came in contact with Arab society but also of later Muslim authorities on the Age of Barbarism was a widespread cult of stones. For both sets of observers it seemed odd to venerate stones, whether they were totally unshaped or fashioned into some kind of very rudimentary idol. It was not, of course, the stones that were being worshiped but an animated spirit within them. (The Hajj, F. E. Peters, p 3-41, 1994) 5. Doubtless the more simple believed the block of stone to contain magic powers, while the more sophisticated worshippers prayed to the invisible spirit, which perhaps dwelt in the tree or stone. Certainly many Arabs believed that a blessing could be obtained by kissing, touching, or rubbing a sacred object. (The Life and Times of Muhammad, John Bagot Glubb, 1970) 6. In Mecca, Allah was worshiped in the Ka’bah and possibly represented by the famous Black Stone in that place. (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492) 7. “That Islam was conceived in idolatry is shown by the fact that many rituals performed in the name of Allah were connected with the pagan worship that existed before Islam. … Because the Ka’aba, the sacred shrine which contains the Black Stone, in Mecca was used for pagan idol worship before Islam and even called the House of Allah at that time. (Is Allah The Same God As The God Of The Bible?, M. J. Afshari, p 6, 8-9) 8. In particular the Semites regarded trees, caves, springs, and large stones as being inhabited by spirits; like the Black Stone of Islam in a corner of the Ka’bah at Mecca, in Petra and other places in Arabia stones were venerated also” (History of the Islamic Peoples, Carl Brockelmann, p 8-10) 9. “According to a theory held by many, this temple [Kabah] had been sourceally connected with the ancient worship of the sun, moon and stars, and its circumambulation by the worshippers had a symbolical reference to the rotation of the heavenly bodies. Within its precincts and in its neighborhood there were found many idols, such as Hubal, Lat, Ozza, Manah, Wadd, Sawa, Yaghut, Nasr, Isaf, Naila, etc. A black stone in the temple wall was regarded with superstitious awe as eminently sacred” (Muhammad and Muhammadanism, S.W. Koelle, 1889, p. 17-19) 10. The god Il or Ilah was originally a phase of the Moon God, but early in Arabian history the name became a general term for god, and it was this name that the Hebrews used prominently in their personal names, such as Emanuel, Israel, etc., rather than the Bapal of the northern semites proper, which was the Sun. Similarly, under Mohammed’s tutelage, the relatively anonymous Ilah became Al-Ilah, The God, or Allâh, the Supreme Being. (Southern Arabia, Carleton S. Coon, Washington, D.C. Smithsonian, 1944, p.399) 11. “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 Talf 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. The stones were said to have fallen from the sun, moon, stars, and planets and to represent cosmic forces. The so-called Black Stone (actually the color of burnt umber) that Muslims revere today is the same one that their forebears had worshiped well before Muhammad and that they believed had come from the moon. (No scientific investigation has ever been performed on the stone. In 930, the stone was removed and shattered by an Iraqi sect of Qarmatians, but the pieces were later returned. The pieces, sealed in pitch and held in place by silver wire, measure about 10 inches in diameter altogether and several feet high; they are venerated today in patched-together form.)” (The Joy of Sects, Peter Occhigrosso, 1996) 12. At Mekka, Allah was the chief of the gods and the special deity of the Quraish, the prophet’s tribe. Allah had three daughters: Al Uzzah (Venus) most revered of all and pleased with human sacrifice; Manah, the goddess of destiny, and Al Lat, the goddess of vegetable life. Hubal and more than 300 others made up the pantheon. The central shrine at Mekka was the Kaaba, a cube like stone structure which still stands though many times rebuilt. Imbedded in one corner is the black stone, probably a meteorite, the kissing of which is now an essential part of the pilgrimage.” (Meet the Arab, John Van Ess, 1943, p. 29.) 13. Religious objects, practices, and institutions. Sacred stones. A principal sacred object in Arabian religion was the stone, either a rock outcropping or a large boulder, often a rectangular or irregular black basaltic stone without representative sculptural detail. Such stones were thought to be the residences of a god-hence the term for them employed by Byzantine Christian writers in the 5th and 6th centuries: baetyl, from bet ‘el, “house of the god.” Of the numerous baetyls, the best known is the Black Stone of the Ka’bah at Mecca, which became the central shrine object of Islam. (Britannica, Arabian Religions, p1059, 1979) 14. According to some, it was an elementary form of fetishism, the worship of stones and similar objects; already certain Greek writers had pointed out that Arabs worshipped stones. (Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22) 15. One detail which already impressed the Greek authors was the role played by sacred Stones, 52 a phenomenon that they interpreted as a worship of raw and unpolished stones, that is to say, fetishism, regarded as the oldest and crudest form of religion. However, the scientific study of religion has long since rejected the theory that accorded to fetishism such a place of honor. In fact what is customarily called fetishism is not an independent phenomenon. The material object is not venerated for itself but rather as the dwelling of either a personal being (god, spirit) or a force (Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22) 16. “Embedded in the corner of the structure is the Black Stone, a meteorite used by Abraham as a foundation stone. This stone, although respected as the only surviving object from the original building, has never been worshipped and has no special sanctity or power.” (Makkah And The Holy Mosque, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington DC, website) 17. “The rites and ceremonies connected with the Hajj and Umrah are exceedingly puerile, and decidedly inconsistent with the spirit of Islam The idolatrous customs of the ancient Arabs, though sanctified by the teaching of the Qur’an and the example of’ Muhammad, but poorly comport with the monotheistic teaching of the reformer of Makkah, and come far short of “confirming the former Scriptures.” Its sanction by Muhammad is one of the darkest plots on his religion, and shows at the same time how far the politician of Madina differed from the preacher of Makkah. How his apologists fail to see the inconsistency of his conduct and teaching here, not only with the dignity of a prophet of God, but with the character of an honest man, is beyond our comprehension. The kissing of the Black Stone and the Yamani Pillar was so manifestly inconsistent with the doctrine of Islam, that naught but the example of the prophet and the implicit obedience of his followers secured its perpetuation. The fiery Omar, kissing the stone, said, “Verily I know that thou art a stone; thou dost no good or harm in the world, and if it was not that 1 saw the prophet kiss thee, I would not kiss thee.” (Mishqat ul Masabih, Matthews, book 11. chapter 4, part 3) 18. At some point on the road to Mecca the pilgrims will be stopped at a police checkpoint to have their passports examined. For them, this, and not the Saudi entry-point, is the real frontier, for it marks the boundary of the holy territory which no non-Muslim may enter. The Saudi consulates in their home countries will have issued them with special pilgrim visas, only granted against proof of Muslim birth or conversion. In the past, people suspected of being Christians or members of extremist sects outside the Islamic consensus have been done to death for entering the holy places. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48) 19. Each pilgrim makes the tawaf or ritual circumambulation of the Ka’ba, a ceremony that has changed little, if at all, since pre-Islamic times. He will make seven circuits of the building, in an anti-clockwise movement, during which he will try to kiss, touch or otherwise greet the famous Black Stone which is set in a silver casing in the eastern corner. Muslims are taught that this is a fragment of the original temple, for the Ka’ba is said to have been rebuilt several times, before, during and after the Prophet’s lifetime. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48) 20. Another clue to the origins of the cult is the fact that although the Black Stone was venerated as a fetish, it was not directly associated with any particular deity. There seems to have been a general cult of stone-worship in the peninsula. The early Muslim sources suggest that it developed in imitation of the cult of the Ka’ba: They say that the beginning of stone worship among the sons of Ishmael was when Mecca became too small for them and they wanted more room in the country. Everyone who left the town took with him a stone from the haram area to do honour to it. Wherever they settled they set it up and walked round it as if going round the Ka’ba. This led them to worship whatever stones pleased them or made an impression on them. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48) 21. In the Hebrew tradition the stone ‘pillow’ on which Jacob, son of Isaac, had his dream of the heavenly ladder becomes the cornerstone of the Temple, the pivot on which the whole world is balanced. The first ray of light which illuminated the whole world issued from it; it is said to have come down from heaven, being one of the few objects of heavenly origin on earth. There are very similar traditions about both the Black Stone and the stone known as the ‘place of Ibrahim’. One of the commonest traditions about the Black Stone is that it once shone so brightly that if God had not effaced it, it would have illuminated everything between the east and the west. In Muslim tradition the stone’s blackness is attributed to its pollution by human sin, or by the various fires which have engulfed the Ka’ba. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48) 22. Sir Richard Burton, who made the pilgrimage in disguise in 1853, have suggested that the Black Stone is really a meteorite. Could this have been the ‘Star’ originally worshipped by Ibrahim? What more natural object of adoration than a fragment fallen from outer space, which may once have lit up the sky with a trail of blazing particles? Such a possibility is strongly suggested by the Quranic account of Ibrahim’s spiritual progress from the worship of the stars to that of the one Creator. In ritualistically imitating the primal motion of all heavenly bodies, around a temple incorporating an extra-terrestrial object, the Muslim, like Ibrahim, is expressing his allegiance as a subject of a universal cosmic order. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48) 23. At the south-east corner of the Ka’bah, near the door, is the famous black stone, which forms a part of the sharp angle of the building, at four or five feet above the ground. The black stone is an irregular oval. about seven inches in diameter, with an undulating surface, composed of about a dozen smaller storm of different shapes and sizes. It is surrounded on all sides by a border of reddish brown cement, both the stone and the border being encircled by a band of a massive arch of gold or silver gilt, the aperture of the stone being one span and three fingers broad. In the corner facing the south, there is another stone about five, set from the ground. It is one foot and a half in length, and two inches in breadth, placed upright, and of common Makkan stone. According to the rites of the pilgrimage, this stone; which is called ar-Ruknu ‘l-Yamani, or Yaman pillar, should only be touched with ,the right hand as the pilgrim passes it, but Captain Burton says he frequently saw it kissed by the pilgrims. (A Dictionary Of Islam, Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1965, Kaba, p 256) The Black Stone – the Omphalos of the Goddess Bob Trubshaw Long-suffering readers of Mercian Mysteries will know of my obsession with ‘omphali’ – the sacred centres which each civilisation seems to create or adopt. Many of these involve stones – the Lia F il (Stone of Destiny) at Tara or the various ‘king stones’ (such as Kingston upon Thames) where medieval English kings were crowned. Our monarchs still sit on, or at least above, the Stone of Scone for their coronation. But some of these sacred stones have special interest – they are (or are said to be) black. Such Black Stones also tend to have the legend that they have fallen from the stars. Clearly, meteorites the size of these large boulders would explode into tiny fragments on impact, and also leave a substantial crater. The literal truth is not important; rather the symbolism of such stones being a link between this world and the heavens is an integral aspect of the Cosmic Axis which is invoked by all sacred centres. Perhaps the best-known Black Stone, and now by far the most revered, is the Ka’bah at Mecca. Ka’bah means ‘cube’ and this describes the shape of the black stone structure on a marble base which stands in the centre court of the Great Mosque, Masjidul Haram, at the centre of Mecca. It stands about 50 feet high by about 35 feet wide. Set into the eastern corner is the sacred stone, covered by an elaborately embroidered black drape. As any non-moslem in the temple would be slain on sight, and photography is generally prohibited, this stone is shrouded is mystery. However, Rufus Camphausen has succeeded in tracking down three accounts of the pilgrimage to Mecca, two of which do contain photographs [1-3]. What these reveal is a polished black stone of which less than two feet is visible, set in a large, solid silver mount. The whole resembles – quite deliberately, for reasons which will emerge – the vulva of the goddess. That moslems now refer to it as the Hand of Allah does not diminish the urge for all those who complete the pilgrimage to Mecca to touch or kiss this sacred object. The Black Stone has long since been broken and the silver band holds together the fragments. Tradition holds that it was a meteorite and the stone was white in colour when it first landed and then blackened. The faithful attribute this change in colour to the belief that the stone absorbs the sins of the pilgrims, but it is consistent with known meteorites which are white at first but oxidise over a period of time. ‘A principal sacred object in Arabian religion was the stone. . . . Such stones were thought to be the residence of a god hence the term applied to them by Byzantine Christian writers of the fifth and sixth centuries: ‘baetyl’, from bet’el, ‘the house of god’.’ [4] ‘In north Arabian temples the image of the deity sometimes stood in the open air or could be sheltered in a qubbah, a vaulted niche. . . . Not to be confused with the qubbah is the word ka’bah, for a cube-shaped walled structure which . . . served as a shelter for the sacred stones.’ [5] Camphausen, in his article [6], reveals that the misogynic moslem religion has its origins in goddess worship. Allah is a revamped version of the ancient goddess Al’Lat, and it was her shrine which has continued – little changed – as the Ka’bah. The known history of Mohammed reveals that he was born around 570 CE into a tribe of the Quraysh, who not only worshipped the goddess Q’re but were the sworn guardians of her shrine. By 622 Mohammed was preaching the ways of his god, Allah, and was driven out by his own tribe as a result. The triple goddess Pre-islamic worship of the goddess seems to be primarily associated with Al’Lat, which simply means ‘goddess’. She is a triple goddess, similar to the Greek lunar deity Kore/Demeter/Hecate. Each aspect of this trinity corresponds to a phase of the moon. In the same wayAl’Lat has three names known to the initiate: Q’re, the crescent moon or the maiden; Al’Uzza, literally ‘the strong one’ who is the full moon and the mother aspect; thenAl’Menat, the waning but wise goddess of fate, prophecy and divination. Islamic tradition continue to recognise these three but labels them ‘daughters of Allah’. According to Edward Rice [7] Al’Uzza was especially worshipped at the Ka’bah where she was served by seven priestesses. Her worshippers circled the holy stone seven times – once for each of the ancient seven planets – and did so in total nudity. Near the Ka’bah is the ever-flowing well, Zamzam, which cools the throats of the countless millions of pilgrims. In an oasis of always-flowing water, the Black Stone in its mount became an unmatched image of the goddess as giver of life. Only in the Indian continent do such physical symbols for the male and female generative powers – the lingam and yoni – continue to be worshipped with their original fervour. It is easy to imagine that in pre-moslem times the goddess’s temple at Mecca was pre-eminent – whether to celebrate life, ask protection, pray for offspring. Legend tells how Abraham, unable to produce children by his wife Sarah, came here to make love to his slave Hagar. Later, when Hagar came back to give birth, she could find no water and Abraham created the holy well of Zamzam to save the life of his first son. When Mohammed wanted to surplant Al’Lut with Allah, this was the one Temple he must conquer. Although Mohammed did conquer the Ka’bah, little else changed. The faithful still circle the Holy of Holies seven times (although, I hasten to add, now fully clothed). The priests of the sacred shrine are still known as Beni Shaybah or ‘Sons of the Old Woman’ – Shaybah being, of course, the famous Queen Sheeba of Solomon’s times. Sheeba appears under the guise of Lilith in the Near East and as Hagar (‘the Egyptian’) in the Hebrew mythology of the Old Testament. So, rewriting the legend given above, Abraham begot his son, Ishmael – the ancestor of all Arab peoples – by the goddess on the Black Stone of theKa’bah. While we are tracing names, Q’re (or Qure), the maiden aspect of Al’Lut, seems certain to be the origin of the Greek Kore. Camphausen suggests that the holy Koran (qur’an in Arabic) is the ‘Word of Qure’. Even moslems admit that the work existed before the time of Mohammed. Legend said it was copied form a divine prototype that appeared in heaven at the beginning of time, or the Mother of the Book [8]. Al’Uzza, the mother aspect of Al’Lut, may give us the pre-dynastic Egyptian snake goddess Ua Zit, who develops into Isis. Archaeo-astronomy Returning to the geomantic significance of the Ka’bah, Professor Hawkins has argued that it is exceedingly accurately aligned on two heavenly phenomena. These are the cycles of the moon and the rising of Canopus, the brightest star after Sirius. In a thirteenth-century Arabic manuscript by Mohammed ibn Abi Bakr Al Farisi it is stated that the alignment is set up for the setting crescent moon – an ancient symbol of the virgin-goddess which still appears in the national flags of many islamic nations. In some flags – Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia and Turkey – the crescent is accompanied by a star, perhaps representing Canopus. The Egyptian city known as Canopus seems also have been a goddess temple, as the Greek historian Strabo (63BCE-21CE) considered the place to be notorious for wild sexual activities. Such references typically refer to temples where sacred ‘prostitution’ or ritual promiscuity were part of the worship; invariably sacred objects depicting the genitals of either god and/or goddess were venerated. Such sacred promiscuity continued to be part of the Pilgrimage to Mecca, at least for some moslems. The Shi’ites from Persia were allowed to form temporary ‘marriages’ for the period of the pilgrimage. Any children born as a result were regarded as divine or as saints – a custom with worldwide parallels (English surnames such as Goodman, Jackson or Robinson perhaps derive from similar sacred unions with god in the form of Green Men characters such as Jack o’the Green or Robin Greenwood; I would also suggest that the original sense of ‘godparent’ and ‘godchild’ has similar origins.) More Black Stones Deities of other cultures known to have been associated with stones include Aphrodite at Paphos, Cybele at Pessinus and later Rome, Astarte at Byblos and the famous Artemis/Diana of Ephesus. The latter’s most ancient sculpture was, it is said, carved from a black meteorite. The earliest form of Cybele’s name may have been Kubaba or Kumbaba which suggests Humbaba, who was the guardian of the forest in the Epic of Gilgamesh (the world’s oldest recorded myth from Assyria of c.2500BCE and, as scholars reveal more of the text, increasingly the source of most of the major mythological themes of later civilisations [9]) [10]. The origin of Kubaba may have been kube orkuba meaning (guess what) – ‘cube’. The earliest reference we have to a goddess worshipped as a cube-shaped stone is from neolithic Anatolia [11]. Alternatively, ‘Kubaba’ may mean a hollow vessel or cave – which would still be a supreme image of the goddess. The ideograms for Kubaba in the Hittite alphabet are a lozenge or cube, a double-headed axe, a dove, a vase and a door or gate – all images of the goddess in neolithic Europe. The stone associated with Cybele’s worship was, originally, probably at Pessinus but perhaps at Pergamum or on Mount Ida. What is certain is that in 204 BCE it was taken to Rome, where Cybele became ‘Mother’ to the Romans. The ecstatic rites of her worship were alien to the Roman temperament, but nevertheless animated the streets of their city during the annual procession of the goddess’s statue. Alongside Isis, Cybele retained prominence in the heart of the Empire until the fifth century CE; the stone was then lost. Her cult prospered throughout the Empire and it is said that every town or village remained true to the worship of Cybele [12]. The home of Aphrodite was at Paphos on Cyprus. Various Classical writers describe the rituals which went on her in her honour – these seem to include the practice which is now known by the disdainful term of ‘sacred prostitution’. In any event, the tapering black stone which was the object of verneration at this Temple still survives, even if it now placed inside the site musuem [13]. Also on Cyprus is another highly venerated islamic site – the third most important after Mecca and Medina – the Hala Sultan Tekke. This, too, has a black rock, said to have fallen as a meteorite as part of the tritholon over the shrine. The shrine is to a woman – the aunt and foster mother of Prophet Mohammed [14]. Could this, like Mecca, have been originally a goddess shrine? Unfortunately no other clues are forthcoming. Another site stated to have a Black Stone was at Petra, but I have been unable to discover where this was or who was worshipped there – could any readers who know please write in! To add a little local flavour, numerous standing stones in the British Isles are reputed to have fallen from the stars. The now-lost Star Stone marked the meeting of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire; an also-vanished stone at Grimston, Leicestershire, was also said to have such an origin. However, whether or not such stones were ever associated with goddess worship we will never know. It would take far too long to discuss to what extent the cult of the goddess’s Black Stone may have been perpetrated as Solomon’s bride in the Song of Songs, who is ‘black but beautiful’ or to come to terms with the black images of Demeter, Artemis and Isis who have their direct continuation in the Black Virgins of Europe – patrons of the troubadours, the gnostics and the alchemists, as well as the present Pope. Those who wish to follow such ideas would do well to read The myth of the goddess [15] which, in a sober but inspirational manner, re-evaluates how the feminine deity has remained with us throughout history. Further information on these topics appears in a follow-up article by Alby Stone Goddess of the Black Stone. References [1] Richard Burton, A personal narrative of a pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah, London 1856. [2] Hussein Yoshio Hirashima, The road to holy Mecca, Kodansha (Japan), 1972. [3] Anon., Pilgrimage to Mecca, Sud-Editions (Tunis) 1978 and East-West Publications (London) 1980. [4] Encyclopedia Brittanica. [5] ibid. [6] Rufus C. Camphausen, ‘The Ka’bah at Mecca’, Bres(Holland) No.139, 1989. My thanks to Rufus for bringing this article to my attention; this article of mine is in large part a synopsis of his longer work. See also ‘From behind a veil’, Flora Green, in The cauldron No.61 (reprinted fromThe Merrymount messenger Winter 1991). [7] E. Rice, Easter definitions, Doubleday, 1978 (cited in Camphausen). [8] Barbara G. Walker, The crone, Harper & Row, 1985 (cited in Camphausen). [9] See Robert Temple’s recent translation He who saw everything, Rider, 1991. [10] Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The myth of the goddess, Penguin, 1991. [11] Maarten J. Vermaseren, Cybele and Attis, trans. A.M.H. Lemmers, Thames and Hudson, 1977 (cited in Baring and Cashford, op. cit.). [12] ibid. [13] ‘Aphrodite’s island’, Penny Drayton, Wood & water, Vol.2, No.41, Jan 1993. [14] ibid. [15] Baring and Cashford, op. cit. Originally published in Mercian Mysteries No.14 February 1993. ________________________________________ On a return trip from an archaeological dig in Saudi I visited Petra. This was in 1982. By chance on a hike noticed a small white mosque on hill or mountain top. Investigated to find what was Aaron’s mosque with his tomb allegedly below. A Bedouin guard dressed arabic dress with a bandellero, gun and dagger let us in to a small room (after a small donation) with a couple of tapestries some candles and a little furniture. There was also a black rock set into a wall covered by a green cloth. This rock was about a foot oblong black and looked like obsidian, having some depth to its appearance. As it was set into the wall I don’t know the thickness. He would not let us down the stairs into the actual tomb. The gentleman said in what we could communicate with limited language skills that it was a shard from the stone of Mecca – one of two (the other being somewhere in the east?). Don’t know if that is true. Billy Dickinson April 2010 ________________________________________ At the Edge home page Index of articles uploaded Copyright 1993, 1996, 2001. No unauthorised copying or reproduction except if all following conditions apply: a: Copy is complete (including this copyright statement). b: No changes are made. c: No charge is made. At the Edge / Bob Trubshaw / Created April 1996; updated November 2008 Goddess of the Black Stone Alby Stone Bob Trubshaw’s article on the Black Stone of Mecca was of great interest to myself, as I had already seen Rufus Camphausen’s original article on The Ka’bah at Mecca, and already had something of an interest in the subject. Camphausen, and now Bob Trubshaw, have done us all a great service by bringing this material to our attention in an accessible form, and presenting what is basically a strong and coherent case for the original pagan context of the Black Stone; but it is also apparent that there is a good deal more that could be said on the subject. Indeed, there are a number of points that really must be made, particularly with regard to the goddess Al’Lat, whose identity – and those of her old Meccan companions,Al’Uzza and Manat – is perhaps not as clear-cut as Rufus Camphausen has asserted, and as Bob Trubshaw has reported. There are more connections to be made, and these show the goddess of the Black Stone in a rather different light. Of especial interest is the explanation of the Beni Shaybah, the imams who attend the sacred structure, as ‘Sons of the Old Woman’, the old lady in question supposedly being the Queen of Sheba. Any connection with an authentic, historical Queen of Sheba is debatable, but in view of the tradition it is worth pointing out that the Hebrew sheba’ can mean either ‘seven’ or ‘oath’. The Biblical place-name Beer-sheba is literally ‘the well of seven’, the well in question being dug by Abraham and where he made a peace-treaty with Abimelech. Abraham gave seven ewe-lambs to seal the pact, and the place was named to commemorate the event. The well is said to have been reopened by Isaac, who renamed it Shibah, which just happens to be the feminine form of the numeralsheba’. Interestingly, the site is now said to have seven wells. The name given by Abraham thus seems to have been a play on the Hebrew words for ‘seven’ and ‘oath’. The sacred complex at Mecca has the holy well Zamzam, of course. That the Semitic tribes associated oath-taking with the number seven is confirmed by Herodotus, writing in the fifth century BCE, who reports that Arabs solemnised oaths between two men by enlisting the services of a third, who ‘stands between them and with a sharp stone cuts the palms of their hands…then he takes a little tuft of wool from their clothes, dips it in the blood and smears the blood on seven stones which lie between them, invoking as he does so, the names of Dionysus and Urania’. Herodotus identifies the latter as Alilat, who is undoubtedly the same goddess formerly venerated at Mecca as Al’Lat [1]. It seems relevant that the sanctity of treaties made at theKa’bah is stressed in the Koran [9:6], where even covenants made with infidels are to be honoured: ‘God and His apostle repose no trust in idolaters, save those with whom you have made treaties at the Sacred Mosque. So long as they keep faith with you, keep faith with them. God loves the righteous.’ There were, in pagan times, seven priestesses at site of the Black Stone, who circled it seven times, naked. Today, the tawaf, the sevenfold counterclockwise circuit of the Ka’bah, is a memory of that ancient practice. But the older practice is itself a strong echo of the descent of the Sumerian goddess Inanna (and her Babylonian equivalent Ishtar) through the seven gates of the underworld, the gatekeepers demanding the removal of a garment at each gate until she stands naked before her elder sister Ereshkigal, ‘Queen of the Great Earth’, the goddess of death and the underworld. Another name for Ereshkigal isAllatu, ‘the goddess’, which is clearly an earlier form ofAl’Lat/Alilat. This suggests that, far from being a moon-goddess, Al’Latis actually the goddess of the underworld, who could indeed be fittingly described as the ‘Old Woman’. I do not myself subscribe to the idea of three-phase moon goddesses of the maiden-mother-hag model popularised by the likes of Robert Graves [2], but in the case of Al’Latand her sisters there is a definite argument against it – although the reported evidence is contradictory and confusing. In his introduction to the Penguin edition of theKoran, translator N.J. Dawood says that Al’Lat, Al’Uzza, and Manat ‘represented the Sun, Venus, and Fortune respectively’ [3] – but I have also seen Allat described as a representation of Venus [4], and she once had a temple in the precinct devoted to the sun-god Shamash in Hatra, Iraq [5]. In early Mesopotamian art, the only heavenly bodies regularly shown as a group were the triad of Sun, Moon, and Venus, the three most important celestial lights; and in Sumer and early Babylon the sun and moon were represented mainly by a male divinity, though elsewhere in the Semitic world the moon was usually regarded as feminine. Al’Uzza and Manat are less easily traced to a more archaic source. Their names – ‘the Strong’ and ‘Destiny’ respectively – suggest abstract forces rather than natural objects. If the three ‘daughters of Allah’ [6] are personifications of any natural phenomena, then one is surely the Earth (Al’Lat = Allatu = Ereshkigal); the others are of uncertain pedigree. But there is also a strong chance that their form and function were influenced by thebanat, the three daughters of Baal, the supreme deity of the Canaanites. They symbolised light, rain, and earth [7]. At Petra, the Nabataeans venerated a four-sided stone named after Allat [8], whose son Dusura (in their system) is a version of Tammuz/Dumuzi/Du’uzi, the vegetation god characterised by a seasonal death and resurrection, who dwells in the underworld for half the year. His full name in Sumerian is Dumu-zi-abzu, ‘faithful son of the abyssal waters’ – a rough but appropriate rendering of abzu, which denotes the spaces below the earth as well as the primal waters. Dumuzi/Tammuz, of course, was the reason for Inanna/Ishtar descending to Allatu’s realm in the first place, according to nearly every version of the myth. Once there, the Mesopotamian Venus lies about the reason for her visit, so breaking the ‘law of the underworld which must be fulfilled’, and is sentenced to death by the Anunnaki, the seven judges of the underworld. Abzu(later: Apsu), was the natural home of the Sebettu, the seven sages associated by Babylonians with the foundation of culture and the seven major cities of the region. All this fits in well with Islamic and pagan Arab traditions concerning the Black Stone and its precincts. By word-play, the Beni Shaybah are at once the Sons of the Old Woman, the Sons of the Seven, and the Sons of the Oath; they are also the successors of the seven sky-clad servitors of Al’Lat, whose Babylonian predecessor ruled the sevenfold palace of the underworld; and of the sevenAnunnaki. Like many examples of the axis mundi, the Black Stone has a sacred well nearby, and is associated with oath-taking. The Queen of Sheba, bearing in mind the lore associated with Beer-sheba, takes on further significance: tradition has it that she was black, and ofdjinn ancestry – in other words, she was a divine being in her own right, possibly even a hypostasis of Al’Lat herself. As for Q’re: the identification with Kore (a title of Persephone) is a familiar notion, but one that is almost certainly mistaken. In Greek, kore can denote a girl, andkoros a boy; the word actually comes from the same Indo-European stem as a number of other words meaning ‘to grow’, and denotes more or less the same thing – an increase in size. Any phonetic similarity between Q’re andKore is coincidental, but oddly fortuitous if the former is an aspect or title of Al’Lat: Persephone, ‘bringer of destruction’, is Queen of the Underworld in Greek myth, daughter of Demeter, who represents the earth as mother. Persephone’s son is Triptolemos, who resembles Tammuz/Dumuzi. Essentially, Demeter and Persephone are effectively twin aspects of the earth – mother and grave of all – and have no real connection with the moon whatsoever. Hekate, who figures in their myth, cas indeed be seen as a representation of the moon, but is in herself a triad of maleficent, nocturnal entities; she is quite separate from Persephone and Demeter. The supposed triad of Kore, Demeter, and Hekate is a relatively modern invention, with no real foundation in ancient Greek myth or iconography. Little of this affects Bob Trubshaw’s reading of Camphausen’s analysis, other than to suggest that worship of the moon is probably not as dominant in the pre-Islamic Meccan schema as Camphausen thinks. There is always a chance that Al’Lat did become linked with a lunar cult at some point, but little evidence to suggest that she or her sisters were moon-goddesses. On the whole, the pattern presented here suggests that Al’Latis essentially a chthonic mother-goddess, a deity of the underworld also associated with fidelity and covenants – a later form of Ereshkigal, who has retained many of her older attributes, albeit in a slightly distorted form. After Mecca and Medina, the third most holy site of Islam is surely the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. One reason for this is undoubtedly the influence of Judaic and Christian monotheism upon Mohammed’s early teachings [9]; but another major reason for it is probably the fact that in the Dome of the Rock is the Eben Shetiyyah, a flat, yellow-brown, asymmetrical rock believed by many Jews to be, as its name implies, the ‘Stone of Foundation’, around which God built the world, and which was used as the pedestal of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark, as is well known, was a symbol of the Hebrews’ communal pact with God; it was also used as a weapon in the destruction of Jericho, an event replete with sevens; and it contained the two stone tablets engraved with the Law – which have been roundly equated with baetyls by a number of Biblical scholars, and sometimes presumed to have been of meteoric origin. Beneath the Eben Shetiyyah is a deep hollow known to Muslims as Bir-el-Arweh, the Well of Souls. In Jewish lore, the Eben Shetiyyah rests upon and keeps in place the waters of the Abyss (that is, abzu). One Jewish tradition has it that David dug the foundations of the Temple at Jerusalem, and discovered the Eben Shetiyyah during his excavations. When he tried to remove the stone, the waters of the Abyss began to well up. This parallels the Islamic tradition that has Mohammed casting down an idol that stood in the sacred complex at Mecca. According to the tradition, this idol was blocking a well inside the Ka’bah, and the waters began to flow from that moment. Supposedly, the idol represented a deity namedHubal, which seems to be a version of the name of the goddess who was known elsewhere as Kybele, and who was venerated in Phrygia in the form of a stone, a black aerolite that was presented to Rome in 204 BCE by King Attalus [10]. Knowing that the Arabs habitually worshipped stones as representations of their divinities, it seems probable that the idol Hubal was a stone, perhaps of celestial provenance. Interestingly, the goddess Na’ila – one of a veritable host of divinities venerated at the Meccan site – supposedly appeared in the form of a black woman at the time Mohammed destroyed the idols, and ran screaming from the sacred place. References 1: Herodotus, trans. A.R Burn (2nd ed., Harmondsworth, 1972) The Histories, pp. 205-6. 2: A. Stone (1990), ‘Robert Graves and the Triple Goddess: A Modern Myth’, in Talking Stick 2. 3: N.J. Dawood, trans. (5th ed., Harmondsworth, 1990),The Koran, p. 1. 4: P. Masson-Oursel and Louise Morin, ‘Mythology of Ancient Persia’, in New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (2nd ed., London, 1968), p. 323. 5: Georges Roux (3rd ed., Harmondsworth, 1992), Ancient Iraq, p. 420. 6: Islamic oral tradition (al-Hadith: ‘the Talk’) has it that Mohammed’s original revelation endorsed the idea that the three were goddesses, but he later disowned this as a false teaching inspired by Satan. See Mircea Eliade (Chicago, 1985), A History of Religious Ideas, vol. 3, p. 68. 7: Cyrus H. Gordon (1961), ‘Canaanite Mythology’, in S.N. Kramer (ed.), Mythologies of the Ancient World, pp. 196-7. 8: Arthur Cotterell (London, 1979), A Dictionary of World Mythology, p. 24. 9: Jerusalem was chosen as the first qiblah or point of orientation for Islamic prayer, replaced by Mecca following a new revelation in 624 CE. The Prophet also claimed that Abraham and Ishmael had built the Ka’bah, which was thus a Temple more ancient than that of Jerusalem (Koran, 2:122, 142, 144). The new qiblah and foundation-legend effectively constituted a restructuring of Islamic cosmology, a formal break with the Judaic tradition that had influenced Mohammed’s monotheism, and a revision of the traditions of Arab paganism. 10: Franz Cumont (London, 1911), Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, pp. 46-7. Originally published in Mercian Mysteries No.15 May 1993.

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