Pagan Origins of Islam

Being in the heart of the Muslim month of Ramadan, we felt it timely to explore the Arabian pagan origins of Islam. The Muslim religion focuses its worship around a deity by the name of "Allah." Islam claims Allah is the god of the Christian Bible and arose from the same Abrahamic stories of their prophets and apostles. But there is archeological evidence to support that the true origins of Islam lie in an ancient pagan religion worshiping the Moon-god. The prophet Muhammad himself was born into the pagan tribe of the Quraysh – and we can observe many rituals from the Quraysh clan carried out today by Muslims.

Muhammad (or Islam) retained almost all the pagan rituals of the Arabs at the Kaaba and redefined them in monotheistic terms. Although Islam is today a monotheist religion, its roots are in paganism just like the other Abrahamic religions.

Tradition

Pagan Origin

Modern Islam

Symbols

Hubal was the Arabian moon god worshiped at the Ka’aba. The crescent moon was Hubal’s symbol

Crescent moon and star are the universal symbol of Islam

God name

Al-ilah was the title for the Arabian pagan high-god

Allah

Object of worship


The pagan gods of pre-Islamic Arabia were worshipped in the form of rectangular stones or rocks.

The Black Stone in the Kaaba was originally dedicated to Hubal, a Nabataean deity. 

Worship facing the rectangular Kaaba  in Mecca, with a tradition of kissing the Black Stone as one passes by

Prayer

Pagans prior to Islam would pray five times per day towards Mecca

Pray 5 times per day toward Mecca

Ablution

Zoroastrians are expected to recite their prayers (also at least five times a day) having first cleansed themselves by washing

Wudu is the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water, typically in preparation for formal prayers 

Fasting during Muharram (first month of lunar calendar)

Muhammad's pagan tribe, the Quraish, fasted on the 10th of Muharram

Optional fasting during Muharram

Practice of Ihram

Ihram was originally a pagan requirement for worshipping idols during pre-Islamic times

Ihram is a state a Muslim enters into for his pilgrimage to Mecca. It involves a series of procedures like ritual washing, wearing 'Ihram garments', etc.

Circumambulation seven times

(to go in circles around a particular object)

Islamic pagans used do it to please the moon god Hubal, the 360 deities, and Al-Illah.


Hinduism and Buddhism, religions (older than Islam and accused by Islam of “paganism” and practicing idolatry) also practice circumambulation

In the Islamic ritual of Tawaf, Muslims go around the Kabaa 7 times

Do you know of any additional origins of the Islamic religion to add to our list? Send them our way!