Saturday, 21 December 2013

Waṯani Religion: Fertile Crescent

Assalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

I am so sad. I cannot go to the mosque because nobody is looking after my father. Everybody went somewhere else. Maybe they have something to attend to so I have to take the charge to look after my father because he is all paralyzed. He cannot move and he had arthritis because of dependency to powder milk which we have to feed through the feeding tube at his nose down to his belly every three hours. Now, how can I go to work when this happens? Everyone out there would blame me because being a jobless loser but they do not even care to interview me as to check the root course. I have ambition and vision just like everyone else in the world. But it faded away once I have to go through the "facts" of the life... I tried hard and I fall. Then I tried again and again with the hope and optimism but somehow it also makes me exhausted.   

Let us continue with this topic. This "practices" of waṯani or polytheism were not only happened in ancient Arabia. It was everywhere and it happens when human becoming ignorant due to several factors. Nowadays, we could also see new ideas such as neo-paganism in Europe as for example where there are people who wanted to revive ancient Teutonic, Norse, Gaelic Druidism and other Scandinavian cultural traits besides despising Christianity as a foreign religion. I have got all these ideas from my colleague and he is a non-religious Muslim, Amir. He was a fan of metal music and he was the one who introduced the music genre to me. I listened to some folk metals and I have got the information about European paganism. They are kind of folk religions or something. However, this topic is only confined to the Middle East as to make things easy...

Nineveh, Assyria

Jonah a.s was sent to the city-state of Nineveh in Assyrian empire. The people there worshiped Marduk, Ishtar, Nabu, Shamas and other deities. They claimed that the worship of those deities was inherited from their ancestors. 

The teachings that Jonah a.s brought to them was quite new and they could not accept it as the replacement of their current beliefs since it is deeply rooted in their customs and culture. They challenged Jonah a.s to curse them and to pray to his "Deity" to make the "torment" descends upon them if he is a true prophet of the God the Highest. Jonah a.s was so angry that he went out from the border of the city-state and he prayed that may He the Highest punish them all! 

The people then saw the sky turned gloomy and dark. Their cattle too making noises as if something is going to happen after Jonah a.s went away from them. Wind flowing ferociously and the sound of the nature was so scary. They were afraid if something really happen when they look at the changing of the nature around them so they began to accept the teachings of Jonah a.s. They began to ponder on their words and speeches and later repented. They cried in remorse while walking and looking for Jonah a.s everywhere in their city-state to teach them lessons about Him but they cannot find him.

Phoenecia, Levant

According to the Map of the Quran authored by Shawqi Abu Khalel, Elijah a.s was appointed by the God the Highest to Phoenician and the Israelites in the city-state of Ba'albek (Heliopolis). Elijah a.s was the fourth generation of Aron, the son of Imran who lives around 910-850 BC.

The people there worshiped a deity known as Ba'al personified as a woman. He repeatedly reminds the people to leave behind the superstitious belief but they refused. Since, many times they had refused to obey the commandments so the area experienced drought for years. 

They begged Elijah a.s to pray to the God the Highest may the disaster cease to happen so Elijah a.s prayed and the prayer was granted. However, they began to practice polytheism again after they came back to normal. The drought then return and it was longer than before.

The Greek rename the city-state as Heliopolis in 323-64 BC. In 64 BC, the city-state became a colony of the Romans under the reign of Julius Caesar. The Romans build temples in dedication for their deity, Jupiter.   

Sheba, Yemen

The people in the kingdom of Sheba worshiped both the Sun and the Moon. The news was made known to Solomon a.s, the second king of Judah through a woodpecker who flied across the kingdom before stopping at the North. There is a brief story about this in Surah al-Naml 20-44.

King Solomon a.s had sent a letter to the kingdom and inviting them to worship the God the Highest directly as compared to worshiping Him through objects of nature such as the Sun or the Moon. The ruler of the kingdom at that time was a woman. 

Yemen actually has two women rulers. The one was the Queen of Sheba, known in Quran as Lady Balqis. She started to travel to the North to Jerusalem around 1000-950 BC. Some said that she was married to Solomon a.s and I am not sure so I would not speculate anything which I do not come across. The second was lady Arwa the daughter of Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Ja'afar bin Mūsa al-Ṣulayhī. We call lady Arwa as Sayyidah al-Hurra which means the Noble Lady. She was the Chief Missionary representing a fraction of Fatimid empire in the city of Haraz, Yemen who patronized the missions in Gujarat, India around 11th century AD. That is why, we said that we are so close to North West of India and Pakistan region. Inshā Allah I would post about the history of Muslims in those region when the time come or if He wills for that as a tribute to our paternal grandmothers who particularly were brought here from the subcontinent.  


Because the Israelites were those in existence before the term Jewish exist so we use the term Israelites to refer to Moses and his people. Israelites were Bedouins before they established the kingdom in Cana'an which later was torn into two kingdoms and colonized by the Romans.  

The history of polytheism in Israelites could be traced among the Simeon clan. The person known as Samiri (Zimri bin Salo). Samiri made the golden female calf and later persuaded the Israelites to worship it while Moses a.s went to the holy mountain to receive Revelation. I have not check on the story in my Bible but our Quran mentions that Aron a.s had tried to stop the people from worshiping nonsense thing. Moses a.s was so angry that he pulled the beard of his younger brother because he had mistaken him for not reminding the people. 

Some people speculated that Samiri perhaps was influenced by the ancient Egyptian culture who worshiped the deity known as Hathor which was represented as a cow. She was worshiped in this form around 2700 BC during the rule of the Second Dynasty. I guess that it is plausible for some of the Israelites to be influenced by neighboring cultural traits because it was not so long before their exodus from Egypt. The Quran mentions that those who commit errors were commanded to suicide. I guess there are three exceptional sins within Orthodox Judaism where a Jewish is required to die rather than transgressing them which are idolatry, sexual immorality and murder (Talmudim: Sanhadrin Council). I am sure there are interpretations within their school of thoughts as well as religious bodies with regard to the issues and jurisprudence.

Rasibites, Arabia

This tribe is known from the dry well who inhabited a village known as Falaj in Yamāmah. It is a district within the Najd upland region. They are ancient Arabs referred in the Quran as the Tamudic Arabs. Those in Ta'if who refused the invitation of Muhammad s.a.w to accept his prophecy were also related to these people as according to Ibn Khaldun, Jawwad 'Ali and Abu al-Faraj al-Asfahany. Another remaining civilization of this nation could also be seen in Mada'in āleḥ which is in the modern Saudi Arabia.    

They worshiped the Sanobar tree known as the Shah-e-Darakht. It was believed that the tree was first planted again by Yafit the son of Noah after the beside the spring known as Roshan Āb. A sage reminds them but they mocked him and murdered him. His body was thrown into a well. Because of this sin, the Lord of the universe destructed them with heavy and long drought. There is also a belief about killing religious teachers or a sage within ancient Indian tradition known as the pañcha mahā pātaka. It means the five great crimes. One of them is to kill the sages and holy men.

I am not sure whether Malay language speakers notice this. The term, malapetaka which is used to refer to disasters actually was a Vedic Sanskrit term which your ancestors had gotten when they mingled with ancient Indians. It happens when the dust of evil covers the area of the three elements of a "soul" known as the trimalas. From these, a "being" would develop negative habits which would slowly manifest in four levels of sins and crimes. Pañcha mahā pātaka is the third level of the four components which would later blasting the souls and beings involved within the mandala (sphere). People would be fallen from their previous noble position when these happens. Those who were involved with the star-gazing knowledge would also believe that when the position of planets such as when the Moon and the Jupiter is afflicted then a "being" would also easily turning to "crimes". Janardhan Hari Jī in his Māsagari treatise explains that these positions are counted among 10 independent movements which do not actually need any particular time, reason or corresponding position to happen in the earthly realms.

If we check again the story of prophets in the Middle East, and the thing is also the same with the thought that happened in ancient India or elsewhere. For e.g the murder of Zechariah and his son, John as intended by their own people resulted the people becoming down-graded in this very life. But as to say, we who see and listen to the stories or news are not judges. The judge is only the God the Highest. We should take heed and take the lessons from them because we are also the "same" human-being just like them.

The Rasibites are mentioned in the Glorious Quran twice in the Surah al-Furqan and the Surah Qaf respectively. Do not worry about the bibliography. I would include them once He permits me to do so for brethren reference because I do not like people to be dependent to this site or to the internet sources but I wish that everyone would apply research methodologies in the searches.   


The Midianites were the descendants of Midian the son of Abraham through the third wife known as, Keturah. They mingled with the Moabites in religio-political connection and they worshiped various gods such as Ba'al Peor and Ashteroth.

The wife of Moses a.s was a Midianite lady known in the Old Testament as Zipporah. The priest appointed to be the spiritual guide for the Midianites was Jethro.

The Midianites whom Jethro lived with were treacherous in trade. They used false weights and measures and lying along the road to cheat on the business caravans. They were destroyed by a tremor after rejecting the reminders given to them. The Midians used to inhabit Aycah which is located in the south-east of Sinai along the Red Sea. The region was a forest like area in Midian and they worshiped a land filled with trees.

Joseph a.s was sold by his brothers to the Midian caravans where he was sold again to a nobleman in the Eyptian court. The Midianite while occupying Timna Valley (Southern Israel) continued to use the site of Hathor temple in their worship. Hathor was the Egyptian goddess of fertility. However it is not so certain whether they worshiped Hathor as the focus of their worship or something else.

'Adites, Arabia

These people were the offspring of 'Ad bin Uz bin Aram bin Shem bin Noah. They are the children of sage Noah a.s. A sage mentioned in the Quran was sent to them known as Hūd a.s. Their region was in al-Ahqā located in Northern Yemen spreading to the East in modern Oman. This place comprised an archeological site known as Rubb el-Khaly where the Western explorers founded the remnants of ancient cities inhabited by these people.   

They made idols and icons for the deities such as amūd and al-Hattar. They focused their worship to those idols and deities in which they believed that they could bestow them happiness, goodness and benefits. They believed that those deities could help them to avoid evil, dismal and disasters.

Babylon, Assyria

When Nimrud was in reign, the people there practiced polytheism with many deities represented by idols. The most popular ones among the Chaldeans were Marduk and Nabu. There are other gods along with these such as Śïn who was a personification of the Moon in the form of a long-bearded man wearing a long robe with a crescent on his head. They made the icons for these deities and focusing their mind to these images. Others are Shamas (the Sun) and Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, battle and sex.  

This matter had been deeply rooted and spread far at that time. It was even accepted in the Near East and the existence of this kind of practice was maintained for such a long time. Polytheism survives in these regions until 600 century AD. Ancient Mesopotamians and Sumerians build Ziggurats as places to gaze at the stars and planets. The worship of various gods extended from Mesopotamia to rural Anatolian region where the people there also worshiped the Moon.

At the time where Abraham a.s destroyed the idols in the national temple of his city-state with his axe. His father, Terah (Āzar) ironically was an idol-maker. The message of Abraham in the midst of Chaldeā was to uproot the practices of the worship toward various deities who were the creatures of the Lord of universe and to place monotheism into its appropriate position again.

In the History of the Prophets authored by the late Ahmad Bahjat (a former columnist in al-Ahram), stated that there were three kinds of idolaters during the period of Abraham in Sumeria. They are:
  • The worshiper of the idols made of earthly materials or creatures such as stones or wood.
  • The worshiper of heavenly materials and creatures.
  • The worshiper of kings and the men in power or the rulers.  
The God the Highest is none of these. The Glorious Quran which is revealed to Muhammad s.a.w taught us that He is beyond all of these and is not confined by the time and space.


I am going to continue with the Takfir issue in which I had found that someone who is eager to follow the method of al-Musnad is talking about the kufr classification. I am not saying that there is anything wrong in al-Musnad because I respect the compiler of the book, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal along with other teachers. There are countless of teachers from each generations which we cannot get to know each one of them in a time. When we post something or talk about something in the midst of public or even when we are alone, we should also aware that we could easily fall prey to "Satan" although we feel that we are already in the "right" path. The burden of the sin is still there so be very very careful and discreet with the thought which is also related to other senses in one's gross body. The thing is not as simple as it is although it could be simplified for public viewers.

When we condemn something, try to check whether our "mind" is already there or still not there? Be open-minded as well as be very careful with the mind as it might also boggling between two extremes which would later bring us to no where. I found that people who are newly converted to "something" would turn to be a zealot yet one has to remember that He is all-powerful over the "Right" of guidance. I was once like that but I am grateful to Him that I quickly realized. Never make our selves as His rival or His revenge would reach us since we had forgotten our position before Him. Yes, we should practice the Sharia prescription in our worship as highlighted in the Hadith al-Qudsi but we should also notice that there is a mention about isan before Him.

Our school of jurisprudence is a method on the angle of the prophetic traditions but not something for us to cling ourselves to it as a pride as to show our superiority over other groups! A Muslim is a life-time student of the "Path" and would always have to correct his practices although he knows all the basics. We cannot be sure that we are doing things closer to the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w because we are not living with him that make us know everything about him but we get to know about the practices through narrations of his surviving family members, companions, chroniclers, the disciples, the disciples of disciples, the pious generations and the latter teachers. There are methods of deciding the judgement and we are looking down on Islam ourselves when we do not follow the guidelines through the Council of Clerics. There are still many issues which need to be observed by researchers and to be settled among the clerics. It is not yet the time for us, the public Muslims to jump of with emotions but to stay aware with our selves!

Beware with the trap of "Satan". It could prey anyone regardless of his school of jurisprudence, his teachers, his movements or his status until the death comes to him. The honorable teacher, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal while in his death-bed also told his son about the state of delusion where he answered to the "Satan" that he is still not free from "it" even at his death-bed. Do not assume that we know everything but be very humble before the God the Highest. We would develop ego from our assumptions and later become a prey for the "Satan". Ego is dangerous and it is the root where the wars, fights, and battles happen around the world since the antiquities. May the God the Highest help everyone to be free from the tests and slanders of the life and the death and from the slanders of the false Messiah (Christ) (Report of Lady Aisha r.a; Abu Dawūd Book 3 No. 0879).  

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!

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