ALLAT: ALLAH’S FEMININE SIDE

One will often hear Muslims assert that the name Allah is unique since it cannot be pluralized or feminized. I.e., Allah cannot be made plural nor does it have a feminine form. As such, this supposedly makes it superior to the English word God which can be pluralized or feminized, e.g., gods, goddesses etc.

This is another oft-repeated claim that has no basis in fact since Allah most definitely can be pluralized and does have a feminine form, a fact that is even admitted by Muslim scholars themselves.(1)

For instance, note how the Islamic expositors interpreted the following passage:

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. S. 7:180 Hilali-Khan

And to God belong the ninety nine Most Beautiful Names — mentioned in hadīth — al-husnā is the feminine for al-ahsan so invoke name Him by them and leave those who blaspheme His Names yulhidūn ‘they blaspheme’ from fourth form alhada or first form lahada meaning ‘those who incline away from the truth’ by deriving from them names for their gods as in the case of al-Lāt from Allāh ‘God’ al-‘Uzzā from al-‘Azīz ‘Mighty’ and Manāt from al-Mannān ‘Lord of Favours’. They will be requited in the Hereafter the requital for what they did — this was revealed before the command to fight them. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=7&tAyahNo=180&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

(Allah’s are the fairest names) the loftiest attributes: knowledge, power, hearing, sight, and the like. (Invoke Him by them) recite by them. (And leave the company of those who blaspheme His names) those who deny His names and attributes; and according to a different reading this means: those who are disinclined to acknowledge His names; and it is also said that this means: those who liken His names to al-Lat, al-‘Uzza, and Manat. (They will be requited) in the Hereafter for (what they do) and say in the life of this world. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=7&tAyahNo=180&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

(and leave the company of those who belie His Names) “They derived Al-Lat (an idol’s name) from Allah, and Al-`Uzza (another idol) from Al-`Aziz (the All-Mighty).” Qatadah stated that Ilhad refers to associating others with Allah in His Names (such as calling an idol Al-`Uzza). The word Ilhad used in the Ayah in another from means deviation, wickedness, injustice and straying. The hole in the grave is called Lahd, because it is a hole within a hole, that is turned towards the Qiblah (the direction of the prayer). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/7/180)

And here is what Ibn Kathir wrote in respect to Q. 53:19-20:

(Have you then considered Al-Lat,) Al-Lat was a white stone with inscriptions on. There was a house built around Al-Lat in At-Ta’if with curtains, servants and a sacred courtyard around it. The people of At-Ta’if, the tribe of Thaqif and their allies, worshipped Al-Lat. They would boast to Arabs, except the Quraysh, that they had Al-Lat. Ibn Jarir said, “They derived Al-Lat’s name from Allah’s Name, and made it feminine. Allah is far removed from what they ascribe to Him. It was reported that Al-Lat is pronounced Al-Lat because, according to `Abdullah bin `Abbas, Mujahid, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Al-Lat was a man who used to mix Sawiq (a kind of barley mash) with water for the pilgrims during the time of Jahiliyyah. When he died, they remained next to his grave and worshipped him.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah’s statement…

(Al-Lat, and Al-`Uzza.) “Al-Lat was a man who used to mix Sawiq for the pilgrims.” Ibn Jarir said, “They also derived the name for their idol Al-`Uzza from Allah’s Name Al-`Aziz. Al-`Uzza was a tree on which the idolators placed a monument and curtains, in the area of Nakhlah, between Makkah and At-Ta’if. The Quraysh revered Al-`Uzza.” During the battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan said, “We have Al-`Uzza, but you do not have Al-`Uzza.” Allah’s Messenger replied…

(Say, “Allah is Our Supporter, but you have no support.”) Manat was another idol in the area of Mushallal near Qudayd, between Makkah and Al-Madinah. The tribes of Khuza`ah, Aws and Khazraj used to revere Manat during the time of Jahiliyyah. They used to announce Hajj to the Ka`bah from next to Manat. Al-Bukhari collected a statement from `A’ishah with this meaning. There were other idols in the Arabian Peninsula that the Arabs revered just as they revered the Ka`bah, besides the three idols that Allah mentioned in His Glorious Book. Allah mentioned these three here because they were more famous than the others. An-Nasa’i recorded that Abu At-Tufayl said, “When the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah, he sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to the area of Nakhlah where the idol of Al-`Uzza was erected on three trees of a forest. Khalid cut the three trees and approached the house built around it and destroyed it. When he went back to the Prophet and informed him of the story, the Prophet said to him…

(Go back and finish your mission, for you have not finished it.) Khalid went back and when the custodians who were also its servants of Al-`Uzza saw him, they started invoking by calling Al-`Uzza! When Khalid approached it, he found a naked woman whose hair was untidy and who was throwing sand on her head. Khalid killed her with the sword and went back to the Messenger of Allah, who said to him…

(That was Al-`Uzza!)” Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated, “Al-Lat belonged to the tribe of Thaqif in the area of At-Ta’if. Banu Mu`attib were the custodians of Al-Lat and its servants.” I say that the Prophet sent Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah and Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb to destroy Al-Lat. They carried out the Prophet’s command and built a Masjid in its place in the city of At-Ta’if. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Manat used to be the idol of the Aws and Khazraj tribes and those who followed their religion in Yathrib (Al-Madinah). Manat was near the coast, close to the area of Mushallal in Qudayd. The Prophet sent Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb or `Ali bin Abi Talib to demolish it. Ibn Ishaq said that Dhul-Khalasah was the idol of the tribes of Daws, Khath`am and Bajilah, and the Arabs who resided in the area of Tabalah. I say that Dhul-Khalasah was called the Southern Ka`bah, and the Ka`bah in Makkah was called the Northern Ka`bah. The Messenger of Allah sent Jarir bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali to Dhul-Khalasah and he destroyed it. Ibn Ishaq said that Fals was the idol of Tay’ and the neighboring tribes in the Mount of Tay’, such as Salma and Ajja. Ibn Hisham said that some scholars of knowledge told him that the Messenger of Allah sent `Ali bin Abi Talib to Fals and he destroyed it and found two swords in its treasure, which the Prophet then gave to `Ali as war spoils. Muhammad bin Ishaq also said that the tribes of Himyar, and Yemen in general, had a house of worship in San`a’ called Riyam. He mentioned that there was a black dog in it and that the religious men who went with Tubba` removed it, killed it and demolished the building. Ibn Ishaq said that Ruda’ was a structure of Bani Rabi`ah bin Ka`b bin Sa`d bin Zayd Manat bin Tamim, which Al-Mustawghir bin Rabi`ah bin Ka`b bin Sa`d demolished after Islam. In Sindad there was Dhul-Ka`bat, the idol of the tribes of Bakr and Taghlib, the sons of the Wa’il, and also the Iyad tribes. (Ibid., Q. 53:19-20 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/53/19)

Pay careful to attention to the candid admission by the foregoing reputable Muslim expositors that the goddess Allat derived her name from Allah, since Allat is nothing other than the feminine form of Allah, just like the names of the goddesses al-Uzza and al-Manat are the feminization of al-Aziz and al-Manan, two of the names of Allah.

Here’s what a more recent Muslim scholar wrote in regards to this issue of Allat being the feminization of Allah:

Among the many deities that the Arabs worshiped in and around the Ka’bah were the god Hubal and the three goddesses Al-lat, al-‘Uzza, and Manat. Hubal was originally a moon god, and perhaps also a rain god, as hubal means “vapor.” Al-lat was perhaps a feminine form of Allah, whose name simply means the goddess

While the Arabs professed Allah, an Arabic word meaning “the God,” to be the supreme deity, they did not worship him, nor did he play an active role in their lives… (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, Islam: Faith and History [Oneworld Publications, Oxford England, 2004], p. 15; bold and underline emphasis mine)

And this is what leading scholar of Islam, Arthur Jeffery stated in respect to Allat:

The name of Allah, as the Quran itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form ‘Allat’, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa.’ (Arthur Jeffery, Islam: Muhammed and His Religion [Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956], p. 85; bold and underline emphasis mine)

Thus, as shocking as this may be for Muslims Allah can be feminized since Allat is nothing more than the female form of the name Allah!

So much for this oft-repeated Islamic canard that the name Allah cannot be pluralized nor does it have a feminine counterpart.

Endnotes

(1) The plural form of Allah is Allahumma, a term which appears five times in the Quran:

Say: O Allah (Allahumma)! Owner of Sovereignty! Thou givest sovereignty unto whom Thou wilt, and Thou withdrawest sovereignty from whom Thou wilt. Thou exaltest whom Thou wilt, and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt. In Thy hand is the good. Lo! Thou art Able to do all things. S. 3:26 Pickthall – Cf. Q. 5:114; 8:32; 10:10 39:46

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