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In their zeal against and hatred of Mary’s perpetual virginity, rabid anti-Catholic calvinists such as Anthony Rogers will cite Psalm 69:8 to prove that the blessed Mother of our Lord (Cf. Luke 1:43) had biological children after giving birth to Christ. This is because there are elements of this Psalm which are applied to Jesus. I.e. Psalm 69:9 is quoted in John 2:17 (cf. 12-16) and Romans 15:3, with Psalm 69:22-23, and 25 being referenced in Acts 1:20 and Romans 11:9-10.


The context shows that this Psalm is about David, even though there are some aspects of it that typify Christ:

For the music director; according to Shoshannim. A Psalm of David.

69 Save me, God,
For the waters have threatened my life.
I have sunk in deep mud, and there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.
I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;
Those who would destroy me are powerful, those who oppose me with lies;
What I did not steal, I then have to restore.

God, You know my foolishness,
And my guilt is not hidden from You.
May those who wait for You not be ashamed because of me, Lord God of armies;
May those who seek You not be dishonored because of me, God of Israel,
Because for Your sake I have endured disgrace;
Dishonor has covered my face.
I have become estranged from my brothers,
And a stranger to my mother’s sons.

Does anyone think for a moment that the Psalmist’s confession of being foolish and guilty before God is actually Christ speaking about himself?

This Psalm is similar to what David wrote elsewhere in regards to his sinful folly and estrangement:

Prayer of a Suffering Penitent.

A Psalm of David, for a memorial.

38 LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath,
And do not punish me in Your burning anger.
For Your arrows have sunk deep into me,
And Your hand has pressed down on me.
There is no healthy part in my flesh because of Your indignation;
There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my guilty deeds have gone over my head;
Like a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester
Because of my foolishness

11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague;
And my kinsmen stand far away
18 For I admit my guilt;
I am full of anxiety because of my sin.

In light of the foregoing, it is typical of the NT writings to quote texts that, in their immediate contexts, are not about Christ but do point to him in some particular way. Compare, for instance, the following passage:

“The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. When your days are finished and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he does wrong, I will discipline him with a rod of men and with strokes of sons of mankind, but My favor shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:11b-16

It is clear that when this is read in light of the rest of the historical narrative, the son spoken of is Solomon (Cf. 1 Chronicles 17:10-14; 22:7-10; 28:4-7), and hence the warning that God would discipline him for any wrongdoing he commits.

And yet the statement about Solomon being God’s son is applied to the post-resurrected and exalted Christ:

“For to which of the angels did He ever say,

‘You are My Son,
Today I have fathered You”?

“And again,

‘I will be a Father to Him
And He will be a Son to Me’?” Hebrews 1:5

It is obvious that the part about the son doing wrong does not and cannot refer to Jesus whom the NT documents portray as being absolutely pure and sinless:

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let’s hold firmly to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing; Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens; who has no daily need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because He did this once for all time when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, who has been made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:23-28  

“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14 – Cf. Mark 1:24; 9:7; John 7:18; 8:29, 46; 14:30; Acts 3:14-15; 7:53; 22:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2:22-24; 3:18; 1 John 2:1-2; 3:3, 5, 7-8

Here’s another example:

When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. The more they called them, The more they went away from them; They kept sacrificing to the Baals And burning incense to idols. Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I pulled them along with cords of a man, with ropes of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them. They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria—he will be their king Because they refused to return to Me. And the sword will whirl against their cities, And will destroy their oracle priests And consume them, because of their counsels. So My people are determined to turn from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, None at all exalts Him. How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. I will not carry out My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath. They will walk after the LORD, He will roar like a lion; Indeed He will roar, And His sons will come trembling from the west. They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, And like doves from the land of Assyria; And I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD. Ephraim surrounds Me with lies And the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is still unruly against God, Even against the Holy One who is faithful.” Hosea 11:1-12

Matthew takes this text about Israel being brought up out of Egypt and applies it to Jesus being taken into Egypt to escape the persecution of Herod:

“Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.’So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.He stayed there until the death of Herod; this happened so that what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” Matthew 2:13-15

It is obvious that not everything stated in the foregoing references apply to Christ, unless one wants to accuse Jesus of being a sinful rebel who has always been determined to turn away from God his Father!

Therefore, it is the NT that determines which specific aspects of a particular OT text apply to Christ, and which elements do not.


In contrast to Psalm 69, the 22nd Psalm is entirely about Jesus as I shall now demonstrate.


A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.

For the music director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.

22 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my help are the words of my groaning.


“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabaktanei?” that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’”  Matthew 27:46


But I am a worm and not a person,
A disgrace of mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me deride me;
They sneer, they shake their heads, saying,
“Turn him over to the LORD; let Him save him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”


“At that time two rebels were being crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those passing by were speaking abusively to Him, shaking their heads, and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, ‘He saved others; He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has trusted in God; let God rescue Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, “I am the Son of God.”’ And the rebels who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him in the same way.” Matthew 27:38-44


14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
15 My strength is dried up like a piece of pottery,
And my tongue clings to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18 They divide my garments among them,
And they cast lots for my clothing.


“And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull,they gave Him wine mixed with bile to drink; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink it.And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, ‘THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’” Matthew 27:33-37

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts: a part to each soldier, and the tunic also; but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.So they said to one another, ‘Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be.’ This happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: They divided My garments among themselves, and they cast lots for My clothing.’

“Therefore the soldiers did these things. Now beside the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.So when Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture would be fulfilled, said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Now then, since it was the day of preparation, to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews requested of Pilate that their legs be broken, and the bodies be taken away.So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other who was crucified with Him;but after they came to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Yet one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.For these things took place so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: Not a bone of Him shall be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, They will look at Him whom they pierced.’” John 19:23-37

Here is where it gets rather astonishing!

When Psalm 22 refers to Jesus’ brothers, the NT explains this in reference to the physical seed of Abraham whom Christ came to redeem!

Note the verse in question:

22 I will proclaim Your name to my brothers;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

Now contrast this with the way the book of Hebrews interprets the aforementioned passage:

“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of His suffering death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the originator of their salvation through sufferings.For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers… saying,

will proclaim Your name to My brothers, In the midst of the assembly I will sing Your praise.’

“And again,

‘I will put My trust in Him.”

“And again,

‘Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.’

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,and free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.For clearly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brothers so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:9-18

Thus, the NT interprets the expression “my brothers” here not as Mary’s biological children, but to all the physical Israelites who place their trust in their Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus!   

Biblical references taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).





What the Early Church Believed: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity


In the following chart I show how both God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and Islamic tradition confirm that Jesus is superior and infinitely better Muhammad, whom the Muslim sources depict as an imperfect, inconsistent, immoral, sinful, doubting hypocrite whose deity often threatened to humiliate and murder if he didn’t toe the line.


“And he preached, saying, ‘After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:7-11  

“And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’” Mark 1:23-24  

“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Eli′jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli′jah.’ For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’” Mark 9:2-7    

“At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’” Matthew 11:25-30  

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.’” Matthew 28:16-20  

“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” John 7:18  

“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’” John 8:28-29    

“‘Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?… Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.’ The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, “If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word.’” John 8:50-55  

“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.’” John 10:7-11, 14-18  

“‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.’” John 10:27-33  

“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.’” John 11:23-27  

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me… I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.’” John 14:1-6, 18-19    

“The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13-15 Modern English Version (MEV)  

“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21  

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16    

“The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.” Hebrews 7:23-28

“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God… Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:14, 23-28

“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10, 14  

“You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19  

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25  

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:18-22  

“My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2    

“And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure… You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin… Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:3, 5, 7-8  

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:17-18  

(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). S. 3:45  

to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God. I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. S. 3:49 Arberry  

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. S. 3:55  

But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. S. 4:158    

O People of the Book! Go not beyond the limits in your way of life and say not about God but The Truth: That the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was a Messenger of God and His Word that Hecastto Mary and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers. And say not: Three. To refrain yourselves from it is better for you. There is only One God. Glory be to Him that He have a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in and on the earth and God sufficed as a Trustee. S. 4:171 Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar  

When God said, ‘Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit, to speak to men in the cradle, and of age; and when I taught thee the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel; and when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird, by My leave; and thou healest the blind and the leper by My leave, and thou bringest the dead forth by My leave; and when restrained from thee the Children of Israel when thou camest unto them with the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said, “This is nothing but sorcery manifest.” S. 5:110 Arberry  

He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. S. 19:19-21  

Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth, that thou mayst judge between mankind by that which Allah showeth thee. And be not thou a pleader for the treacherous; And seek forgiveness of Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. And plead not on behalf of (people) who deceive themselves. Lo! Allah loveth not one who is treacherous and sinful. S. 4:105-107  

Allah forgive thee (O Muhammad)! Wherefor didst thou grant them leave ere those who told the truth were manifest to thee and thou didst know the liars? S. 9:43   And when Our clear revelations are recited unto them, they who look not for the meeting with Us say: Bring a Lecture other than this, or change it. Say (O Muhammad): It is not for me to change it of my accord. I only follow that which is inspired in me. Lo! if I disobey my Lord I fear the retribution of an awful Day. S. 10:15  

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers. S. 10:94-95  

And they indeed strove hard to beguile thee (Muhammad) away from that wherewith We have inspired thee, that thou shouldst invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted thee as a friend. And if We had not made thee wholly firm thou mightest almost have inclined unto them a little. Then had we made thee taste a double (punishment) of living and a double (punishment) of dying, then hadst thou found no helper against Us. S.17:73-75  

Or thou have a house of gold; or thou ascend up into heaven, and even then we will put no faith in thine ascension till thou bring down for us a book that we can read. Say (O Muhammad): My Lord be Glorified! Am I aught save a mortal messenger? S. 17:93  

O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. S. 33:1  

Lo! thou wilt die, and lo! they will die; Then lo! on the Day of Resurrection, before your Lord ye will dispute. S. 39:30-31  

And verily it hath been revealed unto thee as unto those before thee (saying): If thou ascribe a partner to Allah thy work will fail and thou indeed wilt be among the losers. S. 39:65  

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. S. 40:55  

Say (unto them O Muhammad): I am only a mortal like you. It is inspired in me that your God is One God, therefor take the straight path unto Him and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe unto the idolaters, S. 41:6  

Or say they: He hath invented it? Say (O Muhammad): If I have invented it, still ye have no power to support me against Allah. He is Best Aware of what ye say among yourselves concerning it. He sufficeth for a witness between me and you. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Say: I am no new thing among the messengers (of Allah), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is inspired in me, and I am but a plain warner. S. 46:8-9      

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. S. 47:19  

Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory, That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path, S. 48:1-2  

And if he had invented false sayings concerning Us, We assuredly had taken him by the right hand And then severed his life-artery, And not one of you could have held Us off from him. S. 69:44-47   

Say (unto them, O Muhammad): I pray unto Allah only, and ascribe unto Him no partner. Say: Lo! I control not hurt nor benefit for you. Say: Lo! none can protect me from Allah, nor can I find any refuge beside Him (Mine is) but conveyance (of the Truth) from Allah, and His messages; and whoso disobeyeth Allah and His messenger, lo! his is fire of hell, wherein such dwell for ever. Till (the day) when they shall behold that which they are promised (they may doubt); but then they will know (for certain) who is weaker in allies and less in multitude. Say (O Muhammad, unto the disbelievers): I know not whether that which ye are promised is nigh, or if my Lord hath set a distant term for it. (He is) the Knower of the Unseen, and He revealeth unto none His secret, S. 72:20-26  

Then hymn the praises of thy Lord, and seek forgiveness of Him. Lo! He is ever ready to show mercy. S. 110:3  

Narrated Abu Huraira: When Allah revealed the Verse: “Warn your nearest kinsmen,” Allah’s Apostle got up and said, “O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah’s Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah’s Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah’s Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah’s Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah’s Punishment.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, Number 16   

Narrated ‘Um al-‘Ala: An Ansari woman who gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet that the Ansar drew lots concerning the dwelling of the Emigrants. ‘Uthman bin Maz’un was decided to dwell with them (i.e. Um al-‘Ala’s family), ‘Uthman fell ill and I nursed him till he died, and we covered him with his clothes. Then the Prophet came to us and I (addressing the dead body) said, “O Abu As-Sa’ib, may Allah’s Mercy be on you! I bear witness that Allah has honored you.” On that the Prophet said, “How do you know that Allah has honored him?” I replied, “I do not know. May my father and my mother be sacrificed for you, O Allah’s Apostle! But who else is worthy of it (if not ‘Uthman)?” He said, “As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me,” By Allah, I will never assert the piety of anyone after him. That made me sad, and when I slept I saw in a dream a flowing stream for ‘Uthman bin Maz’un. I went to Allah’s Apostle and told him of it. He remarked, “That symbolizes his (good) deeds.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266      

Unless indicated otherwise, quranic citations taken from Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.

Unless noted otherwise, biblical references taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV).


7 Characteristics of Jesus in the Quran which Make Him Superior to Muhammad

Muhammad’s Family In Hell: How Allah Dishonored his “Prophet”

The Quran Agrees: Jesus is the most Exalted of all

The Quran Also Agrees: Jesus Is the Most High!

Jesus as the Mercy of Allah: More Quranic Evidence for the Divinity of Christ

Jesus Christ: Islam’s Greatest Prophet and Messenger

Mary in the Islamic Perspective: Additional Proof for Jesus’ Superiority over the Prophet of Islam

Revisiting Muhammad’s Supposed Superiority

Jesus’ Superiority Revisited

Revisiting Jesus’ Superiority … Again!

Jesus Superior Still According to the Quran!

Evidence that Muhammad was a Sinful Transgressor

Muhammad the Sinful Transgressor Revisited

Muhammad the compromiser and doubter

Sura 10:94 and Muhammad’s doubts 

Muhammad: Man of Faith or One Filled With Doubts?

Muhammad the Doubter Still

Was Muhammad certain of his Salvation?

Praying for the Salvation of Muhammad

Revisiting the Uncertainty of Muhammad’s Salvation



The following references are all taken from Ahmad Al-Jallad’s book, The Religion and Rituals of the Nomads of Pre-Islamic Arabia: A Reconstruction Based on the Safaitic Inscriptions, published by Brill, Leiden/New York, 2022. All emphasis will be mine.   


According to the inscriptional data, Allat was a prominent deity who was believed to be the daughter of Rodaw, the moon god:

ʾʾlht “The gods”: A term to refer to all the deities collectively, cognate with Classical Arabic ʾālihatun

ʾʾlht “The gods”: A term to refer to all the deities collectively, cognate with Classical Arabic ʾālihatun

(ʾ)lt “Allāt,” the most popular goddess in the inscriptions. She is invoked 1437 times according to the OCIANA corpus in all orthographic variations of her name. Like Allāh, the first syllable is inconsistently represented withʾ, twice within the same inscription. These cases have been used to argue that lt and ʾlt are two different deities, but this is not necessary. Allāt is often called upon multiple times in an inscription, and so the rare appearance of lt and ʾlt together could easily reflect a prosodic difference between their two occurrences. The first syllable of this name appears to have been vocalic (as in the Classical Arabic definite article), and so in isolation, a glottal stop would have been pronounced, hamzatu l-qaṭʿ, ʾAllāt, while in context, it would be elided. Perhaps the vocative particle, depending upon stress, could either combine with Allāt forming one initial syllable or be treated independently: that is, hāllāt vs ʾállāt, respectively.4 There is one case where lt is followed directly by ʾlt (IS.H 296), but the rest of the inscription is broken and it is likely that the latter was simply the first element of a compound divine name. Indeed, lt and ʾlt dṯn co-occur and may be invoked together here. In terms of origin, two Safaitic inscriptions invoke Allāt as coming from a place called ʿmn.5 Its identification is unclear but it may refer to Jebel Ram, in Iram (mod. Wādī Ram), where an important temple of Allāt was located. (Pp. 93-94)

rḍw/rḍy “Satisfaction”: Together, rḍw and rḍy are invoked 630 times total, 365 for rḍw and 265 for rḍy. The two deities are never invoked together in a single inscription, which suggests that they are in fact one and the same, reflecting different pronunciations of the name.19 Indeed, the confusion of III-W and III-Y roots in Safaitic is widespread. Only rḍw occurs in Thamudic B, which suggests that this is the original form. A Dumaitic inscription indicates that North Arabians in the middle of the 1st millennium BCE considered Chaldea the mythological residence or cult center of Roḍaw. It is unclear if this idea continued into the Safaitic context…

nʾr “Luminous one”: A participle of the verb nāra, yanūru “to radiate light,” a suitable epithet for any astral deity. If we assume that Roḍaw was regarded as a lunar deity, then perhaps this was one of his titles, cf. Quran 10:5 huwa lladī ǧaʿala ššamsa ḍiyāʾan wa-l-qamara nūran “he is the one who made the sun to shine and the moon to give light.” This title is attested once in CSNS 98. (P. 97)

The existence of a kin-based pantheon comes from a small number of texts. A pair of inscriptions from Wādī as-Sūʿ, Syria indicate that the goddess Allāt was the daughter of Roḍaw.


h ʾlt bnt rḍw flṭ m-snt h-ḥrb flṭʾl bn ḫzr bn ḫḏy bn wkyt

‘O ʾAllāt daughter of Roḍaw deliver Flṭʾl son of Ḫzr son of Ḫḏy son of Wkyt from this year of war.’

AWS 291

h ʾlt {b}nt rḍw ġwṯ-h ḥld bn ḥḍrt bn ʾbrr w l-h h-dr

‘O ʾAllāt {daughter} of Roḍaw aid him, Ḥld son of Ḥḍrt son of ʾbrr and this place is his.’

Allāt was known by the epithet mlkt ṯry “queen of abundance/fertility,” possibly linking her with the Venus/Aphrodite/Ishtar complex.4


h ʾlt mlkt ṯry sʿd bnʿm qsy bn zgr bn śrb w-rʿy bql w h rḍw mḥlt l-m-ʿwr

‘O Allāt, queen of abundance/fertility, help Bnʿm Qsy son of Zgr son of Śrb and he pastured on fresh herbage, and O Rḍw, may whosoever effaces (this writing) experience a dearth of pasture.’

No clear epithet for Roḍaw is attested in Safaitic, but a single Dumaitic inscription calls him the one “from Chaldaea.”5 If we assume a similar mythological complex as other near eastern traditions, the two could form an astral pair of father and daughter, where Allāt is Venus and Roḍaw is the Moon.6 In this light, the divine title nʾr “luminous one” (CSNS 98) may apply to him.7 The god of rain and storm was Baʿal-Samīn, sometimes simply called Baʿl. Like Allāt, he takes the epithet “master,” namely, mlk h-smy “master of the rains/heaven” (KRS 1944). The texts do not relate Baʿal-Samīn to Allāt or any other deity explicitly. He is described as directly controlling the rains, withholding them in bad years.  (Pp. 56-57)

6 Idem. And on the suggestion that Roḍaw was a lunar deity, see Knauf (1985a: 85). Others have made a connection with Venus, but in light of the newly discovered texts mentioned above, this seems unlikely. (P. 57)

Bennett shows that the deity most often partnered with Allāt in invocations is Dusares (dśr), the national deity of the Nabataeans.9 Unlike the case with Allāt and Roḍaw, no inscription gives us the reason for this. The image is equally murky when we turn our attention to the Nabataean material. Healey brings our attention to the inscription CIS II 185 from Ṣalkhad (a city referenced in the Safaitic inscriptions and in which a handful of Safaitic-writing people dwelt)10 which calls Allātʾm ʾlhyʾ dy mʾrnʾ rbʾl “mother of the gods of our lord RabbʾEl” and suggests that a familial relationship between the gods was possible. As Healey goes on to point out, Dusares is explicitly called the “the god of our lord the king” in another inscription implying that Allāt was then his mother.11 If the same relationship held true in the Safaitic context, then invocations to Allāt and Dusares would be to mother and son, and with Roḍaw, we would have three generations of a divine family. (Pp. 58-59)

Now this raises a peculiar dilemma for Muslims. The Islamic sources attest that Allat was believed to be one of three daughters of Allah, with the other two being Al-Uzza and Manat:

Have you then considered Al-Lat, and Al-‘Uzza (two idols of the pagan Arabs) And Manat (another idol of the pagan Arabs), the other third? Is it for you the males and for Him the females? S. 53:19-21 Hilali-Khan

Refuting Idolatry, Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza

Allah the Exalted rebukes the idolators for worshipping idols and taking rivals to Him. They built houses for their idols to resemble the Ka`bah built by Prophet Ibrahim, Allah’s Khalil…

(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.

Refuting the Idolators Who appoint Rivals to Allah and claim that the Angels were Females

Allah the Exalted said…

(Have you then considered Al-Lat, and Al-`Uzza. And Manat, the other third), then Allah said…

(Is it for you the males and for Him the females) Allah asked the idolators, `do you choose female offspring for Allah and give preference to yourselves with the males? If you made this division between yourselves and the created, it would be…

(a division most unfair!)’ meaning, it would be an unfair and unjust division. `How is it then that you make this division between you and Allah, even though this would be foolish and unjust, if you made it between yourselves and others?’ Allah the Exalted refutes such innovated lies, falsehood and atheism they invented through worshipping the idols and calling them gods… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; emphasis mine)

In light of the foregoing, one can legitimately conclude that certain Arab pagans viewed Allah as simply another name for the Chaldean moon deity Rodaw, since both are said to be the father of Allat.

Note the logic of this argument:

  1. Allat is the daughter Allah.
  2. Allat is the daughter of Rodaw.
  3. Allah is, therefore, another name for Rodaw.
  4. Rodaw is also believed to have been the Chaldean moon deity.
  5. Therefore, since Allah and Rodaw are most likely the same god this bolsters the view that the pre-Islamic pagan Allah is actually the moon god.   


The Safaitic inscriptions often group Allat with Dushara (Dusares), who was the national deity worshiped by the Nabateans. They are even mentioned alongside the false god Baal:

ZSIJ 1612

lʾnʿm w tdy h lt w dśr w bʿl smn w gdḥr…w gdnbṭ w gdwh bʾl wkllʾl h b-h-smy

‘By ʾAnʿam and he called out: O Allāt, Dusares, Baʿal-Samīn, Gadd-Ḥr …, Gadd-Nabaṭ, Gadd-Wahbʾel and every god in the heavens ….’ (Pp. 59)

HH 113

n{ṣ}b w ḏbḥ w ḥll w ḫrṣ {ʾ}śyʿ-h ḍbʾn f h lt w dśr [s][l]m w qb{l}{l} { f} {h} {l}t {r}w[ḥ] w {ġ}nmt

‘he erected a cult stone and performed an animal sacrifice, then encamped and kept watch for his companions who were on a raid, and so, O Allāt and Dusares, [grant] {security}, and {a reunion of loved ones} {and then} {O} {Allāt} [grant] {relief} and {booty}’ (P. 20)


bny h-str w ḏbḥ f h lt w dśr slm

‘He built the str-shelter and performed an animal sacrifice so, O Allāt and Dusares, may he be secure.’ (P. 38)


w ḥgg snt myt mnʿt bn rḍwt w ḫrṣ ʿl-ʾhl-h f h lt w dśr slm w qbll

‘and he set off on the pilgrimage the year Mnʿt son of Rḍwt died and he kept watch for his family so O Allāt and Dusares, may he be secure and be reunited (with loved ones)’ (P. 41)

C 2947

w ndm ʿl-ʾḫ-h mlṯ mqtl b-hld f h lt w dśr nqmt mn-mn mṣr-h

‘and he was devastated by grief for his brother Mlṯ, who was murdered at Hld so, O Allāt and Dusares, let there be vengeance upon the one who attacked him’…

LP 146

h lt w bʿlsmn śyʿ h-gś h-rdf f nqḏ

‘O Allāt and Baʿal-Samīn, escort the rear guard that they may be safe.’ (P. 64)


h lt w gdʿwḏ w śʿhqm w dśr b-ḫfrt-k ʿwḏ-k

‘O Allāt and Gadd-ʿAwīḏ and Shayʿhaqqawm and Dusares, through your guidance comes your protection.’ (P. 65)

SS 1

w rʿy sbʿt ʾgm ḫlf ġnyt w lm ysʿd f smʿ ngʾt w rʾy śr mn-h f h lt mn ʿmn w ḏśr mn rqm ġnyt w slm m-bʾs

‘and he pastured during the rising of Pleiades on herbage of the (season of) abundance but he did not prosper, and he suspected the evil eye as he saw its evil and so O Allāt from ʿmn and Dusares from rqm (Petra) [grant] abundance that he may be secure from misfortune’ (P. 72)


l ʾdm bn whbʾl bn ḫl bn whbl bn ʾdm bn ḥḍg bn swr w ḫrṣ f {h} lt nqmt m-ḏkr bn ẓlm f h lt nqmt w h bʿlsmn w śʿhqm w dśr w ʾlh tm w gdḍf w gdnbṭ w ʾlh h-fls nqmt w ʿwr ḏ yʿwr h-sfr w sḥq w mḥq w nqʾt b-w{d}d ḏ yḫbl m-h-sfr

‘By ʾdm son of Whbʾl son of Ḫl son of Whbl son of ʾdm son of Ḫḍg son of Swr and he kept watch so {O} Allāt let there be retribution against Ḏkrson of Ẓlm and again O Allāt let there be retribution! and O Baʿal-Samīn and Shayʿhaqqawm and Dusares and the god of (the tribe) Taym and Gadd Ḍayf and Gadd-Nabaṭ and the god haf-Fals let there be retribution! And blind him who would efface this inscription and may ruin and misfortune befall him who would efface any part of this inscription and may he (finally) be thrown out of the grave by a loved one.’ (P. 87)

One inscription even contains an invocation to both Allah and Dusares:

… KSR 2298 clearly equates rġm with death: f h lh w dśr ġyrt l-ḏ rġm “O Allāh and Dusares, let there be blood money (in retribution) for those who were struck down.”… (P. 74)

Al-Jallad assumes that this may suggest that Allah and Dusares are not the same deity:

(ʾ)lh “Allāh”: A deity likely introduced from the west, literally meaning “the god,” and attested frequently in Nabataean personal names as ʾlh, ʾlhy, and lhy. As in Nabataean, the first syllable appears to be a vowel, which in some cases is preceded by a euphonic glottal stop. This produces two spellings in Safaitic:

ʾlh (15 times) and lh (26 times). We can be sure that the spelling lh represents Allāh based on Greek-Safaitic bilinguals, e.g. WH 1860 whblh = WH Greek 2 Ουαβαλλας. Allāh can be invoked alongside other gods; that he is invoked beside dśr in KRS 2298 seems to exclude the identification of these two gods as one and the same. C 2816 calls upon him alongside Shayʿ-Haqqawm and Allāt. In SIJ 293, the author makes an oath to Allāh whom he calls “living”—ʾqsm b-ʾlh ḥy.1

hʾlh “the god”: Perhaps a calque of Nabataean ʾlh /ʾAllāh/ into Safaitic (cf. śʿhqm below) producing /haʾ-ʾelāh/. It is attested once in the inscriptions, in WH 2923, ingeniously restored by M.C.A. Macdonald. The divine name is encountered in theophoric names such as ʾshʾlh /ʾaws-haʾ-ʾelāh/; ʿbdhʾlh /ʿabd-haʾ-ʾelāh/, etc.2 (P. 93)

The reason for al-Jallad’s caution is due to the fact that in another inscription Dusares is called the elah/alah (alef-lam-ha) of the Nabateans:

dśr / dśry / ḏśr / ḏśry “Master of the Śarē (mountains)”: The national deity of the Nabataeans—called BES17 1326 ʾlh nbṭ “god of the Nabataeans”—is invoked 205 times in various pronunciations.13 The commonest form is dśr, which Macdonald argues indicates a direct port from the Nabataean Aramaic pronunciation, probably diśar. The form dśry is attested 2 times, reflecting the presence of the final diphthong. The form ḏśr likely reflects the Nabataean Arabic pronunciation ḏū-śarē, Δουσαρης, dwšrʾ, while the Arabian form ḏśry /ḏū-śaray/, as attested in Hismaic, is attested only once (WH 61). Dusares is called the one from rqm (Petra) in one Safaitic inscription.14 (Pp. 95-96)

Since the terms Allah, alah/elah, Lah, al-elah, and ha-elah are often used synonymously and interchangeably, this means that Dusares would have been the Allah worshiped by the Nabateans.  

This isn’t surprising seeing that it is not unusual to find pagans employing the same term for different gods, where an epithet will be used for one and the same deity, as well as for a different and distinct god. This brings me to my next and final example.


One of the most interesting inscriptions found was that of an invocation to both Ahad and Allat, showing that Ahad was believed to be the name of a particular deity:

ʾḥd “The One”: This deity is attested in one inscription, alongside Allāt. It appears to be an Arabicization of the Greek epithet εἰς θεός, found in a Palmyrene inscription as mrnʾ ḥd. See Al-Jallad (forthcoming). (P. 93)

What makes this example so remarkable is that Ahad is a key expression that the Quran uses to describe the unity of Allah:

Say: ‘He is God, One (huwa allahu ahadun),… and equal to Him is not any one (ahadun).’ S. 112:1, 4 Arberry

This confirms the point made earlier in regards to pagans employing the same term for deity in varying ways. Sometimes they used it as a title for a specific god, whereas in other instances they would employ it for an altogether different deity.



Allah of the Arabic Bible versus the Ilah of Islam

Who really is Muhammad’s Allah?

The Identity of the pre-Islamic Allah [Part 1]

The Identity of the pre-Islamic Allah at Mecca [Part 2]

The Identity of the pre-Islamic Allah at Mecca [Part 3]

The Identity of the pre-Islamic Allah at Mecca [Addendum]


In this post I will be citing snippets from the fabulous work of epigrapher Ahmad Al-Jallad in respect to some of the pre-Islamic Arabian inscriptions he and his colleagues have discovered, which prove quite devastating to the traditional Muslim narrative.

Ahmad Al-Jallad is a philologist, epigraphist, and historian of language. His work focuses on the languages and writing systems of pre-Islamic Arabia and the ancient Near East.

One of the interesting finds that Al-Jallad uncovered is an inscription to a deity called Ahad, who is invoked alongside the pagan goddess Allat!

Al-Jallad states:

1 Introduction

Under the lemma wḥd in the 2015 edition of my Safaitic lexicon,2 I identified an invocation to a hitherto unknown deity, ḥd ‘One’. I left questions about how this deity, here seemingly referred to by the monotheistic epithet par excellence, ended up in an invocation beside Allāt, the ancient Arabian goddess. In this paper, I revisit this inscription to produce a new edition of the text and explore the circumstances that could have led to this curious example of shirk.3

2 The inscription KRS 1131

This inscription was discovered in 1989 during the Basalt Desert Rescue Surveys, carried out by G.M.H. King in northern Jordan and remains, as far as one can know, in situ. It is published online in the OCIANA database without a philological commentary. Its author employed a thin instrument to carve the glyphs in the so-called fine script.4

Reading and translation

l m[d] bn ḥd bn bgr bn sḫr bn śḥtr w ḥl ṣyr h-drmdy w ḫrṣ hl-h ḥḍr f ḥd w h lt slm w ġnmtl-ḏ dy

‘By Ꜥmd son of Ḥd son of bgr son of sḫr son of sḥtr and he camped having returned to this place of water from a raid/having gone on a raid; and he kept watch for his family while camping near water so O ḥd and O Allāt may he be secure; and may he who would read (this writing) have spoil.’ (The ‘One’ God in a Safaitic Inscription [2021], pp. 37-38; emphasis mine)

Al-Jallad goes on to write:

The deity ʾḥd

Following the narrative, the author petitions two gods for security and the protection of those who read and invoke his text. The second deity, lt = /Allāt/, is the most frequently invoked deity in the Safaitic inscriptions.11 She is called upon beside another god, a unique deity named ḥd, attested for the first, and as far as I know, only time in this text. The etymology is clear: one. While writers often invoke Allāt alongside other gods, especially Dusares, whom many scholars regard as her partner, it would be odd to take ḥd as an epithet of the chief Nabataean deity.12 Dusares is invoked hundreds of times and there are no examples of him being referred to with an epithet. Moreover, there is no evidence from the Nabataean tradition that he was given such a title, or that oneness was a characteristic associated with him.

The ‘One’ is a known attribute of the Jewish deity, clearly reflected in the ShemaꜤ Deut. 6:4 ‘Hear, O Israel, YHWH is our lord, YHWH is “One”,’ and also Zechariah 14:9 ‘on that day, YHWH will be one and his name (is) “One”.’13 In Hebrew liturgical poetry of Late Antiquity, the most common literary form is the use of metonymy (kinnui), usually an allusion to scripture. In such a context, eḥad could be used as an epithet for God, and indeed an attestation of this is found in a Piyyut of ShimꜤon bar Megas.14 Quran 112, which Neuwirth convincingly argues is an engagement with the Jewish Shema,15 recasts the declaration, naming Allāh as the ‘One’: qul huwa llāhu aḥad, which gave rise to the divine epithet: al-aḥadu ‘the One’.

Another explanation, however, of this divine name presents itself. In a forthcoming publication, M. Gorea edits a Palmyrene graffito from the Jordanian Ḥarrah that contains an invocation to a deity called mrn ḥd ‘our lord, (who is) one’, dated to 159 CE.16 This—she convincingly argues—is an Aramaic rendition of the Greek formula εἷς θεός ‘one God’, which was popular in the first centuries of the Common Era. While scholars in the past have sometimes labelled artefacts bearing this title as Jewish or Christian, Di Segni demonstrated that the title was more often employed in a pagan context.17 Meerson argues convincingly that εἷς θεός was originally an epithet of a pagan cult, appearing in the 2nd century CE.18 The unity of ‘god’ is attested at Palmyra, ἑνί, μόνῳ ἐλεήμον[ι] θεῷ ‘the one, only, merciful god’, and so, following the suggestion of Gorea, the present Palmyrene inscription may attest an Aramaic rendition of this Hellenistic divine epithet.19 At the same time, we cannot rule out Jewish influence in the present case.

So then, the connection between the Palmyrene text and our Safaitic inscription is undeniable but what exactly does this divine title reflect? A Hellenistic divine epithet rendered in Aramaic and Arabic, respectively, or the impact of Jewish monotheism on neighbouring pagan cults? I will consider both scenarios in the next section…

The fact that our author invokes ḥd beside Allāt prevents us from regarding this text as a monotheistic Jewish inscription. The polytheistic climate of the Ḥarrah allowed the petitioner to seek favour from any source, both local and outside deities. Many of the gods, and certainly the most common, belong to the familiar ancient Arabian stock, lt (Allāt), rḍw/y (roṣaw/y), yṯ (yayṯeꜤ), lh (Allāh), etc., other gods originate among neighbouring peoples. Nabataean deities are popular, such as Dusares and ShayꜤhaqqawm BaꜤalsamīn, whose temple was located in the town of SeꜤīꜤ, was the primary god invoked for rain. While these deities came from beyond the Ḥarrah, they seem to have been fully assimilated into the local pantheon as evidenced by their popularity.27 (Ibid., pp. 39-40; emphasis mine)

The foregoing shows that the term Ahad, which is used for Allah in Q. 112:1, does not in and of itself rule out the existence of other divine beings. It merely highlights the uniqueness of a particular deity over against the rest.


Al-Jallad has also shown that the name Allah was used for a pagan deity:

A deity known simply by smyʾ is attested in two Nabataean inscriptions, and the Arabic equivalent ʾl- smʾ is found in two personal names from Darb al-Bakrah, NW Arabia.36 It is possible that smyʾ / smʾ is an abbreviated form of an epithet like rabbu l- samāʾ ‘lord of heaven’. A similar divine title is attested in Ancient South Arabian, ḏ -s ’mwy, the patron god of the tribe of ʾmr.37 While the deity is attested in a polytheistic context, the name appears to survive into the monotheistic period, perhaps suggesting that it was reappropriated as an epithet of the monotheistic deity or even the name of the deity itself, similar to the name allāh .38

38 The deity ḏ-s’mwy is marginally attested in the monotheistic period on day-to-day documents in personal names. Stein, “Ḏū-Samāwī”, has taken this as evidence for the marginal survival of the pagan cults into the monotheistic period. While possible, a number of other interpretive possibilities are available. Personal names with pagan elements are found in Christian contexts, suggesting a disconnect between the literal meaning of a name and the confession of its bearer. Former pagan deities can be reconfigured as angelic figures or minor supernatural beings within a monotheistic framework; see the important ideas of P. Crone, “Qur’ānic Pagans”. As for the re-appropriation of a former pagan divine name, we can compare the situation to the history of the term allāh, Nabataean ʾlh. While Allāh first appears in a pagan Nabataean context, and occasionally in the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions, see Al-Jallad and Jaworska, Safaitic Dictionary, p. 43, it becomes the name of the monotheistic deity by the 6th CE in West Arabia. (The pre-Islamic basmala: Reflections on its first epigraphic attestation and its original significance, [2020], p. 9; emphasis mine)


In regards to the prominence of monotheism in Arabia before Islam’s rise, Al-Jallad states:

By the sixth century CE, the pagan gods had completely disappeared from the inscriptions of North Arabia. Those in the Arabic script, spanning from Nagrān in the south to near Aleppo in the north attest ONLY ONE DEITY57 The name is found rendered into Sabaic as ʾlh-n /ʾilāh-ān/ ‘the god’ in Sabaic inscriptions from the area of Nagrān and further to the north, perhaps already reflecting a sensitivity to the local name of the monotheistic god.58

In contrast to South Arabia, the North Arabian monotheistic traditions of the 5th and 6th CE invoked al-ʾilāh / allāh. While al-ʾilāh is attested in clear Christian contexts, allāh is rarer and found in confessionally ambiguous contexts.59 It is impossible at this moment to decide whether the distinction between the two was simply regional or whether it betokened a confessional split. What is clear, however, is that “Raḥmān” was not used in pre-Islamic times in North Arabia. (The pre-Islamic basmala: Reflections on its first epigraphic attestation and its original significance, p. 14; emphasis mine)


In addition to style, the ASA [Ancient Southern Arabian] inscriptions contain many parallels in content. By the fourth century CE, references to the pagan gods disappear almost entirely from the inscriptions, ushering in what scholars have termed the ‘monotheistic period’. In their place, a new, single god is venerated, Rhmnn, literally ‘the merciful’, which finds a direct Arabic equivalent in al-rahmān, who is equated with All a ̄ h in the Qur’an (Q. 17:110). Other literary phrases common to monotheistic South Arabian inscriptions, specifically the Jewish ones, and the Qur’an are found. An epithet of Rhmnn, mr ʾs’myn w-ʾrdn ‘lord of the heavens and the earth’, has a transparent Qur’anic equivalent: rabbu s-samā wāti wa-l-ʾardi ‘idem’. In another Jewish inscription, the following is attested: [b]rk w tbrk sm rh mnn ‘may the name of Rhmnn bless and be blessed’, which is essentially equivalent to Q. 55:78 tabāraka smu rabbika ‘blessed is the name of your lord’. While religious terms such as ‘prayer’ slt =Qur’an slwh, vowelled salāh, and ‘aid/assistance’ zkt = Qur’an zkwh, vowelled zakāh, are also attested in Jewish South Arabian inscriptions, their spellings in the Qur’an preclude a South Arabian origin (see Jeffery 2007).

A remarkable graffito recently published in the minuscule South Arabian script (Al-Hajj and Faqʿas 2018) attests a late pre-Islamic variant of the Basmala and a prayer to God in using vocabulary and style strikingly similar to the Qur’an, and later Islamic phraseology, but not identical to it.

bsmlh rhmn rhmn rb smwt 

‘In the name of Allah, Rahman; Rahman lord of the heavens’

rzq-n m-d  ̣l-k w-ʾt r-n mh-h śkmt ʾymn

‘Bless us from your favor and grant us the best of it: the gift of faith. (The Linguistic Landscape of pre-Islamic Arabia — Context for the Qur’an [2020], pp. 122-123; emphasis mine)

Hence, the claim that it was Islam that eradicated the predominance of Arabian polytheism is refuted by the epigraphic data, which shows that monotheism was already well established throughout Arabia from the end of the 5th century AD.

It is also quite interesting to see how two of the pagan gods worshiped by the Arabs, namely Rahman and Allah, end up becoming one and the self-same deity even before the time of Muhammad.  

Al-Jallad further mentions inscriptions which refer to Allah, al-Uzza and Manat, the three goddesses that are specifically named within the Quran itself:

Several of the deities mentioned in the Qur’an are encountered in the inscriptions. The three goddess mentioned in Q. 53:19–20, allāt, al-ʿuzzā, and manāt, were worshipped in Nabataea, and with varying degrees of popularity in north-west Arabia. Allat was the most popular deity in North Arabia, invoked in almost all of the epigraphic corpora, and was probably the most ancient; she is found in theophoric names dating back to the early first millennium BCE. Al-ʿUzza is also encountered in the inscriptions, but her worship was more restricted. She is limited to theophoric names in the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions, but was especially popular among the Nabataeans (Healey 2001: 114 ff.), and is found in theophoric names at Dadan with the hn article, that is, hnʿzy.

After a meticulous study of the distribution of Lt and ʾlʿzy/ʾ in the Nabataean inscriptions, Healey suggests that the latter was an epithet of Alla ̄t, meaning ‘the mightiest’ (Healey 2001: 114). There is also some evidence to suggest that Lt was a mother goddess, if Healey’s interpretation of the inscription on an altar of Lt (CIS II, 185) as ʾm ʾlhy dy m ʾrn ʾrbʾl ‘the mother of the gods of our lord, Rabbel’ is correct (Healey 2001: 109–10). In Safaitic, Alla ̄t was regarded as the daughter of Rdw/y, defied ‘satisfaction’ (AWS 283, 291). (Ibid., p. 124)


Just as remarkable is the discovery of the Basmala formula found in a pre-Islamic inscription:

Part I: The inscription, its reading and interpretation 1.1

The original edition

The two-line graffito was carved vertically on a side of a cliff near a small cave. Unlike most rock inscriptions, the text is written in the minuscule variant of the South Arabian script, the hand typically reserved for writing day-to-day documents on sticks.5 The contains an in- depth discussion of the inscription’s paleography; it suffices to say that the letter shapes of the text date to the very latest stage of South Arabian documentation, sometime after the 5th CE.6 We will return to the matter of its date following a discussion of its contents, which ultimately must bear on this question.

The editio princeps ( ed. pro. ) reads the text as follows and provides two interpretations.7

Line 1: bsmlh | rḥmn | rḥmn | rb | s’mwt

Line 2: r(z)(q)n | mf ḍlk | wʾṯrn | mḫh | s’kmt ʾymn (The pre-Islamic basmala: Reflections on its first epigraphic attestation and its original significance, [2020], pp. 1-2)

Al-Jallad indicates that this inscription most definitely comes from a period before the rise and spread of Islam:

The script combined with its language supports a date towards the very end of South Arabian documentation. Its contents, rather distinct from the standardized Arabic phraseology of the Islamic period, speak to a late pre-Islamic or perhaps even a paleo-Islamic dating, that is late 6th or early 7th CE.52 At the same time, these irregularities speak against a mid- or late 7th CE date as the text deviates from the heavily standardize pietistic language of this period.

1.5 Genre and confessional background

The contents, as suggested above, most likely reflect a local monotheistic tradition rather than strictly Jewish or Christian background. The invocations are clearly inspired by the Psalter but have been reworked and paraphrased in the local vernacular. The invocational style is reminiscent of Islamic-period duʿāʾ literature, as found in the Hadith material quoted above, and may be an antecedent of it (Ibid., p. 12; emphasis mine)

Al-Jallad even thinks that the Quran’s tripartite Basmala formula may be a direct polemic against the Christianity Trinity:

The earliest attestation of the tripartate Arabic basmala occurs in the Quran, where it takes the form bismi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm. Traditional exegetes understand the final two components as adjectives explaining the merciful qualities of the deity.54 Jomier, however, problematizes the understanding of ar-raḥmān as an adjectival divine epithet in the Quran.55 Through a close study of the text, he suggests that al-Raḥmān remained a proper name. Indeed, this was the name of the deity of Maslamah, the Yamamite prophet and rival of Mohammed.56 This understanding is supported by the broader Arabian context, where raḥmānān – which is rendered ar-raḥmān in Arabic – was the name of the monotheistic deity of ancient Ḥimyar. With this in mind, we may ask what light the bipartate basmalah attested here may shed on the background and original sense of the invocation.

Putting aside later Islamic-period traditions and approaching the present text from what came before it, the invocation of lh and rḥmn together seems to have had another significance. “The Raḥmān” was much more than an epithet – it was the proper name of Ḥimyar’s deity, and was not used in North Arabia. Gajda brings into relief this distinction, even in the monotheistic period, in her discussion of CIH 543:

[b]rk w-tbrk s¹m Rḥmnn ḏ -b-s¹myn w-Ys³ rʾl w – ʾlh -hmw Rb-Yhd ḏ – hrdʾ ʿbd -hmwS²hrm w- ʾm -hw Bdm w-hs²kt-hw S²ms¹m w- ʾwld -hmy. . . .

‘Blessed and praised be the name of Raḥmānān who is in Heaven and Israel (Yisrāʾīl) and their God, Lord of Jews (Rb -Yhd) who helped Shahrum, his mother Buddum, his wife Shamsum and their children. . . . ’ (Ibid., p. 13; emphasis mine)

57 This spelling is found, for example, in the Christian Arabic inscriptions of Ḥimà; see Robin et al. “Ḥimà”; the Zebed inscription; the Christian Arabic inscription of Dūmat al-Jandal; see Nehmé, “Dumah”; and in the Yazīd inscription; see Shdeifat et al. “Yazīd”. The spelling with two lām ’s is attested in an unpublished inscription from the Higāz – known informally as the ʿAbd-Shams inscription by its author’s name, in the invocation bismika llāhumma, which is known from traditional Islamic sources as well as an alternative opening formula used by the Quraish; see Nöldeke, “the Basmala”. The spelling ylh is attested once in an unpublished pre-Islamic Arabic-script inscription from the Tabūk area in the phrase: lʾ ʾwṣ km b-br ylh ‘I indeed urge you to obey God’. The spelling likely reflects the phonetic writing of the pronunciation bi-birri illāh, where the hiatus between both i vowels was rendered with y. The text is monotheistic but it is impossible to say more. On the etymological relationship between al-ʾilāh and allāh, see Testen, “Definiteness”. (Ibid., p. 14)


The Islamic innovation is therefore the addition of the epithet raḥīm ‘merciful’ to the innovation, producing, In the name of Allāh, (who is) the Raḥmān, the merciful. The adjective raḥīm therefore applies to both divine names, which are in apposition.62 The addition of the third element may have been motivated by, and perhaps even regarded as a response to, Christian invocations of the trinity. Such invocations would have been widely known as they are displayed on public royal inscriptions. The tripartate form may have been a response to South Arabian: b s¹m Rḥmnn w-bn-hw krs³ts³ ġ lbn w-mnfs qds ‘In the name of the Raḥmān, his son Christ, the victorious, and the Holy Ghost’ or b- ḫ ylw-r dʾ w -rḥmt Rḥmnn w-Ms¹ ḥ -hw w-Rḥ qds¹ ‘by the power, aid, and mercy of the Raḥmān,his Messiah, and the Holy Ghost’. Over time, this cultural context was forgotten and “the Ra ḥmān” was reinterpreted as an adjective, giving rise to the common Islamic-period interpretation of the invocation. (Ibid., p. 16; emphasis mine)



Ahad: Monotheism vs. Eloquence of the Quran

As-Samad: The Quran’s Teaching on Islamic Monotheism

Rahmanan (RHMNN) – An Ancient South Arabian Moon God?  

Ar-Rahman of the Quran: A Pagan Deity or the God of the Bible?

 Did the Meccans Believe in Allah as the Most High?

Did the Meccan Polytheist Believe That Allah Was The Supreme Being?

Worshiping the Same or a Different God? 

Is the Quran An Implicit Endorsement and Continuation of Arab Paganism?