Muslims worldwide have started pilgrimage to Mecca city in Saudi Arabia, they will perform some rituals which most of them do not know that those same rituals were performed by pagans in the pre-Islamic era, and that is even mentioned in authentic hadiths:
Christianity also has some of it’s holidays adopted from the “pagan past” and given “Christian” meaning. There’s nothing sinister or wrong about it. Most of the Christian converts of the first centuries CE were pagan, so it would seem logical that those old pagan feast days which were part of the culture and time where Christianity would have adopted the pagan feast days as their own and give them new meaning. As one poster stated…and your point is???:shrug:
thanks for sharing Sam_777. you are in a difficult place. thanks for keeping us informed.
It is relativism to belittle or shut down the conversation when people bring up or point out what islam teaches, practices or is. Sam is in one of the most oppressive countries in the world an it is do to Islam. To try and shut down the conversation in saying “well there have been some bad Christians or we borrowed pagan holidays” is not being willing to look long and hard at Islam. Anyone who think “what is the point” ought to go to SA and try to wear a cross and openly practice their Christian faith or try to eat and drink during Ramadan.
thanks again Sam.
Regarding Christian holidays I don’t know that his has ever been reasonably demonstrated, at least in the cases of the more popular urban legends like the origins of Christmas and Halloween. Certainly some individual practices have roots in pagan customs though.
From a Christian perspective at least, pagan roots to something does not automatically mean it’s bad. I don’t know whether Islamic thought would be likely to come to the same conclusions though.
But from what little I can gather from his post…he has not addressed in any way the oppression by Islam in SA…his post is about the pagan origins of the Hajj…he hasn’t stated anything about Islam other than to state something that could be said of Christianity concerning some, if not most, of it’s holidays and feasts.
Wearing a cross in SA and the reaction received doesn’t seem to be part the content of his op.
I think you correct. I think that there might be a language struggle here as well as the op writing from an oppressive country might cause his posts to be short and blunt and cut off.
While many consider some of the Christian holidays (mainly Christmas or all saints) to be borrowed, the Hajj is central to Islam and pilgrimage required for all and is considered to be the most holiest of places. Probably what might be better to ask is why someone who claims to have revelations from Gabriel and preached monotheism and a correction of corrupted Christianity and Judiasm would incorporate as the most holy of places an old pagan stone that was used by the polytheism Mohammed was against. It is one thing that the Catholic Church as it grew and expanded reformulated some holidays but Mohammed claimed this from the start and there lies the difference.
peace to you, even if we disagree, I do enjoy reading your posts.
In the same way that Christians took many of the holy sites of paganism…especially in England and Wales, “Bridget’s Well”, “Glastonbury Tor”, “Chalice Well” and gave them Christian significance, so to did Muhammed take the Rock in the Kabaa and stated that it was in reality the stone upon which Abraham offered his son upon. The identify with Abraham as the father of their faith as well as Jews and Christians…I have no quarrel with their defining their own religious shrines and holy days. They no longer view them as “pagan” in any way…now they are holy sites to the great prophets of our shared history.
Mecca being “The Holy Land” was recently muttered in a Parliament session here by a Muslim member. I was quite puzzled by this. I thought Jerusalem was THE Holy Land.
What I’m getting at is for Jews and Christians Mecca is hardly even a better word is certainly not The Holy Land.
If we speak of borrowing from some sort of pagan cultur Christianity while certainly not off the hook so to speak there is certainly no proof at all that Abraham built the Kaaba. With all due respect of course.
No one here, from what I have read, suggests Abraham “built” the Kaaba, but that the stone housed within it’s walls is the rock upon which Abraham’s son was offered…it’s not part of our sacred story, but is is part of Islams…but we do share Abraham as spiritual ancestor with Jew and Muslim.
Be careful with such reasoning. It’s the “similarity implies descent” argument and it’s fallacious. As in the evolutionary debate, finding an earlier similarity doesn’t prove that the later specimen is merely a naturally occurring mutation. On the contrary, it MIGHT simply be a reflection of the fact that each had a common designer. This is the case both for evolution and religious practice. Sometimes there ARE similarities. Many cultures have ancient flood disaster stories. Some scholars argue that this simply proves the the bible is a myth that borrowed from earlier tales. It’s a weak argument since both stories could ALSO simply be indepedent accounts handed down from the time of an ACTUAL flood disaster. You can’t tell.
Similarly, protestant christians sometimes attach catholics in the same way, pointing out ancient cultures that venerated a woman who gave birth to a Son of God, etc. Same fallacious reasoning.
Islam isn’t erroneous because it has some similarities to earlier pagan cultures. It is erroneous because it denies the divinity of Christ, the Trinity and the death and resurrection of our Savior to save us from our sins (among other important details!).
While from your wording I think we likely hold somewhat different positions on evolution, your analogy is a good one. In biology we distinguish between homologous traits, which are derived from common descent, and analogous traits, which are similar traits that developed independently. Thus for example the wings of robins and ravens are homologous, while those of bats and bees are analogous.
Many cultures have, for instance, celebrated winter holidays around the time of the Winter Solstice, and used evergreen vegetation to create a more festive atmosphere at a rather bleak time of year. That doesn’t mean that these similarities are always derived from a common historical origin, even when they arise in cultures in close proximity to each other.
Also, even if there is a genetic relationship between two customs, it may be the reverse of what some people are likely to assume. Samhain, for example, is not attested to until well after All Saints Day was being observed on November 1. If one was derived from the other it could easily have been a secluar/paganistic Samhain borrowed from the Christian holiday at least in terms of its exact date, not the other way around.
On the other hand, I thought the pagan origin of the Kaaba and its black stone was very well attested.
I really know nothing about the Kaaba, I just didn’t like the logic or the argument much.
I respect the fact that scientists must professionally assume that all things can be rationally explained and have a cause in a natural process. That’s how we move beyond a belief that everything we don’t understand is “magic” and refuse to investigate further. What I don’t understand is why so many scientists are unable to hang up the lab coat at 5:30pm every day and acknowledge that the universe really is mysterious, beautiful, terrifying, chaotic and yet, peculiarly organized. I design things for a living (engineer). I work with architects all the time. Funny thing about designers is that they tend to recycle a lot of ideas. People in the biz can often look at a building and tell you who designed it. Again, I understand why professional biologists refuse to accept this possibility. They fear it simply would enable them to be lazy in their profession. But there really isn’t necessarily a conflict between “God did it” and “It happened over time.” That’s a manufactured false dilemma created by religious zealots - the atheistic kind. God is a rational being, so it really shouldn’t be surprising that He used rational processes in Creation. We might even be able to comprehend some of them!
To clarify, I have no objection to the theory of evolution as a recognizable process of creation. I have an objection to the many pseudo scientists who attempt to use their scientific credentials to assert their religious belief that only the material world exists and that there is no supernatural reality. That’s not science, it’s merely a different kind of religious zealot.
The difference between the pagan origin in Islam and the claimed one in Christianity, that the first one is copy and paste of the original pagan physical practices (e.g., numbers of turns around Kaaba, the clothing, the actual places, etc). While the claimed ones in Christianity (if any) it would be concerning “time” only like the Christmas day (which cannot be changed if it was a coincident) but not physical practices like making the cross sign when praying or the Mass practices.
If I’m not mistaken the traditional prayer position of holding one’s hands together, fingers pointing up, is a practice borrowed from pagan Rome. Genuflection is derived from a Persian practice introduced to Europe by Alexander the Great, later applied to bishops and eventually to the Blessed Sacrament. Many folk practices also have claimed pagan roots, such as Christmas wreaths, though there are also many myths from 19th century psuedoscience still floating around, like the debunked idea that the maypole originated as a phallic symbol.
Certainly I don’t think there are any large scale rituals in Christianity that have pagan origins in the way this one does. Also pagan temples were usually destroyed and replaced by churches, though in some cases, such as the Pantheon, the temple was transformed into a Catholic church.
Perhaps what we fail to realize, since it is not mentioned here so far, is that the haj or to perform it, is one of the five pillars of Islam. I don’t know a good equivalent for it in Christianity but probably in Catholicism it would be something like Baptism - something that we must do as a Christian in our lifetime. Since it takes on a spiritual perspective, the haj, the Kaaba, have to be put into that standard.
We know some of Christian practices derived from paganism but the spiritual aspect of it, did not. For example, the most important part of the celebration of Christmas is not the date itself or Santa Claus but the Holy Mass.
thanks for sharing Sam_777. I looked at all your links and references. The copy and paste of pagan fertility rites is much different than Christianity use of previous pagan dates or sites of worship which were destroyed and rebuilt as churches.
The Hajj is ancient and clearly predated the Prophet (phuh) by centuries. It is not only pagan, but Christians and Jews were also participating in the Hajj prior to the life of the Prophet. It was a widespread Arabian practice that was not confined to any particular religious group.
Paganism is stripped away from the Kabaah in early 630, and idolators are forbidden from making the Hajj (9:28). Not long after, later in 630 or 631, confessing Islam itself becomes a precondition for making Hajj (this seems to come up in the negotiations between the Prophet and various Arab groups during that following year).
The Kabaah was not the site at which God asked a sacrifice of a son from Abraham, but the site that Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt together (see 2:127ff), to provide a place for right worship of the One. There is no explicit association between the Kaaba and the sacrifice in the Qur’an; the association, made especially those whole believe God commanded the sacrifice of Ishmael, is based on the mention of “tests” in 2:124 and then talk of Abraham building the Kaaba in 2:125.
Tangentially, notice that the Qur’an does not specifically name who is being sacrificed in the story (37:100ff), and there is divided Muslim opinion on whether the story intends Ishmael or Isaac. How you read this largely depends on whether you think the announcement of the birth of Isaac immediately after the story is a summarizing restatement of the birth of the unnamed son previously discussed, or the announcement of a second son. Readers can easily make either decision here, and they do.