The first question I have is the person and character of Mohammed. According to the Quran and according to the Hadith, Mohammed grew up next to the well of Zumzum.
Now today the Zumzum is considered holy water by the Wahab in Saudi Arabia. And in his youth he saw the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to worship at the Ka’bah. His father's name was Abdullah, the servant of Allah. So the Hajj already existed, the Ka’bah already existed, the well of Zumzum already existed, and even the worship of Allah existed in ancient pre-Islamic Arabia. There were multiple stones – some would say 360, one for each day of the lunar year in the Ka’bah. Mohammed began his reforms and crusades; he removed all of the stones except one. He said there was one God.
“Allah” is a generic term in Arabic for “god”, but it’s also the specific name; it was the specific name of a moon-god. And of course we see the moon crescent on mosques to this day. That brings the question, was Allah, or is Allah, the same God as Christians and Jews because it is the Arabic word for “God”? It is an Arabic word for “god” – that is without dispute, but there is another word called “El” that we hear little about. Now in the Katub, in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, God is called – Allah is called – by a name. His name is not called “Allah”, His name is called “Yahweh”. Yes, the Hebrew “Elohim” – “God” can be translated into “Allah”, but “Yahweh” cannot be translated into “Allah”.
If the worship of Allah, the well of Zuzum, the Ka’bah and the Hajj all existed before Muhammad began Islam, how can we say Muhammad began Islam? If Islam itself acknowledges these things existed, was it not something that came from the pagan religions of ancient Arabia? For Mohammed was told of monotheism.
He met some Christians who were black Africans from Ethiopia who used the term in Arabic of puppy dogs opening their eyes. You see a little bit that there’s one God. Mohammed ventured with his uncle and he learned certain things from the Zoroastrians of Persia, but he saw in those days Jews and Christians did not fight each other because they had one religion. He lived at a time of tremendous social injustice and he believed if the Arabic nations out-monotheised, they would have the same kind of peace and tranquility that seemed to happen between Jews and Christians, that Christians and Jews had within their own community. That is what, broadly speaking, the Quran and the Hadith say about Mohammed.
But my first question would be if all these things existed, if Allah was first worshiped as a moon-god, if there was a Hajj – the pilgrimage was already there, if the well of Zumzum was there, if the Ka’bah was there, how is Islam the same religion historically in its origins as Judaism and Christianity? How is it?
I can prove the relationship between Christianity and Judaism – even the Quran acknowledges that. But the Quran is claimed to be a “third testament” correcting the errors in the other two. Even though the last thing it says in the Christian Bible is don’t add to the Word of God, (Rev. 22:18-19) the Quran comes along and has added another book saying it’s a third testament. My first question to you, my Muslim friends, is this: On what basis can you say that Allah is the same God as Christians and Jews, on what basis can you say it is another manifestation of the same Judeo-Christian, monotheistic belief? On what basis can you say Mohammed began this religion when its institutions, its fundamental tenets and practices – the Hajj, the well of Zumzum, the Ka’bah, the worship of Allah – already existed? I know you believe it does, but examining it historically and examining it in light of the Jewish-Christian scriptures I cannot see how it does. Can you please explain to me how it does? That is my first question, and I say it not to insult you; I say it to ask.