The Hajj means friction and denoted the rubbing of a black stone at the Meccan Kabaa shrine by females against their genitalia. This friction was thought to induce fertility by rubbing the holy rock against the woman's reproductive area. It would be hard to find a more irresolutely pagan practice than this, with perhaps child sacrifice being an exception. This pre-Muhammadan practice had existed for hundreds of years within Arabia dating to at least the birth of Christ. Post-Muhammad the Hajj signified the Moslem duty to journey to Mecca, to spend money, to enrich the locals, and to follow the timeless pagan Arab rituals of rock, stone, and devil worship, as well as circumambulating the Kabaa and kissing its black rock.
This was an ageless and important ceremony in pre-Muhammadan Mecca. Indeed the market square around the cube or Kabaa was infested with prostitution, and many historians speculate that sex orgies were a part of the ritualized offering to the black asteroid rock which was housed in the cube and which represented heavenly power. Rubbing the genitalia with such a rock might have been a prelude to a sexual offering.
In Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, published in 1984, historian John Gilchrist offers the reader a detailed glimpse into this pre-historical era of pagan Arabia. It is a world of superstition, demons, moon deities, celestial reverence, illiteracy, banditry, poverty and under-development. No civilisation worth the name existed there. As historian Gilchrist comments:
The ramial-jimar ceremony at Mina, like many other ceremonies in the Hajj, places a great emphasis on stones - further evidence of pagan Arab practices surviving to this day for the pre-Islamic idol-worshippers worshipped not only stones but had a stone-throwing ceremony in their rites. [Gilchrist, Mohammed, 1984]
There is little that is rational or reasonable about these pagan actions. Another famous Arab historian confirms Gilchrist's observations:
Each pilgrim makes the tawaf or ritual circumambulation of the Ka'ba, a ceremony that has changed little, if at all, since pre-Islamic times. He will make seven circuits of the building, in an anti-clockwise movement, during which he will try to kiss, touch or otherwise greet the famous Black Stone which is set in a silver casing in the eastern corner. Muslims are taught that this is a fragment of the original temple, for the Ka'ba is said to have been rebuilt several times, before, during and after the Prophet's lifetime. [Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48]
In 630 AD Muhammad conquered Mecca at the head of a 10.000 man army and smashed all the Kabaa idols except that of the El-Lah or moon deity. He then made a contract with the pagan ethos of Arabia. The Arabs were to accept his tribal deity the moon idol, i-lah or El-Lah as the 'one' to be worshipped with himself as the chosen 'Lord Protector' and Leviathan. In return he would yoke the popular, well-known and accepted pagan Arab practices to his 'monotheistic' theology centred around the moon deity. A fused theocratic governance combining the new and the old was thus formed. When he acceded to the important aspects of Arab paganism, Muhammad's popularity blossomed. As Mr. Gilchrist relates [emphasis mine]:
The most probable reasons for Muhammad's acceptance of the Hajj ceremonies have already been given in this book - the honour bestowed on him before his mission when he was appointed to replace the Black Stone in the Ka'aba and his constant search for a means whereby he might reconcile himself to his pagan countrymen. It is highly significant that Meccan opposition to Muhammad's cause collapsed immediately after he and his followers had performed the pilgrimage - the exact rites performed by the pagan Arabs, excluding the worship of their idols - a year after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah had allowed them to do so. "It is, therefore, in these absurd rites of the Hajj that Islam finds its severest condemnation, and the falsity of Muhammad's pretended revelations is amply demonstrated. The Hajj was Muhammad's compromise with Arabian Paganism." [p. 162; Gilchrist]
The Hajj was vital to win over the Arabs. Not only was it a money-maker, but a spiritual-political winner as well. The sexual deviancy was stopped, the prostitutes reformed or banned, the market cleaned up, but all other attributes remained. In brokering a deal, Muhammad was quite right to ascertain that the pagans needed to feel comfortable and safe within a new so-called monotheistic concept. Allowing them to keep their pagan rites was necessary to acquire the power of dictatorship:
"This last was a magnificent stroke of policy, besides satisfying his own insuppressible hankering after Mecca and its fetish, for it bound the Meccans, and the Mecca-visiting Arabs to the new regime and faith as nothing else could have done." [p.71, Gilchrist]
Once he was accepted as Lord Protector and the King of the Arabs with his family deity the moon idol as the dominant symbol and nexus of society, Muhammad and his Islamic theologians could begin the rewriting of history:
Muslim scholars have also been constrained to admit that Muhammad adopted the pagan Arab pilgrimage en bloc into Islam, seeking to justify it on the historical fiction that Abraham was its originator and that later generations perverted its monotheistic origin and emphasis.
The joining, or rather the plagiarism of the Judaic-Christian chronicles in Arab paganism must have been a difficult and tedious task for the illiterate Moslems. But again for Muhammad the necessity was obvious. He had to reconcile the Jewish traditions with that of the pagan Arabs in order to acquire legitimacy, status and historical gravitas and to give meaning and rationale for his extermination of Jews and Christians. They had forsaken Abraham's real God. They had to be punished in this life and the next. El-Lah said so.
This appropriation of Jewish history is legion within early Islam. In his book 'The Temple' from 1980 Gilchrist mentions the following:
-Anyone who has studied comparative religion cannot fail to be struck by the similarities between the Temple of Judaism and the Ka'aba of Islam.
-It was only as a result of the opposition in Medina from the Jews that Muhammad changed his qiblah to Mecca. What is most significant about this incident is that the Prophet of Islam himself, nearly six hundred years after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, chose this place as his initial qiblah - and that, according to the Qur'an, at God's command.
Not only did Muhammad expropriate pagan Arab practices to form his cult of Submission, but he stole widely and deeply from Judaism and Christianity. This has to mean that the Koran is very much creaetd, not 'uncreated' as the Moslems claim. Islam is thus a very messy agglomeration of Muhammad's megalomania; convenient revelations from his family's moon deity; stolen poems from the Kabaa shrine which make up the shorter Medinian Suras; Jewish and Christian liturgy and the rituals from pagan Arabia. This admixture is as far removed from holy and 'uncreated' as one could get, yet today we still call it a 'holy religion', something that the more intelligent people in the Medieval era did not. Islam was and is pagan.