Wadd

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Wadd (Arabic: ود‎) (Musnad: 𐩥𐩵) is a pre-Islamic Arabian god. He was the national god of the Minaeans of south Arabia, and the snake was associated with him.

In Islamic tradition, Wadd was worshipped by the Banu Kalb tribe and his idol was located in the city of Dumat al-Jandal. The idol was said to be destroyed by Khalid ibn al-Walid. He is also mentioned in the Quran as a god of the people of Noah.

Attestations[edit]

Pre-Islamic era[edit]

Wadd was the national god of Ma'in, or the Minaeans; the magic formula Wd'b or "Wadd is [my?] father" was written on amulets and buildings.[1] These writings were often accompanied with a symbol; a crescent moon with the small disc of Venus.[1]

An altar dedicated to him was erected by Minaeans living on the Greek island of Delos. The altar contains two inscriptions, one of which is in Minaean language and the other in Greek. Minaean inscription on the altar begins with symbols of three Minaean god one of which is of Wadd whose symbol is a snake. The Minaean text on the altar reads, "Hāni' and Zayd'il [of the lineage] of Hab erected the altar of Wadd and of the deities of Ma'in at Delos." The Greek inscription reads, "[Property] of Oaddos, god of the Minaeans. To Oaddos."[2][3] He was also worshipped by Minaean colonists in Dedan (modern-day Al-`Ula) during the Lihyanite rule. A temple of Wadd evidently existed in Dedan. There is evidence from Minaean inscriptions of the presence of Levites in the temple of Wadd who according to some scholars were either as priests or cult servants who could later be promoted to higher positions.[4][5][6]

It is known that in the Hellenistic era, a king of Awsan was proclaimed as "son of (god) Wadd", receiving offerings as if he himself were a god.

Islamic era[edit]

According to Hisham ibn al-Kalbi's Book of Idols, the Banu Kalb tribe worshipped Wadd in the form of a man and is said to have represented heaven.[7][8] His idol and temple stood in Dumat al-Jandal, and Malik ibn Harithah, a former devotee of Wadd, describes his idol:

lt was the statue of a huge man, as big as the largest of human beings, covered with two robes, clothed with the one and cloaked with the other, carrying a sword on his waist and a bow on his shoulder, and holding in [one] hand a spear to which was attached a standard, and [in the other] a quiver full of arrows.[9]

He is mentioned in the Qur'an (71:23) as a deity of the time of the Prophet Noah.

And they say: By no means leave your gods, nor leave Wadd, nor Suwa'; nor Yaghuth, and Ya'uq and Nasr. (Qur'an 71:23)

The temple dedicated to Wadd was demolished on the orders of Muhammad in the expedition of Khalid ibn al-Walid (2nd Dumatul Jandal).[10][11]

Scholarly interpretations[edit]

According to Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions, Wadd probably originated from north Arabia and was probably a moon god.[1]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Staff, Encyclopaedia Britannica Publishers, Inc (1999). Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Merriam-Webster. ISBN 9780877790440.
  2. ^ Greg Fisher (2015). Arabs and Empire Before Islan. Oxford University Press. p. 118. ISBN 9780199654529.
  3. ^ Nancy L. Stair, Amanda Ferguson (2003). A Historical Atlas of Saudi Arabia. Rosen Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 9780823938674.
  4. ^ Dierk Lange (2004). Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa: African-centred and Canaanite-Israelite Perspective; a Collection of Published and Unpublished studies in English and French. Verlag J. H. Röll GmbH. p. 9783897541153.
  5. ^ Lynn M. Hilton, Hope A. Hilton (1996). Discovering Lehi. Cedar Fort, Inc. p. 179. ISBN 9781462126385.
  6. ^ Peter Alpass (2003). The Religious Life of Nabataea. Brill Publishers. p. 120. ISBN 9789004216235.
  7. ^ Thomas Patrick Hughes (1995). Dictionary of Islam. Asian Education Services. p. 192. ISBN 9788120606722.
  8. ^ Ibn al-Kalbi (translated by Nabith Amin Faris) (2015). "Book of Idols". Princeton University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9781400876792.
  9. ^ Ibn al-Kalbi (translated by Nabith Amin Faris) (1952). "Book of Idols". Princeton University Press. p. 49.
  10. ^ William Pickthall, Marmaduke (1967). Islamic culture, Volume 9. Islamic Culture Board. p. 191. ISBN 978-1-142-49174-1. Original is from the University of Virginia
  11. ^ ibn al Kalbi, Hisham (1952). The book of idols: being a translation from the Arabic of the Kitāb al-asnām. Princeton University Press. p. 48. ASIN B002G9N1NQ.