Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why did Muslims put a menorah on their coins?


Why did Muslims put a menorah on their coins?

The Saudi Arabian "Journal of Archaeology" has an article by an "expert" that claims to debunk the claim that the medallion recently found with a seven-branched menorah in Jerusalem has anything to do with Judaism.

The supposed scholar, named Abir Ziad, says that it is impossible that the find is Jewish - because there were no Jews in Jerusalem at the time.

You see, Ziad says, Titus banned Jews from Jerusalem in the year 70 CE and the ban remained in effect until Saladin revoked it in 1187.

This is of course news to every Western historian. There were only two times Jews were banned from Jerusalem: when Hadrian did it in 131 CE - a ban which was lifted during Emperor Julian's reign (361-363), and when Jordan banned Jews from the Old City from 1948-1967.

But expert Ziad has more proof. You see, all the mikvaot (ritual baths) that archaeologists have found in very high concentrations around the Temple Mount aren't Jewish at all - they are just ordinary baths. Apparently, Byzantines or someone established a Bathing District in Jerusalem very close to the Temple that never existed.

It is all an elaborate hoax, and all non-Muslim archaeologists are part of the conspiracy.

Beyond these absurd "proofs" - which prove nothing more than the fact that Muslim "scholarship is little more than a sham" - her next "proof" is worth a closer look.

She says that the menorah itself is not a Jewish symbol, and in fact some early Islamic Umayyad coins depict a branched candlestick along with the Islamic declaration of faith.

This is actually true:


So what is going on? Why did Muslims put what appears to be a menorah-type object on their coins?

Here's where it gets good.

Most of the candlesticks depicted have five branches, although apparently the earliest Islamic candlestick coins showed seven branches.

All of these coins were clearly patterned after Jewish coins from centuries earlier.


But there are some differences. As mentioned, most of them have five branches, not seven, and some claim that this was meant to represent the five pillars of Islam.

Notice the horizontal bar across the tops of the candlesticks (the medallion pictured above has that as well, but it is topped with flames.) Also, the base of the Islamic coins has two prongs, as opposed to the Jewish three-pronged base.

All of the "menorah" coins were minted in - Jerusalem.



The coin above says "Aliya, Madinet Bayit al-Maqdis" - meaning Aelia Capitolina, the Roman name for Jerusalem, and "City of the Holy Temple."

The Muslims knew quite well that the menorah symbolized Judaism, and that Jerusalem was the site of the Jewish Temple.

Their use of the menorah symbol was an attempt to co-opt the religious symbols of Judaism, but the symbolism of the golden Menorah in the Jewish Temples of Jerusalem was obvious to the designers as well as the people using the coins.

Other (real) scholars note that if you turn the Islamic coins upside down, the image resembles a dome - the Dome of the Rock.

The "base" of the menorah, with its two prongs,  slightly resembles a crescent. And apparently, in at least some of the coins, the writing is oriented for viewing it as a dome, not as a menorah.

According to this book, at least one other coin from the same era used a visual pun to show an image of an amphora (a type of jug used for ceremonial purposes) that, upside down resembled a poppy, another popular coin image.

It is very possible that the Islamic "menorah coins" of Jerusalem were specifically designed to show that the Jewish Temple, universally symbolized by the golden Menorah within, had been "overturned" by the Muslim Dome of the Rock that was deliberately built on that site! Muslims are particularly attuned to symbolism, and this would be a powerful symbol showing Judaism's holiest site replaced with a Muslim structure, with a mere turn of the coin.

The existence of these coins prove the exact opposite of what Abir Ziad claims. They prove that at the dawn of Islam, Jerusalem was universally understood by Muslims to be a Jewish city, housing the remains of the great Jewish Temple, and just as they deliberately built a structure on top of the Temple ruins to co-opt that site, they usurped the menorah symbol itself - and perhaps tried to symbolize their replacement of the Temple with the Dome on their coins!

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2013/09/why-did-muslims-put-menorah-on-their.html#.UjYL7Cv08U5