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In a desperate and ever-failed effort to find even a shred of evidence, that suggests a history of Mecca prior to the 4th century A.D., some folks quote 18th century Edward Gibbon's misunderstanding of a writer that preceded him by a couple thousand years in regard to "...a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians...". Gibbon apparently presumed that the writer referred to the Kaaba in Mecca, but in that same section of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" Gibbon describes himself as:

"I am ignorant, and I am careless, of the blind mythology of the Barbarians: of the local deities, of the
stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination."

So Gibbon effectively warns us regarding the relative care we can expect that he devoted to this subject. Papers authored by Dr. Rafat Amari, whose first language is Arabic and who studied Islam full-time for twenty years, scrupulously exegetes the very same ancient writings to which Gibbon referred. Access to that exegesis is available at the third link on this video.

There were many Kaabas in ancient Arabia, each featuring stone idols representing the moon, sun and stars, to which the pagans went on pilgrimage, and circumambulated in ceremony. Some were even dedicated to Jinn - that is demon - worship. Mohammed's own tribe the Quraish went on summer and winter pilgrimages to other sites, long after the Kaaba in Mecca was built, indicating that there were far more important and more firmly established kaabas at which to worship, than the kaaba in Mecca. Might we be able to learn something about the objects of those pilgrimages by studying the most ancient mosques?

Qibla is an Arabic word that describes the direction that Muslims should direct their prayer. Mosques have a niche in the wall inside that indicates that direction. It's interesting to note that the Qibla of the oldest mosques do not point to Mecca but are off by thirty degrees and more. The Islamic website "Islamic Awareness", includes compass roses that indicate the direction to which the Qiblas of some ancient mosques point.

When the angles presented for mosques in Wasit, Baghdad and Cairo are plotted on a map, they actually triangulate to a location near Al-`Ula (which was Dedan - inhabited perhaps as early as the 8th century BC).

The Qiblas indicate a position almost 500 miles to the north-northwest of Mecca. Google satellite map locating Al-Ula.*

In searching the vicinity of Al-Ula I ran across this Wikipedia article on "Ancient Towns in Saudi Arabia", which of course doesn't mention Mecca, because there is no evidence that suggests that Mecca is an ancient town.

The article does mention:

"Mada'in Saleh: also called Al-Hijr

Also called Al-Hijr, this is an ancient city located in northern Saudi Arabia....
Mada'in Saleh is considered to be one of the most important and oldest ancient cities in the country. Mada'in Saleh lies to the northwest of the city of al-Ula..." (Mada'in Saleh map)

"Mada'in Saleh was recognized by the UNESCO as a site of patrimony, the first world heritage site in Saudi Arabia. The story of these people called the people of Thamud (including petra) is mentioned several times in the Quran along with prophet Saleh."

The article continues, "A religious area, known as Jabal Ithlib, is located to the north-east of the site.[4] It is believed to have been originally dedicated to the Nabatean deity Dushara." (Wikipedia) (map)

Where else do we find Manat?

Sura 53.19 Have ye seen Lat. and 'Uzza, 20 And another, the third (goddess), Manat?

Mohammed recognized Manat as a daughter of Allah in what some have dubbed the "satanic verses" in the Quran. The deity Manat is also found in pagan Arabian Star Family Worship as a daughter of the moon god. Isn't that interesting?

Please see part 2 of the "Hajj & Umra" series to see how Manat (Mina), fits into Islamic pilgrimage rituals.

It is a simple matter of fact that the Qiblas of the oldest mosques do not point to Mecca, but far more reasonably, pointed to other sites of pagan Arabian idol worship. Indeed it is also a matter of fact, that the Kaaba in Mecca was used for the same, prior to the 7th century A.D. Indeed pagans continued to circumambulate the Kaaba right up until the year before Mohammed's last Hajj.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Number 365:  Narrated Abu Huraira:
    ... in the year prior to the last Hajj of the Prophet .... Allah's Apostle .... made the announcement along with us ... "No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year and no naked person is allowed to perform the Tawaf around the Ka'ba."

Can you imagine a bunch of naked pagans and Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba?

If Islam is supposed to have been around since Adam, where are all the mosques that predated Mohammed and the 7th century? What about the one that Mohammed claimed he visited on his overnight ride on a flying animal to Jerusalem, heaven, and back to Mecca by morning?

Please join us in the
Islam-Christian Forum
at the first link below the video for discussion of this subject.

Visit the second link to a Forum section on the history of Islam

The third link for a paper on the classical writers regarding the history of Mecca to whom Edward Gibbon referred

Please visit the fourth link for the text version of this video that includes links to the maps and websites referenced, at