Mecca or Petra? Interesting thoughts on Islam

Was the original holy city of Islam…Petra? There seems to be some good evidence.

Any Comments? Thoughts?

I only gave that site a cursory reading, but a lot of the “strong evidences” mentioned are really nothing more than arguments to incredulity (e.g. The Qur’an mentions Mecca having an abode of trees, but it’s smack dab in the middle of the desert! How on Earth could that be referencing the Mecca we know of today?). It has been my experience that scholars who resort to such flimsy reasoning, while trying to spearhead a novel theory that is revisionist in nature and generally contested by the bulk of relevant scholars, are quite frankly quacks.

The few instances of Gibson responding to critiques of his theory read more like conspiracy theories (e.g. the lack of early Islamic corroboration of Petra being the true Mecca is evidence of early Muslims destroying such vindicating evidence!). I also searched the internet for “Mecca Petra” and nearly every search result goes back to this Mr. Dan Gibson, or another one of the controversial scholars he cites, such as Patricia Crone.

Well, Crone is controversial, but not a conspiracy theorist any more than Tom Holland. What about the fact that all the Mosques prior to the Abbasid’s point to Petra? Have you considered the first coinage that contains the word Muhammad? The fact that no source mentions Islam until a hundred years after Muhammad’s death? or that the life of Muhammad was not written until a hundred and fifty years after his death?
I’m not saying that these things taken individually are a case for a new understanding of Islam, but when taken in combination-the narrative presented by Islam does not pass the “smell test”. Thoughts?

If you are looking for other scholars holding similar views-

I have been reading other documents and research in French which also found those conclusion.
It seems the Koran was compiled by Arab emperors (Califs) who were trying to hold an empire together by using one faith in one god as well as building an arab identity as special sons of Abraham.
There is an English presentation with similar suggestion on youtube (Truth about historical beginning of Islam) this is what we have:
The reality is that Islam and the Koran evolved overtime. This seems to be the main points.

Jesus is crucified, some disciple refused to believe it as they expected a conquering messiah, they instead believe that he prayed a trick, God hide him and his enemies thought he got crucified while he was not. This group of christians later got excommunicated by the main Church and started going by the name Nazarene (known in the Koran as Nasara). The main Church became known simply as Christians as indicated in the Bible.

The Nazarene were essentially Jews who had always believed in a conquering Messaih, and continued to believe that Jesus will eventually come back.
When the Temple got destroyed, they took it as part of the prophecy of Jesus that the temple will be destroyed. Just as jews have always done, they will try to come back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. They believed that after the Temple is rebuild Jesus will come back and destroy all his ennemis.
They did their own evangelization, evangelizing arabs, reminding arabs that they are also sons of Abraham.
When the persian emperor attacked Jerusalem and conquered it from Byzantium, they were given to rule Jerusalem as they had helped in the war. This was around 614 AD.
The Byzantines retariated quickly and the nazarene-arab alliance run away. This is the story described in the Koran as Mohammed running away from Mecca to Medina.

When Arabs run away, they started considering themselves as the Macabes of the Bible or the Hebrew’s exodus. They started to refine their faith and the laws which would govern them once they recapture Jerusalem.
In 622, they separated themselves from nazarene which they accused of being false brothers who had betrayed them and caused them to loose the war. This brake marked what they considered as the pure arab era. So several hundreds of years later, it will be marked as the first year of the Muslim Calendar.
In 638, they attacked Jerusalem and captured it. (Easy for them since the byzantines and the pertains were very tired of wars). They rebuild the Temple (knows today as the great Mosque in Jerusalem), but the Messaiah did not come as they expected. There was a serious crisis of faith. The arabs decided get rid of nazarene elements of their faith and slowly started integrating their own stories in their own recitations/korans.

The arabs kept on conquering and they eventually realized that they needed to explain their domination in a permanent way. So they elevated the word Mohamed which was more of a description of an old famous preacher/warrior into a name of the Prophet. A Caliph compiled one Koran and burned all remaining versions, and Islam got promoted as the name of the religion of the empire. It is doing this period of adjustments where Mosque started switching directions from Petra to Mecca.
From 622-725 all mosques pointed to Petra
From 725-822 it was a transition/confusion period, some faced Mecca others Petra
From 822- present, all mosques face Mecca.

The transition period was marked by a civil war. By the end of this war, there was only one Koran, one religion, and one Prophet in the empire.

In few words, Islam is a faith built by an empire, for the purpose of dominating and conquering the whole world and subduing it. It works like an empire, punishing desertions by death, justifying killing, it is all set for relentless war if you interpret it literally and go back to its origins. This is why those muslims who go back to the sources in their great devotions end up becoming simply terrorist. - unless they found out the whole truth about true beginning.

I’ve been looking in to this for a little while now. I would agree with most of your assessment, however I don’t think you need to go back as far as Christ to start the story of Islam. There were tons of groups that were outsiders to orthodoxy that arose after Nicaea 325- .Arians would be one that comes to mind. It is definitely a fascinating area of history. I believe that this history is the key to an “Islamic enlightenment” or maybe its total demise. Any books you have come across? I just finished Karl-Heinz Ohlig “Early Islam” Tom holland’s “In the shadow of the sword” and Spencer’s “Did Muhammad Exist?”. Ill check out the video, here is one you might like as well-

Another Video along the same theme-

Fascinating topic.

Interesting, good points.

Technically, hundred and fifty years is still fairly ‘recent’ in terms of historiography. I mean, our earliest surviving biography of Alexander the Great was written nearly three hundred years after his death (1st century BC). The Buddha (Siddhatta Gotama) was supposed to have lived during the 6th-4th century BC, but the traditional biographies were not composed until the 2nd century AD - in fact, the Buddha’s teachings were first committed to writing only during the Fourth Buddhist Council in Sri Lanka in 29 BC. It’s really only the gospels that are the few exceptions to the rule, in that they were written within fifty or sixty years after Jesus. (Confucius’ Analects - a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to him and other contemporaries - is also thought to have been first composed within a century after his death (473 BC), but the work didn’t achieve its final form until the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). No texts earlier 50 BC have been discovered thus far.)

Adam and Eve had met around Mecca and built Kaba after fall. So “mother of all cities” perhaps mean that.

Mecca was on the way and one of the station of the trade rout. Karavans drop round Mecca for Kaba(hadj) and Zamzam. Fairs were fixed during Hadj. The population in Mecca was about 4-5 thousands. When pagans went war they assembled men from tribes around Mecca. So there should be some thousands men in wars.

If you look at (1850 year) illustrations you can see Mecca in a narrow valley.

There were some hills around Ka’ba(Safa And Marva) but now they are not very high. The Archer Hill is not high anymore. Because all pilgrims go on them and they became straight by time.

Becuase of building we cannot see some particularities as it was used to be for about 1400 years ago.

Mecca was devastationed by flood many times. And that happened many times recently you can investigate. The rain could cause flood sometimes.

The flood flow through two high grounds and valley. That is usual.There are trees in Medina and in some district around Mecca.

There is no problem and be relax.

-Mecca was not on any trade route in the 8th or 7th century we have tons of maps of the area from the period; Petra is .
-There is no river, or stream in Mecca; there is in Petra.

  • I believe that there is mounting evidence that Mecca was not a key city for early Islam, I’m not 100% convinced that the original “Islamic” city was Petra, but it looks like a very good candidate.
  • All mosques face towards Petra before 100AH.

Can you provide us (if possible) with quotes from the Qur’an that claim there was a river/stream near Mecca? And please provide us one or more of the 7th-8th century map that you speak of.

All Mosques face towards Petra! That is a very big false and slander. Muslims exactly obey what Koran ordered:

  1. We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now Shall We turn thee to a Qibla that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque(Kaaba): Wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction. The People of the Book know well that that is the truth from their Lord. Nor is Allah unmindful of what they do.( Al-Baqarah)

  2. So from whencesoever thou startest forth, turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque(Kaaba); and wheresoever ye are, turn your face thither: that there be no ground of dispute against you among the people…(Al-Baqarah)

There is no stream in Mecca. Who claim such an absurd thing? We know there have been floods. What mentioned in hadiths is about floods. Kaaba was damaged by floods many times even in recently. Again you can investigate.

Petra was a archaic city during prophet Muhammed.

We know all places which is mentioned in Koran and Hadiths very clearly. We know the cave(Hira) where first revelation came and the cave (in Sevr Mountain) and the home where prophet Muhammed was born and the place where wars happen … All these places are being vizited by pilgrims during Hadj. So it very comic to claim Petra to be instead of Mecca.

İn Hadiths it mentioned that people from Mecca prepared Karavans. Pilgrims came to Mecca for Kaaba and some fairs were raised and that was trade. Also some caravans might come Mecca for water. The Petra was center of trade routs ib times BC . Those must not be confused.

The Kaaba has been flooded, but was it due to the overflowing of a nearby river?

According to this site, the Kaaba is flooded periodically due to the fact that it sits in a bowl shaped depression and the soil is not good for drainage. Thus, heavy rains could flood the Kaaba. Here is a photo from the 1941 flood:

Is there a river near the Kaaba? Well, here is a link to the satellite image provided by Google Maps…decide for yourself:

Speaking of floods: Mecca was actually flooded last year, apparently. There was also the 1969 flood.

And I know Wikipedia isn’t always trusted, but according to the article describing Mecca’s climate:

Rain usually falls in Mecca in small amounts between November and January. The rainfall, as scant as it is, also presents the threat of flooding and has been a danger since the earliest times. According to Al-Kurdī, there had been 89 historic floods by 1965, including several in the period. In the last century the most severe one occurred in 1942. Since then, dams have been constructed to ameliorate the problem.

My decades of study of Islam seems to throw up a developing over a period of many years. Mecca in those early times was not developed, and apart for the spring/pool of Zamzam had no water, and was an arid place. Mecca was not on any important trading route, and was not anything like the descriptions given in the earliest ‘Islamic’ writings; indeed Mecca is not mentioned, and neither is Muhammad, until later. Much is written in vague terms, and it appears that the Islamic narrative was filled in/added to as and when it was perceived that the Arab conquests of that time needed some sort of religious identity and endorsement. Over a period of time this political religion became more and more Arab centric, and more defined.

Yes, it is more than interesting that the earliest mosques appear to have been aligned with Petra, and indeed that the early ‘Muslims’ actually did not call themselves Muslims - that one of the many names they did call themselves was ‘Nabatean’. Nabateans were traders and lived in the area that included Petra. Interestingly their religion included gods and goddesses that appear to have links in name and type to Muhammad’s ‘Satanic Verses/visions’. The Hajj as practiced today in Mecca at the Ka’aba is the same as that practiced by the pagans, including the kissing of the ‘Black Stone’ {almost certainly a meteorite]. The main difference being that all the gods have been removed apart from one. The nature of the one left is academically and religiously controversial.

This hadith claims there was a stream or water passage btwn to mountains in Mecca(or at least the location of the Ka’ba) running from one mountain to the other. There is no such thing in Mecca, never was…but there is in Petra.

“When the Prophet performed the ṭawāf of the Ka’ba, he did Ramal during the first three rounds and in the last four rounds he used to walk and while doing ṭawāf between Ṣafa and Marwa, he used to run in the midst of the rain water passage. (Ṣaḥīḥ Al Bukhārī Ḥadīth 2:685)”

You could look this up your self(try Patricia Crone,Tom Holland), but there is no map or guide showing Mecca at all, until After 850AD. The Romans/Byzantines mapped the area pretty extensively and would have noted such a large trading hub. They didn’t…no one did. No mention of Mecca- Pliny the Elder- 1cen BC, Ptolemy 1st cen AD. I could go on and on. but here is a link to a docu- skip the first min or so

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No more thoughts?

If a little flood flow then that is rain water. It is not important how much it is big. There can be such rain water in everywhere.

I think Mecca was fallen from Heavens!!! Is that funny?

We know all parts life of Muhammed as a prophet. His life were written by thousands people in details many times. And we know all places which is mentioned in His life. If Muhammed is an imaginary human then what will we think about Jesus? He was about 500 years earlier!

There are some statements in Hadiths and you try to apply those recitans to all world. I say there used to be some trade routs around our village but these course are not seem in the maps? Then our village must be an maginay place. Our ancestors and their ancestors drop from heavens! The population of Mecca was not so more crowded than our village in that times.

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