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Paran (Mecca)


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#1 Phill

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:18 AM

Hi Dan

I would like to garner your thoughts on the Biblical Paran and it's location. Some maps I have seen show it to be in Sinai and others show that Petra is within it's boundries. A 13th century Islamic Geographer by the name of Yaqut al-Hamawi who wrote in 1225 A.D:

Faaraan (Paran): After the alif there is a raa' and it ends in a nun. An Arabicized Hebrew word. It is one of the names for Mekkah mentioned in the Torah. It has been said that it is a name for the mountains of Mekkah".

Now I know Paran is nowhere near modern day Mecca (Many Muslims would argue this fact) but is in the general vacinity of either North West Arabia or Sinai depending on which website you visit. It is interesting that Paran (Arabized as Mecca) is noted by this geographer which compliments your own reserach. Muslims have been using this qouting Hamwai's work to link the future Prophet (Mohammad) to Deuteronomy 33:2 where God is executing his judgement of Paran by 10,000 believers. Muslims claim that when Mohammad attacked Mecca and overcame them he had 10,000 soldiers with him.

But the main point here is that we have an Islamic geographer placing Mecca around the North West of Arabia or in the Sinai. One map even named Petra with Khadesh Barnea in brackets under it ?.

#2 Dan Gibson

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:18 AM

I would be very interested in following up the link between Paran and Mecca. I mention Paran in Qur'anic Geography. (Qoted below)

The origin of the Nabataeans goes back to their life as shepherds in the
Negev and the Sinai Peninsula. Diodorus gives an account of Nabataean life
in the Sinai Peninsula in his book Bibliotheca Historica (II.42.1-5) where he
describes the oasis of Feiran (Biblical Paran as mentioned in Numbers 10:12,
12:16, 13:26, Deuteronomy 1:1, 33:2). This oasis is near the Red Sea, and has
a palm grove and large Egyptian shrine. The Nabataeans were preceded in this
area by the Lihyanites, who later became one of their allies. In the Negev, at
the Nabataean city of Egra there is an inscription written in Nabataean stating
“Mas’udu king of Lihyan.” (Edens & Bawden, 1989, pages 48-103) The oasis
of Feiran and accompanying gulf were probably known as the Laeanites Gulf
during the time that the Nabataeans lived there. Diodorus tells us:
“After one has sailed past this country, the Laeanites Gulf comes next, about
which are many inhabited villages of Arabs who are known as Nabataeans. This
tribe occupies a large part of the coast and not a little of the country which stretches
inland, and it has a people beyond telling and flocks and herds in multitude beyond
belief. Now in ancient times these men observed justice and were content with the
food which they received from their flocks, but later, after the kings of Alexandria
had made the ways of the sea navigable for their merchants, these Arabs not only
attacked the shipwrecked, but fitting out pirate ships preyed upon the voyagers,
imitating in their practice the savage and lawless ways of the Tauri of the Pontusl.
Some time afterwards, however, they were caught on the high seas by some quadriremes
and punished as they deserved.” (III.43.4)

In order to understand the time frame of this account, we should note
that quadriremes (galleys with four banks of oars) were ships powered by both
oars and a sail. They were originally built by the Greeks, and used for hundreds
of years. Quinqueremes or galleys of five replaced the quadriremes during the
Punic Wars 264-146 BC. (Tarn, 1907, pages 48-60)

As far as I know everyone places Paran in the Sinai. The Nabataeans did not have cities south of Meda'in Saleh in Saudi Arabia, and were mostly in the Negev and northern Arabia. So any links that place Mecca in Paran would be placing Mecca in northern Arabia. This is indeed worth following up.

#3 Dan Gibson

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:27 PM

Phil, Yaqut wrote 600 years after the start of Islam, so he is not a very early source. I have been wondering where he got his information from. In his day, there must have been some indicators that Feiran (Paran) as associated in some way with Mecca. So I have been looking for Yaqut's source. I searched through the Qur'an and the major hadiths, and have not found any mention of Feiran, Feran, or Peran. I have looked through some of the indexes to Sirat Rasul Allah, and also Al Tabari's histories, but haven't found it yet. This is like searching for a needle in a haystack. So up until now, I don't know how Yaqut associated (Feiran) Peran with Mecca.

It is interesting to note that at the Feiran Oasis, in Sinai, there is a tomb to Nebi Saleh. (See photo below) He is found in the Qu'ran, associated with Thamud. Eg. 7:73-79. 11:66, 54.27. So this story took place in the Sinai or northern Arabia.

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#4 january613

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:01 AM

I would like to garner your thoughts on the Biblical Paran and it's location. Some maps I have seen show it to be in Sinai and others show that Petra is within it's boundries.

#5 march613

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:41 AM

The Nabataeans were preceded in this
area by the Lihyanites, who later became one of their allies. In the Negev, at
the Nabataean city of Egra there is an inscription written in Nabataean stating
“Mas’udu king of Lihyan.”