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The Black Stone Idol

#1   PeteWaldo 

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:38 PM

"It was in Petra that Muhammad directed the destruction of all
the idols except one, the Black Stone. This stone remained in the Ka’ba in Petra
until it was later taken by the followers of Ibn al-Zubayr deep into Arabia to the
village of Mecca for safe keeping from the Umayyad armies. And today it is to this
stone that Muslims face, rather than to their holy city and the qibla that Muhammad
gave them.
I see no other way of interpreting the facts I discovered, be they archeological,
historical, or literary. But these are my personal conclusions. I am open to learning
more, and discovering what really took place in ancient Arabia."

Why do you suppose it was that, unlike Abraham who smashed his father's idols, Muhammad smashed all of the Quraish pagan's idols except one?

Does it really matter what direction Muhammad's followers face when they prostrate themselves toward a black stone idol, as much as the fact that they do prostrate themselves toward a black stone idol, that Arabian pagans even venerated before Muhammad? That Muhammad himself venerated, both as a pagan, and later after he started his religion.

#2   Dan Gibson 

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:48 PM

"Why do you suppose it was that, unlike Abraham who smashed his father's idols, Muhammad smashed all of the Quraish pagan's idols except one?"

The answer is in Islamic history. Check Sirat Rasul Allah 122-126 and Al Tabari Volume VI pg 58...

The clans then gathered stones to rebuild the Ka'bah. Each clan gathered them separately and built separately, and when the building reached the place where the Black Stone was to be put they began to dispute about it, since every clan wished to life the Stone to its place to the exclusion of the other clans. They started to split up into factions, to form alliances, and to make agreements among themselves in preparation for battle. The Banu 'Abd al'Dar brought a bowl full of blood and made a compact with the Banu 'Adi bin Ka'b to support one another to the death.... ... Abu Umayyah bin al'Mughirah who at that time was the oldest member of the Quraysh said "Men of Quraysh, make the first man who comes in at the door of this mosque the arbiter of your differences, so that he may judge on the matter." The first man to come in was the Messenger of God and when they saw him they said "This is the trustworthyone (al'amin) with whom we are satisfied. This is Muhammad." He came up to them and they told him about the matter, and he said "Bring me a cloak." They brought him one, and he took the Black Stone and placed it on it with his own hands. Then he said "Let each clan take one side of the cloak, and then lift it up all together." They did so, and when they had brought it to its place he put it in position with his own hands. They then built on top of it. Before the revelation first came to him, Quraysh used to call the Messenger of God "the trustworthy one." (Tabari 6:1138-1139)

It was after this that Muhammad spent time in the cave and had his first vision. In fact, being chosen to put the stone in place, was the beginning of his realization that he was chosen of God in some special way.

This story is taught in every Islamic school to Islamic youth. It is a common to them as David and Goliath is to kids in Sunday School. The problem with many western people commenting on Islam is that they don't know their Islamic history and they don’t know what Islam teaches, so what is plain to every Muslim is not understood by outsiders.

The issue with this story that I would like to point out, is that Muhammad removed every idol but one, the one that started him on his journey to prophet-hood. How could he remove the Black Stone? And so today it has become a stumbling block, and an object of worship to every Muslim, and each years millions of Muslims pray to it and kiss it. Just look up what prayers are said during the Hajj as they face the rock!

Muhammad clearly told them to face the Holy City and pray towards the Ka’aba. I believe that place was and still is in Petra in Jordan. The book provides the evidences: archeological, literary, historical, and many more. When the followers of Ibn Zubayr, and the people of Kufa moved the rock to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Muslims had to decide whether to pray towards the place where Muhammad directed them, or towards the Black Stone. It took 100 years for them to decide, and in the end the Black Stone won out. And today, five times a day, Muslims disobey Muhammad and the first four Caliphs, and they pray in the wrong direction. That’s the way I see it. It’s all in the book if people want to read it for themselves.

#3 Guest_Ali_*

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 04:02 AM

Dan, my reply is:

The Quran is the only (relative) contemporary source to Muhammad's life. Ibn Ishaq, who wrote the famous Sirat Al-Rasul was banished from Medina by Imam Malik on the grounds of being a LIAR. He and many other Islamic Historians copied from the Bible, Zoroaster, etc. and ATTRIBUTED it to the Prophet. Of course, there are 'nuggets' of truth in them. But most of it is NOT true.

Muhammad's entire revelation was to eliminate the use of stone veneration. What people do today is simply handed down from older generations(i.e. the dark ages). They think they are following the 'Sunnah' of the Prophet, though it is just false statements attributed to him. The Quran does not give importance to it, so you cannot use it in your case for the 'new' Mecca being the location Ibn Zuber chose for it. Also, what was the reason Muhammad went to Yathrib in the first place? To escape! Therefore it is perfectly logical to assume he went farther south to get to Taif(Later re-named after Petra-real Mecca).

Other Muslims such as those at believe he was also from Petra, but went North to Jerusalem. Which also makes perfect sense, since the Quran always speaks of Ard Al-Muqaddas(Holy Land). It also fulfills the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18, the prophet like Moses. Both wanted to go to this Holy City but never went, lived in Midian, etc.

Please Reply!

#4   Dan Gibson 

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

Ali, Thank you for your post! It is great that thinking people are interacting here.

Yes, everyone agrees that there is controversy over early Islamic sources. Imam Malik, al-Nisa'I and Yahya b. Kattan all questioned Ibn Ishaq as a reliable or authoritative source of Hadith. Many of the Hadith he provided were sound, but there were some things he said that were considered weak, especially when he provided no isnad for his stories. However, Ibn Ishaq was not writing Hadith, and he did not consider his writing to be sunnah. Rather his books are Sirah, or a collection of narrations about people and events. The amount of work put into authenticating and analyzing the chains and narrators of an incident or event that is found in Sirah is far lower than what is used in Sunnah or Hadith. Only the top narrations, namely Sahih or Hasan are used in Hadith and Sunnah. As for Sirah this is not the case, the narrations used include all the authentic and acceptable ones, along with ones with weaknesses. The reason for including these weaker narrations is in order to fill in gapes or holes in the story. Most Muslims accept the major hadith collections. Many Muslims don't accept everything in the Sirah. Some Muslim scholars question up to 70% of the material found in the works of Al-Waqidi, Ibn Sa'd, Ibn Ishaq, etc. These were the works of historians trying to piece together what happened, they were not hadith collectors. Ibn Ishaq, Al-Waqidi, Ibn Sa'd and Al-Tabri all operated outside of isnaad.

Many Muslims doubt the Hadiths, and throw out Ibn Ishaq, and AL Tabari, leaving them with nothing but the Qur’an. This strips the Qur’an of any context, and leaves us with problems knowing what the Qur’an is talking about. Without the histories, how do we know who the “people of the ditch” are? How about the “people of the Elephant” and so on? In order to understand the Qur’an, we must understand the context that it is speaking about. This demands we place it in a historical setting. This was what Ibn Ishaq and Al Tabari were doing. Since they were living only two or three generations from the events, theirs is the earliest writings we have.

The major argument in my book is based on pure archeological evidence. Every mosque I examined, that was built during the first 100 years of Islam did not point to Mecca, but rather to Petra. In order to understand this I examine both Sirah and Sunnah, as well as passages in the Qur’an. My arguments are not based on Sirah and Sunnah. I only use them to seek out some sort of explanation of why the qibla faced Petra during the life time of Muhammad and the first four caliphs.


#5 Guest_Ali_*

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

Throwing out Ibn Ishaq still leaves us with reliable isnad's, such as Bukhari's and Muslim's Sahihs. This does not mean the Quran is a sole historical source, but the fact is that it is the only contemporary source.

Also, you claimed that you examined "hundreds of early manuscripts" and did not find the Qibla verses. Did you examine the Sana'i and Tashkent and Samarkand manuscripts? Did you keep records or pictures of the pages missing verses? With all due respect, this is what is of most interest to me, and I would like to see evidence for your claims in this regard.

#6   canbooks 

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:23 AM

I agree with you that Bukhari and Muslim may have better hadiths than Ibn Ishaq, who was writing history not collecting official hadiths. I believe that when Ibn Ishaq wrote, the science of isnad was very new. However, even Bukhari and Muslim chose hadiths based on what was thougth to be correct history at their time. If Petra was indeed the original holy city, then they may have dismissing hadiths because they thought they could not be true. For instance, there were hadiths that said Muhammad preached in a Roman bathhouse. Since there was no Roman bath house in Mecca, these hadiths were dismissed and lost to us. However, archeologists believe there was a Roman bathhouse right beside the open courtyard in Petra where the original Ka'aba would have been located, so maybe those hadiths were actually sound.

As for the Qur'ans, I have personally looked at facsimiles and photographs of many early copies. Since the city of Kufa sided with Ibn Zubayr, claiming that they prayed towards the same qibla as he did, I did not look long at the Qur'an in Samarkand, as it is a Kufic manuscript. My interest was in the earlier Hejazi scripts. Many of these are held in Germany. Copies of these Qur'ans are available through Dr. Gerd-R Puin at the University of Saarland. There are also countless other early Qur'an now available on the Internet. I continue my search for the qibla verses in any of the Hejazi scripted Qur'ans, which I believe were earlier than those copied in Kufa. For me this is a secondary point, as my interest lies in the qibla direction of early mosques. I am simply searching for an explanation of why they continued to face Petra for so many years.

I have considered putting some of the photographs on the website, but there are copyright issues.. and I don't have permission of the owners of the photographs. Some of the photographs I have were hand-carried out of Yemen, and may not be in general circulation. You could look for the UNESCO CD of copies, but I don't know where it is publicly available. As soon as I get permission, I will post them on this website.

#7 Guest_Ali_*

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

1. Al Mualla Graveyard - You said that Amina's grave was at Al-Abwa. This city is halfway between Mecca and Medina. It is nowhere near Petra.
Now you could argue that she was on a trade journey when she died, but why would she be heading so far South? Unless she was really a native of modern Mecca.

2. Even in modern Sahih Hadith there are many falsehoods that Bukhari didn't remove. I've never heard of a Hadith about a Roman Bath in Mecca. Do you have a source for this?
I found an Umayyad Roman Bath/Mosque complex that apparently has a Qibla, but it is in Jordan:

3. Could you kindly list links to the online Quran manuscripts with the verses you say were interpolated?

4. I noticed that many of the Mosques you listed are oriented toward both Mecca and Petra. Also, IslamicAwareness states that Qiblas were based on Astronomical Orientation.
"It is interesting to note that if the qiblahs of the above mentioned mosques were oriented towards their summer sunsets and sunrises then all the mosques in Iraq would be off from actual qiblah direction by >90° (compare Table I and II); Jerusalem will be off by about 30°. Only the mosque is Egypt would be oriented in the direction of Jerusalem (Table II).
From a quick glance at Figures 1-3, it can be seen that the qiblah of the mosques in Iraq would be oriented towards Jerusalem had the Muslims chose the sunset during the equinoxes to align the direction."

#8   canbooks 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:43 AM

1. Amina's grave was at Al-Abwa. This city is halfway between Mecca and Medina. It is nowhere near Petra. The point is that she has two graves, one in Abwa, which is supported by historical documents, and one in Mecca, obviously a shrine, which is why the Saudi government bulldozed it.

2. The bathhouse Hadith is addressed on page: 356

3. The Qur’anic manuscripts are listed in Appendix C

4. Qibla directions of mosques are addressed in chapters 17, 18, and 21. I don’t know of any mosques that faced both Petra and Mecca. I am not sure I understand which mosques you are referring to. The closest ones are probably those in Damascus. The important thing is to recognize when the mosques were built. During the first 100 years of Islam, all the mosques pointed to Petra. During the NEXT 100 years, which I call the time of confusion, some pointed to Petra, some to Mecca, some in between them, and the Spain/North Africa pointed parallel. The summer solstice-qibla theory is not well supported that I know of, and doesn’t explain all of the mosques, especially those in North Africa and Spain.

#9   abdelouahed 

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

Canbooks, i think that you are Dan gibson?

Have you heard about numerical miracles in the quran?

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