THE HISTORY OF MECCA | home
THE HISTORY OF MECCA | GEOGRAPHY OF MECCA - ISLAM | ARCHAEOLOGY OF MECCA | BACA IS MECCA | HISTORICAL CLAIMS REGARDING MECCA | ORIGINS OF ISLAM | RESOURCES | CONTACT
GEOGRAPHY OF MECCA - ISLAM
Mecca is located about 1,459 kilometers to the southeast of Jerusalem, in the southwest Arabian desert. Jerusalem is located in the heart of Israel, the Holy Land, of the prophets and patriarchs. Islamic "tradition" that was penned in the 7th to 10th centuries A.D., suggests that Abraham left his wife Sarah in Hebron, and traveled to Mecca with Sarah's bondwoman Hagar and Hagar's son Ishmael.
The patriarch Abraham was born around 2000 BC. His wife Sarah gave birth to their son Isaac when Abraham was a hundred years old. Some years prior to the birth of Isaac Sara had thought herself too advanced in age to bear children, so she encouraged Abraham to have a child with her bondwoman Hagar, for Abraham and Sarah to raise as their own. Hagar's son Ishmael was born out of that union, which would make Ishmael's 137 years on earth having begun somewhere around 1900 BC.
The historical record of Abraham's journey that is detailed in scripture and confirmed by archaeological evidence, paints a picture that is perfectly consistent with the physical geography, as detailed on the following map.
That path of Abraham's travels took him through what is known as the "Fertile Crescent", where elements necessary for human survival were available, such as water, pasture, game and settlements.
Abraham's journey took him as far south and west as Egypt, and he eventually traveled back up to the Holy Land that YHWH gave His people through an everlasting covenant, to settle in Hebron, which is just south of Jerusalem.
Genesis 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18 Then Abram removed [his] tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which [is] in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
For another location pin, that is explored further down the page, when Abraham sent his wife Sarah's bondwoman Hagar away: Genesis 21:14 ..... she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Genesis 25:9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which [is] before Mamre;
As diagrammed in the sketch map above, Hebron is located 1,421 kilometers (or 883 miles) away, from where Mecca was eventually settled in the 4th century A.D. Thus it should be painfully obvious that Ishmael could not have traveled 1421 kilometers from Mecca to Hebron, over a thousand years before the historical record informs us a caravan route was established along the Red Sea, let alone in time to attend Abraham's burial (much less even hear about it). Particularly since caravan camel transport did not arise until around 1,200 to 1,000 BC, or about 800 to 1,000 years after Ishmael roamed the earth.
Here is a sample Islamic site on the matter: "Abraham took Hagar and her son, Ishmael to a place near the Kabah; he left them under a tree at the site of Zamzam. No one lived in Makkah back then, yet Abraham made them sit there, leaving them with some dates, and a small water-skin. Thereafter he set out towards home."
So Abraham wandered across 1200 kilometers of harsh barren desert with them, then abandoned Hagar and Ishmael in a place with no other people, no farming, no pasture, no food except some dates, and no water except that in a small water-skin he gave them - and thus obviously no chance for survival - and then after abandoning them is supposed to have wandered the 1200 kilometers back home!
When we search ancient towns in Saudi Arabia we find that while other ancient Arabian towns are well attested in the historical and archaeological records, Mecca is conspicuously absent from those records. This is because there is no evidence whatsoever that suggests that Mecca ever existed before the 4th century AD when Yemeni pagans migrated to, and settled, to the area. Indeed nobody could have survived in Mecca prior to that time - since it suffers from some of the driest conditions that even Arabia has to offer - and thus was without pasture or capacity to produce food. The area could not be settled until overland travel along the Red Sea became sufficient enough to support Mecca through trade, as a watering hole along that route. Islamic records suggest that Muhammad's grandfather Abdel Mutaleb originally dug the well of Zamzam, to establish Hajj around the most venerated priest and priestess of the Arabian jinn-devil religion.
There is suggestion that in ancient history Arabia contained a large body of water, along with several trails, with stone carved pictographs in the archaeological record that suggest wild cattle. However somewhere around 6,000 BC Arabia began to desertify from the north to the south, rendering most of it a vast, dry, barren, desolate, desert wasteland by about 2,000 BC, sealing the peninsula. Because of this, the trade route along the Red Sea was not established until about the 7th century BC, and prior to that time spices from Yemen were moved to the north by ship, until piracy became too prevalent and an overland route was sought. Thus even the town of Medina (Yatrib) may not have been established until the first or second century AD, when Jews initially settled Medina, while escaping Roman persecution in the Holy Land. However there may be some Yemeni inscriptions that suggest Medina may have existed in the 6th century BC.
Ishmael died in the "presence of all his brethren".
Genesis 25:17 And these [are] the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. 18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that [is] before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: [and] he died in the presence of all his brethren.
Consider what conditions are like just outside of the Fertile Crescent in Northern Arabia, from this image of the Syrian Desert, if we were to straighten that line and not "goest toward Assyria":
Yet the Ishmaelites were known for their vast flocks.
Traditional presumed location of Shur (also pinned on the map at the top of the page).
Alternate suggested location of Mt. Sinai and Shur
Ishmael dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and even if the alternate suggested location of Mt. Sinai at Jabal al Lawz in northern Arabia is correct, the wilderness of Paran would still be over 1,110 kilometers (or 690 miles) away from Mecca. Let alone that overland travel along the Red Sea between northern and southern Arabia was not possible until about the 7th century B.C. Prior to that time spices from Yemen were moved to the north by ship.
Genesis 21:21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
Please refer back to the sketch map above. Are we expected to believe that Hagar wandered across 1200 kilometers of unknown barren desert from Mecca up to Egypt, to procure a wife for Ishmael, and then wandered 1200 kilometers back down to Mecca?
Let's take a little closer look at Abraham's family. Abraham's wife Sarah thought herself to be too advanced in years to bear a child, so she talked Abraham into having a child with her maid Hagar, for Abraham and Sarah to raise as their own.
Genesis 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong [be] upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
But the Lord had other plans for Abraham and Sarah:
Genesis 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him.
Thus God's covenant was established with Abraham, and his seed through his son Isaac, and then Isaac's son Jacob.
The Wilderness of Beersheba (link to this spot)
Genesis 21:5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the [same] day that Isaac was weaned. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, [even] with Isaac. 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he [is] thy seed. 14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave [it] unto Hagar, putting [it] on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
map from http://www.israel-a-history-of.com
So Abraham cast Sarah's maid Hagar and her son Ishmael out of his home.
15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
Please note the location of the wilderness of Beersheba (28 miles south of Hebron) on the map above. More on this link.
Now let's consider what springs from Islamic so-called "tradition" on this matter: "Abraham took Hagar and her son, Ishmael to a place near the Kabah; he left them under a tree at the site of Zamzam. No one lived in Makkah back then, yet Abraham made them sit there, leaving them with some dates, and a small water-skin. Thereafter he set out towards home."
Muhammad's followers are taught that the "well of water" referenced in verse 19 above, is the well of Zamzam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. That would mean that between verse 14 when they were sent away, and 15 when the bottle of water Abraham gave them ran out, Hagar and Ishmael would have had to have traveled across 1,421 kilometers (or 883 miles) of harsh, uncharted, unknown, untraveled desert, from Hebron to Mecca, almost a thousand years before the first caravan was able to make that trip along the Red Sea in Arabia. Then if you throw Abraham into the mix (contrary to the scriptures), he is supposed to have dropped them off under a tree in what eventually became Mecca, and then "set out" on his 1,421 kilometer wander back home through uninhabited wilderness to Hebron. Not only that, he is supposed to have left the "small water-skin" with Hagar. Anything seem even a little bit peculiar about that picture? Particularly since overland travel was not established along the Red Sea in Arabia until almost almost a thousand years after Abraham walked the earth.
"The most probable meaning of Beersheba is the 'well of seven.'"
"Robinson ..... has described how he found seven ancient wells there-probably still more will yet be found."
To our Muslim friends I would ask:
1. Why would Abraham abandon his wife Sarah and their son Isaac (whom God declared His covenant with), to embark on such an odyssey with Sarah's maid Hagar and her son Ishmael?
2. Since Muslims believe Ishmael was an infant (making such a trip even more preposterous) did Abraham then abandon Sarah and Isaac once again, some years later, to wander the 1,421 kilometers back down to Mecca to have Ishmael help him REbuild the Kaaba? (the hadith clues us as to who the actual builders of the kaaba were)
Click here for the true story of the construction of the kaaba in Mecca
3. What did they eat and drink since there were no towns, and thus water wells along the Red Sea, connecting the northern Arabian tribes with the southern Arabian tribes until almost a thousand years after they were alleged to have made their epic journey?
4. How did Ishmael travel 1,421 kilometers in time to make it to Abraham's funeral?
5. Did Hagar really make a 1,400 kilometer trip to fetch Ishmael a wife?
6. Where is the historical and archaeological record that suggests that Mecca - the epicenter of Islam supposedly since Adam - ever existed before the 4th century AD? Not even Medina was established until the 6th century B.C., a thousand years after Abraham roamed the earth.
Argumentum ad Ignorantiam
In spite of the rich historical, and well preserved archaeological records of ancient towns in Saudi Arabia, in their desperation Muhammad's followers will actually try to make the argument, that just because there is not a shred of historical or archaeological evidence that suggests that Mecca ever existed before the 4th century A.D. doesn't necessarily mean it didn't exist. This "argumentum ad ignorantiam" or "appeal to ignorance", is presented as if it could substitute for 4500 years of pre-4th century historical and archaeological evidence of Mecca! A town that Islamic so-called "tradition" suggests has been the epicenter of Muhammad's religion - allegedly since Adam - and the beginning of mankind! This argument is obviously ridiculous in light of the evidence we have of other ancient Arabian towns, and particularly since Mecca is supposed to be the most ancient town among them. This would indicate that there should be more historical and archaeological evidence of Mecca than any other town in Arabia, and perhaps even any town in the world. Compare the absence of evidence of Mecca, to that of Jerusalem in THE Holy Land of the prophets and patriarchs, where there are over a million artifacts just on display!
In order to address the insurmountable geographical impossibility Islam's 7th to 10th century A.D. Islamic "tradition" inventors suggest the preposterous notion that Abraham and Ishmael regularly commuted back and forth between the Holy Land and Mecca on a flying donkey-mule - a Buraq. The idea was originated by Ibn Ishak as per Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 165
From several websites: "Ibn Kathir counters al-Suhayliís argument with the tradition about Buraq: "Abraham often rode upon Buraq to Mecca, coming suddenly to his son and then returning. God knows best!" (P. 138)" - always the caveat "God knows best" to counter the embarrassment of Islamic fantasy.
To our Muslim friends, is this the justification that you too use, to reject the geographically sound and archaeologically confirmed historical record contained in the scriptures, to follow the ridiculous fiction of Islamic so-called "tradition" creators? Authors of pure fiction, that pretended to know what went on thousands of years before their pens, through complete ignorance to any actual historical record from prior to the 6th century A.D. Where are the historical accounts of the witnesses of those magic flying donkey-mules? Here's Wikipedia on the subject:
"The Buraq was also said to transport Abraham (Ibrahim) when he visited his wife Hagar and son Ishmael. According to tradition, Abraham lived with one wife in Syria, but the Buraq would transport him in the morning to Mecca to see his family there, and take him back in the evening to his Syrian wife."
The idea came from Muhammad's fanciful claim that he rode on a buraq one night from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he said he prayed in the temple (that the historical record tells us had been torn down 500 years earlier), followed by a leg up to Muhammad's "paradise", with a return to Mecca by morning.
Invoking the "buraq" isn't original. We can look to the Greek's mythical Pegasus for another example and, Quoting Dr. Rafat Amari:
"The Pahlavi Texts of the book of Dinkard are Zoroastrian canonical comments on the Avesta, considered part of the Zoroastrian scriptures. It mentioned KaiKhusrois, a mythological prophet who transformed Vae, the god of the air, into the shape of a camel. He then mounted him and went where the immortal mythological Persians dwelt."
At the same time that the archaeological record ever-increasingly confirms the Bible as a reliable source of ancient historical record Muhammad's followers try ever more desperately to explain away the impossible. Google (simply click) - archaeology bible accurate historical record.
Many of Mohammed's illiterate 7th century followers left Islam after Mohammed recited the tall tale of his "night journey". What excuse do literate Muslims find in this 21st century information age, to follow Mohammed's and his "tradition" "reporter's" fiction?
Isn't it time to investigate the perfectly reasonable accounts we are given in scripture, that are supported by the archaeological evidence, and are perfectly consistent with the physical geography? This rather than rejecting that truth to follow myths and fables that were all created and put to the pen in the 7th to 10th centuries AD, without reference to any actual historical record from before the 6th century AD. No wonder it is all such a bunch of nonsense!
Why not start your investigation at IslamAndTheTruth.com?
And of the seed of Ishmael?
Genesis 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou [art] with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 12 And he will be a wild man; his hand [will be] against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Romans 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. 9 For this [is] the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only [this]; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, [even] by our father Isaac; 11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Israeli Muslims have taken over Abraham's tomb:
"The archaeological find proves that Machpela is a Jewish burial place and that hundreds of years prior to Mohammed it had been a holy place for the Jews. Now Palestinians maintain that "Jews are foreigners in Hebron." Also, when the Muslims succeeded in removing almost all Jewish traces from the halls above, only the actual grave chamber itself remained Jewish."
Muslims exclude Christians and Jews, from what they claim is an Islamic holy site, even as they continue to desecrate Abraham's tomb. Yet the only relationship the religion of Islam had with the Holy Land in Muhammad's day, is Muhammad's fanciful claim to have ridden the 1400 kilometers to Jerusalem, up to paradise and back to Mecca one night, on a flying donkey-mule, or "buraq". Muhammad even claimed that he entered and prayed in the temple in Jerusalem, which the actual historical record informs us, had been torn down over 500 years before Muhammad said he prayed in it. Here's the site of Abraham's grave today.
Smaller maps for posting in forums.