THE TRUE STORY OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE OF MECCA

By Dr. Rafat Amari

The True dates for the Construction of the Temple of Mecca, the Digging of the Well of Zamzam, and the Transfer of the Black Stone to Mecca

Islamic claims that Abraham and Ishmael founded the temple in the city of Mecca are recognized as false, when we study the black Stone, which was the heart of the temple.

    Abraham never went to where Mecca was eventually built, nor did his son, Ishmael, or Ishmael’s son, Nabaioth. Despite these facts, Ibn Ishak, Mohammed’s biographer, claimed Abraham was responsible for building the temple at Mecca, and that it was then run by Ishmael, and eventually Nabaioth. The story, created by Ibn Ishak and his companions, goes on to say that after Nabaioth, the tribe of Jurhum, which they claim inhabited Mecca at the time of Abraham, took the responsibility to serve the Temple at Mecca. According to the story, they served until the tribe of Khuzaa'h came from Yemen. This was after the dam at Ma'rib began to show signs of damage and drove them away. The story continues that, when the tribe of Khuzaa'h came to Mecca, they defeated Jurhum. Jurhum then left Mecca to hide the black Stone of the temple and two golden gazelles. They hid them in the water spring called Zamzam, then covered the spring, the stone and the gazelles with dust so they would escape detection.[i][1] The date these things supposedly happened is critical.  According to the stories, Jurhum lived in Mecca until the Ma'rib dam was damaged, and the tribe of Khuzaa'h left Yemen. We know these things occurred around the year 150 A.D.

Islamic tradition is illogical when it talks about Jurhum and the hiding of a spring of water and the Black Stone.

If Jurhum’s story were true, why did the classical authors, who visited and wrote about western Arabia mention all the tribes who were living there, even the tiny ones, but never once mention Mecca or the tribe of Jurhum? Second, after being defeated, how could Jurhum bury two precious golden gazelles and a revered stone belonging to Mecca’s temple without any of the inhabitants noticing?   Any tribe leaving Mecca would surely take its golden treasure and not bury it in a public place, well-known to all.  And this spring of water was the only spring in Mecca. Third, the black Stone was  a revered stone. It is not easy to move it from its location in the temple, without people noticing where it was placed. According to Islamic claims, the war erupted over who should be responsible for the temple. How could a defeated Jurhum tribe succeed in moving the stone without the winning Khuzaa'h tribe intervening, or at least noticing where the stone had been hidden? The fourth argument concerns the spring of water itself. If it existed in western Arabia, its location would be important to remember. After all, water was especially important for the Arabians living in the desert. Islamic tradition claims this spring existed since the time of Abraham. If it were miraculously brought into existence when the angel Gabriel gave water to Hagar and her child, Ishmael, then its existence would have been known, not just in Mecca, but in many other cities around Mecca. Bedouins would have come to the spring to water their sheep.  Area inhabitants would have come to refresh themselves. No one could hide the spring, even if it were possible to cover it with dust.

    The story of Jurhum hiding items in the spring during the 2nd century A.D. continues by claiming that Abdel Mutaleb, the grandfather of Mohammed, rediscovered the spring near the end of the 5th century. We can only conclude that the spring never existed before the time of Abdel Mutaleb,  and that digging by  finally the Mecchians found underground water, which eventually became a spring. This phenomenon of digging to find water which comes in the form of a spring is common in the Middle East. To claim that a spring existed in a city for 2,500 years before Jurhum succeeded in covering it for another three centuries is an impossible assertion,  since the springs of Arabia were significantly more important to the Bedouins than the Red Sea itself. You may hide the sea from the eyes of thirsty tribes, but you cannot hide a spring and its location for that amount of time.

    It is also impossible to believe that the black Stone was hidden for three or four centuries. The stone was considered the main shrine, or sacred element, in each temple, called Kaabah in Arabic. This revered stone, which represented the moon, was considered to be divine. The worship of the Arabian Star Family with Allah, who was the moon as its head, revolved around the black stone. Ellat, Allah’s wife, was the sun, and al-'Uzza and Manat, his daughters, represented two planets. The Muslims believe the black Stone divinely came from Allah, who was the moon before the planet Venus replaced it in Allah’s title. How could a black stone, greatly worshipped and revered by the people, be hidden while they were fighting to preserve the prestige they found in serving it?  It is implausible to suggest that they could hide their greatly-worshipped stone, without any of the people who chased the defeated Jurhum noticing where it was hidden, especially when the place where it was claimed to be hidden was the spring of water from which they drank every day of the battle. Hiding the worshipped stone in such a way is more implausible than hiding the spring of water itself.

    The story of the black Stone has some important implications. The black Stone was not in existence near Mecca until, perhaps, the end of the 5th A.D. century. That’s why Islamic tradition tried to justify the absence of the stone by inventing implausible stories. Therefore, we can estimate that the black stone, which was the main element of worship in all Kaabahs of Arabia, was brought  from another area – most probable Yemen – toward the end of the 5th century A.D.

Asa’d Abu Karb was the True Builder of Kaabah in the Beginning of the 5th century A.D.

It is said that prior to the construction of the Kaabah, a tent existed on the spot where it was built.[ii][2] The tribe of Khuzaa'h came from Yemen around the 2nd  century A.D.  In the 4th century A.D., they moved toward the area where Mecca was eventually built. Since they didn’t find a temple there in which to worship, they pitched their tent in a field.

    Information from the writers of the 8th century A.D., who depended on information from the time of Mohammed, indicates the Kaabah was built at the beginning of  the 5th century A.D. by a  Himyarite pagan Yemeni leader named Asa’d Abu Karb. He is also called  Abu Karb Asa’d, and he reigned in Yemen from 410 to 435 A.D.[iii][3]  The fact that the Islamic historians admit that Asa’d Abu Karb was the first ruler in history to dress the Kaabah is a significant indicator that he was the true builder of the Kaabah.[iv][4]  Dressing a temple in Arabia was the second stage of its construction. It included decoratively finishing the inside walls, putting carpets on the walls and the floor, and adding textured and crocheted items on various parts of the interior building. (Arabians will not pray in a temple which is not dressed.) Asa’d Abu Karb used Amer from Azed to build the inside walls of the Kaabah.[v][5] (Azed is a tribe which came from Yemen at the same time Khuzaah’s tribe came.)  So Asa’d Abu Karb, the first to build and dress the Kaabah, must have first built it when there was just a tent where the Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h worshipped. Asa’d Abu Karb, also called Tubb'a, occupied the city of Yathrib before coming to Mecca.[vi][6]  It seems he found many temples in Yathrib, but when he came to Mecca, he didn’t find any temple there. Because the inhabitants were recent emigrants from Yemen, Asa’d Abu Karb built them a modest temple in the Yemeni style. He did this to connect the people with himself. He also wrote a poem in which he described the sun setting in a spring of black mud, something Mohammed included in the Qur’an.

Additions by Quraish to the Building Which Asa’d Abu Karb Built

Quraish, the tribe Mohammed came from, later occupied the city. They acquired a black stone from Yemen so that their temple would be like all the other Kaabahs which, according to the worship of the Star Family of Arabia, were built around a black stone. Family Star worship started in Yemen, the place from which the Quraish emigrated. The first Kaabah built by Asa’d Abu Karb, had a wood roof. That roof burned, so next they used wood carried by a Byzantine ship, which stopped on the coast of the Red Sea at a place called  “al-Shaebieth “. The owner of the ship was a Coptic Egyptian named Bachum. He sold the wood to them and made the roofing for the Kaabah.[vii][7]  Later, when Mohammed was still young, further elements were added to the simple building.[viii][8]

    These facts about the construction of the temple at Mecca should cause Muslims to question all that Ibn Ishak and his companions said about the city, in their attempt to back Mohammed’s claim in the Qur’an that the temple was built by Abraham and Ishmael.

YEMENI RESPONSIBILITY IN BUILDING THE TEMPLE OF MECCA

The Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h built the city of Mecca in the 4th century A.D. Yemeni pagan religious worship has left its fingerprints all over the temple, showing that Abraham and Ishmael could not have built it.

We will discuss why the marks of Yemeni worship characterized the temple of Mecca. The sayings and customs of Mohammed are called Hadith. “Sahih Muslim” and “Sahih Buchari” are considered the main authoritative books which contain the words or Hadith of Mohammed. In those books, we read about Mohammed’s custom  to embrace and kiss two stones, “the Yemenite Rukun” and “the Black Stone”.  Ibn Abbas the cousin of Mohammed and the reporter of his authoritative Hadith, says that Mohammed customarily embraced the two Yemeni Rukuns. By “Yemeni Rukuns,” he meant the Black Stone and the other stone, also called Rukun.[ix][9] From this we know that Kaabeh had two main elements, also called Rukuns, which were considered sacred. Those were the stones around which the Kaabeh was built. These were the true elements revered by the inhabitants of Mecca and by Mohammed.  

    It seems that the Black Stone was brought from Yemen at the time of Abdel Mutaleb, the grandfather of Mohammed. Islamic tradition claimed it was hidden with the spring of Zamzam for centuries prior to Mohammed.  I demonstrated previously that such a claim could not be true. The fact is that Mohammed and Islamic tradition endeavor to connect the pagan Yemeni worship of the ancestors of Mohammed, which transferred from Yemen to the Temple of Mecca, with Ishmael and Abraham, even though there are historical evidences that point to the contrary. We will look at some of them.

    First, the confirmed date of the construction of the city of Mecca is sometime after the 4th century A.D.  Abu Karb Asa’d was the first to consecrate the Kaabah, which reveals that he was the builder of the Kaabah. He did this during his reign in Yemen, which was between 410 and 435 A.D. The two Rukuns, or stones, which were the main elements of worship in the temple, were of Yemeni origin. The date on which the Black Stone first appeared in Mecca was at the time of Mohammed’s grandfather, sometime between 495 and 520 A.D. Though Islamic tradition was aware of these facts, people invented unreliable stories to fill the historical gaps. I’ve already proved such stories are not logical, and are easily refutable.

     An important factor in tracing Yemeni responsibility for constructing the Temple at Mecca, and in establishing the true date of construction for such Temple, is found in the Himyarite kingdom of Yemen. Abu Karb Asa’d, the reigning monarch of Himyarite kingdom, tried to extend his empire over central western Arabia in order to control the spice route from Yemen to North Arabia, and then to the Fertile Crescent. Abu Karb Asa’d, also called Tubb'a, occupied the cities of central western Arabia at the beginning of the 5th century A.D. Among those cities were Mecca and Yathrib, also called al-Medina. The occupier’s strategy was to bind these cities to his kingdom by reinforcing the Yemeni religious system which the inhabitants of Mecca and Yathrib were already embracing. The inhabitants of Mecca had emigrated from Yemen, so they were of Yemeni origin.  Yathrib was formed by two Yemeni tribes, Oas and Khazraj. They, too, emigrated to Yathrib after the dam at Yemen was damaged around 150 A.D. These tribes were living with two Jewish tribes, Beni Kharithah and Beni Nathir, which were already established. Abu Karb Asa’d was of Yemeni origin. He built the Kaabeh at Mecca to reinforce his rule over the city, and to show favor to the citizens of Mecca who were without a temple of worship. They, like him, shared the same pagan beliefs.

Tubb'a's ideas of Jewish and Yemeni pagan myths and their influence on the Arabians of central western Arabia, and consequently on Mohammed.

Tubb’a also tried to build bridges with the Jewish community in Yathrib. He learned their religious thoughts and rites. He learned the Jewish myths, such as the legend of the hoopoe bird  that announced the kingdom of Saba to Solomon. This myth came from the Jewish mythological book called the Second Targum of Esther. Mohammed incorporated the same myth into the Qur’an.

    To accomplish his ends, Tubb'a brought two Jewish rabbis to Yemen.[x][10]  They added to his knowledge by teaching him many Judaic religious rites and myths, enabling him to mix various items in his own Yemeni pagan background with Jewish mythology and religious tradition. For example, he combined Arabian star worship with Jewish myths.  With mixed knowledge like this, he thought he could control the regions in central western Arabia, where people of Jewish and Arabian origin lived. He then claimed himself to be a prophet, expounding many thoughts which the Yemeni people considered indisputable about the sun, the earth and the cosmos. At Mecca, in an attempt to convince his listeners that he was a prophet, he taught that the sun sets in a spring of black mud.[xi][11] This myth, too, was incorporated by Mohammed in the Qu'ran.

    After his death, Tubb'a’s claim left an impression on many groups, even on groups that lived until the time of Mohammed. Mohammed considered him as a Muslim and almost as a prophet.[xii][12]  There have been myths about Tubb'a among the Arabians. Al-Taberi attributed victories to him in China and Tibet. This is unhistorical, but it shows how great an impact Tubb'a left on the Arabians at the time of Mohammed,  to the point that many considered him to be a prophet.[xiii][13]

The Kaabah of Mecca was built for the Arabian Star worship and it shares all the characteristic of the Kaabahs that were built for their worship.

The fact that the temple at Mecca was built as a Kaabah for Arabian star worship is shown in many ways. First, it was built in the same architectural style as other Kaabahs in Arabia. They were all temples for the same Arabian Family Star religion, in which Allah is considered the head and Ellat is his wife. All the Kaabahs had a  Black Stone as the most revered element. It represented the star deity in Arabia. Many of the black stones were meteorites which the Arabs saw descending to earth. They thought the meteorites they were envoys from the moon, which was considered to be Allah himself. This is before that title was given to Venus, who replaced the moon as head of the star family.

    Another thing which shows that the Kaabah of Mecca  was built as a temple for Arabian star worship is that the Kaabah of Mecca reflects members of the star family in many of its elements. The main door of the Kaabah was called  “the door of worshippers of the sun,”[xiv][14] the wife of Allah.

Mohammed confirmed that the origin of the Kaabah's faith was Yemeni.

The role of Yemeni religious paganism in building the temple at Mecca, and its religious nature, cannot be hidden. Even Mohammed recognized the origin of the religious system of Mecca as Yemeni. Mohammed uttered many Hadiths about the Yemeni origin of the Kaabah faith.  Such teachings are reported in the authoritative Hadith, the book of al-Bukhari, in which Mohammed says: “the faith is Yemeni and the wisdom is Yemeni.” In another Hadith, he says: “the doctrine and jurisprudence is Yemeni.”[xv][15] Therefore, not just the Rukuns, the sacred stones in the Kaabah, were from Yemen, but also religious laws, doctrine and faith are Yemeni. It is undeniable proof that the temple of Mecca was constructed by a Yemeni leader according to a Yemeni pagan style and specification. He established Yemeni religiosity at Mecca, and it was known in other parts of Arabia. How, then, could Abraham have built the Kaabeh, if what we have learned about its construction is true? How did the Black Stone come from heaven, and how did Abraham sacrifice on it, and build the Kaabah around it, if the stone was not in Mecca before the 5th century A.D.?    How could Mohammed’s teaching come from  Allah through the angel Gabriel and still be of Yemeni origin?

    The important Egyptian scholar, Tah Hussein, has criticized Islamic tradition for linking the construction of Mecca’s temple to Abraham and Ishmael.[xvi][16]  Tah said :

The case for this episode is very obvious because it is of recent date and came into vogue just before the rise of Islam. Islam exploited it for religious reasons."[xvii][17]

If Muslims search diligently in history, like this great Egyptian scholar did, they will reach the same conclusion.

Establishing the Date the Tribe of Khuzaa'h Built Mecca

Many historical elements help us determine the true date Mecca was built.  One major factor is the damage which occurred to the dam of Ma'rib in Yemen around the year 150 A.D. It caused the emigration of many families and tribes from Yemen to the north. One of these families was the family of Amru bin Amer, a Yemeni individual whose progeny fostered many tribes. Among them was Khuzaa'h, which settled in central western Arabia.  Later, they built the city of Mecca.

    Other tribes which came from  Amru bin Amer were Oas and Khazraj. They settled in Yathrib, also called al-Medina, where the Jewish tribes of Beni Kharithah and Beni Nathir were already located.

    From the writings of Tabari, the famous Arabic historian, we understand that this happened at approximately the same time the Lakhmids moved from Yemen to Mesopotamia. It is also the same time Amru bin Amer, the father of Khuzaa'h, moved from Yemen.[xviii][18] The Lakhmids came from Yemen in the 2nd  century A.D. They lived in a region of Mesopotamia later known to be the city of Hira. Later the Persians used them to protect Persian borders with the Byzantine Empire, which was dominating Syria. The first Lakhmid king was Amr I bin Adi, who ruled from 265-295 A.D.[xix][19] The serious collapse of the dam of Ma'rib precipitated the emigration of tribes such as Ghassan, which settled in the Byzantine border; Shammar which inhabited the Syrian Desert; and other tribes which emigrated to the north of Arabia and the Fertile Crescent.[xx][20]  Some of these tribes were related to each other because they were progeny of Amru bin Amer.[xxi][21] Other tribes who came out of Yemen at the time the dam collapsed were Oas and Khazraj. They went to live in al-Medina. Ozd al-Sarat went to al-Sarat, a location near Orfeh, which is near where Mecca was built. The tribe of Khuzaa'h inhabited a place called Mur, also called Mur al-Thahran,[xxii][22] another place near where Mecca was built.[xxiii][23]

Mecca was Built by Khuzaa'h as a Desolate Station on the Spice Route

There was no city named Mecca in that area; otherwise, Khuzaa'h and Ozd would have inhabited it, as Oas and Khazraj inhabited the city of Yathrib. For more than a century and a half Khuzaa'h remained in the area near where Mecca was later built. They then decided to build a station on the caravan route where traders could rest and conduct business.  If Mecca had existed before Khuzaah’s emigration from Yemen, Mecca would have been the city to which they would go to search out a living, even as their sister tribes, Oas and Khazraj, went to Yathrib to benefit from commerce and agricultural activities of the Jewish tribes there. But neither Khuzaa'h nor Ozd, as new emigrants in semi-deserted areas around the area where Mecca eventually built, found a city to host them when they left Yemen. They waited more than 170-200 years before building a city on the caravan route, which became a station for the caravans competing with Yathrib, which was about 200 miles away. The station they built, was called Mecca.

    It is important to note that none of the tribes who came from Yemen inhabited Mecca. If Mecca was in existence at the time the dam was seriously damaged, around the year 150 A.D.,  we would find many tribes locating in Mecca, because it is closer to Yemen than Yathrib is to Yemen. But, because the area where Mecca was eventually built was desolate and had no cities, it induced the tribes of Ozd and Khuzaa'h to live there. They did so, although they  previously lived in a civilized city in Yemen which was Ma'rib, the capital of Saba. This is an important argument which points out that Mecca could not have existed before Khuzaa'h built the city in the 4th century A.D.

    Let’s review these historical facts. I’ve shown that the Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h built the city of Mecca in the 4th century A.D. We’ve seen the connection between the temple of Mecca and Yemeni pagan religious worship.  All this shows that the claim of Islam about Abraham and Ishmael building the temple of Mecca contradicts the true historical facts. Building faith on the sand is unwise. I pray that our Muslim friends will return to true faith as found in history and announced in the Bible.  In the Bible they can find a solid foundation, documented in the writings of the prophetic books, and considered by historians to be the accurate resource for ancient history.

  

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[i][1] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 524

[ii][2] Al-Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, 1/6

[iii][3] A. Jamme, W.F., Sabaean Inscriptions from Mahram Bilqis (Ma'rib), the Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1962, Volume III, page 387; there are also Texts numbered by G. Ryckmans after himself, G. Ryckmans, Le Museon 66 (1953), pages 363-7, p1.V; quoted by  K.A. Kitchen , Documentation For Ancient Arabia, Part I, Liverpool University Press, 1994, page 219

[iv][4] Al-Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, 1:173; Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mujam al-Buldan, 4:463

[v][5] Ibn Saad, Tabakat, 1, page 64

[vi][6] Ibn Hisham 1, page 20

[vii][7] Halabieh 1, page 235; Ibn Hisham I, page 157; al-Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca I, page 104

[viii][8] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 526

[ix][9] Sahih Muslim 9, page 15

[x][10] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 426-428; al-Ya'akubi I, page 226

[xi][11] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 429

[xii][12] Halabieh I, page 280

[xiii][13] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, pages 331, 332, 360

[xiv][14] Halabieh I, page 236

[xv][15] Al-Bukhari 5, page 122; Halabieh I, page 259

[xvi][16] Quotation by Alessandro Bausani, L’Islam, Garzanti Milano, 1980, page 208

[xvii][17] Quoted in Mizan al-Islam by Anwar al-Jundi, page 170 ;Behind the Veil, page 184

[xviii][18] Tarikh al-Tabari, I, pages 431 and 360 also mentioned the emigration to the area of Hira in Mesopotamia of tribes descended from Maad bin Adnan from Yemen.

[xix][19] K.A. Kitchen, Documentation For Ancient Arabia, Part I , Liverpool University Press, 1994, page 251

[xx][20] James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1934, page 126; Montgomery also quotes Philby, The Heart of Arabia, II, page 97

[xxi][21] Ibn Hisham I, page 12

[xxii][22] Ibn Hisham I, page 13

[xxiii][23] The commentators on Ibn Hisham I, page 13

 

 

Copyright ã 2004 by Dr. Rafat Amari. All rights reserved.