THE BIBLE AND THE ANCIENT MECCA CLAIM

                                                                                  By Dr. Rafat Amari

 

An important argument for rejecting the claim that Mecca is an ancient city: the Bible makes an excellent case.

The Bible is considered the most important resource for us to understand ancient history. Because it is a book inspired by God, it presents the origin of races, nations and tribes.  At the beginning of this part, we want to look at the people born after the flood who descended from Noah. Narrations found in Genesis, as well as other books of the Bible, prove that the Bible could not be a compilation of human writings. The Bible accurately numbers the tribes in the genealogies of the book of Genesis. It gives the placement for each tribe, and an accurate chronology regarding their appearance in history, although some of the tribes and nations date back nearly to the time of the flood.

 

Moses: a Dependable Resource, Excludes the Existence of Mecca in his Time.

 

Moses, the prophet inspired to write the book of Genesis, wrote it in the beginning of the 15th century B.C. As many as 34,000 years elapsed between the origin of many of the ancient tribes and the time Moses wrote the chronology in Genesis.  Oral tradition, itself, is unable to remain intact for that long a period of time. The only explanation for the accuracy and completeness of the ancient data is that God inspired the book which Moses wrote. God provided information above and beyond what Moses received through oral tradition.

    In the book of Genesis, we can trace the origin of Arabian tribes from their beginnings to the time of Moses. He gives us an accurate chronology of those tribal generations, and the names of their ancestors. But more than that, the book of Genesis provides us with information on how Arabia was populated after the flood. Genesis names the tribes which populated Arabia. The records of these Arabian tribes began soon after the flood, and continued through the time of Abraham, up to Moses and his servant, Joshua, in the 15th century B.C. So the study of Genesis is not just inspired data covering tribal names, origins and chronologies from early times, but it is also an historical data bank of the nations living at the time of Moses. He received much of this historical information from the Egyptians when he studied in their institutions as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Years later, Luke wrote in Acts 7:22, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.”

 

The Midianites never heard of Mecca.

Historians suppose that the tribes of Arabia were well-known to the Midianites, with whom Moses came in contact through his residency in Sinai. You may remember that Moses went to live in the Sinai desert, when he escaped from Egypt after killing the Egyptian who murdered the Israelite. This was before God sent Moses back to Egypt to convince Pharaoh to free Israel from their servitude in Egypt. We can assume that Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, knew the names of tribes of western Arabia, since he was also a priest of the Midianites, living partially in the Sinai and partially in northern Arabia. Jethro knew more about Arabian tribal names than did the contemporaries of Mohammed at the end of the 6th century A.D. It is analogous to my situation as originally a resident in the Middle East; I know about the names of the contemporary nations of Arabia, mainly because I lived in such close proximity to them. I believe the Midianites were in a position to know more about western Arabia because they were, at that time, the closest people to the location where Mecca was eventually built.  We can be sure the Midianites would have known about Mecca, if it had existed when Moses lived in the 16th B.C. and part of the 15th century B.C.

    We cannot ignore the historical statements made by an inspired man like Moses when he gives us the historical picture of his own times. Moses lived for 40 years in the Sinai desert with the Midianites, who were partially Arabian.  He was educated in Egyptian institutions, which were the most-advanced centers of knowledge in his time. Not only was Moses a great prophet of God, but he was well-qualified as a reliable source for a historical narration.

 

 Ibn Ishak, the unreliable resource, contradicted by Moses.

On the other hand, Ibn Ishak, who lived in the 8th century A.D., and rewrote history for Muslims, was not nearly as qualified as Moses for the task. It is evident that Ibn Ishak modified the genealogies which Moses had been inspired to write in the book of Genesis, creating for Muslims a so-called “Islamic tradition.”  Previously, I mentioned that the tribes and genealogies about which Ibn Ishak wrote were a product of his imagination, and never encountered in the writings of others before him.  As I also stated earlier, Ibn Ishak was judged by the scholars of his time to be a man of forgery who invented false genealogies. How, then, can his narration be a competitor with the writings of Moses in the book of Genesis?        

 

THE GENEALOGY OF HAM AND THE TRIBES OF ARABIA

Turning to what Moses wrote, the first genealogy we study is the account of Ham, the second son of Noah. Genesis 10:6-7 says, “The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.” Those are the fathers from which some of the ancient tribes came. For example, the nation of Cush was located in today’s EthiopiaEgypt came from Mizraim.   Put was an old North African tribe, and Canaan was located in Palestine and Lebanon. From the first three came the rest of the African tribes. From the elder Cush came tribes in Ethiopia and Yemen. We see this from Cush’s progeny presented in Genesis 10:7,  “The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabtechah; and sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan.”  It is clear from the names of the sons of Cush that some of them represented places in Arabia. Cush is the father of the tribe of Cush, which dominated Ethiopia and Sudan in ancient times. The Bible presents other tribes which came from Cush. Some of these tribes traveled to Yemen through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, a narrow channel of less than 20 miles.  Since ancient times, this geographical location has affected historical connections between Ethiopia and Yemen.   

 

  

The Bible identifies the origin of the Sabaeans of Yemen as Cushites who came from Ethiopia.

The fourth son of Cush, Raamah, is the father of Sheba, the tribe which inhabited Yemen. We don’t know when the descendants of Sheba left Ethiopia and traveled to Yemen. Many scholars think that the Sabaeans of Yemen came from Ethiopia. One reason for their conclusion  is the similarity between the languages of Saba of Yemen and the Mahri  language of Ethiopia. This is in addition to the old connection between Yemen and Ethiopia through the straight. Migration from Ethiopia to the Arabian coast of Yemen, and vice versa, was quite extensive. This could be part of the reason Sheba dominated the Ethiopian coast, and established a line of kings in the 1st millennium B.C. The region became known as Di’amat, a nation which became independent around 350 - 320 B.C. 
    The name of Raamah, who was the father of Sheba, the fourth son of Cush, is found in Yemeni inscriptions.[i]  This testifies to the accuracy of the Biblical accounts which state that Sheba was descended from the Cushites along the coast of Ethiopia. The Bible confirms the descendancy of the tribe of Sheba–Yemen from Sheba, the son of Raamah, the Cushite. This we find in Ezekiel 27:22. Ezekiel was given a word against Tyre, the Phoenician city. He described the trade of Tyre with other cities and nations:  
 
The merchants of Sheba and Raamah were your merchants. They traded for your wares the choicest spices, all kind of precious stones and gold.

  

We find Raamah, the father of Sheba, is mentioned with Sheba in this Biblical narrative. To identify a nation by the name of the father from whom the nation originated is a common Biblical style. We find this in many places in the Bible. The Lord refers to the nation of Israel by the name of Jacob, and also by the name of Isaac, the father of Jacob, after whom the nation of Israel was named. In the Ezekiel passage, Sheba and his father are mentioned to remind us that the Sheba, or Saba, kingdom came from Raamah, the Cushite. This passage in Ezekiel also reflects on the richness of commerce between Saba of Yemen and the Phoenician cities, such as Tyre, where spices, precious stones and gold were traded.

    The brother of Raamah was named Seba. He is the first-born of Cush, which may explain the linguistic affinity between the Sheba of Yemen and the tribes of Ethiopia on the opposite shore of the Red Sea. It seems that there was a tribe named Seba which came from Seba, the son of Cush, in addition to the tribe of Sheba which came from the son of Raamah, the brother of Seba. We notice that the brother of Sheba, son of Raamah, was Dedan. This is not the father of Dedan, the tribe in northern Arabia which settled in the city of Dedan. We’ll see that the northern tribe of Dedan came from Keturah, Abraham’s second wife, whom he married after the death of Sarah. This Dedan, the son of Raamah, might have been a small tribe, which was integrated by other Cushite tribes over time. 

    So we see that the Biblical and historical facts point to the conclusion that ancient Yemeni populations have Cushite origins, and that the tribe of Saba is a Cushite tribe which migrated from Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

The True Origin of Mohammed

 

The family of Mohammed, as Sabaean of Cushite origin descending from Ham, can't be connected with Ishmael and Abraham, who were of Semitic origin.

This Biblical and historical fact points to the true origin of the family of Mohammed.  We know that the ancestors of Mohammed lived in Saba in Yemen. Around 150 A.D., when the dam of Ma'rib had a serious collapse, many Yemeni tribes left Yemen as a result of this devastation, before it was repaired.[ii]  The family of Mohammed was among those who emigrated to an area in central western Arabia, close to where the tribe of Khuzaa'h, also from Yemen, later built Mecca. They lived in the area surrounding Mecca before the city was constructed around the 4th century A.D. Therefore, the ancestors of Mohammed were from the tribe of Saba, which we saw is of Cushite origin, descending from Ham. And like all the Sabaeans from Yemen, they were not of Semitic origin.  We know that the Quraish tribe of Mohammed learned its Arabic language when it emigrated and came in contact with the Bedouins of central western Arabia. How then can Mohammed be a descendant of Ishmael, as Islamic tradition claims? 

The Ishmaelites lived in Sinai. From there they spread to the deserts of the  Fertile Crescent. They never reached the area where Mecca was later built, nor did they ever reach Yemen.

Ishmaelite tribes are known to have lived south of Palestine, in the part of the Sinai desert which borders Canaan. From there they spread toward the Syro-Mesopotamian desert, and also to the north. Only the tribes of Qedar and Teima touched the northern portion of Arabia.

    The locations of the Ishmaelite tribes are clearly revealed in the Bible, and confirmed through Assyrian inscriptions.  We never find an Ishmaelite tribe south beyond Teima, which is about 180 miles from the border between Arabia and Jordan, nor do we find a historical record of an Ishmaelite tribe in the area where Mecca was later built.

    Islamic tradition claims Mohammed descended from the Nabaioth tribe, which lived in southern Jordan and became extinct before the 7th century B.C. How could a Sabaean family, like the ancestors of Mohammed, be connected  to a tribe that lived in southern Jordan, and disappeared more than 1,300 years before Mohammed was born?  Islamic claims seem to be unaware of the historical facts concerning the Ishmaelites. They use fiction to connect Ishmael with Mecca, claiming that Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, brought him through uninhabited desert. They also claim that Abraham visited Ishmael on the Baraq, a Persian mythological winged camel. 

    Islam further claims that the Ishmaelites lived in Mecca and established a great kingdom there. They claim the Ishmaelites even traveled to Yemen centuries before Mecca was actually built. Yet, history proves that Ishmael lived in southern Palestine, from which his descendants, the Ishmaelites, expanded their influence. Some tribes went north toward Damascus and Lebanon, while others went east toward Jordan and the desert between Jordan and Iraq. Still others went northeast toward the Syro-Mesopotamian desert, and a few went south toward the border of north Arabia. If the Ishmaelites had lived near Mecca, then their tribes would have extended their influence in all directions, with Mecca as the center. Apart from the fact that Mecca never appeared in history before the 4th century A.D., no Ishmaelite tribe was ever recorded to have lived in Yemen, Yamama (east of Mecca), or where Mecca was eventually built. For Islamic tradition to claim that Ishmaelite tribes lived in Yemen, and that they were the ancestors of Mohammed,  and to claim that Ishmael built the temple at Mecca, is an illogical assertion. No one who studies the history of Ishmaelite tribes would accept this. I refer the reader to Part IV in this book, where I elaborate with more detail on the Ishmaelites.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unknown Family of Mohammed Compared to the Genealogy of Jesus 

The family of Mohammed was from unknown Sabaean and Yemeni origin. There is no historical documentation of their family line, nor of any  prophets of the  faith of the God of Abraham. In contrast, the genealogy of Jesus has been recorded in each century since the time of Abraham.

We already studied the genealogy of Ham. We saw that Yemen was populated from the descendants of Sheba, son of Raamah, son of Cush. We also saw that, throughout history, tribes from Yemen have emigrated to the north. The language of the tribe of Saba, the main tribe of Yemen from which Mohammed is descended, differs significantly from the Arabic language, but the Saba language does have similarities to the Ethiopian language. We find this to be true, because the tribe of Saba is of Ethiopian Cushite origin, as we saw from our last study.  Yet, the Saba language was not prevalent outside Yemen

     We saw that the ancestors of Mohammed lived in Saba as recently as 150 A.D., the date of the famous collapse of the Ma'rib Dam in Yemen. There is no documentation in history about this family prior to this famous collapse of the Dam of Ma'rib. Nothing supports the Islamic claim that Mohammed’s family lived outside Yemen at any time in history.  Since Mecca didn’t exist prior to the 4th century A.D., the claim that this family was living in Mecca in ancient times is unhistorical. When we study the matter further, we discover that we are dealing with an unknown Sabaean family which never appeared in history with any religious claim, and is not documented by any inscriptions in the history of Yemen.

    When we compare the genealogy of Jesus with Mohammed’s claims, we find a much clearer genealogical path. We have written testimony in the Old Testament concerning each important member in the Messianic family.  Remember that Jesus is one Person of the Trinity, and the one promised in the Old Testament to be incarnated as perfect man. We see promises, as well as prophecies, given to significant men in the genealogies of the Old Testament:  men like Jacob, David, Solomon and Zerubbabel. These promises and prophecies describe the coming of the Messiah as the divine personality, born in the flesh, as the ultimate purpose of the genealogy of Jesus.

    The record began with Abraham in the 21st century B.C., and was fulfilled in the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus, in 4 A.D.,  according to the prophecies of Isaiah.  Micah 5:2 says,

 

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting. 

 

The prophecy indicates that Jesus is from everlasting. But, for the ancestors of Mohammed, there is no historical document which indicates that they were more than an unknown Sabaean family.  Islamic tradition wanted to create a story around this family to support Mohammed’s claims. Ironically, Mohammed’s ancestors, themselves, never supported any of his ancestral claims. No prophet was known to have come from this unknown Sabaean family. The statements on which Islamic claims are based lack historical evidence. For example, they claim that Mecca existed in ancient times, but we have already seen that Mecca never existed before the 4th century A.D.

 

Muslims contend that Ishmael was the foundation of Islam, and Mohammed carried a prophetic role.

Muslims also claim that the Ishmaelites lived in the area of Mecca, but we have documentation stating that this was not the case. The Ishmaelites originally resided in the desert of southern Palestine where their ancestor, Ishmael, lived. Later they migrated north and east. Only two tribes went a little toward the south, about 180 miles into the Arabian desert. They claim Mohammed is an Ishmaelite. This can’t be true, because none of the Ishmaelite tribes ever lived in Yemen. Mohammed is Sabaean and, therefore, of Cushite origin.

    Another fact is that Ishmael did not have a spiritual role, nor did any of his descendants. More specifically, the Ishmaelites never predicted that a prophet would come from Ishmael’s descendants. On the other hand, the prophecy that the Messiah would come from the progeny of Isaac is documented in each generation. Of the twelve Ishmaelite tribes, no one ever expected or prophesied the coming of a prophet from their lineage. God never presents the world with a message of faith without building a solid historical foundation to establish credibility.  In each era God sent His prophets, believing the same things He requires the world to believe. The prophets each supported the claims that His eternal Son would come, die on the cross as atonement for the sins of humanity, and be resurrected on the third day. God laid the foundation for this message in each generation through the messianic genealogy, and through the prophets whom He sent. Many religions present a man claiming to be a prophet, but without this unique historical foundation. Islam is one of these religions of the world that presents a claim of one man, Mohammed, who is a prophet from God, but without any sort of valid historical foundation. Then Islam unhistorically tries to connect to the heritage and the Biblical foundation, but without any historical elements of veracity.

 

 

THE GENEALOGY OF SHEM AND THE ARABIAN TRIBES WHICH DESCENDED FROM HIM

 

I would like you to look at another genealogy in the Bible which contributed significantly to the population of eastern Arabia. It is the genealogy of Shem, the first-born of Noah. We find this genealogy in the book of Genesis 10:22-30:

 

The sons of Shem were Elam, Assur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul Gether, and Mash. Arphaxad begot Salah, and Salah begot Eber. To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.

Joktan begot Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba Ophir, Havilah and Jobab.  All these were the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling place was from Mesha as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east.

 

Verse 22 lists the sons from which all the Semitic tribes are generated. Elam is the father of the Elamites. Asshur is the father of the Assyrians, at the very least.  Lud is the father of other Semitic tribes.  Aram is the father of the Arameans, and other Mesopotamian and Syrian tribes.  Arphaxad is the father of many Semitic tribes, including the Hebrews, as well as some people in Mesopotamia, and eastern Arabia.

    Of particular interest for our study is Joktan, from whom came many tribes, which are identified as some of the tribes of eastern Arabia. The Bible comments on the tribes that came from Joktan:

 

And their dwelling place was from Mesha as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east.

 

In the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, Mesha is rendered as Massae. This suggests that the location of the tribe of Massa, one of the Ishmaelite tribes which lived in the Syro-Mesoptomian desert, as between Syria, Jordan and Iraq. The same translation renders Separ as Sopher.

    Mount Sephar of the east is identified by many scholars as Mount Seir in Edom,[iii] located in what is now southern Jordan. In Numbers 23:7, Balaam speaks of himself by saying that Balak brought him from the “Mountains of the East.”  We know that Balaam lived in the Edom area, which suggest that the “Mountain of the East” was Mount Seir in Edom, today called “the Mountains of  Sharah” in southern Jordan. We conclude that these tribes coming from Joktan lived in the Syro-Mesopotamian desert and southern Edom in Trans-Jordan. This is before some tribes moved toward the Persian Gulf, and before others went south and east to southeastern Arabia.

    Among Joktan’s sons, Hazarmaveth is identified with the nation of Hadhramot, which is located in eastern south Arabia.  Although its location was actually in the southeastern part of Arabia, throughout history this nation was known for its connection to the Persian Gulf.[iv]  This suggests that the original emigration of this tribe, along with other tribes which stemmed from Joktan, was through the Persian Gulf, toward the southeastern part of Arabia.  Another tribe which descended from Joktan is Ophir, whose location is placed (by most scholars) in the Persian Gulf. Ophir was known for its rich commerce with India.[v]  It was the intermediate trading center between India and Middle Eastern nations. Products from eastern Arabia, such as gold, and products from India, came through Ophir. The Bible says Solomon made ships to go to Ophir to benefit from her position in the gold trade. 1 Kings 9:26-28  says:

 

King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. They went to Ophir and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there.

 

I Kings 10:11 says:

 

Also the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir

  
The Phoenicians were known to be great traders between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean nations. One reason is because the Gulf region was their original homeland before they emigrated to Lebanon. History also tells us that the region of Carmania, in Iran, opposite to Arabian territory in the Persian Gulf, was rich in gold. Pliny testifies to this fact in his writings, calling the gold  apyron gold.[vi] Also, Onesicritus, the commander of Alexander’s fleet, spoke about the gold coming from Carmania.[vii]  This suggests that Ophir was close to Carmania, yet opposite it in the Arabian part of the Gulf region. This justifies the gold trade of Ophir throughout ancient history. 

    Jerah is identified by scholars with Jerakon Kome, which Ptolemy spoke about as north of Dhofar in southeastern Arabia.[viii]  Diklah most probably is Dilmun, the tribe that inhabited Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. Dilmun is known to have existed since at least 3000 B.C. Generally, we see these tribes moving from the Syro-Mesopotamian desert and southern Jordan toward the Persian Gulf to eventually dwell in east and southeastern Arabia.

    Another son, Sheba, is mentioned among the sons of Joktan. We assume this is not the Saba who dwelt in Yemen.  As we saw from our study of the genealogy of Ham, Sheba of Yemen descended from Cush, which became the dominant tribe of Ethiopia. Sheba penetrated into Yemen through the strait of Bab al-Mandub.

    Here, we are  dealing with tribes that first inhabited the Syro-Mesopotamian desert. Some of them emigrated gradually toward the Gulf region, but others seemed to remain in the desert of Syro-Mesopotamia. Sheba  if it represents a tribe, and is not just the name of one of Joktan’s sons seems to have been a Nomadic tribe which lived in the Syro-Mesopotamian desert.

  

Although central western Arabia is closer to where Moses lived than other parts of Arabia, neither Mecca nor the tribes which the Islamic tradition claims to have lived at Mecca since the time of Abraham, are listed by Moses within the tribes of Arabia

 

We have studied the Biblical revelation regarding how Arabia was first populated. It was partially populated from its southwestern part, that is Yemen, through one or more of the progeny of Cush, son of Ham. It was also partially populated in the eastern and southeastern parts through the sons of Joktan, from the genealogy of Shem. We have seen how the Bible mentions places and names of tribes and nations in Arabia, which came from the progeny of Ham and Shem,  and which were present at the time of Moses in the 16th century B.C. Yet, in all this documentation, there is no mention of Mecca, or the tribes which Islamic tradition claims lived in Mecca at the time of Abraham. This is in spite of the fact that Mecca is located closer to Palestine than the other places, tribes and nations mentioned in the genealogies of two sons of Noah, Shem and Ham. We know that from Noah’s third son, Japheth, came the tribes that inhabited land as far away as Asia and Europe. If Mecca existed at the time of Moses, or if the tribe of Jurhum existed then, as claimed by Islamic tradition to have inhabited Mecca since the time of Abraham, then Mecca, because of its proximity to Canaan in respect to south Arabian and western Arabian tribes and nations mentioned in Genesis, would be the first to be genealogized in the book of Genesis. We know that the book of Genesis documented the genealogies of all the nations and tribes of the Middle East, from the least significant to the greatest.  Genesis also genealogized the tribes of far-flung regions of the world, like Europe, Africa and Asia. We can surmise that Moses was less interested in accounting for tribes far from Israel, than he was from giving the genealogies of areas relatively close to him, like central western Arabia, where Mecca was eventually built. Yet, in all his genealogies, there is no mention of Mecca.

    Because the Bible is a reliable resource for ancient history, especially as it represents tribes, nations and places as they descended from Noah, the Bible is further proof that Mecca didn’t exist in the 2nd millennium B.C., nor in the 1st  millennium B.C. This rather simple fact is significant to understanding Islam. If a religion is to be believable, it must be built on accurate information.  

 

 

THE DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM AND KUTTARAH AND NORTH ARABIA

We already looked at passages in the Bible which showed us how southern and eastern Arabia were populated. Northern Arabia was uninhabited before, during and, for some time, after Abraham. The descendants of Abraham and Keturah, the wife Abraham married after Sarah died, eventually settled as the first inhabitants of northern Arabia. Historically, there is no mention of any people or tribe inhabiting northern Arabia before the descendants of Keturah. Just how the region was settled is told in Genesis 25:1-6, which has become the third most important genealogy for the study of the tribes of Arabia. Genesis says:

 

Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah.  And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Ashurim, Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah and Eldaah.   All these were the children of Keturah.

Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.  

 

What did the Bible mean when it said, “the country of the East?”  Since the country to the east of Palestine is Edom, in southern Jordan, it is telling us that in the beginning, the descendants of Keturah lived in Edom. Afterward, they spread out in many directions. We know that two of the sons of Keturah, Jokshan and Midian, migrated south to northern Arabia. Jokshan, the second son of Abraham and Keturah, begot Sheba and Dedan. Dedan is the father of the tribes of Dedan, which dwelt in northern Arabia in the city of Dedan. From Dedan came the tribes of Ashurim, Letushim, and Leummim. Ashurim is documented in southern Arabian texts as lying in northwest Arabia.[ix] This confirms the Biblical genealogy for the sons of Keturah. In particular, it confirms that the tribes of Dedan were derived from Keturah’s progeny. It also confirms the true organization of Dedan and its main tribes in history. These confirmations agree exactly with the Biblical narrative.

     There are other proofs that the Dedanites were descendants of Abraham and Keturah. Archaeologists discovered in the ruins of Dedan that the original language of the Dedanites is very close to the Hebrew language, rather than to the Arabic. [x] This is further proof that the city of Dedan was built by the descendants of Dedan, the son of Jokshan, son of Abraham and Keturah, and that the progeny of Abraham and Keturah were the first to inhabit northern Arabia, and build its cities. This happened only after the 10th century B.C. Therefore, to claim that Hagar crossed this uninhabited and deserted area with (the child) Ishmael in the 21st  century B.C. is illogical.

    The first-born son of Jokshan was Sheba.  As the brother of Dedan, Sheba seems to have been the father of a tribe which lived in southern Jordan, in the desert between Jordan and Iraq. The book of Job, in the 15th verse of the first chapter, mentions the Sabaeans who attacked Job’s servants, killing them and taking away the oxen and the donkeys. Job lived in the land of Uz. We understand from Genesis 22:20 that Uz was the son of Nahur, the brother of Abraham. Therefore, Job was from the same tribe of Uz, which came forth from Uz, the son of Nahur. His friend, Elihu, came from the land of Buz, as we see in Job 32:2. The land of Buz was also named after a tribe descended from the other son of Nahur, named Buz, as we see in Genesis 22:20, where the sons of Nahur,  the brother of Abraham, are mentioned. Buz, as a tribe, is mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23. It seems that the land of Uz was located toward Mesopotamia, making it vulnerable to the raids of the Bedouins living in the desert between Jordan, Iraq and Syria. This suggests that the descendants of Sheba, the brother of Dedan, were the same people who attacked Job’s servants. It also suggests the Sabaeans were living a nomadic lifestyle in the desert between Jordan and Iraq.

    In addition to the Bible,  Assyrian inscriptions record a tribe called the Sabaeans, who frequently attacked the Assyrian border from the desert. These attackers were most probably the Sabaeans, who were also Bedouins descended from Sheba, the brother of Dedan, in contrast to the Sabaeans of Yemen, who were great traders and the most civilized people of Arabia. 

    Shuah, the youngest son of Abraham and Keturah, was the father of a tribe by that name, and identified with the land of Suhi in the middle of the Euphrates. It appears in Cuneiform inscriptions dating back to the 18th century B.C.[xi] Job 2:11 tells us that one of Job’s friends was Bildad the Shuhite, who was also from the tribe of Shuah. The Cuneiform inscriptions confirm the Biblical narration and Job's location in Mesopotamia, which was probably close to where Bildad visited Job.

    Ishbak, the fifth son of Abraham and Keturah, is identified with the country of Ia-as–bu-qa-a. The inscriptions of King Shalm-aneser III of Assyria say it was allied with the Neo-Hittite kingdoms against Shalmaneser III  around 858 B.C.[xii]

 

 

Where did the Midianites Live During the 16th and 15th Centuries B.C.?

In addition to Dedan, the son of Jokshan, we have another son of  Abraham and Keturah. This is Midian, their fourth son. His descendants controlled land which stretched toward northern Arabia.  According to the Bible, the tribes of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah and Eldaah. In history, the most important tribe of Midian was Ephah, written in the Greek of the Septuagint as Eypah. It is attested to in the Assyrian inscriptions under the name of Haiapa, which often attacked the Assyrian borders with other tribes.[xiii] Midian lived in southern Sinai and stretched toward the Gulf of Aqaba region in the area of northern Arabia bordering the south of Jordan.  At the time of Moses, part of the tribe of Midian dwelt in the Sinai Desert, specifically around Mount Sinai. Exodus 2:15 says:

 

Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water.

 

We know that the priest of Midian lived around Mount Sinai. The Exodus passage suggests that during the 16th century B.C. and the beginning of the 15th century B.C., the tribe of Midian was still living in the Sinai before part of the tribe migrated toward the Gulf of Aqaba, on the border between Jordan and northern Arabia.

    Midian seems to be associated with Moab. When Moses guided Israel through the desert, we read in Numbers 22:7 that the elders of Midian and the elders of Moab sent for Balaam to curse Israel. This confirms that the location of Midian was in the southern Sinai, extending to the eastern part of Sinai, close to Moab in southern Jordan. According to Numbers 25, when Israel reached the desert which borders Moab, many Israelites committed fornication with the women of Moab and Midian.  This confirms that Midian dwelt in the Sinai desert between Mount Sinai and Moab in southern Jordan. In Numbers 31, the Israelites were engaged in a war against Midian, because the Midianites employed their women to sexually seduce the Israelites. Israel killed five of their kings. This is another confirmation that Midian dwelt in the southern Sinai in the 15th century B.C.

 

 

THE GENEALOGY OF HAGAR, AND THE DWELLING PLACE OF ISHMAEL AND HIS DESCENDANTS

 

The genealogy of Hagar, the servant who begot Ishmael to Abraham, contains three grandsons who extended their dwelling toward northern Arabia after the 10th century B.C. The grand-sons of Hagar are mentioned in Genesis 25:12-18 

 

And these were the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names according to their generations. The firstborn of Ishmael, Nabaioth, then Qedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah....These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.

 

They dwelt from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt as you go toward Assyria.  He died in the presence of all his brethren.

 

I will discuss in detail the progeny of Hagar and their dwelling in Part IV. From verse 18, we understand that, at the time of Moses in the beginning of the 15th century B.C., Ishmaelite tribes were still living from the desert of Shur, part of Sinai, which is east of Egypt, with projection toward Havilah on the border between the eastern Sinai and southern Jordan. This means that, at the time of Moses, the descendants of Ishmael still dwelt in the Sinai. At that time no Ishmaelite tribe yet stretched toward north or eastern, or the border of, Arabia. This clearly demonstrates that Ishmael and his descendants did not go to Mecca to live, as the Islamic tradition and the Qur’an claim. Another thing that we understand from this verse is “he died in the presence of all his brethren.” When Ishmael died, Isaac, and perhaps Esau, the son of Isaac, were there. By oriental custom, close brethren visit and stay a few days while the person is experiencing his last days on earth. This indicates that Ishmael lived in Paran, near southern Palestine, in his later days.

    The tribes which stretched toward northern Arabia were Qedar and Teima. Dumah dwelt in the desert between Mesopotamia and Arabia.   

How ironic it is to claim that Hagar and her child crossed a huge desert, which no caravan had ever crossed, to find an unknown place no one had ever lived in.     

As tribes, the Midianites came after the death of Abraham and Keturah and, perhaps many generations after the death of their father, Midian. The Midianites first began to occupy only a portion of the Sinai Desert before stretching their land toward the Gulf of Aqaba.

    We know Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away to the south of Palestine, which Scripture calls the desert of Paran.  We saw previously that Paran borders Hebron, where Moses sent twelve men to spy on the land of Canaan. Midian was not yet born at that time, because Abraham didn’t marry Keturah until Sarah, his first wife, had died. We know also that Dedan, another son of Keturah, dwelt in northern Arabia much later than did Midian. By this we can only conclude that northern Arabia was a virgin desert uninhabited by any tribe at the time of Hagar. How could Hagar go through north Arabia and its vast desert to reach Mecca, as Muslims claim?  There were no cities in the desert during the time of Hagar. The city of Dedan appeared only after the 10th century B.C. The oases  of Qedar and Teima were the dwelling places of two Ishmaelite tribes that inhabited north Arabia many centuries after Ishmael died. Qedar and Teima were about 150-180 miles distant from the border with Jordan. The cities of Qedar, Teima and Dumah did not appear before the 10th century B.C. No trade caravans traveled between Yemen and Palestine before the 10th century B.C.  Without the cities of northern Arabia, which appeared only in the 10th and 9th  centuries B.C., it was impossible for caravans to travel the desert from Yemen to Palestine and Syria, and vice-versa. What made their movements possible were the cities which the descendants of Keturah, and some of the descendants of Hagar, built in the 10th and 9th  centuries B.C.

    One reason we draw this conclusion is that camels traveling in the desert require water about every sixty miles. Without water it is impossible for caravans to cross the desert toward a remote region in central western Arabia. In the 10th and 9th centuries B.C., cities were built in northern Arabia, initiating caravan travel between Syria and Yemen. These cities dug wells which provided water to their inhabitants and to the passing caravans. 

    In addition to a lack of water, before the construction of these cities, caravans also faced savage Bedouins who roamed such places from time to time. It was not practical to travel this route before the 10th century B.C. Travel along the Red Sea, through the area where Mecca was built, did not begin until the 3rd century B.C. How, then, could a woman with a small baby and a skin of water take the initiative to cross such a vast desert a desert which no caravan in history before her had ever crossed,  especially since caravan travel was unknown?  No one during her lifetime inhabited the region, and no station existed for her to replenish water and food. Later, around the 6th century B.C., cities like Khaybar and Yathrib were built on the land route between Teima, Dedan and Qedar in north Arabia, and Yemen in the south. It’s inconceivable that Mecca existed before Dedan, Qedar and Teima.

If Mecca had existed at the time of Moses, it would have been the only city in western Arabia. Yet Moses did not mention it in his inspired records.

Finally, the Bible mentions all the tribes which finally dwelt in northern Arabia. It talks about Saba and Ma'in, tribes of Yemen. The Bible even mentions small tribes during the time of Moses, before any of them were known as nations, kingdoms or cities – tribes like Dedan, Qedar and Teima-even Saba, before it was known as a nation in Yemen. How then could the Bible fail to mention such an important city as Mecca which, according to the Islamic claim, would have been flourishing at the time of Abraham? Between the 21st and 15th centuries B.C., Mecca would have been the only city in all of western Arabia.  Moses would have paid special attention to it, more than any of the other small tribes he mentions. But Moses never mentions Mecca. Is not this a clear sign that Mecca did not exist in Moses’ time?

    It’s important for us to question the claims of Islam, because its followers are being deceived. For a religion to be credible, it must first be true. I invite you to examine the claims of  the Bible, as well. You’ll soon find that its claims are consistent with the records of history.

 

With all the records of the marine activity of Solomon, and the kings who came after him, there is no mention of Mecca.

 

In the Bible, we can trace the initiation of trade between Yemen and the Mediterranean countries, complete with the kingdoms and cities involved. No city located along land trading routes is missing from Biblical records. Some of the trading cities were mentioned many times; yet, Mecca, which was built eventually on the land route, is not mentioned at all in the Bible.

    Two kingdoms existed in Yemen, beginning in the 12th century B.C. Those two kingdoms were the Saba and Ma'in kingdoms. Scholars are not in agreement about which kingdom came into existence first. Some think that the Minaean kingdom is the older of the two, dating back to the 13th century B.C.  Others think that the Sabaeans were older and began around the 12th century B.C.

 

 

 

The Bible reports on the trade activity of the Minaeans of Yemen with the Fertile Crescent.

Verses in the Bible confirm the presence of Ma'in in the north, perhaps as colonies associated with civilizations in Trans-Jordan which made war against Israel. One of these verses is II Chronicles 20. In the first verse, we read about an alliance in Trans-Jordan against Jehoshaphat. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament reads:

 

It happened after this that the people of Moab, with the people of Ammon, and with them some of the Meunites,  came to make war on Jehoshaphat.

 

According to Montgomery,  the term  “Meunites” in Hebrew is  “Meinim,” and identical to how the word “Minaeans was prono-unnced in South Arabia.[xiv]

     Jehoshaphat reigned in Judah beginning in 873 B.C. It seems that the Minaeans, who tried to establish alliances in southern Jordan, participated in an attack initiated by Moab and Ammon against Judah. Moab and Ammon were the two nations which controlled the land routes where the Minaeans wanted to establish a presence.  At the time of Uzziah, King of Judah, we encounter the Minaeans again in alliances with other Arabians, and with the Philistines. In II Chronicles 26:7, the Bible says:

 

God helped him against the Arabians who lived in Gur Baal, and against the Meunites.

 

According to Montgomery, the word Meunites in Hebrew is  “Meinim,” again referring to the southern Arabian tribe in Yemen.[xv] Uzziah began his reign in 790 B.C. We see the kingdom of Ma'in penetrating into Trans-Jordan and southern Palestine, making colonies along the land routes perhaps as early as the 8th century B.C.

    In the book of Ezra 2:50, we find that some families of the Meunim were forced into slavery around 458 B.C. It seems the slave trade with southern Arabia was vigorous at the time of Ezra. Again, we find the Meunites mentioned in the book of Nehemiah, chapter 7, verse 52.  Around 445 B.C., they were again being used as servants. This may indicate the abundance of trade between Palestine and southern Arabia, and that among the variety of things traded by the Minaean merchants were slaves.

    Although not discernable in the English version of the Bible, in Job 2:11, the Septuagint renders the last name of Zophar, a Naamathite and friend of Job, as  “Minaean.”[xvi] This may indicate that Zophar may have been an important merchant who was trading on the land route between southern Arabia and Mesopotamia, or he could have been a responsible leader in the Minaean colony in south Jordan. Because Job 1:17 mentions the Chaldean raids on Job's servants, we date the book between the 9th and 6th centuries B.C.  Job’s land was the land of Uz, which might have been on the southwestern border of Mesopotamia, where land routes from Arabia were used by people on their way to the heart of Babylonia. Therefore, Job might have been dwelling where merchants traveled. According to the book of Job, Job was one of the richest men of the east, and it's possible he hosted some of the merchants. The term   “lands of the east” in the Bible referred to the land east of Palestine, extending from southern Jordan, through the desert, and reaching as far as Mesopotamia.

    The Chaldeans appeared in the 11th century B.C. on the border of Mesopotamia. They ascended to power only in the 7th century B.C.  After the death of Assurbanipal, the Chaldeans gained their independence from the Assyrians. The Chaldean, Nabopolassar, ruler of Babylonia, established his independence around 625 B.C. We assume the Chaldeans deployed military units on their borders, especially on the western and southern borders, to defend against attacks from the Bedouins. All this leads us to believe that the 7th century B.C. might be the date for the writing of the book of Job.   

    So we see that the Biblical narration confirms what we know about Minaean trade and traffic in its early stages. It couldn't have existed before the 10th century B.C. This means that the 10th century B.C. was also the earliest possible date for the construction of cities in northern Arabia, such as Qedar, Teima and Dedan, which made the land route for trade and traffic possible.

 

 

Saba of Yemen in the Bible 

 

Trading relationships between Saba, called Sheba, in Yemen and the Mediterranean countries, such as Israel, are significant to our understanding of the founding of Mecca. In I Kings, chapter 10, we read about the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. I already mentioned in Part I of this book how the Queen of Sheba could easily hear about the wisdom of Solomon. But we must also understand how Solomon wanted to trade gold with Ophir on the Persian Gulf, so he built a fleet of ships in Ezion Geber near Elath on the Red Sea. I Kings 9:26-28 says:

 

King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. And they went to Ophir and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there.

 

Perhaps Sabaean merchants were already traveling the land route through northern Arabia by the 10th century B.C.  If so, the cities on the oases of northern Arabia, such as Teima, Dedan and Qedar, may have been only small villages which facilitated trade along the land route from Yemen to Israel. This is probably the reason the Queen of Sheba was convinced to travel by land to Jerusalem, rather than by sea. In the previous century (11th B.C.), it was impossible to make the trip by land. In part I of this book,  I mentioned the assumption that Solomon's name was famous in Saba, many years before the visit of the Queen of Sheba, because of his ships, built many years before her visit. The fleet traveled across the Red Sea to Ophir on the Persian Gulf and made many stops along the way, many of which were to Saba ports, the most important ports on the Red Sea. The Saba ports were places where ships traded merchandise and re-supplied themselves with water and food.  

    Many years before Solomon's fleet was constructed, King Hiram, the Phoenician King of Tyre, began sailing his fleet on the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf. Hiram traveled to Ophir, passing through the Sabaean's ports. Hiram traded in the Mediterranean, and even provided Solomon, his son-in-law, with gold, special wood and precious stones. Mediterranean nations were connected to the Gulf region, where there were important kingdoms such as Dilmun, which is now Bahrain; and Magan, which is now Oman. There were also rich ports like Jerra, which traded with India and made far-away Asian products available to the Phoenicians.  All the marine traffic from India to the Persian Gulf passed through the ports of Saba.

 

Although the area where Mecca was eventually built was only 30 miles from the shore, the marine traffic through the Red Sea never attested to the existence of a city called Mecca.

As we've already discussed Solomon's ships, we need to  emphasize that marine-trading traffic through the Red Sea existed for some time before Solomon. The fleet of the Phoenician city of Tyre had already been sailing the trade routes before Solomon built his own fleet of ships. If Mecca, being only 30 miles from shore, had existed, then it would have been known to the Israelites. Since there were no cities on the Red Sea before ships would reach the far Saba ports, Mecca would have been a very long journey, because it would have been the only city close to the shore.  The Israelites, as well the Phoenicians, would have stopped there on their long journeys to Saba and on to the Persian GulfBut neither the Hebrews nor the Phoenicians recorded a city called Mecca. With all the marine activity of Solomon, and the kings who came after him, there is no mention of Mecca.

 

 

 

 

TRADE AND THE FERTILE CRESCENT

The Bible gives us a clear picture of the cities and nations located on the land route from Yemen to north Arabia in the 9th and  8th centuries B.C., but nowhere does it mention Mecca.

We will proceed in the next pages to study the trade through Arabia to the Fertile Crescent as it is seen through many Biblical references. Mecca is conspicuous by its absence.

    In our study of the Biblical passages which mention Arabia,  we look at the time of Solomon as documented in the book of II Chronicles. It shows the relationships between Solomon and the kings of Arabia. 2 Chronicles 9:13, 14 says:

 

The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, besides what the traveling merchants and traders brought. And all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.

 

We have discussed previously the marine trading routes which Israel established in the time of Solomon. These routes provided a connection between Israel and the kingdoms of Arabia, including Saba. Because of the trade routes, the kingdoms and cities of Arabia became wellknown to Israel. Merchants brought gold to Palestine during the time of Solomon. The verses from II Chron-icles refer to all the kingdoms in north and western Arabia. All of these kingdoms are mentioned throughout the prophetical books of the Bible, such as Isaiah and Ezekiel. Yet, there is no mention of Mecca at all in these prophetic books.

 

Trade Traffic Between Yemen and the Countries of the Fertile Crescent During the 9th Century B.C. as Seen in the Book of Joel.

The trade traffic between Yemen, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon (Phoenicians) is attested to in the Bible as early as the time of the prophet Joel, who prophesied around 830 B.C. We read in the book of Joel 3:8 an oracle against Tyre and Sidon. The prophecy announces that calamities will come upon the two Phoenician cities, resulting in some of their sons being sold to the Sabaeans. Sabaean inscriptions confirm this Biblical statement. They say the Sabaeans were involved in the slave trade, buying slaves from far countries.  Female slaves were bought from countries like Egypt, Gaza, Yathrib and Dedan for consecrated service in a Sabaean temple.[xvii]

 

Land Routes From Saba and Teima as Seen in the Book of Job

In addition to II Chronicles and Joel, the book of Job gives us information on Arabian countries. Job knew about the land routes from Saba and Teima. Job 6:19 says:

 

With high hopes, the caravans from Teima and from Sheba stop for water, but finding none, their hopes are dashed.

 

Job lived in the land of Uz which was on the western border of Mesopotamia, at the end of the trading route. Since Job probably lived between the 9th and 7th centuries B.C., the Bible helps us date the early beginnings of Sheba’s trading and its caravans which traveled the land route.

 

Trade Routes From Yemen as Seen in the Book of Isaiah

 

In the Bible, a book written by the prophet Isaiah provides more information about the trade routes coming from Yemen.  Isaiah lists the important cities and tribes involved in commerce on the spice route.  Isaiah began to prophesy in 739 B.C. when King Uzziah of Judah died. Isaiah also prophesied during the reigns of several other kings, such as: Jothan, who became king of Judah in 739 B.C.; Ahaz, who became king of Judah in 735 B.C.; Hoshea, who became king of Israel in 732 B.C.; Shalmaneser IV, who became king of Assyria in 727 B.C.; Sargon II, who became king of Assyria in 722 B.C.; King Hezekiah, who ascended to the throne of Judah in 715 B.C.; and Sennacherib, who ascended to the throne of Assyria in 704 B.C. So we can see that Isaiah prophesied up to the beginning of the 7th  century B.C.

    In the 60th chapter of Isaiah, probably written during King Hezekiah’s reign, Isaiah confirms that the spice route had flourished by the end of the 8th century B.C., and that some tribes were known in Palestine for their trade with the region.  Isaiah 60:6-7 says: 

 

The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. All those from Sheba shall come, they shall bring gold and incense. All the flocks of Qedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nabaioth shall minister to you.

 

From these verses, we see that by the end of the 8th century B.C. there was trading between Yemen and the Fertile Crescent, especially in Palestine and Syria. Significantly, the most important merchants who traveled to Saba and traded with Israel and the surrounding nations were the Midianites and Ephahites.  You may remember that the Midianites descended from the firstborn of Midian, the descendant of Keturah. Ephah was subdued, along with other tribes in the region, such as Thamud, under the Assyrian King, Sargon II, who reigned from 722-705 B.C. The Bible says that their caravans came from Saba, and specified that gold and incense were the main goods which they brought from Saba. The Sabaeans had brought incense from Hadraumout, south of Saba; gold from Ophir on the Persian Gulf; and minerals from Yamama and other places in western Arabia.

 

Nebaioth Trading Partner With Israel in the Fertile Crescent

 

The Nabaioth tribe inhabited the deserts of the Fertile Crescent. Contrary to Islamic tradition, the family of Mohammed, who lived in Yemen as Sabaeans, could not be connected with this tribe.

Nebaioth furnished rams to Judah. Isaiah says “the rams of Nabaioth shall minister to you.” The Jewish people may have depended upon trade with Nabaioth for a constant supply of animals for their sacrificial rites, especially in the temple at Jerusalem.

    Nabaioth was an Ishmaelite tribe. Genesis 28:9 mentioned their father, Nabaioth, as living in Edom. The tribe spread into Sinai at the time of Moses. During the reign of Assurbanipal, the people of Nabaioth settled in the northeastern part of Palmyrena.[xviii]  The Assyrian inscription, ABL 260, dated around the middle of the 7th century B.C., shows them on the border of Babylonia, in the Syro-Mesopotamian desert near the tribe of Massa,[xix] implying  that the tribe emigrated from south Jordan toward the north and east, seeking better pastures for their flocks. They lived like Bedouins, roaming from place to place in the Fertile Crescent.

    If these records are true, and we have no reason to believe otherwise, how then can Islamic tradition make Mohammed a descendant of the tribe of Nabaioth which lived in the deserts of Syria, Iraq and South Jordan, when we know his family was Sabaean and resided in Yemen?

 

Other lands and cities on the spice routes and their trade mentioned by Isaiah.

We notice that Qedar sent flocks to Judah, as Isaiah 60:7 says: “All the flocks of Qedar shall be gathered together to you.” Because the Qedarites exercised influence in southern Jordan, it seems the sheep they transported to Palestine were one of their main commodities. In Isaiah 42:11, we find Qedar mentioned with Sela, the old city of Petra in south Jordan. The text speaks about the “villages that Qedar inhabited.”  It says, “let the inhabitants of Sela sing,”  suggesting that the Qedarites penetrated into some of the villages in South Jordan toward the end of the 8th century B.C.   This is something the Assyrian inscriptions had attested to.

    Isaiah also prophesied concerning the defeat of Arabian tribes by the Assyrian army. We find it in chapter 21, verse 13, “The burden against Arabia.”  Assyria’s intended target was the land and cities in north and central western Arabia, including Dumah, the Dedanites, the land of Teima and Qedar. All these tribes were actively trading on the land route from Yemen. Verse 14 mentions the caravans of the Dedanites, which were from the city of Dedan in north Arabia. Verse 16 predicts that, “the glory of Qedar will fail,”  reflecting how rich Qedar became because of its trade.

    The book of Isaiah shows how the land routes from Saba were flourishing around the end of the 8th century B.C. The book also shows that all the cities which were along branches of this trade route were already present at the end of the 8th century B.C. This refers to the route which passes from Teima to Dumah, Mesopo-tamia, Trans-Jordan and Syria. This also refers to the route that passes from Dedan and Qedar going to Palestine, Syria and Egypt. The book of Isaiah also mentions the tribes of Midian and Ephah, which traded with Saba. This trade certainly followed the route which passes by Dedan, and was closer to them.

    Even though the Bible gives us a clear picture of the cities and nations located on the land route from Yemen in the 8th century B.C., nowhere does it mention Mecca. If Mecca had existed, as Muslim tradition claims, then there is no reason for it not to be mentioned along with the rest of the cities in the book of Isaiah.

 

Jeremiah Prophesied About Arabia and Trade on the Spice Routes Over Long Periods of Time

 

We know that the prophet Jeremiah was a youth when the Lord commissioned him to prophesy, and we know he lived many years after the destruction of Jerusalem.  He began to prophesy around 627 B.C., near the end of the reign of the Assyrian king, Assurbanipal. He prophesied during the reigns of several other rulers, too. There was Nabopolassar, who became King of Babylonia around 626 B.C. Next was Jehoahaz, King of Judah in 609 B.C. Then came Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon in 605 B.C. He was followed by Jehoachin, King of Judah in 597 B.C., and Zedekiah, King of Judah in 597 B.C.  Jeremiah also prophesied during the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  We read in Jeremiah, chapter 2, verse 10, about the gods the tribe of Qedar worshipped through the ages. In Jeremiah, chapter 49, verse 28, we read about a prophecy against other tribes, including Qedar. It states that Nebuchad-nezzar, King of Babylon, would attack them.

    Jeremiah prophesied about campaigns conducted by the Chaldeans in northern Arabia. We find in Jeremiah 25:23 that Dedan and Teima were among the nations which the Chaldeans were to conquer. The oracle against Dedan is repeated in Jeremiah 48:8. The frankincense trade from Sheba to Israel is expressed in Jeremiah 6:20:

 

For what purpose to Me comes frankincense from Sheba, and sweet cane from a far country ?

 

This shows that the trade of frankincense from Saba to the Mediterranean region continued in Jeremiah’s time

 

 

Ezekiel and the Nations Which Traded With Mediterranean Countries

 

In the 6th century B.C., Ezekiel mentions the merchandise which was traded with Mediterranean countries through the Arabian routes, and the cities which were involved in those trades, but Mecca is not among them.

Ezekiel began to prophesy around 593 B.C. We know his prophecies reflect events of the first third of the 6th  century B.C.  In Ezekiel 25:13, the prophet mentions the Chaldean occupation of Dedan, and other nations, such as Edom and Philistia. Ezekiel also sheds light on trade routes from Arabia in the beginning of the 6th  century B.C. He elaborates on the kind of goods, traded by Mediterranean cities along these routes, especially the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon. In Ezekiel, chapter 27, the prophet speaks a prophecy, or an oracle against Tyre. He describes Tyre’s wealth, and the commerce it had with other nations of the world at that time.  Ezekiel mentions several cities and nations on the land route from southern Arabia. In verse 15 he says:

 

The men of Dedan were your traders; many isles were the market of your hand. They brought you ivory tusks and ebony as payment.

 

This verse reflects the commerce of ivory and ebony wood which Dedanite merchants brought to Tyre on the Mediterranean. These goods originated in India. They were transported to southern Arabia, and the Dedanites brought them to the Mediterranean region. The Phoenicians from Tyre would then distribute their wares to various nations along the Mediterranean. Ezekiel 27:20 speaks about another product which Tyre imported from Dedan, when he says, “Dedan was your merchant in saddlecloths for riding.” In verse 21, he mentions the imports Tyre received from Qedar: “Arabia and all the princes of Qedar were your regular merchants. They traded with you in lambs, rams and goats.”

   These are the same commodities which Qedar traded with Israel, as we saw in the book of Isaiah. This verse also confirms that Qedar was governed by many kings or princes which, historically, we know to be true, because Assyrian inscriptions showed many kings governed in Qedar at the same time.   

    Ezekiel 27:22 speaks about the trade with Sheba (Saba):

 

The merchants of Sheba and Raamah were your merchants. They traded for your wares the choicest spices, all kind of precious stones and gold.

 

We already have discussed that, according to Genesis 10:6,7,  Raamah was the father of Sheba, from whom came the Saba tribe of Yemen. Raamah was the fourth son of Cush, and a grandson of Ham. Raamah was mentioned in the inscriptions of Saba. The Bible connects Raamah with Sheba, which is called Saba. In the Bible, a nation is often named after the father of the founder: for example, Israel is also called Jacob, or Isaac. According to the last verse we read in Ezekiel, the imports Tyre received from Yemen consisted “of choicest spices, precious stones and gold.” We know this is true from other historical evidence, as well.

    Ezekiel 27:23, 24 lists other nations and cities which traded their goods with Tyre:

 

Haran, Canneh, Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Assyria and Chilmad were your merchants. Those were your merchants in choice items; purple clothes, embroidered garments, chests of multicolored apparel, and sturdy woven cords, which were in your marketplace. 

 

We recognize among the aforementioned cities and nations some southern Arabian cities; namely, Canneh and Eden, in addition to the merchants of Sheba. Canneh is mentioned in the historical book “Periplus of the Erythraean Sea,” which is dated around 60 A.D. It’s identified with Hisn Ghorab, a port of southern Arabia located 14 degrees and 10 minutes north, by 48 degrees and 20 minutes east. Canneh was an important place, importing Asian wares and clothes. From Canneh, the items were brought to Phoenician ports, such as Tyre. That’s why Ezekiel mentioned that through Canneh came precious bolts of cloth, clothes of purple, woven cords and embroidered garments. These goods were known to have originated in China and India.[xx]

    The text tells us that, in addition to the Sabaeans, the city of Eden, in south Yemen, also traded these items. These records document the beginning of the 6th century B.C., when marine trade was flourishing between Asian countries and the Mediterranean region, through southern Yemen. This description of the richness of the city of Tyre, the purple in Tyre’s homes, and the other items which the book of Ezekiel mentions, are confirmed by classical historians, such as Strabo in his seventeenth book.[xxi]  The ebony wood trade from India and far islands is also confirmed historically.[xxii]

 

During the period between the 8th and 6th centuries B.C., the Bible mentioned many of the cities and nations on the Arabian trade routes, but it does not mention Mecca.

The major prophets of the Bible: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel,  reflected the trade with western Arabian kingdoms and cities, from the 8th century B.C. until the beginning of the 6th  century B.C. –  a period in which the trade between southern Arabia, the cities on the land trading routes, the Mediterranean countries and the Fertile Crescent countries flourished. There’s not a single city along these western and northern Arabian trading routes that was not mentioned by the inspired prophets of the Bible. Not only does the Bible mention the cities, but it also mentions the kinds of items and wares which were traded. In spite of the fact that the prophets mentioned all the cities on these trading routes, such as Dumah, Qedar, Teima and Dedan, it never mentions Mecca. The Bible even mentions many tribes involved in trading, such as Midian, Ephah, Saba  and Ma'in, but Mecca is absent in all this!

    As we have discussed many times before, Mecca was built around the 4th century A.D. on the caravan route between Yemen, Teima and Dedan. If Mecca had existed during the times of these major prophets, then there would be no reason for not mentioning it. This is especially true when we consider that inspired authors, like the prophet Ezekiel, talked about all the cities on the route, even those which were in remote places such as Canneh and Eden. If only because of its strategic place on the trading route, Mecca should have been mentioned – not one time, but many times, if it had existed then. Many times, the Bible mentions the primary cities and nations which traded along these routes and ran through western and northern Arabia. For example, Midian is mentioned 20 times, Qedar eight times, Dedan six times, and Teima three times. Mecca was built in the most strategic location on the land route. It’s a place where the route split in two. One route went to Teima, and the other to Dedan. Yet, Mecca is not mentioned even once, although its location is closer to Palestine than to Sheba and Ma'in in Yemen.

    These cities, which were mentioned many times, all appeared after the 10th century B.C. Kingdoms like Sheba and Main started their trade activity with the Mediterranean countries after the 10th century B.C. Ma'in started its trade many centuries later. Yet, Sheba and Ma'in are mentioned many times in their relationship with the region. But Mecca, the city which Islamic tradition claims existed since the time of Abraham in the 21st century B.C., is not mentioned, even once, in any book of the Bible.

 

 

 

The Bible is a reliable source of ancient history. Not mentioning Mecca during the period it covers, from the time of Abraham to the 5th century B.C., is significant proof that Mecca was not in existence during that period.

We also see that Mecca does not exist in the Biblical narration of the old nations of Arabia, and how they originated from the children of Noah. Nor does it exist in other genealogies, such as the sons of Keturah, who was the wife Abraham took after Sarah died. Mecca is not mentioned in any Biblical genealogy of how Arabia was populated in ancient history. However, all the actual ancient tribes and cites of western and northern Arabia are mentioned.

    The Biblical narration is the only source of ancient history for many regions of the Middle East. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance in understanding the region. The Bible mentions nations and cities, even when no other resource confirms its narration. Tribes mentioned in the Bible, such as the Hittites, and cities, such as Ur, were questioned by historians in the past. Some wondered if they even existed in history. But then we discovered their ruins, and the same historians discovered that the rich and extended coverage of the Bible is perfectly true and correct. This means that, when the Bible mentions the cities of northwestern Arabia and the two nations of Saba and Main of Yemen, without even mentioning Mecca, it’s a definitive affirmation that Mecca failed to exist through the long history which the Bible covers in this region, from the time of Abraham until Malachi, the last inspired author of the Old Testament who began prophesying around 436 B.C. This is a rather simple fact, yet it is significant to the understanding of Islam. If a religion is to be followed, it must be credible, and it must be built on accurate information. 

 

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[i] James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, page  42

 

[ii] Caussin de Perceval, I, 84 ff ; cited by James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, page 125

 

[iii] James Montgomery,  page 41

 

[iv] See Van den Berg, Le Hadhramout et les colonies arabes dans l'Archipel indien, (Batavia, 1886); quoted by James Montgomery, page 81 

 

[v] Wilfred Schoff on his comments on The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Munshiram Manoharial Publishers Pvt Ltd., 1995, page 175

 

[vi] Pliny 11:11

[vii] Wilfred Schoff on his comments on The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, page 161

 

[viii] Quoted by Wilfred, page 107

[ix] Halevy, no. 525; quoted by James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible,  page 44

 

[x] F.V. Winnett and W.L. Reed, Ancient Records from North Arabia, University of Toronto Press, 1970, page  115

 

[xi] Archives Royales de Mari (Paris), xv 133; J.A. Brinkman, Post-Kassite Babyloniam, page 183, note 1127; quoted by I. Eph’al, The Ancient Arabs, page 232

 

[xii] Delitzsch, Zeitschrift Für Keilschriftforschung, 2 ( 1885), 92; quoted by I. Eph’al, The Ancient Arabs, page 232; see also Shiffer, Die Aramäer, page 89; quoted by James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, page 44

 

[xiii] James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, page 43   

 

[xiv] James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible,  page 183

 

[xv] James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible, University of Pennsylvania Press, (Philadelphia, 1934), page 183

 

[xvi] James Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible,  page 184

[xvii] Halevy, nos.190, 231-234; Hommel, Chrestomathie, page 117; Hartmann, Die arabische Frage, pp. 206: cited by James Montgomery,  page 182

 

[xviii] Tablet Signature of Kouyunjik Collection in the British Museum, 2802 vi 17-37; Quoted by I. Eph’al, page 221

 

[xix] R.F. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Letters, I XIV, (London-Chicago, 1892-1914), 1117   

 

[xx] See The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 27, 33, 36 and specially 57

[xxi] The Geography of Strabo, Book XVI. II. 23

The Geography of Strabo, Volume V, Harvard University Press, 1966, page 269

 

[xxii] The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 36