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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:10 pm
by SAM
Hombre wrote:Yah Ahmar, Unlike Muhammad - the only one who's word are the sole authorities about Islam, western scholars like Dan Gibson base their theories on thorough research before they write their findings.
The more one reads your gublbaba here the more it is believed you are a troll - masquerading as a Muslim though not a real one.

You can take this man seriously, Sam Gerrans best friend of Dan Gibson. He believed the earth was flat. :lol:

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:27 pm
by Takeiteasynow
Did Abraham build Petra?
Is Zam Zam's water in Petra?
Is there Safa and Marwa in Petra?

There is no excerpt about Petra in the Quran?


These kind of questions are actually irrelevant. Our research is factual and tries to reconstruct what really happened. The same applies to Makkah: the Qur'an also doesn't state that Makkah is a locality, city or place. This name derives from the Semitic root mkk which means to be low or low. The ayah that mentions makkah states only that the holies of holies is situated in a lower part of the city or relatively low against something else (most likely a holy mountain - AL Madras).

But there is much useful material. One example for now: Al-Bayḍā, an ancient town 5 km north of Petra is mentioned numerous times in the ahadith.

Al-Boekhari, 7:330
Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet): “We set out with Allahs Apostle on one of his journeys till we reached Al-Bayḍā.”

Al-Boekhari, 23:375
“Ibn Abbas said: 'Umar used to say so.' Then he added narrating, 'I accompanied Umar on a journey from Mecca till we reached Al-Bayḍā.'”

Al-Boekhari, 26:623
Narrated Anas bin Malik: “Allah's Apostle offered four Rakat of Zuhr prayer at Medina and we were in his company, and two Rakat of the Asr prayer at Dhul-Hulaifa and then passed the night there till it was dawn; then he rode, and when he reached Al-Bayḍā', he praised and glorified Allah and said Takbir. Then he and the people along with him recited Talbiya with the intention of performing Hajj(!) and Umra(!). ”

Al-Boekhari, 34:329
Narrated Aisha: “Allah's Apostle said, "An army will invade the Ka'ba and when the invaders reach Al-Bayḍā, all the ground will sink and swallow the whole army." ”

Al-Boekhari, 60:132
Narrated Aisha: “A necklace of mine was lost at Al-Bayḍā and we were on our way to Medina.”

Sahih Muslim, 4:2023
“.....for the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said:" The dead is punished because of the lamenting of his family for him"? Ibn Abbas then said that Umar used to say someting of that nature, and then narrated saying: I proceeded from Mecca along with 'Umar till we reached Al-Bayḍā and there was a party of riders under the shade of a tree..... “

Sahih Muslim, 7:2841
“I would do as Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) did. I call you as witness that I have undertaken to perform 'Umra. He then set out until, when he reached the rear side of Al-Bayḍā, he said: There is one command both for Hajj and Umra. so bear witness.”


o what can we learn from these mentions?

1) Al-Bayḍā is often the latest stop when traveling to the holy city.
2) Al-Bayḍā lies between the holy city and Medina.
3) Al-Bayḍā is the first stop when traveling to Medina.
4) Al-Bayḍā is next or close to the Ka'ba.
5) Hajj and Umra are associated with Al-Bayḍā

So how can use this for the Petra-Mecca case?
1) Al-Bayḍā is situated five kilometers north of Petra.
2) The hadith has specific information that can be attested: the mountain path that connects Petra with al-Bayḍā and a reference to the rear side of Al-Bayḍā which is a stairway leading to a boxed canyon which was undoubtedly used for some kind of worship.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:05 pm
by SAM
Takeiteasynow wrote:
Did Abraham build Petra?
Is Zam Zam's water in Petra?
Is there Safa and Marwa in Petra?

There is no excerpt about Petra in the Quran?


These kind of questions are actually irrelevant.
It seems you do not know about the pilgrimage in Mecca associated with the Kaaba. Today August 22, 2018, Muslims celebrate Eid Ul Adha and you can see Muslims doing Safa and Marwa.


Our research is factual and tries to reconstruct what really happened. The same applies to Makkah: the Qur'an also doesn't state that Makkah is a locality, city or place. This name derives from the Semitic root mkk which means to be low or low. The ayah that mentions makkah states only that the holies of holies is situated in a lower part of the city or relatively low against something else (most likely a holy mountain - AL Madras).


Sam Gerrans said, Mecca was called "the mother of all cities".

But there is much useful material. One example for now: Al-Bayḍā, an ancient town 5 km north of Petra is mentioned numerous times in the ahadith.

Al-Boekhari, 7:330
Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet): “We set out with Allahs Apostle on one of his journeys till we reached Al-Bayḍā.”

Al-Boekhari, 23:375
“Ibn Abbas said: 'Umar used to say so.' Then he added narrating, 'I accompanied Umar on a journey from Mecca till we reached Al-Bayḍā.'”

Al-Boekhari, 26:623
Narrated Anas bin Malik: “Allah's Apostle offered four Rakat of Zuhr prayer at Medina and we were in his company, and two Rakat of the Asr prayer at Dhul-Hulaifa and then passed the night there till it was dawn; then he rode, and when he reached Al-Bayḍā', he praised and glorified Allah and said Takbir. Then he and the people along with him recited Talbiya with the intention of performing Hajj(!) and Umra(!). ”

Al-Boekhari, 34:329
Narrated Aisha: “Allah's Apostle said, "An army will invade the Ka'ba and when the invaders reach Al-Bayḍā, all the ground will sink and swallow the whole army." ”

Al-Boekhari, 60:132
Narrated Aisha: “A necklace of mine was lost at Al-Bayḍā and we were on our way to Medina.”

Sahih Muslim, 4:2023
“.....for the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said:" The dead is punished because of the lamenting of his family for him"? Ibn Abbas then said that Umar used to say someting of that nature, and then narrated saying: I proceeded from Mecca along with 'Umar till we reached Al-Bayḍā and there was a party of riders under the shade of a tree..... “

Sahih Muslim, 7:2841
“I would do as Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) did. I call you as witness that I have undertaken to perform 'Umra. He then set out until, when he reached the rear side of Al-Bayḍā, he said: There is one command both for Hajj and Umra. so bear witness.”


o what can we learn from these mentions?

1) Al-Bayḍā is often the latest stop when traveling to the holy city.
2) Al-Bayḍā lies between the holy city and Medina.
3) Al-Bayḍā is the first stop when traveling to Medina.
4) Al-Bayḍā is next or close to the Ka'ba.
5) Hajj and Umra are associated with Al-Bayḍā

So how can use this for the Petra-Mecca case?
1) Al-Bayḍā is situated five kilometers north of Petra.
2) The hadith has specific information that can be attested: the mountain path that connects Petra with al-Bayḍā and a reference to the rear side of Al-Bayḍā which is a stairway leading to a boxed canyon which was undoubtedly used for some kind of worship.
Using the hadith, you need a backup from the Quran.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:32 pm
by Takeiteasynow
It seems you do not know about the pilgrimage in Mecca associated with the Kaaba. Today August 22, 2018, Muslims celebrate Eid Ul Adha and you can see Muslims doing Safa and Marwa.


It seems that Safa and Marwa suffered severely - there is nothing left from these famous mountains but two piles of earth, not even 15 meters high. What happens to Safa and Marwa in wintertime or out of season? Do they go into storage? Anyway, happy celebration.

Sam Gerrans said, Mecca was called "the mother of all cities".


Sam Gerrans? Never heard off and no, I don't wanna know. Petra was called 'Holy' and 'Mother of all cities'. Source: Petra Papyri, year: 593.

Using the hadith, you need a backup from the Quran.


Of course I don't. It's a common used methodology among scholars, from Princeton to Cambridge. What's yours? Oh yes, Bagdad anno 866.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:52 am
by manfred
Have a look at this map, SAM, .... what do you think of it?
http://searchformecca.com/PetraProofs.html

Also, SAM, please be so kind and explain this:

The two hills Safa and Marwa are within the mosque in Mecca, and about 450m apart. That is about the length of a football field including spectator areas.. The ground between them is entirely flat.

Why would Hagar have to climb these 15m high "mountains" (not even in Holland would that be a "mountain") to see if Ishmael was safe? How come she could not see him standing on the foot of the mountain, when then he would be just 225 metres away, on a flat surface? Was there some something wrong with Hagar's eye sight perhaps? I have very poor eye sight but I certainly can see a person, even a kid, some 200 metres away....

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:06 am
by SAM
Takeiteasynow wrote:
It seems that Safa and Marwa suffered severely - there is nothing left from these famous mountains but two piles of earth, not even 15 meters high. What happens to Safa and Marwa in wintertime or out of season? Do they go into storage? Anyway, happy celebration.
So, Petra was destroyed by an earthquake stated by Gibson, there was an earthquake in Petra in 713 AD and black stones had to be moved from Petra to Mecca. :lol:

As far as I know, there has never been an earthquake or extreme damage in Mecca in the history of Saudi Arabia since Earth was created by God, not even affected by Noah's Flood.

Takeiteasynow wrote:Sam Gerrans? Never heard off and no, I don't wanna know. Petra was called 'Holy' and 'Mother of all cities'. Source: Petra Papyri, year: 593.
Here, is a summary of those key points from Qur’ānic Geography, by Dan Gibson. Petra as the core focus for Muḥammad’s activities:
Spoiler! :
1. Makkah as Mother of All Cities (i.e. a major trading city) is not sustainable historically, but fits Petra
2. Makkah is not found on any map until 900 CE, 300 years after Muḥammad’s birth
3. Makkah does not have a distinct valley or substantial mountains (part of the Qur’anic concept of the holy site) yet Petra has both
4. The Jews have no record of Ibrāhīm in Makkah, or even of journeying anywhere near it
5. The Jewish Bible places Ismāʿīl growing up in Paran, the traditional home of the Thamudic or Nabataean people in northern Arabia
6. Pilgrimages were traditionally made to Petra from across the Arab region from ancient times
7. A zodiac dated to the second century CE indicates that there were two annual pilgrimages to Petra
8. Petra was a holy burial city to which Nabataean Arabs would repair to eat a ritual meal in the place of the tombs of their ancestors (tribal burials took place at Petra and Hijra with Petra being the more important of the two by far)
9. In Petra today one can see gathering halls attached to many tombs
10. All the earliest mosques for which we have evidence of orientation in the first 100 years from the Qur’anic revelation point towards Petra (over the next 100 years there is confusion: 12% towards Petra, 50% towards Makkah and 38% follow parallel orientations)
11. It is only 200 years after the Qur’anic revelation that all mosques are built facing Makkah
12. The holy city is referred to as bacca (48:24) which indicates sorrow or calamity. Petra experienced earthquakes in 363 CE and 551 CE. Such an association could come from its role as a burial city
13. The Qur’an focuses on northern Arabia: ʿĀd, Thamūd and Madyan are all north Arabian civilisations; the cities of Lūṭ are claimed to be nearby
14. Dr. Robert Hoyland contends that the Arabic script developed from Nabataean Arabic script, which supports the thesis that Islam rose in the north of Arabia
15. Petra is entirely missing from the early Islamic literature and yet corresponds in myriad instances in the same literature’s description of Makkah (a point which Gibson takes to indicate that they are the same place)
16. Gibson identifies a large precinct (the Great Temple) at Petra as al masjid al ḥarām
17. Stone boards for games of chance such as those mentioned in the Qur’an have been found at Petra, never at Makkah
18. The Quraish are said to have attacked Medina from the north, which makes sense if they came from Petra but not if they came from Makkah
19. Gibson places key battles close to Petra
20. Makkah was never a major city on a caravan route whereas Petra was both
21. The written record of kingdoms neighbouring Makkah such as Yemen does not substantiate the existence of an ancient city at Makkah (in over 1,700 years of literacy prior to the Qur’anic revelation)
22. Extensive evidence exists over this period for pilgrimages to Petra from Yemen but none for Makkah
23. During the civil war with Ibn Zubayr (64AH, 683 CE) the Syrian army attacked the holy city with trebuchet stones; there is no evidence of trebuchet stones at Makkah whereas hundreds exist in Petra.

Sources: Sam Gerrans
As far as I know, this has been refuted and debunked by Islamic scholars.

Takeiteasynow wrote:
Using the hadith, you need a backup from the Quran.


Of course I don't. It's a common used methodology among scholars, from Princeton to Cambridge. What's yours? Oh yes, Bagdad anno 866.
You believe in Dan Gibson's theory for not accepting the Qur'an as a revelation from God. He also believed Muhammad at Nabatea in Petra. Where Muhammad lived and grew and received most of his revelation.

But why was he buried in Medina, not Petra?

Petra's discovery by Gibson is based on literary ḥadīth that does not mention Petra at all. He amongst those who make many assertions and assumptions that God reveals in the Qur'an. "They have no knowledge to base this on: they merely follow guesswork. Guesswork is of no value against the Truth."

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:23 am
by SAM
manfred wrote:Have a look at this map, SAM, .... what do you think of it?
http://searchformecca.com/PetraProofs.html

Also, SAM, please be so kind and explain this:

The two hills Safa and Marwa are within the mosque in Mecca, and about 450m apart. That is about the length of a football field, including spectator areas. The ground between them is entirely flat.

Why would Hagar have to climb these 15m high "mountains" (not even in Holland would that be a "mountain") to see if Ishmael was safe? How come she could not see him standing on the foot of the mountain, when then he would be just 225 metres away, on a flat surface? Was there some something wrong with Hagar's eye sight perhaps? I have very poor eye sight but I certainly can see a person, even a kid, some 200 metres away....
Nothing is impossible for those chosen by Allah... :D

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:38 am
by SAM
Ka'bah As A Place Of Worship In The History

Ka'bah & Makkah In History

Edward Gibbon writes about the Ka'bah and its existence before the Christian era in his book:

..... of blind mythology of barbarians - of the local deities, of the stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination. Each tribe, each family, each independent warrier, created and changed the rites and the object of this fantastic worship; but the nation, in every age, has bowed to the religion as well as to the language of Mecca. The genuine antiquity of Caaba ascends beyond the Christian era: in describing the coast of the Red sea the Greek historian Diodorus has remarked, between the Thamudites and the Sabeans, a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians; the linen of silken veil, which is annually renewed by the Turkish emperor, was first offered by the Homerites, who reigned seven hundred years before the time of Mohammad.[1]

Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian of 1st century BC who wrote Bibliotheca Historica, a book describing various parts of the discovered world. The following lines are the English translation of Greek quoted by Gibbon from the book of Diodorus Siculus (Diodorus of Sicily) describing the 'temple' considered to be the the holiest in the whole of Arabia.

And a temple has been set-up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians.[2]

It is interesting to know that Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, mathematician and astronomer, flourishing about a century after Pliny, undertook to make an atlas of the habitable world. He was not a descriptive geographer, and his book was intended to be no more than a commentary on his maps. He enumerated some hundred and fourteen cities or villages in Arabia Felix.

For example, Dumaetha, placed by Ptolemy just outside the northern boundary of Arabia Felix, must be the mediaeval Arabian Daumet, which is today the chief village of the great oasis of Jauf. Hejr, famous in the "times of ignorance" as the seat of a kingdom, and now Medayin Salih, is Ptolemy's Egra. His Thaim is Teima, now known for its inscriptions to have had temples and some sort of civilization as far back as 500 BC. It is the Tema of Job. In Lathrippa, placed inland from Iambia (Yambo), we recognize the Iathrippa of Stephan of Byzantium, the Yathrib of the early Arab traditions, now honoured as El Medina, the City of Cities.[3]

Apart from this a place called Macoraba is also shown which is identified as Mecca (please refer to the map facing page 17 of reference [3]). G E von Grunebaum says:

Mecca is mentioned by Ptolemy, and the name he gives it allows us to identify it as a South Arabian foundation created around a sanctuary.[4]

Sources: https://www.islamic-awareness.org/history/kaaba.html :reading:

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:40 am
by Takeiteasynow
Well a final short reply. As you ignore my arguments it's useless to continue.

Madinah: this simply means walled town in Arabic. It is a transliteration from the Aramaic word for walled city or town, Kharkha (כרכא). Kharkha was an Arab-Aramaic city just east of the river Jordan at a height of 1500 meters, overlooking the Dead Sea and the 'nearest land' with Jerusalem. A fine proof is the 'battle of Medina' from the hadith where the brother of Jewish leader Nehemia ben Hushiel (from Isfahan) builds a corridor of 5 km to stop the enemy form advancing. That's matches the northern entrance to Al KeRaK perfectly. Modern day Al-Kerak is traditional Medina.

Kaaba: -edit- see next post

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:34 pm
by Takeiteasynow
With the help of geographic information system mapping technology it becomes understandable why the Kaaba was never associated with a city or why the Quran never explicitly mentions that the Kaaba is located in Mecca. The Kaaba is simply part of the Masjid al-Haram which is an entity by itself.

The Masjid al-Haram is the equivalent of a temenos, the great sacred enclosure surrounding a holy temple. A pilgrim would enter this temenos though a massive and decorated gate, separating this spiritual place from daily city life.

The city of Petra is built around such a temenos. All roads, aquaducts and water channels lead to this central heart of the city which could only be entered through a massive gate - the gateway of the holy of holies.

Image

The Holy of holies was a city by itself, the entity of the Nabatean and Arab religion and comparable with the ancient citadel of Athens, the Acropolis. It's holy center was what it is now known as the Qasr al-Bint - the Nabatean version of the Parthenon. Until the era of Abd al-Malik it hosted the Kaaba.

Image

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:53 pm
by Takeiteasynow
The most likely location for the "original Ka'ba in Petra" is a small building between the Qasr-al-Bint and the Great Temple.
It is situated on the temenos of the Qasr-al-Bint, the holy of holies. Nabataeans called the sacred space of the House of God msg hrem which is linguistically identical with the Arabic masjid haram, used later in the Islamic context.

This building, first mentioned in 2008, measures 12 by 13 meters, was surrounded by an circle shaped compound.

Image
The building is below the Great Temple and east of the gate at the end of Colonnade Street.

https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Jouko ... aerial.jpg (too big for embedding)
On this image the building is on the right side of the Great Temple.

Or on Google maps, between the Qasr-al-Bint and the Great Temple, south of Colonnade Street.
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.3289296 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Closeup:
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.3289296 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:14 am
by Hombre
Takeiteasynow wrote:The most likely location for the "original Ka'ba in Petra" is a small building between the Qasr-al-Bint and the Great Temple.
It is situated on the temenos of the Qasr-al-Bint, the holy of holies. Nabataeans called the sacred space of the House of God msg hrem which is linguistically identical with the Arabic masjid haram, used later in the Islamic context.

This building, first mentioned in 2008, measures 12 by 13 meters, was surrounded by an circle shaped compound.

Image
The building is below the Great Temple and east of the gate at the end of Colonnade Street.

https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Jouko ... aerial.jpg (too big for embedding)
On this image the building is on the right side of the Great Temple.

Or on Google maps, between the Qasr-al-Bint and the Great Temple, south of Colonnade Street.
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.3289296 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Closeup:
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.3289296 ... a=!3m1!1e3
Thank you takeiteasynow. Very interesting post. The question is - will Muslims accept the fact Ka'aba is not where they think it is?.

I did visit Petra back in 2005 and found it a fascinating place - particularly their clever aquadacs systems to gather rainwater into

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:15 pm
by Takeiteasynow
It's indeed a fascinating place!

The question is - will Muslims accept the fact Ka'aba is not where they think it is?.


I wouldn't know - guess that depends how you present your research. First of all I would like to know what happened. And now, with the help of Islamic folk astronomy and archaeoastronomical analysis, there is probably conclusive evidence. Petra, the city that was built next to the masjid haram or msg hrem, existed for pilgrimage and its architecture was designed to facilitate this.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:40 pm
by Takeiteasynow
A further examination of the proposed location of the “Original Ka'ba”.
(The following text uses a review by Stephan G.Schmid, American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 112, No. 3 (July 2008))

This building, with a size of 12 * 13 meters, was excavated between 2000 and 2002 by a team from Brown University after it completed a major excavation on the site of the “Great Temple” in the city center of Petra, next to Colonnade street and the Qsar-al-Bint, the main temple of Petra with its own temenos or masjid haram. The results were published in the book “The Small Temple: A Roman Imperial Cult Building in Petra, Jordan” by Sarah Karz Reid (ISBN 1-59333-339-0, 2005).

The book itself is divided into six chapters:

    First chapter: introduction to the history and archeology of the Nabataeans and the city of Petra.
    Second chapter: introduction to the methodology of the excavation of the Small Temple.
    Third chapter: describes the excavation of the core structure of the “Small Temple”
    Fourth chapter: investigates the many marble fragments and the wider marble trade within the Roman empire.
    Fifth chapter: discusses ruler worship and the Roman imperial cult that dentified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State.
    Sixth chapter: author tries to connect the “Small Temple” with the Roman imperial cult.

Only the fifty papers of chapter three deals with the excavation properly but the structure of the “Small Temple” is poorly documented both in the text and in illustrations and as a logical consequence the interpretations of the author in the final chapters are not well supported by the evidence presented.

Criticism from American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 112, No. 3, Stephan G. Schmid:
  • Presentation of monuments is selective
  • Bibliographical references are scanty or out-of-date or refer to generalizing compilations.
  • Basic errors in descriptions
    Chapter 3 presents the building as Corinthian hexastyle prostyle, standing on a raised platform accessible by steps. However, the presented evidence for six columns is rather meager as only one column drum is perhaps “plausible”. No systematic presentation of all architecture elements was undertaken. Of 12,000 fragments of roof tiles only one is illustrated while extensive catalogs of Roman/Greek roof tiles could have helped to identify a hexastyle prostyle.
    The presented chronology of the monument is extremely problematic. The author distinguishes three building phases (I, II, III). The only chronological element featured is the fragment of a Nabataean lamp dating from the early first century C.E., discovered in the interior of the platform belonging to phase III. So “how can an element found in a structure belonging to phase III give a terminus post quem for phases I and II?”.
    The author suggests that marble played no role within client kingdoms in general or within the Nabataean kingdom before Roman annexation in 106 C.E. However, Nabataeans used marble in both public and private contexts, for instance at the Qasr el-Bint, the Temple of the Winged Lions and the huge Nabataean mansion on az-Zantu long before the Roman annexation of Petra.
    While provincial cult needed to be approved by the Roman administration, cities were free to administer the municipal cult. Since Petra was not the capital of the provincia Arabia created in 106 C.E., the “Small Temple”, if indeed a temple for the imperial cult, can only be a municipal building.

Here I would like to add:

    1) The name “Small Temple” strongly suggests a link with the “Great Temple”, which is rather strange as the building is part of the temenos of the Qasr-al-Bint and has the same astronomical alignments as the Qasr-al-Bint with its main axis pointing towards the Summer solstitial sunrise.
    2) The classification Roman temple seems rather silly as the only datable chronological element belongs to the first century C.E. where the Romans conquered Petra in the second century C.E.
    3) As a consequence this “cult temple” can only have been built by the Nabateans themselves. Unfortunately there is no Nabatean literature, nor inscriptions or graffiti that supports the hypothesis that in the city of Petra emperors or their family members were venerated.
    4) It is possible, or even more than likely, that fragments found originally belonged to other structures as Petra was often targeted by earthquakes and floods and fragments were mostly reused as revetment for the interior walls or pavements and incrustations.
    5) From the 6,000 fragments of marble found only 624 belonged to Greek and Roman inscriptions.
    6) Only two Roman emperors can be identified: Severus and Elagabalus, emperors who granted special privileges to the city of Petra.

As stated above, the lack of evidence makes it impossible to conclude that this building ever acted as a Roman cult building or was designed as a Corinthian temple without new research, excavations or support from secondary literature.

There is however a plausible and simple explanation. If this building acted as a center of pilgrimage or religious worship Romans would surely like to demonstrate their power and assert control by adding modifications and inscriptions. And new studies proof that Petra was built for pilgrimage.

So let's call the “Small Temple” for the time being: “the Platform”. And start with a reconstruction, one step at the time, using the research of Dan Gibson.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:07 pm
by manfred
Hi, you mention Al-Bayḍā as the first staging post between "Mecca" and "Medina"... So where would we place Medina?

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:39 pm
by Takeiteasynow
Most likely a city north of Al-Bayḍā on the Kerak plateau as the pre-Islamic/Nabatean culture had a strong preference for high places. This fits with most analysis on trade relations of Quraysh, the mercantile Arab tribe that is supposed to control the Ka'ba before the birth of Muhammad. Kerak derives from Aramaic Kharka and means, just a s Medina does, "walled city".

So, as planned, the next post will first discuss Al-Bayḍā.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:55 pm
by Takeiteasynow
THE PETRA- MECCA CASE: Reconstructing the pre-Islamic pilgrimage (haij)

Introduction
In order to deliver conclusive evidence it is required to build a geographical reference model that binds all localities in hadeeth and Islamic tradition to the Nabataean city of Petra. Dan Gibson's Q'uranic geography provides a brilliant template by linking many geographical references to Petra, for instance Al-Bayḍā.

In the coming articles we shall use, more or less the same approach: a comparison of localities mentioned in Islamic tradition and Petra's topology. The difference is the usage of a reference point, “the platform”, a square building in the center of Petra with these delicate features:

  • same dimensions as the current Ka'ba in Makkah (12 * 13 meters);
  • part of the temenos of the Qasr al-Bint (temenos = msg hrem = masjid haram);
  • has a circular or hexagon shaped compound;
  • is astronomically aligned to the summer solstice sunrise;
  • is next to the main temple of Petra – Nabatean: “The House” (Qasr al-Bint)
  • has inscriptions dedicated to Severus – who granted the honorary title 'Mother of All Cities' to Petra (Um al-Qura)
  • accessible through a gate, as mentioned in the hadeeth;
  • a cubic like shape.

(More info on the proposed original Ka'ba in previous posts above)

In today's episode: Mina

Mina is known for the role it plays during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah. In its valley the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil, performed between sunrise and sunset on the last day of the Hajj is performed. Pilgrims throw stones, commemorating the occasion that Abraham stoned the Devil that came between him and the command God had set him.

So is it possible to associate Islamic Mina with Nabataean Petra? The Semitic root of Mina, mn, provides almost an endless amount of possible meanings. But mina can be linked to minya, an old Arabic word that refers to a dwelling, house or locality where people live.

So what does the Islamic tradition or hadeeth has to say about Mina?

Mina is a village

Volume 8, Book 82, Number 817 :
I used to teach (the Qur'an to) some people of the Muhajirln (emigrants), among whom there was 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf. While I was in his house at Mina, and he was with 'Umar bin Al-Khattab during 'Umar's last Hajj, Abdur-Rahman came to me and said ….


Sunan Ibn Majah » The Chapters on Hajj Rituals from Sunan Ibn Majah
‘I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, should we not build you a house in Mina?’ He said: ‘No, Mina is just a stopping place for those who get there first.’”


Muwatta Malik on Haij
...”Anyone who is living at Mina as a resident should do the full prayer at Mina, and similarly anyone who lives at Arafa and is a resident there should do the full prayer at Arafa."


It is a caravan station

Muwata Malik on Zakat
… A message came from Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz to my father when he was in Mina telling him not to take zakat from either honey or horses.


Further more the hadith tells us that pilgrims often arrived at Mina before performing the Hajj.

Finally this hadith tells us something about the relative position of Mina to the Ka'ba.

Abd al-Rahman bin Yazid reported that he performed Hajj along with 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) and he flung seven pebbles at al-Jamra (from a position) that the House was on his left and Mina was on his right and said: “That is the place (of flinging pebbles of one) upon whom Surah al-Baqara was revealed.”


Summarized:
  • Mina is a village or at least a locality with residents.
  • Mina is where pilgrims arrive before performing the Hajj.
  • Mina is a caravan station.
  • Mina is to the east of the original (proposed) Ka'ba, Qasr al-Bint and thus Petra.
  • Mina is probably close to al-Jamra where the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil is performed.
East of the platform and the masjid haram of Petra was Gaia, the ancient suburb of Petra. This is the prime candidate for Islamic Mina.

Nabataean Gaia – Wadi Musa – Valley of Moses
This eastern suburb of Petra was Gaia and provided access to the Via Nova Traiana, part of the King's Highway. This ancient trade route was of vital importance in the ancient Near East, connecting Africa and the Arabian Peninsula with Greater-Syria and Mesopotamia.

It ran from the Sinai Peninsula to modern Aqaba, the only coastal city of Jordan, from where it turned northward across Transjordan, skirting the edge of the desert through ancient Edom and Moab, leading to Damascus and the Euphrates River. Running east of the Jordan river across the Jordanian plateau this road acted as a gateway for trade, cultural and religious ideas. Gaia was the ancient name for the modern-day town of Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses).

Gaia in Nabataean religion
Dushara is identified as the “God of Gaia” in two inscriptions, one from the Negev and the other from Dumat al-Jandal in Wadi as-Sarhan. Like Dushara, al-Kutba (epithet of Dushara) is also associated with Gaia. At the same sanctuary at er-Ramm, al-Uzzah is paired with al-Kutba. We know this from an inscription at this sanctuary that refers to the stelae as al-Kutba of Gaia and Al-Uzzah.

In the year 419 warrior monk Bar-Sauma devoted himself to burning and destroying temples and synagogues in greater Syria. Between 419-422, he passed through Palaestina III and crossed a desert in which he visited a city named “Réqem de Gaia”. Rqm is how Nabateans called Petra. And when Eusebius refers to Petra in his Onomasticon he uses the old Nabataean name.

Other inscriptions link the God of Gaia to the mountain of al Madbah, to the west of modern Wadi Musa.

Any caravan or pilgrim coming from the Via Nova Traiana would pass through Gaia and move forward to the majestic entrance of Petra, the Siq, the narrow passage decorated with countless betyls, designed to be a religious experience.

Image
Image

The road from modern Wadi Musa to the Siq, the main entrance to Petra. In the background one can see three pillars, the famous Djinn blocks of Petra. Hmmmm.. three pillars?

Next topic: the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil - the three jamarāt

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:01 pm
by Takeiteasynow
THE PETRA- MECCA CASE: Reconstructing the pre-Islamic pilgrimage (haij)

Case study: Al-Jamra - the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil - the three jamarāt

In modern day Mina, to the east of Makkah, one can find the so called Jamarat Bridge, the location of the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil. In the hadith this place is known as the al-Jamra where pilgrims flung seven pebbles at one of three pillars (three jamrah) representing the devil, known as "stoning of the jamarāt” (the place of pebbles). Until 2004, the three jamarāt at modern Makkah were tall pillars. In 2005 Saudi authorities replaced the pillars with 26-metre-long walls for safety and to prevent pilgrims throwing pebbles at each other.

These pillars have names (starting from the east):
  • the first jamrah (al-jamrah al-'ūlā), or the smallest jamrah (al-jamrah aṣ-ṣughrā) or al-Dunya
  • the middle jamrah (al-jamrah al-wusṭā or al-Jamra al-Thaniya).
  • the largest jamrah (al-jamrah al-kubrā) or jamrat al-ʿaqaba.
(Definition takes from Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis, p. 222)

From the previous post we know that al-Jamra is close to Mina ( Nabataean Gaia and suburb of Petra).

Abd al-Rahman bin Yazid reported that he performed Hajj along with 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) and he flung seven pebbles at al-Jamra (from a position) that the House was on his left and Mina was on his right and said: “That is the place (of flinging pebbles of one) upon whom Surah al-Baqara was revealed.”


And Sahih Muslim Book 007, Hadith Number 2803, on performing Hajj and Umra separately.

… He again turned his face to the other side till he came to the bottom of Muhassir (place at Mina)/ He urged her (al-Qaswa) a little, and, following the middle road, which comes out at the greatest jamra, he came to the jamral which is near the tree … He then went to the place of sacrifice, and sacrificed sixty-three (camels) with his own hand.


So what can be learned from the hadith and Islamic tradition?
  • Al-Jamra is east of the House / Ka'ba and west of Mina
  • Al-Jamra is close to a high place of sacrifice or the entrance to a high place of sacrifice
  • Al-Jamra has three pillars
  • The smallest pillar is the the most eastern one.
  • The largest pillar is the most western one
  • The pillars are close to a narrow gorge or canyon (al-Jamra al-Thaniya)
    .

So can we find three pillars west of modern Wadi Musa / Gaia / Mina?

West of modern Wadi Musa one finds Bab Al Siq, Arabic for gateway to the ‘siq’. Here you will see three massive Djinn blocks, which are squared monuments carved out of the rock. There is a road leading visitors from Wadi Musa to the entrance of Petra, at Bab Al Siq.

Sometimes an image tells more than a million words...

Image

The image above shows the three djinn blocks at the Bab Al Siq with the smallest pillar on the right (east) and the largest on the left (west). The name of the middle Jamrah, al-Jamra al-Thaniya, indicates that these pillars are close to a gorge or cleft in the rock – and indeed that's the famous entrance to Petra – the Siq. Close to the three pillars is the entrance to Jabal al-Madras, a high place of sacrifice, between the Obelisk Tomb and Bab al Siq.

Edit: Previous link was to Bab al-Siq - new Maps location is 200 meters east, at the right spot!
Verify yourself on Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Djinn ... 35.4640114

Conclusion:
The proposed location al-Jamra at Petra matches the literal descriptions provided by the Islamic tradition.
The proposed location al-Jamra matches the geographical descriptions provided by the hadith.

Bab Al Siq = Al Jamra.

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:18 pm
by Takeiteasynow
THE PETRA- MECCA CASE: Reconstructing the pre-Islamic pilgrimage (haij)

Case study: Zam-Zam

The Well of Zamzam is currently located within the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. As it is mentioned in the hadeeth as a place where pilgrims rest after performing tawaf and hajj.

Geographical and literal references

Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583 :
.. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka'ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque …


Volume 4, Book 53, Number 384 :
… We were sitting at the steps of zam-zam well and Bajala said, "I was the clerk of Juz bin Muawiya, Al-Ahnaf's paternal uncle. …

Volume 4, Book 55, Number 584
… He saw Ishmael under a tree near zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Abraham said, 'O Ishmael! Allah has given me an order.' Ishmael said, 'Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.' Abraham asked, 'Will you help me?' Ishmael said, 'I will help you.' Abraham said, Allah has ordered me to build a house here,' pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it." The Prophet added, "Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Ka'ba). Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham was building, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham who stood over it and carried on building, while Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, 'O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.' The Prophet added, "Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka'ba saying: O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing."


Volume 4, Book 56, Number 725 :
… Neither did I know him (i.e. the Prophet ), nor did I like to ask anyone about him. I Kept on drinking zam zam water and staying in the Mosque. …


Hakam b. al-'Araj reported: I went to Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be Pleased with both of them) and he was reclining using his mantle as a pillow near the fountain of Zamzam. I said to him: Tell me about fasting on Ashura. He said: When you see the new moon of Muharram then count the (days) and observe fast on the 9th. I said to him: Is it how the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed the fast? He said: Yes.


So what can we learn from the hadith?
  • Zam-Zam is close to the mosque or masjid haram and ka'ba
  • The locality Zam-Zam had steps or a stairway
  • Zam-Zam has a fountain
  • Zam-Zam has trees
  • Zam-Zam is associated with water.

As we try to reconstruct the (pre-) Ismalic Hajj to Petra and Zam-Zam needs a lot of water it is easy to start with an examination of Petra's water management. Simply because the inner city of Petra does not have wells.

Petra's water-distribution system
Unfortunately the Nabataean city of Petra does not have any natural water resource so it had to come from far. As Petra's city development was influenced by artistic, cultural and technological borrowings from Seleucid, Syro-Phoenician, Greek and Roman civilizations; its water-distribution system included hydraulic technologies derived from these contacts as well as original technical innovations that helped to maintain the high living standard of city dwellers throughout the centuries. (3)

Analysis of the Nabataean water network indicates design criteria that promote stable flows and use sequential particle-settling basins to purify potable water supplies. They also promote open channel flows within piping at critical (maximum) flow rates that avoid leakage associated with pressurized systems and have the design function to match the spring supply rate to the maximum carrying capacity of a pipeline. This demonstration of engineering capability indicates a high degree of cognitive skill in solving complex hydraulic problems to ensure a stable water supply and may be posited as a key reason behind the many centuries of flourishing city life.(3)

For instance the Siq pipeline, transporting water from modern Wadi Musa or Islamic Mina to the Qasr al-Bint, incorporated water purification by means of four well-placed settling basins which also solved a complex flow stability problem. The range of solutions adopted confirms that a hydraulic design methodology was in place and was applied with great cognitive skill to solve complex hydraulic problems. (3)

Petra's Pool and Garden
So it is obvious that the city center of Petra had the infrastructure and technology to host a pool complex. After the city became rich with the incense trade it started constructing huge monuments and temples. The first to build was the Qasr-al Bint with its temenos as the religious center of Petra in the first century BC. It was positioned parallel to the scarp on its west ( a line of cliffs produced by faulting or erosion and faced the point where Wadi Musa left the city, entering the mountains. Qasr al-Bint may have marked the end of Wadi Musa, just as the Treasury marked its inner-city beginning. May as it is difficult to determine archeological dates at Petra due to the lack of inscriptions, coins or pottery found in its main monuments.

Nevertheless Judith McKenzie developed a methodology to determine the age of a monument by deducing that the tombs in Nabataean Hegra "mouldings are equivalent to the stone-cutter's finger print: the details of the combination of elements present and their relative sizes were unique to an individual stone cutter." (4)

Applying this principle to Petra Judith McKenzie groups the monuments according to similarities in the mouldings. When it is possible to date one monument in a group, she then attributes the same date to its other members. On this basis, McKenzie groups Petra's "Treasury" with three other creations:
  • Qasr al-Bint
  • the latter's temenos
  • Temple of the Winged Lions,
  • Baths (between Qasr al-Bint and Great Temple Complex)
Except for the Treasury (carved to face the Siq), all members of this group are on the same axis, which differs from the axes of the other groups.

It was King Aretas IV (9 BC - 40 AD) who, early in his reign, conceived the plan that included the "Great Temple," with a pool, gardens and main building. The water needed was delivered by channels and pipelines coming from the Siq and Mina whose water was channeled and whose flash floods were tamed by numerous dams.

The Petra Entertainment Complex: pool, gardens and theater
The Nabataeans transformed Petra into a water miracle. Strabo wrote that his friend Athenodorus, who stayed in Petra, told him: "Within there are abundant springs of water both for domestic purposes and for watering gardens."(5)
Most of the water came from seven springs and, channeled through the Siq, it supplied water for the city center. A enormous reservoir east of the Siq supplied water that flowed around the mountain of al-Khubta, cascading down a 60-foot-high chute to fill cisterns by the Royal Tombs. Any overflow went to directly to the city center.

So when King Aretas IV decided to build his complex next to the Qasr al-Bint the core infrastructure was ready. Initially this consisted of a Olympic sized swimming pool, gardens and a main building with cella that probably acted as an audience hall for the court of Arestas IV or a ritual theater dedicated to the male deity of Petra. In Petra's Byzantine church, whose builders used decorative pieces from the "Great Temple" and other monuments, fragments of an inscription were found:

[This is the...,] which Halpa'la, [son of...,] made, and these are the theatron to Dushara [and the ...], in the month Tebet in the year eleven of Haretat (Aretas), king of the Nabataeans, who loved his people.


After the Romans conquered Petra in 106 AD the cella of the main building was transformed into a theatron or bouleuterion where now 640 citizens could be seated. Roman imperial policies required that Petra now had a municipal and regional council.

An Olympic sized swimming pool
Arestas IV was definitely inspired by the recreational swimming pools built by the Hasmoneans. So when Arestad visited the palaces of this good friend Herod a new idea was drafted into Arestas' mind. The pool in Petra seems to be inspired by Herod's pool at Herodium.

Image

Arestas ordered his workers to construct a hill of rock east of the main building and chiseled the pool into it, leaving leaving escarpments 55 feet high on the southeast corner. (6)

Image
This maps displays a deep shadow from Petra's pool complex. It could only be reached through stairs from Colonnade street as it stuck out 55 ft or approximately 16 meters from the average height surrounding this complex.

Image

Its central location, monumental scale and labor-intensive construction indicate that this area was part of the ceremonial, economic and political center of Petra, also in late Roman period. During the Roman and Byzantine period the Pool-Complex now functioned as a fashionable public park. The Petra Pool-Complex played an important role in the socio-political life of Petra during the Nabataean and Roman periods.

So the next question is how the citizens of Nabataeans spend their time in the public gardens, pool and complex of Arestas. What kind of entertainment did they have?

As the Nabataean civilization developed over time professions appear in Nabataean graffiti. From this source we can distinguish professions and trade such: copper-smith, blacksmith, carpenter, surveyor, mason, warrior, hunter, laborer, and cultural designations such as sculptors, musicians and singers. (10)

A single classical source, the Geography of Strabo (16.4.26) mentions Nabataean banquets and the meals served there at the turn of the Christian era: “They prepare common meals together in groups of thirteen per-sons; and they have two girl-singers for each banquet. The king holds many drinking-bouts in magnificent style, but no one drinks more than eleven cupfuls, each time using a different golden cup”.

Strabo adds: “The king is so democratic that, in addition to serving himself, he sometimes even serves the rest himself in his turn. He often renders an account of his kingship in the popular assembly; and sometimes his mode of life is examined.”

Strabo's casual reference to singing is somewhat confirmed in some Nabataean inscriptions associated with triclinia (dining rooms with banquet couches extending around three sides of a table) as Strabo uses the phrase symposium as do the Palmyrene Greek texts do. (8)

The Nabataean banqueting rituals ( symposium rituals) are known in Aramaic terminology. The Aramaic word for triclinium is smk' and appears in inscriptions in Petra as well in Palmyra (9) The large number of banqueting rooms in Petra attest to the importance of banquets in Nabataea and thus artistic performances.

A exquisitely decorated Nabataean limestone from Petra displays a male double-flute player flanked by tow women playing a lure and an identified stringed instrument.

So it is possible to link these Nabataean cultural events to early Islamic tradition?

It was narrated from Abu Malik Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allah said:
“People among my nation will drink wine, calling it by another name, and musical instruments will be played for them and singing girls (will sing for them). Allah will cause the earth to swallow them up, and will turn them into monkeys and pigs.”


Book 47, Hadith 3499, Narrated Abu Umamah:
that the Messenger of Allah said: "Do not sell the female singers, nor purchase them, nor teach them (to sing). And there is no good in trade in them, and their prices are unlawful. It was about the likes of this that this Ayah was revealed: 'And among mankind is he who purchases idle talk to divert from the way of Allah (31:6).'"


'A'isha reported:
Abu Bakr came to see me and I had two girls with me from among the girls of the Ansar and they were singing what the Ansar recited to one another at the Battle of Bu'ath. They were not, however, singing girls. Upon this Abu Bakr said: What I (the playing of) this wind instrument of Satan in the house of the Messenger of Allah and this too on 'Id day? Upon this the Messenger of Allah said: Abu Bakr, every people have a festival and it is our festival (so let them play on).


It was narrated that Abu Husain, whose name was Khalid Al-Madani, said:
“We were in Al-Madinah on the Say of 'Ashura and the girls were beating the Daff and singing. We entered upon Rubai' bint Mu'awwidh and mentioned that to her. She said: 'The Messenger of Allah entered upon me on the morning of my wedding, and there were two girls with me who were singing and mentioning the qualities of my forefathers who were killed on the Day of Badr....


It was narrated from 'Urwah that he narrated from Aishah that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq :
Entered upon her and there were two girls with her beating the duff and singing, and the Messenger of Allah was covered with his garment. He uncovered his face and said: "Let them be there, O Abu Bakr, for these are the days of 'Eid." Those were the days of Mina and the Messenger of Allah (was in Al-Madinah on that day."


It was narrated that Ibn'Abbas said:
'Aisha arranged a marriage for a female relative of hers among the Ansar. The Messenger of Allah came and said: Have you taken the girl (to her husbands house)?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “Have you sent someone with her to sing?” She said: “No.” The Messenger of Allah said: “The Ansar are People with romantic feelings. Why don't you send someone with her to say: 'We have come to you, we have come to you, may Allah bless you and us?'”


A'isha reported:
The Messenger of Allah came (to my apartment) while there were two girls with me singing the song of the Battle of Bu`ath. He lay down on the bed and turned away his face. Then came Abu Bakr and he scolded me and said: Oh! this musical instrument of the devil in the house of the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah turned towards him and said: Leave them alone.....


We can learn from these single hadith that in Muhammad's environment certain elements of Nabataean culture were still practiced, 500 years after its kingdom was conquered by Roman emperor Trajanus. It is a strong indication that the Nabataean identity, whether cultural or religious was still thriving and strong at the beginning of the seventh century. This is something that needs to be addressed in a separate post.

The least we can conclude is that among the inner circle of Muhammad and his ansar ancient Nabataean banqueting rituals were still practiced. At weddings and festivities Ansari (Nabataean) girls would sing and perform. The popularity of singing girls had created, after the Romans took control of the Nabataean Kingdom, a new kind of slavery.

As stated above, these banqueting and singing rituals were known in Aramaic terminology, in both Nabataean and Safaitic territories. The question now is if it's possible to grab the meaning of Zam-Zam using (Syro-) Aramaic sememes.

Zam-Zam: An etymological approach
The biradical root for Zam-Zam in Semitic languages is zm, which sememe means season. In addition, it is used to express as time, season, and period. (1)
The Syriac root zm is, according to scholar C. Brockelmann, related to latin susurravit or sonuit.(2) Susurravit is the third-person singular perfect active indicative of susurrō, meaning whisperer, a person who whisperers or gossips. 'Sonuit' means to call, sing, celebrate, praise or extol. Sonuit is the third-person singular perfect active indicative of sonō meaning to speak, call, sing, celebrate, praise, extol or make noise.

So using a etymological approach Zam-Zam may refer to a place where people meet, gossip, sing, make music and/or praise God.

Zam-Zam and trees
A first scan of the hadith indicated that Zam-Zam is associated with trees. Aretas' "Great Temple" complex had a garden next to the swimming pool. Botanical studies show that this garden was highly ornate, adorned with date palm trees and grass species, also placed around the 44-meter-wide swimming pool. Archaeologists also found charred seeds and nut shells.

Now the date tree or palm is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from the Fertile Crescent region straddling between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Knowing this we tried to find a reference to date trees in the hadith:

Abu Salama reported: 'We discussed amongst ourselves Lailat-ul-Qadr. I came to Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) who was a friend of mine and said to him: Would you not go with us to the garden of date trees? …..


Unfortunately this hadith does not mention a locality. But Lailat-ul-Qadr refers to the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to tradition this happened in "Makkah".

Zam-Zam and Baths
Prophet Muhammad is said to have denied believers permission to enter baths, but later granted them a rukhsa to enter them. (11) This has to do with the recommendation to use sand instead of water for cleaning for salah (12)
Now the interesting part is that hadith have been rejected as Islamic scholars assumed that there were no (public) baths in his environment like the one time Muhammad decided to take a bath after preaching in Medina. The interesting thing is here that on the immediate west side of the “Great Temple” public baths were build, bordering the temenos of the Qasr al-Bint.

Conclusion

The complex of King Aretas IV is almost, or even better, the perfect candidate to be identified as Zam-Zam. This complex contained a meeting hall, assembly hall (a theater in Roman times), a swimming pool and a date tree garden. With its fashionable public park and public pool it must have played an essential role in the socio-political life of Petra during the Nabataean and Roman periods. The waste of access water in the middle of a dry and barren desert was a sheer demonstration of power. A complex constructed with expensive marble imported from Greece, Asia Minor and Italy.

During the early Byzantine era Christianity emerged in Petra – at least seven churches were build in the 4th and 5th century. With Christianity came Syriac and soon become a local language, together with Greek and Nabataean/Arabic dialects. As the city hosted pagan communities religious traditions blended and even Christian customs were influenced by pagan rituals – something that will be addressed in a separate post. In this perspective is it no more than reasonable to assume that a place where people would meet, discuss politics, celebrate could have a popular folk name: for entertainment and relaxation.

Popular entertainment during the early Nabataean era were girl-singers, performing at banquets with 13 attendees. There is no evidence that these banquets were held at this complex but it was surely a common practice in Petra. Hundreds of banquet rooms have been excavated. It is more than remarkable that the Islamic tradition, 600 years after Strabo, describes this cultural tradition in many hadith. The Nabataean identity, whether cultural or religious was still thriving and strong at the beginning of the seventh century.

Literal descriptions from hadith can be attested with the archeological record for the complex of Aretas:
  • It had steps or a stairway: as the complex and pool was elevated it was only accessible through steps, aligned with Colonnade street. The pool itself was chiseled in a hill of rock leaving escarpments 16 meters high on the southeast corner.
  • It has a fountain: on the east side of the pool two Nymphaeums or fountains were constructed, one on the north and south side of Colonnade street.
  • It had trees: the 44-meter-wide swimming pool was adorned with palms and grass species. Direct north there was a date tree garden, mentioned in the hadith.
  • It had water

Other indicators:
  • It was close to the Ka'ba or mosque (mashid haram): the complex of Aretas is next to the Qasr-al-Bint, the main temple of Petra with its own temenos (secluded sacred space) accessible trhough the famous Temenos Gate of Petra.
  • The Lailat-ul-Qadr was debated among the Ansar, in the date tree garden. Aretas' "Great Temple" complex had a garden next to the swimming pool. Botanical studies show that this garden was highly ornate, adorned with date palm trees and grass species.

As the Syriac meaning of Zam-Zam relates to the purpose of the “Great Temple complex” and is next to the proposed location of the original Ka'ba I conclude that this complex was part of the pilgrimage route to the Ka'ba.


---------------------

(1) Hecker, Bernice Varjick. The Biradical Origin of Semitic Roots, page 75
(2) Brockelmann, C., 1928. Lexicon Syriacum, page 196
(3) See “Water Supply and Distribution System of Petra: The Water Supply and Distribution System of the Nabataean City of Petra (Jordan), 300 BC–AD 300 “, C. Ortloff, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 01 May 2005
(4) The Architecture of Petra, J. Mckenzie, Oxford University Press, p. 40
(5) Book XVI, Chapter 4, Par. 21.
(6) http://netours.com/content/view/145/1/1/4/
(7) Dehner 2013: 237
(8) Tarrier 1995, 174-175
(9) The Religion of the Nabataeans: A Conspectus, John F. Haeley, 2001
(10) See Dan Brown, Qu'ranic Geography
(11) Society and Religion from Jāhiliyya to Islam, M. J. Kister
(12) Sura 4:43, 5:6

Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:37 pm
by Takeiteasynow
THE PETRA- MECCA CASE: Reconstructing the pre-Islamic pilgrimage (haij)

Case study: Bakkah

Traditionally Islamic scholars define the phrase Bakkah as a locality that points to the Kaaba and the sacred site immediately surrounding it while Makkah is the name of the city in which they are both located. (1) Surah 3 ayah 96: “Verily the first House set apart unto mankind was that at Bakkah, blest, and a guidance unto the worlds.”

Syriac inscription
Ibn Ishaq, a 8th-century Arab Muslim historian, records the amazing story that, during the renovation of Ka'ba before the rise of Islam, workers found an Syriac inscription in that mentions Bakkah:

"I am Allah, the Lord of Bakkah. I created it on the day I created heaven and earth and formed the sun and the moon, and I surrounded it with seven pious angels. It will stand while its two mountains stand, a blessing to its people with milk and water." (2)


This is astonishing as Syriac is alien to the Hijaz and the areas near traditional Mecca and Medina.

The seven pious angels
This text does provide hooks to work with. A Syriac text from an incantation bowl (Mesopotamia, late Sassanid period) has knowledge of seven pious angels and mentions them individually:

“By Kabsi'el the angel, by Suri'el the angel, by Gabriel the angel, by Ariel the angel, by Dan'el the angel, by RDTYYYYi'el the angel, by Barqi'el the angel …. As for you, all of you holy, chosen, pure and holy and pious angels ...” (3)


According to the original translator, Gordon, this inscription “is of Jewish origin and probably dates from about the time of the Islamic Conquest in the seventh century AD.” (4) Later Gordon adds that the bow text goes back to remote antiquity.(5) The match between this Jewish Aramaic text and the Syriac inscription found in the Kaaba strongly suggests a link with Petra.

West-Semitic morpheme
If the phrase pious angels goes back to remote antiquity then it would be a good practice to attest the root of Bakkah, the morpheme bkk against the ancient West-Semitic root bkk. The West-Semitic morpheme or root b-k-k means to open or to gorge which leads to a derived noun as 'opening' or 'gorge' (bacca/bakkah), typically a narrow valley between hills and mountains with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it. (6) So a narrow valley or canyon.

Narrow canyons or gorges mentioned in the hadith
Qur'anic surah 3:96 states that 'the first House set apart unto mankind' was built in Bakkah. The phrase 'first house' explicitly refers to the 'House of God'. Ayah 3:97 emphasizes the importance of the first house: “And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way.”

So the first 'House Of God' was built near, next or beyond Bakkah. Knowing that Bakkah means opening, canyon or gorge it would be interesting to know if the hadith mention these.

The hadiths tell us how Muhammad and his companions used to enter or leave the holy city (7) of Islam:

  • Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī hadith 2:645: “Allah's Apostle used to enter Mecca from the high thaniya and used to leave Mecca from the low thaniya”;
  • Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī hadith 3:891: “The Prophet went on advancing till he reached the thaniya... ” ;
    Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī hadith 2:647, 2:645, 2:657: “ … entered from its higher side and left from its lower side ...”;
  • Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī hadith 2:820: “...he would enter though the thaniya which is at the higher region ...”;
  • Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī hadith 5:586: “... the Prophet entered through its upper part through Kada”;
  • Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī hadith 4:227: “... Then the Prophet waited for her at the higher region ...”;
  • Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī hadith 4:231: “Allāh’s Apostle came to Mecca through its higher region on the day of the conquest ...”

A thaniya is a narrow mountain pass, mountainous way or passages through the mountain. The city of Petra has two passages or thaniyas, connected though a stream bed:

  • A thaniya that exits Petra from the far end of the colonnade street, opposite of Petra's largest temple complex Qasr al-Bint and descends down to Wadi Araba. This thaniya is situated in the low side of Petra, separated with its higher counterpart by Colonnade Street.
  • The main thaniya is the Siq, a tortuous narrow canyon that has an awe-inspiring spectacle of a towering rock-cut facade, its sun-struck red sandstone gleaming through the darkness of the canyon. This could easily be experienced as a religious experience and it seems that the Nabateans designed the passage through the Siq to be such an experience; a holey road with its own sanctity because of its high cliffs and narrow gorge with sometimes imposing winter rains rushing through the gorge like a mountain torrent. The Siq was the main entrance to the city and is situated in the high side of Petra.

Conclusion

As ayah 3:97 emphasizes the pilgrimage to the House, built in, at or beyond Bakkah (ayah 3:96) and knowing that Bakkah means gorge or canyon the main entrance to the inner city of Petra, the Siq, must be Bakkah. And that makes sense after identifying Wadi Musa as Mina and Bab Al Siq as Al Jamra with a pillar called al-Jamra al-Thaniya.

Bakkah = The Siq
Location: https://www.google.com/maps/@30.3229988 ... a=!3m1!1e3

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(1) Oliver Leaman (2006). The Qur'an: an encyclopedia (Illustrated, annotated, reprint ed.). Taylor & Francis. Page 337. ISBN 978-0-415-32639-1
(2) F. E. Peters (1995). The Hajj: the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and the holy places, Princeton University Press. Page 47, ISBN 978-0-691-02619-0.
(3) Gordon, text Six, Orientalia 10, 1940, pp 125-6
(4) ArchOr. 6, 1934, 468ff
(5) ArchOr 9, 1937
(6) JJ Clère, 1968 and another meaning ascribed to it is "narrow", seen as descriptive of the area in which the valley of the holy places and the city of Mecca are located, pressed in upon as they are by mountains Cyril Glassé & Huston Smith (2003). The new encyclopedia of Islam (Revised, illustrated ed.). Rowman Altamira. p. 302. ISBN 978-0-7591-0190-6.
(7) Qur'ānic Geography, page 230-231