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(video - History of Mecca)
For a free PDF tract of this subject please visit our "free tracts" page here for tract M-28
To go directly to the PDF tract m28 MECCA - MAKKAH IN HISTORY please click here.
We have a site dedicated to this topic at History of Mecca.com
This subject is of vital importance to everyone - whether religious or not - and is of particular importance to Muslims.
Mecca or Makkah, is the historical and geographical epicenter of Islam. All practicing Muslims on earth prostrate themselves toward the Kaaba in Mecca five times a day. Every Muslim is obliged to travel to Mecca, and perform the Islamic ritual of the Hajj at least once in their lifetime, because it is the "fifth pillar" of Islam. Islamic tradition teaches that the Kaaba, around which Islam revolves, is located in the center of the world and was the first temple on earth. This tradition holds that it was built by Adam and later rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael.
Unfortunately there is not a shred of historical or archaeological evidence, that suggests that Mecca ever existed before the 4th century A.D., when immigrants from Yemen settled the area.
Please do not take our word for this. Yahoo or Google it for yourself or just click on the following links. Try
archaeology of mecca - or -
Here's a Wikipedia article on Ancient Towns in Saudi Arabia. The reason Mecca is not on the list is because there is no evidence that suggests that Mecca is an ancient town.
Why not ask your Imam to direct you to some historical evidence?
The archaeological record of Arabia is one of the most well preserved on earth because the relatively low rainfall mitigated degradation of the archaeological evidence. Many ancient towns such as Yemen, Qudar, Dedan, Tiema, Mada'in Saleh (Al-Hijr), Magan (Oman) and Dilmun are well attested in the historical and archaeological record, and even attest to each other. The historical record even notes small settlements from before the Christian era, that came and went within a few centuries, but Mecca remains conspicuously absent from those records.
This, even though Mecca was eventually settled on one of the most established trade routes in Arabia, about which historical record abounds, and in spite of the Islamic claims that Mecca had been the center of the religion of Islam for thousands of years before Mohammed. Where do the Qibla of the oldest mosques point to?
Compare that absence of evidence with Jerusalem, the historical and geographical epicenter of Judaism and Christianity. Try
One will quickly learn that archaeology increasingly confirms the Bible as a reliable source of ancient historical record. One can hardly lift a shovel full of earth anywhere near the Holy Land without having it contain ancient artifacts. Indeed there are over a million artifacts just on display!
Mecca being located 1,200 kilometers - across barren desert - away from the Holy Land, and the record of Abraham's journey as detailed in the Bible and confirmed by archaeology, preclude any notion of Abraham, Hagar or Ishmael ever having set foot in Mecca. Particularly since they lived most of a thousand years before the first caravan route was ever established along the Red Sea in Arabia. Indeed Abraham’s journey was largely in the opposite direction of Mecca.
If Mecca had been the epicenter of Islam since the time of Adam, it would follow that there would be increasingly more archaeological evidence, the closer one traveled to this focal point of Mohammed's 7th century religion. It also follows that there would be a greater pre-Mohammed historical record for Mecca than any other Arabian city - indeed perhaps than any other city on earth - but no such record exists. Again, compare that with Jerusalem where the closer one gets to this epicenter of Judaism and Christianity, the more abundant artifacts become.
So the question begs, if the Arabian's "Allah" commissioned the Kaaba to be constructed at the center of the world, and right below the gate to heaven, why then did YHWH (Yahweh) give David the site location and detailed instruction for a tabernacle on Mount Moriah, that was built by his son Solomon 3,000 years ago, that stood 666 nautical miles from Mecca?
Images from http://www.templemount.org/solomon.html
The second temple having been torn down - every stone - just as Jesus prophesied, and replaced by the body of Christ, because we are the temple of God in this new covenant era.
Is it reasonable to believe that Yahweh would instead consign His temple to be situated 1200 kilometers away from the Holy Land of the prophets and patriarchs, and in a valley where it would be inundated by 5 feet of urban floodwater, that is always laced with sewage?
It is important to note that the entirety of Islamic so-called "tradition", was created and put to the pen in the 7th through 9th centuries A.D., without reference to any historical record that preceded the 6th century AD. True historical record consists of that which is recorded by those that lived in or near the times that are detailed, and not something that is created from thin air, thousands of years after the fact. Yet Muhammad's followers don't seem to have an interest, much less a concern, in that regard to that simple fact. Instead they will cite false interpretation of scripture, or a historical misunderstanding or two, by 18th and 19th century authors, as if that could substitute for a 4500 year pre-Mohammed historical and archaeological record of Mecca.
What becomes painfully obvious is that all of the pre-Mohammed "history" of Islam is little more than 7th - 9th century created fiction. The large volume of contradictions, historical blunders, and mathematical errors such as 66 year generations, contained in Islamic “tradition”, confirm that fact. What this in turn reveals is that Islamic rituals are little more than thinly repackaged Arabian moon, sun, star and jinn-demon worship, embellished by books inspired by Hebrew and Arabian fables that Mohammed learned during his early travels, was taught by friends like Jabr, his wives and concubines, as well as influence by Zoroastrianism and the 2nd century occult cult of the Sabians. So deeply involved was Mohammed and three of his cousins in the cult of the Sabians, that folks in his own tribe referred to Mohammed as “the Sabian”. The Sabians prayed five times a day, practiced ablution, wore long white robes, and fasted for thirty days during the same month of Ramadan in worship of the moon. Thus it shouldn't be a surprise that Mohammed mentions the occult cult of the Sabians right alongside Christians and Jews in the Quran.
The historical record suggests that the area around Mecca was settled around the 4th century A.D. by the Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h, joined later by Mohammed’s tribe the Quraish. The Kaaba was built around the early 5th century likely by Asa'd Abu Karb, for Arabian Star Family worship after the black stone made it's way to Mecca, most likely from Yemen. Early reporters recounted that prior to the construction of the Kaabah, a tent occupied the site. The Kaaba eventually housed 360 idols dedicated to Arabian moon, sun, star and demon worship. It is no secret that the black stone that Muslims still prostrate themselves toward, venerate, and circumambulate, is the same black stone that pagan Arabians venerated and circumambulated. In other words, the Quraish established the rituals that Mohammed eventually adopted and adapted to his own invention. Indeed Muhammad's own father's name was "Abdullah", or "slave of (the Quraish pagan's) Allah", before Muhammad was ever born.
Mohammed's grandfather, Abdel Mutaleb, dug the well of Zamzam to establish a Hajj around Asaf and Naelah, the most venerated priest and priestess of the Arabian jinn-demon religion. Indeed some of Mohammed’s closest followers hated to run back and forth between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah because they recognized it as a pagan ritual.
Bukhari, V2, B26 #710 (B2 #128)
“Asem told us that he said to Uns bin Malek, a companion of Mohammed, “You were hating to encompass around the Safa and Marwa.” He answered, “Yes, because it was one of the pagan rites of Jahiliyah until Allah gave a verse that the Safa and Marwa are the rites of Allah. If one makes the Hajj to the Kaabah, he must encompass them. The person has no sin when he encompass them.”
Muslims had joined the pagans shoulder to shoulder in circumambulation of the Kaaba in their ritual of the Hajj, right up until the year before Mohammed's last Hajj, when the pagans were finally expelled from their own ritual.
Bukhari V2, B26, #689 (V1, B8, No 365): Narrated Abu Huraira:
“In the year prior to the last Hajj of the Prophet when Allahs Apostle made Abu Bakr the leader of the pilgrims, the latter (Abu Bakr) sent me in the company of a group of people to make a public announcement: 'No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year, and no naked person is allowed to perform Tawaf of the Kaba.'”
No Mecca before the 4th century - no Kaaba before the 5th century - means no foundation whatsoever underpinning Islamic "tradition". That leaves Islam as Mohammed’s stand-alone 7th century invention, embellished by his followers who penned the Hadith, over the next couple of centuries. Since Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael lived over 1,200 km from where Mecca was eventually built, nearly 1,000 years before the first caravan ever traveled along the Red Sea in Arabia, the truth becomes even more apparent.
There are historical references to other temples, and even to a great temple "highly revered by all the Arabs”, but Mohammed's own tribe, the Quraish went on Hajj, or pilgrimage, twice a year long after the Kaaba in Mecca was built, indicating that the Kaaba in Mecca was a lesser temple than others.
Quran 106:1 For the covenants by the Quraish, 2 Their covenants journeys by winter and summer,- 3 Let them adore the Lord of this House,
To our Muslim friends, please research the history of Mecca for yourself. The preceding material is derived largely from the Religion Research Institute that you can visit online, and the book “Islam: in the Light of History”, penned by Dr. Rafat Amari after his extensive 20 year full-time study of the history of Arabia, Mecca and Islam.
Considering the absence of historical and archaeological record of Mecca ever having existed, before the 4th century A.D., could this be what the Saudi's are trying to hide? While the Saudi's (yes that's whose money will finance the 9-11 ground zero mosque through various conduits) want to build a grand mosque in New York city (there are already over a hundred of them), the fact is that if 99.4% of U.S. citizens (non-Muslims) even set foot in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, we would be subject to arrest.
Ahmed Deedat has trained Muslims to quote misinterpretations of Scripture and 18th century English author Edward Gibbon's misunderstanding of Ptolemy regarding a famous temple in Arabia. Besides Gibbon's focus being the Roman Empire, Gibbon even characterized himself as "I am ignorant and carelessness", in regard to "the blind mythology of the Barbarians" of Arabia.
Another example trotted out is "In the Encyclopedia of Islam, Wensinck identifies Mecca with a place called Macoraba mentioned by Ptolemy. His text is believed to date from the second century AD." As if somehow an early 20th century Islamic author's misunderstanding (or intentional misrepresentation) of Ptolemy's writings, is supposed to substitute for 4500 years of non-existent pre-Mohammed historical and archaeological record of Mecca! Even if Macoraba had been Mecca, it would only reinforce the absence of a pre-Christian era history of Mecca, because Macoraba was a relatively new town of interior Arabia when Ptolemy wrote about it.
There are references to lots of other temples, and even to a great temple "highly revered by all the Arabs”, that was likely the one of the Bythemaneas, located near Ilat in the Aqaba gulf area. (forum thread)
Indeed the Qibla (direction to point when praying) of three of the oldest Mosques do not point to Mecca but rather to an area about 500 miles to the north of Mecca. Please visit the "Oldest Mosque Qibla" page for more on that subject.
Regarding the pilgrimages of the Quraish, one of the journeys during the summer was to the city of Taif where there was also a temple called Kaabah of Ellat, or Kaabah of the Sun.
Quoting Dr. Amari "This Kaabah was more significant and much older than the Kaabah of Mecca. All Arabs, including the tribe of Quraish from which Mohammed came, venerated this Kaabah." (forum thread)
"The stone was considered the main shrine, or sacred element, in each temple, called Kaabah in Arabic. This revered stone, which represented the moon, was considered to be divine. The worship of the Arabian Star Family with Allah, who was the moon as its head, revolved around the black stone. Ellat, Allah’s wife, was the sun, and al-'Uzza and Manat, his daughters, represented two planets. (below)
There was no shortage of Kaabas in Arabia each with it's own black stone. Arabian Star Family temple design left its indelible fingerprints on those temples as well as on the Kaaba in Mecca, demonstrating that Abraham could not have built it even if the city of Mecca had existed before the 4th century AD."
Here are a few excerpts from a Wikipedia article that may explain the source of the black stone in the Kaaba.
"The reverence of the Black Stone evidently preceded the rise of Islam. The Semitic cultures of the Middle East had a tradition of using unusual stones to mark places of worship, a phenomenon which is reflected in the Hebrew Bible as well as the Qur'an.
Grunebaum, in Classical Islam, says that the Kaaba was a place of pilgrimage even in pre-Islamic times, and was probably the only sanctuary built of stone, but that there are other sources which indicate there were other "Kaaba" structures in other parts of Arabia. A "red stone" was the deity of the south Arabian city of Ghaiman, and there was a "white stone" in the Ka'ba of al-Abalat (near the city of Tabala, south of Mecca). He points out that the experience of divinity of that time period was often associated with stone fetishes, mountains, special rock formations, or "trees of strange growth."
It has been suggested that the Black Stone may be a glass fragment from the impact of a fragmented meteorite some 6,000 years ago at Wabar, a site in the Rub' al Khali desert some 1,100 km east of Mecca. The craters at Wabar are notable for the presence of blocks of silica glass, fused by the heat of the impact and impregnated by beads of nickel-iron alloy from the meteorite (most of which was destroyed in the impact). Some of the glass blocks are made of shiny black glass with a white or yellow interior and gas-filled hollows, which allow them to float on water. Although scientists did not become aware of the Wabar craters until 1932, they were located near a caravan route from Oman and were very likely known to the inhabitants of the desert. The wider area was certainly well-known; in ancient Arabic poetry, Wabar or Ubar (also known as "Iram of the Pillars") was the site of a fabulous city that was destroyed by fire from the heavens because of the wickedness of its king. If the estimated age of the crater is accurate, it would have been well within the period of human habitation in Arabia and the impact itself may have been witnessed.."
Since Yemen is a neighbor of Oman, this explanation would be consistent with Dr. Amari's suggestion that the black stone made it's way to Mecca in the early 5th century by way of the Yemeni immigrants that settled Mecca in the 4th century.
It is also interesting to note that the name "Makka", is mentioned in Quran surah 48:24, and again in 33:50 (but in parantheses), and is somehow even suggested to be one in the same with the name "Bakka", that is found in Surah 3:96. Even if this were the case, Islam's holiest city - it's most important geographical location since Adam - would then only be mentioned three times in the Quran. Compare this with the name Jerusalem, which is mentioned 814 times in 767 verses, in the Word or God. Isn't that interesting?
Some Muslims suggest that there is at least a scriptural record of Mecca mentioned in the Old Testament as "Baca", by removing the following verse from context and suggesting a similarity with the name "Bakka", from the Quran.
Psalms 84:6 [Who] passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
But the most obvious difficulty with this claim is the very next verse:
84:7 They go from strength to strength, [every one of them] in Zion appeareth before God.
Zion is mentioned 153 times in God's Word because it is the name of the easternmost hill of ancient Jerusalem. Thus we see this passage describing a journey to ZION - to Jerusalem - to the Holy Land. Baca simply being a stop along the way.
In conclusion, in the absence of archaeological or historical record, notions of a pre-first century Mecca or Kaaba it would seem, become nothing more than a desert mirage. There is, however, abundant historical record of veneration of meteorites. Indeed there is record of men venerating black rocks in the many Kaabas throughout Arabia.
Perhaps before long Islam will cease to exist, in the mind of any rational person that is exposed to adequate resources, in this information age.
Quoting just a few, of a ton of sites on the Internet that attest to the absence of archaeological or historical record of Mecca existing before the 4th century A.D., that reside in the company of an absolute dearth of sites, a few of which feebly attempt to confirm Mecca existed before that time, by citing sources from the 7th century and later, we find.....
* The Classical Writers and Mecca – By Dr. Rafat Amari
* Archaeology and Mecca – By Dr. Rafat Amari
* The Bible and Mecca - By Dr. Rafat Amari
* The Kaabah and the Arabian Star Worship – By Dr. Rafat Amari
* The Role of the Temple at Mecca in the Jinn Religion and in the Arabian Family Star Religion – By Dr. Rafat Amari
* The True Story of the Construction of the Temple of Mecca – By Dr. Rafat Amari
link to Religion Research Institute quoted below
"THE HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF ARABIA SHOW THAT MECCA DID NOT EXIST BEFORE THE ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY.
"By Dr. Rafat Amari
The richness of the archaeological findings and inscriptions of many regions of Arabia.
Islam claims that Mecca is an ancient historical city which existed long before Christ, dating as far back as the time of Abraham. A powerful argument against this claim is the absence of any inscriptions found on monuments, or in any archaeological records dating back to those times. The ancient cities and kingdoms of Arabia do have rich histories which survive to this day through monuments, the inscriptions they bear, and in other archaeological documents. These historical records have given archaeologists a highly-integrated and, in some cases, complete record of the names of kings who ruled these cities and kingdoms. These records have also given archaeologists important information about the history of the wars fought over the kingdoms and cities of Arabia. In most cases, inscriptions and monuments in various cities – especially in the western and southwestern portions of Arabia – even give the names of coregents who ruled with the kings. Yet, even with this rich collection of historical and archaeological information, there are no inscriptions or monuments, or other archaeological findings whatsoever, that mention Mecca.
Perhaps the most indicting page of Dr. Amari's excellent site. I will post just a few excerpts and links.
STUDIES BY CLASSICAL WRITERS SHOW THAT MECCA COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BUILT BEFORE THE 4TH CENTURY A.D.
THE TRUE STORY OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE OF MECCA
"If Jurhum’s story were true, why did the classical authors, who visited and wrote about western Arabia mention all the tribes who were living there, even the tiny ones, but never once mention Mecca or the tribe of Jurhum?"
"It is also impossible to believe that the black Stone was hidden for three or four centuries. The stone was considered the main shrine, or sacred element, in each temple, called Kaabah in Arabic. This revered stone, which represented the moon, was considered to be divine. The worship of the Arabian Star Family with Allah, who was the moon as its head, revolved around the black stone. Ellat, Allah’s wife, was the sun, and al-'Uzza and Manat, his daughters, represented two planets."
"The story of the black Stone has some important implications. The black Stone was not in existence near Mecca until, perhaps, the end of the 5th A.D. century."
"Asa’d Abu Karb was the True Builder of Kaabah in the Beginning of the 5th century A.D.
It is said that prior to the construction of the Kaabah, a tent existed on the spot where it was built.[ii] The tribe of Khuzaa'h came from Yemen around the 2nd century A.D. In the 4th century A.D., they moved toward the area where Mecca was eventually built. Since they didn’t find a temple there in which to worship, they pitched their tent in a field."
YEMENI RESPONSIBILITY IN BUILDING THE TEMPLE OF MECCA
"The Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h built the city of Mecca in the 4th century A.D. Yemeni pagan religious worship has left its fingerprints all over the temple, showing that Abraham and Ishmael could not have built it."
"First, the confirmed date of the construction of the city of Mecca is sometime after the 4th century A.D. Abu Karb Asa’d was the first to consecrate the Kaabah, which reveals that he was the builder of the Kaabah."
"The date on which the Black Stone first appeared in Mecca was at the time of Mohammed’s grandfather, sometime between 495 and 520 A.D."
"He learned the Jewish myths, such as the legend of the hoopoe bird that announced the kingdom of Saba to Solomon. This myth came from the Jewish mythological book called the Second Targum of Esther. Mohammed incorporated the same myth into the Qur’an."
"At Mecca, in an attempt to convince his listeners that he was a prophet, he taught that the sun sets in a spring of black mud.[xi] This myth, too, was incorporated by Mohammed in the Qu'ran."
"The Kaabah of Mecca was built for the Arabian Star worship and it shares all the characteristic of the Kaabahs that were built for their worship.
The fact that the temple at Mecca was built as a Kaabah for Arabian star worship is shown in many ways. First, it was built in the same architectural style as other Kaabahs in Arabia. They were all temples for the same Arabian Family Star religion, in which Allah is considered the head and Ellat is his wife. All the Kaabahs had a Black Stone as the most revered element. It represented the star deity in Arabia."
"Mohammed confirmed that the origin of the Kaabah's faith was Yemeni."
"How, then, could Abraham have built the Kaabeh, if what we have learned about its construction is true? How did the Black Stone come from heaven, and how did Abraham sacrifice on it, and build the Kaabah around it, if the stone was not in Mecca before the 5th century A.D.? How could Mohammed’s teaching come from Allah through the angel Gabriel and still be of Yemeni origin?"
Mecca was Built by Khuzaa'h as a Desolate Station on the Spice Route
"It is important to note that none of the tribes who came from Yemen inhabited Mecca. If Mecca was in existence at the time the dam was seriously damaged, around the year 150 A.D., we would find many tribes locating in Mecca, because it is closer to Yemen than Yathrib is to Yemen. But, because the area where Mecca was eventually built was desolate and had no cities, it induced the tribes of Ozd and Khuzaa'h to live there. They did so, although they previously lived in a civilized city in Yemen which was Ma'rib, the capital of Saba. This is an important argument which points out that Mecca could not have existed before Khuzaa'h built the city in the 4th century A.D.
Let’s review these historical facts. I’ve shown that the Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h built the city of Mecca in the 4th century A.D. We’ve seen the connection between the temple of Mecca and Yemeni pagan religious worship. All this shows that the claim of Islam about Abraham and Ishmael building the temple of Mecca contradicts the true historical facts. Building faith on the sand is unwise. I pray that our Muslim friends will return to true faith as found in history and announced in the Bible. In the Bible they can find a solid foundation, documented in the writings of the prophetic books, and considered by historians to be the accurate resource for ancient history."
[III] THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
If we are to take the Qur'anic and Biblical records seriously, we will need to inquire further as to whether there are other sources which we can turn to for a corroboration of their accounts. Since we are dealing with scriptures which often speak of history, probably the best and easiest way to confirm that history is to go to the areas where the history took place because history never takes place in a vacuum. It always leaves behind its forgotten fingerprints, waiting dormant in the ground to be discovered, dug up and deciphered. It is therefore, important that we also get our digets dirty and take a look at the treasures which our archaeologist friends are discovering, to ascertain if they have been able to reward us with any clues as to the authenticity of both the Qur'anic and Biblical accounts. Let's see what archaeology tells us concerning the Qur'an.
[A] THE QUR'AN'S ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE:
As with the manuscript and documentary evidence, there is not much archaeological data to which we can turn for corroboration of the Qur'an. What we can do, however, is look at the claims the Qur'an makes and ascertain whether they can be backed up by archaeology. Let's start with the Qibla, or direction of prayer.
(1) The Qibla:
"According to the Qur'an, the direction of prayer (the Qibla), was canonized (or finalized) towards Mecca for all Muslims in or around 624 A.D. (see Sura 2:144, 149-150).
Yet, the earliest evidence from outside Muslim tradition regarding the direction in which Muslims prayed, and by implication the location of their sanctuary, points to an area much further north than Mecca, in fact somewhere in north-west Arabia (Crone-Cook 1977:23). Consider the archaeological evidence which has been and is continuing to be uncovered from the first mosques built in the seventh century:
According to archaeological research carried out by Creswell and Fehervari on ancient mosques in the Middle East, two floor-plans from two Umayyad mosques in Iraq, one built at the beginning of the 8th century by the governor Hajjaj in Wasit (noted by Creswell as, "the oldest mosque in Islam of which remains have come down to us" - Creswell 1989:41), and the other attributed to roughly the same period near Baghdad, have Qiblas (the direction which these mosques are facing) which do not face Mecca, but are oriented too far north (Creswell 1969:137ff & 1989:40; Fehervari 1961:89; Crone-Cook 1977:23,173). The Wasit mosque is off by 33 degrees, and the Baghdad mosque is off by 30 degrees (Creswell 1969:137ff; Fehervari 1961:89)."
According to the Qur'an, the Kaaba was re-built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Isma-i-l (Ishmael). Islamic traditions assert that the Kaaba "reflects" a house in heaven called al-Baytu l-Ma?mur and that it was first built by the first man, Adam and is believed that it is the first building ever built on earth. Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Kaaba on the old foundations. 
As little is known of the history of the Kaaba, there are various opinions regarding its formation and significance.
The early Arabian population consisted primarily of warring nomadic tribes. When they did converge peacefully, it was usually under the protection of religious practices. Writing in the Encyclopedia of Islam, Wensinck identifies Mecca with a place called Macoraba mentioned by Ptolemy. His text is believed to date from the second century AD, before the rise of Islam, and described it as a foundation in southern Arabia, built around a sanctuary. The area probably did not start becoming an area of religious pilgrimage until around the year AD 500. It was around then that the Quraysh tribe (into which Muhammad was later born) took control of it, and made an agreement with the local Kinana Bedouins for control. The sanctuary itself, located in a barren valley surrounded by mountains, was probably built at the location of the water source today known as the Zamzam Well, an area of considerable religious significance.
'King Fahad' gate of the Grand Masjid (Masjid al Haram) in Mecca.
'King Fahad' gate of the Grand Masjid at night in Mecca.
In her book, Islam: A Short History, Karen Armstrong asserts that the Kaaba was dedicated to Hubal, a Nabatean deity, and contained 360 idols which either represented the days of the year, or were effigies of the Arabian pantheon. Once a year, tribes from all around the Arabian peninsula, be they Christian or pagan, would converge on Mecca to perform the Hajj.
Imoti contends that there were multiple such "Kaaba" sanctuaries in Arabia at one time, but this is the only one built of stone. The others also allegedly had counterparts to the Black Stone. There was a "red stone", the deity of the south Arabian city of Ghaiman, and the "white stone" in the Kaaba of al-Abalat (near the city of Tabala, south of Mecca). Grunebaum in Classical Islam points out that the experience of divinity of that time period was often associated with stone fetishes, mountains, special rock formations, or "trees of strange growth." The Kaaba was thought to be at the center of the world with the Gate of Heaven directly above it. The Kaaba marked the location where the sacred world intersected with the profane, and the embedded Black Stone was a further symbol of this as a meteorite that had fallen from the sky and linked heaven and earth. According to the Boston Globe, the Kaaba was a shrine for the Daughters of God (al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat) and Hubal.
According to Sarwar, about four hundred years before the birth of Muhammad, a man named "Amr bin Lahyo bin Harath bin Amr ul-Qais bin Thalaba bin Azd bin Khalan bin Babalyun bin Saba", who was descended from Qahtan and king of Hijaz (the northwestern section of Saudi Arabia, which encompassed the cities of Mecca and Medina), had placed a Hubal idol onto the roof of the Kaaba, and this idol was one of the chief deities of the ruling Quraysh tribe. The idol was made of red agate, and shaped like a human, but with the right hand broken off and replaced with a golden hand. When the idol was moved inside the Kaaba, it had seven arrows in front of it, which were used for divination.
To keep the peace among the perpetually warring tribes, Mecca was declared a sanctuary where no violence was allowed within 20 miles (32 km) of the Kaaba. This combat-free zone allowed Mecca to thrive not only as a place of pilgrimage, but also as a trading center.
Patricia Crone disagrees with most academic historians on most issues concerning the history of early Islam, including the history of the Kaaba. In Makkan Trade and the Rise of Islam, Crone writes that she believes that the identification of Macoraba with the Kaaba is false, and that Macoraba was a town in southern Arabia in what was then known as Arabia Felix.
Many Muslim and academic historians, stress the power and importance of the pre-Islamic Mecca.[weasel words] They depict it as a city grown rich on the proceeds of the spice trade. Crone believes that this is an exaggeration and that Makkan may only have been an outpost trading with nomads for leather, cloth, and camel butter. Crone argues that if Mecca had been a well-known center of trade, it would have been mentioned by later authors such as Procopius, Nonnosus, and the Syrian church chroniclers writing in Syriac. However, the town is absent from any geographies or histories written in the last three centuries before the rise of Islam.