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Category Archives: PETRA QIBLA

Was the Earliest Qibla Petra? Smith, “Lies” and Video Tape

Was the Earliest Qibla Petra? Smith, “Lies” and Video Tape

The revisionist theory of Petra being an earlier qibla (prayer direction) for Muslims prior to Mecca is essentially part of a larger conspiracy theory amongst revisionists who posit Islam developed over a period of time after the Prophet. It will not come as a surprise that advocates of this revisionist theory also adopt ideas such as “the Quran was invented after the Prophet” (or even before the Prophet!) P

Jay Smith of Pfander Films is the chief advocate of such polemics in Christian-Muslim apologetics circles. One would imagine, to the embarrassment of serious-minded and more scholarly Christians. Read more of this post


From Petra back to Makka – From “Pibla” back to Qibla

A critique of Dan Gibson, Early Islamic Qiblas: A Survey of mosques built between 1AH/622 C.E. and 263 AH/876 C.E. (with maps, charts and photographs), 296 pp., Vancouver BC: Independent Scholars Press, 2017

Banner: General view of Petra with a graphic from the article (Source)

Preliminary note: Dan Gibson’s new book claims to turn upside down all of what we know about one aspect of early Islamic practice, namely, the sacred direction (qiblatoward the Kaaba in Makka. He believes that Islam began in Petra, not Makka, and that the focus of Muslim prayer for the first two centuries was toward Petra, not Makka. As evidence for this he attempts to show that dozens of early mosques face Petra with remarkable accuracy. Since his revolutionary ideas ignore what modern scholarship has established about the early qibla, I present an overview of how things actually were. I then show how Gibson has misunderstood most of the data at his disposal, comparing medieval mosque orientations with modern directions of Petra and Makka, and why his interpretation is completely flawed. In brief, he has wrought havoc with information that he cannot master, and has – wittingly or unwittingly – produced an amateurish, non-scholarly document that is both offensive to Muslims and also an insult to Muslim and Western scholarship. None of the mosques investigated by Gibson has anything to do with Petra. Nor, indeed, has early Islam. Read more of this post