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Category Archives: PETRA QIBLA

Refuting the Claim Petra was the Qibla Before Mecca

Source: http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2016/10/refuting-claim-petra-was-qibla-before.html


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.

Admittedly I don’t follow Jay Smith as closely as some but from the Islamic Awareness article, it appears Smith has revised his own theories; back in the early 2000s he used to claim the qibla was in the vicinity of Jerusalem and nowadays he’s claiming it is Petra.

Regardless of any shifts in his thinking, his theories fall flat on their face as shown on Islamic Awareness 15 years ago:

Modern studies have shown that in the early mosques astronomical alignments were used for qibla. Astronomical phenomenon such as sunrise or sunset during equinoxes, solstices, Pole star, Canopus, etc. were used to direct the mosques towards qibla. Concerning the early mosques in Egypt and Iraq, David King says:

The first mosque to be built in Egypt was built facing winter sunrise, and it was this direction which remained the most popular throughout the medieval period amongst the religious authorities. Likewise some of the earliest mosques in Iraq were built facing winter sunset. Only recently has it become known that astronomical alignments were used for the qibla, so that some modern historians (sic!) have mistakenly inferred from the orientations of the early mosques in Egypt and Iraq that they were not built to face the Kaaba at all, but rather to face some other sacred site. Now, however, we even know why such astronomical alignments were used

Is Mecca or Petra Islam’s true birthplace?

Posted September 27, 2018 by Mark Anderson11 comments

For well over a millennium Muslims have revered Mecca as the site of their holiest shrine, the Kaaba. And until recently Western scholarship always accepted the traditional Muslim origins narrative, which says that was where Muhammad began, in Arabia. But in the late 1970s, John Wansbrough and two of his students, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, published books arguing for a radically different approach to Islam’s origins.[1]

Among other things, these revisionists said that Mecca was not Islam’s birthplace, which they located somewhere in the Fertile Crescent. Though Crone and Cook later repudiated the theory their book advanced, Crone at least held fast to the idea that Islam originated in the Fertile Crescent, possibly in Nabatea.

The Kaaba is now surrounded by towers, including one of the world’s tallest buildings.

While the trend among Western scholars of Islam is away from such radical doubt, four decades later some scholars still promote the idea that the Kaaba was not originally in Mecca.

Some of these revisionists say it was in or near Petra, while others refuse to speculate on the exact location. And this notion has begun to trickle down to others in the West, through the work of popular historian and documentary filmmaker Tom Holland, for example.[2] Since Muslims pray facing Mecca’s Kaaba multiple times a day, one thing this view would mean is that Muslims everywhere naively face the wrong direction in their most frequent act of worship.

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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