June 22, 2024
Makkah in the Hebrew Bible
Mecca, also known as Makkah, holds unparalleled significance in Islam as the holiest city and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


Mecca, also known as Makkah, holds unparalleled significance in Islam as the holiest city and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is home to the Kaabah, the most sacred structure in Islam, which Muslims believe was originally built by the first Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) and later it was rebuilt by Ibrahim ( Abraham) and his son Isma’il (Ishmael) as the first house of worship dedicated to the One God. Muslims around the world face the Kaaba during their daily prayers (Salah), symbolizing unity and submission to Allah.

Dr. Jay Smith challenges the historicity of Makkah as an ancient city, as the Qur’an claims its historicity as the foremost House of Worship erected in it. Dr. Jay Smith claims that Makkah is mentioned in no ancient records including the ancient scriptures. This claim is totally wrong and extremely biased based on purely arrogance and ignorance.

Watch this video that mocks the Qur’an with the title “Mecca is a Joke

Bakkah: The Ancient Name of Makkah

Surah Al-Imran (3:96) of the Qur’an states:

“Surely the first House of worship established for humanity is the one at Bakkah—a blessed sanctuary and a guide for all people. In it are clear signs and the standing-place of Abraham. Whoever enters it should be safe. Pilgrimage to this House is an obligation by Allah upon whoever is able among the people. And whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is not in need of any of His creation.”

According to Islamic scholarship, this verse refers to the Kaaba in Makkah, highlighting its significance as the first and most important place of worship established for humankind. Scholars generally agree that “Bakkah” is an ancient name for Makkah. Some interpretations suggest that Bakkah refers specifically to the valley or town where the Kaabah is located, while Makkah refers to the Masjid al-Haram.

Habakkuk or The Bakkah:

Habakkuk is one of the books of the Bible and is part of the collection known as the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible. The etymology of the name Habakkuk reveals that Habakkuk can be translated as The Bakkah.

In Hebrew, “Ha” (הַ or הָ) is the definite article equivalent to “the” in English. It is a prefix attached to nouns to specify that they are definite. Here’s a detailed explanation of how it is used:

The Definite Article “Ha”

Form and Usage:

  • The definite article in Hebrew is always prefixed to the noun it modifies.
  • For example:
    • “סֵפֶר” (sefer) means “book”.
    • “הַסֵפֶר” (hasefer) means “the book”.

Phonetic Changes:

  • The pronunciation of the definite article can vary slightly depending on the initial consonant of the noun it precedes.
  • Generally, “Ha” is pronounced as “ha” (הַ) before most consonants. For example:
    • “הַמֶּלֶךְ” (hamelech) – “the king”.
  • Before certain guttural consonants (like aleph, ayin, and resh), it is pronounced as “ha” (הַ) or “ho” (הָ). For example:
    • “הָאִישׁ” (ha’ish) – “the man”.
    • “הָעָם” (ha’am) – “the people”.

Usage in Sentences:

  • Just like in English, the definite article is used to refer to a specific, known entity.
  • “הַכֶּלֶב רָץ בַּגִּנָּה” (Hakelev ratz baginah) – “The dog runs in the garden”.

Comparative Example with Indefinite Nouns:

  • Without the definite article, the noun is indefinite:
    • “כֶּלֶב רָץ בַּגִּנָּה” (Kelev ratz baginah) – “A dog runs in the garden”.
  • With the definite article, the noun is definite:
    • “הַכֶּלֶב רָץ בַּגִּנָּה” (Hakelev ratz baginah) – “The dog runs in the garden”.

The Han-nabi (the Prophet) is added before the name Habakkauk (The Bakkah) to show that Habakkuk was a prophet, while there is no information available about this so-called prophet in the Bible and Rabbinic literature including Talmud and Midrash. So, it simply means that the word Ha-nabi is a distortion and was not a part of the original scripture. If Habakkuk was a prophet, he should have a short or long biography, that does not exist at all.

A Commentary on the Bible “Enduring Word” says:
We don’t know much about the prophet Habakkuk from any other book in the Bible.

Overview of Habakkuk

Authorship and Date:

  • The book is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk, though little is known about him outside of this text. The exact date of its writing is uncertain, but it is generally placed in the late 7th century BCE, during the rise of the Babylonian Empire.

Structure:

  • The Book of Habakkuk consists of three chapters. It is unique among the prophetic books because it is structured as a dialogue between the Habakkuk and God.

Themes:

  • Theodicy and Justice: A central theme of Habakkuk is the problem of evil and suffering. Habakkuk questions why God allows injustice and wickedness to prevail in Judah.
  • God’s Sovereignty: The book affirms God’s ultimate control over history and His ability to use even the actions of wicked nations for His purposes.
  • Faith and Trust: Despite the impending judgment and the questions posed by the prophet, the book ends with a profound expression of faith in God’s plan and timing.

Key Passages and Messages

Habakkuk’s Complaints and God’s Responses:

  • First Complaint (Habakkuk 1:2-4): Habakkuk laments the violence and injustice in Judah and questions why God seems indifferent.
  • God’s Response (Habakkuk 1:5-11): God reveals that He is raising up the Babylonians to punish Judah, a surprising and troubling revelation for Habakkuk.
  • Second Complaint (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1): Habakkuk is perplexed that God would use a nation more wicked than Judah to execute judgment and questions God’s justice.

God’s Second Response (Habakkuk 2:2-20):

  • God assures Habakkuk that the Babylonians will also face judgment for their own sins in due time. He instructs the prophet to write down the vision and assures that it will come to pass.
  • This section includes a series of “woes” against the Babylonians for their greed, violence, and idolatry.

Habakkuk’s Prayer (Habakkuk 3):

  • The final chapter is a prayer of Habakkuk, expressed as a psalm. It reflects on God’s past acts of deliverance and power, and concludes with a declaration of trust and joy in God, regardless of present circumstances.
  • Key Verses:
    • Habakkuk 3:17-18: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

The Jewish Rabbis generally say that the Book of Habakkuk was the prediction of the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians or Chaldeans. While in reality the prophesy is about the rise of Banu Qedar or Qedarites.

The Book of Habakkuk is an allegorical dialogue between Bakkah/Makkah and the Lord. The Bakkah complained about injustice and violence in Judah.

Rise of Banu Qedar

The word Kasdim which appears in Habakkuk 1:6, has been interpreted differently by the Jewish scholarship. This is the nation that is prophesied in this book raised for the punishment of Judah. Some interpret Kasdim as Babylonians, some others as Chaldeans, and still some others as Romans. In our understanding, they are Banu Qedar or Qedarites.

Habakkuk 3:3:

God came from Teman and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.”

Mount Paran is the English name for the Arabic name Jebel Faran according to the Jewish Virtual Library.

It is important to note the phrase ‘God came from Teman and the Holy One from Mount Paran.Selah’ should be kept in focus regarding the punishment of Judeans. According to the Muslim scholars Jebel Faran is located at Makkah. Banu Jurhum—Prophet Ismail’s in-laws —named Makkah Selah, which is mentioned in Habakkuk 3:3.

Al-Balazari said in Ansab al-Ashraf:

ونزلت جرهم بمكة وما حولها. وسموها صلاحا

And the tribe of Jurhum settled in Makkah and its surroundings. They named it Selah.

So Jebel Faran/Mount Paran and Selah are two important references to Makkah in the Book of the Bakkah (Habakkuk).

Qedar, also spelled Kedar was the eldest son of Prophet Ismail (peace be upon him). Al-Balazari said:

When God took His prophet Ishmael, his son Kedar (Qedar) ibn Ishmael (Ismail) took responsibility for the House (the Kaaba) after him. His mother was from the tribe of Jurhum. Then (responsibility passed to) Nabet ibn Kedar. Then Tayma ibn Nabet.

The same genealogy of Qedar, upward and downward, has been attributed to Imam Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Shehab al-Zohri by Mosab al-Zubairi in Nasb Quraysh.

A Jewish historian from the first century AD, Flavius Josephus in his famous work Antiquities of the Jews (Vol.1, P.43) observes:

When the lad was grown up, he married a wife, by birth an Egyptian, from w^hence the mother was herself derived originally. Of this wife were born to Ishmael twelve sons, Nabaioth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mabsam, Idumas, Masmaos, Masaos, Chodad, Theman, Jetur, Naphesus, Cadmas. These inhabited all the country from Euphrates to the Red Sea, and called it Nabatene. They are an Arabian nation, and name their tribes from these, both because of their own virtue, and because of the dignity of Abraham their father.

Kedar or Qedar or Qedarite was a significant nomadic tribe in ancient Arabia, often mentioned in the Bible and other historical texts. The name “Kedar” (Hebrew: קֵדָר) appears several times in the Old Testament, where it is associated with the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar. Specifically, Kedar is listed as one of Ishmael’s sons in Genesis 25:13:

  • “These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam.”

Characteristics and Significance of Kedar

  1. Nomadic Lifestyle: The tribe of Kedar is depicted as nomadic, dwelling in tents, and moving across the desert regions of northern Arabia. Their lifestyle was typical of Bedouin tribes, who lived by herding and trading.
  2. Trade and Commerce: Kedar is noted for its involvement in trade, particularly in livestock and other goods. Ezekiel 27:21 references their commercial activities:
  • “Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your customers; they did business with you in lambs, rams, and goats.”

Military Prowess: The tribe is also described as having a strong martial tradition, with skilled archers and warriors. Isaiah 21:16-17 mentions the decline of Kedar’s military might:

  • “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.”

Cultural Context: The mention of Kedar in Psalm 120:5, “Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!” suggests a cultural distinction between the psalmist’s settled lifestyle and the nomadic existence of Kedar. It also implies a certain sense of isolation or difficulty in relating to the nomadic way of life.

Historical and Archaeological Insights

Historically, Kedar is often associated with the Qedarite kingdom, which was a confederation of Arab tribes in the northern Arabian Peninsula. They played a significant role in the politics and economy of the region, particularly from the 8th to the 4th centuries BCE. The Qedarites were known to have interacted with the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, sometimes as allies and sometimes as adversaries.

Certainly! Dumat al-Jandal, historically known as Adummatu, has a rich and significant history, particularly in relation to the ancient Arab kingdoms, including the Qedarites. Here’s an expanded explanation incorporating historical and archaeological insights:

Dumat al-Jandal (Adummatu)

  • Ancient Name: The ancient city known as Adummatu in Akkadian inscriptions is identified with modern Dumat al-Jandal. The name Adummatu appears in several Neo-Assyrian records, indicating its prominence in the region.
  • Geographical Location: Dumat al-Jandal is located in the northwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula, in what is now Al-Jawf Province in Saudi Arabia. Its strategic location at the crossroads of major trade routes contributed to its historical importance.

Early References and Inscriptions:

  • Akkadian Inscriptions: The city is mentioned in the records of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, particularly during the reign of Shalmaneser III (858-824 BCE). The inscriptions refer to it as Adummatu and describe it as a fortified city and a key center of the Arabian tribes.
  • Assyrian Campaigns: The Assyrians conducted several military campaigns against Adummatu due to its strategic significance and its role as a stronghold of the Qedarites and other Arab tribes. One notable campaign was led by Tiglath-Pileser III in the 8th century BCE.

Qedarite Kingdom:

  • Capital of Qedar: Adummatu is frequently described as the capital of the Qedarite kingdom, a powerful and influential Arabian tribe during the first millennium BCE. The Qedarites are mentioned in various ancient texts, including Assyrian, Babylonian, and biblical sources.
  • Economic and Political Role: As the capital, Adummatu served as a political and economic hub for the Qedarites. It was a center for trade, linking the Arabian Peninsula with Mesopotamia and the Levant.

Archaeological Findings:

  • Fortifications and Structures: Excavations at Dumat al-Jandal have revealed significant fortifications, residential structures, and artifacts that date back to its period of prominence. These findings provide insights into the city’s role as a major center of power and trade.
  • Cultural Influences: The artifacts and architectural styles found in Dumat al-Jandal reflect a blend of local Arabian and external influences, indicative of its interactions with neighboring civilizations.

Later History:

  • Islamic Period: During the early Islamic period, Dumat al-Jandal continued to be an important city. It was mentioned in Islamic historical sources and played a role in various military and political events.
  • Modern Significance: Today, Dumat al-Jandal is an archaeological site and a testimony to the rich historical and cultural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula. It attracts researchers and tourists interested in the ancient history of Arabia.

Emergence of the Nabataean Kingdom

As Flavius Josephus pointed out during his lifetime the area dominated by the descendants of Ismail (peace be upon him) was known as Nabatene. Other research works suggest that now the Arabian nation who governed the Nabatene were known as Nabataeans. Most likely the Nabataeans were descendants of Nabat bin Qedar. So Nabataeans might be another name for Qedarites transformed over centuries. Possibly some nations might call them Nabateeans and other Qedarites.

  • Migration and Settlement: The Nabataeans, initially nomadic like the Qedarites, began to settle in the region around the 6th century BCE. They occupied and developed key areas previously influenced or controlled by the Qedarites.
  • Economic Shift: The Nabataeans capitalized on the decline of the Qedarites by enhancing their control over trade routes and establishing permanent settlements. This transition was marked by a shift from a predominantly nomadic to a more settled and urbanized society.
  • Strategic Advantages:
    • Location: The Nabataeans settled in strategic locations such as Petra (in modern-day Jordan), which provided natural defenses and access to major trade routes connecting Arabia with the Mediterranean and Near East.
    • Water Management: They developed advanced water conservation techniques, including the construction of cisterns, reservoirs, and aqueducts, which allowed them to thrive in arid conditions and support larger populations.
  • Economic Prosperity:
    • Trade Dominance: By controlling the incense and spice trade routes, the Nabataeans amassed significant wealth. They traded with distant regions, including the Roman Empire, Egypt, and the Hellenistic world.
    • Urban Development: Petra, the Nabataean capital, became a major urban center known for its architectural marvels, including rock-cut buildings and elaborate tombs.
  • Cultural and Political Development:
    • Cultural Synthesis: The Nabataeans assimilated various cultural influences from their trade partners, including Greek, Roman, and Egyptian elements, which are evident in their art, architecture, and religious practices.
    • Political Structure: The Nabataean kingdom developed a more centralized political structure compared to the Qedarites. They had a monarchy with established rulers who engaged in diplomacy and military campaigns to secure their borders and trade interests.
  • Historical Recognition:
    • Greek and Roman Accounts: Greek historians like Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, as well as Roman accounts, provide detailed descriptions of the Nabataeans, highlighting their wealth, strategic acumen, and architectural achievements.
    • Biblical References: The Nabataeans are also mentioned in later biblical texts, reflecting their significance in the region during the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods.

Ar-Raqeem or Petra

Flavius Josephus observes in Antiquities of the Jews (Vol.4, P.254) about the Prophet Moses’s expeditions in Jordan:

Now the Midianites perceiving beforehand how the Hebrews were coming, and would suddenly be upon them, they assembled their army together, and fortified the entrances into their country, and there awaited the enemy’s coming. When they were come, and they had joined battle with them, an immense multitude of the Midianites fell, nor could they be numbered they were so very many: And among them fell their kings, five in number, viz. Evi, Zur, Reba, Hur, and Rekam, who was of the same name with a city, the chief and capital of all Arabia, which is still now so called, by the whole Arabian nation, Arecem, from the name of the king that built it, but is by the Greeks called Petra.

Certainly! The ancient city of Petra, known in Arabic as Al-Raqeem, holds a significant place in the history of the Arabian Peninsula and the broader ancient world. Here is an expanded discussion on Petra (Al-Raqeem) and its historical significance:

Historical Significance

Name and Etymology:

  • Al-Raqeem: In Arabic, Petra is referred to as Al-Raqeem. This name appears in Islamic tradition and is associated with the story of the People of the Cave (Ashab al-Kahf) mentioned in the Quran (Surah Al-Kahf).
  • Petra: The name Petra comes from the Greek word for rock, reflecting the city’s architecture carved directly into sandstone cliffs. The Nabataeans built Petra as their capital and a key trading hub.

Geographical Location:

  • Strategic Position: Petra is located in present-day southern Jordan, near the eastern fringes of the Arabah Valley. Its strategic position at the crossroads of trade routes linking Arabia, Egypt, and the Levant made it a vital commercial center.

Historical Background:

  • Nabataean Kingdom: Petra rose to prominence as the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom around the 4th century BCE. The Nabataeans were an Arab people known for their trading acumen and engineering skills.
  • Economic Prosperity: The city’s wealth was derived from its control over trade routes that transported spices, incense, textiles, and other valuable goods from Arabia to the Mediterranean.
Arabian trade routes

Architectural Marvels:

  • Rock-Cut Architecture: Petra is famous for its stunning rock-cut architecture. Key structures include the Treasury (Al-Khazneh), the Monastery (Ad-Deir), and the Royal Tombs. These structures demonstrate advanced engineering and artistic skills.
  • Water Management: The Nabataeans developed sophisticated water management systems, including dams, cisterns, and aqueducts, which allowed them to sustain a large population in an arid environment.

Cultural and Political Influence:

  • Cultural Synthesis: Petra reflects a blend of Nabataean, Hellenistic, Roman, and Egyptian influences. This is evident in the city’s art, architecture, and religious practices.
  • Independence and Autonomy: The Nabataeans maintained a degree of independence even under the influence of larger empires. They managed to navigate their relationships with the Greeks, Romans, and other neighboring powers effectively.

Integration into the Roman Empire:

  • Roman Annexation: In 106 CE, Petra was annexed by the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan and became part of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. This brought increased connectivity and prosperity to the region.
  • Continued Prosperity: Under Roman rule, Petra continued to thrive as a commercial hub, benefiting from the stability and infrastructure improvements brought by the empire.

Decline and Rediscovery:

  • Decline: Petra’s significance declined as trade routes shifted and new centers of power emerged. By the early Islamic period, the city had largely fallen into obscurity.
  • Rediscovery: The city was rediscovered by the Western world in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Since then, it has become a major archaeological site and tourist destination.

Modern Significance:

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, recognizing its cultural and historical importance.
  • Tourism and Research: Today, Petra is one of the most visited tourist sites in the Middle East. It attracts scholars and archaeologists who continue to uncover the city’s rich history and heritage.

The Connection Between Hejaz and Ar-Raqeem

Archeologists have studied the Nabataean inscriptions scattered in Ar-Raqeem (Petra). Though Nabataean graffiti is inscribed in Aramaic script, the language used is purely Arabic. The Nabataeans had polytheistic beliefs sharing the same deities worshipped in Makkah and Madina. DuShara, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Al-Manat, and Hubul are the major deities worshipped in Hejaz and Ar-Raqeem. This resemblance in beliefs suggests a strong historical and cultural connection between the two neighboring regions.

Nabataean Inscriptions and Cultural Connections

Nabataean Inscriptions:

  • Language and Script: Archaeological studies have uncovered numerous Nabataean inscriptions scattered throughout Petra (Ar-Raqeem). These inscriptions, while written in the Aramaic script, use a language that is essentially an early form of Arabic. This highlights the linguistic transition in the region and the cultural interplay between different Semitic languages.
  • Graffiti and Official Inscriptions: The inscriptions include both graffiti, which is more informal and often found on rock faces and walls, and official inscriptions, which are typically more formal and can be found on monuments and tombs. They provide valuable insights into the daily life, religious practices, and socio-political structure of the Nabataeans.
Nabataean inscription

Religious Beliefs and Deities:

  • Polytheistic Beliefs: The Nabataeans practiced a polytheistic religion that featured a pantheon of gods and goddesses. The major deities worshipped in Petra included DuShara, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Al-Manat, and Hubal.
  • DuShara: DuShara (also spelled Dushara) was one of the principal gods of the Nabataeans, often associated with the supreme deity of the Nabataean pantheon. His name means “Lord of the Shara” (the Shara mountains near Petra), and he was often symbolized by a block of stone, emphasizing his connection to the earth and the landscape.
  • Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Al-Manat: These goddesses were also worshipped in the wider Arabian Peninsula, including in the Hejaz region (Makkah and Madina). Al-Lat was a mother goddess, Al-Uzza was associated with power and protection, and Al-Manat was the goddess of fate and time.
  • Hubal: Hubal was another significant deity, particularly known in the pre-Islamic Kaaba in Makkah. He was associated with divination and was considered a powerful figure among the deities.

[The Religion of the Nabataeans: A Conspectus: p.182]

Cultural Connections:

  • Shared Deities: The worship of these common deities indicates strong cultural and religious connections between the Nabataeans and the tribes of the Hejaz region. This shared pantheon suggests that there was significant interaction and cultural exchange between these neighboring regions.
  • Trade and Pilgrimage: The Nabataeans were renowned traders, and their control of key trade routes facilitated the exchange of not only goods but also ideas and religious practices. The Hejaz region, including Makkah and Madina, was a pivotal area for trade caravans, and it is likely that Nabataean merchants and travelers contributed to the spread of religious beliefs.
  • Architectural and Artistic Influences: The architectural styles and artistic motifs found in Petra bear similarities to those in the Hejaz region, further underscoring the cultural connections. For example, the use of rock-cut architecture and certain decorative elements can be seen in both areas.

Historical Significance:

  • Archaeological Evidence: Archaeological discoveries in Petra, such as temples, altars, and inscriptions dedicated to these deities, provide concrete evidence of the Nabataeans’ religious practices and their connections to other Arabian cultures.
  • Continuity and Transformation: The religious and cultural practices of the Nabataeans influenced and were influenced by neighboring regions. This dynamic interaction contributed to the rich tapestry of pre-Islamic Arabian culture and set the stage for the transformations that would come with the advent of Islam.

Conclusion

The study of Nabataean inscriptions and religious practices reveals a deep cultural and historical connection between Petra (Ar-Raqeem) and the Hejaz region, including Makkah and Madina. The use of an early form of Arabic in Nabataean inscriptions, despite being written in the Aramaic script, highlights the linguistic and cultural transitions in the region. The shared pantheon of deities such as DuShara, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Al-Manat, and Hubal underscores the religious links between these areas. These connections illustrate the interconnectedness of ancient Arabian societies through trade, cultural exchange, and shared religious traditions, reflecting a rich and complex pre-Islamic heritage.

Now read the chapter of the Qur’an (Al-Quraysh) that mentions the trade roots of summer and winter as a sign of the Lord’s blessings upon the people of Makkah:

˹At least˺ for ˹the favour of˺ making Quraysh habitually secure—secure in their trading caravan (to Yemen) in the winter and (Syria) in the summer—let them worship the Lord of this ˹Sacred˺ House, Who has fed them against hunger and made them secure against fear.

Can anyone who knows the described history of Kedarites and Nabataeans, can claim that the Qur’anic narrative is irrelevant and out of context? Tell Dr. Jay Smith that Makkah is not a joke but it is a ground fact from Arabian antiquity.

Theopanes the Confessor Confesses

Theophanes the Confessor was a notable Byzantine monk, chronicler, and saint who lived during the 8th and early 9th centuries. His full name is Theophanes the Confessor, also known as Theophanes Isauricus. He is particularly renowned for his contributions to Byzantine historiography and his steadfast defense of the veneration of icons during the period of Iconoclasm.

Theophanes was born around 758 CE into a wealthy and influential family in Roman capital Constantinople or its vicinity. His father, Isaac, was a high-ranking official, and his family enjoyed a significant social and economic standing. Despite the privileges of his birth, Theophanes chose a life of religious dedication.

Theophanes’ most significant contribution to history is his “Chronographia” (The Chronicle), which he compiled in the early 9th century. This work is a continuation of the historical chronicle of George Syncellus and covers the period from 284 to 813 CE, spanning from the accession of Emperor Diocletian to the reign of Michael I Rangabe.

Theophanes lived in the time when the Byzantine Empire was facing a bad decline and the Romans were defeated by the Muslim Arab armies in the Arabian Peninsula. They lost Palestine and Jerusalem, which made them very aggressive toward Muslims. Theopanes’s remarks on Islam, Muslims, the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him), and Makkah were very humiliating and showed his extreme hatred for Islamic identities.

Theophanes the Confessor wrote his “Chronographia” approximately a century and a half after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), making his observations on Islam particularly significant from a historical perspective. These observations serve as an early external corroboration of the existence of Muhammad, his teachings, and Islamic sacred places. Here are some logical arguments to support the importance of Theophanes’ remarks:

Historical Proximity

Theophanes’ work was composed relatively close to the time of Prophet Muhammad’s life (circa 570–632 CE). Writing in the early 9th century, Theophanes was only about 150 years removed from the foundational events of Islam. This proximity in time means that Theophanes had access to sources and accounts that were much closer to the original events than later historians, providing a more immediate perspective on the early Islamic period.

Independent Corroboration

As a Byzantine chronicler, Theophanes’ primary focus was not on Islamic history but on Byzantine events. Therefore, his references to Islam and its prophet are independent corroborations from a non-Muslim source. This external validation is crucial for historians because it provides evidence outside of Islamic traditions and texts, enhancing the credibility of the historical existence of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the early development of Islam.

Confirmation of Key Details

Theophanes’ remarks affirm several critical aspects of Islamic tradition:

  1. Existence of Muhammad: By mentioning Muhammad, Theophanes confirms that Muhammad was a recognized and influential figure known to Byzantine observers.
  2. Teachings of Islam: References to the teachings and spread of Islam demonstrate that Muhammad’s religious message had a significant and recognizable impact beyond the Arabian Peninsula.
  3. Islamic Sacred Places: Mentions of Islamic sacred places, such as Mecca and Medina, confirm their importance in the early Islamic community and their recognition by contemporaneous non-Muslim societies.

Contextual Understanding

Theophanes provides context about the Byzantine perspective on the rise of Islam. His descriptions help modern historians understand how Islam was perceived by one of its neighboring civilizations. This perspective is invaluable for constructing a comprehensive picture of the early Islamic period, including the interactions between Muslims and Byzantines.

Comparative Analysis

The remarks of Theophanes allow historians to perform comparative analyses between Byzantine and Islamic records of the same period. This comparison helps in cross-verifying events, dates, and figures, leading to a more nuanced and accurate historical narrative.

Influence on Later Historiography

Theophanes’ “Chronographia” influenced later Byzantine and Western historians. His account serves as a bridge between earlier sources and subsequent medieval historiography, ensuring that details about early Islam were transmitted and considered in later historical analyses.

In summary, Theophanes the Confessor’s observations in the “Chronographia” are vital for historical research. They provide independent, contemporaneous corroboration of the existence of Prophet Muhammad, his teachings, and Islamic sacred places, thereby enriching our understanding of early Islamic history and its broader historical context.

[The Chronicle Of Theophanes Confessor, p.509]

In the highlighted paragraph Theophanes describes an event of Abdul Malik (Abimelech) bin Marwan’s reign, when he sent an expedition against Abdullah ibn Zubair who announced his Caliphate in Makkah and surroundings. Crhonographia affirms the existence of a sacred temple (Ka’abah) in Makkah (Mecca). Actually, there were no idols in Ka’abah at Abdul Malik’s time, but the chronicle expressed his biased view in these baseless words.

Theophanes observes further:

[The Chronicle Of Theophanes Confessor, p.510]

Why did Abdul Malik give instructions to rebuild the temple of Makkah? Because it is a highly esteemed and venerated place by the Muslims. since the Prophet Muhammad’s time. So Theophanes’s words affirm the significance of Makkah from early days of Islam. Theophanes leveled all the wicked plans of Dr. Jay Smith and his fellow men. Allah is the Greatest.

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