You ask and Jesus Answers (Part III)

By: Faten Sabri

When Jesus Christ was asked about the place for worship, he stated that worship will be conducted at a new place other than Jerusalem.

This is an indication of changing the direction of the Prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah and shifting of the religious leadership from Israelites to Arabs.

“The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’” (John 4:19-24)

 Jesus spoke here about true believers who will worship God in a place other than Jerusalem.

 In The New Testament, Jesus refers to a stone rejected by builders, and then the stone became the cornerstone. It is also mentioned that the kingdom of God will be taken away and given to a people that will produce its fruits.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’ Jesus Christ said: ‘Therefore I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you (Israelites) and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’”  (Matthew 21:42-43)

According to the Islamic version of the story, Prophet Abraham took Ishmael and Hagar and settled in Makkah (Paran in the Bible). A city where the Valley of Baca exist.

“Our LORD, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House (the valley of Baca in Makkah), our LORD, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.” (Qur’an14:37)

The Valley of Baca was mentioned in the Bible:

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the VALLEY OF BACA, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness for the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84: 1-11)

In spite of the claim that the verses above speak about the alleged Zion and argue about its existence, the descriptions given are applicable to Makkah.

“And proclaim to the people the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass -That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor. ” (Qur’an 22:27-28)

 – Makkah’s gates are open day and night:

“And when We made the House (Ka’aba at Makkah) a visitation and a sanctuary for the people (saying ‘Make the place where Abraham stood a place of prayer. ‘And We made a covenant with Abraham and Ishmael: ‘Purify My House for those who circumambulate around it, and those who cleave to it, to those who bow and prostrate'” (Qur’an 2:125)

– In Makkah, violence, devastation, destruction and hunting is forbidden:

“Indeed those who have disbelieved and prevent from the way of Allah and from this Sacred Mosque, which We have appointed for all mankind – its resident and the foreigner have the same rights in it; and whoever wrongfully intends injustice in it – We shall make him taste a painful punishment.” (Qur’an 22:25)

– Makkah is where the pilgrims go from mountain to mountain (strength to strength): [1]

In the above biblical verses (Psalms 84: 11) is mentioned that ‘they go from strength to strength’, in the Hebrew text, the original word of strength that was used in this verse means a hill, mountain or a barrier. This is a very clear description of one of the Muslim’s rituals [2] in the Holy city of Makkah during the Pilgrimage, as they go from hill to hill that are called Al Safa and Al Marwa. This shows another possible fabrication that is found in the Old Testament.

The verse starts with ‘Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,’ and this also refers to the final Prophet Muhammad who came with the pure message of the monotheism.[3]

In addition, the Valley of Baca is clearly mentioned as a noun in the biblical verse, therefore, it’s an existing place and not a metaphorical one as believed by others. It is also written in capital letters which confirms this assumption.

The biblical verses as said are speaking about a sacred place accommodating the courts of the Lord. In fact, all of those descriptions apply to the city of Makkah.

 Although Muslims believe that the city of Jerusalem is a Holy Place that was chosen by God forever, but the city of Makkah for them is the expected Zion prophesied in the Bible. The meaning of the word Zion[4] is ‘elevated place,’ which is a metaphorical description to a Holy place and which was applied on many cities, it has been used figuratively for the church and for Israel in the Babylonian captivity, so it seems like it has been used for any group or mass of people worshiping God, or to refer to a specific geographical location which can be applied on Makkah here.

The Anglican Church printed in New Zealand a book of prayers replacing the word Zion and the word Israel with the words of the holy mountain of God and the people of God to ensure that the original religious terms are not confused.

Moreover, the idea that the text tells about the past can be easily rejected, as the expression of incidents happened in the form of the past is used in the language of the Bible. “The ancients writers used the future tense to denote the present, the past without discrimination, and the past used to denote the future,” says Espinosa: “This caused many similarities.”

It is very known that the Temple at Jerusalem was established long time after Prophet Abraham, while the Holy House at Makkah was there even before Abraham, and it was in fact the first House of worship appointed for humanity, which was built by Prophet Adam with the help of the angels of God who placed the foundations of this House and was rebuilt later by Prophet Abraham.

” Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds.” (Qur’an 3:96)

 Ka’aba which exists from the remotest antiquity; was visited annually by people from the most distant corners of Arabia; and its sacredness was respected by the whole of Arabia.

The verses below command praising the Creator at the villages inhabited by Kedar, in reference to glorify and praise Him in Makkah. Kedar is a son of Ishmael and a forefather of Arabs. His offspring lived in Arabia. We read:

“Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants there of. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.” (Isaiah 42:10-11)

Prophet Ishmael is the base for the Family Tree of Prophet Muhammad through Kedar. The followers of Ishmael- Prophet Muhammad and all Muslims- are faithful until today to this covenant of circumcision. Muslims lift up their voices by praising God the Almighty and glorifying Him in Makkah. In their five daily prayers, Muslims include the praise of Prophet Abraham and his followers with the praise of Prophet Muhammad and his followers.

“As you know, Kedar is a descendant of Ishmael, these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam. ” (Genesis 25:13)

Makkah which is covered by a multitude of camels and to which flocks of Kedar are gathered.

“The multitude of camels  shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.” (Isaiah 60:6-7)

 Makkah exists between Midian ( North Saudi Arabia ) & Sheba ( Yemen)
Kedar & Nebaioth are sons of Ishmael: According to Genesis 25:13. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad. Nebaioth is the firstborn son of Ishmael.

Abraham decided to settle Ishmael and his mother Hagar there because of a divine instruction given to Abraham as a part of God’s plan. Hagar did not find water; so she ran seven times between two hills looking for water. This is the origin of one of the rituals that is performed during the pilgrimage to the city of Makkah by Muslims and the same ritual that was mentioned earlier about the two strengths.

“Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.” (Genesis 21:16-21)

The Bible tells us that a well of water gushed out in the Desert of Paran (The name ‘Paran’ or ‘Faran’ has often been used to refer specifically to the wilderness and mountains near where Makkah is located), [5] from which Hagar drank and gave her son Ishmael to drink.

This consists with the above verses making mention of the Valley of Baca which is made into a place of springs. The well is still available and it is called the well of Zamzam. As mentioned earlier, Abraham and Ishmael later rebuilt the Ka’aba (the house of worship) in Makkah. The place where Abraham used to perform prayers near the Ka’aba is still there (the Station of Abraham).

During the pilgrimage, pilgrims from all over the world commemorate the offering of Abraham and Ishmael by slaughtering a ram.

The fact that another area called Faran does exist in the south of Palestine does not prevent the existence of other Faran that was inhabited by Ishmael, and the historical evidence leads us to Hijaz (Arabia), where Prophet Ishmael and his father rebuilt the Ka’aba, and where the well Zamzam exploded under his feet, as recognized by a number of historians, like Jerome and theologian Eusebius who said that Faran is Makkah.

Here we find a map was painted in the French court at the time of Louis XIV shows the location of the Mountains of Faran (Paran) in the Arabian Peninsula.

Beersheba [6] is one of the names of the well of Zamzam which is located in the city of Makkah, and according to Muslim’s faith, it is not the name of a city in Palestine as the geographical description of the well does not apply to the place located in south Palestine as claimed.  So here we find another attempt to hide the truth.

In fact, there is no place on the earth where a well gushed out for Hagar and her son Ishmael and at which Ishmael lived and begot a great nation other than Makkah.

“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’”(Genesis 22: 13-19)

Here the verse talks about a place that Abraham offered his son, and this place was a place that generations shall worship God in. There is no place on earth where the Jews or Christians celebrate Abraham’s sacrifice and worship God in, but actually in Islam, Muslims have a major feast which the feast of sacrifice, where they believe that the origin of this feast, the sacrifice of Ishmael, happened in Makkah.

We read also:

“These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”(Isaiah 56:7)

 As the Jews are just one nation, unlike the Islamic world, therefore, this prophecy is about the pilgrimage in Makkah.

This verse refers to:

  • The Holy mountain (Mount Arafat): Standing in the mount of Arafat is one of the pillars of pilgrimage in Islam.
  • The sacrifices: During Pilgrimage rams are slaughtered to commemorate the story of Abraham and Ishmael. (Pilgrimage’s Sacrifices)

    References:

[1]Dr. Zaghlul Al Najar.

[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safa_and_Marwa

[3]Dr. Zaghlul Al Najar.

[4]The book of Hidayat Al Hayara.

[5] Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan (1870). A series of essays on the life of Mohammad: and subjects subsidiary theretoLondon: Trübner & co. pp. 74–76.

[6] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Zamzam

http://neurotherapy-of-christian-brain.blogspot.com/2013/05/well-of-zamzam-or-wilderness-of.html

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.

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