Why Did the First Muslims Pray Towards Petra?

  In his excellent and thought-provoking presentation titled "An Historical Critique of Islam's Beginnings," Jay Smith points out an intriguing fact... 

  By 624 AD, all mosques were supposed to be facing Mecca. And yet, it took 200 years for Islam to finally get their "unity of direction of prayer" right and point all their mosques towards Mecca. 

  200 years! 

  Something is obviously wrong here. The historical facts are not tying up with the Islamic sources. That is the reason scholars are now investigating why that is. 

  The Qibla literally means "direction," and in Islam refers to the direction in which a Muslim must pray. 

  Classic Islamic history tells us that Muhammad first taught Muslims to pray towards Jerusalem, but then supposedly received a revelation from Allah changing the direction of prayer to Mecca instead. This change was made in 624 AD.  

  All slides and maps 
in this article are screenshots which were taken from a video of Jay Smith's presentation at Calvary Church Chino Hills in 2013, a link for which video is provided below.

  The blue arrows in this map show where Qiblas were pointing in the earliest days of Islam, or around the 620-630s, just before the death of Muhammad. As you can see, they point, not towards either Jerusalem or Mecca, but to Petra.
Here is a satellite view of the Great Mosque of Guangzhou which was built in 630 AD, and whose Qibla points Muslims to pray towards Petra.
The Qibla of the Humeima Mosque in southwestern Jordan points toward Petra. 

The Qibla of the Great Mosque of Ba'albek in Lebanon points to Petra. 

The Qibla of the Great Mosque of Sana'a built in Yemen in 705 AD points to Petra. 

The Qibla of the Al Aqsa Mosque built in Jerusalem in 709 AD points to Petra.

The Qibla of the Damascus Mosque built in Syria also in 709 AD points to Petra. 
The Qibla of the Anjar Mosque built in Beirut in 714 AD points to Petra.
The Qibla of the Mosque of Umar built in Syria in 720 AD points to Petra.
In 727 AD, a mosque was finally built in Banbhore, Pakistan, the Qibla of which points to Mecca. That is 103 years after Muhammad's supposed revelation changing the direction from Jerusalem to Mecca.
But, about a year later, the al-Sharqi Mosque is built in Syria that still points to Petra.
The Mushatte Mosque in Amman was built in 743 AD, and it was still facing Petra. 
 The Ribat Fortress in Tunisia was built in 770, and it faced neither Petra nor Mecca. 
It was the same with the Cordoba Mosque in Spain, built in 784. Its Qibla pointed towards neither Petra or Mecca.
Ditto for the Great Mosque of Kairouan, built in 817 AD. 
So here is what we know: 
  The conflict between history, archaeology and the classical account of Islam's beginnings is etched in stone, no pun intended. 

  There is no explanation in the Islamic sources for the original Qibla being Petra, nor any explanation as to why there is no valley in Mecca, or a stream, or fields, trees or grass, clay or loam, and no pillar of salt. 

  The question is also raised about why the Quran would speak of grapes and olives and other fruits in Mecca, where none grow except dates. 
On the other hand, Jay notes that...

  While the Bible continues to amaze many with its historical accuracy, attention from scholars, historians and reliable archaeologists is only now being placed on the claims made in the Quran and Islamic sources. And answers are coming, but they are not confirming what Muslims have been telling the world for centuries. We shall soon see if today's Muslims have the intestinal fortitude to realize and accept that, sadly, they have been sold a bill of goods, and to move on from there.   

  Jay only hints at "Why Petra?" and I don't want to spoil your fun, so watch the video instead. It's linked to below. There is much, much more to learn from Jay's presentation so... 


  "In Search of the Missing Mecca - Speaker's Corner Debate Between the Pfander Team & Mansur Ahmed


  "An Historical Critique of Islam's Beginnings" is here:


  Dan Gibson's video and website exploring this issue further are here:

   The Sacred City 


   The Qibla Question:


   Jerusalem or Petra?


   Why Petra fits all the criteria for Islam's first holy city (it has a Bekaa Valley, too!):


   Massive New Monument Found in Petra