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.
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.
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...
"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