Makkah or Bakkah? What the Qur’an says about the first house of God

Peace be upon you brothers and sisters. In today’s video, I wanted to look at the Qur’anic evidence for the claim made by the Muslims that Bakkah is the old name of Makkah. While, I consider these issues to be irrelevant due to the fact that the location of these ancient sites have been lost, a number of Qur’an only followers consider the so-called Hajj in Makkah currently to be a rite ordained by God in the Qur’an. They believe that God commanded the believers to go to Makkah and participate in these idol worshipping rituals under the guise of Hajj.

Let me be clear: the Hajj as practiced by the Muslims in its current form is nothing more than idol worship. I cover this issue in depth in Chapter 11 of my book “Will You Not Reason?” but I will just give you some key points as to the similarities of the current day Hajj and similar practices in both Hinduism and Buddhism.

The defining feature of the Hajj is the circling of the Kaaba idol counter-clockwise seven times. The Qur’an does not mention the circling of any object seven times. However, this practice is found in Hinduism and is termed “saat-phere”. Circambulation around a sacred object is also a common practice in pagan religions and is termed as Parikrama or Pradakshina. Here is a quick summary of both of these terms in Wikipedia:

The saat phere is one of the most important features of the Hindu Wedding, involving seven rounds around a sacred fire lit for the purpose amidst the Vedic mantras. The bride and groom circumambulate a consecrated fire seven times, reciting specific vows with each circuit (Sanskrit: parikrama). Vows made in the presence of the sacred fire (Sanskrit: agni) are considered unbreakable, with Agnideva held as both witnessing and blessing the couple’s union. Every phera taken holds a specific meaning. And in according to vedas [parikrama] is from origin of hindu dharma, according to vedas it is lords ritual of acceptances of soul.
Parikrama or Pradakshina is clockwise circumambulation of sacred entities, and the path along which this is performed, as practiced in the Indic religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. In Buddhism, it refers only to the path along which this is performed. Typically, in Indic-religions the parikrama is done after completion of traditional worship (puja) and after paying homage to the deity. Parikrama must be done with dhyāna (spiritual contemplation and meditation).

Revering a cuboid stone structure in Mecca or kissing a stone encased in one of its sides – which Muslims call the Hajar-al-aswad – is idol worship, pure and simple. The Qur’an contains a stark warning for those who revere stones – a common motif across all pagan religions.

O you who heed warning: protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are angels stern and severe; they do not oppose God in what He has commanded them but do what they are commanded.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (66:6)

Coming back to the claim made by Muslims that the first house established by Prophet Abraham in Bakkah is the same site in Makkah, we have a big problem as the Qur’an makes it clear that the first house of God was established by Abraham in Bakkah. This implies, that there were other houses established after it. There is no place in the Qur’an where it says that Bakkah was the old name of the current idol center Makkah as Muslims keep on insisting.

Brother Gerrans makes an interesting observation regarding the claim of Muslims that Abraham was the one who started their Hajj practices i.e. they insinuate that Abraham led people into worshipping a stone structure. If we look at the Qur’anic narrative of Abraham it is clear that he abhorred the worship of statues and all things carved. He is the one who destroyed the idols of his own community. Does this sound like a man who would then leave his idol-worshipping community and build a stone idol in the middle of the desert to prostrate to? The Qur’an is quite clear that he setup the first house of worship at Bakkah but to attribute to him the idolatrous rituals being practiced in Makkah today is crossing the line.

(The first house set up for mankind was that at Bakka, blessed and a guidance for all mankind:

In it are clear proofs of the station of Abraham; and whoso enters it is safe. And God’s claim upon mankind is a pilgrimage to the house, for whoso is able to find a path to it; and whoso denies: God is free from need of all mankind.)

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (3:96-97)

While Muslims claim that this first house established by Abraham in Bakkah is the cube stone idol (the Kaaba) in Makkah, there are a number of glaring problems with this assumption. The facts on the ground are that no one – unless you are of the few elect Saudis – is allowed entry into the Kaaba. Yet, the Qur’an explicitly states that “whoso entered it was safe”(the Arabic is in the past tense).

Furthermore, the Muslims’ claim that a set of footprints which they allege belong to Abraham (the Maqam Ibrahim) are what that Qur’an means by the the station of Abraham. However, the word maqam as used in the Qur’an can only mean standing, rank or station and nowhere does the Qur’an use it to mean footprints. The presence of footprints near a sacred site is not unique to the Kaaba, Buddhist shrines feature Buddha’s footprints as a common motif. This is yet another feature that the Kaaba site shares with other pagan sites. Please read Chapter 11 of my book for a further discussion on this subject.

Perhaps un-surprisingly, the Qur’an uses the work Makkah only once in connection with the masjid-al-Haram (the Holy Mosque):

 It is He who restrained their hands from you, and your hands from them, in the hollow of Mecca, after that He made you victors over them. God sees the things you do.

They are the ones who disbelieved, and barred you from the Holy Mosque and the offering, detained so as not to reach its place of sacrifice. If it had not been for certain men believers and certain women believers whom you knew not, lest you should trample them, and there befall you guilt unwittingly on their account (that God may admit into His mercy whom He will), had they been separated clearly, then We would have chastised the unbelievers among them with a painful chastisement.

The Koran Interpreted (48:24-25)

Using this one instance of the word makkah which can also mean “destruction” and fits the context better Muslims have shoehorned their idol worshipping center into the Qur’an. My position is that whether we take Makkah to be the name of a city or translate it as “destruction”, what is happening on the ground in Makkah is pure idol worship. So as believers, would we want to go near such a place?

Finally,, what is clear from the Qur’an is that Bakkah was the first site established by Abraham for the purposes of inviting men to God. The prophets and messengers were not leading idol worshipping rituals. And wherever the final messenger of God – Muhammad – was, it is also clear that he would have never condoned or led idolatrous rituals and revered a cube stone idol in Mecca.

And We raised up in every community a messenger: “Serve God and avoid idols.” And among them was he whom God guided; and among them was he upon whom misguidance was binding. So travel in the earth and see how was the final outcome of the deniers.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (16:36)