By. Dr. Rafat Amari

The Kaabah of Mecca was  one of many Kaabahs that  were  branches of the Kaabah of Taif;  It was of  the same building style and had the same religious pagan functions.

Islam is a form of the Arabian Star Family worship of Mohammed’s time. The veil which tries to hide this reality falls when we study the roots of the Islamic religion.

   Ibn Abbas, the cousin of Mohammed, and one of the reporters of the tradition of Mohammed, called Hadith, speaks of two pilgrimages of the Quraish tribe. One of the journeys was to the city of Taif.[i][1]

    At Taif there was also a temple called Kaabah of Ellat, or Kaabah of the Sun.  This Kaabah was more significant and much older than the Kaabah of Mecca.  All Arabs, including the tribe of Quraish from which Mohammed came, venerated this Kaabah. The Kaabah of Taif was identical to the Kaabah of Mecca, and it had the same religious functions. Like the Kaabah at Mecca, it had a sacred valley where no animals or humans were allowed to be killed. The Kaabah of Taif had the same Sidaneh, or religious rituals, adopted by the Kaabah at Mecca. The Kaabah of Taif also had the Istar استار , a kind of dress to cover the sacred stones like we find at the Kaabah of Mecca. Both the Kaabah of Taif and the Kaabah of Mecca had a yard, or an area, which was inviolable. No one could cut its trees or hunt its animals. Anyone who entered there for refuge was protected.  Both Kaabahs also had a well in which to put gifts.[ii][2]

    In Hijaz, the region of western and central western Arabia where Mecca was built, there were many Kaabahs which were dependent on this main Kaabah.[iii][3] Was the Kaabah of Mecca just one branch of this famous Arabian Kaabah?  It’s probable, for many factors point to that. First, the tribe of Tamim, which inhabited the city of Taif where this Kaabah was built, was of Yemeni origin. Second, the tribe of Tamim had preeminence over other tribes in the region, including the tribe of Quraish. We have already seen that the tribe of Tamim were judges for disputes among the Arabian tribes of the region.[iv][4] Third, the main door to the Kaabah at Mecca was called the “door of the sun worshippers,” which indicates the Kaabah of Mecca was, in particular, dedicated to the worship of the sun, just as was the Kaabah of Taif. However, this doesn’t mean that Allah was not worshipped as the Star, along with his daughters, al-'Uzza and Manat.

    The tribe of Quraish, in particular, worshipped Ellat, the Sun. They had an idol dedicated to Ellat in a place called Nekhlah, which was part of a larger area called Suk Ukkath (or Ukkaz), or the market or fair of Ukkath.[v][5]  Ukkath is a place where many came, not just to trade, but also to conduct a Hajj, or pilgrimage.   Since Ukkath housed the idol Ellat, and Ukkath was close to Mecca, people would visit Mecca after visiting Ukkath. There was also an idol of Ellat in the Kaabah of Mecca,[vi][6]  but it was less impressive than the idol of Ellat at Ukkath.

    All this suggests that there were connections between some of the Kaabahs of Hijaz, even though they were built by Yemeni tribes and leaders at various times in history. We assume the Kaabah of Taif was the leading Kaabah of the ones dedicated to the worship of Ellat, the sun. This could explain why the Quraish neglected the Kaabah of Mecca and participated in an annual religious trip with other worshippers of Ellat to the main Kaabah at Taif. Members of Arabian Star Family Worship were venerated in all the Kaabahs, such as Allah and his daughters, al-'Uzza and Manat. But it seems each Kaabah had a particular emphasis on the worship of one of the members of the Arabian Star Family.

    As in the Kaabah of Mecca, the Kaabbah of Taif had a large Black Stone around which the people circled.[vii][7]  The stone was the main element in Arabian Star Family Worship.

The Kaabah of Mecca was insignificant, even to the tribe of Quraish, until Mohammed imposed it as the exclusive place of worship for Muslims.

The tribe of Quraish continued to make two religious trips, or pilgrimages.  One was to the northern Kaabah, which I discussed before, and the other was to the Kaabah of Taif. When Mohammed occupied Mecca, he came with a verse from the Qur’an, prohibiting his followers to make such trips. The Qur’an compelled them to worship only in the Kaabah of Mecca. The verse I'm referring to is found in Surah Quraish 106:1-3,

For the covenants by the Quraish, their covenant journeys by winter and summer, let them adore the lord of this house.

It is clear that the tribe of Quraish was to have two religious journeys, one in winter and one in summer. We understand from old Islamic resources that the journey of  Quraish in summer was to Taif.[viii][8]   But the Qur’an prohibited Mohammed’s followers from worshipping other lords in other Kaabahs. Worshippers were to express their adoration only in the Kaabbah of Mecca. All this demonstrates that, among the Kaabahs  dedicated to Star Family Worship in Arabia, the Kaabah of Mecca was not an important Kaabah until Mohammed made his ruling. Instead, it was almost insignificant, even to the tribe of Quraish, which occupied Mecca after evicting the tribe of Khuzaa'h, the builders of the city and its Kaabah. The Kaabah at Mecca was important to the tribe of Khuzaa'h and to the tribe of Sufa, seemingly a branch of Khuzaa'h. Sufa was responsible for pagan ceremonies held in the mountains around Mecca. Such ceremonies were later incorporated into Islam by Mohammed, and became part of its pilgrimage.

    Even the tribe of Quraish considered the Kaabah of Mecca as irrelevant. They preferred to go to Ukkath to worship Ellat, the sun, rather than restricting their worship to the Kaabah at Mecca. They considered the northern temple and the main temple dedicated to the worship of Ellat, that is the Kaabah of Taif, as the more important temples.

The Kaabah at Mecca was not Important to Other Arabian Tribes

Not only did the tribe of Quraish fail to hold the Kaabah at Mecca in esteem above the other Kaabahs, but many  Arabian tribes felt the same way. We see that Thaqif, the main tribe of Taif, was not interested in preserving the Kaabah of Mecca. This was shown when Abraha, the Ethiopian, who controlled Yemen around 570  A.D., passed through Thaqif. They asked Abraha not to destroy their Kaabah, but instead to destroy the Kaabah in Mecca, because they knew his plans were to go there after occupying their city.[ix][9]  This shows that the Kaabah of Mecca was not important to the Arabian tribes because it was originally the Kaabah belonging to one tribe, the tribe of Khuzaa'h which built Mecca.

Hubol was a shrine of the Kaabah representing the moon. Hubol was called "Allah" before Venus  took the title of "Allah" from the moon.

Quraish worshipped an idol belonging to another tribe, the tribe of Kinaneh. The idol was called  “a companion or friend of Kinaneh.” Kinaneh then worshipped an idol called   “companion of Quraish.”[x][10]  This deity was Hubol. Hubol was worshipped as the main shrine in the Kaabah at Mecca. Scholars think this shrine represented Allah, the head of Arabian Star Worship, whose wife was Ellat, the sun. This god, Hubol, was found in the Nabataean inscriptions as the god of the moon,[xi][11] and he was formed in the image of a man.[xii][12]

    Scholars agree that Hubol, as the god of the moon, was the god of the Kaabah. For a certain period, he was also “Allah” for the inhabitants of Mecca.[xiii][13]  This was before Venus gained the title of Allah as the “great star.”

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[i][1] Ibn Abbas in Tabari, Jami’, xxx, 171. cited by Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade, Princeton University Press, 1987,  page, 205

[ii][2] Ibn al-Kathir 4:253 quoted by Jawad Ali, vi, 228

[iii][3] Jawad Ali, vi, 228

[iv][4]Mecca and Tamim, Kister, page 145 ff, quoted by Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade, Princeton University Press, 1987,  page, 156

[v][5] Tafsir al-Tabari 27; page 35; Al-Allusi, Ruh' al-Maani 27:47

[vi][6] Al-Allusi, Ruh' al-Maani 27: 47 ; Al-Khazen 4: 194, quoted by Jawad Ali vi, page 232

[vii][7]  Yaqut al-Hamawi,  Mujam al-Buldan 7, page 310; Taj al-Aruss 1, page 580; Tafsir al-Beithawi 1:199 ; al-Kalbi, al-Asnam, Dar al-Kutub al-Masriyah, Cairo-Egypt, 1925; Al-Lusi, Ruh' al-Maani, 27, page 47; Azruqi, Akhbar Mecca, 79

[viii][8]  Crone cited Ibn Abbas in Tabari, Jami’, xxx, 171; Patricia  Crone, Meccan Trade, Princeton University Press, 1987,  page 205

[ix][9]Tarikh al-Tabari, I, page 441

[x][10]Ibn Habib, al-Mahbar, page 318

[xi][11] Jawad Ali,vi, 328; Rino' Disu, al-Arab Fi Suryia Khabel al-Islam, page 116

[xii][12] Al-Tabarsi al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan, Majma' al-Bayan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, ( Beirut, 1954) 29, page 68

[xiii][13] Wellhausen, Reste Arabischen Heidentums, Berlin, 1927, S.73,221 ; Grohmann, S.87 cited by Jawad Ali, vi, 252


   Copyright ã 2004 by Dr. Rafat Amari. All rights reserved.