Despite the systematic distortion of the divine revelation currently contained in the so-called “Bible”, we still find relics of the truth which was sent down by God in the Holy Scriptures. Distortion does not mean that scriptures are totally written down by human beings. It rather means that some parts are from God, while others are not.
Distortion altered the clear references to Makkah (Mecca) in the Holy Scriptures contained in the Bible just as it did other dogmatic issues which are even more important and pivotal. No wonder, in the Bible, God is purported to need to have rest and to feel regret like human beings so that a son can be ascribed to Him. Also, “begotten” is interpolated and given as a description of Jesus to distinguish him from the other sons of God in the Bible so that people may believe in his divinity. Similarly, the prophets and messengers of God are purported to have drunk alcohol, got intoxicated and committed adultery in order to pave the way for belief in the alleged salvation brought by Jesus. Likewise, most biblical prophecies of Prophet Muhammad were obliterated, and the remaining prophecies are denied and misinterpreted. Therefore, it is not unlikely that the clear-cut references to Makkah are equally blotted out.
In spite of all this distortion, corruption, adulteration, and interpolation, the Bible still includes references, direct and indirect, to Makkah. There are still questions which the distorters cannot answer though they erased most facts and left only little genuine divine revelation in the Bible.
Direct References to Makkah
The Bible makes reference of “Baka”, which is one of the various names of Makkah. In the Bible, we read: “As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.” (Psalm 84:6)
The above variant of Makkah is similarly cited in the Qur’an. We read:
Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Baka – blessed and guidance for the worlds. (Aal `Imran 3:96)
The eighty fourth chapter (Psalm 84) tells us about a sacred place accommodating the courts of the Lord, for which souls long even faint, at which heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God, God’s praise is sung and there is a valley called “the Valley of Baca”. The chapter also tells us that this is a dry place made into a place of springs in the vicinity of tents, at which a day is better than a thousand elsewhere.
Do those descriptions not resemble those ones the Qur’an quotes Abraham as giving?
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, 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 (Ibrahim 14:37)
Do the above biblical descriptions not resemble those given by Prophet Muhammad? It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may God be pleased with him) that Prophet Muhammad said: “One prayer in my Mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque excepting Al-Masjid-AI-Haram (the holy mosque in Makkah).” (Al-Bukhari)
In fact, all of those descriptions apply to Makkah. Supposing that the intended place is somewhere in the vicinity of Zion, where is the place in the vicinity of Zion for which souls long even faint, at which heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God, God’s praise is sung and there is a valley called “the Valley of Baca”, and which is a dry place made into a place of springs in the vicinity of tents, at which a day is better than a thousand elsewhere?
Makkah is also referred to as “Paran” in the Bible. While we do not confirm that “Paran” is an old name of Makkah, it still refers to it given the associated indications and implications. So, we are not sure if “Paran” is actually an old name of Makkah or the word “Makkah” was deleted and replaced with “Paran”.
The Bible tells us that a well of water gushed out in the Desert of Paran, from which Hagar drank and gave her son Ishmael to drink. This consists with the above verses making mention of the Valley of Baka which is made into a place of springs. So, the Bible tells us about a well of water gushing out in the Valley of Baka and the Desert of Paran as well. We read:
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 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.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt. (Genesis 21:14-21)
Not to mention the well of water, the Bible tells us that Ishmael grew up and lived in the Desert of Paran and God undertook to make him into a great nation.
Now, we may ask: if Paran does not refer to Makkah, where is the alleged “Paran” where a well of water gushed out and Ishmael lived and begot a great nation? If it is located in Palestine or Sinai or in between as claimed by Christians, where are the well and the great nation over there? Is it not logical that a historic place like that should be famous and well-known for everybody?
In fact, we do not know about a place where a well gushed out for Hagar and her son Ishmael and at which Ishmael lived and begot a great nation other than Makkah.
It is curious that the above verses of the Bible closely resemble the narration reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may God be pleased with him). Ibn `Abbas narrated:
When Abraham had differences with his wife, (because of her jealousy of Hajar, Ishmael’s mother), he took Ishmael and his mother and went away. They had a water-skin with them containing some water, Ishmael’s mother used to drink water from the water-skin so that her milk would increase for her child. When Abraham reached Makkah, he made her sit under a tree and afterwards returned home. Ishmael’s mother followed him, and when they reached Kada’, she called him from behind, ‘O Abraham! To whom are you leaving us?’ He replied, ‘(I am leaving you) to God’s (Care).’ She said, ‘I am satisfied to be with God.’ She returned to her place and started drinking water from the water-skin, and her milk increased for her child. When the water had all been used up, she said to herself, ‘I’d better go and look so that I may see somebody.’ She ascended the Safa mountain and looked, hoping to see somebody, but in vain. When she came down to the valley, she ran till she reached the Marwa mountain. She ran to and fro (between the two mountains) many times. They she said to herself, ‘i’d better go and see the state of the child,’ she went and found it in a state of one on the point of dying. She could not endure to watch it dying and said (to herself), ‘If I go and look, I may find somebody.’ She went and ascended the Safa mountain and looked for a long while but could not find anybody. Thus she completed seven rounds (of running) between Safa and Marwa. Again she said (to herself), ‘I’d better go back and see the state of the child.’ But suddenly she heard a voice, and she said to that strange voice, ‘Help us if you can offer any help.’ Lo! It was Gabriel (who had made the voice). Gabriel hit the earth with his heel like this (Ibn `Abbas hit the earth with his heel to Illustrate it), and so the water gushed out. Ishmael’s mother was astonished and started digging. (Abu Al-Qasim) (i.e. the Prophet) said, “If she had left the water, (flow naturally without her intervention), it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.”) Ishmael’s mother started drinking from the water and her milk increased for her child. Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum, while passing through the bottom of the valley, saw some birds, and that astonished them, and they said, ‘Birds can only be found at a place where there is water.’ They sent a messenger who searched the place and found the water, and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to her and said, ‘O Ishmael’s mother! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)?’ (And thus they stayed there.) Later on her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them. Then an idea occurred to Abraham which he disclosed to his wife (Sarah), ‘I want to call on my dependents I left (at Makkah).’ When he went there, he greeted (Ishmael’s wife) and said, ‘Where is Ishmael?’ She replied, ‘He has gone out hunting.’ Abraham said (to her), ‘When he comes, tell him to change the threshold of his gate.’ When he came, she told him the same whereupon Ishmael said to her, ‘You are the threshold, so go to your family (i.e. you are divorced).’ Again Abraham thought of visiting his dependents whom he had left (at Makkah), and he told his wife (Sarah) of his intentions. Abraham came to Ishmael’s house and asked. “Where is Ishmael?” Ishmael’s wife replied, “He has gone out hunting,” and added, “Will you stay (for some time) and have something to eat and drink?’ Abraham asked, ‘What is your food and what is your drink?’ She replied, ‘Our food is meat and our drink is water.’ He said, ‘O God! Bless their meals and their drink.” Abu Al-Qasim (i.e. Prophet) said, “Because of Abraham’s invocation there are blessings (in Makkah).” Once more Abraham thought of visiting his family he had left (at Makkah), so he told his wife (Sarah) of his decision. He went and found Ishmael behind the Zamzam well, mending his arrows. He said, “O Ishmael, Your Lord has ordered me to build a house for Him.” Ishmael said, “Obey (the order of) your Lord.” Abraham said, “God has also ordered me that you should help me therein.” Ishmael said, “Then I will do.” So, both of them rose and Abraham started building (the Ka`ba) while Ishmael went on handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, “O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah 2.127). When the building became high and the old man (i.e. Abraham) could no longer lift the stones (to such a high position), he stood over the stone of Al- Maqam and Ishmael carried on handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:127)
It is worth noting that the Bible tells us that God shined from mount Paran. We read:
And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them… (Deuteronomy 33:1-3)
We do not find any interpretation for such shining in the Bible, but we find such interpretation in the Qur’an. We read:
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful. (Al-A`raf 7:157)
O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from God a light and a clear Book. By which God guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.(Al-Ma’idah 5:15-16)
And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path (Ash-Shura 42:52)