The quibla is the direction to Mecca that Muslims point themselves when doing their repetitive prayers. There is a niche on modern mosques
that indicates the direction of Mecca.
Some time back I saw an article that mentioned that the quiblas of the oldest mosques do not point to Mecca, but are off by 30 degrees and more. I thought this would make a great project subject and today got inspired to Google a question as to what the quiblas actually do point to and found an interesting site and put on the "history" threads.
There are references to lots of other temples, and even to a great temple "highly revered by all the Arabs', that was of the Bythemaneas, located near Ilat in the Aqaba gulf area.
From a website
"The Qiblah of the oldest mosques in Mecca, Iraq and Egypt do not align with Mecca. Instead they align with a point in northern Arabia. This has caused some Orientalists to speculate that they may be aligned with Jerusalem, but the calculations don't work out. The Qiblah of the earliest mosques face a point south of Jerusalem but north of Mecca."
Is this yet another smoking gun? Might the oldest mosques be pointing to that temple of the Bythemaneas in Ilat in the northern Gulf of Aqaba?
Even Mohammed's own tribe, the Quraish went on Hajj, or pilgrimage, to places to the north twice a year, long after the Kaaba in Mecca was built, indicating that the Kaaba in Mecca was a lesser temple. One of the journeys during the summer was to the city of Taif where 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 above from Dr. Amari's work.
Later I saw an Islamic site arguing that Patrica Crone
was wrong in her analysis as to where the mosque pointed to.
I concur, if
his understanding of her work is correct, in the first place.http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Dome_Of_The_Rock/qibla.html
"Figure 2: The direction of Qiblah and Jerusalem from Baghdad. The blue arrow shows the direction of the early mosque.
"The earliest mosque in Baghdad was off by 30."
Now look at the middle east map below, and guess at about where that qibla IN BAGDAD points to.
I held a piece of paper along the blue line, and then scrolled the map up into it with my mouse until it got to Bagdad. The blue line crosses just below Tabuk.
The mosque points to northern Saudi Arabia, where the great pilgrimage to the "great temple "highly revered by all the Arabs'" was supposed to be. Even the Quraish went there on pilgrimage from Mecca.