All posts for the month March, 2019

A funny thing happened on the way to Mecca

Published March 31, 2019 by amaic
Image result for lost in the desert on camel cartoon


Damien F. Mackey



Historians are beginning to realise that the city of Mecca, Islam’s most holy place,

and thought to have been built by Abraham, was not in fact built until about

the fourth Christian century, some two millennia or so after Abraham!

So, can Islam’s view of history really be trusted?



Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in his highly prophetic article “Mary and the Moslems” (, will – quite understandably (though differently from my opinion) – take the conventional view that Islam (or “Moslemism”, as he calls it) is a uniquely “post-Christian religion”:


Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed [sic], it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism, along with particular customs of Arabia.

Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty and His Creative Power, and uses it, in part, as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God. Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet, announcing him, just as, to Christians, Isaias and John the Baptist are prophets announcing Christ.

[End of quote]



Here Archbishop Sheen pointed to certain beliefs common to Islam and Christianity, whilst also telling of the notable opposition between the two – the same sort of contrasts that we read about again in the Second Vatican Council’s document Nostra Aetate (# 3), but couched in the Council’s typically more rounded and conciliatory tone:


  1. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.


[End of quote]


I fully respect the Council’s words which focus upon the commonalities between Christianity and Islam and which urge for mutual respect. Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort (c. 1700 AD), by contrast, bore a more Crusader-like attitude to the Moslems as so typical of his time. Referring once again to the great end-time Marian saints, he wrote: “These are the great men who are to come; but Mary is the One Who, by order of the Most High, shall fashion them for the purpose of extending His Empire over that of the impious, the idolaters and the Muslims”.


What is certain, and what Saint Louis himself wholeheartedly believed, is that the ultimate victory of Christianity, defined by the Second Vatican Council in terms of a spiritual, rather than a military, conquest, will belong to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The saint’s confidence in this regard was shared by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Primate of Poland, quoted by John Paul II in his Testament (# 1): “When victory is won, it will be a victory through Mary”.

She, as Our Lady of Fatima, will play a meaningful part according to Fulton Sheen (op. cit):


Mary is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself [sic].

But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.” In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say: “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”

[End of quote]


I, whilst indeed accepting at least the religious and the evangelical aspects of things in relation to Islam, find, nevertheless, that there are immense problems with the conventional view of Islam as an historical phenomenon. There are many articles currently surfacing that support a view that the historical claims of Islam are quite false and inaccurate, with no underlying archaeology to support them.

‘A funny thing has happened on the way to Mecca’ – for it is most curious that, according to this recent scholarship:


  • “Archaeology of Mecca – the History of Mecca”. There is no archaeological evidence that suggests that Mecca is an ancient town that existed before the Christian era, or even that it existed before about the 4th century A.D. ….



  • “Did Abraham Build the Kaaba?” The body of this paper will deal primarily with places and destinations, not theology or personality. I will examine the Biblical accounts of Abraham in the natural and sequential order in which they are preserved in the Bible, while I examine and compare a small sampling of the similarities and differences in the Quran and other Islamic sources. In doing so, I’ll point out the several fatal contradictions in the Islamic perspective and leave the reader to determine whether the Islamic version is truth to be believed or fable created to connect a pagan Arabian shrine to the Biblical patriarch of the Israelites. I will cover the ancient evidence and promptly dismember Islamic dogma as inauthentic and based on inadequate grounds. ….



  • “Islam: In Light of History”. Studies by Classical Writers show that Mecca could not have been built before the 4thD.” There is no mention of Mecca in the writings of any classical writer or geographer. This fact is an important argument against Islam’s claim that Mecca has existed since the time of Abraham. We have complete records of Greek and Roman writers, as well as many geographers who visited Arabia from the 4th century B.C. through the 3rd century A.D. Some of these people drew maps of Arabia telling us about every city, village, tribe, and temple existing there, yet none mentioned Mecca. If Mecca did indeed exist at the time of any of these geographers and writers, surely someone would have told us about this city. …. (



Islam’s early ‘Mecca’, where Abraham was, is most likely (in our new context) Jerusalem (Arabic al-Makdis) itself.

Whilst Islam’s ‘Medina’ probably stands for Midian – a name which also got confused as ‘Media’ in copies of the Book of Tobit.

Dr Rafat Amari, writing in “The History and Archaeology of Arabia show that Mecca did not exist before the advent of Christianity”, exposes the falsity of claims regarding Islam’s most venerated site of Mecca (



The richness of the archaeological findings and inscriptions of many regions of Arabia.


Islam claims that Mecca is an ancient historical city which existed long before Christ, dating as far back as the time of Abraham. A powerful argument against this claim is the absence of any inscriptions found on monuments, or in any archaeological records dating back to those times.

The ancient cities and kingdoms of Arabia do have rich histories which survive to this day through monuments, the inscriptions they bear, and in other archaeological documents. These historical records have given archaeologists a highly-integrated and, in some cases, complete record of the names of kings who ruled these cities and kingdoms. These records have also given archaeologists important information about the history of the wars fought over the kingdoms and cities of Arabia.

In most cases, inscriptions and monuments in various cities – especially in the western and southwestern portions of Arabia – even give the names of coregents who ruled with the kings.

Yet, even with this rich collection of historical and archaeological information, there are no inscriptions or monuments, or other archaeological findings whatsoever, that mention Mecca.

Regarding the richness of the archaeological findings in Arabia, Montgomery says that Assyrian inscriptions did not provide as much detailed information as the Arabian inscriptions did.[1] ….

[End of quote]


What is going on here?


According to my explanation, admittedly controversial, Islam is essentially an Old Testament religion based upon an original Judaïc matrix – hence it is saturated with, as Fulton Sheen had noted, “elements … of Judaism”. Its difference from Judaïsm, though, lies in the fact that it has been filtered through Arabia – the reason for its now “particular customs of Arabia”.

Obviously, then, we cannot accept that Islam is, as according to convention, a “post-Christian religion [having] its origin in the seventh century” – though it has, in the process of its centuries-long evolution, absorbed, as Sheen rightly noted, “some elements of Christianity”.

According to my previous efforts to determine the biblical origins of the Prophet now claimed by Islam, Mohammed, I had concluded that he was something of a composite scriptural character, including bits of Moses, of Tobit and his son Tobias, of Jeremiah and Nehemiah, and even of Jesus Christ himself. This I do not find surprising considering what I have already described as the long evolution of Islam from its original Judaïc foundations in the Old Testament, and then on through the New.

Most extraordinarily, there was a second Nehemiah, a Jew, supposedly in 614 AD (the era of Mohammed), to whom a Persian general had entrusted the city of Jerusalem – just as “King Artaxerxes”, thought to have been an ancient Persian king, had allowed the biblical Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and to restore the damaged city. This supposedly later Nehemiah “offers a sacrifice on the site of the Temple”, according to Étienne Couvert (La Vérité sur les Manuscripts de la Mer Morte, p. 98. Translated). “He even seems to have attempted to restore the Jewish cult of sacrifice”. Just like the biblical Nehemiah, another template for Mohammed.


Most assuredly, a funny thing has happened on the way to Islam’s Mecca!

Qur’an catapults evil Haman way back to the era of Moses

Published March 31, 2019 by amaic
Image result for haman an egyptian


Damien F. Mackey


“If only Muslims could find the name “Haman” or something similar in Egyptian records … as this would allow them to claim that Haman is indeed an Egyptian name, and thus enable them to disconnect the Haman in the Qur’an from the Haman found in the biblical book of Esther”.

Jochen Katz



In conventional terms, this (the back-dating of Haman to the era of Moses) would be a dislocation of the biblical Haman backwards in time by approximately a millennium.

But that is what Islam does to ancient history, time and time again. It mangles it.

See for instance my article:


Prophet Jonah, Nineveh, and Mohammed


in which a supposed “Mohammed” of the C7th AD claims to be a “brother” of the prophet Jonah who is actually situated well back in BC time, and has connections with a “Nineveh” that had long ceased to exist.


For a proper chronology of Haman and his historical identity, see e.g. my article:


King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)


Now, Jochen Katz has attempted to restore some sanity with regard to the Qur’anic dislocation of Haman in his article, “The Haman Hoax”:




The Qur’an contains several instances of “historical compression”, i.e. stories in which two or more separate historical events are combined to create a new story, or a character from one story is transferred or imported into another story. For example, in the Qur’an we find Saul and David in the story of Gideon, or a Samaritan together with Moses in the Exodus narrative. A list of many more such historical compressions is provided on this page.


Damien Mackey’s comment: I might as well include these “historical compressions” here:


In the following some smaller discrepancies between the Qur’an and the scriptures it supposedly confirms.


Historical Compressions:


  1. Saul, David, Gideon and Goliath
  2. A Samaritan tempting the Israelites in Moses time?
  3. Prophets and Kings in Israel before the time of Moses?
  4. Moses and the Gospel?
  5. Punishment for future disobedience?
  6. Mary, the sister of Aaron?
  7. Pharaoh and Haman?
  8. A Pharaoh Who Forgot to Die in Time?
  9. Was there a second period of slaying the sons of the Israelites?
  10. Moses or Jacob?
  11. Did Joseph’s parents go to Egypt?
  12. Abraham’s name
  13. Abraham and Solomon


Other contradictions in comparison to the Bible:


Introductory remark


  1. Did God teach Adam the names of the animals?
  2. Noah’s Age
  3. Were Believers Really Called Muslims Before the Time of Muhammad?
  4. The Quran’s Mistakes regarding the Biblical Patriarchs
  5. Who Adopted Moses: Pharaoh’s Daughter or Pharaoh’s Wife?
  6. Adoption by Adaption analyzes various discrepancies inf the quranic version of the stories of Moses and Joseph.
  7. A Flood in the time of Moses?
  8. Israel, the Quran and the Promised Land
  9. The Quran, Moses and the Tablets of Stone
  10. Solomon Working with Demons
  11. Israel’s Response to the Covenant: ‘We Obey’ or ‘We Disobey’?
  12. Where is the Blood?
  13. Divinely Inspired Ignorance?
  14. Which Prophets Did the Jews Kill?
  15. What kind of book is the Injil?
  16. Animal sacrifices for Christians?
  17. Why did the Queen of Sheba come to Solomon?
  18. Ezra the Son of God?
  19. Jesus reached old age?
  20. Did the golden calf say ‘Moo’?
  21. Did disobedience result in extra commandments?
  22. How many messengers were sent to Noah’s people?
    Further discussion: Who are those messengers that were rejected by Noah’s people?
  23. The Progeny of Abraham?
  24. Two young men?
  25. How many wings does an angel have?


Jochen Katz continues:


Whether these stories and characters were confused by the author of the Qur’an out of ignorance or deliberately merged for a certain purpose, these new stories are presented to the readers as reports of historical events and therefore constitute historical errors in the Qur’an.


One of the best known examples of such apparent historical confusions in the Qur’an is the character of Haman in the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Pharaoh and Haman were two of the most dangerous figures in the history of the Jews. Both of these men attempted genocide against the Israelites. Pharaoh gave the command to kill all male newborn babies (Exodus 1) and Haman plotted to have all Jews killed who were living in exile in Persia (Esther 3).1 However, these two events were separated in two ways: (a) the geographical distance of several thousand kilometers between Egypt and Persia, and (b) about a thousand years distance on the historical timeline.


Since the character of Haman is so obviously out of place in the story of Moses and Pharaoh, this matter has a high embarrassment factor, and Muslims apparently felt the pressing need to find a reasonable solution to this charge of a historical error in the Qur’an.

If only Muslims could find the name “Haman” or something similar in Egyptian records … as this would allow them to claim that Haman is indeed an Egyptian name, and thus enable them to disconnect the Haman in the Qur’an from the Haman found in the biblical book of Esther.


In fact, apologists for Islam have managed to devise a hoax that has impressed and misled many people over the last 15 years. This hoax went through three main stages of development (associated with Maurice Bucaille, Islamic Awareness, and Harun Yahya) and all three stages are available on the internet, plus plenty of variants.2 ….


As a foretaste of the things to come, let me mention in this introduction only two details out of the many false Muslim statements on this topic.

Maurice Bucaille claims to have consulted a prominent Egyptologist about the name Haman and a possible transliteration of that name in hieroglyphs. He then writes:


In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New Kingdom by Ranke, where I might find the name written in hieroglyphs, as he had written before me, and the transliteration in German. I discovered all that had been presumed by the expert, and, moreover, I was stupefied to read the profession of Haman: “Chief of the workers in stone-quarries,” exactly what could be deduced from the Qur’an, though the words of Pharaoh suggest a master of construction.


For comparison, here is the entry in Ranke’s dictionary:



Quite obviously, Bucaille lied. Ranke’s transliteration does not say “Haman”, nor does Ranke say anything about him being the “Chief of the workers in stone-quarries”. [The meaning and implications of this entry will be discussed in great detail in the next two sections of this paper.]


Harun Yahya wrote about ten years ago:3


The name “Haman” was in fact mentioned in old Egyptian tablets. It was mentioned on a monument which now stands in the Hof Museum in Vienna, …


This is another lie. There is not even one Egyptian tablet, let alone many, on which the name Haman was found, nor is the artefact with the inscription that allegedly contains the name Haman “a monument”; it is a door post and it does not say “Haman”. Most ironically, there has not even been a “Hof Museum” in Vienna for more than eighty years!

The whole story is a hoax from start to finish. ….


Damien Mackey’s comment: Read the whole of Jochen Katz’s article.




Newly re-casting biblical persons as holy moslems

Published March 26, 2019 by amaic
Image result for hagar and ishmael



“… there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca, and if there had been such a tradition it would have to be explained

how all memory of the Old Semitic name Ishmael … came to be lost.

The form in the Quran is taken either from Greek or Syriac sources”.

Alfred Guillaume



At this website:

Jesse Toler writes about Islam’s appropriation, and re-making, of biblical characters:


Nothing is more important to the foundations and development of Islam than the re-casting of Biblical personalities into newly assigned roles as devout Muslims.


Did Abraham Build the Kaaba?


Jesse Toler


The body of this paper will deal primarily with places and destinations, not theology or personality. I will examine the Biblical accounts of Abraham in the natural and sequential order in which they are preserved in the Bible, while I examine and compare a small sampling of the similarities and differences in the Quran and other Islamic sources. In doing so, I’ll point out the several fatal contradictions in the Islamic perspective and leave the reader to determine whether the Islamic version is truth to be believed or fable created to connect a pagan Arabian shrine to the Biblical patriarch of the Israelites. I will cover the ancient evidence and promptly dismember Islamic dogma as inauthentic and based on inadequate grounds. In the end, it will be hard to ignore that the Biblical account is far more reliable and historically accurate and that the Islamic version is mere conjecture imagined in the mind of a suicidal poet of the seventh century.


Nothing is more important to the foundations and development of Islam than the re-casting of Biblical personalities into newly assigned roles as devout Muslims. Shaping Israelite patriarchs into ancient Muslims who worshiped Muhammad’s god is step one. Turning the Lord Christ into a minor image of Muhammad was step two, and worldwide conquest which wars against the soul is now a real possibility [Peter 2:11; Revelation 11:7, 12:7]. While the claims against the Bible are similar to those put forward in Mormonism, and falsified just as easily, both Muslims and non-Muslims need to be reminded that the books of the Bible are the measuring stick to evaluate the historicity and integrity of Muhammad’s often fictional portrayals of these ancient and important people.


Why did the Kaaba play a central role in Muhammad’s fantasies? While no historical facts support his claims, Muslims are seldom deterred. Islam is built upon the notion that Abraham was not only a Muslim [Q. 2:31] but that he was selected by Allah to build the Kaaba in Mecca [Q. 2:125-127], and that while doing so he established the rituals and beliefs which are the cornerstones of Islamic worship. The pagan origins and practices of the Kaaba will not be discussed here, only the patriarchal journeys and the Islamic corruption of the Bible’s texts. Muslims claim that Mecca and the Kaaba are the centers of worship for the entire world. Christians and Jews know that it is Jerusalem, where lays the chief cornerstone of Yahweh’s kingdom [Psalm 102:16; I Peter 2:6]. The City of David [Zion] is mentioned nearly 50 times in the Bible as the home of God’s people [Isaiah 10:24] and where the hosts will reign [Isaiah 24:23].

Are Muslims going to tell us that these references are corruptions in the texts and that Mecca was the intended city the whole time? Hardly even remotely plausible.


The Kaaba in Mecca is without equal in veneration in Islamic tradition, and had been revered by Arab pagans long before Muhammad’s birth. The Muslim religion holds that the Kaaba was built by Abraham and Ishmael after hearing a direct revelation from Allah. This seems improbable. After all, once Allah guides a people on the right course and provides a mode of conduct for worship through a chosen Prophet, Allah does not then lead them astray into confusion or an inability to see the right course [Q. 9:115]. How is it then that such a man as Abraham would be sent to Mecca to deliver the people from polytheism and build the Kaaba only to later have them fall into apostasy and disbelief, needing yet another prophet in the 7th century A.D.? Abraham being in Mecca is just not consistent with important Islamic doctrines, and a myth. For example, in Q. 2:125 the Kaaba is being purified [Ar. ‘tahara’], yet in Q. 2:127 the foundation are still being raised [Ar. Rafa’a]. Depending on the traditions being reviewed, the Kaaba was built by Allah or maybe Adam or possibly Abraham. But, is it true?


Reconstructing ancient events in search for truth is never an easy task, but within the literature handed down from the earliest days, confirmed by corroborating testimony where it is available, certainty looms dreadful for Islamic claims. For example, American scholars such as Albright have discussed the groupings of people and popular migration patterns into and around cultivated areas of the Fertile Crescent, and it is nigh impossible to think that the barren wasteland of the Hijaz would be such a destination for Mesopotamian travelers. Crossing over from Ethiopian lands may be plausible, but Abraham was never in Ethiopia. General migration [patterns] are important to consider if we are going to place the journeys of Abraham into historical context. It is very likely that many people, Abraham’s troop included, traveled from Ur to Canaan via the established routes such as the Kings Highway or the International Coastal Road. It is far less likely that these same people then had any reason to travel another 700 miles south into the central Hijaz.


Respected biblical scholars have placed the journeys of the patriarchs in the Middle Bronze Age [2000-1550 B.C.] [Mackey’s comment: This is actually the age of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt] and this would include the relevant chapters in the Book of Genesis [Chapters 12-50] as well as the narrative accounts in both the Quran and Tradition of the Muslims. In this paper, I will present the narrative from the Book of Genesis, chapters twelve thru twenty-five, as those speak specifically of the travels of Abraham from his calling to his death. Let’s introduce a few of the Islamic fables first, take a close look at the Bible, then we’ll touch upon a few more Islamic myths before closing.

That will complete the comparison, and the reader can decide which is believable and which is not.


One Islamic tradition holds that Abraham brought both Hagar and Ishmael to Mecca [Source: Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 584] then returned to Canaan after leaving both Hagar and her infant son in the uninhabited region of Arabia which would later serve as the ground for a building used to quarter the idols of the Kaaba. However, Sam Shamoun points out in ‘Ishmael is not the Father of Muhammad’ that eminent scholar Alfred Guillaume has written,

‘”… there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca, and if there had been such a tradition it would have to be explained how all memory of the Old Semitic name Ishmael (which was not in its true Arabian form in Arabian inscriptions and written correctly with an initial consonant Y) came to be lost. The form in the Quran is taken either from Greek or Syriac sources.” (Alfred Guillaume, Islam [Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956], pp. 61-62).


Another tradition holds that Muhammad himself is said to have told his favorite wife Aisha that, “Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance I would have dismantled the Kaaba and would have made two doors in it; one for entrance and the other for exit”. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 128].


So much for the importance of the Kaaba. Yet, we are to believe that the Meccan prophet held the Kaaba in the highest esteem, and believed it had been built and rebuilt after a revelation from Allah.


Let’s examine the Bible and see what we can gather about Abraham, his journeys as agent of Yahweh among the nations and his role as a channel for


God’s blessing to the world.


What does the Bible tell us of Abraham, and is it possible that he had spent time in Mecca? Let’s review the Scriptures now. The answers to all these questions lay within a survey of the Book of Genesis. Most of this is common knowledge to Christians, but by way of review, let’s go over the complete list of places Abraham traveled. A good Bible atlas would be useful to the reader. I suggest the Holman Bible Atlas but any Bible Atlas will help to put the following discussion into geographical perspective. The point of this exercise is to elucidate where Abraham did travel, in order to discover where he did not. Obviously, the Muslims will quickly claim that the Christian Scriptures are corrupted, and that we removed the parts which corroborate the worth and validity of the Islamic claims from the germane chapters of the Book of Genesis. The accusation of corruption is silly and unsupported by fact but it’s the only card Muslims have to play, so I don’t blame them for playing it. As I noted, Abraham went outside of Canaan a couple of times.

However, the Bible nowhere mentions that Arabia was part of his journeys. Muslims may claim that this has been “removed” from the text, but for what reason? The text of Genesis was fixed many centuries before Islam. Why would it mention several travels outside of Canaan but remove Arabia/Mecca when neither the author (Moses) nor the Jews for many centuries would have the slightest idea about Islam? We have plenty of manuscripts from centuries before Muhammad, none of which place him in Mecca.


Born in Ur, his father Terah began his migration to Canaan [Genesis 11:21]. After Terah’s death, Abraham was called by Yahweh to continue the journey to Canaan [Genesis 12:1] where God promised to Abraham and his descendants the land inhabited by the Canaanites. Let’s note here that we are given the names of the Tribes which would be displaced to establish Abraham in the land. None of them inhabited the Hijaz. The point is, that the area in which the Ka’aba was allegedly built by Abraham was nowhere near the region where Abraham was to establish his family, so why build a temple or an altar so far from Canaan? [Genesis 12:7-8; cf. First Epistle of Clement 10:3-5 (source for I Clement)]. Soon, Abraham and his family arrived in Canaan, and drove his herds into the region of Bethel, Shechem and Moreh [Genesis 12:4-6]. After an appearance of God in Canaan, Abraham moved his house further south, into the Negev. The Negev is in Canaan, on the West side of the Dead Sea, north of the Wilderness of Zin. It is bordered on the east by Edom, and could not have possibly included the Syro-Arabian desert region further to the east, and certainly excludes the uninhabited lands surrounding Mecca 700 miles to the south.


Next, a famine struck Canaan, and Abraham sought refuge by going ‘down to Egypt’ [Genesis 12:10] and later, his son Ishmael would take an Egyptian for a wife [Genesis 21:21]. To summarize so far, Abraham had yet to travel farther south than the centers of power in Egypt. Still a long way from Mecca.

Abraham later left Egypt a wealthy man and soon separated from his nephew Lot [Genesis 13:14]. Abraham then moved to Hebron, and built an altar to Yahweh. Later, a war breaks out in the region of the Dead Sea [Genesis 14:1-24] and Abraham defeats a tyrannical king in a battle north of Damascus near Mt. Hermon [vv. 13-17] frees Lot and establishes himself as ‘blessed by the God Most High’. God then establishes His covenant with Abraham, and promises to his descendants ‘this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates’ [Genesis 15:18-21]. Notice by using your atlas that the boundaries for the covenant lands are not even close to Mecca or central Arabia. The river in Egypt was most likely the Wadi el-Arish.

The Euphrates is in northern Syria. It makes no sense that God would tie a people to a land and the land to the people, only to draw his Prophets from someplace else.


Next we find that Abraham had been living in Canaan for ten years, traveling about Canaan as seasonal weather patterns required [Genesis 16], when he became impatient with God’s plan and took Hagar as a second ‘wife’. The same Hebrew word is used in 16:3 to describe both Sarai and Hagar as wife. However, the status of Hagar is debatable. Follow this link for a fuller discussion on ‘Hagar in Abraham’s Household’. The Egyptian maid conceived, in Canaan, and bore Abraham’s son, in Canaan. Abraham’s anxiousness to have a son caused him and his family great grief. Rather than exercising self-control and forbearance, he took a course that was a threat to his faith. While Abraham’s actions nearly lead him astray, he was not the first nor the last to doubt God’s promises. Hagar soon suffers intense humiliation at the hands of Abraham and Sarah, but at Beer-Lahai-Roi is met by the Angel of the Lord, and delivered from her plight. This event took place West of the Wadi el-Arish, in Egypt and nearly 1,000 miles from Mecca. She was most likely trying to return home to Egypt.


After the establishment of the Covenant of Circumcision, we find Abraham talking to God under the ‘holy tree of Mamre’, which is near Hebron, nearly 1,000 miles from Mecca [Book of Genesis 18:1]. Later, Abraham intercedes for Sodom, which is then destroyed for its depravity and Lot escapes to Zoar [Genesis 18:16-19:30; cf. First Epistle of Clement 11:1-2]. Outside of Zoar, Lot was the victim of a scheme concocted by his eldest daughter. Zoar was in the southern tip of the Dead Sea in the Valley of Siddim, and like every other event from the OT, a long way from Mecca. From Lot’s daughters are born the Moabites and the Ammonites, longstanding enemies of Israel and Judah. Moab and Ammon lay on the east side of the Dead Sea and later form the eastern edge of the Covenant Land. The southeastern extreme of the Covenant Land extends no farther than this and no prophets would ever be called from beyond these borders.


Following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we encounter Abraham in Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur. In Gerar Isaac was born, wells were dug and treaties were struck. In short, there is no reason imaginable that God would take Abraham from his wells, family and tents in Canaan and command him to raise the foundations of the Kaaba over 1,000 miles away. All of this is a death blow to the Quran’s claims to Abraham, but let’s discuss a few more Biblical passages, ending with the death and burial of Abraham in order to close the lid on Islam once and for all.


Isaac is later weaned and tension again increases between Sarah and Hagar. Sarah pleaded with Abraham to cast Hagar out, and the following morning she was given bread, a water skin and her son. She then wandered into the wasteland of Beer-Sheba, in southern Canaan [Genesis 21:8-21].

In these passages, God addresses Abraham and calls Hagar the ‘maidservant’ [Hb אמה ‘amah’ not ‘wife’ as in 16:3; compare the Latin Vulgate where in 21:8-12 ‘ancilla‘ is ‘maidservant’ or ‘female slave’ ]. Hagar had lost any status she may have earlier enjoyed, so her status as a wife at all can be questioned.


Before we leave Hagar to history, let me remind you of four important differences between the Bible and Quran surrounding this narrative. In the Biblical narrative, Hagar’s suffering and plight are of paramount importance to understanding the events surrounding the birth of the Promised Son. These events also give us insight into the treatment of women in the ancient Near East, which are still evident in Islam today. Hagar is the only woman in the Scriptures who is given the honor of giving a name to God, and she receives her own distinct covenant as a reward for her suffering and submission. What does the Quran say about this incredible woman who endured so much suffering? Nothing. So much for Islam honoring its pivotal women.


Eventually, Ishmael settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and took an Egyptian wife. Just where is the Wilderness of Paran, and does it, as Muslims claim, include the lands far to the south in the Hijaz? Let’s again look at our atlas. Paran is an ill-defined term in the Old Testament, suggesting that outside of it being a place on the route of the Exodus [Numbers 12:16], the region had very little geographical or theological importance to the Israelites. There is no prophetic scripture suggesting that a prophet would come from the Wilderness of Paran, nor a promise of prophetic license promised to Hagar or her descendants [Gen 16:7-16]. It is also worth noting that God spoke to Hagar, never to Ishmael. Very curious.


Located in the Sinai, Midian and Edom are natural borders to the east. Canaan is due north and central Sinai to the west. Not only are the borders of Paran well within the Sinai Peninsula, but as mentioned earlier, migration across the barren lands of Arabia was far less likely than remaining close to the routes of the Exodus. While migrations of people from Palestine into the Hijaz appear to be rare from the extant evidence, armies from Babylon did venture south. One example is Nabonidus King of Babylon who in the 6th century B.C. established outposts and colonies in the region. A total of six oasis towns are listed in the extant inscriptions, and while Yathrib is mentioned, Mecca, which is 280 miles south of Yathrib is nowhere to be seen on his lists. Mercantile movements were more common, but not until the 10th century and long after the death of Abraham.

A notable case in favor of the Quranic view of Abraham’s travels can be found in the Book of I Kings [10:1-13] where the Queen of Sheba did in fact make the journey from S.W. Arabia to Israel.


Mackey’s comment: For a different geography for the Queen, though, see my article:


The Queen of Beer(sheba)


Jesse Toler continues:


However, the territory of Sheba and also Tema are mentioned in the Book of Job [6:19] and yet while the region was traveled by merchants and known to the Biblical writers, there is still no mention of Mecca.


Sheba is again discussed by the Prophet Isaiah [60:6] and nothing is said of Mecca or any dialectal variant of the name offered by Muslims. The Sabeans of Yemen never even mention the city either. The conclusion is evidently that Mecca was not in existence until long after Abraham’s journeys.


Following God’s expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, life continues for Abraham and his only wife Sarah. A disputed well becomes a source of controversy with King Abimelech. This name may translate ‘Slave of Molech’. If this Biblical name were a derivative of the Canaanite name, that would serve as strong evidence that much of the Book of Genesis pre-dates Israel’s Kingdom Period and gives even greater evidence to the non-existence of Mecca during the period of Abraham’s travels, and an oath is sworn in Beersheba, again in Canaan [Genesis 21:22-34]. Later, Abraham is called to Mt. Moriah and the well known ‘binding of Isaac’ is played out. Mt. Moriah is also in Palestine, north of Beersheba. While the exact location is unknown, it only took Abraham three days to travel, so it could not have taken place in Mecca [Genesis 22]. An important observation here is that Isaac is called ‘your only son’ three times in this chapter. How can that be? Because Ishmael had already been sent away. He was to have no part of the covenant promised to Abraham and given to Isaac.


Soon, we find that Sarah had died, and Abraham arranges for the purchase of the Cave of Machpela. Yet again he has not left Canaan [Genesis 23]. Here Muslims need to explain why God would allow Abraham to build a tomb in Canaan for his family, but then a temple 1,000 miles away in a barren region of the Hijaz. In chapter twenty-four, we find that Abraham had become ‘old in years’ [24:1] It was time to find a wife for Isaac. Note that Abraham had nothing to do with finding a wife for Ishmael. Abraham’s chief servant was selected for the task of conducting the search.

An oath was sworn that the wife would not be a Canaanite but from Abraham’s people in Mesopotamia. Let’s be reasonable here. If Abraham had built the Kaaba, then why wouldn’t Isaac’s wife be taken from the local tribes in the Hijaz or even farther south?. He returns home with Rebekkah to south Canaan, she weds Isaac and later Abraham dies and is buried with his wife Sarah in Machpelah. Both Ishmael and Isaac attended the funeral. Both must have been very close to Canaan, and in no way can we conclude that any of these men ever travels to Mecca to build a shrine to Allah and the other pagan gods native to Mecca. The Quran 11:49 clearly states that there had been no prophets to the Arabs before, so it can’t be true that Abraham built the Kaaba. Also note that the Islamic traditions point out that before Muhammad’s claim to the prophetic office, none of his people had made the claim before him [Bukhari, Vol 1, Book 1, #6].


This all leads us to a connection with the nation of Israel, the Davidic Kingdom and the Savior who even now offers mercy to his wandering sons [Psalm 100:5,8; Luke 1:50; cf. Apology of al-Kindy, p.121].



Did Ishmael father the Arab nations?

Published March 11, 2019 by amaic

Durie’s Verdict:

No Mohammed


Part Two:
Did Ishmael father the Arab nations?



Damien F. Mackey


“According to Sir Fergus Millar, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at Oxford University, it was Josephus, a Jewish historian writing in the first century CE, who first advanced the idea that Ishmael was the ancestor of the Arabs. In The Antiquities of the Jews Josephus stated that Ishmael was ‘the founder’ of the Arabian nation, and Abraham was ‘their father’. From Josephus, this assumed connection between the Arabs and Abraham, through Ishmael, passed into the historical consciousness of Christians, and then made its way into early Islam”.

 Mark Durie


According to the same Mark Durie, “Ishmael is not the Father of the Arabs”:



The Qur’an does not speak of Ishmael or Abraham as ancestors of the Arabs – although it does have Abraham and Ishmael praying for Allah to make their descendants a Muslim people – but the link is established in the hadith literature, in traditions about Muhammad’s own genealogy. In this way Abraham and Ishmael came to be considered, in Islamic tradition, not only a spiritual antecedent of Muhammad as an Islamic prophet, but also the physical ancestor of (at least some of) the Arabs.


What does the Bible say?


The Bible speaks both of Ishmaelites, the descendants of Ishmael, and of Arabs, but does not join them together.  I. Ephʿal has pointed out that the references to Ishmaelites are earlier in the Bible, and the references to Arabs later. Both refer to non-sedentary, nomadic peoples, but they are separated by centuries. Ephʿal concludes that references to ‘Ishmaelites’ cease by the mid 10th century BCE, and the references to ‘Arabs’ only commence in the mid-8th century BCE, so “there is no historical basis to the tradition of associating Ishmaelites with the Arabs”.


The Bible does link the Ishmaelites with the Midianites, using these names as synonyms in two places. Genesis describes Joseph as being sold to a caravan of camel-riding Ishmaelites who are also called Midianites (Genesis 37:25–28, 36; 39:1; see also Judges 8:22-24). ….



The Egyptian Connection


What may get overlooked in discussions of Ishmael and his mother Hagar is the pervasive Egyptian element.


Hagar was an Egyptian (Genesis 16:3): “So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife”.


That Ishmael was thoroughly Egyptianised is apparent, so I think, from a comparison of his toledôt history of Abram and Sarai with that of the Palestine-based Isaac (Abraham and Sarah).

{For an explanation of toledôt, see:


Book of Genesis and those ancient patriarchal histories }


Ishmael’s account of the abduction of “Sarai” by “Pharaoh” is different enough from Isaac’s account of the very same incident of the abduction of “Sarah” by “Abimelech”, that commentators – unaware of the implications of toledôt and of the true sources and structure of the Book of Genesis – tend to presume that these are two entirely separate incidents.

For my contrary view of these, see e.g. my article:


Toledôt Explains Abram’s Pharaoh


Rabbinic traditions, however, may have kept well alive the Egyptian element:


Rabbinical commentators in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah also say that Ishmael’s mother Hagar was the Pharaoh’s daughter, making Ishmael the Pharaoh’s grandson. This could be why Genesis 17:20 refers to Ishmael as the father of 12 mighty princes.




According to Genesis 21:21, Hagar married Ishmael to an Egyptian woman, and if Rabbinical commentators are correct that Hagar was the Pharaoh’s daughter, his marriage to a woman she selected could explain how and why his sons became princes.


Some Jewish traditions actually identify Hagar with Keturah:


According to other Jewish commentators, Ishmael’s mother Hagar is identified with Keturah, the woman Abraham sought out and married after Sarah’s death. It is suggested that Keturah was Hagar’s personal name, and that “Hagar” was a descriptive label meaning “stranger”.[30][31][32] This interpretation is discussed in the Midrash[33] and is supported by Rashi, Gur Aryeh, Keli Yakar, and Obadiah of Bertinoro. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki) argues that “Keturah” was a name given to Hagar because her deeds were as beautiful as incense (Hebrew, ketoret), and that she remained chaste (literally “tied her opening”, with the verb tied in Aramaic being k-t-r) from the time she was separated from Abraham.



Tamar and Tyro

Published March 5, 2019 by amaic
Related image

Joseph and Tamar comparisons


Part Three: Tamar and Tyro


“Both the stories of Tamar and Tyro begin with the killing of two brothers.

In each case the pair of  brothers die as a prerequisite to explain two things,

why the respective women had no children, and why they were sent away to the place where each would eventually become pregnant with, each their own, set of twins.

The two brothers who die in the tale of Tyro were her own children … while those in the story of Tamar were her two husbands and represented her chance to have children”.

 John R. Salverda


Good friend John R. Salverda writes (and I may have reservations about some of his name interconnections):


Sisyphus, the “Joseph” of Greek Myth



Salmoneus as the Patriarch of Judah

The enmity between the House of Joseph … and the House of Judah … is comparable to that between Sisyphus and Salmoneus. Sisyphus keeps trying to establish his stone upon the archetypical mountain, while Salmoneus had appropriated the worship of god to his altars exclusively.


The story of Salmoneus seems to be based, however loosely, upon the history of the House of Judah with [its] holy city at Jerusalem … made the capitol because it’s great Temple was founded there by [its] famous King Solomon.



At the beginning of Judean history, is the story of Judah and Tamar. Here we have a tale that has perplexed Biblical scholars for centuries not so much for what it contains, but rather for where it is located. Right smack in the middle of the Joseph cycle, just as he is being sold to Potiphar at the end of chapter 37, comes chapter 38 which contains the entire story of Judah and Tamar with no mention of Joseph throughout, and then, at the start of chapter 39, the narrative returns to the story of Joseph once again right where it left off, at the selling of Joseph to Potiphar, the continuity of the Joseph cycle being completely interrupted. This, apparent artificial, location of the Judah story we are told, in what seems more like a stretch than an explanation, is positioned to contrast the steadfast virtue of Joseph against the incestuous unrighteousness of Judah. Regardless of the Judah episode’s placement, studying the Sisyphus cycle of Greek mythology as it relates to the Joseph cycle in the Scriptures, testifies in favor of  believing, at least, that the Judah story was already a part of the Joseph cycle, even before the Joseph cycle was included in the book of Genesis. This is evident because, the myth of Sisyphus, ostensibly a collection of the Joseph stories that was current before [its] inclusion in the Genesis narrative, already contains [its] own version of the birth of Tamar’s twins, as the story of Tyro’s twins.


Before we get on with the comparison of these two stories let us first compare the names of the two mothers. The name “Tyro,” we are informed by Robert Graves, author of, “The Greek Myths,” was the name of “… the Goddess-mother of the Tyrians …” this was, no doubt, merely a worn down version of the more well known form of the name for the mother goddess of the Canaanites, “Ashterah,” omitting the prefix, “Ash-” as perfunctory.


Now, as is well known, the Greeks referred to the Canaanites as Phoenicians, a name that derives from the Greek name “Phoenix” which means, in their language, “palm tree,” however, in Hebrew the word for “palm tree” is “Tamar.” Thus, both women can be said to have names that associates them with the Phoenicians. Incidentally, the mother-in-law of Tamar, the wife of Judah, known only as, “the daughter of Shua” in the Scriptures, is identified as a Canaanitess, while the wicked step mother of Tyro, whom the Greeks called Sidero is thought to be the eponym of Sidon the original settlement of the Canaanites. Because, unlike the name Tyro, the name “Sidero” has retained [its] prefix, it is even more plausibly derived from the name of the widely known Canaanite goddess Ashterah. (those who doubt the original identification between the two names Sidero and Ashterah should consider the two comparable English terms sidereal and astro-.)


Let us now continue with the comparison of the two stories, of course, anyone who studies the two accounts will find many differences between them, no doubt the differences are as important, if not more important, than are the similarities, which are also many and are quite comparable. Both the stories of Tamar and Tyro begin with the killing of two brothers. In each case the pair of  brothers die as a prerequisite to explain two things, why the respective women had no children, and why they were sent away to the place where each would eventually become pregnant with, each their own, set of twins. The two brothers who die in the tale of Tyro were her own children, (by Sisyphus) while those in the story of Tamar were her two husbands and represented her chance to have children. Tamar was sent away to live with her father, while Tyro was banished from Thessaly along with her father. Tamar’s father-in-law Judah became a widower, while Tyro’s father Salmoneus became a widower. Each woman, in the land of their exile, desiring to become pregnant, made a plan that involved waiting at a place where they each expected their intended to pass, Tyro on the riverbank at the confluence of two rivers, the Enipeus and the Alphieus, while Tamar waited on the roadside where the road to Enaim branched off of the road to Timnah. In each case, the sex act itself was intentionally deceptive, because one of the partners wore a disguise so as not to be recognized. Of course, as we have said, twin boys were born, in each case, as a result of the deception. Furthermore, the paternity of each pair of twins came into question, Salmoneus, Tyro’s father, doubted the fatherhood of her twins, while Judah, Tamar’s father-in-law, also had to be convinced in regard to her pregnancy. In each story, before the respective twins were born, the true father was revealed and he gave a little speech to the respective women, the intent of which was to justify, each their own, pregnancies and to legitimize the eventual progeny of it. Another weird coincidence, is the fact that both tales include a report, so saying that the first born was marked at birth, and got a colorful name as a result, the Scriptural “Zerah” was named after the “scarlet” ribbon that was tied around his wrist to mark his preeminence, while the mythical firstborn “Pelias,” was named for the “black and blue” mark that he received when a horse stepped on his face at his birth. As it turned out, with each set of twins, both children grew up to be the founders of illustrious houses among the Aeolians and the Judeans respectively.

Well, so much for the part of the myth of Salmoneus which has to do, however little, with Sisyphus, we shall now continue with the rest of the saga of Salmoneus.


Besides having an echo of the earliest history about the nation of Judah, these Greeks seem to have a few more details to add, such as the name “Salmoneus” itself, which is an obvious Greek version of the name of that most illustrious of Judean rulers King Solomon. With this realization, an evolution of the myth of Salmoneus can be surmised to have occurred in three steps; firstly, the story about the birth of the Judean twins, Perez and Zerah, whose story, as we have said, precipitated the birth myth of the Greek twins Neleus and Pelias; secondly, the addition of the city of “Salem” and the founding of the Temple by “Solomon,” is ostensibly what lead to the use of the name “Salmoneus” as well as the notion that he founded a city called “Salmonia,” and appropriated the worship of Zeus to his altar; and thirdly, in the end of the myths about Salmoneus, we are told of the divine destruction of Salmoneus and his city, Salmonia. This third point would appear to have been too late to have been included in Greek mythology however, as the famous mythographer, H. J. Rose has pointed out, “It is noteworthy that Homer knows nothing of any evil reputation of Salmoneus, of whom indeed he speaks respectfully.” (“A Handbook of Greek Mythology,” p.83). The Homeric writings are much earlier than the rest of Greek mythologies and it was probably not until the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC., that an evil reputation became attached to the character of Salmoneus. The destruction of Jerusalem was looked upon by some, including the Greeks apparently, to have been an act of punishment upon the city, brought about by God Himself, this no doubt, gave rise to the parallel Greek myth about the destruction of Salmonia.-