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Kaaba in Biblical Scriptures

Christians usually exclaim when they see Muslims praying to God at the Kaaba and some think that it’s a kind of paganism. Actually Muslims never worshiped the Kaaba or directed the worship to Kaaba itself. Allah in the Quran telling about the Kaaba says:

The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings: (Quran 2:96)

The Kaaba has been the first house of worship, that’s why God chose it as a way to unite all Muslims and accordingly be the direction to which all Muslims pray. But it is never worshiped in itself. Even according to the Bible, we find that there are verses showing its importance.

Kaaba in the Bible

In Psalm 84 it says:

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you. Selah
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of  Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion. (Psalm 84:6)

So the word Valley of Baca is clearly mentioned here same as mentioned in the Quran in the verse quoted above, and mentioned as a noun not translated to weeping as some other Biblical versions translate. Meaning it’s a real place not just a metaphorical one.

Zamzam Spring

Then it comes to something else:

they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

Mecca has the spring of Zamzam beside the Kaaba which is a huge spring that has been producing water continuously for more than 1400 years and the pipelines transporting Zamzam water to Al Madina (about 400 km north), which is even an independent miracle in that blessed place.

What About Zion?

Zion doesn’t necessarily mean Jerusalem, it has been used figuratively for the church and for Israel in the Babylonian captivity, so it seems like it has been used for any group or mass of people worshiping God, which can be applied on Kaaba here. This can even be seen among Christian sites:

“The word Zion has various meanings in the scriptures. The most general definition of the word is “the pure in heart”. Zion is often used in this way to refer to the Lord’s people or to the Church and its stakes . It has also been used to refer to specific geographical locations.” (Source here)

Also another source telling about the meaning of Zion:

“Meaning of Zion:

  1. (n) an imaginary place considered to be perfect or ideal

  2. (n) Jewish republic in southwestern Asia at eastern end of Mediterranean; formerly part of Palestine

  3. (n) originally a stronghold captured by David (the 2nd king of the Israelites); above it was built a temple and later the name extended to the whole hill; finally it became a synonym for the city of Jerusalem; “the inhabitants of Jerusalem are personified as.” (Source here)

Kaaba in Targum Onkelos

What can even prove that the Bible talked about the house of God is in Genesis 22 in Targum Onkelos.Targum Onkelos (or Unkelus), is the official eastern (Babylonian) targum (Aramaic translation) to the Torah. However, its early origins may have been western, in Israel. Its authorship is attributed to Onkelos, אונקלוס, a famous convert to Judaism in Tannaic times (c.35–120 a.d).According to Jewish tradition, the content of Targum Onkelos was originally conveyed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai. However, it was later forgotten by the masses, and rerecorded by Onkelos.(Source here)

Targum Onkelos when telling Genesis 22, gives an interesting account:

And Abraham lifted up his eyes after these (words), and saw, and behold, one ram, holden in the bush by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham worshipped and prayed there in that place, and said before the Lord, Here shall generations worship: wherefore it shall be paid in that day, In this mountain Abraham worshipped before the Lord. (Source here)

This part in bold is not included in other Bible translations, it’s between verses 14 and 15. Here it talks about a place where Abraham offered his son, and this place was a place that generations shall worship God in. According to my knowledge, I don’t know a place Jews or Christians celebrate Abraham’s sacrifice and worship God in. But actually in Islam, we have a major feast which is Eid al Adha which can be translated to feast of sacrifice, where we believe that this place is in Mecca. Moreover, many Muslims go to Kaaba for pilgrimage in Eid al Adha.

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2 comments

  1. SAMSADEEN RASHIDATU

    Why is there only one reference in the bible about Mecca?

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