Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

THE CITY OF MECCA: IN THE CENTER, THE KA’ABA
Once the central shrine of Arab Paganism, now of the Mohammedan Faith, it stands in the Haram or sacred court

[graphic]
[graphic]

ing to do with the Ka'aba but which were performed at certain places near Mecca were also adapted to the new religion. In the tenth year A. H. Mohammed made his pilgrimage to Mecca, the old shrine of his forefathers, and every detail of superstitious observance which he fulfilled has become the norm in Islam. As Wellhausen says the result is that “we now have the stations of a Calvary journey without the history of the Passion.” Pagan practices are explained away by inventing Moslem legends attributed to Bible characters, and the whole is an incomprehensible jumble of fictitious lore. The Ka'aba itself in its plan and structure is a heathen temple. The covering of the Ka'aba goes back to old heathenism. The Temple was the Bride and she received costly clothing. The building stands with its four corners nearly to the points of the compass; not the sides of the building, but the corners point N.S.E. and W. We may therefore expect, as is the case, that the holy objects were at the corners of the building. The Black Stone is in the E.S.E. corner; the other four corners also had sacred stones which are still places of special worship. The front of the Ra'aba is the N.E. side, and the door is not in the middle but near the Black Stone. Between the Stone and the door is the Multazam, the place where the pilgrim presses himself against the building, hugs the curtain and calls upon God. On the N.W. side there is an enclosure in the shape of a half-circle called the Hajr, or the Hatim. Wellhausen has a note (p. 74) to show that this enclosure was formerly a part of the Ka'aba but that shortly before Mohammed's time the building was restored on a smaller foundation. This enclosure, therefore, marks the original size of the heathen temple. There seems to be no doubt that the Black Stone was the real idol of the Ka'aba. Bait Allah and Masjid, according to Wellhausen, originally signified “the stone’’ and not “the temple.” In ancient days there was an empty well inside the Ka'aba to receive votive offerings. In front of the well stood a human image, that of the god Hobal. One may still see a similar worship at the tomb of Eve, near Jiddah, where there is a well for offerings under the middle dome which is over the navel of Mother Eve. It has been thought that Hobal, the main god of the Ka'aba, was perhaps “Allah’’ himself. Others say that the word has connection with Baal the sun-god. When we remember the circumambulation of the Ka'aba seven times, three times rapidly and four times more slowly in imitation of the inner and outer planets, it is not strange to find Baal the sun-god chief of the temple. The present place called Maqam Ibrahim. (Sura 2: 119) was originally a stone for offierings. A short distance outside of Mecca are the two hills Al Safa and Al Marwa; both of these names signify “a stone,” i.e., an idol. The road between them runs almost parallel with the front of the Ka'aba and directly east is the well of Zem Zem, originally also a place for sacred offerings. It contained two golden gazelles among other things. There are many other sacred places in the vicinity formerly associated with idol-worship now transformed by Moslem legend into graves of the saints, etc. Arafat and Muzdalifa are at present only stations where one stops on the pilgrimage. No offerings are brought there. Formerly Muzdalifa was a place of fire-worship. Wackidi says: “Mohammed rode from Arafat towards the fire kindled in Muzdalifa; this is the hill of the holy fire.” The mountain was called Quzah and Wellhausen thinks it may have been the place of the thunder-god whose sign was the rainbow. (Quzah.) The early history of Mecca shows that it was a place of pilgrimage long before Mohammed. The battle of Islam for the conquest of Arabia was determined at Mecca. This was the capture of the Pagan center. In conquering it Islam was itself conquered. “There is no god but Allah’— and the old idol-shrines at Mecca? Dozy has shown that Mecca was an old Jewish center, but his conclusions have been disputed by later writers.” Not only the pilgrimage itself, but its calendar goes back to paganism. The names of the Arabic months have many of them a pagan significance. Of course the calendar was solar, but Mohammed changed it into a lunar calendar. Moharram was the month of the great feast. Tree worship and stone worship as we shall see later belong to the old heathenism. In Nagran a date-palm served as god. A number of sacred trees or groves between Mecca and Medina which formerly were idol temples, are now visited because “Mohammed resided there, prayed there, or had his hair cut under them.” (See Bokhari, 1: 68–3: 36.) Prof. A. J. Wensinck in writing on the Hajj in the Encyclopedia of Islam (Vol. II, p. 22 ft.) gives it as his opinion that “great fairs were from early times associated with the Hadjdj which was celebrated on the conclusion of the date-harvest. These fairs were probably the main thing to Muhammed's contemporaries, as they still are to many Muslims. For the significance of the religious ceremonies had even then lost its meaning for the people.” Nevertheless the significance of the various rites and ceremonies although no longer understood clearly, point to a pagan origin. Snouck Hurgronje thinks he sees a solar rite in the wukuf ceremony. Wensinck says: “The god of Muzdalifa was Quzah, the thunder-god. A fire was kindled on the sacred hill also called Quzah. Here a halt was made and this wukuf has a still greater similarity to that on Sinai, as in both cases the thunder-god is revealed in fire. It may further be presumed that the traditional custom of making as much noise as possible and of shooting was originally a sympathetic charm to call forth the thunder.” * “De Israeliten te Mekka van David's tyd enz,” Dozy (Leiden).

« ElőzőTovább »