The Pagan Pilgrimage

We have just left the Hajj season behind,  which means millions of Muslims traveled to Mecca to perform the Islamic pilgrimage, which is obligatory for every Muslim.  Every single follower of Islam has to perform the Hajj  at least once in their lifetime if they are able to  and this is one of the five pillars of Islam,  which means it is part of the foundation of Islamic religion and life.  This is how fundamental and important this practice is. In fact, Muhammad once listed the best three deeds  as; Believing in Allah and his Messenger,  Jihad for the sake of Allah, and third; The Pilgrimage. (Riyad as-Salihin 11:1273) But what are the origins of this pilgrimage?  This is where we face a serious problem. 

Islam claims that the Hajj goes back to Abraham  and that the same God, who sent the books of the Christians and Jews,  also instructed humans to perform this pilgrimage.  If we look at the history of the Hajj  and the Islamic sources from a non-Islamic point of view, it rather looks like Islam adopted the Hajj  and much of its practices from pre-Islamic Arab polytheists  and then claimed it was based on Abraham and monotheism.  If one of the central concepts in Islam  is indeed a mixture of Arab pagan practices, then this heavily undermines Islam’s credibility, which is the claim to be the pure monotheistic religion.  

According to Islamic sources, the pilgrimage was first instituted by Abraham on the orders of Allah.  Abraham once came to the desert of Mecca to leave his wife Hagar and their son Ishmael  in the desert. With little food and little to drink,  Abraham left and Hagar was desperate. But then Allah, by a miracle, caused water to gush from the earth – the Zamzam water.  This water is holy. It does not only keep you hydrated, it also satisfies your hunger and feeds you. Because of this water,  tribes formed around the Zamzam well and Ishmael grew up and married among these tribes. Later Abraham came back and Allah instructed Abraham and Ishmael to build this cube –  The Kaaba – for Allah  and for Abraham to go out into the world  and let the people know that they should henceforth  visit the Kaaba for pilgrimage.  This is a whole weird story.

First off, Abraham was never anywhere near Mecca  by any account ever before Islam.  Abraham lived far in the north where Hebrew people lived  and built temples there and wandered in the wilderness far up there  and had his family there.  Hagar was Abraham’s concubine not wife.  They were left behind and found water in the wilderness of Beersheba, which is here, not here.  They settled nearby in a place called  Desert of Paran, which is around here. Ishmael married a woman from Egypt, not from some tribe far away in the south,  a place they have never been. 

Moreover, by no records ever that Abraham instructed people to go on a pilgrimage  to some place in Central or South Arabia,  which is why no Jews or Christians ever performed any pilgrimage like that  to Mecca or to the Kaaba. In fact, nobody ever, except Arabs in Arabia used to go to Mecca for a pilgrimage.  Although Islam implies that Abraham was sent to inform the world to do so (Surah 22:27), this practice is completely foreign to Jews and Christians  and it has no place in their holy books or their history.

Of course Muslims say that it is foreign to Jews and Christians  because they corrupted their books at some point.  But no one can prove that. And why would they corrupt their own scripture and remove something from their texts  that was supposedly so central to their religion  and to their tradition?  Firstly, no one does that. People want to believe in what they believe. They believe because they believe in the afterlife  and they want to be rewarded. They want to go to the good place. People don’t just throw themselves into fire and annihilation willingly.  Secondly, it is virtually impossible  that that ever happened.  And the Kaaba and Mecca and that pilgrimage were entirely removed from a religion  and vanished from Jewish scripture, history and practice with no traces at all  That’s like Christians removing Jesus from Christianity completely  and no Christian today having anything to do with Jesus.  No traces, imagine. Or Muslims completely removing Muhammad and no Muslim today knowing who Muhammad was.  That’s impossible.  Thirdly, considering Islam’s claim that it was also Allah who sent Jesus with a holy message,  that would mean that Christians, who evidently never had anything to do with the Kaaba in Mecca,  adopted a wrong and corrupted religion from Jews  and that all Christians were always incomplete and misled,  which would mean Allah and his actions failed completely  when it comes to Christians, who demonstrably never knew of the Kaaba  or performed any pilgrimage like this.  What this shows to me is very clear.  The Kaaba isn’t an Abrahamic concept and the Islamic Hajj is an Islamic invention.  What makes this more evident is  the fact that the Kaaba was not mentioned in the writings of any Jews,  Christian or other, for example, Greek historians, especially not as an Abrahamic artifact. Can you imagine?  The Kaaba was supposedly so important to Jews, it was a central part of their religion but they completely left it alone down there in Arabia.  If the Kaaba had been central to Jewish tradition, according to Islam, Jews would know it as holy and  they will protect it by all means  They would reside around the Kaaba in masses.  Jews still stayed in Jerusalem for hundreds and thousands of years.  There were no Jews in Mecca at the time Muhammad was around  although the local polytheists were weak merchants,  who were totally tolerant of other people’s religious beliefs.  

Now when we look at history, the first time we ever hear about anything like the Kaaba is in the sources of  Ptolemy II, Agathachides and Siculus  but they only mention a temple in Arabia  that is revered by Arabs pagans. (Siculus 90 to 30 BC) And although identified by some as the Kaaba, this is a misidentification and most likely refers to the Temple of The Thamud,  an ancient civilization who resided far in the north in Madain Saleh,  most prominently around mount Athlab, where they had their holy temples and artifacts.  So even this early source doesn’t actually mention the Kaaba.  At this point, it is still unknown.  Many different sources, Islamic or un-Islamic, say completely different stuff  but a likely view  Is that the Kaaba was first established by Arab polytheist tribes,  most likely from Yemen. And at some point in history, not long before Muhammad, it was conquered by ancestors of the Quraysh tribe, which Muhammad was a descendent of. It is unclear which deity or deities it was dedicated to before the Quraysh took it.  But the Quraysh tribe placed their beloved idol Hubal into the Kaaba.  

The Kaaba was declared a sanctuary, where everyone  no matter their beliefs, was safe and no fighting could take place.  Interestingly, Islam continued this sanctuary practice  and even included it in the Quran. (Surah 2:125)  The pagans also had sacred months in which fighting was forbidden  and Islam adopted even that and inserted it in the Quran. Most notoriously, it tells the Muslims that after the sacred months have passed, they should hunt, ambush and slaughter the polytheists wherever they are found (Surah 9:5).  Why does Islam adopt something like the sacred months from pagans  that has nothing to do with Abrahamic religion?  In fact, in Yemen, there was another Kaaba known as Dhul Khalasa. When Muhammad conquered Mecca and the Kaaba, he ordered his people to go to Yemen and destroy the other Kaaba. His army met with resistance and created a massacre,  destroyed the Yemeni Kaaba and  returned to Muhammad in praise. (Sahih Bukhari 5:59:641) So besides the Kaaba in Mecca, which was at the time polytheist temple,  there was another Kaaba in Yemen, which was also a polytheist temple.  

Dear Muslims, there was another Kaaba in Yemen, which Muhammad wanted to destroy.  How clearer could it be?  Muslims nowadays turned toward the Kaaba, but initially they prayed towards Jerusalem.  According to Islamic tradition, Allah announced in the Quran  that they should pray toward the Kaaba from now on, which made Muhammad happy.  The background to this seems that Jews used to make fun of the Muslims for imitating them  for praying toward Jerusalem as Jews do,  which is why Muhammad wanted to change the direction toward the Kaaba. But in order to do that, he had to make the Kaaba holy in Islam.  The Quran then explained how the Kaaba was Allah’s sacred house, the first building ever built for him (Surah 3:96) and that it is the center of attention where believers are supposed to turn when praying  and go to for the pilgrimage and turn around when doing the pilgrimage. (Surah 5:97)

Speaking of turning around the Kaaba, isn’t that interesting that Muslims circle the Kaaba on their pilgrimage?  Why do they do this?  in Abrahamic religion, there is no such practice as coming together, everyone encircling a cube seven times while pointing toward a black stone at its corner and greeting that stone.  This is something Arab pagans used to do,  even according to Muslim sources,  biographies of Muhammad, traditions and more outside reports.  The pagans used to revere stones like the black stone. (Sahih Bukhari 5:59:661) They would greet it and pray with it.  The black stone that is currently there has been revered by Muslims for some reason  was placed there by Arab pagans.  Muhammad adopted that practice and greeted and kissed the stone.  Muslims today do the same when they go to the pilgrimage.  This is part of the pilgrimage.  They greet it, touch it, kiss it  and hope for its intercession in the hereafter.  This is a very pagan practice and has nothing to do with Abrahamic religion. 

One of Muhammad’s most important companions; the second caliph Umar even said:  Verily, I know you are only a stone with no power to harm or benefit me. Were it not that I saw the Prophet  (peace and blessings be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” (Sahih Bukhari 2:26:667)  So one of Muhammad’s most important companions,  later the leader of Muslims,  even said that he doesn’t expect anything from the stone  and that he only kisses it because Muhammad kissed it. And Muhammad probably only kissed it because  polytheists used to do the same and he adopted their practice  in order to appease them and lure them into Islam  or just to establish a mixed religion by adopting different elements from different religions  because it makes so much sense.  In fact, if you ask Muslims why they do it, they will probably say because it is a Sunnah (the tradition of Muhammad) because Muhammad used to do it.  There is no sense to this, no explanation.  

According to the same reports, the pagans used to do the pilgrimage and come to the Kaaba every year and circle it. By Muslim tradition, after Muhammad conquered Mecca  and took control of the Kaaba, polytheists used to still come to the Kaaba  and encircle it while naked or half clothed.  Muhammad then banned polytheists from visiting the Kaaba. (Sahih Bukhari 1:8:365) This order is even in the Quran  which tells people to keep polytheists away from the Kaaba because they are filthy (Surah 9:28).  It is very obvious, an undeniable fact,  even by Islamic standards  that the Arab polytheists used to circumambulate the Kaaba  and no one else. If we want to look at other cultures that practice circumambulation,  we find the practice among Hindus and Buddhists,  who encircle altars to honor deities.  Hinduism is a major non-Abrahamic belief system  that shares a lot of similarities with,  and maybe even influenced Arab polytheism.  This has nothing to do with Abrahamic monotheistic religion. 

It has also been reported that the polytheists used to wear pieces of cloth during their pilgrimage , which is  required for Muslim pilgrims during the pilgrimage and is called the ihram.  Muslims are supposed to wear it for the entire pilgrimage  and this practice was adopted from the pagans (Sahih Bukhari 2:26:706).  Muslims sacrifice animals during the pilgrimage  and so did the polytheists. (Sahih Bukhari 7:66:378)  Muslims shave their heads for the pilgrimage and so did the polytheists.  Muslims chant during their pilgrimage and so did the polytheists.  Muslims walk between these two hills  known as Safa and Marwa during their pilgrimage  and they explained that this is done to imitate Hagar walking between the two hills  looking for help when her son Ishmael was hungry and thirsty. This explanation is most likely an Islamic fabrication.  According to a well authentic Islamic Hadith,  early Muslims disliked this practice  because this is a ceremony that the Arab pagans used to practice  in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance  (Sahih Bukhari 2:26:710) until Muhammad revealed a mysterious Quran verse.  Indeed Safa and Marwa are among the symbols of Allah. (Surah 2:158) So whoever makes Hajj to the house or performs Umrah,  there is no blame upon him for walking between them.  Notice the Muslims didn’t have any reasonably Abrahamic Islamic explanation to this practice. They only knew it as an ignorant practice of the polytheists  and then Muhammad adopted it. All of this looks very much like a confirmation  of what people increasingly say. Islam is a mash-up of completely unrelated  incompatible religious practices.  It based itself on Abrahamic religion, claimed to be the purest Abrahamic religion,  took so many elements from Arab paganism  and made them central to its own religion. It even took elements from other religions and traditions besides these  and today Muslims go around  claiming this was the only absolute truth  coming from the one and Almighty Creator, Allah.  It is really incredible how Muhammad sold all of this. It didn’t actually sell very well,  which is why they had to eradicate cultures and forcibly make them accept it.  Islam is not an Abrahamic religion and the Hajj is not an Abrahamic practice.  It is a semi-Abrahamic  pagan cult created by ignorant Arab people in the seventh century.  If you don’t believe in pre-Islamic Arabs paganism, you should probably also reject Islam.  I mean the pagan pilgrimage gives it all away.