By Mark Anderson
All Muslims believe Muhammad* received his first divine revelations in Mecca and consider the city’s Kaaba the “House of God.” The Qur’an says Abraham and his son Ishmael built the Kaaba (Q 22:26-29), though many Muslims believe Adam and Eve built the original. Either way, all Muslims believe their cube-like shrine was a pagan temple before Muhammad* cleansed it of its idols. They prostrate themselves toward it five times daily in prayer. And they ritually circle it—if possible, touching or kissing its sacred Black Stone—on pilgrimage.
In the 1970s, however, John Wansbrough, Patricia Crone and other scholars challenged the traditional view. They argued that Islam evolved over two centuries not in Mecca, but in the Fertile Crescent—in Nabatea or Mesopotamia.
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