Monday, September 19, 2016

Is Bakkata the same as Makkata?

Most of the Muslim scholars claimed that the place Bakkata in the Quran at Surah 3:96-97 is referring to the presence Mekah or  Makkata  which is being quoted in the Quran at Surah 48:24 as stated below:-----
The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakkata: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings: In it are Signs Manifest; (for example), the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security; Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah, those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures.” (3:96-97).
And it is He Who has restrained their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkata, after that He gave you the victory over them. And Allah sees well all that ye do. (48:24)
However nowadays many skeptics cast their doubt on the above being so as there is no evidence in the Quran or any other sources of Muslims authentic hadiths showing a recording of a change of name from the original Bakkata to Makkata. Bakkata is Makkata to them is mere speculation to justify the place as the original place of pilgrimage to date back to the story of Abraham (Pbuh).
Actually if we study the Quran in earnest we will come to the conclusion that Makkata is Bakkata but Bakkata is not equal to Makkata. This is because Makkata or Mekah as a city is ever growing and expanding its size areas as new development set in motion to an expanding economy and infrastructure of a modern city.
On the contrary the area of Bakkata remained intact with it boundary well defined as a blessed precinct for pilgrimage to be traced back to the time of Abraham (Pbuh) until present time. The Blessed Precinct is clearly stated in the Quran as the area between two mosques and the description fit well to be in similarity to that of the Blessed area of Bakkata The Blessed Precinct as stated:-----
Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things). (Surah 17:1)
In the above verse many Muslim exegesis claimed that the Furthest Mosque refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock. But this is just not possible as the mosque was never built during the time the Prophet (Pbuh) but was built and completed by the Amir “Abd al Malik in A.H. 68 which is about A.D. 691 in the Gregorian calendar. And the other technical error those who take the Furthest Mosque to be in Jerusalem is the distance between Makkata and Jerusalem a night journey cannot be done in those days.  Makkah is located around 1239 KM away from Jerusalem so if you travel at the constant speed of 50 KM per hour you can reach Jerusalem in 24.79 hours. Your Jerusalem travel time may vary due to your bus speed, train speed or depending upon the vehicle you use. Thus if one is to take a night journey in those time when the Quran was revealed as stated in Surah 17:1 to reach one another of the two mosques then the likelihood is that the Furthest Mosque was not in Jerusalem but located within the boundary of the Blessed Precinct in Makkata itself.
The evidences shown in the Quran the pilgrimage is done in Bakkata the Blessed Precinct (Surah 17:1) is an area flanked by two mosques the Sacred Mosque on one side and the other by the Furthest Mosque. The Sacred Mosque is where the Station of Abraham (Pbuh) is located as stated in 3:97 and substantiated by the verse which says “Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer;” (Surah 2:125). So this is the Sacred Mosque.
The other end of the Blessed Precinct of Surah 17:1 is mentioned the area of Arafat where the pilgrims were also to fulfill their rituals during pilgrimage season as the verse says “It is no crime in you if ye seek of the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage). Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you, even though, before this, ye went astray.” (Surah 2:198). The Sacred Monument at Arafat is where the pilgrims do their prayer and this is the Furthest Mosque mentioned in Surah 17:1. The distance between the Sacred Mosque at the Station of Abraham to the Furthest Mosque at the Sacred Monument in Arafat is 21 KM and it is about 30 minutes cruise by car but a ride on a camel will take about 4 hours thus the Prophet’s night journey was between these two places mentioned above.
There is however a claim that the servant of Allah mentioned in the Surah 17:1 does not refers to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) but it refers to Prophet Moses (Pbuh) as the immediate verse after it is tied with the conjunction “wa or and” which make it looks like The Quran is talking about Moses (Pbuh) rather than Muhammad (Pbuh). However the argument can be discarded as it was during the Prophet Muhammad’s time that there is command to face the Sacred Mosque as stated:- “Turn then Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque: Wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction.” (Surah 2:144) Whereas Prophet Moses was commanded to face a different kind of Qiblah as stated:- We inspired Moses and his brother with this Message: "Provide dwellings for your people in Egypt, make your dwellings into Qiblah and establish regular prayers: and give glad tidings to those who believe!" (Surah 10:87)
It is therefore crystal clear the two mosques known as the Sacred Mosque and the Furthest Mosque are within the boundary of the Blessed Precinct in Bakkata and this boundary for pilgrimage has not changed since the time of Abraham (Pbuh) but Makkata as a city is ever progressing and expanding its boundary. Thus there is no necessity of a change of name from Bakkata to Makkata because Bakkata is an area in Makkata and is known as the Blessed Precinct.