Remembering Uzza

18 The Ka’ba: The Nabataeans, Abraham or Adam?

(2.5 draft)

UzzaGerry: Your description of how believers brutalize little girls into becoming mass murderers shows some if crappy creativity, unlike your description of Paradise as stacked oasis which conforms to Lawrence's observation that the Arabs' imagination was vivid, but not creative.

Uzza: Muhammad's imagination, if you are insinuating that Paradise is how he imagined it, was not typical of the imagination of the Arabs of his time. Pre-Islamic Arabs built the jewel and engineering wonder that is Petra. It took creativity, immense creativity.

Bob: The Arabs did that? That is amazing.

Uzza: Yes, the Arabs did that! Even more amazing, my namesake, the goddess al-Uzza was worshipped by both the Arabs of Petra and those of Mecca. That required more than a vivid imagination.

Bob: What's with the "al"?

Uzza: It's simply means "the". It emphasizes the uniqueness of the one who bears the name. For example, you could spell Allah with a hyphen after the first "l" for it means the God.

Gerry: So Uzza is unique, just like you are unique.

Uzza: In more ways than one, you flatterer you. By naming me Uzza my parents were making a statement, they were breaking with tradition. It is a sin for Muslims to name their children after deities whose existence Allah has denied, which is every god and goddess that ever lived, and that includes al-Uzza.

Bob: That's sounds dangerous?

Uzza: When the Islamists come for me, my parents will already have been killed.

Gerry: That is terrible. And we let them in, as you said.

Uzza: Archie, more wine please for tomorrow we die.

Gerry: Don't say that.

Archie: What is so amazing about the Arabs of Mecca worshipping the same goddess as the Arabs of Petra?

Uzza: It supports a theory that it was the well-travelled Nabataeans, the name of the Arab tribe which built Petra, who also founded Mecca.

Archie: It wasn't Adam and Eve. [sarcastically] I don't believe it!

Bob: What about the stone?

Uzza: Most agree that the stone is the remnants of a meteorite.

Bob: So, the stone in the Ka'ba is really out of this world.

Uzza: Obviously, whether you believe it came from Paradise or outer-space. The Nabataeans, some have speculated, believed the stone which fell to earth came from the home of the gods and goddesses above the clouds; a sign that they, including the goddess al-Uzza, wanted a shrine built where it fell.

Gerry: And that is where they built the Ka'ba.

Uzza: And around the Ka'ba grew the city of Mecca. The Romans maintained, in the first century, a garrison at the port of Jeddah just about 50 miles from Mecca and catalogued much of the area without mentioning Mecca. This is further evidence that it was founded by the Nabataeans. You would have expected that a shrine built by Adam and Eve, and later rebuilt by Abraham after the Great Flood swept away the Ka'ba and its contents would have already grown into a town worthy of mentioned by the Romans, who did take notice of Medina.

Bob: Abraham, from what I remember of the Bible, lived at least a thousand miles from Mecca .

Uzza: At least.

Bob: So how did he get from here to there to rebuild a cabin in the middle of nowhere? His two thousand mile round-trip by camel could not have gone unnoticed by those left behind and those who would not have let the old guy go on such a journey all by himself.

Uzza: The first time he was not by himself, he was with Hagar and their son Ismael.

Archie: You mean he did this trip more than once?

Uzza: At least twice, once to drop off Hagar and their son Ismael after Sarah finally bore her husband a son, and demanded he get rid of Hagar her Egyptian servant and Ismael.

Gerry: I thought Isaac was Abraham's first son by his first wife, Sarah.

Uzza: Islam considers Hagar a legitimate wife of Abraham therefore Ismael his first-born son. The Koran is clear on the concept; Isaac was a gift from God to Abraham because of his willingness to sacrifice Ismael on a small hill next to the Ka'ba.

Gerry: Who is right, the Bible which says that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac or the Koran which says it was Ismael on hills at least a thousand miles apart?

Uzza: The Koran was also sent to correct errors in the Bible, so the Koran has to be right.

Archie: What else is new!

Bob: If the stone from Paradise was swept away, why do Islamists still believe that the stone they worship today is the same one that Adam brought from Paradise?

Uzza: The angel Gabriel out it in a safe place and gave it to Abraham so that he could return it to its honored place in the Ka'ba he rebuilt.

Archie: That is one handy angel to have around isn't. Maybe he was kind enough to loan Abraham his flying horse for at least the return trips to Mecca when he would not have to carry the three of them, which may have exceeded its takeoff weight.

Uzza: Funny you should say that. Scholars have speculated that Gabriel did just that.

Archie: I was joking.

Uzza: Scholars don't joke about such things.

Archie: I can’t help myself?