Short Answer: The Bible shows that Abraham was well traveled, and Muslim tradition is very clear that Abraham was in the Arab region and that he was responsible for laying the foundation of the Kaaba.
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Dr. Shabir Ally, from Let The Quran Speak, addresses this question in the video below:
Safiyyah Ally: OK, Brother Shabir, the first question is about Abraham. And the person is asking, how can Abraham have built the Kaaba?
Did he travel 700 miles all the way to Mecca from Jerusalem in his old age? How does that work?
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, the Bible shows that Abraham was well traveled. And the journeys in those ancient times from our perspective now seem to be quite impossible.
Yet the Bible says that they did happen. And the Quranic story shows too that he has traveled.
Abraham’s Travel Route
Though the Quran does not give the actual places to which he has traveled, as mentioned in detail in the Bible. But what is not there in the Bible and is there in Islamic tradition is that Abraham descended into Arabia and that’s where he established the foundation of the Kaaba.
So, to give some perspective on this, the Bible shows that Abraham left the Chaldeans who were near the foot of the Euphrates River. And then from that southern region, he traveled all the way up north into Haran and then down south again into Palestine.
And then from Palestine he went all the way across to Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula and then back to Palestine. So, if he could have done all of that, looking at the Islamic tradition that says that he went down into Arabia, it’s not such a far stretch after all.
Because coming back from Egypt, for example, one would cross over the Red Sea and come into the Arabian Peninsula before going back north into Palestine. But when exactly and in which part of all of these traveling that Abraham made a detour into Arabia, this is not specified in the tradition.
Abraham in Arab Memory
But Muslim tradition is very clear and this is something that survives from the memory of the Arabs that Abraham was in their region and that he was responsible for laying the foundation of the Kaaba, that sacred house of worship which was set up for the worship of one God.
And that is something for which Abraham was otherwise quite well known. He is regarded as the father of monotheism.
Safiyyah Ally: Actually, a follow-up question is, the person is asking, were other religious traditions aware, or religious communities actually aware of the fact that Abraham had built the Kaaba?
Dr. Shabir Ally: The only other community we know of that mentioned Abraham is the Judeo-Christian community because of the mention of Abraham in the Bible, and the Bible does not mention that Abraham did go into Arabia or anywhere else to raise the foundation of the Kaaba.
This is specifically Qur’anic. And is found in the Islamic tradition.
So, outside of the Islamic tradition, no I’m not aware of anyone else believing that Abraham did this.
Continue watching the video for full transcript. I hope this helps answer your question. You can also check out more from Let The Quran Speak at the link here. Please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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