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Published on August 27th, 2012 | by Carl Medearis

17

My visit to Mecca

I went to Mecca. I think you guys know that by now.  I haven’t told quite the whole world, but a lot of people know (maybe cause I posted it on Facebook and Twitter….hmmmmmm?)  :)

 

We haven’t had a lively discussion for a while and I think me going to Mecca might give us some fun possibilities. It was the night they announced Ramadan. I was actually inside the Grand Mosque, next to the Kaaba, and a loud canon went off – letting the million plus Muslims there know that tomorrow Ramadan would begin. From there, within seconds, the rest of the Muslim world would know.  ”Tomorrow we fast.”  Everyone began congratulating each other – me included.  Then the evening call to pray went off, and we all lined up, facing the Kaaba (right smack in front of us) and we prayed.

 

So that was a month ago. I’ve had lots of, let’s say, “feedback” on me going there.  I’ve made several Muslims angry and a few more than several Christians upset.  I want to ask you if either side has any good arguments – I know you’ll tell me the truth. Here are the three categories for people being angry about me visiting the Muslim Holy City:

 

1. Since only Muslims can go there, and we assume you’ve NOT become a Muslim – you broke the law of Saudi Arabia and the law of Islam.  How can you do that in good conscience?

 

2.  Why would you go there?  What was the point?  You surely knew it would upset both sides!

 

3.  When you were there, how could you have joined in the Muslim prayers, facing Kaaba – an idol?  Wasn’t this the opposite of what Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in Babylon?   Why would you bow down?  Seems like you were just trying to save face.

 

I think those summarize the three positions that some have taken. Of course, I know what my answers are, but what would yours be? Not your best guess of MY answers – but YOUR answers for YOU if you had gone (or maybe you would not have gone).

 

I think this discussion is vital on several fronts, but I want to let you comment first and then I’ll come back around and let you know MY answers to all three….

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Chief Catalyst, Middle East Initiatives



17 Responses to My visit to Mecca

  1. Ken says:

    1. There are a lot of Muslims who want to go on the Hajj but can’t because of sheer numbers. It would be good to save the Hajj for Muslims and to create other times in the year when non-Muslims are welcome to visit.

    2. The Hajj is a traditional sacrament. People should learn to respect the sacraments of others.

    3. Many Christians worship with icons or pray with crucifixes. Worship aids and symbols are widespread. “Idolatry” is a pejorative term that blinds people to the faith of others.

  2. Wes says:

    My first response is that I’m a bit envious that I was not with you. lol However, you can pass as a “middle easterner” and I can’t. So no telling what would have happened.

    In response to your first item. I was not aware (owning honest lack of understanding here) that only Muslims go into a mosque or on their holy grounds. If you were invited, then that, I would think, is the responsibility of the one who did the inviting. If you were not invited, or there by some permission, then I may want to think about that. But…I’m sill glad you were there!

    On the second point–I think you gave up trying to please people a long time ago. I know a bit of the depth of your heart and love for Muslims, so why wouldn’t you go there?!? That’s a bit like Jesus coming to earth…why would he do that, for heaven’s sake?!? Just maybe you and he have done those things out of love.

    On the third point–well, I may join you in being in trouble here considering the places in which I’ve prayed in my limited travels. My strong guess is that as you bowed it was to the Triune God you were praying: Creator Father; Redeemer, Rabbi, Savior, Healer, Brother, Friend Jesus; Indwelling Holy Spirit, who by all Biblical accounts was right there praying with, through and for you and all the rest bowed down.

    Shoot, in my younger days I even had the “privilege” of having an Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church politely, but firmly reprimand me for partaking of the Eucharist without being a baptized Catholic…because I didn’t hold my hands correctly when receiving the host. Oh well…the cool thing was that that gave he and I and exceptional conversation over lunch in January of 1996. That was way unexpected. I’m still not a baptized Catholic…but I now know how to hold my hands so that I don’t give it too far away that I’m simply trying to be a Christ-follower, no matter where I find myself.

    How I wish I had the extra coin to take a trip with you some day. It would be a sacred honor, Carl, to bow down with you before our God anywhere.

  3. Wes says:

    PS…sorry for the typos! And…in the picture you posted, how do they get their prayer circles so perfect…amazing!

  4. I am jealous that you went and I couldn’t. I smile at your audacity, even now, and I love that you were able to go. Those who think you did something wrong just don’t get it, those who haven’t taken such a risk might never get it. “It” is daring to live on the edge, going where Jesus would go. LOL that you are trying to get some activity on your site with a provocative question. :-)

  5. Steve says:

    I once sought an audience with the Karmapa Lama (Black Hat) in Tibet. People were going there to seek his blessing. They bowed, he blew on them and put a scarf on them. I stood in the back and prayed quietly for him. Eventually they said I had to bow before him and receive his blessing or leave. I left.

    If the people in the room were kneeling before going up to be blessed I would have had no trouble kneeling also.

    I didn’t know Karl at the time so he couldn’t mentor me in how to handle this. But I think we were operating in the same spirit.

  6. abu awladi says:

    carl — why should anyone be upset? (now i can understand why some muslims might be upset, but that’s because they might perceive it as an affront to their holy shrine), but honestly, if it’s something you felt you were being nudged to do, and you were ready to take the consequences were you to have been found out… go for it!!! why should anyone’s opinion here mean anything one way or another??? enta hurr!

    i think it’s cool you had the guts AND the time AND the money to do so! i’m sure you’ll have gotten something out of it. (that would be my question: what were some of the benefits you gained from it?)

    as to your three questions: meh… i know you’re trolling for some kind of emotional reaction, but i’m not biting. next time you go, let me know… i may come with :)

  7. Tim McDonell says:

    Carl, I’m not surprised but I am a little sad that followers of Jesus would get upset. I suppose it is either a lack of understanding on their part or mine.
    When I visit my friends at the local mosque they invite me to pray with them. When I explain that I am not a Muslim the respond that we both believe in the one true God so I gladly join them. I’m pretty sure they don’t pray to Mohamed.
    I too am jealous. Would have loved to have been there with you.

  8. Sheila says:

    Hopefully not-angry people can respond to your post too LOL.
    When I first heard about your visit I was so jealous. My Muslim friends graciously invite me to join them at the mosque and we pray together to God even though we do not share all of the same beliefs. We share our love for the one true God and we love each other. I would love to see and experience hajj. It is something as important to my Muslim friends as some of the things I do as a follower of Jesus that I’m happy to share with my Muslim friends. Sharing those things that mean so much to us can only help us understand, love and bless each other, right?

  9. Rhea Flanery says:

    I’m not only a woman, but a lesbian. Unless things change drastically in Saudi Arabia, I could never imagine going there!

    But if I were a straight male, I don’t know that I would go to Mecca during Ramadan if, according to Islam, non-Muslims are not allowed. I wouldn’t want to intentionally offend anyone’s religion for no good reason. While I’m sure that the Muslims there are sincere in their faith, I tend to think that they’re probably sincerely misguided in their faith. There are many ‘good’ things in their faith, but I also feel that they miss a few key comments (Jesus is God, for example). I’m not sure that I would want to go to a place and ‘do faith’ with others where I have to limit my understanding of Christ. At the same time, I wouldn’t be opposed to going to any religious ceremony/service as a guest, but not necessarily as a participant.

  10. Barfly says:

    1. You rebel you

    2. Point of going: interest, travel – witness the cry of the heart of man for reconciliation with God expressed in yet another form and forum

    3. I didn’t know we were still under the law. Not behaviour that matters.

  11. Jane Fairchild says:

    Personally, I have a real problem when a Christian Believer wants to bring Unity by placing themselves with things of darkness or another gospel that is being preached.

    First of all by a Christian visiting a place of Islam is being false and there really is no sincerity of visiting such a place in embracing Islam personally. It becomes deceptive. Not real.

    2nd – To visit a place that truly is another gospel of Jesus Christ – is condoning such a place.

    God’s own word is written: 2 Cor. 11:3-4 “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted– you may well put up with it. (you will have to endure it, or you wear it beautifully, and some do).

    Paul warns: Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

    When a person visits Mecca or attends a mosque are you able to acknowledge JESUS IS LORD and that JESUS is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. If you cannot do this then please read: Matthew Chapter 10: as God’s word is written:

    32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    There is a false unity offered and promoted by the devil! The counterfeit would like to combine all who merely profess a belief in Jesus Christ under one religious banner of tolerance. They seem to think we should unite on things like the Lord’s prayer. They also believe doctrine is not important. Unwittingly they must not realize that very statement, doctrine is not important, is in itself a doctrine! Therefore, such false unity seekers really do believe doctrine is important! In fact, that very unscriptural doctrine seems to be their standard to judge and condemn all, who believe otherwise, as unloving and divisive! The real truth is: doctrine is important. The Apostle Paul, who stressed unity also commanded Titus:

    You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).

    In fact, to qualify as an elder one must not only hold to sound doctrine, but also must be able to refute those who oppose it:

    He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9).

    When my husband and I use to minister in Albuquerque New Mexico… there was an actual ‘Satanist Church’… the full deal of people wearing the black hooded robes, and a Pentagram right in the middle of this church building. The church name was called ‘Holy Ghost Fellowship’…

    As a Christian Believer would God be okay with me attending to see about this church to gain an understanding in reaching out to the people… I do not think so. As this would be like trying to blend darkness with light, or oil with water… Two opposites of the True God…

    Yes, God’s word is written: Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

    also written in Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

    Let me share a story to you – A story about learning about the COUNTERFEIT AND THE REAL and what I learned at the FBI with the TRUTH and the COUNTERFEIT. Press ‘see more’ to actually read this story. Do you know the TRUTH or do you follow a COUNTERFEIT within your life.

    There was a time that I would have had a great career with the FBI while living in Virginia as I actually had been hired at the Headquarters of the FBI for Virginia. Yes, a person that is hired with the FBI is not automatically hired but you have to go through a big screening process. Our apartment was even checked out as I also had been interviewed in our own home. Also our neighbors surrounding me were all checked out.

    During that time I worked in the Technical Processing Department for the records of murders, autopsy reports, and autopsy pictures, and pictures of the crime scene – I was responsible for processing the dictations from all these reports and putting them together in a file. They (the FBI) were also in the process of training me for finger printing and also working behind the glassed window (where the criminal under investigation could not see you) as they were getting processed through having a lie dictator process, and I was responsible for transcribing the report of this process behind this window. But at the time, I knew that the Lord wanted me to work at the Regent University Law Library so the Director of the FBI, Jazz, encouraged me to keep trying to get on with the Library as I kept working at the FBI Yes, it would have been a great career at the FBI – but I knew that God’s will was for me to be employed at Regent University Law Library.

    A small story while working at the FBI. The Director of the FBI, his name was Jazkowski – we all called him ‘Jazz’. He was a precious man that I grew very close to as my boss. One day I asked Jazz to teach me how the FBI could spot a counterfeit dollar bill. Jazz put down two one dollar bills. He asked me to look and see if I saw the difference. At that time I said ‘no’… He then showed me the counterfeit bill and then when we lift up the true one dollar bill he shared to me ‘Jane, the FBI will only study the real and true dollar bill, to know every line that is in this bill. They will NEVER study the counterfeit dollar bills as the counterfeits will always be different and this will only confuse you with the lines and then through confusion you do not remember the true from the counterfeit….’

    One day as I was taking my lunch time I was reading God’s word. Jazz came in to sit and have lunch with me and said ‘Jane, what are you reading?’… I laid down the Bible and said ‘Jazz, I am studying the Word of God… A true Christian Believer will only study the real and true Word of God and will never study the counterfeits word of God because then the counterfeits will change from person to person and make the person confused.’… We both laugh and he said ‘Boy, you learn well.’

    Think about this in our own lives today… There are so many counterfeits out there but only ONE TRUTH. That one truth is only found in the Torah and God’s written Word. There is no other truth out there. Do you study the TRUE AND REAL or do you study the counterfeits in this world… COUNTERFEITS that have rewritten God’s true word and have placed their MAN WRITTEN WORDS at truth to follow but instead following these COUNTERFEITS leads to confusion, strife, murder of innocent people, and the list goes on – but the REAL TRUTH WRITTEN IN THE TORAH / BIBLE will set you free and give you peace, love and joy..

    SUMMARY: Personally I do not think the Lord would want us to walk in becoming Lukewarm with worldly Unity to try to blend in … This would be deception on our part and we would be actually walking in hypocrisy ourselves through this deception.

    This would be like placing a bushel basket over our LIGHT so that we blend in, without making waves, so we can win souls to Jesus Christ… This is not of GOD at all…

    I think that you are in error by trying to blend in with another Gospel for the sake of Unity and learning tolerance of one another… I do not believe that these actions (no matter how loving) are actions that God would intend for HIS TRUE BELIEVES to be taking… as it is agreeing with and condoning another Gospel that is not of God…

    Jesus would not have gone into a temple that was unholy and not of GOD… In fact Jesus wanted the wicked temples torn down… along with the many idols and idol worship…

    There is a RIGHTEOUS ANGER OF GOD that is pure and good and righteous… I truly believe that these kind of actions where Christians are trying to blend in with another Gospel is stirring up God’s righteous anger as when JESUS threw out those on the steps of HIS HOLY TEMPLE….

  12. Jane Fairchild says:

    Personally, I have a real problem when a Christian Believer wants to bring Unity by placing themselves with things of darkness or another gospel that is being preached.

    First of all by a Christian visiting a place of Islam is being false …See More
    2 hours ago · Like

    Jane Fairchild IF A CHRISTIAN BELIEVER visits Mecca – they are in agreement with a Moon GOD that is worshipped… The Bible rebukes such worship as sinful idol worship.

    The Koran tells Muslims not to worship the moon. But Islam demands prayers towards Mecca, and the black stone that has fallen down from the moon.

    A 1315 illustration from the Jami al-Tawarikh, inspired by the Sirah Rasul Allah story of Muhammad and the Meccan clan elders lifting the Black Stone into place.

    Many scholars have tried to find evidence in the Koran, about Allah being the moon god. But rather to search for scriptural evidence for moon worship, its better to see what the Muslims are actually doing when they gather for the Holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

    They bow down to, worship and kiss a black stone, suppose to have fallen down from the the sky. A stone from the moon.

    The Stone is roughly 30 cm (12 in.) in diameter, and 1.5 meters (5 ft.) above the ground.

    The black stone at the Kabah in Mecca, covered by silver frame.

    Deuteronomy 4:19
    And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

    Allah was originally the name of an Arabic pagan god. This god was the moon God, and the Arabs moon worshipers. The Prophet Muhammad was raised in a family of moon god worshipers. When He received the revelation written down in the Koran, Muhammad told the Arabs not to worship the physical moon as god. In stead they were told to pray towards Mecca, and the black stone that had fallen down from the moon.

    The Bible rebuke such worship as sinful idol worship.

    2 Kings 21:3
    He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them.

    A symbol of the moon is the symbol of Islam. Its on top of every prayer tower, on top of every Mosque, and used as a symbol of very Islamic nation.

    A model of the Kabah with the black stone.

    The name Allah was used as the personal name of the moon god, in addition to other titles that could be given to him.

    Allah, the moon god, was married to the sun goddess. Together they produced three goddesses who were called «the daughters of Allah». These three goddesses were called Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat.

    The daughters of Allah, along with Allah and the sun goddess were viewed as «high» gods. That is, they were viewed as being at the top of the pantheon of Arabian deities.

    Jeremiah 8:2
    They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.

    (Koran 74:32-34). Muslims fast during the month that begins and ends with a crescent moon.

    The global symbol for Islam

    The Arabs believed that the moon-god was the greatest of all gods. In worshiping their moon-god, Allah, they prayed toward Mecca several times a day, made pilgrimages to Mecca, ran around their moon-god temple called Kabah, kissed the Black Stone, killed animal sacrifices for their moon-god, and fasted for the month which begins and ends with the crescent moon, etc, just as the Muslims do today.

    There is a verse in the Bible about worshiping a stone that fell from the heaven.

    Acts 19:35
    The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Men of Ephesus, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?

    Muslim worship is very similar to the pagan worship of the stone in Ephesus. Islam also have element of worship, adoration and veneration of goddesses. The Muslims believed Allah, the moon-god, was married to the sun goddess. Together they produced three goddesses who were called «the daughters of Allah». Allah’s three daughters, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat, were viewed as intercessors between the people and Allah and were also worshiped at the Kabah in Mecca. The daughters of Allah, along with Allah’s wife the sun goddess, and Allah were viewed as «high» gods.

    The Kaaba in Mecca, with a black stone in its center.
    In 630 AD Mohammad again entered Mecca and captured it. He declared Allah to be the supreme god and was the one true god that all men should worship. Mohammad claimed to have had his «vision« and «revelation» from the angel Gabriel. Mohammad destroyed all the 360 idols at Mecca except the Black Stone, which they believed had come from the moon. Muslims continue to worship and kiss it today. Mohammad declared that Allah alone should be worshiped. He forbade the worship of the daughters of Allah. Mohammad retained almost all the pagan rituals of the Arabs at the temple, Kabah, and redefined them in monotheistic terms.

    To this day, a crescent moon can be found at the front of every mosque, acknowledging that Allah was and is still their moon-god.

    For me personally, as a Christian Believer, I could NEVER visit a place as Mecca as this is saying that it is okay before the TRUE GOD to worship idols of worship…. and I will never bow down to follow that this would be of GOD

  13. david says:

    Dear Jane

    The word Allah was used before Muhammad’s time, as the name for The one supreme God. All Semitic peoples of the region used the same name but just a little different, including Christians and Jews. The word for God in Arabic Bibles that Christians use today is (still) “Allah”. Do some serious research. Who did Jesus cry out to in Aramaic when on the cross?

    Muhammad preached against worshiping anyone or anything except the one true God. Islam does the same today. It is the foundation of Islam. To say that Muslims worship the Moon God is fantasy and foolishness.

    Regarding the crescent and it’s origin, it originated as a sign of the Byzantine (Christian) Empire and continued being used by the Ottoman (Muslim) Empire. It has nothing to do with worshiping a Moon God. I believe that our Creator made the moon and the sun – all so wonderful signs!

    Regarding the Kabah, it was a place of pilgrimage for many Arab tribes in the region BEFORE Muhammad, all worshiping different gods (maybe even the moon god). Muhammad stood against this saying that there is only one God. He cited Abraham and other Old Testament prophets.

    Regarding visiting Mecca, or any mosque for that matter – Scripture says that the whole world are under the control of the evil one. Millions of Muslims are living to worship and please God in the only way they know how. Most Americans worship materialism, secularism, accumulating wealth, greed, titles, education, independence from any creator, etc. If you get to know Muslims you will find that they are very eager to talk about spiritual things (I don’t mean arguing who is right), unlike most Americans.

    If you want to disagree with Muslims on theology, you at least need to learn what they believe. However, it is not theology that draws people to Christ, but love. I would suggest you put aside your theological arguments, which act as a huge log in your eye, and put on love and a heart of compassion. God can do amazing things Jane, even cause us to love our neighbors and even our enemies. With God all things are possible.

  14. otto zutz says:

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  15. What ARE your your answers to all three???

  16. John Tyler says:

    An interesting book for Meccans and non-Meccans: The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov. “On November 20, 1979 hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam’s holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. These men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca’s bloody siege lasted two weeks, causing hundreds of deaths.” It was the beginning of al queda. Interesting reading. By the way, Osama bin Laden’s father was responsible for modernizing the Mosque and its surrounding buildings.

  17. Ibn Tahhara says:

    Have a look at Dan Gibson’s book, “Quranic Geography” — http://searchformecca.com/ — gives a different take on the whole Mecca thing!

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