The prophet Mohammad declared he was the last prophet of Allah, a name resembling the El Shaddai (trans. Lord God, KJV), the god of Abraham in the Bible. Mohammad galvanised the Arabs and nearby nations with an original religion, branching off from the start of the Patriarchs found in the Bible’s first book, Genesis. His story follows Ishmael, the first son of Abraham, from whom the Arabs believe themselves descended.
Mohammad’s religion of Islam (“salvation”) started in Mecca where he received visions of angels and spontaneously recited suras (verses) which became the Quran and associated texts. An unknown history of Abraham and Ishmael emerged, intimate with Mecca, long a spiritual center for the Arabic world. Mecca’s principle monument, the Kaaba or “cube”, has taken a number of forms. Adam located it as a dolmen created by God when Adam was formed; Ishmael built the next design for his father, “open to the sky”, using surface stones from nearby mountains; and Mohammad’s dispensation adds ancient stories about cubic arks and located these as a renewed Kaaba, the prime center, or Pole of redemption for the world.
The three keys here will be the Kaaba as an Ark, the Pole (Qutub) and model of Great Time.
Over the last seven thousand years, hunter-gathering humans have been transformed into the “modern” norms of citizens (city dwellers) through a series of metamorphoses during which the intellect developed ever-larger descriptions of the world. Past civilizations and even some tribal groups have left wonders in their wake, a result of uncanny skills – mental and physical – which, being hard to repeat today, cannot be considered primitive. Buildings such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza are felt anomalous, because of the mathematics implied by their construction. Our notational mathematics only arose much later and so, a different maths must have preceded ours.
We have also inherited texts from ancient times. Spoken language evolved before there was any writing with which to create texts. Writing developed in three main ways: (1) Pictographic writing evolved into hieroglyphs, like those of Egyptian texts, carved on stone or inked onto papyrus, (2) the Sumerians used cross-hatched lines on clay tablets, to make symbols representing the syllables within speech. Cuneiform allowed the many languages of the ancient Near East to be recorded, since all spoken language is made of syllables, (3) the Phoenicians developed the alphabet, which was perfected in Iron Age Greece through identifying more phonemes, including the vowels. The Greek language enabled individual writers to think new thoughts through writing down their ideas; a new habit that competed with information passed down through the oral tradition. Ironically though, writing down oral stories allowed their survival, as the oral tradition became more-or-less extinct. And surviving oral texts give otherwise missing insights into the intellectual life behind prehistoric monuments.