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Early Islamic Qiblas: A survey of mosques built between 1AH/622 C.E. and 263 AH/876 C.E. Hardcover – 31 May 2017
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Everyone interested in our world today, and the impact history has on us, should read this book. Great life's work by the author.
Gibson has carefully incorporated precise details of the orientation of dozens of early mosques in such a way that shows it highly unlikely that the mosques of the first century of Islam were uniformly pointing to Mecca, nor to Jerusalem as often claimed for earlier mosques. He also demonstrates clearly that these mosque orientations were not simply a result of measurement error on the part of the builders, but that they clearly had a common target in mind, which they point to with even greater accuracy than later mosques point to Mecca.
Because Gibson clearly shows us how he came to his measurements and which mosques he is using, I am hopeful that other scholars can build on his work, confirm or adjust his measurements, and flesh out the story that these buildings tell us. Gibson, of course, has gathered a great deal of "soft" evidence in addition to his archaeological survey, which cumulatively make the case even stronger. I hope that scholars of early Islamic history will test Gibson's data and analysis and grapple with their implications for early Islamic history.