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Massive Online Encyclopedia of Islam : PARAN
PARAN

Heb: Pa'ran (Click to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to View), meaning "place of caverns".

Name of the place where Hagar and Ishmael went to when they were sent away by Abraham (Genesis 21:21), and where Ishmael continued to grow. Muslims argue that Paran refers to the Arabian desert and that Mt. Paran is the Sarawat Mountains. Accordingly, Muslims argued that Habbakkuk 3:3 is a prophecy of Muhammad :

God (his guidance) came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (Habbakkuk 3:3) (Mishael ibn Abdullah al-Kadhi, What did Jesus say?, 1997, Chapter 6:4).
There are two main problems with this. The first is of course that the prophecy has nothing to do with Muhammad. Notice that Mishael put in parenthesis "(his guidance)" in order to apply it to Muhammad, who was supposed to come from Teman. The Bible simply refers to God. This is an abuse of scripture.

The second problem is of course that (the Wilderness of) Paran in the Bible is not Arabia. The traditional view is that Paran is in the Sinai Peninsula, starting at Kadesh Barnea, which is south of Israel. Consider the following:

  1. Hadad the Edomite, during the reign of Solomon, escaped to Egypt when he was a boy (1 Kings 11:17). "They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking men from Paran with them, they went to Egypt..." (1 Kings 11:8-19). To think that Hadad set out from Midian (which is south east (SE) of Israel, near the Sinai in the Arabian Peninsula, go up north east east (NEE) to "Paran" (Mecca), then somehow end up in Egypt (south west of Mecca) is unthinkable.

  2. The Israelites left Sinai (after receiving the Law) for the Desert of Paran (Numbers 10:12), on the way passing through Kibroth Hattavah (Numbers 11:34), Hazeroth (Numbers 12:16), and settling at Kadesh [Barnea] of Paran (Numbers 13:26), which is the northern part of the desert. From Paran, spies were sent to Canaan to check out the land (Numbers 13:3). The spies' exploration took them from Paran through the Desert of Zin (south of Israel), Rehob, Lebo Hamath, Negev, Hebron (Numbers 13:21-22). The southern boundary of the Israelite promised land is given as "Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. On the east, your southern boundary wll start from the end of the Salt Sea [i.e. Dead Sea], cross south of the Scorpion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Sea [i.e., Mediterranean]" (Numbers 34:3-5). Zin and Kadesh are clearly to the south of Israel, so to demand that Paran is on the east of Israel requies an impossible boundary.

  3. The above verses also show that Moses and the Israelites were at Paran. But if Paran is Mecca, and that Moses is a prophet of Islam, then the obvious conclusion is that Moses was at Mecca and that he must have worshipped at the Ka'aba. Nothing of this sort is ever suggested by any Muslim. It also means that the whole group of Israelites (many thousands of them) passed through Mecca.

  4. Ishmael married an Egyptian. Mecca is more than 700 miles away from Egypt, and getting an Egyptian wife seems a little too far. Although this is not conclusive, getting an Egyptian wife from the Sinai Peninsula is more probable.


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