Makkah's Place in Arabia

despite the fact that yaman was the most advanced province in the arabian peninsula and the most civilized on account of its fertility and the sound administration of its water resources, its religious practices never commanded the respect of the inhabitants of the desert. its temples never constituted a single center of pilgrimage. makkah, on the other hand, and its ka'bah, the house of isma'il, was the object of pilgrimage ever since arab history began. every arab sought to travel to it. in it the holy months were observed with far more ado than anywhere else. for this reason, as well as for its distinguished position in the trade of the peninsula as a whole, it was regarded as the capital. further, it was to be the birthplace of muhammad, the arab prophet, and became the object of the yearning of the world throughout the centuries. its ancient house was to remain holy forever. the tribe of quraysh was to continue to enjoy a distinguished and sovereign position. all this was to remain so forever despite the fact that the makkans and their city continued to lead a life closer to the hardness of bedouin existence which had been their custom for many tens of centuries.

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