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  1. Dear Mr. Morris,

    Thanks for your work–you sound like someone who is unafraid to think critically about both traditional and revisionist approaches, which I appreciate. I’m wondering if you have heard of the archaeological work done by Dan Gibson on early qiblas, and if you would be interested in reviewing his work on your blog or in a published book review. His main thesis is found here:

    while the full argument with supporting evidence and background is found here:

    (I believe the second link may contain a few updates and revisions to the first link.) I’m sure there must be some holes in some of his supporting evidence claims, but I am most interested in seeing how scholars of early Islamic history engage with the main archaeological evidence he presents, since it seems to me that, if his data is anywhere near accurate, the claim of an early change of qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca is clearly falsified, while it does seem that Petra or somewhere in the region seems to be not just an accidental product of measurement error, but an actual target in the minds of mosque builders for the first century AH.

    Thank you for any thoughts or critiques you have of Mr. Gibson’s work.

  2. Hello, you have a very interesting blog.
    I’d like ask for your opinion on a theory about the age of Aisha. From my reading, it seems as though one of the main arguments advanced by the early Shia for Imam Ali’s religious superiority over his opponents (Aisha and Muawiyah) was that he embraced Islam as a child and that he was raised within the Prophetic household. Would it be reasonable to assert that the reports on Aisha’s young age were created to counter this ‘superiority’ of Ali ibn Abu Talib over his opponents? It would also seem to account for an explain why reports exist which place Aisha at an older age (i.e. the narrations in Tabari which say she was born during the pre-Islamic era).

    Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

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