Is there any reference to Abraham building a house for worship in the Bible?

Where is the valley of Bakkah located?

In Islam they say Bakkah and Mecca are the same word, and the Kabah is built on the original foundation that Abraham build as the 1st place of worship.

Does Christianity recognize this at all or have a different location for Bakkah?


3 Answers 3


There is no reference to Abraham building a house of worship in the book of Genesis.

The only things that it is recorded that Abraham built were four altars to YHWH. He built two different altars in chapter 12, one in chapter 13, and another in chapter 22.

There is no record of Abraham ever building a dwelling (he is believed to have lived in tents), or a house of worship for God. The first record of God recieving a physical location in which he was to be worshiped was the Tabernacle in Exodus, and he did not have a building until the Temple was built during the time of Solomon.

Islam believes that Bakkah was the place where God provided water for Hagar and Ishmael, recorded in chapter 21 of Genesis. However, this is not a significant location for most Christians (that I am aware of), and Ishmael is not a significant figure in Christianity.

  • I would say Ishmael has some significance in Christianity but only as the 'child of the flesh' as set over against the 'child of the promise'. The former does not inherit the Kingdom and the latter does. Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 15:51

What does the Bible tell us about Abraham? Genesis 11:28 says that Abraham’s father, Terah, lived in Ur, an influential city in southern Mesopotamia situated on the Euphrates River about halfway between the head of the Persian Gulf and the modern-day city of Baghdad. Terah took his family and set off for the land of Canaan but instead settled in the city of Haran in northern Mesopotamia (on the trade route from ancient Babylonia about halfway between Nineveh and Damascus). The people of Ur and Haran worshiped the ancient Babylonian pantheon of gods, in particular the moon god, Sin. God then calls Abraham out from his home in Haran and tells him to go to a land that He will show to him.

Much later God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the top of Mount Moriah:

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2).

There, Abraham builds an altar to make the sacrifice, but God’s angel stays Abraham’s hand. Instead, God provides a ram as a sacrifice:

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided” (Genesis 22:13-14).

The name Moriah is explained in 2 Chronicles 3:1 as the place of the later Temple Mount in Jerusalem:

“So Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David, his father. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah (or Ornan in Hebrew) the Jebusite, the site that David had selected.”

The ESV Study Bible makes this comment:

“Abraham bound Isaac in the land of Moriah and tradition associated the Temple mount as the place where the Lord provided for Abraham.”

Genesis 21:14-29 describes how Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert and how God intervened to provide water for them. Ishmael grows up in the wilderness and becomes a skillful archer. He settled in the wilderness of Paran and then married a woman from the land of Egypt.

“About this time” Abraham lays claim to a well he dug in Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”). “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshipped the Lord, the Eternal God” (Genesis 21:32-34).

There is no reference here to Abraham building a house for worship, and Beersheba is clearly nowhere near Mecca. The only connection between Abraham and a house of worship is the place on Mount Moriah where he was prepared to sacrifice Isaac – the place where Solomon eventually built the Temple. That location is in Jerusalem.

EDIT: Just found a reference to Baca in Psalm 84:6 (Authorised Version): "Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools." That is in the context of people struggling to travel to Zion to worship God in Jerusalem. Many other Bible translations call it the valley of Weeping. I don’t know if this is the same as the Bakkah mentioned in the question, but it certainly has nothing to do with Mecca.


Abraham's journey from Ur into the land of Canaan takes a unanimously northern route as these many maps make clear. He follows the Euphrates river up to Haran at the northern part of modern day Syria and then SSW along the Mediterranean coast into Canaan. At one point he goes west, between the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea and the top of the Red Sea, over into Goshen in Egypt (the area that is now Cairo and Alexandria) and then back again into Canaan. This area in Egypt represents the farthest south He ever traveled. All told Abraham travels around 1200 miles on foot with flocks, herds, family, and servants.

At no point does Abraham ever travel the ~700 additional miles SSE of Goshen down the Arabian Peninsula to the area that is now Mecca.

  • Those maps are most helpful.
    – Lesley
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 8:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .