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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Zayde Gordon Antrim


The pilgrimage to Mecca predates the religion of Islam. Upon receiving the revelations from God, the Prophet Muhammad took an initiative to cleanse the city of Mecca of its idols and “Islamized” the pilgrimage. Muhammad banned the practice of idolatry but still allowed the pilgrimage, declaring it a “pillar” of Islam. By doing so, the Prophet demonstrated that the pagan Arabs were wrong in worshipping the idols but noted the significance of the Ka’ba and the city of Mecca. Based on this idea I investigate whether it was the religious significance of the Ka’ba and the city of Mecca that was the important factor for both the pagan Arabs and Muhammad. I investigate whether the pagan Arabs and the Prophet sought to control the city due to the strength of their faith or simply because it offered them a way to generate revenue. If the latter theory holds true, it would explain why the pagan Arabs offered to make Muhammad the richest man among them in order to have him stop preaching his ideas. As the Prophet did not agree to the offer made by the Quraysh, I then began to question whether or not if there were any compromises that might have existed between the prophet and his Kinship group, where the Prophet would declare the Hajj mandatory for all Muslims, ensuring the free flowing of revenues that would be generated by pilgrims for years to come. Perhaps this compromise would allow the pagan Arabs to convert to the religion of Islam. I survey a time period of both pre and post Muhammad’s lifetime in to see what political and economic benefits the Hajj served in order to conclude whether a compromise could have existed between Muhammad and the Pagan Arabs.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only.