Dan Gibson (author)

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Dan Gibson

Daniel "Dan" Gibson (born 1956) is a self-published Canadian author studying the early history of Arabia and Islam.

Personal life[edit]

Dan Gibson is the son and grandson of two British-Canadians who were both interested in the archaeology and history of the Holy Land and he inherited their interests. Gibson visited the Arabian peninsula for the first time in his early twenties. After college Gibson researched the history of the Arabian peninsula. With his family, he lived for over 20 years in various countries of the Near East. Gibson has four children and currently lives in Canada.[1]


Gibson' s primary research interest was originally the history of ancient trade, specifically Arab and Nabataean from 300 BC to 500 AD. This led him to conclude that there are contradictions between the archaeological record and the traditional historiography of Arabia respective of Islam. Gibson opines that Islam's prophet Muhammad did not live in Mecca but in Petra (today in Jordan).

Reception and critique[edit]

Michael Lecker's review of Gibson's Qur'ānic Geography in the Journal of Semitic Studies from 2014, ends with the sentence: "This book’s imaginative writing may have its followers, perhaps even in academic circles. But the study of early Islamic history is better served by small steps, one at a time."[2] Historian Daniel C. Waugh wrote a sceptical review in The Silk Road, in which he criticizes mistakes in Gibson's book but leaves open whether Gibson's central claim of early mosques pointing towards Petra is right or wrong.[3]

In 2017 Salim Al-Hassani, founder of the academic history of technology portal Muslim Heritage, published a highly critical review of Gibson's Early Islamic Qiblas by a subject matter expert on medieval Muslim astronomy, David A. King, author of World-Maps for Finding the Direction and Distance to Mecca: Innovation and Tradition in Islamic Science, many articles on qibla, and several articles in the Encyclopedia of Islam.[4] King argued that early Muslim Arabs were unable to precisely establish Qiblas when building new mosques until later mathematical developments made precision possible. Further, King wrote, many variations in orientation are better accounted for by regional and local practices, imperfect geography, and folk astronomy. King noted Gibson's inadequate grasp of mathematics, citing Gibson's "spherical polygons" (p. 170) as inexplicable. King summarized his analysis of Gibson's work as an "amateurish, non-scholarly document that is both offensive to Muslims and also an insult to Muslim and Western scholarship."[4] Gibson placed a response to King on academia.edu, "Dr. King on the other hand is convinced that the sloppy qiblas actually intended to point: east, west, solstices, sunrises and so forth. I have not come across anything in Islamic religious manuscripts that support these Qiblas. But perhaps in time someone, somewhere will stumble across something that will change our understanding of Qiblas. All I have found so far, is that every Muslim expects the Qibla to point to Masjid Al Harām."[5]


  • Gibson, Dan (2017). Early Islamic Qiblas: A survey of mosques built between 1AH/622 C.E. and 263 AH/876 C.E. Vancouver: Independent Scholar's Press. ISBN 978-1927581223. Imprint of CanBooks.ca
  • ——— (2011). Qur'ānic Geography: A survey and evaluation of the geographical references in the Qur'ān with suggested solutions for various problems and issues'. Vancouver: Independent Scholar's Press. ISBN 978-0-9733-6428-6. Imprint of CanBooks.ca
  • ——— (2004). The Nabataeans: Builders Of Petra. Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-4134-2734-9. Self-published


  1. ^ Data on Gibson's biography taken from his Web pages, his book Qur'ānic Geography and the Amazon author information to this book: [1], [2], [3], [4]
  2. ^ Michael Lecker, Review of: Dan Gibson, The Qur'anic Geography, in: Journal of Semitic Studies (Autumn 2014) Vol. 59 Issue 2; pp. 465–467.
  3. ^ Daniel C. Waugh, Review of: Dan Gibson, Quranic Geography, 2011, in: The Silk Road No. 10, 2012, p. 201.
  4. ^ a b King, David (September 2017). "From Petra back to Makka – From "Pibla" back to Qibla". Muslim Heritage.
  5. ^ Gibson, Dan (September 2017). "Response to David King". academia.edu.

External links[edit]