What I wrote about Dye is based on questions I asked him. He was surprised that someone (you, in this case) ascribed to him the opinion that Mecca was not located in Arabia Deserta. So, yes, he would agree.
I've made a short cut saying that "Guillaume Dye has, it seems, abandoned this idea of a "Mecca" in the "Hijaz"". That something called "Mecca" existed has in fact no importance. We do know that this place
cannot clothes, feed, equip 20,30, or 40 000 strong to wage war. In fairy tales yes, in the real world no.
But Dye, (here I correct the shortcut I've made,) attacks not the existence of a "place" which have no importance. He attacks in 2016 "Mecca" in the "Hijaz"
such as described by the traditional account and the Quran Nothing else. How he does it ? Very cleverly :
Quoi qu’il en soit, il y a, et c’est le point sur lequel je voulais en venir, une sérieuse tension, qu’il faut expliquer, d’une façon ou d’une autre, je ne vais pas le faire ici, entre le fait qu’une partie substantielle du Coran relève d’un contexte chrétien, et le fait que le Hijaz, la région d’Arabie où le Coran est censé avoir été proclamé, ne connaît apparemment à l’époque, au mieux, qu’une présence chrétienne marginale, contrairement au reste de l’Arabie et du Proche-Orient. Voilà le genre de question, je dirais, que les historiens devraient avoir à traiter dans les années qui viennent.
(lecture in Paris, July 2016
So, that a "place" or something existed has, in fact no importance. Why ? Because, and it is what Dye says, what the Quran (or some part of it) "shows", and I say here all the Quran, is a biblical cultural environment, the very good knowledge of Christianity, of specific
Christian texts, which cannot have been spread by orality, and that Christianity has no (or marginal) material traces in the Hijaz. He calls this contrast a "serious tension". The obliged conclusion of this declaration is to put in doubt perforce
the location in the "Hijaz"
of the production of the Quran. And therefore that the "Mecca" of the traditional account does not exist in the "Hijaz". Of course, he cannot state this obliged conclusion and says : "Voilà le genre de question, je dirais, que les historiens devraient avoir à traiter dans les années qui viennent."
But if the "Mecca" of the traditional account is in the "Hijaz", how could it be that nobody, I repeat here, nobody, knows in the Orient laboured by the Persians, The Romans and before them the Greeks --- who goes all to Ceylon and India via the Red Sea --- "Mecca" ? Whereas Mecca is "shown" in the Quran and the traditional account who place strongly
this city in the "Hijaz" as the "Alexandria/Antioch/ Bosra", etc of the western peninsula ?
There's no reasonable explication to this fact. As there's no reasonable explication to this fact, I say that "Mecca" (in the "Hijaz") has no existence for these three reasons, nobody knows it, the place is materially incapable to have been the place of clothing, feed, equip 20,30, or 40 000 strong to wage war and there is no trace of the biblical environment and the precise knowledge of specific Christian texts highlighted by Dye.
Mecca could have existed before Islam but was not as described in the later Arabic sources. .
No. I explain why above.
And I do not know what you mean by saying: “it is ‘impossible’ for an academic to say what I say here.” Why would Dye shy away from saying something he is convinced of? He certainly espouses many ideas that are not conventional and not are in accordance with the traditional narrative. Please elaborate.
Because it is forbidden to contest the traditional account. Patricia Crone was obliged to flee in the USA because she was menaced.
To be fair, I do not know much about what you said about Ibn Isḥāq concerning Mecca, especially about Mecca being the stronghold for an army consisting of 50,000 men and was the starting point of the conquests. I would appreciate if you could provide the reference for Ibn Isḥāq."
Best regards, "
For the traditional account in general, Mecca in the "Hijaz" is in the temporal-spatial continuum of the production of the Quran and is the place where the "conquest" has commenced. Or it is materially impossible as I said above.