The following note in the thread about revisions to the 2nd edition of 'The Message," struck a cord with me as I have been trying to discover which locations Safa and Marwa, in the Qur'an, refer.
Ayman writes to Layth -
You have left important words such as "safa" and "marwah" untranslated as proper names. This means that you are accepting that they are proper names and you might as well throw away your whole Jerusalem idea since as proper names, they refer to the two hills in Mecca.
The Qur'an asserts: Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeyeth his own impulse to good,- be sure that Allah is He Who recogniseth and knoweth. — Qur'an 2:158
I find it interesting that the Qur'an does not connect Safa and Marwa to the story of Hagar searching for water AT ALL. Safa and Marwa appear to be locations passed on the way to pilgrimage.
I don't think the Qur'anic mention of Safa and Marwa is contrary to the "Jerusalem as Mecca"
Ancient maps show no Safa and Marwa in Arabia.
But if one where traveling on pilgrimage to Jerusalem from the north, one would pass Mt. Meron which is considered a sacred mount by Christians, Jews and Druzes. The path around Meron is perfectly circular as though circumambulation of the mount has been an aspect of pilgrimage to Mt. Meron in the past. Could Marwa refer to Mt. Meron. Could Safa refer to Safed?
Could Qur'an 2:158 imply that there is no harm in circumambulating Mt. Meron with the worshippers of other faiths on your way to Jerusalem/Mamre/Hebron for pilgrimage?
It is interesting that part of the Jewish celebration of Lag B'Omer in that region is walking with Torah scrolls from Safed to Meron. That is a 19th century tradition but the connection between the two mounts may have a more ancient history.