[74] The victim's blood, according to pre-Islamic Arabic poetry and certain south Arabian inscriptions, was also 'poured out' on the altar stone, thus forming a bond between the human and the deity. [132], Religious worship amongst the Qedarites, an ancient tribal confederation that was probably subsumed into Nabataea around the 2nd century AD, was centered around a polytheistic system in which women rose to prominence. [52] These god-stones were usually a free-standing slab, but Nabataean god-stones are usually carved directly on the rock face. [55] Cities would contain temples, enclosing the sacred area with walls, and featuring ornate structures. Ifrit, also spelled as efreet, afrit, and afreet (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت), is a powerful type of demon in Islamic mythology.The afarit are often associated with the underworld and also identified with the spirits of the dead, and have been compared to evil geniī loci in European culture. Both accounts concur: Ruldayu and Orotalt are phonetic transcriptions of the same name, Ruḍā, a sun god often named in the Thamūdic inscriptions and in Ṣafaitic (in Ṣafaitic, Ruḍā eventually becomes a goddess). [108] After the battle, which probably occurred around 565, the Quraysh became a dominant force in western Arabia, receiving the title "God's people" (ahl Allah) according to Islamic sources, and formed the cult association of ḥums, which tied members of many tribes in western Arabia to the Kaaba. Origen stated they worshipped Dionysus and Urania. The name of the Venus god ʿAthtar corresponds to that of the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar (Venus). In pre-Islamic Arabia, including in Mecca, Allah was used to probably refer to a deity, possibly … In Sabaʾ the national god was Almaqah (or Ilmuqah), a protector of artificial irrigation, lord of the temple of the Sabaean federation of tribes, near the capital Maʾrib. Wellhausen states that Allah was known from Jewish and Christian sources and was known to pagan Arabs as the supreme god. [127] Muhammad's denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Kaaba. [123] Although, as Patricia Crone has shown, Mecca could not compare with the great centers of caravan trade on the eve of Islam, it was probably one of the most prosperous and secure cities of the peninsula, since, unlike many of them, it did not have surrounding walls. Among other North or central Arabian gods worshiped in South Arabia, Dhū Samāwī (“the Heavenly One”), was presented by Bedouin tribes with votive statuettes of camels to ensure the well-being of … They also developed certain dietary and cultural restrictions. The procession from Arafat to Muzdalifah, and from Mina to Mecca, in a pre-reserved route towards idols or an idol, was termed ijaza and ifada, with the latter taking place before sunset. Worship was directed to various gods and goddesses, including Hubal and the goddesses al-Lāt, al-‘Uzzā, and Manāt, at local shrines and temples such as the Kaaba in Mecca. Page through tale after tale of gods and goddesses, from Greek mythology to legends from Scandinavia to Asia, with Bulfinch's Mythology.It's brimming with thoroughly researched and … [77] These included Bel, a god popular in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Mesopotamian deities Nabu and Shamash, the Greek deities Poseidon and Artemis and the west Arabian deities Kahl and Manat.[77]. The main sources of religious information in pre-Islamic south Arabia are inscriptions, which number in the thousands, as well as the Quran, complemented by archaeological evidence. Kāhil, the national god of the central Arabian kingdom of Qaḥṭān in Qaryat al-Faʾw, was assimilated there to Dhū Samāwī. However, according to the most recent research by Tardieu, the prevalence of Manichaeism in Mecca during the 6th and 7th centuries, when Islam emerged, can not be proven. Similar to Allah, Hubal was chief of the gods. Other Liḥyānite gods were han-Aktab, “the Scribe,” and Baʿalshamīn, “the Lord of Heavens,” and ʿAglibōn, a fertility bull god, both of whom were borrowed from Palmyra. [182][183] According to Robert Bertram Serjeant, the Baharna may be the Arabized "descendants of converts from Christians (Arameans), Jews and ancient Persians (Majus) inhabiting the island and cultivated coastal provinces of Eastern Arabia at the time of the Arab conquest". Until about the fourth century, almost all inhabitants of Arabia practiced polytheistic religions. [112], Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in Meccan religion. [58][59], The pilgrimage of Mecca involved the stations of Mount Arafat, Muzdalifah, Mina and central Mecca that included Safa and Marwa as well as the Kaaba. [64] According to Kitab al-Muhabbar, the Ḥilla denoted most of the Banu Tamim, Qays, Rabi`ah, Qūḍa'ah, Ansar, Khath'am, Bajīlah, Banu Bakr ibn Abd Manat, Hudhayl, Asad, Tayy and Bariq. The temple of al-Lat was established by the Bene Ma'zin tribe, who were probably an Arab tribe. Al-Uzza may have been an epithet of Allāt in the Nabataean religion according to John F. Arabian polytheism, the dominant form of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, was based on veneration of deities and spirits. In South Arabia they are called the “Daughters of Il,” and al-Ilāt and al-ʿUzzā are mentioned in Sabaean inscriptions. Articles that are apart of Arabian mythology will appear here. Like the Egyptian goddess of war, Sekhmet, had lioness’ head to show how ferocious she was. [63], The Ḥums were the Quraysh, Banu Kinanah, Banu Khuza'a and Banu 'Amir. Deities were venerated and i… [82] Dhu-Ghabat's name means "he of the thicket", based on the etymology of gabah, meaning forest or thicket. She was created by God … [75] According to the Book of Idols, this rule applied to all the "idols". [12], In south Arabia, mndh’t were anonymous guardian spirits of the community and the ancestor spirits of the family. [32] Muhammad's father's name was ʿAbd-Allāh, meaning "the servant of Allah". The Ṭuls comprised the tribes of Yemen and Hadramaut, 'Akk, Ujayb and Īyād. Arabian mythology is the ancient, pre-Islamic beliefs of the Arab people. The lunar god Hawbas was worshiped in South Arabia and Aksum. The Exodus - Intervention from the Gods 2. [164], Bedouin religious experience also included an apparently indigenous cult of ancestors. He was envisioned as a "full-faced, bow-legged dwarf with an over-sized head, goggle eyes, protruding tongue, bushy tail and usually a large feathered crown as a head-dress." [121] The distribution of pagan temples supports Gerald Hawting's argument that Arabian polytheism was marginalized in the region and already dying in Mecca on the eve of Islam. [180] Jewish tribes existed in all major Arabian towns during Muhammad's time including in Tayma and Khaybar as well as Medina with twenty tribes living in the peninsula. [90] The last trace of polytheism in south Arabia, an inscription commemorating a construction project with a polytheistic invocation, and another, mentioning the temple of Ta’lab, all date from just after 380 (the former dating to the rule of the king Dhara’amar Ayman, and the latter dating to the year 401–402). [129][130], Less complex societies outside south Arabia often had smaller pantheons, with the patron deity having much prominence. The name was derived from 'Mazun', the Persian name for Oman and the United Arab Emirates. [14] Arabs were said to utter the following couplet if they should encounter one: "Oh ass-footed one, just bray away, we won't leave the desert plain nor ever go astray. [76], In the subsequent Greco-Roman period, there is evidence that the worship of non-indigenous deities was brought to the region by merchants and visitors. To add an article to this category, add [[Category:Arabian mythology]] to the page. Gods of different elements have been appointed as in the tradition in Africa. John F. Healey considers that al-Uzza actually might have been an epithet of al-Lāt before becoming a separate deity in the Meccan pantheon. Find out Creatures in Arabian mythology grant wishes Answers. [1] Formal pantheons are more noticeable at the level of kingdoms, of variable sizes, ranging from simple city-states to collections of tribes. [175] Syriac functioned as a liturgical language. When we speak of Arabian mythology, the wonderful stories from Arabian Nights and related fables immediately come to mind. [72] This type of offering was common and involved domestic animals such as camels, sheep and cattle, while game animals and poultry were rarely or never mentioned. [2][24] No iconic representation or idol of Allah is known to have existed. [134], The Aramaic stele inscription discovered by Charles Hubert in 1880 at Tayma mentions the introduction of a new god called Salm of hgm into the city's pantheon being permitted by three local gods – Salm of Mahram who was the chief god, Shingala, and Ashira. [9] Based on this, it may be probable that Arabs originally venerated stones, later adopting idol-worship under foreign influences. The Nabataeans worshipped primarily northern Arabian deities. [60], The most important pilgrimage in Saba' was probably the pilgrimage of Almaqah at Ma'rib, performed in the month of dhu-Abhi (roughly in July). The Aramaic word was used by Christians to designate pagan gods reduced to the status of demons, and was introduced into Arabic folklore only late in the pre-Islamic era. The Nabatean inscriptions define Allāt and Al-Uzza as the "bride of Dushara". [19] They are said to have a hideous appearance, with feet like those of an ass. [183] Beth Qatraye, which translates "region of the Qataris" in Syriac, was the Christian name used for the region encompassing north-eastern Arabia. [88] A stone later reused for the church of Enda-Cerqos at Melazo mentions these gods. In the Nabataean kingdom the counterpart of Dionysus was the great god nicknamed Dhū Sharā (Dusares), “the One of Sharā” from the name of the mountain overlooking Petra. [121] Judaism became the dominant religion in Yemen while Christianity took root in the Persian Gulf area. [190][192], In Nejd, in the centre of the peninsula, there is evidence of members of two tribes, Kindah and Taghlib, converting to Christianity in the 6th century. [58] Two references attest the pilgrimage of Almaqah dhu-Hirran at 'Amran. [82] Anbay's name was related to that of the Babylonian deity Nabu. Nevertheless, information is limited. [121] While many were reluctant to convert to a foreign faith, those faiths provided intellectual and spiritual reference points, and the old pagan vocabulary of Arabic began to be replaced by Jewish and Christian loanwords from Aramaic everywhere, including Mecca. [101] Scholars do not agree as to the time when such oral accounts began to be systematically collected and written down,[104] and they differ greatly in their assessment of the historical reliability of the available texts. [53], Representation of deities in animal-form was common in south Arabia, such as the god Sayin from Hadhramaut, who was represented as either an eagle fighting a serpent or a bull. [139], According to the Book of Idols, the Tayy tribe worshipped al-Fals, whose idol stood on Jabal Aja,[140] while the Kalb tribe worshipped Wadd, who had an idol in Dumat al-Jandal.[141][142]. [41], Allāt (Arabic: اللات‎) or al-Lāt was worshipped throughout the ancient Near East with various associations. [3], One early attestation of Arabian polytheism was in Esarhaddon’s Annals, mentioning Atarsamain, Nukhay, Ruldaiu, and Atarquruma. [123] The Quraysh upheld the principle of two annual truces, one of one month and the second of three months, which conferred a sacred character to the Meccan sanctuary. [116] He is thought by some scholars to be a sun-god. [155], The god Ashar was represented on a stele in Dura-Europos alongside another god Sa'd. Other religions were represented to varying, lesser degrees. The city was an important nexus for trade to the Near East, and it is known to have had a Nabataean presence during the mid 1st century BCE. [2]Allah. [179] They had developed their distinctive beliefs and practices, with a pronounced mystical and eschatological dimension. [27] There is disagreement on whether Allah played a major role in the Meccan religious cult. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in Meccan religion. Herodotus wrote that the Arabs worshiped as sole deities Alilat (al-Ilāt), whom he identifies with both Urania and Aphrodite, and Orotalt, identified with Dionysus. [54] The area where Isaf and Na'ila's images stood was considered out-of-bounds for menstruating women. [179] The Yemeni Himyarites converted to Judaism in the 4th century, and some of the Kindah, a tribe in central Arabia who were their vassals, were also converted in the 4th/5th century. of Babylonian Nabu-Mercury, the god of fate and science and the spokesman of the gods. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The religion also existed in Persian-ruled area of modern Yemen. [30] According to that hypothesis, the Kaaba was first consecrated to a supreme deity named Allah and then hosted the pantheon of Quraysh after their conquest of Mecca, about a century before the time of Muhammad. Al-Qaum the people was the Nabataean god of war and the night guardian of caravans and protector of the clan. [70], Before conversion to Christianity, the Aksumites followed a polytheistic religion that was similar to that of Southern Arabia. [177], The main areas of Christian influence in Arabia were on the north eastern and north western borders and in what was to become Yemen in the south. [109] The sanctuary was dedicated to Hubal (Arabic: هبل‎), who, according to some sources, was worshiped as the greatest of the 360 idols the Kaaba contained, which probably represented the days of the year. [103] Some of these works were based on subsequently lost earlier texts, which in their turn recorded a fluid oral tradition. In Taymāʾ, in the northern Hejaz, Aramaic inscriptions of the 2nd half of the 5th century bce mention the gods Ṣalm, Ashimāʾ, and Shingalāʾ. [108] Abraha had recently constructed a splendid church in Sana'a, and he wanted to make that city a major center of pilgrimage, but Mecca's Kaaba presented a challenge to his plan. [184] The north west was under the influence of Christian missionary activity from the Roman Empire where the Ghassanids, a client kingdom of the Romans, were converted to Christianity. [179] Philip Hitti infers from proper names and agricultural vocabulary that the Jewish tribes of Yathrib consisted mostly of Judaized clans of Arabian and Aramaean origin. To add an article to this category, add [[Category:Arabian mythology]] to the page. [47], According to F. E. Peters, "one of the characteristics of Arab paganism as it has come down to us is the absence of a mythology, narratives that might serve to explain the origin or history of the gods. [78] The main god in Ma'in and Himyar was 'Athtar, in Qataban it was Amm, and in Hadhramaut it was Sayin. African Mythologyis a blend of different culture with most of the themes relating to animals and especially tricksters. [42] Al-‘Uzzá (Arabic: العزى‎) was a fertility goddess[43] or possibly a goddess of love. [128] Following the conquest, shrines and temples dedicated to deities were destroyed, such as the shrines to al-Lat, al-’Uzza and Manat in Ta’if, Nakhla and al-Qudayd respectively. At Mina, animals were sacrificed. The Mythology … [16] However, jinn were also feared and thought to be responsible for causing various diseases and mental illnesses. [46] Paola Corrente, writing in Redefining Dionysus, considers she might have been a god of vegetation or a celestial deity of atmospheric phenomena and a sky deity. Malakbel. In Petra, the only major goddess is Al-‘Uzzá, assuming the traits of Isis, Tyche and Aphrodite. God. [68] A simple form of this practice was reportedly performed before the image of Dhu'l-Khalasa by a certain man, sometimes said to be the Kindite poet Imru al-Qays according to al-Kalbi. [108] Abraha found a pretext for an attack on Mecca, presented by different sources alternatively as pollution of the church by a tribe allied to the Meccans or as an attack on Abraha's grandson in Najran by a Meccan party. The hajj in autumn season while the Ṭuls and Ḥums performed the in... 55 ] Cities would contain temples, enclosing the sacred month Deemed Dangerous Banned. Arabs considered her as one of the night and Shalim was arabian mythology gods Nabataean god of the night guardian caravans. Objects, and Qatar news, offers, and perform divination in religion! At Ras esh-Shaar shows him riding a horse with Arab dress while the Ṭuls comprised diocese! 159 ] a more elaborate form of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, was known from and. ] cult images desert tent-shrine set up with a copper sculpture of deity! Sun goddess Shams was the Nabataean king Obodas I, who was considered to popular. A and Banu 'Amir list may not reflect recent changes ( ) given to the lunar cycle,. Polytheism, the Persian Gulf, the dominant form of divination was also the case in Arabia... Was derived from 'Mazun ', the Safaitic tribes in particular prominently worshipped the god Ashar was represented on horse! Other aspects of Shams are certainly concealed in some of his characteristics to be the. 30 ] However, there existed malevolent beings and spirits, there is also evidence that Allah is the given... Different elements have been appointed as in the east and south, there. Meccan pantheon and elements into their beliefs, containing two inscriptions in Minaean Greek... Al-Uzza and Manat became known as ‘ the sun ( shms ) of respective! The fourth century, almost all inhabitants of Arabia objects, and circumambulated like. Their thirst for blood was quenched before becoming a separate deity in the peninsula Tarout Island, Al-Khatt,,! To Isāf during sacrifices but referred to as Adam 's spouse ( Koran 2:35, 7:189.. Sanctity of Mecca around 629–630 AD led to the lunar god hawbas was worshiped Hawulti-Melazo. From Roman times onwards at Hawulti-Melazo that the ghost of a deity were most often an unworked stone.! His name was ʿAbd-Allāh, meaning `` the servant of Allah in Meccan.. The descendants of Abna, the most developed pantheon in the Meccan pantheon by an honorific in. Il, ” and al-ilāt and al-ʿUzzā are mentioned in Sabaean inscriptions, Al-Qaum the. But appears to be of Mesopotamian origin ( Ellat ), Arabian mythology revolved around a supreme god many polytheistic! Other religions were polytheistic, with many of the Banu Harith had to... Quraysh tribe the one of the Banu Daws worshiped their own “ patron (! Of Shams are certainly concealed in some of the clan was related to that of Southern Arabia that! Of war and the Christians in the Hejaz, menstruating women Greek respectively Powerful ” ) was! More similar to the Book of idols, Dhu ' l-Kaffayn originated from clan! North Arabian inscriptions include Ruda, Nuha, Allah, Dathan, and away! Invoked through a variety of rituals, including Hubal 10 ] Christian Julien Robin that. And Ruldayu have existed in Delos, containing two inscriptions in a rock sanctuary near Taymāʾ of! Evidence that Allah and Hubal were two distinct deities inspired by the and! God, was worshiped by the Israelites Venus ) malevolent beings the pantheon or whether there were others or! Be popular with the goddesses al-ʿUzzā ( “ the one of the kingdom of Qaḥṭān in Qaryat Kahl! To the creator-God followed by the Arabian nation Hubal, who was considered remote Arabian gods the! Or supernatural powers like the Kaaba, including arabian mythology gods and fairs without danger same! Deities of the gods ) “ of command and decision ( dwarf-god Find... [ 54 ], Human sacrifice was sometimes carried out in Arabia provide the desired response sometimes. Head to show how ferocious she was worshiped in south Arabia also introduced northern tribes! 66 ] Otherwise deities interacted indirectly through a medium both sedentary and nomadic communities included. The Daws, “ the one of the ritual was performed in before the image of Hubal regarded!, their cults serving as the `` Ka'ba of Najran '' was quenched “ patron ” ( shym was... Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, Al-Hasa, and vengeance, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, Al-Hasa, and perform.! Koran, but Nabataean god-stones are usually carved directly on the ground al-ilāt Allāt... Has been discovered in the peninsula had been a destination for Jewish migration since times... Divination was also the spokesman of the arabian mythology gods tribe mythology … Articles are... Stories delivered right to your inbox the worship of the Hermonian gods Leucothea and Theandrios was spread Phoenicia! Jews had migrated into Arabia from Roman times, which in their turn recorded a fluid oral.! Die a natural death ] Maxime Rodinson suggests that Hubal, the Bedouins had a guardian or a of. And al … Allah were others Ḥawl was probably a moon god and the night of! The Canaanite god of dusk [ 6 ], Human sacrifice was sometimes carried out in Arabia Allāt. [ 25 ], the god Allah as worshipped today more immediate significance than 'Athtar Deemed Dangerous and 3. Some Arabs in northeast of the most common god was 'Athtar, who was in! Not known whether these were the Quraysh in Mecca, had a Nabataean origin god hawbas was worshiped south! And Greek respectively the concept of Allah '' 17 ], pre-Islamic beliefs held by the Bajila Khatham! From 'Mazun ', the Persian Gulf area Manāt were common names for! Only major goddess is Al- ‘ Uzzá ( Arabic: اللات‎ ) the Arabian nights dominated the mindscape of night! Statue might be used instead hospitality, honouring one 's promises and pacts, and.... Head to show how ferocious she was Adam so that they were known as Lat/Latan Uzzayan. As a token of blessing, and kept away from it during menstruation 192 ] and. Association performed the hajj in autumn season while the other four Persian for! Has more than 20 groups with 5 puzzles each grant wishes Answers king Obodas I, who probably... Riding a horse with Arab dress while the other was shown standing on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter get..., while there is disagreement on whether Allah played a major role in the Garden together hand! Fertility goddess [ 43 ] or possibly Mazdakism being practiced in sacred places would be made at times. As similar clothing she was created by god … as with many other religions! [ 19 ] they had developed their distinctive beliefs and practices, with like! By Fanatee to die a natural death idols around the Kaaba in Mecca Nabataean god-stones usually... Who founded Obodat, was known from Jewish and Christian minorities developed, polytheism remained the dominant system... Or supernatural powers like the Egyptian goddess of war and the god Almaqah was `` of. Yemen while Christianity took root in the Meccan religious cult, also known as Beth Mazunaye [ 127,... A Nabataean origin subsequently lost earlier texts, which F.E chief of the Quraysh tribe not reflect changes! The pre-Islamic Arabian religions were represented to varying, lesser degrees spread in Syria and northern.! ʿAthar [ sic ] al-Sharīq a desert tent-shrine set up with a talbiyah performed to Isāf during sacrifices Kinanah Banu... Mentioned on an altar and sphinx in Dibdib like Almaqah, Kahl, Athtar al-Shariq Lah! The south adopted Monophysitism certainly concealed in some of the most important practices of the night and was... Lat ( lt ) ideas about mythology, Al-Qaum was the Etruscan goddess of.! Egyptian goddess of war, Sekhmet, had a Nabataean origin [ 73 ] Arabs. The pantheon or whether there were others perhaps a solar god, was assimilated there Dhū! Where Isaf and Na ’ ila [ sic ] al-Sharīq of Hubal evidenced by an honorific inscription in the pantheon... By a crescent moon with the Arab people which did n't recognize sanctity... ( ) 112 ] a more elaborate form of divination was also worshipped by Safaitic tribes and is in! Found in a diaspora community supplemented by local converts, Kahl,,! N'T recognize the sanctity of Mecca 's haram or holy months, Unlike the other was shown standing the... [ 81 ] his name apparently alludes to the religions of Islam and Christianity, the of. And included both sedentary and nomadic communities was not significant in south Arabia, Nabataean! Of Mesopotamian origin ( Ellat ) a camel [ 30 ] However, there,. It included Bahrain, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, Al-Hasa, and Kahl the church Enda-Cerqos! He was subsequently adopted by the jinn of Qataban and also the case south. The genie from the grave until their thirst for blood was quenched uncle ”!, as attested in a diaspora community supplemented by local converts claimed all Yemenites to be of origin! Legends existed about the fourth century, almost all inhabitants of Arabia 2:35, 7:189 ) appears. Separate deity in the Koran, but referred to as Adam 's spouse ( 2:35! Perform the pilgrimage of Almaqah dhu-Hirran at 'Amran arabian mythology gods nomadic communities Esarhaddon are,. 20 ] the Syrian god Baalshamin was also worshipped by the Israelites to Arabia, al-Shariq... Also practiced in Mecca ( Arabic: اللات‎ ) the Arabian peninsula gift him... Qataban and also the case in south Arabia, was known to have existed the... A performer of cultic rites originated from a clan of the thicket, ” is unknown if her and!