Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia

Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia was a mix of polytheism, Christianity, Judaism, and Iranian religions. Arab polytheism, the dominant form of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, was based on veneration of deities and other rituals. Gods and goddesses, including Hubal and the goddesses al-Lāt, Al-‘Uzzá and Manāt, were worshipped at local shrines, such as the Kaaba in Mecca. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in Meccan religion.[1][2][3][4][5] Many of the physical descriptions of the pre-Islamic gods are traced to idols, especially near the Kaaba, which is said to have contained up to 360 of them.[6]

Other religions were represented to varying, lesser degrees. The influence of the adjacent Roman, Aksumite and Sasanian Empires resulted in Christian communities in the northwest, northeast and south of Arabia. Christianity made a lesser impact, but secured some conversions, in the remainder of the peninsula. With the exception of Nestorianism in the northeast and the Persian Gulf, the dominant form of Christianity was Miaphysitism. The peninsula had been subject to Jewish migration since Roman times, which had resulted in a diaspora community supplemented by local converts. Additionally, the influence of the Sasanian Empire resulted in Iranian religions being present in the peninsula. Zoroastrianism existed in the east and south, while there is evidence of Manichaeism or possibly Mazdakism being practised in Mecca.

Polytheism and indigenous beliefs

Background, belief systems and sources

Until about the fourth century, almost all Arabs practised polytheistic religions.[7] Although significant Jewish and Christian minorities developed, polytheism remained the dominant belief system in pre-Islamic Arabia.[1][8] The religious beliefs and practices of the nomadic bedouin were distinct from those of the settled tribes of towns such as Mecca.[9] Nomadic religious belief systems and practices are believed to have included fetishism, totemism and veneration of the dead but were connected principally with immediate concerns and problems and did not consider larger philosophical questions such as the afterlife.[9] Settled urban Arabs, on the other hand, are thought to have believed in a more complex pantheon of deities.[9] While the Meccans and the other settled inhabitants of the Hejaz worshipped their gods at permanent shrines in towns and oases, the bedouin practised their religion on the move.[10]

The contemporary sources of information regarding the pre-Islamic pantheon include a small number of inscriptions and carvings,[8] remnants of stone idol-worship, references in the poetry of the pre-Islamic Arab poet Zuhayr bin Abi Sulma and pre-Islamic personal names.[11] Nevertheless, information is limited[8] and while scholars believe that the dominant traditions of the pre-Islamic Arabia were polytheistic, there is little certainty about the nature of pre-Islamic polytheism and considerable debate. 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."[12]

The majority of extant information about Mecca during the rise of Islam and earlier times comes from the text of Quran itself and later Muslim sources such as the Prophetic biography literature dealing with the life of Muhammad and the eighth-century Book of Idols.[13] Alternative sources are so fragmentary and specialized that writing a convincing history of this period based on them alone is impossible.[14] Several scholars hold that the sīra literature is not independent of Quran but has been fabricated to explain the verses of Quran.[15] There is evidence to support the contention that some reports of the sīras are of dubious validity, but there is also evidence to support the contention that the sīra narratives originated independently of the Quran.[15] Compounding the problem is that the earliest extant Muslim historical works, including the sīras, were composed in their definitive form more than a century after the beginning of the Islamic era.[14] Some of these works were based on subsequently lost earlier texts, which in their turn recorded a fluid oral tradition.[14] Scholars do not agree as to the time when such oral accounts began to be systematically collected and written down,[16] and they differ greatly in their assessment of the historical reliability of the available texts.[15][16][17]


Main article: Allah

Some scholars postulate that in pre-Islamic Arabia, including in Mecca, Allah was considered to be a deity, possibly a creator deity or a supreme deity in a polytheistic pantheon. The word Allah (from the Arabic al-ilah meaning "the god")[18] may have been used as a title rather than a name.[2][3][4][19][20] The concept of Allah may have been vague in the Meccan religion,[20][21] and some scholars postulate based on Quranic verse that he may have had sons and daughters who were also divinities.[2][3][4][22] However, according to F.E. Peters, in these verses, the Quran is actually here refuting the idea that Allah had any children and asserts that if he had any offspring then they would surely be sons.[23]

Regional variants of the word Allah occur in both pagan and Christian pre-Islamic inscriptions.[5][24] Muhammad's father's name was ʿAbd-Allāh, meaning "the servant of Allah".[21]


Main article: Mecca

The Kaaba

The Kaaba, whose environs were regarded as sacred (haram), became a national shrine under the custodianship of the Quraysh, the chief tribe of Mecca, which made the Hejaz the most important religious area in north Arabia.[25] Its role was solidified by a confrontation with the Christian king Abraha, who controlled much of Arabia from a seat of power in Yemen in the middle of the sixth century.[26] 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.[26] Abraha found a pretext, 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.[26] The defeat of the army he assembled to conquer Mecca is recounted with miraculous details by the Islamic tradition and is also alluded to in the Quran and pre-Islamic poetry.[26] 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.[26]

A drawing of the Kaaba's black stone in fragmented form, front and side illustrations.

According to tradition, the Kaaba was a cube-like, originally roofless structure housing a black stone venerated as a fetish.[25] 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.[6] Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Al-Kalbi both report that the human-shaped idol of Hubal made of precious stone came into possession of the Quraysh with its right hand broken off and that the Quraysh made a hand of gold to replace it.[27] A soothsayer performed divination in the shrine by drawing ritual arrows,[25] and vows and sacrifices were made to assure success.[28] Marshall Hodgson argues that relations with deities and fetishes in pre-Islamic Mecca were maintained chiefly on the basis of bargaining, where favors were expected in return for offerings.[28] A deity's or oracle's failure to provide the desired response was sometimes met with anger.[28]

Allah and Hubal

Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in Meccan religion. According to one hypothesis, which goes back to Julius Wellhausen, Allah (the supreme deity of the tribal federation around Quraysh) was a designation that consecrated the superiority of Hubal (the supreme deity of Quraysh) over the other gods.[5] However, there is also evidence that Allah and Hubal were two distinct deities.[5] 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.[5] Some inscriptions seem to indicate the use of Allah as a name of a polytheist deity centuries earlier, but we know nothing precise about this use.[5] Some scholars have suggested that Allah may have represented a remote creator god who was gradually eclipsed by more particularized local deities.[4] There is disagreement on whether Allah played a major role in the Meccan religious cult.[18] No iconic representation of Allah is known to have existed.[18][29]


The three chief goddesses of Meccan religion were Al-lāt, Al-‘Uzzá, and Manāt. Some scholars postulate based on the verses of Quran that they might have been considered to be the daughters of Allah. However F.E. Peters disputes this saying that these verses are actually refuting and if had children they would be sons and not daughters. Also, he interprets that the Quran argues that these three goddesses and others were angels whose identities have been corrupted into female goddesses.[2][3][4][23]

Allāt (Arabic: اللات) or Al-lāt was worshipped throughout the ancient Near East with various associations.[30] Herodotus in the 5th century BC identifies Alilat (Greek: Ἀλιλάτ)[31] as the Arabic name for Aphrodite (and, in another passage, for Urania),[32] which is strong evidence for worship of Allāt in Arabia at that early date.[33] According to the Book of Idols, her idol and shrine stood in Ta'if.[34] Al-‘Uzzá (Arabic: العزى) "The Mightiest" was a fertility goddess[35] or possibly a goddess of love.[36] Her principal shrine was in Nakhla, a day's journey from Mecca.[37][38][39] Manāt (Arabic: مناة) was the goddess of fate. According to the Book of Idols, an idol of Manāt was erected on the seashore between Medina and Mecca.[34] Inhabitants of several areas venerated Manāt, performing sacrifices before her idol, and pilgrimages of some were not considered completed until they visited Manāt and shaved their heads.[34]

Other gods

Manaf (Arabic: مناف) was another Meccan god whose idol was caressed by women. Menstruating women were forbidden from coming near his idol.[note 1] The Meccans were accustomed to name their children Abd Manaf. Muhammad's great-great-grandfather's name was Abd Manaf which means "slave of Manaf".[41][42][43] He is thought by some scholars to be a sun-god.[44]

The pantheon of the Quraysh was not identical with that of the tribes who entered into various cult and commercial associations with them, especially that of the hums.[45][46] Christian Julien Robin argues that the former was composed principally of idols that were in the sanctuary of Mecca, including Hubal and Manaf, while the pantheon of the associations was superimposed on it, and its principal deities included the three goddesses, who had neither idols nor a shrine in that city.[45]

Political and religious developments

The second half of the sixth century was a period of political disorder in Arabia and communication routes were no longer secure.[47] Religious divisions were an important cause of the crisis.[48] Judaism became the dominant religion in Yemen while Christianity took root in the Arab-Persian Gulf.[48] In line with the broader trends of the ancient world, Arabia yearned for a more spiritual form of religion and began believing in afterlife, while the choice of religion increasingly became a personal rather than communal choice.[48] 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.[48] 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.[48] The practice of polytheistic cults was increasingly limited to the steppe and the desert, and in Yathrib, which included two tribes with polytheistic majority, the absence of a public pagan temple in the town or its immediate neighborhood indicates that polytheism was confined to the private sphere.[48] Looking at the text of Quran itself, Hawting has also argued that the criticism of idolators and polytheists contained in Quran is in fact a hyperbolic reference to other monotheists, in particular the Arab Jews and Arab Christians, whose religious beliefs were considered imperfect.[15][49][50] According to some traditions, the Kaaba contained no statues, but its interior was decorated with images of Mary and Jesus, of prophets, angels, and trees.[5]

To counter the effects of anarchy, the institution of sacred months during which every act of violence was prohibited, was reestablished.[51] During those months, it was possible to participate in pilgrimages and fairs without danger.[51] 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.[51] The cult association of hums, in which individuals and groups partook in the same rites, was primarily religious, but it also had important economic consequences.[51] 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.[51] Pilgrimage to Mecca was a popular custom.[52] Some Islamic rituals, including processions around the Kaaba and between the hills of al-Safa and Marwa, as well as the salutation "we are here, O Allah, we are here" repeated on approaching the Kaaba are believed to have antedated Islam.[52] Spring water acquired a sacred character in Arabia early on and Islamic sources state that the well of Zamzam became holy long before the Islamic era.[53]

South Arabia

Sculpture of a Sabaean priestess raising her hand to intercede with the sun goddess on behalf of a donor. Probably first century.

The civilizations of South Arabia had the most developed pantheon in the Arabian peninsula.[54] Evidence from surviving inscriptions suggests that each of the southern kingdoms of Qataban, Saba, Hadhramaut, Ma'in and Himyar had its own pantheon of three to five deities, the major deity always being a god.[55] For example, the pantheon of Saba comprised Almaqah, the major deity, together with Athtar, Haubas, Himyam, and Dhat-Badan[55] The main god in Ma'in and Himyar was Athtar, in Qataban it was Amm, and in Hadhramaut it was Sayin.[55] Amm was a lunar deity and was associated with the weather, especially lightning.[56][57]

Each kingdom's central temple was the focus of worship for the main god and would be the destination for an annual pilgrimage, with regional temples dedicated to a local manifestation of the main god.[55] Other beings worshipped included local deities or deities dedicated to specific functions as well as deified ancestors.[55]

Other deities included:


The main deity of the Nabataeans in northern Arabia was Dushara (Arabic: ذو الشرى).[76] He was the only god known for certain to have been worshipped throughout Nabatea and was associated with the Greek gods Zeus and Dionysus. The meaning of his name is not clear as there are no definite interpretations of it. John Healey speculated his name to mean "The lord of Shara[t] mountain range."[77][78][79][80] Dushara was represented in the form of a stone cube or more generally in the form of cuboid architecture which can be seen throughout the remains of the Nabateans' principal city, Petra.[76] Warwick Ball has noted a possible connection with the Kaaba and has commented that, as a result, "the Islamic abstract concept of deity certainly owes a debt to Nabatean religion".[76]

Al-ʿUzzá was worshipped in Nabataea where she had been adopted alongside Dushara as the presiding goddess at Petra, the Nabataean capital, where she assumed attributes of Isis, Tyche, and Aphrodite. She was the protectress of the city and also of love and immortality. Despite the same name shared between the al-ʿUzzá of Nabataea and that of Mecca and other places, it is unclear whether there is any continuity of worship or identity between them.[81][82][83]

Al-Qaum (Arabic: القوم) or Shayʾ al-Qawm ("he who accompanies/leads the people"), another Nabatean god was the guardian of caravans. He was the only truly nomadic god of the Nabataean religion. According to Nabataean inscription, he did not drink wine.[84][85]

Manat was another Nabatean goddess and was identified with the Greek goddess Nemesis. She was the goddess of fate and justice. Within the Nabataean kingdom, the place she is most often mentioned is Hegra however there is no direct portrayal of her. In some of the inscriptions, she is linked with Dushara in cursing and fining those who violate the terms of use of the tombs and do not observe the rules, respectively. In two of these inscriptions she is linked with her Qaysha which according to various interpretations might be referring to another deity or an object.[86]

Al-lat was another Nabatean goddess who was probably identified with Athena and Tyche. An image of her containing elements of both human and block form exists at 'Ain Shellaleh in er-Rumm along with an inscription which describes her as the goddess of Bosra. Three inscriptions mentioning her exist in Salkhad. However, her name isn't recorded anywhere in Bosra or Petra. Only a single bust of her near the Arched Gate of Petra testifies her existence in the capital. An inscription in Hegra on a tomb mentions her as cursing those who violate the terms of its use.[87][88]

In the same inscription where Al-lat is mentioned, a deity named Hubul is also mentioned. Jane Taylor takes this deity to be a god of divination. This is the only place outside South Arabia where a name similar to that of Hubal is mentioned. Maxime Rodinson suggests that the Meccan god Hubal may have been of Nabataean origin.[89][90][91]

Petra has many "sacred high places" which include altars that have usually been interpreted as places of human sacrifice, although, since the 1960s, an alternative theory that they are "exposure platforms" for placing the corpses of the deceased as part of a funerary ritual has been put forward. However, there is, in fact, little evidence for either proposition.[76]

Other northern Arabian cultures

Religious worship amongst the Qedarites, an ancient tribal confederation that was probabably subsumed into Nabatea around the 2nd century AD, was centered around a polytheistic system in which women rose to prominence. Divine images of the gods and goddesses worshipped by Qedarite Arabs, as noted in Assyrian inscriptions, included representations of Atarsamain, Nuha, Ruda, Dai, Abirillu and Atarquruma. The female guardian of these idols, usually the reigning queen, served as a priestess (apkallatu, in Assyrian texts) who communed with the other world.[92] Inscriptions in a North Arabian dialect in the region of Najd referring to Nuha describe emotions as a gift from him. In addition, they also refer to Ruda being responsible for all things good and bad.[93] There is also evidence that the Qedar worshipped Al-lāt to whom the inscription on a silver bowl from a king of Qedar is dedicated.[94] In the Babylonian Talmud, which was passed down orally for centuries before being transcribed c. 500 AD, in tractate Taanis (folio 5b), it is said that most Qedarites worshiped pagan gods .[95]

The Midianites, a people referred to in the Book of Genesis and located in north-western Arabia, may have worshipped Yahweh.[96] Indeed, some scholars believe that Yahweh was originally a Midianite god and that he was subsequently adopted by the Israelites.[96] An Egyptian temple of Hathor continued to be used during the Midianite occupation of the site, although images of Hathor were defaced suggesting Midianite opposition.[96] They transformed it into a desert tent-shrine set up with a copper sculpture of a snake.[96]

Eastern Arabia

The Dilmun civilization, which existed along the Gulf Coast and Bahrain until the 6th century BC, worshipped a pair of deities, Inzak and Meskilak.[97] It is not known whether these were the only deities in the pantheon or whether there were others.[98] The discovery of wells at the sites of a Dilmun temple and a shrine suggests that sweet water played an important part in religious practices.[97]

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.[98] These included Bel, a god popular in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Mesopotamian deities Nabu and Shamash, the Greek gods Poseidon and Artemis as well as the west Arabian deities Kahl and Manat.[98]


The Bedouin were introduced to Meccan ritualistic practices as they frequented settled towns of the Hejaz during the four months of the "holy truce", the first three of which were devoted to religious observance, while the fourth was set aside for trade.[99] Alan Jones infers from Bedouin poetry that the gods, even Allah, were less important to the Bedouins than Fate.[100] They seem to have had little trust in rituals and pilgrimages as means of propitiating Fate, but had recourse to divination and soothsayers (kahins).[100] The Bedouins regarded some trees, wells, caves and stones as sacred objects, either as fetishes or as means of reaching a deity.[101] They created sanctuaries where people could worship fetishes.[102]

The Bedouins had a code of honour which Fazlur Rahman Malik states may be regarded as their religious ethics. This code encompassed women, bravery, hospitality, honouring one's promises and pacts, and vengeance. They believed that the ghost of a slain person would cry out from the grave until their thirst for blood was quenched. Practices such as killing of infant girls were often regarded as having religious sanction.[102] Numerous mentions of jinn in the Quran and testimony of both pre-Islamic and Islamic literature indicate that the belief in spirits was prominent in pre-Islamic Bedouin religion.[103] However, there is evidence that the word jinn is derived from Aramaic, where it 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.[103] Julius Wellhausen has observed that such spirits were thought to inhabit desolate, dingy and dark places and that they were feared.[103] One had to protect oneself from them, but they were not the objects of a true cult.[103]

Bedouin religious experience also included an apparently indigenous cult of ancestors.[103] The dead were not regarded as powerful, but rather as deprived of protection and needing charity of the living as a continuation of social obligations beyond the grave.[103] Only certain ancestors, especially heroes from which the tribe was said to derive its name, seem to have been objects of real veneration.[103]


Further information: Jewish tribes of Arabia
Seal ring from Zafar with writing "Yishaq bar Hanina" and a Torah ark, 330 BCE–200 CE

A thriving community of Jewish tribes existed in pre-Islamic Arabia and included both sedentary and nomadic communities. Jews had migrated into Arabia from Roman times onwards.[104] Arabian Jews spoke Arabic as well as Hebrew and Aramaic and had contact with Jewish religious centers in Babylonia and Palestine.[104] 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.[105][106] There is evidence that Jewish converts in the Hejaz were regarded as Jews by other Jews and non-Jews alike and have sought advice from Babylonian rabbis on matters of attire and kosher food.[104] In at least one case, it is known that an Arab tribe agreed to adopting Judaism as a condition for settling in a town dominated by Jewish inhabitants.[104] Some Arab women in Yathrib/Medina are said to have vowed making their child a Jew if the child survived, since they considered the Jews to be people "of knowledge and the book" (`ilmin wa-kitābin).[104] 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.[107]

The key role played by Jews in the trade and markets of the Hejaz meant that market day for the week was the day preceding the Jewish Sabbath.[104] This day, which was called aruba in Arabic, also provided occasion for legal proceedings and entertainment, which in turn may have influenced the choice of Friday as the day of Muslim congregational prayer.[104] Toward the end of the sixth century, the Jewish communities in the Hejaz were in a state of economic and political decline, but they continued to flourish culturally in and beyond the region.[104] They had developed their distinctive beliefs and practices, with a pronounced mystical and eschatological dimension.[104] In the Islamic tradition, based on a phrase in the Quran, Arabic Jews are said to have referred to Uzair as the son of Allah, although historical accuracy of this assertion has been disputed.[2][108][109]


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.[110] 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.[111] In the south, particularly at Najran, a centre of Christianity developed as a result of the influence of the Christian Kingdom of Axum based on the other side of the Red Sea in Ethiopia.[110] Both the Ghassanids and the Christians in the south adopted Monophysitism.[110]

Jubail Church in eastern Saudi Arabia. The 4th century remains are thought to be one of the oldest surviving church buildings in the world.

The third area of Christian influence was on the north eastern borders where the Lakhmids, a client tribe of the Sassanians, adopted Nestorianism, being the form of Christianity having the most influence in the Sassanian Empire.[110] As the Persian Gulf region of Arabia increasingly fell under the influence of the Sasanians from the early third century, many of the inhabitants were exposed to Christianity following the eastward dispersal of the religion by Mesopotamian Christians.[112] However, it was not until the fourth century that Christianity gained popularity in the region with the establishment of monasteries and a diocesan structure.[113] In 1986, the remains of a church thought to date to the 4th century were discovered in Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia.[114]

Beth Qatraye which translates "region of the Qataris" in Syriac was the Christian name used for the region encompassing north-eastern Arabia.[115][116] It included Bahrain, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, Al-Hasa, and Qatar.[117] Oman and the United Arab Emirates comprised the diocese known as Beth Mazunaye. The name was derived from 'Mazun', the Persian name for Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Sohar was the central city of the diocese.[115][118]

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. However, in the Hejaz in the west, whilst there is evidence of the presence of Christianity, it is not thought to have been significant amongst the indigenous population of the area.[110]

Arabicized Christian names were fairly common among pre-Islamic Arabians, which has been attributed to the influence that Syrianized Christian Arabs had on bedouins of the peninsula for several centuries before the rise of Islam.[119]

Neal Robinson, based on verses in the Quran, believes that some Arab Christians may have held unorthodox beliefs such as the worshipping of a divine triad of God the father, Jesus the Son and Mary the Mother.[120] Furthermore, there is evidence that unorthodox groups such as the Collyridians, whose adherents worshiped Mary, were present in Arabia, and it has been proposed that the Qur'an refers to their beliefs.[121] However, other scholars, notably Mircea Eliade, William Montgomery Watt, G.R. Hawting and Sidney H. Griffith, cast doubt on the historicity or reliability of such references in the Quran.[note 2]

Iranian religions

Iranian religions existed in pre-Islamic Arabia on account of Sasanian military presence along the Persian Gulf and South Arabia and on account of trade routes between the Hejaz and Iraq. Some Arabs in northeast of the peninsula converted to Zoroastrianism and several Zoroastrian temples were constructed in Najd. Some of the members from the tribe of Banu Tamim had converted to the religion. There is also evidence of existence of Manichaeism in Arabia as several early sources indicate a presence of "zandaqas" in Mecca, although the term could also be interpreted as referring to Mazdakism. There is evidence for the circulation of Iranian religious ideas in the form of Persian loan words in Quran such as firdaws (paradise).[126][127]

Zorastrianism was introduced in the Eastern Arabia including modern-day Bahrain during the rule of Persian empires in the region starting from 250 B.C. The religion was mainly practiced in Bahrain by Persian settlers. Zorastrianism was also practiced in the Persian-ruled area of modern-day Oman. The religion also existed in Persian-ruled area of modern Yemen. The descendants of Abna, the Persian conquerors of Yemen were followers of Zorastrianism.[128][129][130][131]

See also


  1. T. Fahd notes that the practice of women touching idols as a token of blessing except during menstruation was common to all idols, according to the available report from Ibn Al-Kalbi.[40]
  2. Their views are as follows:
    • Mircea Eliade argues that Muhammad's knowledge of Christianity "was rather approximative"[122] and that references to the triad of God, Jesus and Mary probably reflect the likelihood that Muhammad's information on Christianity came from people who had knowledge of the Monophysite Church of Abyssinia, which was known for extreme veneration of Mary.[122]
    • William Montgomery Watt points out that we do not know how far Muhammad was acquainted with Christian beliefs prior to the conquest of Mecca and that dating of some of the passages criticizing Christianity is uncertain.[123] His view is that Muhammad and the early Muslims may have been unaware of some orthodox Christian doctrines, including the nature of the trinity, because Muhammad's Christian informants had a limited grasp of doctrinal issues.[124]
    • Watt has also argued that the verses criticizing Christian doctrines in the Quran are attacking Christian heresies like tritheism and "physical sonship" rather than orthodox Christianity.[123][125]
    • G.R. Hawting, Sidney H. Griffith and Gabriel Reynolds argue that the verses commenting on apparently unorthodox Christian beliefs should be read as an informed, polemically motivated caricature of mainstream Christian doctrine whose goal is to highlight how wrong some of its tenets appear from an Islamic perspective.[125]


  1. 1 2 Jonathan Porter Berkey (2003). The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800. Cambridge University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-521-58813-3.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Neal Robinson (5 November 2013). Islam: A Concise Introduction. Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-136-81773-1.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. SUNY Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7914-1875-8.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Daniel C. Peterson (26 February 2007). Muhammad, Prophet of God. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8028-0754-0.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. pp. 304–305.
  6. 1 2 Karen Armstrong (2000). Islam: A Short History. p. 11. ISBN 0-8129-6618-X.
  7. Robert G. Hoyland (11 September 2002). Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-134-64634-0.
  8. 1 2 3 David Nicolle (20 June 2012). The Great Islamic Conquests AD 632-750. Osprey Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-78096-998-5.
  9. 1 2 3 Reza Aslan (2 December 2008). No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam. Random House. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-4070-0928-5.
  10. Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. SUNY Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7914-1875-8.
  11. William E. Phipps (1 September 1999). Muhammad and Jesus: A Comparison of the Prophets and Their Teachings. A&C Black. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8264-1207-2.
  12. Francis E. Peters (2003). Islam, a Guide for Jews and Christians. Princeton University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-691-11553-2.
  13. Francis E. Peters (1994). Mecca: A Literary History of the Muslim Holy Land. Princeton University Press. pp. 5–7. ISBN 0-691-03267-X.
  14. 1 2 3 R. Stephen Humphreys (1991). Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry. Princeton University Press. pp. 69–71.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Donner, Fred M. (2006), "The historical context", in Jane Dammen McAuliffe, The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'ān, Cambridge University Press, pp. 33–34, ISBN 978-0-521-53934-0
  16. 1 2 R. Stephen Humphreys (1991). Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry. Princeton University Press. pp. 86–87.
  17. James E. Lindsay (2005). Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 7.
  18. 1 2 3 Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. SUNY Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-7914-1875-8.
  19. Zeki Saritopak, Allah, The Qu'ran: An Encyclopedia, ed. by Oliver Leaman, p. 34
  20. 1 2 L. Gardet, Allah, Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. by Sir H.A.R. Gibb
  21. 1 2 Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, ed. by Jane Dammen McAuliffe
  22. Hitti, Philip Khouri (2002). History of the Arabs. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 800. ISBN 9780333631423.
  23. 1 2 Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. SUNY Press. pp. 161–163. ISBN 978-0-7914-1875-8.
  24. Hitti, Philip Khouri (1970). History of the Arabs. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 100–101.
  25. 1 2 3 Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. pp. 286–287.
  27. Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. SUNY Press. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-0-7914-1875-8.
  28. 1 2 3 Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  29. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  30. Charles Russell Coulter; Patricia Turner (Jul 4, 2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge. p. 37.
  31. Herodotus. The Histories. Perseus Digital Library. 1.131.3
  32. Michel Mouton; Stephan G. Schmid (2014). Men on the Rocks: The Formation of Nabataean Petra. Logos Verlag Berlin GmbH. p. 338.
  33. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  34. 1 2 3 Ibn al-Kalbi (2015). Book of Idols. Princeton University Press.
  35. Martin Gilbert (2010). "In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Land". McClelland & Stewart. p. 8. ISBN 9780486150567.
  36. David Leeming (Jan 15, 2004). "Jealous Gods and Chosen People : The Mythology of the Middle East". Oxford University Press. p. 122.
  37. Cyril Glassé; Huston Smith (2003). "The New Encyclopedia of Islam". Rowman Altamira. p. 206.
  38. David Noel Freedman; Michael J. McClymond (2000). The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammad as Religious Founders. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 585. ISBN 9780802829573.
  39. John F. Healey; Venetia Porter (2003). "Studies on Arabia in Honour of G. Felix". Oxford University Press. p. 107. ISBN 9780198510642.
  40. T. Fahd. Encyclopedia of Islam 2nd ed, Brill, "Manaf"
  41. Ibn al-Kalbi (translated by Nabith Amin Faris) (2015). Book of Idols. Princeton University Press. pp. 27, 28. ISBN 9781400876792.
  42. Michael Muhammad Knight (2009). Journey to the End of Islam. Soft Skull Press. p. 280. ISBN 9781593762469.
  43. Knappert, Jan (1993). The Encyclopaedia of Middle Eastern Mythology and Religion. Element. p. 195. ISBN 9781852304270.
  44. Charles Russel Coulter; Patricia Turner. Encyclopaedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge. p. 305. ISBN 9781135963903.
  45. 1 2 Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. pp. 303–304.
  46. Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. SUNY Press. p. 106.
  47. Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. pp. 297–299.
  48. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. p. 302.
  49. Hawting, G. R. (1999), The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam: From Polemic to History, Cambridge University Press, p. 1, ISBN 978-1-139-42635-0
  50. Bernheimer, Teresa; Rippin, Andrew (2015), "Preface: Gerald Hawting", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 78 (01): 1–4, doi:10.1017/S0041977X14001086
  51. 1 2 3 4 5 Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. p. 301.
  52. 1 2 Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  53. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  54. Robert G. Hoyland (11 September 2002). Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam. Routledge. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-134-64634-0.
  55. 1 2 3 4 5 Robin, Christian Julien (30 July 2015). "Before Himyar: Epigraphic evidence". In Fisher, Greg. Arabs and Empire Before Islam. Oxford University Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-0-19-965452-9.
  56. Manfred Lurker (2015). A Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons. Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 9781136106286.
  57. J.T. Sibley (2009). The Divine Thunderbolt: Missile of the Gods. Xlibris. p. 58. ISBN 9781462832941.
  58. Robertson Smith, William (2010). Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia. Forgotten Books. p. 297. ISBN 978-1-4400-8379-2.
  59. S. Salibi, Kamal (2007). Who Was Jesus?: Conspiracy in Jerusalem. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-8451-1314-8.
  60. Muir, William (August 1878). The life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing. p. 219.
  61. Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2002). When the Moon Split. DarusSalam. p. 296. ISBN 978-9960-897-28-8.
  62. Glasse, Cyril (28 Jan 2003). The new encyclopedia of Islam. US: AltaMira Press. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-7591-0190-6.
  63. "Notes and Communications". JSTOR 609235.
  64. St. John Simpson (2002). Queen of Sheba: treasures from ancient Yemen. British Museum Press. pp. 162, 163. ISBN 9780714111513.
  65. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (2005). Encyclopaedia of the Qurʼān: Si-Z. Brill Publishers. p. 86. ISBN 9789004123564.
  66. Thomas Patrick Hughes (1995). Dictionary of Islam. Asian Educational Services. p. 192. ISBN 9788120606722.
  67. Lynn M. Hilton, Hope A. Hilton (1996). Discovering Lehi. Cedar Fort, Inc. p. 179. ISBN 9781462126385.
  68. Peter Alpass (2003). The Religious Life of Nabataea. Brill Publishers. p. 120. ISBN 9789004216235.
  69. Dierk Lange (2004). Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa: African-centred and Canaanite-Israelite Perspective; a Collection of Published and Unpublished studies in English and French. Verlag J. H. Röll GmbH. p. 9783897541153.
  70. Ángel Sahuquillo (2007). Federico Garcia Lorca and the Culture of Male Homosexuality. McFarland & Company. p. 190. ISBN 9780786428977.
  71. Ibn al-Kalbi (translated by Nabith Amin Faris) (2015). "Book of Idols". Princeton University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9781400876792.
  72. J. F. Breton (Trans. Albert LaFarge), Arabia Felix From The Time Of The Queen Of Sheba, Eighth Century B.C. To First Century A.D., 1998, University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame (IN), pp. 119-120.
  73. Julian Baldick (1998). Black God. Syracuse University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0815605226.
  74. Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions, 1999 - 1181 páginas
  75. J. Ryckmans, "South Arabia, Religion Of", in D. N. Freedman (Editor-in-Chief), The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 1992, Volume 6, op. cit., p. 172
  76. 1 2 3 4 Warwick Ball (4 January 2002). Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. Routledge. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-1-134-82387-1.
  77. Alberto Bernabé; Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui; Ana Isabel Jiménez San Cristóbal; Raquel Martín Hernández, eds. (2013). Redifining Dionysos. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110301328.
  78. Philip A. Harland (2011). Travel and Religion in Antiquity. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 230. ISBN 9781554582402.
  79. John Healey (2001). The Religion of the Nabataeans: A Conspectus. Brill Publishers. pp. 82, 92, 100. ISBN 9789004107540.
  80. Peter Richardson (2002). City and Sanctuary: Religion and Architecture in the Roman Near East. SCM Press. pp. 67, 68. ISBN 9780334028840.
  81. Jane Taylor (2001). Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. I. B. Tauris. pp. 91, 130. ISBN 9781860645082.
  82. Konstantinos D. Politis (2007). "The World of the Nabataeans: Volume 2 of the International Conference, The World of the Herods and the Nabataeans, Held at the British Museum, 17-19 April 2001". Franz Steiner Verlag. pp. 67, 68. ISBN 9783515088169.
  83. Richard M. Frank; James Edward Montgomery (2007). "Arabic Theology, Arabic Philosophy: From the Many to the One". Peeters Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 9789042917781.
  84. Jane Taylor (2001). Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. I.B. Tauris. p. 126. ISBN 9781860645082.
  85. Javier Teixidor (2015). The Pagan God: Popular Religion in the Greco-Roman Near East. Princeton University Press. p. 88. ISBN 9781400871391.
  86. Jane Taylor (2001). Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. I.B. Tauris. pp. 131, 133, 217. ISBN 9781860645082.
  87. John Healey (2001). The Religion of the Nabataeans: A Conspectus. Brill Publishers. pp. 110, 153. ISBN 9789004107540.
  88. Jane Taylor (2001). Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. I.B. Tauris. pp. 130, 131, 162. ISBN 9781860645082.
  89. Jane Taylor (2001). Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. I.B. Tauris. p. 162. ISBN 9781860645082.
  90. Corpus Inscriptiones Semit., vol. II: 198; Jaussen and Savignac, Mission Archéologique en Arabie, I (1907) p. 169f.
  91. Maxime Rodinson, Mohammed, 1961, translated by Anne Carter, 1971, p 39
  92. Hoyland, 2001, pp. 132-133.
  93. Hoyland, Robert G. (2001), Arabia and the Arabs: from the Bronze Age to the coming of Islam (Illustrated, reprint ed.), Routledge, p. 207, ISBN 9780415195355
  94. Hoyland, 2001, p. 63.
  95. Neusner, 2006, p. 295.
  96. 1 2 3 4 John L. McLaughlin (1 October 2012). The Ancient Near East. Abingdon Press. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-1-4267-6550-6.
  97. 1 2 Harriet E. W. Crawford (12 March 1998). Dilmun and Its Gulf Neighbours. Cambridge University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-521-58679-5.
  98. 1 2 3 Robert G. Hoyland (11 September 2002). Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam. Routledge. pp. 142–144. ISBN 978-1-134-64634-0.
  99. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  100. 1 2 Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  101. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  102. 1 2 Denise Lardner Carmody; John Tully Carmody (2015). "In the Path of the Masters: Understanding the Spirituality of Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammad". Routledge. p. 135. ISBN 9781317468202.
  103. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  104. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. pp. 87–93. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  105. Encyclopaedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East. Infobase Publishing. 2009. p. 46. ISBN 9781438126760.
  106. Irfan Shahîd (2003). Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century. Dumbarton Oaks. p. 265. ISBN 9780884022848.
  107. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  108. "Ezra". Encyclopaedia Judaica. 6. pp. 1106–1107. Muhammad claims (sura 9:30) that in the opinion of the Jews, 'Uzayr (EZRA) is the son of God. These words are an enigma because no such opinion is to be found among the Jews, even though Ezra was singled out for special appreciation.
  109. Kaufmann Kohler; Ignatz Goldziher. "Islam". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  110. 1 2 3 4 5 Hugh Goddard (2000). A History of Christian-Muslim Relations. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-1-56663-340-6.
  111. Jonathan Porter Berkey (2003). The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800. Cambridge University Press. pp. 44–46. ISBN 978-0-521-58813-3.
  112. Gillman, Ian; Klimkeit, Hans-Joachim (1999). Christians in Asia Before 1500. University of Michigan Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0472110407.
  113. Mario Kozah; Abdulrahim Abu-Husayn (26 August 2014). The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the Seventh Century. Gorgias PressLlc. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-4632-0355-9.
  114. "4th Century Assyrian Church in Saudi Arabia". Assyrian International News Agency. 28 August 2008.
  115. 1 2 "Nestorian Christianity in the Pre-Islamic UAE and Southeastern Arabia", Peter Hellyer, Journal of Social Affairs, volume 18, number 72, winter 2011, p. 88
  116. "AUB academics awarded $850,000 grant for project on the Syriac writers of Qatar in the 7th century AD" (PDF). American University of Beirut. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  117. Kozah, Mario; Abu-Husayn, Abdulrahim; Al-Murikhi, Saif Shaheen (2014). The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the Seventh Century. Gorgias Press LLC. p. 24. ISBN 978-1463203559.
  118. Kozah, Mario; Abu-Husayn, Abdulrahim; Al-Murikhi, Saif Shaheen; Al-Thani, Haya (2014). The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the Seventh Century (print ed.). Gorgias Press LLC. p. 24. ISBN 978-1463203559.
  119. Irving M. Zeitlin (19 March 2007). The Historical Muhammad. Polity. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7456-3999-4.
  120. Neal Robinson (5 November 2013). Islam: A Concise Introduction. Routledge. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-136-81773-1.
  121. Mun'im Sirry (1 May 2014). Scriptural Polemics: The Qur'an and Other Religions. Oxford University Press. p. 46.
  122. 1 2 Mircea Eliade (31 December 2013). History of Religious Ideas, Volume 3: From Muhammad to the Age of Reforms. University of Chicago Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-226-14772-7.
  123. 1 2 W. Montgomery Watt (1956). Muhammad At Medina. Oxford At The Clarendon Press. p. 318.
  124. W. Montgomery Watt (1956). Muhammad At Medina. Oxford At The Clarendon Press. p. 320.
  125. 1 2 Mun'im Sirry (1 May 2014). Scriptural Polemics: The Qur'an and Other Religions. Oxford University Press. p. 47.
  126. Aaron W. Hughes (2013). Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. Columbia University Press. pp. 31, 32. ISBN 9780231531924.
  127. Jonathan Berkey (2003). The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800. Cambridge University Press. pp. 47, 48. ISBN 9780521588133.
  128. The Middle East: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt. Greenwood Publishing Group. 2004. p. 19. ISBN 9780313329234.
  129. Michael Stausberg, Yuhan Shorab-Dinshaw Vevaina, Anna Tessman (2015). The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Zorastrianism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 105. ISBN 9781444331356.
  130. John Esposito (1999). The Oxford History of Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780195107999.
  131. Michael Lecker (1998). "Jews and Arabs in Pre- and Early Islamic Arabia". Ashgate Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 9780860787846.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.