Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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.

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 a destination for 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.

Arabian mythology

Arabian mythology comprises the ancient, pre-Islamic beliefs of the Arabs.

Prior Islam on the Arabian Peninsula in 622, the physical centre of Islam, the Kaaba of Mecca, the Kaaba was covered in symbols representing the myriad demons, djinn, demigods and other assorted creatures which represented the profoundly polytheistic environment of pre-Islamic Ancient Arabia. We can infer from this plurality an exceptionally broad context in which mythology could flourish.

Stories of genies, ghouls, magic lamps, flying carpets, and wishes contained in tales from the Arabian Nights and other works have been passed down through the generations.

The concept of the Evil Eye is mentioned in the Qur'an, in Surat al-Falaq (in which one is told to seek refuge "from the mischief of the envious one as he envies"). The Hand of Fatima is sometimes used to neutralize the effect of Evil Eye, though its use is forbidden in Islam, as are all talismans and superstitions. Among traditional muslims, various verses from the Qur'an such as an-Nas and al-Falaq are sometimes recited for blessing.

See also

Arabic culture, Arabian Nights




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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