The territory around Mecca was also treated as sacred ( haram and the pilgrims laid aside their weapons when they reached this holy territory. The pilgrimage was called hajj. During the pilgrimage, the pilgrims had to perform a number of rites and ceremonies, which lasted for several days and which can be described here only with the utmost brevity. As soon as the pilgrims entered the sacred territory, the haram, they had to practise selfdenial by observing a number of prohibitions: they had to abstain from hunting, fighting, sexual intercourse, and certain other things. They circumambulated the ka'bah, and also kissed the Black Stone which was fixed in one of its walls. An essential rite of the hajj was a visit to the hill of Arafat on the ninth of Dhu alHijjah, when the pilgrims assembled in the adjoining plain and stayed there till sunset for the prescribed wuquf (the stays or halts). The hill of 'Arafat is said to have borne another name, ilal, which may have been the name of the shrine or rather of the deity worshipped there in ancient times.
Biblical criticism - wikipedia
The sanctuary consisted of a simple stone structure of cubelike appearance, which was called the ka'bah by the Arabs. One of the walls contained a black stone ( alhajar alaswad ). Inside the ka'bah was the statue of the god, hubal. At its feet, there was a small pit in which offerings to the temple were deposited. Besides Hubal, alLat, aluzza, and essay alManat were also worshipped at Mecca and are mentioned in the qur'an. At the rise of Islam, the temple is said to have contained as many as three hundred and sixty idols. It seems that in course of time the various Arab tribes had brought in their gods and placed them in the ka'bah, which had consequently acquired the character of the national pantheon for the whole of Arabia. From times immemorial, the ka'bah at Mecca had been the centre of a great pilgrimage, in which the most diverse tribes from all over Arabia took part. But this was possible only when peace reigned in the land. For this purpose, the month of Dhu alHijjah in which the rites and ceremonies connected with the pilgrimage were performed and the preceding and succeeding months of Dhu alQa'dah and Muharram altogether three consecutive months were regarded as sacred months, during which tribal warfare was. This period was sufficiently long to enable the tribes from the remotest corners of Arabia to visit the ka'bah and return to their homes in peace.
While in the beginning, the qur'an adopted the style peculiar to saj, it raised the conception to a level far beyond the imagination of writing the soothsayers. There is another point of similarity which should be noted here. The utterances of the kahins were prefaced by oaths, swearing by the earth and sky, the sun, moon, and stars, light and darkness, and plants and animals of all kinds. These oaths offer an interesting point of comparison with the oaths used in the qur'an. The temples of the heathen Arabs were for them not only places of worship but also places of pilgrimage. They assembled there periodically at certain times of the year, when these assemblies assumed the character of fairs and festivals. An important sanctuary of this kind was located at Mecca, a town in western Arabia, which was situated at a distance of about fifty miles inland from the red sea. The town lay on the traderoute which led along the sea from the yemen to syria, and its situation may have been partly determined by the presence of a well, called Zamzam, which has a considerable and fairly constant supply of water.
In course of time, the priest who was in the beginning simply the custodian of the temple developed the character of a soothsayer paper as well, and thus the term kahin came to acquire the sense time of a soothsayer and seer. There were female soothsayers as well. Arabic literature has preserved many stories about kahin and many utterances are attributed to them. These utterances were usually made in rhymed prose, and are interesting not only in respect of their content but also with regard to their style. Their pronouncements consisted of a few concise sentences, which ended in words having the same rhyme. This mode of expression was known as saj. The same style is found in the earliest revelations received by the Prophet which now constitute the last chapters of the qur'an. It is, therefore, not surprising that the contemporaries of the Prophet called him a kahin, a position which he firmly repudiated.
They were simple structures, sometimes mere walls or enclosures marked by stones. Not only the temples were venerated as holy places, but sometimes the surrounding areas were also treated as sacred and inviolable ( hima ), and were supposed to be under the special protection of their respective gods. In connection with several temples, we read of priests who served as their custodians ( sadin,. They received the worshippers and gave them admission to the shrine. The office was generally hereditary, since we read of priestly families which were attached to particular temples. Another word used for a priest was kahin, a term which was employed for a soothsayer as well. The priests were believed to be under the influence of the gods and to possess the power of foretelling future events and of performing other superhuman feats. In this way, their pronouncements resembled the ancient Greek oracles and were likewise vague and equivocal.
Bible Glossary - ken Collins
Perhaps, this was name originally a ransom, offered as a substitute for the child himself. The gods of heathen twilight Arabia were represented not only by rude blocks of stone ( nusub,. Ansab ), but also by statues, made with more or less skill. The usual word for a divine statue, whether of stone or wood, was sanam. The other word used for this purpose was wathan, which seems primarily to mean nothing more than a stone.
Examples of treeworship are also found among the ancient Arabs. The tree known as dhat alanwat, "that on which things are hung received divine honours; weapons and other objects were suspended from. At nakhlah, the goddess uzza is said to have been worshipped in the form of three trees. The gods of the heathen Arabs were mostly represented by idols, which were placed in temples. These temples served as places of worship, where offerings and sacrifices were made by their votaries. The temples were by no means imposing buildings like those of the Egyptians or the Greeks.
Such deities were: alMalik, "the king" (compare the personal name, abd alMalik and ba'1 or ba'al, "the lord which was very common among the northern Semites. The deities of heathen Arabia were represented by idols, sacred stones, and other objects of worship. Sacred stones served at the same time as altars; the blood of the victims was poured over them or smeared over them. At the period with which we are dealing, the Arabs sacrificed camels, sheep, goats, and, less often, kine. The flesh of the sacrifice was usually eaten by the worshippers, the god contenting himself with the blood alone.
Originally, every sacrifice was regarded as food to be consumed by the god concerned or at least as a means of pacifying him. The sacrifice was, thus, believed to bring the worshipper into close connection with the deity. Hence the Arabic terms, qurba and qurban (derived from the root, qrb, to be near which are used for a sacrifice. The Arabs, like the hebrews, were in the habit of sacrificing the firstlings of their flocks and herds ( fara' ). Soon after the birth of an infant, his head a shaven and a sheep was sacrificed on his behalf. This practice has survived among the Arabs and other Muslim peoples to the present day under the name of aqiqah.
Pentateukh - kelima kitab Musa - sarapanPagi biblika
The heavenly bodies and other powers of nature, venerated as deities, occupied an important place in the Arabian pantheon. The sun ( shams, regarded as feminine) was worshipped by several Arab tribes, and was honoured with a sanctuary and an idol. The name Abd Shams, "Servant of the sun was found in many parts of the country. The sun was referred to by descriptive titles also, such as shariq, "the brilliant one." The constellation of the Pleiades ( alThurayya ), which was believed to bestow rain, also appears as a deity in the name Abd alThurayya. The planet Venus, which shines with remarkable brilliance in the clear skies of Arabia, was revered as a great goddess under the name of aluzza, which may be translated as "the most Mighty." It had a sanctuary at nakhlah near Mecca. The name Abd aluzza was very common among the preIslamic letter Arabs. The Arabian cult of the planet Venus has been mentioned by several classical and Syriac authors. There were certain Arabian deities whose titles in themselves indicate that they occupied a position of supreme importance in the eyes of their votaries.
It was this association of subordinate deities with Allah which is technically known as shirk dissertation (association of gods with Allah) and which was condemned by the Prophet as an unpardonable sin. Shirk was held in special abhorrence, as it obscured belief in the oneness of God. The innumerable deities, which the pagan Arabs worshipped, form a long series and are the subject of a monograph, written by ibn alKalbi, who flourished in the second century of the Islamic era and is counted among the leading authorities on Arabian antiquity. 1 A few of them have been incidentally mentioned in the qur'an also. These Arabian deities, which were of diverse nature, fell into different Categories. Some of them were personifications of abstract ideas, such as jadd (luck sa'd (fortunate, auspicious rida' (goodwill, favour wadd (friendship, affection and manaf (height, high place). Though originally abstract in character, they were conceived in a thoroughly concrete fashion. Some deities derived their names from the places where they were venerated. Dhu al-Khalasah and Dhu alShara may be cited as examples of this kind.
the later Islamic literature, idolatry based on polytheism prevailed throughout ancient Arabia. Almost every tribe had its own god, which was the centre of its religious life and the immediate object of its devotion. The ancient Arabs, however, at the same time believed in the existence. Supreme god, whom they called Allah. But this belief was rather vague and their faith in Him was correspondingly weak. They might invoke allah in time of danger, but as soon as the danger was over they forgot all about Him. They also recognized and worshipped a large number of other subordinate gods along with Him, or at least thought that they would intercede for them with Him. Three deities in particular, viz., aluzza, alManat, and alLat, were accorded special veneration as the daughters of Allah.
Except in the oases which are few and far between, thesis the land is bare and monotonous, unfit for cultivation and unable to support settled communities. From times immemorial, its inhabitants have been of necessity nomadic, living on the produce of their camels and sheep. The majority of the ancient Arabs were, therefore, pastoralists who were constantly on the move in search of grass and water for their herds and flocks. Restless and rootless, with no permanent habitations, they stood at a low level of culture and were innocent of those arts and sciences which are associated in our minds with civilized life. The art of reading and writing was confined only to a few individuals in certain commercial centres, while illiteracy was almost universal among the sons of the desert. Their mental horizon was narrow, and the struggle for existence in their inhospitable environment was so severe that their energies were exhausted in satisfying the practical and material needs of daily life, and they had little time or inclination for religious or philosophic speculation. Their religion was a vague polytheism and their philosophy was summed up in a number of pithy sayings. Although the ancient Arabs had no written literature, they possessed a language which was distinguished for its extraordinary rich vocabulary. In the absence of painting and sculpture, they had cultivated their language as a fine art and were justly proud of its enormous power of expression.
Catholic encyclopedia: Pentateuch - new advent
Chapter 6, pre, islamic Arabian Thought, pre, islamic Arabian Thought by Shaikh Inayatullah,. D., formerly, professor of Arabic, University of the panjab, lahore (pakistan). In the present chapter, we are concerned only with the people of Arabia who lived in the age immediately preceding the rise of Islam. The ancient civilized inhabitants of southern Arabia, the sabaeans and Himyarites, have been left out of account, not only because the relevant materials at our disposal are scanty and fragmentary, but also because they are far removed from the Islamic times, with which the present. We cannot hope to understand properly the religious or philosophical ideas of a people without comprehending their economic and social background. A few words about the social structure of preIslamic vegetarianism Arabs should, therefore form a suitable and helpful prelude to a description of their religious outlook. The land of Arabia is mainly a sandy plain, which is partly steppeland and partly desert.