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Hence it came to pass that (excepting the worship of idols, a plurality of gods, the killing of daughters and other such evil practices), many of the ideas and customs subsisting among the Arabs from the time of Abraham were retained by the Prophet, and form part of his religion. Although some of the Southern and Eastern tribes became mixed up with the children of Ham, yet we learn, as much from the Torah as from Ibn Hisham, Tabari and others, that the North and West of the country was occupied by the progeny of Shem. Some tribes were descended from Joktan, others from Hagar, Ketura, and Ishmael. Among the latter was the tribe of the Coreish, itself among the descendants of Abraham. Now, although the children of Shem had greatly lost the purity of their faith from mixing with the tribes of syria, yet when all the people of those parts, except the Jews, had altogether forgotten the Unity of God, still the dwellers in the North and West of the Peninsula retained a certain knowledge of the Unity divine. There is every reason to believe that in the days of Job, the stars, sun, and moon were worshipped in those parts of Arabia;1 and Herodotus, more than four centuries before Christ, tells us that the Arabs of his day had only two gods, Orotal and Alitat,2 evidently meaning Allah-taālā and Allat, though as a foreigner he was not exactly acquainted with the local form of the names. The term Allah itself is repeatedly found in the seven Moallaqāt, whose authors lived before the ministry of Muhammad, and also in the Dewan of Labid.

Still more, we know that the Kaaba was of old the

l  Job xxxi. 26-28.  2 Bk. iii. 8.

holy Masjid of the Arab tribes at large; for we learn from Diodorus Siculus, sixty years before the Christian era, that it then existed (Bk. iii.). From the use of al (or the) in Allāh it is manifest that the Unity of God was never forgotten by the Arabs. The Qur'an, indeed, calls them idolators for giving other gods the worship due to Him alone. But they never held those other gods on an equality with the great God above, whom by their adoration they sought specially to propitiate. The following story from early Muslim writers makes this all the more clear: "Some of the Abyssinian Refugees returned to Mecca when Surah liii. was being read. Coming to the verse: What think ye of Allāt and Al Uzza and Manāt the other, the third? Satan cast these words into the reader's lips: 'These three noble ones whose intercession is to be hoped for.'  When the Surah ended, the whole company bowed down in adoration; and the Idolators together with them, thinking that their gods had been thus graciously acknowledged. The strange episode was spread abroad by Satan, and the Refugees hastily returned to Mecca expecting to find the whole city converted." Beidhawi and others are the more inclined to believe this tale from the words in Surah xxii. 51: Truly we have sent no Apostle or Prophet before thee, but when he read, Satan suggested some (error) in his reading; but God shall make void that which Satan suggested.

Along with the early spread of idolatry, there still survived throughout Arabia the consciousness of One true God. Shahristani tells us this, and gives a long list of the local deities, and also of the customs


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