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The Semitic belief in mountain deities and mountains being sacred ground is comparable to the ancient Hebrew veneration of Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments and the covenant from Yahweh. Shams is the Arabian goddess of the Sun and the chief goddess of the Himyar tribal confederation; believed by the inhabitants of the fertile lands of south Arabia to be a preserver of crops and domestic life.
The cult of Shams was popular among many Arab tribes including the Himyar; Banu Daws; Quraysh; Dhabbah; Uqayl; Tamim and Hamdan although her worship was popular and common across all of the Arabian peninsula. In the arid desert highland regions, however, where farming was not possible and water was scarce, the nomadic Bedouin held a more fearful view of Shams - believing her to dry up the grazing areas for their flocks.
In spite of Shams' malefic and hostile tendencies, the Bedouin would still respect and fear the goddess; appealing to her for mercy and attempting to placate her with a sacrificial offering. The w orship of the sun goddess was performed by bowing to the east and praying at sunrise, noon and sunset and rituals which could be done in the open air or at one of her temples, the most important of which was located at Sana'a in the Yemen.
In addition to being the goddess of Sun, Shams was a goddess of justice as she could see all human actions and bring all injustices to light, with oaths often being sworn by her name.
The Himyarite tribe of Banu Bata' would ritually hunt oryx and ibex in worship of the sun goddess who was believed to in turn grant them bounty and wealth.
Al-Mundhir is a west Arabian god of justice, whose name means ''The Cautioner''. He was worshipped by the tribe of Banu Aws in the city of Yathrib later known as Medina ; the name Abd al-Mundhir being found among the chieftains of the Banu Aws.
Yaghuth was worshiped for assistance and protection in any venture, but before a battle, the tribesmen would call upon the god to bless the warriors with might and courage. In pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, the Jinn Arabic: The jinn are nature spirits that are believed to inhabit stones; trees; the earth; space; the air; fire; the sky, and bodies of water, and are thought to be fond of remote and desolate places such as the desert wilderness.
The jinn played an important role in the beliefs of the pagan Arabs as they were seen as personifications of natural forces; spirits of the land and mediators between mankind and the gods. The cult of the jinn as guardian or nature deities was popular across the whole of pre-Islamic Arabia since ancient times; to the extent that certain tribes such as the Banu Mulayh of the Hijaz and the Banu Hanifa of Najd worshiped the jinn exclusively and sought intercession from no other deities except them.
The jinn also had the ability to appear as wild animals, and sacred animals play a role in pagan Arabian belief as guests or clients of the gods, and as totems of particular tribes.
The pagan Arabs believed the sound of the desert winds to be music or voices of the jinn, which was known to them by the name of 'azif. The pre-Islamic Bedouin Arabs considered the oases and springs of the desert to be jealously guarded by the jinn and so they would offer a small sacrifice to placate them and persuade them to not visit their wrath upon the people and animals. To the Jewish clans of Arabia and the pagan Arabian tribes who inhabited Palestine, the jinn were sometimes known as Azab al-'Akaba who appeared and acted much like the satyrs mentioned in Greco-Roman mythology and the Hebrew Bible.
Ba'alat-Sahra is a north Arabian goddess of the underworld and of the desert who was an important goddess of the nomadic Semites; known to the Amorite tribe of southern Syria as Belet-Seri, the wife of their chief god Amurru. In the religious outlook of these, neglecting the worship of the goddess was believed to incur divine wrath in the form of misfortune and drought. This god was associated with serpents who were recognized as omens of bounty and fertile ground.
Hair as an sacrificial offering was usually part of pre-Islamic funerary rituals, where it was shaved off and offered to the spirit of the deceased along with sprinklings of blood.
Al-Jalsad is a south Arabian god of pasture and fields who was worshiped by the Banu Kindah tribe of Hadramawt. The idol of al-Jalsad was a giant statue of a man who had a torso of white stone and a head made of black stone, and it stood in a large hawtah sacred enclosure ; Kindite priests and soothsayers would lay down to sleep in the sanctuary with the aim of receiving an oracle from the god in their dreams.
Ashar is a north Arabian war god whose cult was popular near Palmyra in southern Syria and was depicted as archer with a bow and quiver seated on a horse and was worshiped alongside the god Sa'ad. These jinn were believed to protect human lives and enterprises.
The Muzaynah offered animal sacrifices to the idol of Nuhm as he was believed to be responsible for the well-being of tribe and its animals; the last custodian of his shrine being Khuza'i ibn Abd-Nuhm of the clan of Banu 'Ida. Ni'mat is a north Arabian fortune goddess who was worshiped by the Banu Lihyan tribe of Tayma and Dedan in turn for her blessing.
The goddess is mentioned in ancient Safaitic inscriptions along with the creator god Allah. The name of the goddess means ''to change fortunes '' and ''to avert''.
His idol was an outcrop of rock which was in the shape of a hand. Abgal is a north Arabian tutelary god, a deity of the desert and the patron of Bedouins and caravan drivers who was honored at Palmyra in southern Syria.
In addition to being worshiped by the Khawlin tribe, he was also the chief god of the Arabs of Qataban who worshiped him as a weather deity. Nasr is the south Arabian god of the deep desert whose idol was a sculpture of a large vulture in some sources an eagle that was situated in a temple in the village of Balkha in Yemen where he was worshiped by the people of the Himyar tribe, in particular the clan of Dhu'l-Kala'.
The sacred animal of Nasr, the vulture, was venerated by his worshipers as a totem of insight and sharp character; as well as this, the god represented the hostile and unforgiving aspects of nature, in particular, the desert: Nasr was a major god of the Himyarite Arabs of Yemen prior to their majority conversion from paganism to Judaism and then to Islam, and they would place images of vultures on the doors of their temples and official buildings.
The cult of Nasr and other deities almost entirely disappeared from among the city-dwelling Himyarites during the reign of the Jewish Himyarite king Yusuf As'ar Yath'ar; although Nasr and many other gods and goddesses continued to be venerated by the pagan tribesmen of the remote Yemeni highlands until the arrival of Islam.
The Arabic name of the god Nasr is cognate to the Hebrew Nishra and the Assyrian Nisroch , both representative of vultures or birds of prey. Tanuf is a south Arabian sun goddess who was worshiped at Gadaran in Yemen and was invoked in Himyarite inscriptions alongside the sky god Ilmuqah and Athtar, the god of the planet Venus. The name of the goddess means ''Lofty'' in reference to the Sun and she was a Sabaean epithet of the pan-Arabian sun goddess Shams who was also called Dhat-Himyam ''Lady of the Heat''.
In the language of the Mahra tribe to the east of the Himyarites and Hadramites, the sun goddess was known as Eyum. This god played a similar role to the Babylonian god Nabu; the Himyarite 'Anbay; the Nabataean al-Kutbay, and the northern Arabian Mu'nim, who were all associated with learning, intelligence and the planet Mercury.
Qaysha is a north Arabian funerary goddess who was invoked by the Nabataean Arabs of southern Jordan along with the fate goddess Manat and the fortune goddess Taraha in order to protect tombs and curse those who disturbed the remains of the entombed.
The white quartz idol of Dhu'l-Khalasah was decorated with a crown and beautiful necklaces, and was offered gifts of barley; wheat; milk, and ostritch eggs.
According to some sources from the s, the gods cult was revived in a remote area of the 'Asir region of southern Arabia until , when his idol was destroyed by Wahhabi gunfire. The goal of the Wahhabi Ikhwan militia of Ibn Saud itself was to discipline sedentary Arab and nomadic Bedouin society and cleanse it of perceived pre-Islamic polytheistic practices such as shrine worship and magic.
Islamic scholars of the time claimed that some of the Arabs of the Tihama and the Najd Desert had reverted back to pagan practices such as worshiping at shrines, ignoring Islamic law in favour of tribal law and using talismans.
This goddess was said to forbid any invocation to her when ''there was not present in her sanctuary, a seeress or a priestess''. The wa'la or she-ibex was sacred to this goddess and it was said that an island in the Red Sea was inhabited by ibexes was under her protection.
Akhwar is the north Arabian god of the planet Jupiter who was attested to in inscriptions left by the tribe of Banu Lihyan at Thamud and Safa in the Old North Arabian dialect. The people of those tribes would name their children Taym-Akhwar 'Servant of Akhwar' in honor of this deity.
Taraha is a north Arabian fortune goddess who was invoked in inscriptions for well-being and prosperity by the Nabataean Arabs of Hejra along with the goddesses Manat and Qaysha.
This goddess was also known as Tadha and was believed to watch over the tombs of the dead. Nothing else is known about this deity. Sakbu is the north Arabian god of fortune who was worshiped by the Nabataean Arabs and may have been an epithet of the west Arabian god Jadd.
The etymology of the gods name comes from the Arabic word for "gift" or "reward", sakib. All dreams were considered to be messages from the gods in pre-Islamic Arabia and soothsayers specialized in interpreting them. This god was believed to be an all-seeing guardian and had origins with the Hebrew El Roi 'The Seeing God' who was believed to be the deity who protected Hagar, the mother of Ishmael and the ancestor of the Arabs, during her time in the desert.
Al-Ghurab is a Meccan god whose idol was in the form of a raven that was housed in the Ka'aba along with three-hundred and sixy other idols of gods and goddesses. Ravens were sacred to this god as guardians of the spirits of the dead: Khomar is the south Arabian god of wine and vineyards who was worshiped by the Himyarite Arabs of Yemen.
Hakmish is a south Arabian artisan god who was invoked for victory and assistance in battle and conquest. In the religion of the cousins of the Arabs, the Moabite tribes of southern Jordan, the god was their chief tribal deity and was known as Kemosh. The ancient Semitic kingdom of Ebla in northern Syria; whose people spoke an East Semitic language related to Akkadian, worshiped a divinity named Kamish or Chemosh who was a war god and a patron of weapon-crafting and smiths.
Dhu'l-Samawi had his equivalent in the pantheon of the Palmyrenes of southern Syria, where was known as Ba'l-Samayn or Balshamin; a sky god who was similar to the Greek deity Zeus. The cult of Dhu'l-Samawi existed among the Banu 'Amir as a form of henotheism or monolatry: The idol of the god was a large rectangular block of stone which was situated by a sacred spring and an area of wild vegetation.
Th e people of those tribes allowed the area allotted to Dhu'l-Shara to grow naturally and be undisturbed from human activity hima in order to gain the gods favor and protection. In the far north of Arabia and southern Jordan, Dhu'l-Shara was worshiped as the god of the oasis and mountainous fertile land, and was the chief god of the Nabataean Arabs.
He had a large temple in the city of Petra where his worship was known to the Romans of Arabia who called him Dusares. As a result of extensive contact with the Romans, the cult of Dusares was eventually brought over to Italy from northern Arabia by Nabataean merchants; a shrine and an inscription to Dusares being discovered at the port of Puteoli.
Al-Muharriq is an Arabian underworld god who was represented as a fierce deity at a red shrine and whose totem animal was the adult male lion usamah. This god was the Arabic counterpart of the earlier Babylonian god Nergal, both sharing the same attributes such as being deities of the underworld; fire; the planet Mars, and the desert. Al-Muharriq, like his Babylonian counterpart Nergal, had a wrathful disposition; he was believed to send disease and plague if he was angry with the population.
To the Mahra tribe who inhabited the deserts of Oman, this god was known as Harka and was a deity who had to be placated with animal sacrifices. In the far north of Arabia, al-Muharriq was called Arsuf who was a later Arabian development from the ancient Canaanite god Reshef; a deity associated with plagues and the underworld. In the religion of the western Semites, Shalim was a god of the underworld and the dusk, and his name ' Shalim ' Peace was meant as an allegory for the peace of the grave.
Jarnan is a south Arabian fertility god who was worshiped at the ancient town of Izki in pre-Islamic Oman by the tribe of al-Azd and had an idol that was a statue of solid gold in the form of a bull.
Jarnan was associated with tribal and animal welfare and imparted health and wealth as he was a patron deity of cattle. The idol of Jarnan is identical in description to that of the Golden Calf of the Hebrews. Animal sacrifices were made to 'Awd by the Bedouin tribesmen and blood was offered at his baetyl. This deity was especially associated with nomads. Kawim is a south Arabian god of agriculture, vegetation and the monsoon worshiped by the Himyarite Arabs of Yemen.
The name of this god means ''The Sustainer''. Al-Dabaran '' The Follower' ' is an Arabian star god who was worshiped by the tribes of Misam and Tamim who believed that the veneration of his star Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus, brought rain. If the star of Aldebaran had a heliacal rising that was unaccompanied by showers, it was seen as an omen of drought. In pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, the star god al-Dabaran was the admirer and follower of Ath-Thurayya, goddess of the Pleiades.
The male camel was the sacred animal of this god. Shadrafa is a north Arabian god worshiped for protection and prosperity by the Arab and Aramaean tribes living in and around Palmyra in southern Syria.
The sacred animals of the god were the snake and the scorpion and he was depicted as an armed bearded man in military clothing wearing a cylindrical headdress. Aranyada is a south Arabian god of nature and the tutelary deity of the city of Nashshan in Yemen where he was worshiped by the Sabaean Arabs.
The various totems and symbols of this god include ostriches, ibises and trees. Sahar is the sister of the god Athtar, the planet Venus and the god Salman. Basamum is the south Arabian god of healing who was worshiped by the tribe of Himyar. The god was associated with balsam plant and healing shrines and sanctuaries were built in Yemen that were dedicated to him.
Hawbas is a south Arabian oracular goddess who was consulted for prophecies by the Sabaean Arabs of Yemen and was the consort of Athtar, the god of the planet Venus. Bashir is a south Arabian god of prosperity worshiped by the Sabaean tribes of Bakil and Hashid. Rahmaw or Rahmanan is a south Arabian god of mercy and protection whose mythology was later absorbed into that of the creator god Allah.
Rahmaw was a popular god of the Sabaean Arabs of Marib where he was represented as a sphinx with votive plaques and dedications being offered to him. The name Rahman was not recognized by the polytheists of Mecca and its usage as a divine name was mainly confined to Najran and al-Yamama in Najd.
The idol of Ta'lab was a palm tree and the south Arabians associated him with the constellation of Capricorn, and as the husband of the water goddess Nawasam. The polytheists of the Yemen would often name their children Wahb-Ta'lab in honor of this god and worshiped him to bring good health.
The god who represented fortune was known under various different names across the Semitic Middle East, including the Hebrew Gad and the Aramaic Gadda. Al-Ab'ab is a north Arabian god of shepherds whose sacred animal was the mountain goat and he was worshiped by the tribes of Banu 'Udhrah and Banu al-Quda'a in the north of Arabia.
Bahar or Bajar is the south Arabian god of the ocean who was a chief deity of the Banu al-Azd tribe of Oman, in addition to being adopted as a god by the neighboring Himyarite tribes of Banu al-Quda'a and Banu Tayy. The last custodian sadin of the idol of Bahar was Mazin bin Gadhuba al-Ta'i who later destroyed the idol when news of Islam reached Oman. However; after the death of Muhammad, a faction of the Banu Azd tribe abandoned Islam under their chief, Laqit bin Malik al-Azdi, and returned to worshiping Bahar.
This polytheist faction was later destroyed by an army sent by the caliph Abu Bakr that was under the command of Hudhayfah ibn Mihsan. Omani mythology eventually inspired the story of the Old Man of the Sea who tormented Sinbad the Sailor on his fifth voyage in the Arabian Nights literature, a late echo of the sea god. In Abyssinia, he was known as Biher and was considered to be the brother of the god Athtar, both gods worshiped by the Axumites before their conversion to Christianity.
This deity was the South Arabian counterpart of the Canaanite fire goddess Ishat, a daughter of El, who opposed the god Ba'al and was later vanquished by the war goddess Anat. The belief in Yurhim originated from the Edomite tribes of Jordan and was eventually passed on to their successors, the Nabataean Arabs, who worshiped him as the father of the mother goddess Allat.
These tribes considered her to be the mother of Athtar, the Morning Star, who presided over the irrigation systems and dispensed rain. At the oasis of Tayma in the north of Arabia, this goddess was known as Ashira who was believed to control the growth of the date palms. The gazelle was the sacred animal of the goddess.
Shay al-Qawm is the north Arabian god of war, valor and the night who was worshiped by the Nabataean Arabs of southern Jordan as a guardian of camel caravans, protecting the travelers whilst they slept in their tents and was honored as one of their chief deities at Petra.
Shay al-Qawm was believed to be a god who abstained from wine, which was a popular beverage in pre-Islamic Arabia. Qaynan is the south Arabian god of metalworkers and smiths, and was worshiped by the Sabaean tribe of Khas'am who lived in Yemen.
Al-Kutbay had an oracular shrine at the city of Petra and the Bedouin tribes and merchants of southern Jordan brought the worship of al-Kutbay to Egypt and the Sinai peninsula. This god was worshiped primarily by the Banu Lihyan tribe who lived, intermarried and traded with the Nabataeans.
Anbay is the south Arabian god of prophecy and divination who was worshiped by the Arabs of Qataban and Himyar in Yemen and was associated with the planet Mercury. The tribesmen of the Jadilah would fast for a period of time to honor the god.
The planet Saturn was associated with the subterranean world in Semitic mythologies and thus was a protector of agriculture and the fertility of soil. In the south Arabian pantheon, Nakruh was the brother of the moon god Wadd and his character was solemn, yet benevolent.
In legend, the temple of Ri'am was said to be inhabited by a giant black dog that was destroyed along with the idol and the shrine by Tubba Abu-Kariba Asad in his mission to convert the Himyarites to Judaism.
In the lands of Palestine and Syria, his counterpart there was known as Ba'al and he was a major weather deity; his cult in that land being in competition with Judaism and later, Christianity. In the Syro-Arabian town of Bakk, there stood an idol of Ba'l that was made of solid gold and had four faces; the people of Bakk relied on this god for oracles although Islamic mythology states that the idol was inhabited by demons.
The Mahra tribe are speakers of a South Semitic language that is related more closely to the old Himyaritic language of Yemen and the Amharic language of Abyssinia than it is to the Central Semitic language of Classical Arabic which was spoken by Adnanite and Qahtanite tribes living in Najd and Hijaz in pre-Islamic times. Sa'nun is a south Arabian god of incense worshiped by the Himyarite tribes at Baynun in Yemen. Yatha' is a south Arabian savior god worshiped by the Himyarites in Aden and Abyan in conjunction with Shams and Nasr and was the guardian deity of the city of Aden.
This gods worship was conducted through drumming and he was called upon for relief and delivery from misfortune and was also worshiped at Umm al-Jimal in Jordan by the Nabataeans under the name of Yitha'. Tarut Island itself was considered by the Arabs to be inhabited by jinn and supernatural beings. It is also possible that the worship of Ishtarut was brought to eastern Arabia by the various Semitic peoples who sought to trade with the Arabs of Gerrha in the Arabian Gulf including the Sabaeans, Aramaeans, Babylonians and Palestinians.
In the religion of the Hebrew tribes of ancient Palestine, their deity Yahweh was originally one god among many; although in later times he developed into a major tribal god and eventually the Hebrews elevated him to the status of all-powerful creator god above all the others: In ancient times, the cult of Yahweh was not restricted to the Hebrews alone: In other regions of Arabia, the god of Mars was known under various other names such as Merrikh , al-Muharriq and ' lmn in Safaitic.
Alongside Azizan, he was worshiped at Palmyra and his cult came under Greek influence. Maher is a south Arabian war god worshiped by the Himyarite Arabs and the Abyssinians. In Abyssinia, he was considered to be the son of the chief god Astar. The idol of Awal was said to be in the form of a shark and the god was said to be the primordial guardian of the waters of the Gulf.
The mythology of this god in the kingdom of Saba in Yemen was eventually absorbed into that of the chief storm god Ilmuqah or was just another of his epithets. Ba'lat-Mafrash is a south Arabian fertility goddess who was believed to grant oracles; protect children and the family; improve the health of the crops and guard against enemies. The god was worshiped as the protector of artificial irrigation and his divine symbol was a cluster of lightning bolts surrounding a curved sickle.
Bulls were the sacred animals of Ilmuqah. Along with many of the other gods of the Sabaean pantheon, the worship of Ilmuqah was brought to countries that the Sabaeans settled and traded in such as Abyssinia and Somalia.
Athtar is the south Arabian god of the planet Venus as the Morning Star who was worshiped by the Minaeans, Sabaeans and Himyarites of Yemen, who venerated him as a provider of water and a protector of irrigation systems.
The holy symbol of Athtar was a spear-point as he was also a war god, and his sacred animal was the Arabian oryx antelope. Athtar was thought to not only provide water by rainfall; the god was also believed to control it in the useful form of a wadi, being central to a regions fertility.
In the religion of the tribes of northern Arabia around the 8th century BC, Athtar was known as Atarsamayn or "Athtar the Heavenly" and specifically represented the planet Venus. The planet Venus played an important role as an auspicious heavenly body in the Arabian pantheon and was known as ''the Lesser Fortune'' with the planet Jupiter al-Mushtari , Sadiq being known as ''the Greater Fortune''.
The worship of Athtar was so popular with the Arabs of Yemen: In the kingdom of Saba in ancient Yemen, the goddess Hawbas was his wife and consort. Kahl had a shrine in Hadramawt to the south of Najd, where he was worshiped along with the god al-Jalsad. The symbol of the god was the phoenix and his counterpart in other Semitic religions is the Hebrew Chol. The worship of the god was directed to both a stone idol and the planet itself; that was clearly visible in the night sky of Arabia.
Al-Mushtari was worshiped as he was believed to grant wealth, protection and growth, in addition to being a patron deity of merchants. The god was said to dislike the desert and 'everything forlorn and desolate', and love cultivation and prosperity.
In Arabian mythology, the planet Jupiter had a high status as the king of the planets in the heavens and was the personification of fortune and happiness.
Al-Mushtari was an important god of the Banu Tayy, and also of the tribes of Banu Lakhm and Banu Judham before their majority conversion to Christianity. Nawasam is a south Arabian goddess of underground water to whom wells and water cisterns were dedicated and consecrated to.
The Himyarites often sacrificed female sheep and bovine to Nawasam while the males were offered to Ta'lab, the husband of the goddess. A temple to Dhat-Zuhran was located at the city of Raybun which was the seat of her worship.
The name of the goddess means ''The Wise'' and she was worshiped by the Adnanite tribes of the northern region of the Najd desert along with the deities Atarsamayn and Ruda. Ma'n is a north Arabian god of water who was worshiped by Bedouin tribes near Ras as-Shar in southern Syria alongside the gods Azizan, Sa'ad and Ashar. Ma'n was a popular god with the Arabians of Syria who gave him the epithet of the 'good and bountiful god', as he was the personification of clean and life-giving freshwater.
He is believed to wander and watch over the earth; ensuring that vegetation and water still appears in the desert. Frankincense was sacred to him and he was the South Arabian equivalent of the Babylonian moon god Sin. Arab tribes from across Yemen would visit his temple on their pilgrimage to Shabwah and leave votive offerings of statues and hold feasts, ceremonies and sacrifices to gain the blessing and favor of Sayin, who they called " The lamp of Heaven ".
The function of the moon god was to provide nourishing dew and causing the orchards to bloom in the desert in pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, as well as ruling over the months of the calendar. Jamhara is a south Arabian war god whose idol was made out of solid copper and was worshiped by the Yemenite tribes of Banu 'Akk, Banu Salif and Banu Ash'ar who revolted against the caliph al-Ma'mun and abandoned Islam for paganism.
He was the successor of al-Harith Aretas , and was famed for his victory against the Hasmonean kingdom in Judah. The Nabateans worshiped Ubaydah as a protective deity against illness and misfortune: Tarifah then became a heroine of the Himyar tribe and her story proved that human beings who were proficient enough in the arts of divination and magic could sometimes overcome supernatural forces, such as the jinn. Ma'ad was widely venerated as part of the tribal ancestor cult of the pagan Arabs and was considered to have led them to glory.
The displacement of the people of Ma'ad was considered to be a disastrous event to the pagan Arabs. In Arabian mythology, the Holy Spirit Arabic: The Arabs described it as "What pushes the human soul into the mothers womb". Due to the cohabitation with Jewish and Christian tribes and peoples, later Arabian polytheism often borrowed from those other Semitic religions: Later Islamic mythology describes the archangel Jibril as the personification of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit may have also been thought of as female, with the Arabian al-Quddus being of the same etymology as the Canaanite goddess Qudshu. The term ar-Ruh al-Quddus could also refer to any angelic being or agent of a god. Shaykh Qusayy created laws so that pilgrims who went to Mecca were protected and supplied with food and water, which was paid for by a tax that he persuaded his people to pay.
He was a revered ancestor of the ruling tribe of Mecca; the Banu Quraysh, and he had three children called Abd ad-Dar, Abd-Manaf and Abd al-Uzza who were consecrated to the three famous Meccan deities. In the polytheistic folk religion of the early Hebrews he was worshiped as Jarah and to the Canaanites he was known as Yarikh.
In pre-Islamic Bedouin religion, the moon god was believed to cause the orchards in the desert to bloom and bear fruit. Mawt is the Arabian god of death and sterility; the Arabian counterpart of the ancient Canaanite death god Mot. The god Mawt of the Arabians was thought of in a more abstract way than compared to Mot and had a less developed mythology. The god was represented by an owl, his sacred animals: Like Mot of the Canaanites and Maweth of the Hebrews, the Arabian Mawt was not worshiped or venerated but thought of as an abstract concept or force to be feared.
The pagan Arabs believed the hereafter to be neither a place of reward nor punishment, but simply as a state of existence without pain or pleasure that most people would lead as a shabah or shade: Thu'ban is an Arabian snake god, who was also known variously as Hanash , Hayya and Hubab. The pre-Islamic Arabs thought that the jinn often took the form of serpents, and they were a sacred totem to the Minaeans of Yemen.
It was reported that Muhammad forced a Meccan man who was called Hubab to change his name as it was ''the name of a devil''. Snakes were also representative of muruwwa , the Bedouin concept of masculinity; and longevity. The god Hubab was the giant serpent who guarded the treasures in the well of the Ka'aba of Mecca. In pre-Islamic Arabia, killing an animal that was sacred to the jinn, especially snakes, was believed to incur their wrath in the form of a lasting illness.
To placate the jinn and to gain their forgiveness, the Arabs made clay statues of camels which they would fill with barley, wheat and dates and leave the object in a crevice on a mountain which they would visit the next day. If the food that was offered was found eaten, it was seen as a good omen that the jinn have accepted the offering and will leave the affected person alone.
In opposite terms, it was seen that the jinn have not accepted the offering and was regarded as being insignificant. This god may even be a later Arabian development of the god Molok who was worshiped by the Ammonite tribes of northern Jordan. In later Islamic mythology, he became an angel called Maalik who guarded Hell.
Hawran is a north Arabian underworld god who presided over the spirits of disease which he could protect from or send at will and protected people from the venom of snakes. This deity is adopted from the earlier Canaanite god Horon who was called upon to shatter the skulls of the enemies of the gods and was represented by a hawk grasping a snake.
The god is associated with caves and the bottoms of wells, representing doorways to the realm of the dead in the earth. Buraqil in Arabian mythology is an angel associated with lightning and the chief of the guardian angels. Both the pagan and Christian tribes of Arabia worshiped this angel to intercede on behalf of the creator god Allah.
Al-Qass ibn Sa'idah al-Iyadi was a pre-Islamic Arabian sage who belonged to tribe of Iyad and gained fame from his sermons at the market fair suq of 'Ukaz in western Arabia, which involved early concepts of resurrection and the 'certainty of death' Dahr. In the pagan beliefs of the pre-Islamic Mahra tribe of Oman and eastern Yemen, the Ke'i Ke'yoy are a class of nature spirit, the ghosts of ancient giants and heroes which were believed to be benevolent but were often avoided and appeased through animal sacrifice and offerings of food and milk.
A Mehri phrase referring to the ke'yoy spirits: The females of this class of spirits were called Ke'yot. The Dalhan in Arabian mythology is a demon in the form of a man mounted on an ostrich, believed to inhabit the islands and coasts of the sea. This jinn used sorcery, known in Arabic as sihr , to conjure up storms and tempests in order to sink ships and cause shipwrecks: This jinn controls the growth of gold in the earth and rules over material wealth: Maymun takes the form of a mighty winged titan with feathers of gold and crimson and a terrible face with a pointed beard; green eyes; sharp tusks; goat ears, and the horns of a bull: Umm…how sure are you that it was attached to its original owner when it made the trip to such a surprising location?
Would a fossil finger showing up in Times Square convince you that early humans lived in Times Square? By Gemma Tarlach April 9, Found at the site of Al Wusta, in the Arabian desert, this fossilized finger bone establishes our species had moved well beyond Africa by 85, years ago.
Living World , top posts. Africa , fossils , hominins , human evolution , human migration. Or exiled from the clan and cast adrift! Where is the , year old crashed alien spaceship? Under the ice in Antarctica. Your a pig Gemma!! Discover's Newsletter Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox! Dead Things Digging up the dirt on the latest finds and weirdest revelations, from lost civilizations to dinosaurs.
See More Recent Categories Archives. The Peopling of the Americas: More great sites from Kalmbach Media: Login to your Account X. Click here to have it e-mailed to you. In , Gemma Frisius proposed a new method of calculating longitude using a clock. The clock would be set on departure and kept at absolute time, which could be compared with the local time on arrival. Cracking longitude was not only important for the safety of navigators, but vital for the development of sea-borne trade.
In , Philip II of Spain offered a prize to any person who could provide a solution to the problem. The King remained unconvinced. As Galileo had suggested, he used the moons of Jupiter to map the world. In , Cassini travelled to the island of Goree in the West Indies to repeat his measurements.
Many eminent scientists set to work, but it was an unknown amateur clockmaker from Yorkshire, John Harrison, who rose to the challenge. He saw time as the key and realised that if you could determine local time from the position of the sun and the time at some reference point like Greenwich , you could calculate the time difference between the two.
From this, you could work out how far apart the two places were in terms of longitude. The problem was that no timepiece existed that could be set at home and relied on to keep time accurately while at sea, where pendulums were notoriously unreliable. So, even if local time could be determined from the noonday sun, there was no time to compare it against. This was the problem that Harrison set out to solve. Despite this, Harrison was initially awarded only half the promised amount.
On a voyage from England to Jamaica in —62, H4 lost just five seconds in over two months at sea. It was now possible for a navigator to determine local time by measuring high noon, and compare this to the absolute time, which had been set on an accurate chronometer at the start of the voyage. At long last, both latitude and longitude could now be determined accurately, and for the first time you could say exactly where on Earth you were.
Today, it's all done electronically through GPS, a world-wide radio navigation system made up of a constellation of 24 satellites and their ground stations. These 'artificial stars' are used as reference points to calculate a terrestrial position to within an accuracy of a few metres. In fact, with advanced forms of GPS you can make measurements to within a centimetre!
What would Harrison have made of it? How to build and use 18 traditional navigational instruments , International Marine Publishing.