, 21 tweets, 3 min read
Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, but was also home to a diverse set of religious beliefs including a host of deities worshipped by various tribes.

A thread on pre-Islamic gods and goddesses of Arabia:
Al Manat was one of three chief goddesses of Mecca. The mistress of fate, the faithful would take oaths by her name.

She watched over graves and images of her could be found in stone and wood often covered in blood from sacrifice
Al Uzza was the second of the trio. A goddess of beauty and protection, her worshippers built a cube for her.

Along with Hubal she was invoked in divinations and oracles.
The third of the trio was Al Lat, whose cult extended as far as Palmyra. Some attribute her as a type of Aphrodite, but her statues often depict her as Minerva/Athena.

She is simultaneously Venusian and Lunar.

Stone edifices to her included lions and gazelles
These three are also mentioned in the Qur’an evidencing their popularity as the deities invoked in pre-Islamic rites at the Kaaba.
Hubal is often associated with the trio of goddesses. A favorite of the Quraysh tribe, he was a god of divination usually through sortilege of arrows.

A warrior deity, his idol was fashioned of red stone, likely agate or carnelian
Isaf and Naila were a god and goddess pair believed to have been turned to stone for committing adultery in the sacred shrine.

They share characteristics of Semitic fertility deities and part of their rites included running between hills representing them
Al Kutbay was the deity of scribes and intellect. Their idol was a sacred stone.

It is unclear whether Al Kutbay was a god or goddess, though evidence for a female goddess of intellect is compelling.

Al Kutbay is also found in Petra and generally invoked alongside Al Uzza
The fearsome Al Muharriq was an underworld deity venerated by the Banu Bakr bin Wa’il. A martial god, he was associated with hot winds that brought fever and plagues.

Under Islam he become a djinn of disease, though its unclear if he was one before who happened to be worshipped
Manaf was a deity favored by women, likely for fertility.

Women would caress Manaf’s statue
Wadd was the god of friendship and love in southern Arabia.

Magical inscriptions are found with his name and lunar iconography as perhaps part of binding sorcery.

His idol is described as a large man with double robes with spear and arrows

Snakes were sacred to him
Al Qaum was the Northern Arabian guardian deity of war and night.

He protected caravans
Dhul Khalasa was an oracular deity whose idol was a white stone before which divination was done
Amm was an ancient Yemeni lunar deity of weather.

His servant was the oracle god, Anbay who dispensed justice and oversaw legal matters

Guilt & innocence would be ascertained by divination through Anbay and his counterpart Hawkam

Anbay likely was related to the Babylonian Nabu
The Sabaean Almaqah was a bull headed deity of irrigation and agriculture.

His imagery included thunderbolts

He was related to the sun goddess Shams and his worship is also found in the Ethiopian Aksum
Shams was the southern Arabian goddess of the sun. Her northern counterpart is Nuha

She may have been the female representation of the Mesopotamian Shammash
Then there is Sa’d god of luck and fortune, his idol was a blood-stained tall stone

Dhat Badan was the gentle goddess of the oasis who offered sanctuary to the weary traveler.

Her scared site was the pool encircled by trees
There where hundreds upon hundreds of deities in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Most were unique to various tribes while there were some that were shared more broadly forming a core pantheon with diverse tribal expression

There likely was some notion of a High God above all
The deities were worshipped through sacred sites and idols of stone and wood, through blood sacrifices, oaths, offerings of food, invocations, pilgrimage & through oracles

While there may have been some custodian priest and priestess class, the Kahin or soothsayer looms large
The kahin was an augur and soothsayer who through possession of the gods or djinn would utter oracular rhyming verses foretelling the future

They may likely have also been healers and were consulted in a variety of different issues or for magic
Some of the deities became djinn with the coming of Islam, though the djinn also existed in pre-Islamic Arabia as a class of dangerous intermediary between deity and humankind

Some djinn were worshipped and others needed to be warded off
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Ali A Olomi
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!