Religious beliefs pre-Islamic Arabia

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  • Created by: AliceEva
  • Created on: 08-03-15 17:54

pre-Islamic Arabia

  • The Arabia into which Muhammad was born was a largely polytheistic country and the majority of people did not belong to any formal religion.
  • These parts of Arabia were mostly desert and the people who lived within where nomadic, and followed the major trade routes, this made arabia very dangerous as trade constantly provoked conflict between clans and tribes.
  • Mekkah was the centre of many trading routes across arabia, therefore the people living here had lots of contact with different traders which held a variety of beliefs.
  • Although some of these traders belonged to specific religions such as christianity, most help polytheistic beliefs. 
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Animism

  • Origionates from the latin word 'Anima' which means 'soul', or 'to breathe'.
  • Animism is a basic belief in supernatural beings
  • Anthropologist; Sir Edward Tyler states that it is "the origin of religion and primative beleifs".It is a minimum definition of religion as it is a general belief in existance.
  • It is the belief that spirits or souls are the cause of life in humans and these spirits can move from person to person, from living to dead and into animals, plants and innanimate objects.
  • It is believed to have emerged to explain dreams, death etc.
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Polytheism

  • The polytheistic beliefs of Arabic nomads were based on animistic beliefs which covered a variety of supernatural forces.
  • Generally people feared these gods and offered sacrifices to them.
  • as well as many local shrines, because of the nature of mekkah as a trading centre, there was a central shrine known as the Ka'bah.
  • people would make sacrifices to the gods at the Ka'bah and there was an annual pilgrimage to Mekkah to pay respect to the dieties.
  • these polytheistic were mainly about sacrificing to the gods to keep them happy and ensure protection. There was no particular belief in an afterlife, nor was moral behavoir attached to religious beliefs and practices.
  • Although polytheistic, Arabs believed that there was one supreme god - Allah, He was the god of travellers and the moon and he had three daughters - Al-lat, Manat and Al-vzza. 
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