Before the spread of Islam people in the Middle Eastern cultures worshiped multiple gods and goddesses. The neopagan practice of worshiping polytheist Arabic deities and spirits is known as wathanism. Arabic cultures are tribal cultures and each tribe had their own protector deity. People believed to the ancestral spirits and jinnis the spirit of certain places and areas. Arabic deities were personifications of certain social customs and phenomenons in nature.
Symbols: camel, lion, gazelle, white granite, barley and wheat
(Al-Lāt in Arabic اللات)
Al-Lāt was the goddess of plenty, abundance, farming, merchandice, growth and protector of life. She was one of the protector goddesses of the city of Mecca and the main goddess of Banu Thaqif tribe. Central place of her worship was located in the city of Ta´if. The Banu Thaqif owned a white granite cube which was the symbol of the goddess. Other tribes from the near by areas; Banu Lihyan, Banu Hawazin, Banu Khuzaá and Banu Quraysh made frequent pilgrimages to the city to worship the goddess. People sacrificed porridge (sawiq) for her and small cakes made of wheat which the worshipers had prepared themselves. Animal symbols of the goddess varied depending on the location. Al-Lāt was worshiped nearly in every corner of the Arabian Peninsula all the way to southern Syria.
In the county of Hijaz in the western part of Arabian Peninsula Al-Lāt was part of a group of three leading female goddesses, who were all daughters of primal god Allāh. Al-Lāt was the goddess of the earth and she was in charge of the fertility of the land. She had different names such as Umm al-Alihah (mother of all gods) and Umm ash-Shams (mother of the sun goddess). Al-Lāt was also the protector of travelers. She was worshiped in temples called haram. In the city of Ta´if all life was consider sacred. It was forbidden to kill animals or people or pick or harvest plants.
For the members of Babu Thaqif tribe Al-Lāt was a sacred goddess. Growth and the status of the tribe was completely connected to the crop. They grew barley, figs, dates and roses. Richness of the tribe and fertility of the land were considered to be gifts from the the goddess. More food the land provided, higher became Al-Lāt´s status. She became the goddess of ultimate power.
There are several similar goddesses to Al-Lāt in the Arabian Peninsula. Names of these goddesses are based on semetic languages and dialects. In Ta´if goddess was also known as ar-Rabbat (The Lady). For Himyars she was known as Athiratan or Ilāt, the mother of Athar. For Hadramites she was Ilāhatan and in Syria the Aramenas knew her as Elat. In Syria she was known as Arsay and in Kanaan as Aretzaya. These names are derived from Hebrew word ars, Aramean word arets and Arabic word ardh, all meaning "earth". In Kaanan and Syria the goddess of the earth was the ruler of the spirits of the death and she lived deep underground with them.
By the river Jordan there was the tribe of Nabateans who worshiped Al-Lāt as the mother earth and as the mysterious lover of their protector god Dhu'l-Sharah, who was the god of growth and mountain rivers. Archeologists have found gold and jewels from the temples of Al-Lāt and from the Syrian desert they´ve found pre-Islamic texts from the beduines where they prayed Al-Lāt to bring them good fortune, to protect people and to bring good weather.
In Arabic مناة
Symbols: Chalice, waning moon, black stones
In Arabic mythology Manat was the goddess of faith and death. Her sacred place was a large, dark marble stone that was kept in the temple of al-Mushalla near the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina). Manat was the leader goddess of tow Yathrib-tribes. These tribes were Banu Awas and Banu al-Khazraj. She was also worshiped among Hijaz-tribes in the wester Arabian Peninsula and among Nabateans in north. Several member os these tribes made pilgrimates to the temple.
Manat was the oldest of the three sister goddesses and she was secondly important deity in the Arabian peninsula next to her father Allah. Manat´s spuse was Quzah, the thunder god. For Nabateans, Qaysha, Taraha and Dhu-Shara tribes Manat was the protector of graves and graveyards.
Other name for Manat was Manawayat and her name is derived from Arabic words maniya meaning faith, death and destruction and menata which means part and portion. She is considered to be one of the oldest deities ever worshiped in Arabian Peninsula and that it is older than cults around her sisters Al-Lat and Al-Uzza. Nabateans who worshiped Manat as the protector of graves asked her to curse all of those who entered inside graves. Manat was the personification of death and the godeess of death. It was believed that during the time of death Manat appeared carrying the chalice of death with her. Her name is embroyed into her dress in the Sabaic language M-n-t. Sabaic doesn´t have any wovels.
In Pre-Islamic myths Allah created Manat first. She was a powerful goddess who was feared because if she wanted to she could change the destiny of people. Taking in oath in Manat´s name was not to be broken. Manat was the protector of Banu Aws and Banu al-Khazraj tribes. When they visited the temple of Manat they shaved their heads to honor her.
Pagan temples were destroyed in the 7th century by the orders of Mohammed. Gold and jewells were left as sacrifice for the gods were stolen. Mohammed´s adopted son Ali ibn Abi Talib robbed two sacred swords, Mikhdam and Rasub from Manats temple and took them to his father.
Manat was honored because she brought death with her and without death life can not exist. She can bring you a life filled with magic and help one to embrace their inner wisdom. Being the goddess of time and the passing of time she was depicted with a waning moon over her head.
Elements: Sea, Earth, Fire
Symbols: Cows, dolphins, fishes, cats, granite, acacia tree
Worship of Al-Uzza originated from Sabean culture (Kingdom of Saba or Sheba in the southern Arabian Peninsula) where her worship spread all over Arabia and she was the patron goddess of the city of Mecca.
Al-Uzza was the goddess of power and the personification of the planet Venus. She was the sister of goddesses Al-Lat and Manat. Together they formed the triple-goddess and Al-Uzza represents the maiden aspect being the youngest of the sisters. She was the goddess of war and her position as the maiden goddess made her the goddess of the "fresh perspective". Al-Uzza is connected to clocks, devices and astrology. She was worshiped by the Banu Quraysh, Bany Sulaym, Banu Ghanim, Banu Ghatafan, Banu Khuza´an, Banu Thaqif and Banu Kinãnah tribes. Her altar was three acacia trees that grew close to each others. Trees were located in the valley of Nakhla near the city of Mecca. Her other temple was located inside the city and it was called Buss. Temple was built of bricks and inside it there was a bone-shaped granite statue where arabic tribes left sacrificial gifts for the goddess. They believed that she spoke to them through the altar and offered them advices.
In the southern part of Arabian Peninsula in Himyar and in Yemen goddess was known as Uzzayan and she was the goddess of healing. Wealthy members of Himyar tribe sacrificed small golden images and prayed the goddess to heal their sick children. Name of the goddess Amat-'Uzzayan means the "maiden of Uzzayan" it was a common woman´s name at the time. In Mecca Abd al-'Uzza was a common man´s name and it means the worshiper of al-Uzza. Banu Quraysh tribe dedicated the valley of Suqam to Al-Uzza. The membembers of the tribe praid and took oaths in the valley. During battles it was common for women to chant the names of Al-Uzza and her spouse Hubal to spread courage to beat their enemies.
Arabic tribes that lived near Mecca frequently prayed for al-Uzza and sacrificed animals for her (human sacrifices were more rare). Banu Quraysh tribe worshiped al-Uzza as the goddess of war and before any battle women performed music and sang for the goddess. This happened in the battle of Uhud which was the first battle where pagan arabs fought against the first muslims. Last temple of al-Uzza was established by chief Dubayyah ibn Haram as-Sulami who had a reputation of being kind and generous man. He was murdered by muslim war chief Khalid ibn al-Walid on whose orders all the temples and sacred trees of Al-Uzza were destroyed in 630 AC.
Al-Uzza was also known as al-Zuhara and Kawkabta, these names refer to planet Venus, who was believed to be one of the incarnations of the goddess. When Venus was refered as the morning star, it was connected to a male deity called Athtar, who was separate from al-Uzza. For Arabs al-Uzza as the incartation of Venus was the protector of marriage. In Kanaan the goddess of war was called Anat, who was equavelent to al-Uzza. In Hebrew Anat was known as Uzza Hayyim the force of life. The spouse of Anat was the god of nature Baal.
Ancient Greeks connected Al--Uzza to Ourania, who was the goddess of the skies and one of the many forms of goddess Aphrodite. She was also connected to one of the nine muses, who´s name was also Ourania and to the moon goddess Caelistes. Roman name of Al-Uza was Carthaginian Tanit. Sometimes she is also connected to Egyptian earth goddess Isis. According to greek author Herodotos chief goddess of Arabs was Ourania, who they refered as Alilat. According some researchers Al-Lat and Al-Uzza are one and the same goddess, whos name varies in different areas. Nabatean astrologers called her as the heavenly queen. She was possibly also worshiped in Petra, the capital of Jordania. In Pre-Islamic Arabia Petra was one of the wealthiest cities with lots of travelers visitin each year from different parts of the world.
Al-Uzza was the protector of sailors. Majority of Arabian Peninsula is desert but Nabateans (nomadics who lived in the area of what is now known as Yemen) were accomplished sailors. Symbols of Al-Uzza are fishes and dolphins, that enjoy swimming next to ships and save sailors. Cats and other felines are sacred to Al-Uzza. It is speculated that the winged lions that guard the gates of Petra were gifts for the goddess from her loyal worshipers.
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