Before Islam

Before the birth of Islam, there was no political unity in the Arabian peninsula. The nomadic tribes of the region subscribed to a primitive religion of naturism, whereby they attributed spirits to inanimate objects such as stones and trees. They had no formal priesthood but, when in need of advice, consulted soothsayers who would respond with brief, enigmatic oracular utterances.

Within Makkah itself tribes worshipped idols placed around and over the Ka'aba. As the trade routes of the Arabian peninsula grew in importance in the fourth century AD, towns developed, especially along the west and east coasts. Among these towns was Makkah, made up of a number of tribal groups, the most important of which was the Quraysh tribe. It was from the Quraysh that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was descended.

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Profile of Saudi Arabia

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