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Zoroastrianism existed in the east and south, while there is evidence of Manichaeism or possibly Mazdakism being practised in Mecca. Peters, "one of the characteristics of Arab paganism as it has come down to us is the absence of a mythology, narratives that might serve to explain the origin or history of the gods." The majority of extant information about Mecca during the rise of Islam and earlier times comes from the text of Quran itself and later Muslim sources such as the Prophetic biography literature dealing with the life of Muhammad and the eighth-century Book of Idols.
Nomadic religious belief systems and practices are believed to have included fetishism, totemism and veneration of the dead but were connected principally with immediate concerns and problems and did not consider larger philosophical questions such as the afterlife. There is evidence to support the contention that some reports of the sīras are of dubious validity, but there is also evidence to support the contention that the sīra narratives originated independently of the Quran.
Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Al-Kalbi both report that the human-shaped idol of Hubal made of precious stone came into possession of the Quraysh with its right hand broken off and that the Quraysh made a hand of gold to replace it.
According to one hypothesis, which goes back to Julius Wellhausen, Allah (the supreme deity of the tribal federation around Quraysh) was a designation that consecrated the superiority of Hubal (the supreme deity of Quraysh) over the other gods.
Arab polytheism, the dominant form of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, was based on veneration of deities and other rituals.
Christianity made a lesser impact, but secured some conversions, in the remainder of the peninsula.
With the exception of Nestorianism in the northeast and the Persian Gulf, the dominant form of Christianity was Miaphysitism.
The Kaaba, whose environs were regarded as sacred (haram), became a national shrine under the custodianship of the Quraysh, the chief tribe of Mecca, which made the Hejaz the most important religious area in north Arabia.
After the battle, which probably occurred around 565, the Quraysh became a dominant force in western Arabia, receiving the title "God's people" (ahl Allah) according to Islamic sources, and formed the cult association of ḥums, which tied members of many tribes in western Arabia to the Kaaba.