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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses aspects of the historical, social, and religious environment in which Islam emerged, especially the Christian and the Arabian ‘pagan’ environment (deities worshipped, including consideration of cults in which images of gods were avoided, rituals observed in relation to temples and pilgrimage, the use of divination to seek the will of the gods or to foretell the future, and some major theological themes, such as monotheism). The Conclusions attempt to draw this evidence together and suggest that Islam incorporated elements from its earliest religious environment in northern Arabia and Bilād ash-Shām in the expression of its own unique message. It argues that Islam inevitably drew on the surrounding social and religious traditions while giving them a new meaning in a new context.

Keywords: pagan deities, polytheism, Kaʿba, aniconism, pilgrimage, monotheism

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