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Arabian gods that were intrinsic to the region existed before the spread of Islam in the Middle East and especially among the various Bedouin tribes of the Gulf. Prior to Islamic Arabian religions, the pre-eminent deities’ names were known, and formal lineages were more visible at the level of kingdoms. Trade caravans also added cultural influences, as these brought with them foreign religious beliefs. Tribes, towns, clans, lineages and families had their own cults too. Many deities did not have proper names, and these were often referred to by titles that indicated a quality or a family relationship.

The nomadic Bedouin were different from the settled tribes in Mecca and other cities. Their religious beliefs and practices were believed to have included the veneration of the dead, totemism, idol worship and fetishism. While the settled Arabs worshipped their gods in permanent shrines, the nomadic Bedouin believed in a more complex pantheon.

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