Is%C4%81f and N%C4%81'ila
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Is%C4%81f and N%C4%81'ila

Is?f (Arabic: ?‎) and N?'ila (Arabic: ‎) were two deities worshipped as a god and a goddess in pre-Islamic Arabia. They were primarily worshipped by the Quraysh.

Attestations

Some Muslim scholars, including al-Azraqi, claimed that 'Amr ibn Luhayy, the patriarch of the Arab tribe Banu Khuza'a, who introduced idolatry in Mecca, was responsible for the worship of Is?f and N?'ila. He had called on people to worship them and justified the fact that their ancestors had already done so. The Qurayshi Qusaiy ibn Kil?b had then taken the two stones to the well of Zamzam near the Kaaba.[1]

Is?f and N?'ila were said to be particularly important to the Quraysh tribe, associated with Qurayshi sacrifices involving a talbiya specifically directed to Is?f.[2]

Various legends existed about the idols, including one that they were petrified after they committed adultery in the Kaaba. Ibn al-Kalbi handed down the legend in his Book of Idols as follows:

They set out to perform the pilgrimage. Upon their arrival in Mecca they entered the Ka'bah. Taking advantage of the absence of anyone else and of the privacy of the Sacred House, Isaf committed adultery with her in the sanctuary. Thereupon they were transformed into stone, becoming two miskhs.[3]

According to the traditions of the Meccan local historian al-Azraq?, the incident happened at the time when the Arab tribe of the Jurhum ruled over Mecca. The two stones were then removed from the Kaaba and placed on the Al-Safa and Al-Marwah hills, so that the people would be warned. Over the course of time, they were then venerated as idols.

After the Muslim capture of the city in January 630, the two stone idols were destroyed.[4]

Interpretations

Aziz al-Azmeh believes that Is?f and N?'ila were probably the original deities of the Quraysh, brought by them from their erstwhile territories to Mecca and worshipped continually along the regnant deities of Mecca, including al-'Uzza.[2]

References

  1. ^ al-Azraqi, Akhb?r Makka, pg. 49
  2. ^ a b Al-Azmeh, Aziz (2017-02-23). The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allah and His People. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316641552.
  3. ^ Ibn al-Kalbi, Book of Idols, pg. 34
  4. ^ al-Azraqi, Akhbar Makka, pg. 50

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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