days of the great Cushite monarchies in Babylonia, not only must the people of Arabia have been to some degree affected by their civilization, their trade and their ideas in general, but the influence of the religion also of these foreign nations must have been considerable. Early Arabian inscriptions prove this, containing as they do the names of such deities as Sin (the Moon-god) and Aththar (Ashtoreth, Ishtar), worshipped by the Sumerians in the first place and afterwards by the Semites of Babylonia, Assyria, Syria and of some parts of Arabia. Yet, though there was doubtless a Hamitic element in the population, the great mass of the people from very early times has always been Semitic in origin, and also in language, character, and religion.

Ibn Hisham, Tabari, and other Arabian historians have preserved ancient traditions of certain Arab tribes, particularly those of the northern and western parts of the country. These agree with the statements of the Pentateuch, and give every reason to believe that most of these tribes could trace their descent to Joktan (Ar. Qahtan1), or to Ishmael, or to Abraham's children by Keturah. Even those who had no real right to claim such lineage did so in Muhammad's time. The Quraish, his own tribe, claimed descent from Abraham through Ishmael. Although it may be considered

1 It is unnecessary for us to discuss the anachronism involved in this identification.

impossible to prove this, the very fact that such was the belief of the tribe would naturally enlist a certain amount of popular sympathy in Muhammad's cause, when he claimed to be commissioned to recall his people to the "faith of Abraham," whom they boasted of as their ancestor.

There seems good reason to believe that the original religion of the children of Shem was the worship of the One 1 God. Although polytheism had even in very early times found an entrance into Arabia, in part doubtless through the foreign influences already referred to, yet the belief in the One true God had never entirely faded away from the minds of the people. The most binding agreements between different tribes were confirmed by an oath taken in calling on the name of God (Allah, Allahumma), and the expression, "An enemy of God," was deemed the most opprobrious that could be used. It is possible that we may see in the Book of Job the proof that even in that early period the worship of the Host of Heaven was finding an entrance into the country (Job XXXI. 26-8). Herodotus (Book III., cap. 8) informs us that two deities, a male and a female, were worshipped by the Arabs in his time, and these he identifies with Dionysos and Ourania. He informs us that their names in Arabic were

1 This is not the place to enter upon the proof of the matter, but I hold that the fact stated in the text is correct, in spite of all that has recently been written on the other side.