|Stela of an ancient Arabian deity|
Tunis, Bardo Museum
Tracing the origins of ancient gods can be quite nebulous. If the name Hubal is related to an Aramaic word for spirit, as suggested by Philip K. Hitti, then Hubal may have come from the north of Arabia.
25 The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. –Deut. 7:25
In Sumer, in southernmost Mesopotamia north of Arabia, the moon-god figures in the creation epic, the Enuma Elish. In a variant of it, Hubal is chief among the elder gods. According to Hitti, a tradition recorded by Muhammad's early biographer ibn Ishaq, which makes ˤAmr ibn-Luhayy the importer of an image of Hubal from Moab or Mesopotamia, may have a kernel of truth insofar as it retains a memory of such an Aramaic origin of the deity.
The period in which the population of Arabia was polytheistic in Islam, is called the “time of ignorance.” The ancient Arabian pantheon contained a great number of gods and goddesses, and worship of the heavenly bodies — the sun, moon, and evening star — was originally a major part of the religion. In Mecca, the moon god Hubal was venerated as the god of the city, as a tribal god, and as “lord of the house” (that is, the Kaaba(. Three female deities were also worshipped: al-Uzza (Venus, or the evening star), al-Lat (the moon goddess), and Manat (the goddess of fate). They were also called “daughters of Allah,” that is, the greatest god.