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Other religions were represented to varying, lesser degrees.
The influence of the adjacent Roman, Aksumite and Sasanian Empires resulted in Christian communities in the northwest, northeast and south of Arabia.
While many were reluctant to convert to a foreign faith, those faiths provided intellectual and spiritual reference points, and the old pagan vocabulary of Arabic began to be replaced by Jewish and Christian loanwords from Aramaic everywhere, including Mecca.
The practice of polytheistic cults was increasingly limited to the steppe and the desert, and in Yathrib, which included two tribes with polytheistic majority, the absence of a public pagan temple in the town or its immediate neighborhood indicates that polytheism was confined to the private sphere.
The pre-Islamic Arab religion was polytheistic, venerating many deities and spirits through statues, baetylus and natural phenomena.
According to the Book of Idols, there are two known types of statues; idols (sanam) and images (wathan).
Christian Julien Robin argues that the former was composed principally of idols that were in the sanctuary of Mecca, including Hubal and Manaf, while the pantheon of the associations was superimposed on it, and its principal deities included the three goddesses, who had neither idols nor a shrine in that city.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th-century BC work Histories, the Arabs at the time only believed in two gods; Orotalt (whom he identifies with Dionysus) and Alilat (identified with Aphrodite Ourania).They believe in no other gods except Dionysus and the Heavenly Aphrodite; and they say that they wear their hair as Dionysus does his, cutting it round the head and shaving the temples.They call Dionysus, Orotalt; and Aphrodite, Alilat.Zoroastrianism existed in the east and south, while there is evidence of Manichaeism or possibly Mazdakism being practised in Mecca. Peters, "one of the characteristics of Arab paganism as it has come down to us is the absence of a mythology, narratives that might serve to explain the origin or history of the gods." The majority of extant information about Mecca during the rise of Islam and earlier times comes from the text of Quran itself and later Muslim sources such as the Prophetic biography literature dealing with the life of Muhammad and the eighth-century Book of Idols.Nomadic religious belief systems and practices are believed to have included fetishism, totemism and veneration of the dead but were connected principally with immediate concerns and problems and did not consider larger philosophical questions such as the afterlife. There is evidence to support the contention that some reports of the sīras are of dubious validity, but there is also evidence to support the contention that the sīra narratives originated independently of the Quran.