The most ancient of all these idols was Manah[1]. The Arabs used to name [their children] 'Abd-Manah[2] and Zayd-Manah[3]. Manah was erected on the seashore in the vicinity of al-Mushallal[4] in Qudayd[5], between Medina and Mecca. All the Arabs used to venerate her and sacrifice before her. [In particular] the Aws[6] and the Khazraj[7], as well as the inhabitants of Medina and Mecca and their vicinities, used to venerate Manah, sacrifice before her, and bring unto her their offerings.

The children of the Ma'add[8] were followers of a faith which still preserved a little of the religion of Ishmael. The Rabi'ah[9] and the Mudar[10], too, were followers of a similar faith. But none venerated her more than the Aws and the Khazraj.

Abu-al-Mundhir Hisham ibn-Muhammad said: I was told by a man from the Quraysh on the authority of abu-'Ubaydab 'Abdullab[11] ibn-abi-'Ubaydah ibn-'Ammar ibn-Yasir who was the best informed man on the subject of the Aws and the Khazraj, that the Aws and the Khazraj, as well as those Arabs among the people of Yathrib[12] and other places who took to their way of life, were wont to go on pilgrimage and observe the vigil at all the appointed places, but not shave their heads. At the end of the pilgrimage, however, when they were about to return home, they would set out to the place




where Manah stood, shave their heads, and stay there a while. They did not consider their pilgrimage completed until they visited Manah. Because of this veneration of Manah by the Awa and the Khazraj, 'Abd-al-'Uzza ibn-Wadi'ah al-Muzani, or some other Arab, said:

"An oath, truthful and just, I swore
By Manah, at the sacred place of the Khazraj."

During the Jahiliyah days, the Arabs were wont to call both the Aws and the Khazraj by the single generic name, al-Khazraj. For this reason the part said, "at the sacred place of the Khazraj." This Manah is that which God mentioned when He said, "And Manah, the third idol besides[13]." She was the [goddess] of the Hudhayl[14] and the Khuza'ah[15].

The Quraysh as well as the rest of the Arabs continued to venerate Manah until the Apostle of God set out from Medina in the eighth year of the Hijrah[16], the year in which God accorded him the victory[17]. When he was at a distance of four or five nights from Medina, he dispatched 'Ali to destroy her. 'Ali demolished her, took away all her [treasures], and carried them back to the Prophet. Among the treasures which 'Ali carried away were two swords which had been presented to [Manah] by al-Harith ibn-abi-Shamir al-Ghassani, the king of Ghassan[18]. The one sword was called Mikhdham and the other Rasub. They are the two swords of al-Harith which 'Alqamah mentions in one of his poems. He said:

"Wearing two coats of mail as well as
Two studded swords, Mikhdham and Rasub [19]."



The Prophet gave these two swords to 'All. It is, therefore, said that dhu-al-Faqar, the sword of 'Ali, was one of them[20].

It is also said that 'Ali found these two swords in [the temple of] al-Fals[21], the idol of the Tayyi', whither the Prophet had sent him, and which he also destroyed.



1. Surah liii, 20; Ryckmans, vol.i, pp 18-19; Wellhausen, pp.25-29.

2. Ishtiqaq. pp. ; 105, 144.

3. ibid., pp.133, 284.

4. Sifah, p 214; Buldan, vol. iv, p.543.

5. Sifah, pp.120, 185, 218: Buldan, vol. iv, p.42.

6. One of the main groups of South Arabian tribes. Ishtiqaq, pp. 83, 259.

7. One of the main groups of South Arabian tribes. Ishtiqaq, p. 259.

8. One of the main groups of North Arabian tribes. Ishtiqaq, p.20.

9. One of the main groups of North Arabian tribes. Ishtiqaq, p.20.

10. One of the main groups of North Arabian tribes. Ishtiqaq, p.20.

11. ibn-Abdullah" in text. Cf. al-Tabari, vol. ii, 863, 868; Buldan, vol. iv, p. 653.

12. The old name of Medina: Sifah, pp.2, 124; Buldan, vol. iv, pp. 1009-1010, 458-468.

13. Surah liii: 20.

14. Ishtiqaq, pp. 108-110.

15. ibid., p. 276.

16. A.D.629-630.

17. i.e. the capture of Mecca.

18. The same as a1-Harith ibn-Jabalah. See Theodore Noldeke, The Princes of Ghassan from the House of Gafna, Ar. tr. Pendali Jouse and Costi K. Zurayk, Beirut, 1933, pp.22, 58-60.

19. W. Ahlwardt, < i>The Diwans of the Six Ancient Arabic Poets, London. 1870, p. 107 ['Alqamah, 2:27].

20. cf. al-Tabari, vol. i, pp. 1706-1710.

21. cf. Ryckmans, vol.i, p.179; Buldan, vol. iii, pp.911-913.