ith three hundred and sixty idols. The guardianship of this pagan temple was intrusted to the most ancient and honorable families of Mecca, and to it resorted innumerable pilgrims bringing precious offerings. It was like the shrine of Delphi, as a source of profit to its fortunate guardians.
Thus before Mohammed appeared polytheism was the prevalent religion of Arabia,--a degradation even from the ancient Sabaean faith. It is true there were also other religions. There were many Jews at Medina; and there was also a corrupted form of Christianity in many places, split up into hostile and wrangling sects, with but little of the spirit of the divine Founder, with innumerable errors and superstitions, so that in no part of the world was Christianity so feeble a light. But the great body of the people were pagans. A marked reform was imperatively needed to restore the belief in the unity of God and set up a higher standard of morality.
It is claimed that Mohammed brought such a reform. He was born in the yea
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