Manāt The Goddess of Faith in Arabic Mythology

Niina Pekantytär

In Arabic مناة‎
Symbols: Chalice, waning moon, black stones

In Arabic mythology, Manat was the goddess of faith and death. Her sacred place was a large, dark marble stone that was kept in the temple of al-Mushalla near the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina). Manat was the leader goddess of two Yathrib-tribes. These tribes were Banu Awas and Banu al-Khazraj. She was also worshipped among Hijaz-tribes in the western Arabian Peninsula and among Nabateans in the north. Several members of these tribes made pilgrimages to the temple.

Manat was the oldest of the three sister goddesses and she was the secondly important deity in the Arabian peninsula next to her father Allah. Manat´s spouse was Quzah, the thunder god. For Nabateans, Qaysha, Taraha and Dhu-Shara tribes Manat was the protector of graves and graveyards.

Another name for Manat was Manawayat and her name is derived from Arabic words maniya meaning faith, death and destruction and menata which means part and portion. She is considered to be one of the oldest deities ever worshipped in the Arabian Peninsula and that it is older than cults around her sisters Al-Lat and Al-Uzza. Nabateans who worshipped Manat as the protector of graves asked her to curse all of those who entered inside graves. Manat was the personification of death and the goddess of death. It was believed that during the time of death Manat appeared carrying the chalice of death with her. Her name is embroiled into her dress in the Sabaic language M-n-t. Sabaic doesn´t have any vowels.

In Pre-Islamic myths, Allah created Manat first. She was a powerful goddess who was feared because if she wanted to she could change the destiny of people. Taking in the oath in Manat´s name was not to be broken. Manat was the protector of Banu Aws and Banu al-Khazraj tribes. When they visited the temple of Manat they shaved their heads to honour her.

Pagan temples were destroyed in the 7th century by the orders of Mohammed. Gold and jewels were left as a sacrifice for the gods were stolen. Mohammed´s adopted son Ali ibn Abi Talib robbed two sacred swords, Mikhdam and Rasub from Manats temple and took them to his father.

Manat was honoured because she brought death with her and without death life can not exist. She can bring you a life filled with magic and help you to embrace your inner wisdom. Being the goddess of time and the passing of time she was depicted with a waning moon over her head.

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Folklorist and historian. Alcott essayist. A host of the Little Women Podcast.

Finland, MN

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