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Knowing Allah
  
  

   

the foregoing dispute between the clans, the alliance of "the blood mongers," and the recourse to arbitration by the first man to pass through the gates of al suffah, all proved that public power and authority in makkah had by that time dissolved and that none of the absolute power of qusayy, hashim, or `abd al muttalib had passed to any makkan. undoubtedly, this dissolution was furthered by the power struggle between banu hashim and banu umayyah after the death of `abd al muttalib. such dissolution of public power and authority was bound to harm the city sooner or later were it not for the sanctified status of the ancient house and the awe and reverence it commanded in the hearts of all arabs. nonetheless, a natural consequence of political dissolution was the noticeable increase in the liberty of many to speak out their religious and other views. it was equally evident in the boldness of jews and christians, hitherto living in fear, publicly to criticize arab idolatry. this dissolution of public power also contributed to the gradual disappearance among large numbers of qurayshis of their old veneration of the idols, though their elders continued at least to appear to respect them. anxious to safeguard the old ways, the elders held that to stabilize the situation and to prevent further deterioration of makkan unity, idol worship in the ka'bah might preserve for makkah its place in the trade relations and religious life of arabia. in fact, makkah continued to benefit from this position of religious eminence, and its commerce continued to prosper. in the hearts of the makkans themselves, however, makkan prosperity could not for long impede the deterioration and final disappearance of idol worship.




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