From Woman’s Encyclopedia, pages 51-54: Arabia
Before Islam arrived in the 7th century A.D., Arabia was matriarchal for over a thousand years of recorded history. The Annals of Ashurbanipal said Arabia was governed by queens for as long as anyone could remember.(1)
The land’s original Allah was Al-Lat, part of the female trinity along with Kore or Q’re, the Virgin, and Al-Uzza, the Powerful One, the triad known as Manat, the Threefold Moon.(2)
[Side Note: Annals of Ashurbanipal – Assyrian royal chronicles on cuneiform tablets, dating form the 7th century B.C., found in the king’s famous library at Nineveh by 19th-century archaelogists.]
At Mecca the Goddess was Shaybah or Sheba, the Old Woman, worshipped as a black aniconic stone like the Godess of the Scythian Amazons.(3) The sacred Black Stone now enshrined in the Kaaba at Mecca was her feminine symbol, marked by the sign of the yoni, and covered like the ancient Mother by a veil.(4) No one seems to know exactly what it is supposed to represent today.
[Yeah, but all those Arab dudes still kiss it as part of their worship ritual!]
The Black Stone rests in the Haram, "Sanctuary", cognate of "harem," which used to mean a Temple of Women: in Babylon, a shrine of the Goddess Har, mother of harlots.(5) Hereditary guardians of the Haram were the Koreshites, "children of Kore," Mohammed’s own tribe.(6) The holy office was originally held by women, before it was taken over by male priests calling themselves Beni Shayban, "Sons of the Old Woman."(7)
Mohammed’s legends clearly gave him a matriarchal family background. [He would not have been seen as legitimate, otherwise, by the people of the time unless he HAD the necessary matriarchal lineage!] His parents’ marriage was matrilocal. His mother remained with her own family and received her husband as an occasional visitor. Mohammed lived with his mother until her death, because she was his true parent according to the ancient system; "children belonged to the woman’s family … paternity in the biological sense was relatively unimportant."(8) She may well have been one of the "aged priestesses" who served the temple in Mecca.(9) The traditions of such priestesses may well date back to Assyro-Babylonian um-mati or "mothers," the only people permitted to enter the Holy of Holies. Archaic Arabian shrines were usually served by seven high priestesses, recalling the lawgiving Seven Sages, who were women.(10) The first collection of the books of law called Koran – the Word of Kore, or Q’re – was attributed to them.
[Side Note: Seven Sages – Legendary figures in both Greek and Arabian lore, identified with a variety of seers and philosophers, the earliest ones usually female, confused with the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades.]
Pre-Islamic Arabia was dominated by the female-centered clans. Marriages were matrilocal, inheritance matrilineal. Polyandry – several husbands to one wife – was common. Men lived in their wives’ homes. Divorce was initiated by the wife. If she turned her tent to face east for three nights in a row, the husband was dismissed and forbidden to enter the tent again.(11)
Doctrines attributed to Mohammed simply reversed the ancient system in favor of men. A Moslem husband could dismiss his wife by saying "I divorce thee" three times. As in Europe, the change from matriarchate to patriarchate came about only gradually and with much strife.
Many Koreshites remained faithful to the Goddess and to their queen, Hind al-Hunud: the Hind of Hinds, similar to the title of Artemis. She was also called Lady of Victory. But her victories came to an end with one of the last queens, whose husband betrayed her and surrendered her city of Makkah to the enemy.
Legend claims the stepdaughter of the divine Hind married Mohammed himself.(12) However, the history of early-medieval Arabia is nearly all legend. Like Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and other founders of patriarchal religions, Mohammed lacks real verification. There is no reliable information about his life or teachings. Most stories about him are as apocryphal as the story that his coffin hangs forever in mid-air "between heaven and earth," like the bodies of ancient sacred kings.(13)
See also The Hind of Hinds, February 28, 2008, Goddesschess blog.