As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idols of tribal patron deities.
CE (Year of the Elephant) in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age; he was raised under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib.
Periodically, he would seclude himself in a mountain cave named Hira for several nights of prayer; later, at age 40, he reported being visited by Gabriel in the cave, Muhammad gained few early followers, and met hostility from Meccan polytheists.
Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped (al-muzzammil) in Quran 73:1 and the shrouded (al-muddaththir) in Quran 74:1.
The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written c. Although the work was lost, this sira was used at great length by Ibn Hisham and to a lesser extent by Al-Tabari.
Tribal affiliation, whether based on kinship or alliances, was an important source of social cohesion.