Almost similar circumstances were prevalent in the Arabia of 1400 years ago, when the Messenger of Allah made his appearance. The Arabs of old had as much faith in the existence of Allah and His Oneness as we do today; maintained that He is the Creator, the Sustainer and the Controller of all.
They held Ebrahim (as) in very high place as a Messenger from Allah, believed themselves belonging to Ebrahim's (as) nation, accepted the Kaaba reconstructed by Ebrahim (as) as the House of Allah, offered their prayers facing the Kaaba as taught by him; observed the rituals centering Kaaba at the yearly pilgrimage of Hajj and the lesser Hajj, the Umrah; sacrificed animals at the Kaaba; observed the month of Ramadan as the month of fasting and practiced circumcision of their sons as taught by Ebrahim (as).
They invoked the blessings of Allah before starting anything new as we do today, used to write the name of Allah before writing deeds and other important documents like marriages etc. They used to write Besmeka Allahumma (with your name Allah) almost similar to our writing Besmellaher Rahmaner Rahim (With the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful." If so where is the difference between the people among whom the Messenger came to establish Tawheed and this so called Muslim population of today? If the question arises that they worshipped idol and the present populace called Muslim doesn't, the answer is that the Moshreqs of Arab did not believe those idols to be Allah, the Creator or even the Sustainer of the world. Allah himself testified to this fact in the ayats quoted earlier. In these ayats Allah supplied answers to the question He instructs the Rasul Allah to ask the Arabs. What then was the significance of these idols to them? They believed those to be near and dear ones of the Almighty and worshipped them for two definite reasons.
Firstly as they purported these idols to be close and near to Allah, they believed He would grant their wishes if they would intercede on their behalf for example-relief from illness, profit in business; dalliance from danger, misfortune etc. and the likes. Regarding this, Allah states, "They worship beside Allah which neither hurteth them nor profiteth them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah".
Secondly, as the Arabs took the idols to be close and near to Allah, they imagined worshipping these would bring them closer to Allah himself, help them in gaining the 'Qurbiyah' -'proximity' of Allah. In this regard also Allah states "And those who choose protecting friends besides him say: we worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah.
Therefore, it can be safely said that the Arabs worshipped the idols for two purposes, one was temporal and the other was spiritual. At no point did the Arabs hold their idols in the similar positions of esteem or importance as Allah.
The question which now arises is that what differences can be perceived between the so called 'Muslim' population of today that follow the convenient rituals of their faith, consider themselves to be Mo'men, Muslim, Ummat-e-Mohammadi, expect to be placed in paradise after death, and the then Arabs to whom Allah sent His Messenger to bring back to Hedayah, the right path? Let's try to make this subject clearer. There is no doubt that the religion of Islam rests on five pillars (1) Kalema (2) Salah (3) Zakah (4) Hajj (5) Saom. Those who believe in these issues and observe them in their lives are called Mo'men, Muslim and Ummat-e-Mohammadi.
Now let us gauge the differences of the Muslims now and those Arabs of 1400 years back.
(1) KALEMA- the so called Muslim population of today believe that Allah is one, the Ma'bud, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Cherisher, All-knowing, All-powerful, Compassionate, Merciful- to name some of His Attributes. The Arabs of that time used to believe the same things.
(2) SALAH- The Moshreqs of Arabia used to say their daily prayers facing the Kaaba only in a different way as taught by Ebrahim (as), just as the Muslims of today do; history affirms this. After searching far and wide for their lost son, the family of Zayd (RA), freed-man and later adopted son of Rasul Allah, reached Makkah and learnt that he was in the care of one named Mohammad who was claiming to be a Messenger of Allah. Upon enquiring where they would find this man, they were told to go to the Kaaba and look for the man, saying his prayer separately from all others. That would be Muhammad (s.a.s). This proves that the Moshreqs of Makkah used to offer congressional prayers, though it was different from the Salah of today. They practiced Salah taught by Ebrahim (as). The process of Salah taught by the Messenger of Allah came later.
(3) ZAKAH- The spirit of charity, of alms-giving from one's own earning was very much prevalent among the Arab Moshreqs. The story of the benevolent Hatem Tai is remembered even today. With the coming of Islam, Allah regulated the eclectic, irregular charity to a fixed 2.5% to be spent on various needful areas.
 Qur'an-Sura Yunus 19.
 Qur'an, Sura Zukhruf- 9, Sura Ankabout- 61- 63, Sura Lukman-25.
 Qur'an-Sura Zumar-3.