I've recently been reading a book about the life of Muhammad by Daniel Peterson. In the chapter about pre-Islamic Arabia he talks about how many Christians would pray at the Ka'ba.
From the book:
"It is even said that Christians occasionally came to the Ka'ba, to honor the sanctuary constructed by the prophet and patriarch Abraham."
Now according to Islamic tradition, it is said that the Ka'ba was built by Abraham and Ishmael. The book states that the sanctuary was originally built to honor the God of Abraham (Allah) and that it was a site of strict monotheism. However, after some time, many of the descendants of Ishmael had to leave Mecca and they took away stones from the area around the Ka'ba in order to have a piece of it with them. These stones ended up being worshiped and made into idols and were placed inside the Ka'ba and it became dedicated to the Arabian god Hubal.
It would seem that the belief that Ishmael and Abraham built the Ka'ba predates Islam since the way it is talked about in the Qur'an. Its almost presented like it was already well known who built it and that Muhammad didn't introduce the idea. Who introduced the belief that Abraham and Ishmael built it? Is it possible that they actually did originally?
I have also heard the story that there was an icon of the Theotokos and Christ in the Ka'ba before Muhammad's time and that he actually saved it before the Muslims destroyed all the idols. Where does this tradition come from? What sources talk about this? (Hadith, Qur'an)
Did the Christian community in Arabia believe that the Ka'ba was built by Abraham and Ishmael? Were there any Christian writers who wrote about the Ka'ba?