Shams (الشمس) is the Arabian goddess of the Sun and the chief goddess of the Himyar tribal confederation; believed by the inhabitants of the fertile lands of south Arabia to be a preserver of crops and domestic life. The sun goddess had a temple with an idol in the south Arabian city of Sana’a where frankincense was continuously burnt to her; at one point in time, Shams was the most popular goddess in the Himyarite Kingdom, above all others. The cult of Shams was popular among many Arab tribes including the Himyar; Banu Daws; Quraysh; Dhabbah; Uqayl; Tamim and Hamdan although her worship was popular and common across all of the Arabian peninsula. In the arid desert highland regions, however, where farming was not possible and water was scarce, the nomadic Bedouin held a more fearful view of Shams - believing her to dry up the grazing areas for their flocks.
The Bedouin were more prone to worshiping the moon god instead of the sun goddess as Shams would scorch the desert in the day, and the appearance of the moon god Sayin/Wadd/Hilal/Warah at night provided relief and dew for the weary desert nomads and their flocks. In spite of Shams' malefic and hostile tendencies, the Bedouin would still respect and fear the goddess; appealing to her for mercy and attempting to placate her with a sacrificial offering. The worship of the sun goddess was performed by bowing to the east and praying at sunrise, noon and sunset and rituals which could be done in the open air or at one of her temples, the most important of which was located at Sana'a in the Yemen. In addition to being the goddess of Sun, Shams was a goddess of justice as she could see all human actions and bring all injustices to light, with oaths often being sworn by her name.
The Arabian Shams was known to the Hebrews as Shemesh, to the Aramaeans as Shemsha and to the Babylonians in the male form of Shamash. A clan called the Banu Abd-Shams (Sons of the Servant of Shams) of the Quraysh tribe were prominent in Makkah and the male theophoric name Abd-Shams was popular with both the Arabs of Himyar and Hijaz. To the Sabaeans of Yemen this goddess was known interchangeably as Shams-'Aliyyat (Shams the Most High), Tanuf (Lofty) or Dhat-Himyam (Lady of the Heat). The Himyarite tribe of Banu Bata' would ritually hunt oryx and ibex in worship of the sun goddess who was believed to in turn grant them bounty and wealth.