A few days elapsed and delegation from Madinah sent by the Prophet [Muhammad - peace be upon him] arrived at Ta'if. The delegations was under the leadership of Khalid ibn Walid and included al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah. They went straight to al-Lat to destroy it. All the Thaqif (2) came to witness that event: men, women and children. The vast majority of them did not think for a moment that al-Lat, the goddess the were worshiping until yesterday, would be destoryed. They seriously thought that she had the power to protect herself. Al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah. who belonged to the Thaqif but had accepted Islam a few years earlier, tool the axe in his hand and aid quietly to his fellow Muslims: "I will give you a good laugh at the Thaqif". As he hit al-Lat with the axe, he pretended to fall down immediately. The people of Ta'if cheered loudly. They said: "Away with al-Mughirah. He has been killed by the Rabbah [female goddess]". They could not conceal their pleasure when they saw him falling down. They turned to the Muslim delegation from Madinah and said to them: "Let any one of you who dares try to destroy her. You will soon realize that you cannot touch her".
At this moment, al-Mughirah sprang to his feet and said to them:" Foul on you Thaqif. What is she but a heap of mud and stone? It is about time you recognized God's blessings and worshiped Him alone". He hit the door with the axe to break it and together with his fellow Muslims, climbed the wall of the place housing al-Lat. They broker her up into pieces until the place was completely leveled down. The key-keeper of the place said repeatedly: "The foundation will now show its fury and they will sink down into the bottom of the earth".
Al-Mughriah then said to Kahlid: "Let me dig up her foundation". He did so and the earth underneath was turned upside down. The Muslims took off all the jewellery which was placed on al-Lat, a great amount. The Thaqif were bewildered as the Muslims went ahead with their task. The destruction of al-Lat went a long way towards reassuring the Thaqif that they had chosen the right course. They realized that al-Lat was absolutely useless; she was nothing more than a stone statue. Hence, their acceptance of Islam proved to be genuine.
When the Prophet [Muhammad - peace be upon him] received the jewelery and the fine garments which the Muslim delegation brought with them from their mission to destroy al-Lat, he thanked God and praised him for His help and kindness. A few months earlier the Prophet [Muhammad - peace be upon him] has received two young men from the Thaqif who came to declare that they were Muslims.
The Arabs had changed the name of Allah (who they believed in since they were descendants of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham and believed they were following his religion) into a female names, to Al Laat from Allaah, the same way they had changed other names of Allah like Al Manaan to Manaat, Al Azeez to al 'Uzza etc. These were innovations in the religion which led them to associating partners with Allah which is shirk (associating partners with Allah/God), the worst sin in the sight of Allah/God.
The Thaqeef were the people who lived in Al Ta'if near Makkah, they were of the last of the great tribes to become Muslim in Arabia.
Al Waqidi p968-9, oxford uni press publishing.
Original text from Muhammad, Man and Prophet by Adil Salahi.