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judged according to the deeds done in the body at
the last day, when the mountains shall be carried
into the midst of the sea, and the earth shall be
removed; and that the wicked shall go into ever-
lasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting
happiness. We meet with the assertion of the original
purity, and also of the fall of man, and that the most
wise Judge will condemn all, except those who believe
and work righteousness. Further, we have repeated
warnings of the folly of those who trust in their riches
to profit them, and to secure immortality. Against
the slanderer and backbiter wrath and woe are


denounced ; the existence of two paths — of good and
of evil — is pointed out ; and the duty is insisted on
of ministering to the captive, the orphan, and the
dying, and also of shunning idolatry, and of giving
alms. And, lastly, we have an acknowledgment of a
righteous judgment to come; of God's power and
overruling Providence, and a grateful mention of the
goodness of the i\lmighty, who found him an orphan,
and led him all his life long ; who met him wandering
in error, and guided him to the truth.

But not only do we find much to commend in
these earlier suras, we also notice the absence of
those personal feelings of revenge, which he after-
wards allowed to burst forth in scathing invective, and
for which he claims the high authority of Heaven.
Up to this time, indeed, the time of his commission
to preach openly, opposition had not grown fierce —
the vital interests of personal profit and loss, family
rights and phylarchical prerogatives were not yet at
stake ; even the gods of Mecca seemed hardly in
danger, and had not begun to totter on their thrones.
But now the change creeps in, the strife grows hot ;
disciples must be attracted to the new faith, and,
once attracted, they must be retained. Now, there-
fore, the grosser elements of earth begin to mingle
with the more spiritual utterances of an earlier
time. Elaborate descriptions of the torments of
hell, reserved for the wicked, the unjust, the covetous,
and those who " charge the Koran with falsehood,"
deal terror to the unbeliever ; while sensuous,
pictures of the delights and rewards reserved
for the " faithful," in his material heaven., promise



fresh and unsatiating pleasures to those who be-

The chapters revealed between his command to
preach publicly and the time of the first Hejira, to
Abyssinia, a period of two years, are reckoned at
about twenty. ^ They are generally much longer than
those we have been considering, and too long for
entire quotation, or even for separate examination.
T shall, therefore, seek to group them together, and
to give such extracts from them as my space will
allow, and as may best convey a general idea of their

In the chapters, then, of this second 'period, the
doctrine of Predestination, or Fate, is inculcated
(Sura Ixxiv. 3, 4). " Thus doth God cause to err whom
He pleaseth, and He directeth whom He pleaseth " ;
.and again, in the same chapter (v. 54, 55), "Whoso
is willing to be warned, him shall the Koran warn ;
but they shall not be warned unless God shall please."
This doctrine appears also in Sura xcii. 4, where it
is stated that on the night of Al Kadr " Gabriel
descends with the Lord's decrees concerning every
matter " regarding which the Mahometans believe
that on that night the events of the ensuing year are
fixed by God. This doctrine is further insisted upon
in the chapters of a later date, and generally leavens
their whole teaching. Thus (Sura xvii. 14), "The
fate of every man have we bound round his neck " ;
and again (Sura iii. 139), " No soul can die unless

1 A.D. 613-615. These suras are numbered thus : — 96, 112,
74, 87, 97, 88, 80, 81, 84, 86, no, 85, 63, 78, 77, 76, 75, 70,
109, 107, 55, 56.


by the permission of God, according to what is
written in the book of the Determination of Things. "^

Thus the Mahometans accept the doctrine of
God's absolute predestinating decree, both for good
and evil, for man's obedience and disobedience, for
his future happiness and misery, and also that these
eternal and immutable decrees cannot by any wisdom
or foresight be avoided. Carried to its extreme, this
doctrine saps the foundation of free-will, renders men
blind to the teaching of the past, apathetic in the
present, and indifferent to the future. It makes
prayer an empty form, destroying as it does all
dependence upon an overruling Providence, and,
pitiless as the grave, takes away alike the power of
avoiding sin, and of escaping its punishment ; making
even the power and mercy of the Almighty subject
to the fiat of an inexorable Fate.

But it should be remarked that Mahomet was far
from carrying this doctrine to that extreme length
which it has reached in the opinions and practice of
the great mass of his followers. He seems to have
been deeply imbued with a belief in the power of an
overruling Providence, and in the duty and efficacy
of prayer, which, indeed, he says "preserves man
from crimes, and from that which is blamable "
(Sura xxix. 44). Take also the following passage : —
" Follow the most excellent instructions which have

' "This revelation was obtained to still the murmurs and
grief of those who lost relatives at the disastrous battle of Ohod
(A.D. 625), where Mahomet was defeated. He assured them
that, had those who fell in battle remained at home, they could
not have avoided their fate, whereas they now had the advan-
tage of dying martyrs for the faith." — Sale.
H 2


been sent down unto you from your Lord, before the
punishment come suddenly upon you . . . and a man
shall say, Alas ! for that I have been negligent in my
duty to God ; verily I have been one of the scorners :
or say, if God had directed me, verily I had been one
of the pious : or say ... if I could return once more
into the world, I would become one of the righteous.
But God shall answer, My signs came unto thee
heretofore . . . and thou becamest one of the unbe-
lievers." Here is clearly " free-will " preached. On
such a mysterious subject, any teaching is naturally
ambiguous, "and the doctrine has given rise to as much
controversy among the Moslems as among Christians."^
In the chapters of this period is seen the first
hint of that doctrine which he probably began to find
both necessary and convenient • viz. that God had it
in His power to annul or abrogate any revelation of
the Koran once given, or to supply its place with a
different one. " This doctrine offered an irresistible
temptation to suit the substance of the Koran to the
varying necessities of the hour." ^ Thus (Sura Ixxxvii.
6, 7)) " ^Ve will enable thee to rehearse our revela-
tions, and thou shalt not forget any part thereof,
except what God shall please ; for He knoweth what
is manifest and what is hidden." At a later period
this power is more strongly insisted on (Sura ii. 100) •.
"Whatever verse we shall abrogate, or cause thee to
forget, we shall bring a better than it, or one like unto
it. Dost thou not know that God is Almighty ? "

' Lane, "Modem Egyptians," vol. i. p. 9.
- Muir, vol. ii. p. 157. See also "Notes on Muhammadan-
ism," Hughes, p. 24, regarding these "abrogated passages."


It might be suggested here to a thoughtful j\Ia-
hometan that this was a severe test to which the
prophet's beUef in his own inspiration was put, im-
plying, as it did, that the revelations of an earlier date
might prove defective, and even erroneous. Indeed,
he seems to have felt this for his disciples, for we find
that soon afterwards particular injunction is laid upon
them not to Avaver in their loyalty to the " excellent
Koran, the original whereof is written in the preserved
book ... a revelation from the Lord of all crea-
tures." ^

Hence some of the Mahometans deny that the
Koran was the composition of their prophet, and
assert that it is eternal, and uncreated, and of the
essence of God Himself ^ Others refuse to detract
from the honour of God by making anything co-equal
with or not created by Him ; though they, too, are
unanimous in their belief that Mahomet was merely
the medium for conveying God's will to men, and
that his words, therefore, are the words of the
Almighty, who speaks in every sentence.

The Unitarian doctrine is asserted in the 112th
Sura, which is as follows (title, " The Declara-
tion of God's Unity ") : — " In the name of the most
merciful God. Say, God is one God, the eternal
God : He begetteth not, neither is He begotten : and
there is not any one like unto Him." This chapter

' See also Sura Ixxxv. 21, 22.

* Conf. D'llerbelot, art. "Alcoran," for details of the dispute
on this subject. Motavakkel, the loth caliph of the Abbassides
(A.II. 231), published an edict allowing the faithful to believe
what they liked in the matter.


is held in particular veneration by the Mahometans,
and is declared by a tradition of their prophet to
be equal in value to a third part of the whole
Koran. 1

The doctrine of the Unity of the Godhead,
in contradistinction to the Christian belief in the
Trinity in Unity, is continually insisted upon in the
Koran, and may be said to be the characteristic
tenet, the foundation-stone of the faith of Islam.
This dogma, to which is added that of the belief in
the mission of Mahomet, is ever in the mouth of the
devout Moslem, the formula being, " There is no God
BUT God, and Mahomet is the Prophet of God,"

In later chapters the doctrine of the Unity of
God is repeatedly insisted upon in refutation of
the doctrine held, or supposed to be held, by the
followers of other religions. Thus (Sura xxiii. 95)
" God hath not begotten issue, neither is there any
other God with Him." And again (Sura ii. no),
" They [the Jews and the Christians] say God hath
begotten children : God forbid " ! Again (Sura xvi.
59), " They [the idolaters] attribute daughters to
God : far be it from Him." And again (Sura xxxvii.
146), " Do they [the people of Mecca] not say of
their owti false invention, God hath begotten issue :
a-nd are they not really liars ? "

At this period we find him clearly renouncing
the idolatry of the Kaaba. It is said that certain of
the Coreish having proposed to him either to asso-
ciate the worship of his God with that of their gods,
or to worship them alternately for a year, he at once
' Sale.


rejected the compromise, and his refusal is contained
in Sura cix., entitled " The Unbelievers." " In the
name of the most merciful God." — " Say, O unbe-
lievers, I will not worship that which ye worship ; nor
will ye worship that which I worship."

It is not to be supposed by this that Mahomet
disapproved of the veneration given to the "holy
places," which were hallowed in the traditions of their
fathers, though disfigured by the later introduction of
idolatry. It was against the latter only that he waged
uncompromising war. It will be found hereafter that
he upheld the ancient rites of the Kaaba, and estab-
lished it as the Kibla, or Point of Adoration, towards
which the Faithful were to turn.

At first, neither he nor his adherents appear to
have followed in this respect any particular use, it
being declared to be perfectly indifferent. Thus :
" To God belongeth the east and the west ; therefore
whithersoever ye turn yourselves to pray, there is the
face of God, for God is omnipresent and omniscient."

But aftenvards, when the prophet fled to Me-
dina, and, possibly with the hope of alluring the Jews
of that place to his worship, he established " Jerusa-
lem " as the place towards which they were to pray,^

This continued for some time, but failed in ac-
complishing the object Mahomet had in view. After-
wards, 3 to satisfy his own ardent wish, and the desire
of his Arab followers, who were deeply attached to the
national shrine, he made Mecca the Kibla towards

' Sura ii. 109.

■' Conf. I Kings viii. 29, 44, 48 ; Ps. v. 7 ; Dan. vi. lO.

^ About sixteen months after his arrival at Medina, A.D. 623.


which, in whatever part of the world they might be
their prayers were to be directed. Thus,' "Turn
therefore thy face towards the holy temple of Mecca,
and wherever ye be, turn your faces towards that
place." And later,^ he received a further revelation
on this head, asserting the antiquity of Mecca as a
place of worship, and its being a Kibla for all nations.
Thus : ^ " Verily, the first house appointed unto men
to worship in was that which is in Becca;* blessed,
and a direction to all creatures."

To this period also belong those outbursts of vitu-
peration against those who opposed him, of which
mention has already been made. How widely the
spirit thus shown by Mahomet differs from that of our
blessed Lord under like provocation, " who, when He
was reviled, reviled not again " ; and who, with love
strong unto death, thus prayed for His murderers : —
" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they

And yet these chapters contain an interesting
proof of Mahomet's candour and magnanimity. The
8oth Sura is entitled " He frowned," and in it he ad-
ministers a rebuke to himself for having paid more
respect and attention to some of the powerful Coreish,
with whom he was in conversation, than to a poor
blind man who came to him and asked to be taught
about God. Thus:^ "The Prophet frowned and
turned aside, because the blind man came to him. . . .
The man who is wealthy thou receivest respectfully ;
. . , but him who cometh unto thee earnestly seeking

' Sura ii. 139. " A.D. 624. ^ Sura iii. 90.

* Ancient name of Mecca. * Sura Ixxx. i-ii.


salvation, and who feareth God, dost thou neglect. By
no means shouldest thou act thus."

In the 70th chapter, God bids him "bear the in-
sults" of the Meccans with becoming patience, " for
they see their punishment afar off, but we see it nigh
at hand."

Various other subjects are treated of at this
time. The persecutions of the Christians of Najran,
whom he calls " true believers," by Dzu Nowas, is
reprobated : ^ the power and goodness of God are ex-
tolled " in causing corn to spring forth, and giving
grapes, and clover, and the olive, and the palm, and
gardens planted with thick trees, and fruits, and grass
for the use of yourselves and your cattle." ^ Wrath is
denounced against "those who give short measure or
weight, and defraud " ; ^ and destruction and woe to
those " who accused the Prophet of imposture." ■*
The certainty of the resurrection is asserted, and we
are told that on that day the wicked "will seek a place
of refuge, and shall find none " ; ^ and that he " shall
wish in vain to redeem himself from punishment, by
giving up his children, and his wife, and his brother."^
We are further told that " in that inevitable day " all
men shall be separated into three classes, " the com-
panions of the right hand, and the companions of the
left hand ; and those who have preceded others in the
faith shall precede them in paradise."

In the 70th chapter is found the first official per-
mission given to cohabitation, or concubinage with
female slaves obtained by purchase, or made captive in

' Sura Ixxiv. '■' .Sura Ixxv. ■* Sura Ixx.

* Sura Ixxvii. * Sura Ixxv, * Sura Ixx.


war (called " those whom your right hands possess "),
in addition to their lawful wives. ^ The above permis-
sion " was one of the earliest compromises by which
Mahomet fitted his system to the usages and wants of
those about him ; and was, in after days, largely taken
advantage of, both for his own indulgence, and as
holding out an inducement for his followers to fight
in the hope of capturing females who would then be
lawful concubines." ^

To this period finally belong those gross pictures
of heaven and hell, which, if accepted in their
literal sense, are sufficient in themselves to disprove
the claim made by their author to Divine inspiration.
Doubtless, their material delights would prove irre-
sistibly fascinating to the Arabs living in such a
climate in such a scorched and desert land. The
prospect of exchanging their toils amid the burning
sands and naked rocks of Arabia for " long rest and
dreamful ease " upon soft beds, in cool shaded gar-
dens, beside murmuring waters, and tended by the
beautiful black-eyed girls of Paradise, must have been
ineffably attractive.

Hell is described in terms of a kindred colouring.
Thus,^ the wicked " shall be cast into scorching
fir,e to be broiled : they shall be given to drink of a
boiling fountain : they shall have no food, but of drv
thorns and thistles." Again : " The companions of
the left hand shall dwell amidst burning winds and
scalding water, under the shade of a black smoke."^

' Sura Ixv. 2S-31 ; iv. 28. ^ Muir, ii. 140, note.

^ Sura Ixxxviii. 1-6. ^ Conf. Sura xxxvii. 62-66.


The joys of Heaven are thus depicted.' The
just " shall drink of a cup of wine mixed with the
water of Cafur,"^ and shall be rewarded "with a
garden and silk garments : therein shall they repose
themselves on couches — fruits shall hang low " near
them, " so as to be easily gathered." And they shall
have besides " two other gardens " — "of a dark green"
— " in each of them shall be two fountains of water "
— " fruits and palm-trees, and agreeable and beauteous
damsels " — " having fine black eyes ; and kept in
pavilions from public view."^

The sensuous delights of Mahomet's paradise are
by some of his apologists accepted as allegorical
pictures of more spiritual pleasures, and are not, they
say, intended to be understood according to their
literal sense.

True indeed it is, that in Holy Scripture God shows
His condescension in the form which He allows
Divine truth to take, using, as He does, human lan-
guage, and imagery drawn from material objects, suited
to the finite comprehension of His children. Thus
veiled, we are enabled to gaze upon the light of
heaven, and though softened and tempered to our
weakness, it is still the unchanged Word of God.
Thus the ecstatic vision in Patmos tells us of the
pearly gates and golden streets of the New Jerusalem,
of " the water of life," and the tree whose " leaves are

' Sura Ixxvi. ^ Camphor.

^ Sura Iv. The Mahometans assert that there are seven hea-
vens, or stages of celestial bliss in Paradise, and seven divisions
of hell for the reception, respectively, of guilty Mahometans,
Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Magi, Idolaters, and for Hypocrites.


for the healing of the nations " : moreover, we read
how, at the Last Supper, our blessed Lord spake of
that " fruit of the vine " of which He would drink
hereafter in the kingdom of His Father. But these
humanized ideas of happiness contain no element ot
grossness or possible impurity, and are evidently to
be interpreted by the light of those other passages,
which point to the absence of all sin and grief, and
the immediate presence of a holy God, as the highest
bliss of the Christian heaven.

The Koran, indeed, teaches that there are
differing degrees of happiness in heaven, and the
reward of the most favoured seems associated with
the beatific vision.^ We read that there, among the
believers, " there shall be no vain discourse," and
"no incitement to wickedness,"^ expressions which
would imply a state of at least passive goodness.
Yet how can we suppose that grosser joys and feelings
are excluded, when we read that in Paradise the true
believers, " lying on couches," " shall look down upo-n
the infidels [in hell] and shall laugh them to scorn."^
Such feelings surely could not find place in the hearts
of beings who were freed from the dross and corruption
of earth.

The truth seems to be, that Mahomet was
unable to form any estimate of celestial happiness
apart from the sensual indulgences, to which the
story of his life shows him to have been so keenly
addicted ; and however much some of his followers
may try to explain away his sensuous descriptions,

' Sura Ixxxiii. 28. ^ Sura lii. 2.

^ Sura Ixxxiii. 34, 35.


" the general and orthodox doctrine is, that the whole
is to be strictly believed in the obvious and literal
acceptation." '

Another learned author, writing of the heaven
of Mahomet, says : " It must be admitted that
spiritual pleasures and the favour of God are also
said to form part of its delights, and that the per-
manence of man's personality is implied. But a
holy God is still immeasurably removed from His
creatures, and intimate union with Him, or even ad-
mission to His presence, is not the central idea of

From a careful perusal of the suras of this second
period, it may safely be said that there is nothing
in them which an Arab, acquainted with the general
outline of the Jewish history and legend, and of
the traditions of his own country, and possessed of
some poetic fire and fancy, might not have written,
and that the hypothesis of a divine origin is in no
way required to account for them.

The details of the history and doings of certain
beings who are called Genii, repeatedly referred
to in the Koran, may here be cited as a speci-
men of the curious working of Mahomet's mind.
It is to be borne in mind that the statements re-
garding them are supposed to be made by Divine
authority, and even to be the very words of God

These allusions to the Genii show that the belief
in the existence of these spectral beings was one of

' Sale, p. D., p. 102.

^ Monier Williams, "Indian Wisdom,'' Intr., p. xx\ix.


a popular character in Arabia at the time of Mahomet,
and that he probably drank in with his earliest ex-
perience the weird stories that associated Genii with
the deserts and mountains of his native land.

Poetic fancy, indeed, in other climes has wan-
dered in the same path and peopled the world with
troops of impalpable beings • has given the dryad
to the woods, the oread to the mountain heights ; has
conjured up fay and kelpie, satyr and fawn, and all
the elfin crew; and, with superstitious dread of the
unseen, has shaped the forms of wicked sprite, ma-
licious demon, and hideous ghoul, to haunt the cities
of the dead, and ^vreak on the living their hatred and

When such fancies occur in fairy story they find
their use ; but when they are put forth as facts in-
vested with Divine authority, the absurdity becomes
apparent to intelligent minds.

This, then, is what the Koran says of these beings.
They are represented as having been created by
God of " subtle fire,"^ for no other purpose than to
serve Him.^ They were believed by the old Arabians
to haunt desert places, and to " protect those who fled
to them for refuge," and, like the idolaters around
them, to believe that there was no resurrection.*
These words are put into the mouth of the Genii : —
"And we formerly attempted to pry into what was

' For an exhaustive account of these beings [Jinn, &c.], vide
Lane, "Arabian Nights," notes to the Introduction, vol. i.
No. 21. ^ Sura XV. 27.

' Sura li. 5, 6 ^ Sura Ixxii. 6, 7.


transacting in heaven, but we found the same filled
with a strong guard of angels, and with flaming darts ;
and we sat on some of the seats thereof to hear the
discourse of its inhabitants; but whoever listeneth
now, findeth a flame laid in ambush for him, to guard
the celestial confines." — "And when we could not
frustrate God, and had heard the Koran, we
believed therein." — " Some of us are Moslems " —
"and whoso embraceth Islam, they earnestly seek
true direction." ^

We are told that certain of the Genii, when the
prophet was resting in the valley of Nakhla, during
his escape from Tayif, overheard him reading the
Koran, and believed; and they are represented as
preaching to their fellows, and urging upon them " a
belief in Mahomet, to escape a painful punishment. "^
The Koran is said to have been sent to save both
men and Genii.

The shooting stars are, by the Moslems, believed
to be heaven's artillery, used for the dispersion of the
genii and devils, who listen to catch by stealth scraps
of the celestial secrets, for the purpose of giving them,
like the Promethean fire, to mortals.^

The Genii are stated to have been forced to
work in Solomon's presence, " and they made him

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