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whatever he pleased " — " of palaces, and statues, and
large dishes like fish-ponds " : * and, finally, his army
is said to have consisted of " genii, and men and
birds." 5

We now enter upon the consideration of the third

' Sura Ixxii. 6-14. ° Sura xha. 30.

' Sura Ixvii. 6. '' Sura xxxiv. 11, 12.

5 r/^tf D'Herbel6t, art. "Ginn."



no ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

group of suras.i Here begin the more detailed
references to the Jewish Scriptures, and the laborious
arguments drawn from the rejection of God's pro-
phets by the Jews, by which Mahomet sought to
establish his own claims against the incredulous
Meccans, of which we shall have more to say
further on. Imaginary conversations are held here
between the ancient people and those who were sent
to them, and words are put into the mouths of the
old Patriarchs and Prophets, so that they, like the
Genii, are made to speak Mahomet's warnings, and
express his thoughts, and to thus adroitly support the
teaching which he had addressed to the idolatrous
Meccans : and further, the very objections which
these latter made to him are represented as being
identical with those urged by the unbelievers in
former ages, and which are shown to have brought
down upon them the fiery vengeance of Heaven.

We gather from these suras that his opponents
accused him of imposture j^ called him "soothsayer";^
denied him the title of " an honourable apostle " ; ^
stigmatized him as a " distracted poet," and his warn-
ings as " manifest sorcery." ^ They ascribed the
origin of the Koran to devils,*^ and teased him for a
sign of the authenticity of his mission.''

As a specimen of the kind of argument used
by Mahomet, I give the following : ^ — The chapter

' Fi'c/^ Muir, II. Appendix. The twenty suras are numbered
in the Koran as follows :— 67, 53, 32, 39, 73, 79, 54, 34, 31, 69,
68, 41, 71, 52, 50, 45, 44, 37, 30, 26, 15, 51 ; A.D. 615-619.

- Sura Ixxvii. passim ; lii. 2, &c. ^ Sura Ixix. 41.

* Sura Ixix. 40.. ' Sura xxxvii. 15.

• Sura xxvi. 210. ' Sura xxvi. 1S7. ^ Sura xv. I-15.



ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER. Ill

[xv.] is entitled " Al Hajar," a territory in the He-
jaz, between Medina and Syria, where the tribe
of Thamud dwelt. They had fallen into idolatry,
and therefore " the prophet Saleh was sent to bring
them back to the Avorship of the true God " ; but
they rejected him, and, acting impiously, were de-
stroyed by an earthquake. To this nation and its
fate repeated reference is made in the Koran. ^
" These are the signs of the book and of the perspi-
cuous Koran. The time may come when the un-
believers shall wish they had been Moslems." "We
have not destroyed any city, but a fixed term of re-
pentance was appointed them. No nation shtll be
punished before their time shall be come, neither shall
they be respited after. The Meccans say, O thou to
whom the admonition hath been sent down, thou art
certainly possessed with a devil ! Wouldest thou not
have come unto us with an attendance of angels, if
thou hadst spoken truth ? Answer : We send not
down angels unless on just occasion." — "We have
sent apostles before thee among the ancient sects, and
there came no apostle unto them, but they laughed
him to scorn. In the self-same manner will we put it
into the hearts of the wicked Meccans to scoff at their
prophet." — " If we should open a gate in the heaven
above them, and they should ascend thereto all the
day long, they would surely say. Our eyes are only
dazzled."

In this last sentence he makes the Almighty giv£
His reason for not performing a miracle, to attest
the validity of His servants' mission ; and in the 26th
sura we find Him consoling Mahomet under the same

Vide Sale, P. D., p. 7. Sura xv. note, ad loc.
I



112 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

kind of reproach, and pointing out that the Meccans
have continually before them the signs of His
Almighty power, that He causes the fruits of " every
noble species " to spring up, and that of old He has
shown His wonders and judgments on those who
turned away from Him, and that, if they accept not
these, no special miracle would have any effect upon
their stubborn and hardened minds.^

On this head it may be remarked that Mahomet
always disclaimed the power of working miracles,
and assumed no higher honour than that of being a
prophet sent by God — •" a warner," an apostle — the
instrument of communicating God's will to men ; and
the honesty of his conduct in this respect speaks well
for him, and implies a perfect reliance on the good-
ness of his cause.

To those who demanded from him some miracu-
lous proof of the truth of his claims, he pointed to
the Koran — a book revealed to "an ignorant and
unlearned man,"^ as the greatest of miracles, and he
assured the objectors that if not convinced by it, no
sign, hpwever stupendous, would have power to com-
pel their belief.^

During this period he claims for the Koran
authority supplementary and superior to that of the
" Book of the Law," which had been given to the
people of Israel.* Thus, "We gave to the children

' Sura xxvi. 1-5. » Sura vii. 156.

^ Compare Luke xvi. 31.

* Though the Mahometan doctors are driven to say that the
Koran has abrogated the Old and New Testaments, there is no
authority for the assertion in the teaching of the book itself.
Thus : " Oh, children of Israel, believe in the revelation"



ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER. 113

of Israel the Book of the Law, and wisdom, and pro-
phecy, and we fed them with good things " ; but they
fell to " variance among themselves through envy " ;
aftenvards, " we appointed thee, O Mohammed, to
promulgate a law concerning the business of religion ;
wherefore follow the same." " This Koran is a direc-
tion and a mercy unto people who judge aright." i

Mention has already been made of the angel
Gabriel, and his announcement to Mahomet that he
was appointed the " prophet of God " ; and as two
other of these spiritual beings are alluded to in the
chapters of this period, it may be well to consider
what is the teaching of the Koran, and the belief of
its followers regarding them. They are represented
as having been created by God, and as partaking, like
the Genii, of the nature of fire,^ as capable of falling,
but without the gross passions of the Genii. They
are God's messengers to men,-^ and are of different
grades. ^ They are appointed to bear God's throne
aloft at the last day.^ Two of them attend con-
tinually to the work of noting down the good and bad
actions and words of each mortal ;'' and they are
appointed to guard the celestial regions from the near
approach of wicked spirits.

Of the angelic beings who surround the throne
of God there are four of the highest dignity and
power. Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation, who com-

(Koran) "which I have sent down, confirming that which is
-Mith you" (Sura ii. 38). Cf. "Notes on Muhammadanism,"
p. 25. See also sura v. 52.

' Sura xlv. 15-19. ^ Sura vii. II. Comp. Heb. i. 7.

•* Sura xviii. 2. ■• Sura xxxv. i.

* Suralxix. 17. ^ Sural. 16, 17.

I 2



TT4 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

municated the Koran to Mahomet, ^ and is said therein
to have been sent by God to the Virgin Mary, to pro-
mise her "a Holy Son."^ Michael, "the Friend of
the Jews," mentioned in conjunction with Gabriel as
one of those, enmity against whom involves enmity
against God Himself ^ Azrael, called "the Angel of
Death," who separates men's souls and bodies,* and
with his assistants either " tears them asunder with
violence, or draws them apart with gentleness."^
Jsrafil, whose business it will be to sound the two
trumpets at the last day.^

The devil, named Eblis in the Koran, was once
one of the archangels in heaven, and was called
Azazil, but by disobedience fell, under circumstances
thus related : — " And we created Adam, and said to
the angels, worship Adam, and they all worshipped
him except Eblis," who refused, and said, " I am more
excellent than he : Thou hast created me of fire, and
hast created him of clay " ; '^ for this God drove
him down from Paradise, and, being respited till the
day of judgment, his business is to " tempt man to
disobedience on the earth," but he has no power over
God's servants, but only over those "who shall be
seduced." ^

' Sura ii, 91. ^ Sura xix. 17-19.

^ Sura ii. 92. * Sura xxxii. 2. * Sura Ixxix. I.

^ Sura xxxix. 68. Compare i Thess. iv. 16.

' Sura vii, 9-1 1.

^ Sura XV. 39-42. A recent writer forcibly points out the
palpable contradiction of the Koran in the order given by God
to Eblis to worship Adam thus : — "Satan's fall is represented
as caused by his refusal to worship Adam at God's command
when the other angels obeyed ; that is, for refusing to render
the creature the homage due to the Creator alone — a sin more



ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER. I 1 5

In all that the Koran teaches on this head we
find no parallel to that comforting belief in the
" ministry of angels," which the Christian gathers from
the few transient glimpses into the mystery of God's
kingdom, afforded by the New Testament regarding
the employments of these pure intelligences. They
sang, as we remember, to the astonished shepherds
their heavenly songs of gratulation on the birth of the
Saviour. Their ministry it was which the Son of
Man deigned to accept when, wearied with fasting,
He had foiled the tempter; and, again, in the fearful
hour of the agony in the garden, He was willing to
take comfort from those whom He had made — the
Creator from the creature. We are told that these
happy beings — an innumerable company — stand
around the throne of God, and that they rejoice over
"every sinner that repenteth" ; that the "angels" of
those " little ones," whom the Saviour loves, stand
ever in the presence of the Father and behold His
face. We are also told that the angels " desire to
look into" the great mysteries of God's dealings with
sinful man ; that they were witnesses of the incarna-
tion of the God-man ; that they shall be God's
reapers at the great harvest ; and that now they are
His " ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to
them who shall be heirs of salvation." How dif-
ferent is this from all that the Koran teaches, with
its mixture of Magian fancy and Talmudic lore. But
the reason to us seems obvious, the solution easy —
the Koran is human, the Bible divme.

frequently and sternly denounced in the Quran tlian any other,"
— The Rev. James Kennedy, " Christianity and the ReHgions
of India," p. 231 (A.D. 1S74).



Il6 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

We now come to the doctrine of the Koran
concerning Prayer. In chapter seventy-three Ma
hornet inculcates this duty, and the desirabih'ty of
apportioning to it certain stated times. Thus : — " O
thou wrapped up, arise to prayer, and continue
therein during the night, except a small part ; that is
to say, during one-half thereof; or do thou lessen
the same a little, or add thereto, and repeat the
Koran." "Verily the rising at night is more effica-
cious for steadfast continuance in devotion," " for in
the daytime thou hast long employment." ^ And,
again, " Regularly perform thy prayer at the declen-
sion of the sun, at the first darkness of the night, and
the prayer of daybreak ; for the prayer of daybreak is
borne witness unto by the angels."^

Mahomet thought prayer so necessary that he
used to call it " the pillar of religion," and " the key
of Paradise." He continually insists on its practice
in the Koran. The pious Moslem performs this duty
five times every day. i. Before sunrise ; 2, at noon ;
3, before sunset ; 4, after sunset, during the short
twilight ; 5, when night has set in. Wherever he
may be, in the desert, at home^ in his shop, or in the
crowded street, he steps aside, spreads out some little
carpet or cloth, takes ofi" his shoes, and, with his face
turned tov/ards the Kibla at Mecca, performs, sitting,
standing, or prostrate, his solemn and picturesque
devotions. Some repair to the mosques for this pur-
pose, but this, owing to occupation or distance, is
not always practicable, and does not seem to be
considered important.

It is not to be understood that these five appointed

' Sura Ixxiii. 1-7. ^ Sura xvii. 8.



ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER. II7

times of devotion are strictly and universally attended
to. Many of "the faithful" use no prayers at all;
some pray only at sunrise and sunset, or attend the
mosque on Friday at the public prayers.

Certain ablutions, called " the key of prayer,"
are directed to be used, not before all their prayers,
but always when the worshipper is conscious of
impurity. The ordinary purification consists in
washing the hands and arms to the elbows, the head
and face, and the feet to the ankles;^ and all these
acts must be conducted with certain short prescribed
prayers for God's pardon and help, for deliver-
ance at the last day and admission to Paradise.
The greater purification is the lustration of the whole
body on the occurrence of certain natural defile-
ments. - When water cannot be procured, or its use,
owing to sickness, would be dangerous, fine sand
may be substituted. ^

The " adzan," or call to prayer, is chanted from
the minarets of the mosques by the Mueddzin,
in words which allude to the majesty and unity of
God, the mission and glory of Mahomet, and (at
night) the superiority of prayer to sleep. The
prayers which are used at the five seasons are said to
consist of so many " rakaats " or genuflexions, occur-
ring between short prayers, from four to eight in
number, which are either taken from the Koran or
othenvise appointed.'^

' Sura V. 8, 9. " Sura iv. 46. ^ Sura v. 9.

^ Suras i. cxii., the declaration of the unity, cviii., or some
of the other shorter ones, are used ; also selections from the
larger. Conf. "Notes on Muhammadanism,"xviii. Prayer 6, 63.
Prayers from the Koran are entitled Farz ; Sannat those founded
on the teaching of Mahomet ; and Nafal vohmtary prayers.



Il8 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

On Friday, the day of public assembly, the same
prayers are used, led by some Imam (antistes), who
holds office at the mosque, for there is no order
of men set apart for the purpose ; and he usually
reads, in addition, some set address (Khutbah), or
preaches to those assembled.

Rosaries, consisting of ninety-nine beads (the
number of the names of Allah), are frequently seen
in the hands of the most zealous Moslems, and are
used to count the ejaculatory prayers: such as
'Praise be to God," "God is most great," &c.,
which are directed to be repeated a certain number
of times. On the conclusion oi. the set prayers, the
devout, sitting cross-legged at their ease, and with
downcast eyes, may offer up any special prayer for
which they have occasion. ^

Women are taught that it is better for them to
pray at home ; they are absolutely excluded from
some mosques, and are seldom seen in the others at
the ordinary times of prayer. They join, however,
in the festival of the Moharram, particularly on the



• In Mahometan countries, though there are no regularly-
ordained clergy, still there are learned men specially appointed
to expound the orthodox law in ecclesiastical, civil, and criminal
cases. The chief of these are the Qazi (Cadi), the chief judge
who passes sentence. (2) The Mufti, the official referee who
supplies to the judge decrees (fetwa) in difficult cases, based on
the Koran or the rulings of the great orthodox doctors. (3)
Imam, appointed to read public prayers. (4) Moulvies,
Moullas, Muj tabids, learned doctors and teachers of religion.
The word sheikh, corresponding to presbyter or elder, is a title
of respect. The Sheikh-ul-Islam in Turkey has much powei,
holds the ecclesiastical revenues, and is referred to by the
Sultan as tlie highest authority in matters civil and ecclesiastical.



ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER, II9

tenth day; and they accompany their liusbands on
the pilgrimage to Mecca.

A learned writer has remarked, " The utmost
solemnity and decorum are observed in the public
worship of the Moslems." " Never are they guilty of
an irregular word or action during their prayers," —
" they appear wholly absorbed in the adoration of
their Creator, without affected humility or a forced
expression of countenance."^

In the thirtieth chapter, which belongs to this
period, usury is forbidden, and this includes taking
any interest for money. Thus, " Whatever ye shall
give in usury, to be an increase of men's substance,
shall not be increased bythe blessing of God."^ And,
again, " Truly, selling is but as usury, and yet God
hath permitted selling and forbidden usury," " Who-
ever returneth to usury they shall be the companions
of hell-fire, they shall continue there for ever."^
Lawful commerce is allowed ; " God sendeth the
wind" — " that ships may sail," — "that ye may seek to
enrich yourselves of His abundance by commerce,
and that ye may give thanks.""^

The thirty-first chapter of the Koran is en-
titled "Lokman," surnamed "the Wise"; an indi-
vidual, around the circumstances of whose era,
nationality, and parentage, such a crowd of fables
and anachronisms have gathered, as to make it more
than doubtful whether he ever really existed. He is
introduced to us in the Koran, and an amiable and
pious discourse is put into his mouth, addressed to
his son, whom he advises to flee from polytheism,

' Lane, "Mod, Egypt.," 1. 120. ^ Sura xxx. 3S.

' Sura ii. 276. ■• Sura xxx, 45.



I20 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

and to believe in one only God, to follow that which
the Almighty reveals, not that which the fathers fol-
lowed ; to be constant at prayer, patient under afflic-
tion ; to dread the day of judgment ; and to avoid the
way of arrogant and insolent men. This is a specimen
of the artful way in which the prophet seeks to sup-
port his special doctrines, by making them part of
the teaching of an ancient sage, and so investing
them with his authority and credit.^

The other revelations of this period are chiefly
made up of the stories of the Old Testament,
adapted so as to support Mahomet's claims ; and he
does seem to have found means of gaining a fairly
comprehensive idea of the leading facts of the Jewish
histories. Curious fabulous additions, which will be
noticed hereafter, taken from rabbinical legends, tra-
dition, and other sources, are interwoven with them ;
but there can be little doubt, from whatever source he
got his information, that many a secret hour must have
been spent in study and composition to enable him
to produce the revelations demanded by the press-
ing necessities of the hour, and the craving faith of
his disciples.

As a specimen of the introduction of these Old
Testament characters into the Koran, and of the
jumble made of their history, which would often be
unintelligible but for our knowledge of the sacred
narrative, the following may be cited : ^ — " Jonas was
also one of those who were sent by us ; when he

' Vide D'Herbelot, art. "Locman-al-Hakira" ; Sale, p. 335,
note. Lokman and the Persian hero Rustum may probably
be placed in the same category.

^ Sura xxxvii. 133-142.



ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER. 121

fled into the loaded ship, and those who were on
board cast lots among themselves, and he was con-
demned, and the fish swallowed him, for he was
worthy of reprehension. And if he had not been
one of them who praised God, verily he had re-
mained in the belly thereof until the day of resurrec-
tion. And We cast him on the naked shore ; and he
was sick ! And We caused a plant of a gourd to
grow up over him, and We sent him to an hundred
thousand persons, or they were a greater number,
and they believed : Avherefore We granted them to
enjoy this life for a season." ^

Finally, as an example of the way in which
Mahomet takes the fancies of the Talmudists, and
the legends of the Haggidah, and reproduces them
in the Koran, the following may be given. In the
148th Psalm, "the sweet singer of Israel," in the
exuberance of poetic fervour, calls upon the heavens
and all the angel host, the mountains and all hills,
and even the "flying fowl," to join in praising the
Lord. Occurring in a poem, such mode of express-
ing the gratitude of the Psalmist for God's good-
ness to him and to all creatures is natural and
appropriate. The Talmudists, however, as was their
wont, notwithstanding the palpable absurdity, have
taken this passage in its bare literal sense, and
Mahomet, accepting their interpretation, founds upon
it this passage : — " We heretofore bestowed on David

' This reads much more like notes jotted down for a fuller
history of Jonah, which have been accidentally incorporated with
the Koran — a supposition not unwarranted by tl;e way in which
these compositions were kept by the prophet, and put together
by his followers.



12 2 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

excellence from Us ; and We said, O mountains, sing
alternate praises with him ; and We obliged the birds
also to join therein." ^ And in a later sura it is
repeated, " And we compelled the mountains to
praise us with David, and the birds also : and We
did this." 2

In the Gospels only a few brief glimpses are
afforded us of the manner of life of our blessed
Lord during those quiet years at Nazareth, when,
in obedience to his parents, from " sweet and holy
childhood " to years of manhood He " increased in
wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and
man." But this mysterious veil of silence, which
divine wisdom has drawn, was not respected by the
fabulists of Christendom, who have surrounded His
boyhood with innumerable stories of the exhibition
of a marvellous and divine power. In the Arabic
" Gospel of the Infancy," for instance, it is related
how among His playmates He gave life to little
sparrows which He had moulded out of clay, and
when He clapped His hands they rose and flew
away. Mahomet, by some means or other, possessed
himself of this story, and in a late Medina sura repro-
duces it as part of the " preserved book." ^ Such,
then, is as detailed an account as our space will allow
of those parts of the Koran revealed up to the time
of the imprisonment in the Sheb Abu Talib (A.D.
617).

' Sura xxxiv. 102. ' Sura xxi, 79.

' Sura iii. 43



CHAPTER VI.

LAST YEARS OF MAHOMET AT MECCA. — [a.D. 617-
622.]

We now take up the thread of Ivlahomet's history.
Allusion has been made to the sufferings which he
and his followers endured with patience, to their
scanty supply of food consequent on their social
isolation, and how this state of things went on for
some three years. We read that, in order to bind
firmly together the ranks of the adverse faction cer-
tain terms of union had been agreed upon, and to
give the league a religious sanction, that this table of
conditions had been hung up in the Kaaba. At
the expiration of three years it was discovered, to
the consternation of the confederates, that the docu-
ments had been destroyed by insects. This circum-
stance, to which a portentous meaning flivourable to
the new sect was at once given, aided by other rea-
sons, probably of a family nature, detached from the
league five of its chief supporters. This fact broke up
the confederacy, released the imprisoned religionists,
and restored them to their homes in comparative
peace and safety.

It was at this time that Mahomet suffered the loss,
by death, of two of his nearest and best friends — his
wife, Khadija (A.D. 619), and his faithful uncle, the
aged Abu Talib (A.D. 620).



124 ISLAM AND ITS FOUNDER.

Though Khadija was much older than the pro-
phet, and though the custom of Mecca and his own
revelations permitted polygamy, he is said to have
remained true to her, and never to have wounded her
heart or aroused her jealousy by taking a second
wife during her lifetime. Deeply did he lament her
loss, and to the day of his death honoured the
memory of her goodness and of her early unwavering
faith, and placed her name in the list of the four
perfect women.i

The loss of Abu Talib he mourned much, though
he is said to have died in unbelief, for it was to
him a loss of great political moment. The whole
tenor of his acts, and his sacrifices for his nephew,
"stamp his character as singularly unselfish and
noble." 2

For a time Mahomet's uncle, Abu Lahab, hitherto
and afterwards his bitter opponent, undertook to
take the place of Abu Talib, and to be his pro-
tector; but he was soon seduced by the hostile
Coreish, and thus Mahomet and his followers became
exposed to the unchecked insults and persecutions
incited by Abu Sofian, Abu Jahl, and others; and
being but a handful in the hostile city, were unable


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