she has conceived for its people.
The kindly word about the Egyptians is spoken by
such people as Lady Duff Gordon, and, in the present
day, by Mr. Talbot Kelly, the artist, who have lived
familiarly for long periods amongst them.
Going farther, towards Central Africa, it is such
travellers as Miss Mary Kingsley, Lady Lugard, A
Resident's Wife in Nigeria (Mrs. Constance Lary-
more), Mr. E. D. Morel, the unbiased students of
humanity, who find excellent, and even lovable qualities
in the people, and who are able to see that, although
so different from those of the West, moral qualities and
pious inclinations may be commendable in them.
No one could have been present at the meetings of
the Universal Races Congress held in London recently,
and have heard the growl of dissent which always met
any reference to the missionary version of the distant
races, or the cheers which always responded to the
kindly word spoken by such travellers as I have men-
tioned ; or could have seen the warm encouragement
which the Congress extended to the race representatives
themselves, when they appealed for our help and our
recognition of the good after which they were striving,
without being convinced that the English and American
position as missionary nations demands serious reflec-
396 VEILED MYSTERIES OF EGYPT
tion, and possibly a deep-reaching reformation, in both
its spirit and its methods, if public opinion is not to
rise as a flood against it. It may well be seriously
pondered (especially in view of the failure, almost
universally confessed, to really conquer the regions to
which spiritual siege has been laid) if the history of
missions in Islamic lands may not, when the long tale
of hopeful years is told, have written against them by
the inexorable hand of time, the words with which
Herodotus closed his account of the hopeless venture of
Cambyses into Ethopia : " Thus ended the expedition."
Mighty Christian Churches have fallen away from
this continent in the past, leaving not a vestige of their
existence behind, and Christian colonies, started with
highest hopes by brave men, have vanished like clouds,
before the insistency of human type, and its natural
predilections, to which the pioneers of a differing
civilisation and faith could not fit their message.
Just as I believe the Christian gospel to be the
highest message to mankind, so I believe there is a way
by which it can be commended to every people. When
I contemplate the methods of many of the modern
missionaries at work in Moslem lands, I always feel
inclined to turn away from their adverse writings on
Islam, to consider the example of that greatest Missionary
to mankind the gentle Teacher who avoided contro-
versy, and " went about doing good." How often has
His doctrine been commended to the minds of men by
just following His divine example ? It is this that can
break down opposition, otherwise invulnerable ; the
benevolent human contact teaches lessons before which
the barriers of creed fall away, and men, in getting
nearer to God, see each other as fellow-creatures of His,
THE GREAT QUESTIONS OF ISLAM 397
standing apart from the artificial limitations they have
created for themselves, and which have caused (them
to ignore the eternal verities. Faith, Hope, Charity
abideth and the greatest is charity.
When Lady Duff Gordon attended with her own
hands to the needs of her poor Moslem guest at Luxor,
who died with his hand in hers, she did more to remove
the barriers which separate the creeds than any sort of
controversy about them can ever do. It was she, a
Christian woman, who turned the dying man's face
towards Mecca, and nodded to the Moslems present
to chant his last profession of Faith in the One God ;
and she closed his eyes. She followed the body to
the burial-place, with the women, who " Wailed for
a brother who had died far from his place." No one
thought to object to her presence in the mosque, and
her " Prankish hat " in the midst of the veiled and
wailing women caused no comment. And after the
burial " the Imam, Sheikh Abd-el-Waris, came and
kissed me on the shoulders, and the Sherif, a man of
eighty, laid his hands on my shoulders and said, ' Fear
not, my daughter, neither all the days of thy life, nor
at the hour of death, for God is with thee ! ' I kissed
the old man's hand and turned to go, but numberless
men came and said, ' A thousand thanks, O our sister,
for what thou hast done for one among us,' and a great
deal more." Here is a true way for missions.
Intellectually we shall, I feel sure, lose nothing by
exercising care to do the Arab people historical justice.
We must be wanting in frankness if we do not admit
that the religion of Islam brought a great advance to
the idolatrous and warring people who first received
it ; the debt we owe to the Islamic East for maintaining
398 VEILED MYSTERIES OF EGYPT
the light of knowledge while Christendom was in its
" dark ages " is incontestable.
Religion we may admit to have its basis in the truth
of things, and that all great religions have proved
blessings to the peoples among whom they have origin-
ated, marking a stage in their history. Each has a
calendar crowded with the names of saints and martyrs.
They are identified in the affections of their votaries
with venerated names, an insult to whom is as unpardon-
able as an insult to the Hebrew prophets or apostles, or
even the Founder of the Christian faith, would be to
Christians. And these religions have proved themselves
enduring and so suited to the spiritual needs of men on
a great scale that they should compel respect. If we
can add to respect, impartial justice and courtesy, and
a love of mankind enough to eliminate all traces of
contempt or of pharisaical judgment, then we may hope
to advance if genuine advance, rather than mere
proselytism, is our aim.
There is no need for discouragement because mis-
sionary proselytism seems to fail. The Pharisees had
that kind of zeal, and what Jesus thought of them and
their zeal we learn from His words, " Ye compass sea
and land to make one proselyte, and when he is become
so, ye make him twofold more a son of hell than your-
selves." Dr. Grant has truly said, " Proselytism detaches
individuals, who as a rule are worth little, but it arrests
internal development. It is Prophetism that gains in-
dividuals, who become centres of force, and it thus
initiates movements which may be delayed or defeated,
but cannot be destroyed " (Note 23). It was God
Himself who " made of one blood all nations of men for
to dwell on all the face of the earth " (Acts xvii. 26).
THE GREAT QUESTIONS OF ISLAM 399
The Christian message, and all the moral splendour
which has come from its advance, does not need, as a
preparation for its conquest, anything of abuse or unfair
depreciation towards Mohammed or his religion, or in-
deed towards any religion. These things occupy our time
unprofitably and impede our progress. Our work is to
be Christians, in the simple way of Christ, and then to
say to men of other beliefs Here is Jesus, what think
ye of Him ? " The most earnest men will gradually
draw nearer and nearer to Christianity, and the end
will come gradually and almost imperceptibly, the dark-
ness fading into twilight, and the twilight vanishing
in the full glory of the dawn of the Sun of Righteous-
1 Religion of the Crescent, p. 230. For once I am glad to be able to
quote with consent the words of the writer with whom I have shown so
THERE is NOTHING GOOD IN ISLAM. Note i (p. 260).
" It is asserted that, according to the philosophers of old, the first
thing to be done in searching for a knowledge of God was to learn to know
oneself. Such an idea would have seemed impious to Mohammed, if it
had occurred to him." " However, it is said that Ali asserted, ' Whoever
knows himself knows his Lord.' But this is contrary to ' orthodox '
Islam, and is explained away. . . ." The Religion of the Crescent, St.
Clair-Tisdall, p. 57.
WAS THE VISION OF THE PROPHET A DREAM ? Note 2 (p. 262).
With regard to this vision, out of which adverse critics have made
much capital, a great Oriental scholar has said: "Mohammed is not
to be made responsible for some of his enthusiastic admirers when they
transformed this vision a vision as grand as any in the whole Divine
Comedy, which indeed has unconsciously borrowed some of its richest
plumage from it, but which Mohammed, until he was sick of it, insisted
on calling a Dream into insipidity and drivel." " Islam," Quarterly
Review, October 1869.
MISSIONARY ANTAGONISM. Note 3 (p. 269).
Religion of the Crescent (p. 217). May I inquire how it is that such
books as this, and Islam : a Challenge to Faith, are written, not in Moslem
lands, but the one from Bedford and the other from New York. Such a
spirit of prejudice and antagonism is, I believe, absent almost always from
the writings of missionaries whose life-work is actually all accomplished
amongst the people. It seems to me that it is the missionary who, for
reasons a layman cannot understand, leaves the social work of the mis-
sionary to labour at his desk, and to constantly appear on the Western
platform, who usually writes without sympathy and understanding of the
THE KORAN AS A CONFIRMATION OF PREVIOUS SCRIPTURES.
Note 4 (p. 270).
The Reproach of Islam (p. 312). The Moslems do not claim that the
Koran came to replace the Bible, but to supplement it. The exact words
of the Koran itself are, it " connrmeth what was revealed before it, and is
an explanation of the Scriptures." Sura x. 38. (Repeated again and
again. Sura xxxv. 28 ; Sura xii. 3.) To every nation a Book has been
sent, was in effect the theory of the Prophet, and this my nation has not
been left without a witness. He had deep respect for the Book of the
Jews and Christians, and even told his followers to seek instruction
therein if they were in doubt about matters of their own faith.
FICTION ON EGYPT. Note 5 (p. 276).
Mr. Marmaduke Pickthall has written a great deal of fiction about
the people of Egypt (Children of the Nile, Said the Fisherman] which has
had a wide acceptance in the West ; and Mr. Cutcliffe Hyne has also
written a number of vivid sketches of Arab character. And Sir Gilbert
Parker has written fiction about Egypt which betrays in every page a
want of knowledge of all things Islamic he even builds on the commonest
of errors, that the Prophet's tomb is at Mecca. There is a cruel and
relentless note in these authors which I have never found in any work
by a responsible writer not concerned to produce thrilling fiction, but to
describe the life of the people as he has actually experienced it : to record
facts rather than to draw pictures. At random I instance Village Life,
giving a simple account of the fellaheen, sixty years ago, and Adventures
in the Libyan Desert, by Bayle St. John, Miss Kingsley's works, Lady
Lugard's, Lady Duff Gordon's simple letters from Luxor to her family,
and recently Mr. Talbot Kelly's notes to his beautiful pictures, chiefly
of country life in Egypt, and Mr. E. D. Morel's work on Nigeria. Mr.
Morel only a year or two since did great service to humanity in leading to
the suppression of the Congo atrocities, for which he was enthusiastically
commended by the Christian public. A kindly word for the Moslem,
however, in his later work, and the editor of East and West, the S.P.G.
journal, dismisses him as a man who has " considerably shaken " his con-
fidence in the accuracy of his information !
AN AGENT'S REPORT ON EGYPT. Note 6 (p. 294).
The Arab Conquest of Egypt (p. 434). It is worthy of note that one
passage in a report of Amr of his work as Governor of Egypt reads
strangely, as coming from a representative of " that scourge of God "
as it became the Christian fashion to call the Moslems: "The land-tax
is not demanded before its due season ; a third of the revenue is spent on
bridges and sluice-gates. If the governors continue to act thus, the
revenue will be doubled, and God will reconcile the different religions and
the variety of worldly interests." Written by Amr in Egypt, to the
Caliph Omar, in Arabia. These words might almost have come from the
pen of a modern British agent.
AN ERROR OF THE BISHOP OF LONDON. Note 7 (p. 295).
That the old historical fallacies are slow to die, is shown by the fact
that the present Bishop of London could declare before he had visited
Moslem lands that Islam turns out the name of Christ as evil. The
Crusaders were urged on their quest by being told that the Moslems
" defiled the Holy Sepulchre." The name of our Lord Jesus is as sacred
to all Moslems as is the name of Mohammed, and is used with exactly the
same terms of reverence. Their veneration for the tombs of saints is
profound ; how then do they regard the tomb of this great prophet
Christ ? It is to Jerusalem, Islam believes, that He will come again a
second time. It is in Jerusalem that one of the three most sacred of all
the Moslem mosques is found, to which many pilgrims journey after
visiting the Prophet's tomb in Medina.
THE CRUSADERS WADING IN MOSLEM BLOOD. Note 8 (p. 295).
When Jerusalem was retaken by the Crusaders in July 1099, there
followed most revolting scenes of fanatical cruelty, resulting in the indis-
criminate slaughter of countless thousands of Moslem men and women.
So great indeed was the massacre, that in a public letter to the Pope the
leader of the Christian forces boasted that in the Mosque of Omar they
rode up to the horses' knees in the blood of the Saracens. The Crusaders
led out of the town Moslem hostages to the number of five thousand, and
slaughtered them in cold blood. It is indeed true that the history of the
Crusades was written in letters of blood. Saladin took reprisals at
Tiberias, and in the murder of the members of the Order of Jerusalem,
two hundred and thirty in number.
MOSLEMS CHARGED WITH TOLERATION AS AN OFFENCE. Note 9 (p. 297).
Renan, Averroes et averroism. As Arnold has pointed out, "this very
spirit of toleration was made one of the main articles in an account of the
Apostasies and Treasons of the Moriscoes, drawn up by the Arch-
bishop of Valencia in 1602, when recommending their expulsion to
Philip in., as follows ; " That they commended nothing so much as that
liberty of conscience, in all matters of religion, which the Turks and all
other Mohammedans suffer their subjects to enjoy." The Preaching of
Islam, pp. 123-24.
CHRISTIAN FANATICISM. Note 10 (p. 298).
More enlightened days have, unfortunately, not been without the
most appalling instances of Christian fanaticism. During forty or fifty
years of the seventeenth century the Catholic Poles inflicted the most
fearful atrocities on the Russians of the Orthodox Eastern Church. They
killed 70,000 to 80,000 souls. Well might Macarius, Patriarch of
Antioch, exclaim, " God perpetuate the empire of the Turks for ever and
ever ! For they take their impost, and enter into no account of religion,
be their subjects Christian or Nazarene, Jew or Samaritan." During the
Reformation period the Protestants of Hungary and other places pre-
ferred the rule of the Turks to that of the Catholics, and cases occurred
of Protestants who fled into Turkish territory to find under Islamic laws
the freedom of religious worship and opinions, which were denied them
in Christian Europe. In judging of the persecutions and atrocities in
Turkey during the last century, such facts as these should be kept in mind ;
and the religion of Islam should not be made responsible for the crimes
of its followers who have fallen away from its teaching. One of the
latest Christian persecutions was that of King John of Abyssinia, who
in 1878 ordained that men should all be of one religion throughout the
whole of his kingdom ; even Christians were forbidden to belong to any
other sect than the Jacobite. By 1880 he is said to have compelled
50,000 Moslems, amongst others, to be baptised.
A GENUINE DISLIKE OF USURY. Note n (p. 299).
It is interesting to note that when, in March 1901, the Post Office
Savings Bank was established in Egypt, the Moslems very generally
indicated that they regretted they could not put their money into it
because they were offered interest. After a time, however, the con-
venience of such a safe place of deposit so appealed to them, that many of
them placed their money in the Post Office, but steadfastly refused the
interest, no less than 3195 persons doing this in two years. The
authorities now consulted the Grand Mufti, and other officials of Islam,
and as these men recognised that such interest was earned by the money
and had no connection with " usury," the extortionate use of money which
the Prophet intended to forbid, a law was framed making it possible for
Moslems to use the Bank without breaking a religious law. In the
very next year nearly 30,000 Moslem depositors were using the Bank,
including ninety-four of the ulema and sheikh class. I do not think that
Mr. Gairdner should suggest that such men are not much troubled by
questions of " trade and morality." Reproach of Islam, p. 200.
FIRST AND SECOND-CLASS FUNERAL PALLS. Note 12 (p. 333).
Religion of the Crescent (p. 206). I cannot refrain from noting, that as
I was writing these words I looked from my window in Siena and saw
passing a misericordia funeral ; the deceased was evidently poor and
obscure, for the pall allowed by this charitable Christian brotherhood was
that of the second class ; the one for the rich and distinguished of the first
class is embroidered in gold. The two covers may be seen thus labelled
in a room of St. Catherine's House.
THE DEPRAVITY OF ARABIA AS THE PROPHET FOUND IT.
Note 13 (p. 344).
This terrible picture seems to accord with Professor Palmer's state-
ment of the degradation of the religion of the time. " At the time of
Mohammed's appearance the national religion of the Arabs had so far
degenerated as to have scarcely any believers. The primeval Sabaeanism
was all but lost, and even the worship of the powers of nature had become
little more than a gross fetishism ; as one of Mohammed's contemporaries
said, when they found a fine stone they adored it, or failing that, milked
a camel over a heap of sand and worshipped that." Sacred Books of the
East, edited by Max Muller, vol. vi. p. 15.
MR. ZWEMER'S QUOTATION. Note 14 (p. 345).
Islam : a Challenge to Faith (pp. 6-7). It is difficult to know what to
say of a writer's views who will quote such stuff from the seventeenth
century as, " Now consider this Moamed, or Machumed, whom Godfgave
up to a blind mind . . . falling sickness and being tormented by the
Devil," etc. etc., with the comment " not altogether bad for a seventeenth-
century synopsis " (p. 40).
MOHAMMED AND DIVORCE. Note 15 (p. 351).
The Religion of the Crescent (p. 195). Over and over again Mr. St.
Clair-Tisdall dismisses the traditional sayings which are creditable to
Mohammed ; " he is said to have disapproved of divorce," and over and
over again he accepts without question any tradition on this subject which
brings a discredit. What the Prophet is said to have said or done then
MOSLEM WOMEN AND THE PRAYERS. Note 16 (p. 358).
" Women are bound to perform the prescribed prayers as well as the
men," says the Rev. F. A. Klein in The Religion of Islam. This author's
object is not to state his version of the religion, but to go to the Moslem
authorities. He finds that women's prayer was so much taken for granted
that it is an instruction for the worshippers in the mosque : " When prayer
is ended the men remain standing in their places for a short time to
allow the women who may have been sitting behind to retire first "
MOSLEM WOMEN NOT RESTRAINED OF NECESSITY. Note 17 (p. 370).
It is interesting as showing that the restraints put upon women are
not due altogether to Islam, to find Palgrave constantly stating that in
primitive Arabia the women have considerable freedom. I myself saw
something in North Africa of a great Moslem brotherhood, which has its
centre at Bou Saada, and only a few years ago was governed very ably by
a woman, who inherited her position from the Marabout (sheikh) as his
Do THE FRENCH UNDERSTAND THE MOSLEMS BETTER THAN THE ENGLISH ?
Note 1 8 (p. 372).
It is generally thought that the French people (in Egypt, at any rate) ,
have and do always come nearer to a sympathetic understanding of
the Moslem people here than those of any other nation. It was, I think,
only a Christian Frenchman who could have written these words of the
Moslems : " We wait also the return of the Messiah, though we do not
know when or how He will appear. Nevertheless, the Spirit of Jesus,
who is light and love, can spread itself abroad in the hearts of men with a
power and a new purity to accomplish between brothers, too long enemies,
a reconciliation which is altogether beyond their own efforts. Be then
Christians of Islam and Moslems of the Gospel." Hyacinthe Loyson, in
VICTOR HUGO'S ABUSE. Note 19 (p. 381).
A writer in the Quarterly Review, October 1869. Victor Hugo, how-
ever, speaks of Mohammed as " the brother of vultures."
No MOSLEM TRANSLATION OF THE KORAN. Note 20 (p. 382).
The Koran itself is always at a disadvantage with Western students,
as it has never been translated by a Moslem. In the discussion of vital
passages with learned ulemas I have often found how wide of the meaning
put upon it by Moslems is the most careful English translation. At
present it is almost useless to hope that any great Arabic scholar, who is
both an Arab and a Moslem, will undertake the work of translating the
Koran into English. For one thing, every pious Moslem is afraid to risk
the loss of the true meaning by translation ; and they do not believe that
the West cares to know the truth about their religion and their " book."
OLD BOOKS OF TRAVEL OR NEW ? Note 21 (p. 383).
"It is curious that all old books of travel I have read mention the
natives of strange countries in a far more natural tone, and with far more
attempt to discriminate character, than modern ones. Have we grown so
very civilised since a hundred years, that outlandish people seem like mere
puppets, and not like real human beings ? " Letters from Egypt, Lady
MOHAMMED OPPOSED TO SUPERSTITIOUS RITES. Note 22 (p. 388).
Among the last words Mohammed spoke was a strong protest to
those members of his despairing family who had resorted to superstitious
rites and formulas to find a cure for his disease.
A SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT. Note 23 (p. 390).
Religions of the World, G. M. Grant, D.D. I am indebted to this
little work, unique in its spirit, as it is forcible and clear in its style, for
several thoughts in this chapter.
CHIEF BOOKS REFERRED TO
AMEER ALI, SYED, M.A., The Spirit of Islam.
ARNOLD, T. W., B.A., The Preaching of Islam : A History of the Pro-
pagation of the Moslem Faith.
BADR, MOHAMMED, F.R.S., The Truth about Islam.
BOER, Dr. T, J., The History of Philosophy in Islam.
BUTLER, ALFRED J., D.Litt., The Arab Conquest of Egypt.
BLYDEN, ED. W., LL.D., Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race.
CROMER, the Earl of, Modern Egypt.
FIELD, CLAUD, Mystics and Saints of Islam.
FORSTER, the Rev. CHARLES, B.D., Mohammedanism Unveiled.
GAIRDNER, the Rev. W. H. T., The Reproach of Islam.
GORDON, Lady DUFF, Letters from Egypt.
JOHNSTONE, DE LACY, M.A., Mohammed and his Power.
KLEIN, the Rev. F. A., The Religion of Islam.
LANE, EDWARD WILLIAM, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians ;
Translation of The Arabian Nights Entertainments.
LANE-POOLE, STANLEY, Cairo : Sketches of its History, Monuments, and
Social Life ; Studies in a Mosque ; Speeches and Table Talk of the
MARGOLIOUTH, Professor D. S., Mohammed and the Rise of Islam;
PALGRAVE, WILLIAM GIFFORD, A Year's Journey through Central and
PALMER, Professor E. H., Translation of The Koran.
ROBINSON, the Rev. CHARLES H., M.A., Mohammedanism, has it any
RODWELL, the Rev. J. M., M.A., Translation of The Koran.
406 BOOKS REFERRED TO AND QUOTED
SALB, GEORGE, Translation of the Koran (with Notes and Introduction of
SMITH, R. BOSWORTH, M.A., Mohammed and Mohammedanism.
STANLEY, Dean, Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church.
ST. JOHN, BAYLE, Village Life in Egypt.
ST. CLAIR-TISDALL, M.A., D.D., The Religion of the Crescent,
WATSON, CHARLES R., Egypt and the Christian Crusade.