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Mohammed and the rise of Islam online

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last words according to one account were an injunc-
tion to treat concubines with mercy. [ A man who
shared one slave with seven brothers, and had cuffed
the slave, was made to manumit him 1" ; and mur-
der or maiming of slaves was to be punished by
retaliation. **

Some of the legislation which was rendered neces-
sary by the occurrence of difficult or doubtful cases
was embodied in the Koran : even at an early period,
as we have seen, the revelations were the result of
protracted deliberation, and when the community

* Musnad, iv., 37.
\ Jahiz, Misers, 182.
\ Ibn Duraid, 308.
§ Musnad, \., 221.
I Ibid., 78.
If Ibid., iii.. 447.
** Ibid., v., 18.

The Last Year 463

had come to be numbered by myriads, the oracles
by which it was to be guided were framed with
great care. To his elaborate regulations on inherit-
ance some tribute is still paid by those who in India
administer the law according to them : he has left
out no member of the family who can have any
equitable claims, and, so far as his arithmetical
knowledge went, endeavoured to settle those claims
fairly. But it was rarely that the machinery of re-
velation was employed. More ordinarily the ques-
tion which had to be settled admitted of an answer
which the Prophet's common-sense could improvise :
there were persons who eagerly noted his ruling,
which became a precedent for the guidance of magis-
trates. If the traditionalists are to be believed —
and their theory is in the main likely to be correct —
there was no detail of conduct too trivial to be made
the subject of an appeal to the Prophet, much of
whose time, when he was not organising or ex-
ecuting campaigns, or receiving embassies, must
have been occupied with the functions of judge.
Where his own kin were concerned, he did not
escape the charge of favouritism, often brought
against him by followers who thereby incurred seri-
ous rebuke: but where they were not concerned,
such judgments as appear to be faithfully recorded
exhibit the shrewdness and fairness which might be
expected. Though he declared his system to be
brand new, he was doubtless under the influence of
custom in his decisions.

But amid all the duties of general, legislator,
judge, and diplomatist, the Prophet did not neglect

464 Mohammed

those of preacher and teacher: his advice was de-
manded on all possible questions, and the occasions
were few on which he failed to give it. Certain sub-
jects were indeed forbidden : questions that savoured
of metaphysics or rationalism were excluded ; the
Prophet holding (perhaps rightly) that such had
been the occasion of infinite mischief to the religious
systems that had preceded his. A rather fantastic
eschatology is indeed ascribed to him in the tra-
dition, but Parsee influence is very conspicuous in
this, and the bulk, if not the whole, may safely be
ascribed to some professional inventor of tradition.
Although his early threats of the approaching end
of the world must have been partly forgotten during
these eventful years, he appears to have maintained
the belief in a modified form : asked at JVtedinah
when the end of the world was coming, he said that
a boy named Mohammed might, if he lived, witness
it before he was an old man.* Among the numer-
ous sayings ascribed to the Prophet we should
probably regard those as most likely to be genuine
which are characterised by shrewd common-sense.
A man intending to marry requested the prayers of
the Prophet that he might find a good wife. The
Prophet told him that marriages were made in
heaven, and that his prayers, even though backed
by Michael and Gabriel, could make no difference, f
Men, he said, are like camels; out of a hundred you
will scarcely find one fit to ride. % A woman is like

* Musnad, iii., 270.
f Jahiz, Mahasin, 218.
\ Musnad \ ii., 7.

The Last Year 465

a rib; if you try to straighten her, she breaks.*
However old a man be, two things about him retain
their youth : desire for money and desire for life, f
Asked what God likes best, he used to reply, that
in which a man persists though it be slight. Being
told that a woman had vowed to make the pilgrim-
age on foot, he declared that God could do well
without His creatures undergoing voluntary tor-
ment. % " When you boil your meat use plenty of
water, so as to get broth in quantity even if you do
not get meat." § Being asked at a time of scarcity
in Medinah to regulate the price of provisions, he
replied that God only could fix the prices. ||

A whole series of aphorisms is probably with jus-
tice ascribed to him, in which he recommended
economy, and warned against lavish generosity. \
The upper hand is better than the lower (i. e., to be
creditor is better than to be debtor). Waste of
money is to be avoided no less than idle loquacity.
Charity begins at home. The best alms are such
as leave wealth behind. These aphorisms are the
more remarkable, because he himself was never able
to hoard money, and died in debt.

The journey from Medinah to Meccah which has
been previously described appears this time to have
been more than the Prophet's strength could sup-
port; an d he is said to have felt signs of ill-health

* Musnad, vi., 278.
f Ibid,, iii., 256.
% Ibid., iv., 143.
§ Jahiz, Misers, 12.
I Musnad, iii., 85.
T Jahiz, Misers, 201.

466 Mohammed

immediately after his return. News also reached
him of risings in South Arabia, which however did
not come to a head till after his death ; and he de-
termined to organise an expedition against the
Byzantines in Syria in order that the defeat of
Mutah might be wiped out. As leader of this ex-
pedition he chose the son of Zaid, Usamah, a proper
person to avenge his father's death, yet in the opin-
ion of the Moslems unsuited from his age, which
was twenty, to command an army destined to fight
the greatest known power. Some criticism of this
appointment reached Mohammed's ears, to which he
replied with bitterness. It would appear that his
mind became somewhat unhinged because of his
illness ; at dead of night, it is said, a fit took him to
go out to the cemetery called Al-Baki', and ask for-
giveness for the dead who were buried there. This
indeed he had done before ; Ayeshah once followed
him like a detective when he started out at night,
supposing him to be bent on some amour: but his
destination she found was the graveyard.* This
time he roused his slave or freedman, Abu Muwai-
hibah, of whom little is otherwise known, whom he
bade accompany him to the cemetery ; there he
raised his hand to heaven and interceded for the
dead in a lengthy prayer, after which he congratu-
lated them on being better off than those who re-
mained behind. He then returned to Ayeshah who
complained of a headache ; he also complained of
one in answer, and asked Ayeshah whether it would
not be better for her if she died first, since she would

* Alusnad. vi., 221.

The Last Year 467

have the advantage of having her obsequies per-
formed by the Prophet of God ; to which she re-
torted that he would also be able on returning to
install a fresh bride in her place. He then spent the
night restlessly wandering over his harem till he col-
lapsed in the chamber of Maimunah ; whence he
begged to be transferred to the chamber of the
favourite Ayeshah. Thither he was carried, in a
high fever, by some of his relations or followers.
Though women are ordinarily doctors among the
Bedouins,* and indeed a woman named Rufaidah f
ordinarily treated the wounded at Medinah, male
physicians were not wholly unknown in Arabia at
this time, and one Harith, son of Kaldah, a man of
Ta'if, enjoyed a great reputation, and is said to have
been called in by the Prophet when his followers
were ill:):; nor is the tradition wholly silent about
male physicians resident at Medinah ; a Taimite or
Tamimite physician, Abu Ramthah,§ had offered to
remove the excrescence on the Prophet's back
which was supposed to be the " Stamp of Prophecy."
Ayeshah further declared that the Prophet's health
had long been precarious, and that his numerous
visitors from all parts of Arabia used to favour him
with a variety of prescriptions which she used to
make up. I But of course the Prophet like other
prophets was himself a medicine man, and was
accustomed to heal by incantations,^" cauterization,

* Wellhausen, Reste, 161; Ehe, 448.

\Ibn Sad II , ii., 7.

\ Muslim, ii., 184.

§ Musnad, iv., 163; /•/., iii., 315.

\Ibid., vi., 67. ^ Ibid., iv., 259.

468 Mohammed

and other approved methods. He had therefore in
the first instance to prescribe for himself in virtue
of his office, and demanded a cold-water douche,
which was carried out with the aid of a bath belong-
ing to one of his wives. The ground for this treat-
ment was that fever came from sparks of Hell-Fire,
which might be extinguished with water*; just
as a cold bath was a remedy for anger, which
had a similar source, f The douche would have
probably been recommended by other doctors of
the time, and even now is sometimes prescribed for
the reduction of temperature. The exact conse-
quences of this treatment in the Prophet's case are
not recorded ; it seems however to have ended in
convulsions and loss of consciousness, from which
he was aroused after a time by the forcing of some
Abyssinian drug into his mouth.

The accounts of what happened after the Prophet
had been flung on the bed of sickness are for the
most part untrustworthy, evidently fictions intended
to support the political interests of rival claimants
to the succession, or to glorify the Prophet, and
make his death, if not the result of choice, at least
foreknown — on the principle which has already been
seen at work in the accounts of his defeat at Uhud.
And indeed the same man whose advice had been
followed on the memorable day of Badr, Hubab, son
of Al-Mundhir, claimed that on his deathbed too
the Prophet followed his counsel : asked whether
their Prophet should go or stay, the other Moslems
desired him to remain with them, but Hubab coun«

* Musnad, vi., 91. \IHd, t iv., 226.

The Last Year 469

selled him to go whither his Maker summoned him,
and to this counsel the Prophet consented. It
appears to be certain that he fell ill on a Thursday
and died on a Monday ; and that during these last
days Abu Bakr, probably according to his wont, per-
formed public worship in his stead. Between the
stroke and his death there may or may not have
been a lucid interval ; Ayeshah seems to have de-
clared that there was none, and thereby to have
refuted the pretensions of Ali to have been nomin-
ated successor*: but her interest in this question
deprives her evidence of some of its value. Thus
she refused to allow that Ali was one of those who
carried the Prophet to her chamber.*)- Moreover her
statements appear to have been quite inconsistent.
In one account she makes the Prophet lie peace-
fully with a cup of water by his side, with which he
occasionally moistened his brow — suffering indeed
terribly, but not unconscious.'): At one period he is
said to have asked for parchment or for " a blade
bone " and ink, that he might write a body of rules
for the guidance of Moslems ; a request which was
attributed to delirium, and therefore refused. This
anecdote appears to be genuine, because it is diffi-
cult to conceive any motive which can have led to
its invention : but we know not why the request
should have been refused. Another specimen of his
dying words is a treble injunction, of which however
the third member was forgotten : the two that were
remembered were a desire that all non-Moslems

* Bokhari, ii., 185.

f Afusnad, vi., 32. \ Ibid., vi., 34.

4/o Mohammed

might be banished from the Arabian peninsula, and
a request that deputations might be paid according
to the rate which he had instituted. This, if really
said, was probably said in delirium : for the second
precept was too trivial for so solemn an occasion ;
and the first (in the spirit of the sanguinary Omar)
was directly opposed to the policy which he had
urged in his most recent dealings, according to
which Christians and Jews were to be left undis-
turbed provided they paid a poll-tax. Another utter-
ance which he is supposed to have made was a prayer
for assistance in bearing the pangs of death. More
credence attaches to the stories that the pain which
he endured was extremely severe and that owing to
the fierceness of the fever he could not endure the
hand of any one on his person. Nor is it necessary
to reject a story that he told his daughter Fatimah
that she would follow him speedily : for predictions
of this sort from dying mouths seem to be attested
even in these days — whatever may be their psycho-
logical explanation.

So the strong man was stricken down, and the
business of Islam was for the time at a standstill.
Usamah waited with his army outside Medinah,
not knowing whether he should start, since perhaps
the need for fighting was over. The Moslems
assembled in groups, discussing eventualities. Ab-
bas, the uncle, who could tell from the look of a
Hashimite when he was going to die, would have
asked the Prophet to leave the throne to his family ;
but AH dissuaded him, urging that if the Prophet
refused, the Moslems would never give it them ;

The Last Year 471

whereas, if he named no successor, his kin would
be likely to succeed.*

The treatment which the women followed is not
recorded, and is not likely to have been wise or
scientific. The length of time occupied by the fever
is also uncertain ; but probably it was not more than
five days. There is nothing surprising in a man of
over sixty succumbing to a fever. But his collapse
may have been helped by his excesses, or (as many
thought) by the poison of the Jewess of Khaybar ;
or by his belief that water could not be contamin-
ated, whence he drank unhesitatingly from a well
that served as a sink ; or finally by the anxieties of
royalty. Presently,f when Ayeshah was nursing
him, his head sank, and a drop of cold moisture fell
from his mouth on the hollow of her chest. The in-
experienced nurse took fright, and fancying that he
had fainted, called for help ; her father coming in
found the Prophet dead. On Monday, June 7, 632,
the curtains were drawn and the Moslems with Abu
Bakr in front of them took a last gaze at the face of
their Prophet, which looked like a parchment leaf of
the Koran.J

His political work was not left half finished at his
death : he had founded an empire with a religious
and a political capital ; he had made a nation of a
loose agglomeration of tribes. He had given
them a rallying-point in their common religion, and
therein discovered a bond more permanent than a
dynasty. The old faiths which had survived so

* Musnad, i., 263.

\Ibid., vi., 220. \ Ibid., iii., no.

472 Mohammed

long in secluded Arabia had been given their death-
blow : some of their practice was indeed taken over
unaltered, but the old names were utterly destroyed.
" Though Mohammed is dead, yet is Mohammed's
God not dead."

Twenty-three years had transferred him from his
shop in Meccah to the throne of an empire which
threatened to engulf the world. Had he lived he
could scarcely have increased it faster than his suc-
cessors, though the brief setback in the period of
the rebellion might have been avoided. Broader-
minded than Omar he might have made Islam weigh
less heavily on the subject populations : though,
having no notion of a constitution, he could not
have inaugurated any permanent or self-righting
political system.

In the course whereby he reached his eminence
we have had constantly to admire a genius equal to
the emergencies, but, if the phrase be intelligible,
not too great for them. Security for his person he
wisely regarded as the first condition of success : a
crown would be useless if he had no head to wear it.
He also held that chances must not be thrown away,
and while regularly profiting by other men's scruples,
allowed no scruples to stand between him and suc-
cess. He estimated accurately what the emergencies
required, and did not waste his energies in giving
them more.


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Shewing location of Chief Tribes


Gulf of Oma.n




\ C E A N





J—' All



'Abbas, uncle of M., 49, 169,

271. 373
Abbas, son of Mirdas, 336,

'Abd, 'slave', prefixed to

various names of God or

gods gives proper names

of men.
Abdallah, father of M., 45
— , son of Abu '1-Arkam, 448
— , son of Abu Bakr, 207
— , son of Abu Rabi'ah, 159
— , son of Jahsh, 244
— , son of Jud'an, 54, 56
— , son of Mas'ud, 98
— , son of Rawahah, 267,

275. 32,3. 359. 379
— , son of Salam, 229
— , son of Ubayy, 194, 225,

285, 292, 315, 318, 356,

34o, 419
— , son of Zaid, 222
Abd al-Muttalib, grandfather

of M., 48, 49
Abd al- Rahman, son of 'Auf,

99. 235

hi al-Rahman, son of 'Uya-


i"'ih, 353
AM Ifanaf, clan, 165
Abrad, 433

Abraham, unknown to Pagan
Arabs, 73; supposed to
have been an iconoclast,
107; to have prayed for
his father, 266

Abu, 'father?, prefixed to
another name gives kun-
yah, a sort of patronymic.

Abu 'Afak, satirist, 277

Abu 'Amir, 'the Monk,' 233,
290, 424

Abu Bakr converted, 83;
165, 206

Abu Bara 'Amir, 312

Abu Dharr, 108

Abu Dirar, 339

Abu Hurairan, 352

Abu Jahl, 80, 128, 146, 153,
247, 260

Aim Kabshah, 50

Abu Katadah, 355

Abu Kubais, Mt., 386

Abu Lahab, uncle of M., 123,
153, 168; death of, 268

Abu "l-'Asi, son-in-law of M.,

Abu '1-Hukaik, 359
Abu '1-Kasim, patronymic of

M., 71
Abu Lubabah, 253, 331
Abu Muwaihibah, slave of

M., 466

* (M. — Mohammed.) f Arabic words in italics, and transla-
tion in inverted commas.



Index and Glossary

Abu Ramthah, 467

Abu Sufyan, son of Harb, 33,
65 ; his character, 153 ; 253,
converted, 385; 429

Abu Sufyan, son of Al-
Harith, 123, 366

Abu Talhah, 399

Abu Talib, uncle of M., 16,
123; his death, 175

Abu 'Ubaidah, son of Al-
Jarrah, no, 266, 434

Abwa, burial-place of mother
of M., 45

Abyssinia, 36, 158

Abyssinian elements in Ko-
ran, 96

'Adal and Karah, tribes,

'Adi, son of Hatim, 437
Adultery punished with

stoning, 457
'Ainain, Mt., 292
'Akabah, 202
— , second, 204
'Akib, son of Usaid, 409
'Akil, son of Abu Talib, 212
Al-Akhram, of tribe Asad,

Al-Akra, son of Habis, 415
Alexander the Great, 137
'AH, son of Abu Talib, no,

123, 208, 281, 295, 343
Allah, god of the Kuraish,

19, 143; his daughters, 142
Alms, 412, 413
Aminah, mother of M., 45
'Amir, son of Fuhairah, 208
— , son of Tufail, 312, 433
'Ammar, son of Yasir, 108
'Amr, son of Abasah, 107
— , son of Al-'Asi, 159, 374
— , son of Al-Hadrami, 245,

— , son of Jahsh, 314
— , son of Umayyah, 310
'Amrah, wife of crhurab, 291
Anas, son of Malik, 212
— , son of Nadir, 299

Ancestors of M., 47

Angels, help of, at Badr, 263,
at Hunain, 401 ; said to be
Allah's daughters, 143

Apostates from Islam, 158

Arabs, armour of, 259;
Christianity of, 35; gene-
alogies of, 3, 4; morality
of, 28; polygamy among,
26; religion of, 20

Arbiters in pagan times, 18

'Arfajah, son of Al-As'ad, 72

'Arj, 211

Al-Arkam, 108; residence of
M. in his house, ibid.

Armour of Arabs, 259

As' ad, son of Zurarah, 195,
196, 202, 203, 213, 220, 230

Asceticism, discouraged by
M., 173

Ashtat, 345

Aslam, tribe, 211

'Asma, daughter of Unais,

— , poetess, 278
Atonement, Day of, 240
Aus, tribe, 186, 193
Axum, 157
Ayeshah, wife of M., 61, 176,

195, 234, 239, 321, 322,

342, 418, 450


Badr, battle of, 255

Badris, 'men who fought at

Badr,' 269
Bakr, clan of Kinanah, 382
Banu, 'sons of; prefixed to

a name, serves to designate

a tribe, 38
Banu 'Amir, 312
Banu Asad, 311
Banu Ashja', 323
Banu Harithah, 293
Banu Ka'b, 414
Banu Kainuka', 279
Banu Murrah, 323
Banu Mustalik, 341, 416

Index and Glossary


Banu Sa'd, 38, 51
Banu Salamah, 293
Banu Zuhrah, 45, 254
Barrah, wife of M., 339
Bible, the, in- Arabia, 42
Biblical phraseology of M., 60
Biblical stories in Koran,

107, 130
Bilal, muezzin of M., 96, 222,

Bishr, son of Al-Bara, 361
— , son of Suf yan, 414
Black Stone, 8; kissing of, 79
Blood-feud, 32; attitude of

M. towards, 446
Book, people of the, 41
Bostra, 1, 376
Bu'ath, battle of, 195
Budail, son of Warka, 346,

3 8 3
Burning alive forbidden by

M., 458

Calendar of M., 393
Call to prayer, 222
Camels, 262
Caravans, Meccan, 57
Catechism, Mohammedan,

Chase, rules for the, 438
Chieftains, qualifications of,

l l
Christianity in Arabia, 35

Christians, disputes between,
75; M.'s antipathy to, 435

Clans, 10

Clients, 12, 199

Clothes, superstitions con-
nected with, 94

Commissariat, Meccan, 253

Conversions, order of, 98

Council-chamber at Meccah,
72, 207

Crucifixion permitted by M.,

Cruelty to animals forbidden
by M., 458. 459

Dahhak, 399

Damrah, tribe, 242

Dates, payment in, at Yath-
rib, 191

Daus, tribe, 182

Day of Judgment, 87, 127

Deputations to M., 431, 453

Dhtmmis, 'members of toler-
ated religions, who have to
pay tribute (jizyah),' 359

Dhu Kar, battle of, 34.

Duh Karad, affair of, 355.

Dhu l'-Hulaifah, 344

Dhu '1-Majaz, 184

Dihyah personated by Ga-
briel, 366

Dirges, 268

Dissent, commencement of,
in Islam, 423

Ditch, battle of, 325

Dowries of women, 28

Drunkenness, how punished,

Dumat-al-Jandal, or Duma,

Duraid, son of Al-Simmah,



Egypt, 57

Elephant, year of the, 37, 345
Epilepsy, 46

Excommunication, at Mec-
cah, 167

Fadak, 362

Fairs, of pagan days, 5, 393

Fatimah, daughter of M., 236

280, 282, 451, 470
Fazarah, tribe, 323
Feast, Meccan, 181
Fever, its supposed cause,

468; at Medinah, 224, 437
Fijar wars, 54, 55. 3°*


Index and Glossary

Food, regulations concern-
ing, 77, 126

Forts at Khaibar, 357; at
Yathrib, 190, 191

Gabriel, the Angel, 91, 156,

231, 360
Games of Bedouins, 53
Genealogies, Arabian, 3, 4
Ghailan, son of Salamah, 403
Ghassanides, n
Ghatafan, collection of tribes,

Ghumaisa, 391
Goddesses, cult of, 26
Gospel, translated by Wara-

kah, 42


Hafsah, daughter of Omar,

307, 416, 417
Hakim, son of Hizam, 67,

Halik, the Christian, 237
Hamzah, uncle of M., 155,

240, 281, 295
Hand-cutting for theft, 457
Hanif, 'alternative name for

Moslems,' 116
Harb, son of Umayyah, 56
Al-Harith, son of Abd Kulal,

— , son of Abu Halah, 120
— , son of 'Auf, 323
— , son of Kaldah, 467
— , son of Al-Simmah, 260
— , son of 'Umair, 377
Harithah, son of Al-Nu'man,

Al-Hasan, grandson, of M.

Hashim, ancestor of M., 16,

Hasin, son of 'Ubaid, 142
Hassan, son of Thabit, court-
poet, of M., 287, 341, 415

Hatib, son of Abu Balta'ah,

I ©9. 37 1
Hatib, of Mu'awiyah clan,

Hatim of Tay, 436
Haudhah, son of 'Ali, 38,

Hawazin, collection of tribes,

54, 385, 395, 407
Helpers and Refugees, 223
Heraclius, emperor, 366, 367,

Al-Hijr, rock-tombs at, 58,

Hind, daughter of 'Utbah,

wife of Abu Sufyan, 57,

306, 390
Hira, Mt., 90
Hirah, kings of, 34, 54
Hisham, son of Al-'Asi, 205
— , son of Mughirah, 1 1
Horses, love of M: for, 53
Houris, 88
Hubab, son of Al-Mundhir,

258, 330, 468
Hubal, god of the Kuraish,

19; his oracle, 17
Hud, prophet, 131
Hudaibiyah, affair of, 346

Hudhail, tribe, 309
Hudhalites, 390
Hulais, son of 'Alkamah, 346
Hunain, battle of, 402
Huyayy, son of Akhtab, 315,

3 2 7»33o» 359
Hypocrites, 225

'Ibad and Ibn his son, Christ-
ians of Herah, 102
Ibn Kami'ah, 298
Ibrahim, son of M., 369, 450
Iconoclasm, at Medinah, 202
Idolatry, compromise of M.

with, 173
'Ikrimah, son of Abu Jahl,

Index and Glossary


Imru 'ulkais, 65
Infanticide, 29, 459, 460
Iyad, son of Himar, 58


Jabr, son of Abdallah, 106,


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