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Zxhvavy of Che theological Seminar jo




Delavan L. Pierson



Islam and Christianity in
India and the Far East




REV. E. M. WHERRY, M.A., D.D. f 7g/

For thirty years a missionary of
the Presbyterian Church in India


The Student Lectures on Missions at Princeton
Theological Seminary for 1906-07

New York Chicago Toronto

Fleming H. Revell Company

London and Edinburgh

Copyright, 1907, by

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 80 "Wabash Avenue
Toronto: 25 Richmond St., W.
London : 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street

To My Co-workers

Missions to Moslems


The Papers published in this volume, prepared specially
for the Students' Lecture Course on Missions at the
Princeton Theological Seminary, sum up the results
of many years of study in connection with missionary
work in India. The object has not been so much to
present what is most interesting in connection with the
cause of missions to Mohammedans, as to set forth the
facts and conditions under which, on the one hand,
Islam has been propagated in India and the countries
farther east, and on the other, Christianity has estab-
lished its missions for the evangelisation of all non-
Christians, Moslems included. In the accomplishment
of this purpose I have endeavoured to give a brief ac-
count of the religion of Islam, in order to show the
character and quality of the work to be done in order
to evangelise its votaries. Two chapters are then de-
voted to an account of the propagation of Islam in
India and the Far East.

One of these emphasises the services of the proselyting
sword. The other illustrates the power which Islam
has exerted along the line of preaching. Taken to-
gether, these chapters show that in Islam, preaching
and teaching normally follow upon the heels of the in-
vading Moslem army, and on the other hand that the
preaching of Islam invariably calls in the aid of the
secular power. We also learn how very difficult it ia



for a Church once made subject to the Moslem con-
queror to exert any active influence for the evangelisa-
tion of its Moslem neighbours.

In the following chapters I have endeavoured to give
an account of the Church's endeavour to bring the
Gospel to the Moslems in India, China and Malaysia.
This endeavour now appears not unlike the efforts of
those intrepid travellers who many years since started
out to discover the sources of the Nile. One after an-
other entered upon this most diflScult undertaking, each
accomplished something of value, but for a long time
the intrepid voyager either sacrificed his life in the wilds
of Central Africa or returned to confess a failure. In
due time the persistence of man has revealed the secret ;
the sealed doors at the head of the great mysterious
river have been opened and once more the deserts of
Egypt and Nubia are being converted into fruitful fields.
The missionaries of the Eastern and Western Catholic
Churches have done their work. Great tomes were writ-
ten by them to expound to Christian readers the Quran
and the Traditions of Islam. Some Moslems were con-
verted, but the light of the Gospel was so obscured by
the darkness of superstition and idolatry as to fail to
reveal the way to the hearts of the followers of Moham-
med. It remained for Protestant Christianity to bring
to the Moslems of India and the Ear East the clear
light of the teachings of Jesus Christ. It remained
for Protestant governments to bring to the Moslem
world the gospel of religious liberty and to enable the
Christian evangelist to present the saving truth of God's
Word to his Moslem hearer without let or hindrance.


I have endeavoured to indicate some of the dangers
which beset the agents of the Church in their evangel-
istic work among Moslems. My supreme desire is that
the reading of this book may convince every Christian
missionary that the weapons which will best bring vic-
tory to the Christian standards are prayer for the
power of God's Holy Spirit to guide and prompt every
word and act for their evangelisation, to enable the
Christian to voice the Gospel in hia life and dealings
with them, and finally to place his dependence upon the
Bible as the sword of the Spirit, able to convince and to
convert the hearts of Moslem readers and hearers.

God has vouchsafed much success to the work already
begun. The Moslem may now read the Gospels in his
own mother tongue in any part of the world. Many
who once were faithful followers of Islam are now
zealous preachers of the Gospel. The Christian schools
and colleges are busy educating Moslem youth and a
thousand influences are being exerted to show the
Mohammedan world the truth as it is in Jesus.

Finally, it has been my hope that the reading of these
chapters would impress upon those who have in hand
the direction of the work of Missionary societies the
great importance of having a number of men, thor-
oughly qualified by a practical acquaintance with the
Arabic language and the literature of Islam, whom
they could send into mission fields where Moslems live,
with a view to some special work for the conversion
of these monotheists to Christianity.

Many such fields are now open to missionary en-
deavour. For them we need the best men the Church


can afford — ^men who, in the spirit of Henry Martyn,
Isidor Loewenthal, Ion Keith Falconer, Bishop French,
Peter Zwemer, and many others gone to their reward,
hold not their lives dear; men who carry the burden of
these millions of Moslems upon their hearts, and with
Abraham of old cry out : " 0, that Ishmael might live
before thee ! " The one thing we need to bear in mind
is that the Moslem must not be treated as a heathen.
They accord us the honourable title of Ahl-i-Kitab,
People of the Book, because we believe in a revealed
religion. They, too, believe in a revealed religion.
Let us take them on their own ground and as those
zealous for the Word of God challenge them to stand
with us upon this claim that we are the People of the
Book. " To the Word and the testimony." Here is the
issue, and, standing here in His name who has all
power in heaven and earth, who is the only sinless
prophet of Islam, who is in heaven where He ever
maketh intercession for all who call upon His name,
and who shall come again, we need not fear the result.
In the preparation of this book, I have been depend-
ent upon many, whose works I have consulted and
from whom I have quoted. A list of these is given
elsewhere. To these writers I desire to confess my
obligation and in the name of my co-labourers I would
thank them for the service they have rendered to the
cause of Moslem evangelisation.

Elwood Moebis Wheery



Peculiarities in Moslem customs and religious ceremonies.
Special phases in India and the Far East should be under-
stood. Islam defined. The Four Pillars. The Quran, how
given, its form and teaching, its composition. The Tra-
ditions of Islam — sample of traditions. Consensus of Mos-
lem fathers. Analogical reasoning. Schools of interpre-
tation. The Moslem creed. Divine attributes of God. The
God of Islam. The Eternal Word of God. Jesus the only-
sinless prophet of Islam. The Moslem Antichrist. The
Kalima. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Pilgrimage. The
political value of Jihad or Holy War. Various sects of
Moslems. Moslem theology. Islam the only rival of
Christianity for supremacy in the world. The Moslem
problem 17



The history of Moslem Conquest valuable to the Christian
missionary. India in the eighth century was wholly idola-
trous. The sad condition of its caste-ridden and caste-
divided people. The Arab Conquest of Sindh. Principles
of Moslem invasion. The proselyting sword. The condi-
tions of the Zimmies. Political and social influences used
to further the spread of religion. Missionary efforts. Work
among low caste population.



The Turkish Conquest of India. Sabuliagin. Mahmud of
Ghazni. Ma'sud. Mohammed Ghori. Kutb-ud-din Aybels
at Delhi. Bakhtiyar Khan in Bengal. Firoz Shah Taghlak.
Altamish. Conquest in Central and Western India. Mo-
hammed Taghlak. Bahlol Lodi's invasion. The great Mo-
guls: Babar, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb.
All India subject to Moslem rule. The decline and fall of
the Mogul Empire. The advent of the English. India
under Christian regime 45



Here Islam was propagated by peaceful methods. These
lands wholly idolatrous. Arabian merchants became mis-
sionaries. Testimony of mediaeval and modern travellers.
Islam established in China. Method of propagating Islam.
Arab army won over to China. Intermarriage. Character
of Chinese Moslems. Adoption of dress and national habits.
The Hoi Hoi rebellion. Moslem population in China.
Strength of Islam in China.

Islam in Malay Peninsula. The merchant missionary.
Islam in Sumatra. The Acheenese. Wahabi reform.
Sheikh Abdullah and his mission. Catching the people by
guile. Islam in Java and the Moluccas. Islam in Borneo
and the Celebes. Islam in the Philippines. Moslem popula-
tion in Malaysia. Education and schools for Moslems.
Need of evangelising non-Moslems 72




Political conditions of Indian Moslems. Why Moslems
have not progressed as other classes. Moslem bigotry and
ultra-conservancy. The Anjuman-i-Himayet-i-Islam-Aligarh


College. Mission Colleges and Moslem education. The
Moslem in Government service. Moslem loyalty. Christian
rule the Saviour of Islam. Caste among Moslems, Mos-
lem brotherhood. Low moral standards. Polygamy. Purity
and the contrary. Religion divorced from morality. The
Moslem cultivator. Islam's influence on a nation. Fanati-
cism illustrated by conduct during plague in India. Vices
of the wealthy classes. Drunkenness among Moslems. In-
tellectual and moral condition of Moslems in China and
Malaysia. The sects and schools of Islam. Heretical sects.
Reforms. Moral sense low. Attitude toward Christians
and Christianity. Moslem missionaries. Outlook. . 100



Syrian Christianity in Southern India. The story of its
planting unwritten. Exerted no influence on Islam. The
Nestorians of China — came in along overland trade routes.
Their influence in thirteenth century. Did not influence
Islam, but eventually were absorbed in Moslem community.
Roman Catholic Missions at Court of the Grand Khan
of the Tartars. The Prester John Movement. Jesuit
Influence lost through political manoeuvring. Catholic Mis-
sions to Moslems in China accomplished nothing. Portu-
guese Mission to Great Mogul, Hieronymo Xavier at
Lahore. His writings. Jesuits at Court of Akbar. Their
discussions with Moslem Mullahs. Causes of failure to
Influence Mohammedans at Agra. Their failure in Malaysia
and the Philippines so far as Islam is concerned.

The missions of the Dutch in Sumatra and Java: their
schools and churches. Success among Moslem population.
Protestant Missions and Islam in India. Henry Martyn
translates the New Testament into Urdu and Persian. His
converts. American and English Missions to Indian Mos-
lems. Scriptures translated into Bengali, Pashtu, Kash-
miri, Panjabi, Sindhi, Beluchi, and Hindi. Schools for Mos-
lem boys. Method of evangelistic work. Public preaching.


Controversy. Converts from Islam — their zeal and effi-
ciency. The Bible as a message to Moslems. The influence
of the Protestant impact upon Islam. Changed attitude of
Moslems toward Christians. The large number of pastors,
evangelists, and teachers who were once Moslems. The
Cairo Conference — its lessons. Church Union and Chris-
tian unity as a factor in solving the Moslem problem. 126



Controversy between Christians and Moslems at Akbar's
Court. Hieronymo Xavier's Controversey with Moslems in
Lahore. Subjects of discussion. The Moslem attitude
toward Christian doctrine same as now. Samples of Mos-
lem argument.

Henry Martyn and the Persian Mullahs. Mirza Ibrahim's
book in reply to Martyn. Mohammed Raza of Hamadan.
The Rev. C. G. Pfander. His Mizan ul Haqq. Discussions
with Agra Mullahs. The Moslem opposition. "The Lion's
Onslaught." Indian converts from Islam and the contro-
versy. Maulvie Safdar All's Niaz Nama. Maulvie Imad-
uddin's writings. The New Islam. Imaduddin's reply to
Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the 20th-
century Messiah. The writings of eminent laymen In aid
of Christian cause. The present position. . . 150




The Wa'iabI Movement In India and Malaysia. Its
political aspirations end In failure. Its indirect effect on
Islam. The New Islam Movement Inaugurated by Sir Say-
yad Ahmad Khan. Educational revival. Effort to change
the issue between Islam and Christianity. Slavery, Polyg-


amy, and Crusade opposed. The condition of women to
be improved. The reform movement of Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad. His magazine. His antagonism against Chris-
tianity. Claims to meet Christians on their own ground.
Denies the death of Jesus on the cross. Christ died and
was buried in Srinagar Kashmir.

All advance movements have failed to find an adjust-
ment of Islam to the environment of the present age. Dr.
Weitbrecht's statement on the New Islam. Moslem mis-
sions in England and America. A revised prayer service.
The logical trend of this attempt to revise Islam is to bring
it back to Christianity 173




Moslems in India and Malaysia know but little as to their
eacred books. Have been strongly Influenced by the hea-
then environment. Special methods of evangelisation sug-
gested by the circumstances of Moslems in India and
Malaysia. Large Moslem populations subject to Christian
rule. Characteristics of Islam which determine methods of
approach. Preaching to Moslems. Subjects of discourse.
Controversy in public. The press as a sphere for con-
troversy. Importance of a grave, dignified manner. The
use of literature. Islam on the move. The Christian's faith
and hope in God, . • . a • • • 192


IsLAM^ like Christianity, has undergone many changes
since it was first promulgated. There is, of course, a
system of fundamental doctrine which is everywhere
recognised; but, like the human form, this system may
undergo so many changes in its outward complexion
and habiliments as to make the religion of one sect
or race differ materially from that of another. Any
traveller in Egypt or Russia would readily recognise
a Christian church and its service on the Lord's day,
and yet its appointments, the vestments of its minis-
ters and the forms of service, would seem so strange as
to make him feel himself to be among strangers. The
use of charms, the holy water, the reverence paid to
the images and pictures of the saints, and the super-
stitious ceremonies and attitudes of the worshippers,
would possibly make him feel that he was mistaken
in supposing that he had entered a place consecrated
to the worship of the true God. In like manner such
a traveller, if visiting the mosques of the Mussulmans
in Egypt or Turkey would find the rites and cere-
monies of worship to accord with his ideal as learned
from the standard writings on the religion of Islam.
But when he should undertake to acquaint himself
with Islam as it is practised by villagers in Bengal or
those in China and Malaysia, he would often be in



doubt as to whether these men, with their charms
and their reverence for the tombs and pillars erected
in the honour of saints, were really Moslems at all.
'Not long ago, an American writer, describing the man-
ners, and customs of the natives of the Island of
Mindanao, said he could not understand their aversion
to pork. And even when one of the natives told him
a story to show why it was, he did not apprehend the
fact that those people were Mohammedans. So long
had these poor people been without the usual teachings
of the mullahs, so long had they concealed their identity
from their Spanish persecutors, that they had almost
lost their religion. In India, both extremes of Moslem
faith and practice may be found. The stately mosques
of Delhi, Agra and Lahore conserve the orthodox wor-
ship, faith and practice as pure as they are in the
mosques of Turkey and Syria. But in the villages and
remote places, amid tribes who have never been well
instructed, many practices will be found which are
foreign to orthodox Islam.

In attempting, therefore, to give an account of Islam
in India and the Far East, it seems best that I should
begin by a brief statement in regard to Islam in gen-
eral and show what is the rule of faith and practice
among the two hundred and thirty million Moham-
medans in the world. Such a presentation will also
enable us better to appreciate the problem of their
evangelisation. Besides, it is only fair that we should
see the Moslem as he sees himself.

To the Moslem, Islam is the only true religion. It
is God's revelation, made to Adam and all the ante-


diluvian patriarchs and saints. It was the religion of
Abraham and Moses, of David and the prophets of
Israel, and of Jesus and the twelve apostles. When
this true religion became corrupt and the world was
given over to idolatry, it was once more revealed in
its purity to Mohammed through the medium of the
Quran. To the Moslem, therefore, Islam comprehends
the faith of all dispensations. It is the religion of the
genii and the angels, and shall only find its consumma-
tion in eternity. \

Islam may be called the religion of submission to
God. Every Moslem professes to have " placed his neck
under the yoke of God.^' His boast is that he is a
Mussulman, one who has submitted himself to God.
This religion, like that of the Christian, is an exclusive
religion. It admits none other as true. Indeed, it
claims that Islam is true Christianity, that it is the
Christianity of Christ. The modern Moslem contro-
versialist endeavours to show that Paul was the real
author of Gentile Christianity. From this standpoint,
Christianity is a Moslem heresy, just as almost all
mediaeval Christian writers down to the Eeformation
declared Mohammedanism to be a Christian heresy.
Moslem doctors tell us of four pillars of their faith : the
Quran; the Traditions (Ahadis) ; the unanimous con-
sent of the learned, (Ijma) ; and analogous reasoning
based upon the Quran, the Traditions and the teaching
of the learned {Qiyas).

The Quran is believed to be the word of God in
the sense that every word, jot, and tittle is a matter of
divine revelation. The original is inscribed upon the


preserved table (Luli-i-mahfuz) , which is kept under
the throne of God. From this table the Quran was
copied by the angel Gabriel and committed to Moham-
med, who thus became the mouthpiece of God.

It may be of interest to repeat here the story of
Mohammed's call to recite the Quran as told among
Moslems in all lands. He had been living in a cave
near the City of Mecca, where he spent the days and
nights in devotion and prayer. One day he came home
and told his wife Khadijah in great trepidation that he
had a vision. He then said " Wrap me up ! wrap me
up ! '' She wrapped him up in a cloak and comforted him
until his fear was dispelled. Then he said that the
angel Gabriel had come to him in the cave and com-
manded him to read. He replied, " I am not a reader."
" Then," said Mohammed, " the angel took hold of me
and squeezed me as much as I could bear, and he let
me go and said, ^ Read.' And I said, ' I am not a
reader.' Then he took hold of me and again squeezed
me as much as I could bear and said;


Read ! in the name of thy God who created man.

Read ! for thy Lord is most beneficent ;

He hath taught men the use of the pen ;

He hath taught man that which he knoweth not."

After hearing this story, and learning that her hus-
band feared he was going to die, or that he was subject
to some demoniacal possession, the faithful Khadijah
said to him, "No, it will not be so. I swear by God
he will never make you melancholy or sad. For verily
you are kind to your relatives, you speak the truth, you


are faithful in trusts, you bear the afflictions of the
people, you spend in good works what you gain in
trade, you are hospitable, and you assist your fellow-
men/' She then took him to her cousin Waraka, who
was reputed a holy man,^ and acquainted with the
Jewish Scriptures. To him the story of the vision was
repeated. Waraka then said, " This is the Namus
which God sent to Moses." By this statement Waraka
meant that Mohammed was now the subject of inspira-
tion. And here began his prophetic career.

From this time forth during the space of a score of
years, the revelations claimed by Mohammed were
recorded and committed to memory by his followers
and treasured up as the word of God. They were
given out piecemeal and were usually adapted to the
circumstances of the Prophet and his followers. The
messages were often announced when some exigency
of the new faith or of his personal interests required.
At Mecca the revelations condemned the idols in the
national pantheon, and vindicated the unity of the God-
head by reference to the testimony of nature and the
consciences of men.

The preaching of Mohammed gave great offence to
the tribe of the Koreish, which was recognised as the
principal tribe of Mecca and had long been the cus-
todian of the idol temple, the sacred Kaabah. They
laughed at him and called him a madman. They could
not do more, because he was under the protection of

1 Waraka has been supposed to have been a Jew, but
the probability Is he was an Arab who, with Mohammed
and others (Hanifs), had studied tliiS Scriptures of the
Jews and Christians to find the religion of Abraham.


powerful relatives. But they persecuted his followers
and even threatened them with death. The Quran
carefully notes these facts, and rebukes and threatens the
persecutors with the vengeance of heaven. It tells
them of the experiences of former prophets — how they
were mocked and persecuted by the unbelievers, how
God in his mercy warned them, how he wrought mira-
cles before them, and how the blinded wretches re-
jected the signs and rushed on to destruction. Some
were swallowed up by an earthquake. Others were
drowned in a flood. Once a hot wind blew upon a
slumbering city, leaving its inhabitants corpses. Again
a plague destroyed the enemies of God and his prophets.
The Jews were reminded of the fate of unbelievers
among them in the olden time.

Up to this point Mohammed stood as a witness for
God and bore the oppositions of his countrymen with
much patience and forbearance. But at Medina the
circumstances of the Prophet were entirely changed.
Jews and Arabs greeted him with gladness. There
was none now to persecute him or his followers. Even
the refugees to the court of the Abyssinian King now
returned and gathered around their Prophet. Here
the revelations began to speak in a conciliatory tone.
The Jews were even flattered. The Moslems were com-
manded to pray toward Jerusalem. The Old Testa-
ment Scriptures were commended in terms of great
praise. But all this was lost on the Jews. They would
not recognise the prophetical claims of this Arab
apostle. They soon began to ridicule his pretensions
and finally denounced him as an impostor.


The tone of the Quran now changed in its messages
concerning the Jews. They were now declared to be
a people accursed of God, because they had persecuted
and even killed the prophets of God. The temple at
Jerusalem was now abandoned and the Kaabah of
Mecca was chosen as the Kibla toward which the
faithful should pray. Christians were now spoken of
kindly. Their charity was praised. Jesus was de-
clared to be a prophet of God. His purity of character
and wonderful miracles were extolled.

By this time the new faith had gained many adher-
ents from among the Arabs, Jews, and Christians. But
a new adversary arose in the person of Abdullah-Ibn-

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Online LibraryElwood Morris WherryIslam and Christianity in India and the Far East → online text (page 1 of 15)