Skip to main content

Full text of "The Dabistan"

See other formats

material world,  and to the precepts of religious
reason, but they say that the law of the prophet is

\vas propagated by Knoch (also Hermes). The most ancient books of this
creed are reported to be written in the language which Adam and his
sons spoke: the Arabians still show a book of Seth. The original
religion of the Sabaians consisted in the veneration of the stars and of
angels, and coincided in its principal notions with the ancient system of
the Persians, as described in vol. I. Pursuant to Sheheristani, the Sa-
baians were worshippers of chapels and of images. The bodies of the
seven planets they called chapels; these they held to be inhabited by
intelligences, by which they were animated in .the same manner as our
bodies are by souls. They observed the rising, setting, and motion of the
stars, for the division of time, and, mixing superstitious notions and rites
with their observations, made seals and talismans, and used incantations
and particular prayers; they not only built chapels of different figures,
hut also formed images of different metals appropriated to each of the
planets; by the mediation of the images they had access to the chapels;
by means of the chapels to the intelligences or lords; and by aid of
these to the supreme God, the Lord of lords. In this manner they held
the planets to be inferior deities, mediators between man and the supreme
God. According to the before-mentioned Maimonides, they acknow-
ledged no deities except the stars, among which the sun was the greatest
Abul i'araj says that they firmly believed the unity of God.

Among the sects of this religion is that of the ffarbanists, or Harna-
nites: these believe one God manifesting himself in different bodies, hea-
venly and terrestrial, his creatures; he committed the government of the
inferior world to the first: these are the fathers, the elements the mothers,
and the compound beings the children of both. After the period of
3(5,425 years, the universe perishes; nature is then renewed by a couple
of each species of beings; thus centuries succeed each other, and there is
not any other resurrection.

Sabaism must be distinguished as ancient and modern. The first,
especially if so remote as it is said to be, can but have imparted, and
the other owe, more than one notion, dogma, and rite to Judaism,
Christiauism, and Muhammedism, all which may be considered as divi-
sions of one and the same Asiatic religion. Thus, in all the four reli-