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Many false prophets shall rise^ and shall deceive many. 

Matt. xxiv. ii. 

Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid^ which is 
Jesus Christ, i CoR. in. ii. 




Critically constidcceti 



{.W. KO 

I^OELLE, Ph.Dr. 








[All rig^hts reserved.\ 



So2 f 6 J7-/J^ 


A NEW work on Mohammed and Mohammedanism 
seems to require some words of explanation to the reading 
public whose attention it claims. There exists already a 
goodly number of such works, both in the English language 
and in other European languages. It stands to reason that 
any further addition should be able to justify itself, either 
by opening fresh sources of information, or by placing old 
materials into a new and clearer light Is this possible? 
Have the previous works, with the widely diverging results 
of their investigations, wholly exhausted the topic, or have 
they left room, if not for startling discoveries, at least for the 
useful gleanings of earnest and painstaking followers ? One 
of my English predecessors wrote, fifteen years ago, that the 
treatment of the subject * hardly now admits of originality.' 
Probably many are of the same opinion. But I would in 
all modesty, and yet with confidence, appeal to the judg- 
ment of any qualified reader, whether the following work 
possesses a degree of independence and originality sufficient 
to vindicate its place amongst all the more or less meri- 
torious productions by which it has been preceded. It is 
true, the historical data exist for all alike, and we cannot 
multiply them at will ; but in their investigation and utilisa- 
tion there remains a wide field for the play of a variety of 
talents and of sundry measures of judgment 

As in nature, so in history, objects assume a different 
aspect according to the standpoint from which they are 
contemplated. In the suitability of the different stand- 
points also there is a gradation from the worst to the best. 


As a rule, the higher and freer the standpoint, the more 
serviceable it is for obtaining a correct view. He would be 
a bold man who affirmed that he had so entirely exhausted 
the momentous subject of Islam and its Prophet, as to leave 
nothing more to be don^ by those who follow after. Taking 
for granted that my predecessors, whose merits I gratefully 
acknowledge, rather wished to encourage than prohibit 
further research, I kept my eyes open, whilst following in 
the way they had trodden, and judged for myself, as they 
had done before me. The intelligent reader, by accompany- 
ing me on the stern and bracing march of research, will be 
able to say, whether I have succeeded in observing here and 
there what had been left unnoticed by those who went before 
me, and in occasionally placing in a fuller and truer light 
what was already known. 

I would especially invite the thoughtful reader to direct 
his attention to the manner in which I have traced the 
development of Mohammed into the prophet he became ; to 
the inward harmony which I have shown to exist between 
his Meccan and Medinan periods, notwithstanding their out- 
ward dissimilarity ; to the large mythical element in the 
Moslem biographies which I have laid bare, together with 
the leading idea from which it sprang ; and to the peculiar 
character of the Mohammedan opposition to Christianity and 
Christendom, which I have pointed out in its fundamental 
principle and in its practical manifestation throughout the 
course of its history. It appears to me almost impossible 
that any judicious reader could honestly and impartially 
ponder the grave array of data and records which I unroll 
before him, without becoming convinced, with me, of the 
designedly and deeply antichristian character of the entire 
system of Islamism. 

Many have wondered at the haughty complacency and 
air of superiority with which the devout Mohammedans are 
wont to look down upon Christianity and its professors. 
Often the scanty success of Christian Missionary efforts 


amongst Mussulmans has been discussed as something 
strange, and calling for explanation. But leaving aside 
the intimate union between the secular and the religious 
in the Islamic system, which places the sword of coercion 
in its hand, and looking only at the transcendent halo of the 
mythical Mohammed, as it is set forth in my Second Book, 
who can wonder any longer that if such a Mohammed sits 
enthroned in the hearts of the Mohammedans, they should 
see in Christ but scant * comeliness and beauty ' that they 
* should desire Him ' ? What a mass of superstitious rubbish 
has to be swept away from the path of the pious Moslem, 
before his vision can become unimpeded and free enough to 
perceive the all-surpassing spiritual majesty of Him who 
could say, * He who hath seen me hath seen the Father ! * 
(John xiv. 9.) I repeat. Let any one who wonders why 
a greater number of Mohammedans do not become Chris- 
tians, carefully read our Second Book, and he will understand 
the self-sufficiency of men who regard such fancy-pictures of 
Mohammed as real, and such fairy-tales about his apostolic 
pre-eminence as true. In order to become Christians, the 
Moslems have as much to unlearn as to learn. 

Some Christian writers have considered it an act of jus- 
tice towards them to endeavour to prove that their Prophet 
was innocent of much with which Christians had charged 
him. No one will deny that justice is a virtue which 
we are bound to exercise even towards adversaries. But 
if our goodwill to the Mohammedans is of the sterling kind 
which wishes to help them into the full daylight of Chris- 
tian Truth, we are more likely to benefit them by frankly 
pointing out the distortion of tlie lengthened shadow they 
are following, and the perfect symmetry of the image it 
reflects, than by assuring them that however distorted the 
shadow may be, yet it is not quite so distorted as has been 
represented. Fashions are proverbially tyrannous. So 
strong has the modern fashion of * justice to Mohammed* 
grown, that it has sometimes manifested itself by positive 

viii PREFACE, 

misstatements in his favour. What hollow and undeserved 
praise has, e.g.^ been lavished on the Arabian Prophet by 
reason of his retirement to a cave on Mount Hira ! To such 
a degree these fancies have been repeated that they have 
become a widespread superstition. I trust that the advocates 
of fairness and justice, whom I claim as colleagues, will feel 
beholden to me for having reduced their exaggerating cave- 
story to its proper historical dimension. 

I have not concealed, throughout the work, that my 
standpoint, in forming a judgment, is that of Christianity. 
All civilised and well-informed men who have impartially 
studied the subject agree in this, that, as a whole, Christianity 
is far superior to Islam, or to any other existing religion. 
It further admits of not any doubt, that only by the light 
of the higher religion can the lower be rightly estimated: 
just as in nature, in science, and in art, the higher develop- 
ment throws the necessary light on the less developed 
forms. In judging anything, a standard is required to guide 
our judgment. I have not heard of any one having dis- 
cpvered a worthier standard for judging the claims of Moham- 
med than is given in the Person of Christ ; or the claims of 
Islam, than genuine Christianity. Any one who declines to 
judge the lower religion by the higher one, rejects the only 
standard by which he can hope to arrive at a correct and 
sure judgment. 

When I lived amongst the Mohammedans as a Christian 
Missionary, I, in dealing with them, "naturally felt it an 
incumbent duty to seek to discover all the bright spots, all 
that is true and good, in their religion, all that might form a 
bond of agreement between us, and a starting-point for a 
still higher advance. But it was no less a plain duty to 
have an open eye for all the defects and faults inherent 
to the system, in order to be able to point them out to its 
votaries, and thus to help them to a just sense of the pos- 
sibility and necessity of rising to something far higher and 
better. No one more than a Missionary to the Mohammedans 


n>ust see how indispensable it is for him to form a correct 
estimate as well of the bright as the dark side of Isl^^m, 
and to meet its professors in a spirit of fairness and 
benevolence. The Moslems deserve our esteem as fellow- 
worshippers with us of the Great God of the Universe ; and 
they need our heartfelt sympathy, our loving help, as un- 
happily deprived, by the Islamic veil, of a full sight of the 
One Mediator between God and man, the only Saviour of 
sinners. In this spirit I found it quite possible to have 
friendly intercourse with them, which in several cases ripened 
into actual friendship. 

My practical acquaintance with Mohammedans began 
over forty years ago, when I held the post of Professor of 
Hebrew and Arabic in the Church Missionary College at 
Fourah Bay, near Freetown, on the west coast of Africa. I 
often visited a Mohammedan village in the immediate 
vicinity, and was on such friendly footing with its spiritual 
head as to be often invited to accompany him to the mosque, 
and to be present during their service. In Egypt, in Pales- 
tine, and in European Turkey, I had ample opportunity, 
during more than a quarter of a century, of still further 
extending my acquaintance with Mohammedanism and the 
Mohammedans. I had the pleasure of counting amongst 
my friends some of all the classes of Moslem society, from 
the highest to the lowest We must not look for perfection 
in fallen man anywhere, but I have met with truth-loving, 
honest men, and fine natural characters, amongst the Mussul- 
mans of my acquaintance. If one has the opportunity of an 
insight into men's inner life and religious aspirations, one 
may still be disposed to say, with Tertullian, Anima humana 
naiuraliter Christiana. Man as such, no matter of what 
country or nationality, has a natural sensorium and capacity 
for the Divine verities of Christianity. Often I said to 
myself, in becoming acquainted with God-fearing, open- 
hearted Moslems, 'What noble Christian characters these 
men will become, if once they receive Christ ! ' But the 


Mohammedans are, as it were, defrauded of their faith in 
Christ by the counterfeit obtruding itself to their vision, and 
intercepting their heart's ready trust in a Mediator and 
Saviour, of whom they stand as much in need as other men. 
Islam has an undoubted tendency to engender in its votaries 
an excessive sense of religious superiority, and a contempt 
for every other faith and its professors. The Moslems are 
not accustomed to examine into the foundation and proofs 
of their own religion. They are taught to look upon the 
question * Why ? ' in matters of religion, as blamable rather 
than laudable. They take for granted that their Islam is 
the Divine revelation in the absolute sense, and their 
Prophet the seal and chief of all other prophets. They have 
to be taught to think and reason, to ask for proof and weigh 
evidence, to rise from a blind faith to an enlightened faith. 
When once they consent to learn tliat all the boasted 
equality or superiority of Mohammed to Christ rests on 
mere fiction, devoid of all foundation in fact ; and if their 
Governments make religious liberty a reality, — then we 
may hope that they will as readily enter the common bond 
of European Christianity, as they have already begun to 
adopt the advantages of European civilisation. 

I trust it will not be deemed unbecoming in one, who 
has spent the best part of his life in seeking to interpret 
Christ and Christianity to the Mohammedans, to have 
devoted some of his declining years to this present attempt 
of interpreting Mohammed and Mohammedanism to the 
Christians. May it prove useful in fostering a true, i.e, a 
Christian, estimation of Mohammed and Mohammedanism, 
and in stimulating the zeal of the Church of Christ to pro- 
mote amongst our Moslem fellow-men the Kingdom of God 
and of Christ, which is a Kingdom of Truth ! 


Richmond House, 
28 LiLLiB Road, FuLif am, London. 
In Advent 1888. 





Hb is to be understood in his Relation to his Surroundings, i, 2 


Mohammed developing into the Prophet he became, or his 

history up to the fortieth year of his life, . . . 3-71 

I. The Political Factor, 3-17 

II. The Religious Factor 17-28 

III. The Ancestral or Family Factor 28-36 

IV. The Personal Factor 36-48 

V. The Product of the afore-mentioned Factors, or Mohammed as- 
suming the character of a prophet and messenger of God, . 48*71 


Mohammed exercising the Prophetic Mission he claimed, or 
His History during the last twenty-three years of his 
Life, 72-241 

Essential Inward Union of the Meccan and Medinan Periods, notwith- 
standing their Outward Difference, 7^-75 

I. Mohammed's ill success in seeking recognition as the Prophet of 
Islam, or the Meccan Period of his Public Life, from about the 
Fortieth to the Fifty-Third Year of his age 76-115 

1. Mohammed's diffident start as a Prophet, .... 76-77 

2. Mohammed's earliest converts, 77-8$ 

3. A further increase in the number of converts emboldens 

Mohammed, but, at the same time, arouses persecution, . 85-88 

4. Mo]^amn\ed finds safety from persecution by removing to the 

house of Arkam ; and his believers by emigrating to Abyssinia, 88-89 

5. Mohammed, by sacrificing principles, enters into a compromise 

with the Koreish, 90-92 



6. Mohammed's withdrawal from the compromise fans afresh the 

flames of ridicule and persecution, 92*93 

7. The two important conversions of Hamza and Omar take place 

notwithstanding the prevailing persecution, .... 93*97 

8. After these conversions, persecution bursts out more fiercely, 

and Mohammed, with his entire family, is put imder a ban, 97-99 

9. Mohammed, bereA by death of Khadija and Abu Talib, finds 

Mecca increasingly unsympathetic, and at last fixedly hostile, 99-101 

10. Definitively rejected by Mecca, Mohammed addresses himself to 

other Arab Communities, but meets with no better reception, 101 > 104 

11. Mohammed succeeds in gaining a number of partisans amongst 

the people of Medina, 104-107 

12. The spread of Islam amongst the' people of Medina prepares 

the way for Mohammed and his whole party to emigrate 
thither, 107-I15 

II. Mohammed's complete success in securing recognition as a Prophet, 
and in rendering Islam the dominant power of Arabia, or his 
Medinan Period, comprising the last ten years of his life, . 1 15-241 

1. Mohammed settles in Medina, and seeks to unite around him 

the different sections of the population, as a first step in the 
realisation of his Plan, - 1 15- 1 24 

2. Mohammed, by establishing Islam as the paramount power 

of Medina, displaces the previous Polytheism, and forces 
the dissenting Arabs either to emigrate, or to simulate sub- 
mission. In this sense he shows himself anti-Pagan, . 124-128 

3. Mohammed at first accommodates himself to the Jews, in the 

hope of gaining them over to Islam ; but failing in this, h^ 
deliberately turns against them, and shows himself decidedly 
anti-Jewish, 128-134 

4* Mohammed, unsuccessful to convert the Christians by way of 
theological disputations, seeks to degrade their religion, and 
reduces them to a state of vassalage. He shows himself 
positively an ti -Christian, 135-140 

5. Mohammed engages in a number of warlike expeditions 

against the Koreish, for the purpose of revenge and plunder, 
which culminate in the victorious battle at Bedr, . . 140-152 

6. The Meccans, under a sense of their disgraceful defeat at Bedr, 

stir up their confederates against Mohammed, and avenge 
themselves by the decided victory at Ohod, . . . 152-159 

7. In consequence of his defeat at Ohod, Mohammed has to meet 

several hostile demonstrations of Bedouin tribes, and after- 
wards a protracted siege of Medina by a formidable Meccan 
army, 159-168 

8. Mohammed's anti-Jewish policy leads to the heartless over- 

throw of the Jewish tribes of Medina, and the unjust conquest 

of Khaibar, with other Jewish communities, . . 168-185 



9. Mohammed extends his policy of conquest, subjugation, and 
plunder to a number of Bedouin tribes, and injures Mecca 
whenever he can, 185-188 

10. Mohammed shows his veneration for the Kaaba by arranging 

a pompous pilgrimage to it ; but the Koreish prevent his 
caravan of pilgrims from approaching nearer than Hodeibia, 
where he succeeds in concluding an armistice with them, 188- 191 

1 1 . Mohammed, making good use of his armistice with the Koreish, 

seeks to extend his influence abroad by sending messengers 
to neighbouring potentates, summoning them to embrace 
Islam, ......... 192-196 

12. Mohammed, with 2000 followers, visits the pilgrim-festival, 

according to treaty right ; and, after despatching marauding 
expeditions to various parts, including one to Muta, finds 
a pretext for breaking the armistice, and easily conquers 
Mecca, with an army of 10,000 men, .... 196-203 

13. After the conquest of Mecca, Mohammed's power rapidly 

increases, and he gains the important battle of Honein, 
which yields him an immense booty, and leads to the 
capitulation of the rich town of Taif, .... 203-206 

14. Mohammed starts with a military expedition against the 

Roman empire, but only reaches as far as Tabuk, whence 

he despatches some troops against Duma, and then returns, 206-210 

15. The Arab power of resistance being broken by the rapid 

extension of Mohammed's triumphs, so many tribes are 
induced by fear and self-interest, to send special deputies 
to Medina, offering their submission to Islam, that the 9th 
year after the Flight is styled, * The Year of the Deputa- 
tions,' 211-215 

16. The superficiality of the conversions and compacts effected 

by those deputations, is illustrated by the instances of two 

Arab tribes, and of two rival Prophets, . . . 215-221 

17. Mohammed celebrates the complete triumph of Islam over 

Arabia by attending the reformed pilgrim-festival of the year 

632, with a company of 114,000 Moslem followers, . 221-223 

18. Mohammed seeks to tighten his grasp on Arabia by the 

despatch of Collectors or Residents to its different provinces ; 
and then directs his earnest attention to a fresh attack upon 
the Roman empire, by collecting an army to invade S3nria, 224-228 

19. Mohammed is arrested in his career of conquests and sensu- 

ality by the unsparing hand of death 229-233 

20. Mohammed has scarcely closed his eyes, when discord among 

his followers threatens to break up the whole fabric he had 
erected ; but Abu Bekr manages to be chosen first Cali^ 
and, as such, takes up the plans of his late friend, 233-241 





Difference between Book I. and Book II. Explained, 242-245 


The Biographies of Mohammed by Moslem Authors, attri- 
buting TO THEIR Prophet an equality with, or even a 
superiority to, the Prophet of Nazareth, appear in the 
light of a thinly disguised Plagiarism of the Evan- 
gelical Records, and Mohammed himself as an obvious 
Parody of Jesus Christ, 246-374 

1. Pre-existence is ascribed, as first to Qirtst, so afterwards to 

Mohammed; and each of them is represented as the Cause or 
Medium of the existence of all other creatures, . . . 246-252 

2. Mohammed's geneal<^ is traced through Abraham to Adam, just 

as that of Jesus Christ, 252-253 

3. As the angel Gabriel announced the conception of Jesus Christ by 

the Virgin Mary, so he also announced that of Mohammed by 
Amina ; but the latter ' to every place on the face of the earth,' 253-254 

4. As before the birth of Jesus, so also before that of Mohammed, an 

angel announced the name he was to bear, 254 

5. The birth of both was distinguished by the glory of a heavenly light, 

the appearance of angels and by signs on the earth and in the 
starry sphere, 254-257 

6. Though both were subjected to the rite of circumcision, yet there 

was a difference in favour of Mohammed, 257 

7. A benediction is uttered on the breasts that gave them suck ; but 

in the one case it came from the visible, and in the other, from 

the invisible, world, 258 

8. Not long after their birth, their Nature and Destiny are made 

known by special revelation, 259-261 

9. Like Jesus, Mohammed also was presented in his early infancy to 

the Deity in the national Sanctuary, 261 

|i 10. They both developed in their childhood under the special favour of 

God, and showed marks of an uncommon measure of Divine Grace, 261-265 

11. Both were lost in their childhood, but found again : the one by his 

mother's diligent search, the other by supernatural revelation, 265-266 

12. Twelve years old, their special relation to God and uncommon 

destiny was made known during a journey ; and then they were 
taken away from the place where their presence might prematurely 
have roused the hostility of the Jews, 267-269 



13. The appearance both of Jesus Christ and of Mohammed was expected 

amongst the Jews and others, having been foretold by Prophets, 270-271 

14. Whilst they were honouring a penitentiary institution by accom- 

modating themselves to it, a supernatural occurrence and voice 
inaugurated their own public mission, 271-273 

15. Witness is borne to them, and their Divine mission is made known 

to men, by another distinguished servant of the true God, who 

soon afterwards is removed from this world, . . 273-276 

16. They and their public mission are the object and end of all previous 

prophecy, as ushering in the grand era of fulfilment, . . 276-279 

17. After the commencement of their public ministry, both of them 

had to pass through the ordeal of a remarkable Satanic temptation, 
which aimed at seducing them into a most important change of 
their mission, but without success, 8S0-2S2 

If 18. As Jesus Christ chose twelve apostles from amongst His disciples, 
so also Mohammed selected twelve apostles from his Moslem 
followers, but he not only from amongst men, but also from 
amongst spirits, . 283-284 

f^ 19. In the exercise of their public ministry, they gathered disciples 
around them, and zealously preached the Faith, one sermon on a 
mount being especially noted; and they also made diligent use 
of the gathering of great multitudes, during the annual festivals 
of the nation, 284-286 

f\ 20, In order to tempt and test them, difficult questions were submitted 

to them by their opponents, which they were able to solve, . 286-290 

21. The impression made by their words and presence was such as often 

to disarm their enemies, and frustrate the hostile designs they 
entertained against them, 290-293 

22. They were reviled and persecuted in their own home because of 

their testimony and the unflinching discharge of their prophetic 
mission, especially when this involved opposition to the then ^ 
existing state of religion, and exposure of prevailing abuses, 294-297 

23. Unconvinced by their words and acts of the Divine mission they 

claimed, the people proffer them unacceptable demands, which 
are not granted, and only widen the breach between the prophet 
and the people, 297-299 

24. Both of them came in contact with spirits from the unseen world, 

who Tec(^;nised, honoured, and obeyed them more readily than 

the people 6f this world to whom they addressed themselves, 299-302 

25. Both of them received visits from good angels, . . . 302-303 

26. The most remarkable story concerning the mythical Mohammed 

is that of his 'Ascension into Heaven.* Whilst Jesus Christ, 
during His earthly life, conversed only with two of the long- 
departed saints, Moses and Elijah, and did not ascend into heaven 
till after his death, Mohammed, honoured with an ascension into 
heaven long before his natural death, had personal communion with 
all the previous prophets ; and, leaving Jesus far below in the 
second heaven, himself mounted high above the seventh ; and, 




entering into the immediate presence of the Divine Majesty, 
attained to the most exalted degree of God-likeness, so that God 
said unto him, ' I and thou,' and he unto God, ' Thou and 1/ 304-314 

27. Persecuted and threatened with death by their fellow-citizens in the 

town in which they had grown up, they escaped from their hands 
as by a miracle ; and, together with their disciples, transferred 
their domicile to another town, willing to receive them, . 315-322 

28. In this new domicile they developed a great activity ; and from it, as 

their headquarters, they undertook expeditions, in order to carry 

out their mission, and to secure for it a more extensive recognition, 322-324 

29. They united their followers in the closest ties of brotherhood, which 

caused a relaxation in the stringent laws of possession and in- 
heritance, 324-326 

30. They introduced a mode of worship in which Jerusalem with its 

temple ceased to be looked upon as the seat of the Divine Presence, 
or the Kibla, that is, the quarter towards which prayers had to be 
directed, . 326-328 

31. They were called upon to decide what punishment should be inflicted 

on adulterers, regard being had to the punishment prescribed by 

the Law of Moses, 329-330 

32. They publicly invited the Jews to believe in their heavenly mission, 

and to embrace the religion they preached, but met only with 
partial success, 330-33I 

33. Besides their efforts amongst the Jews, they also commissioned 

ambassadors to distant nations and their rulers, for the purpose of 
inducing them to become disciples of the new Faith, . . 332*333 

34. They opened up to men the way of atonement and pardon of sin, 

to find salvation 333*33^ 

35. They had the mission of overcoming the devil and destroying his 

works, 33^-339 

36. As Jesus Christ, so also Mohammed, was above all other men in 

worth and dignity, 339*340 

37. Each of them was the greatest and best of all God's messengers, 340-341 

38. Each of them is the Holder of the Keys, 342 

39. Their body is the true temple, that is, the abode of the Divine 

Presence, or Shechina, 342-343 

40. They are both stamped with the Divine Seal, .... 343 

41. Both of them have seen God, and heard Him speak, 343 

V 42. They taught their people how to pray, 344 

43, Each of them sanctioned the drinking of his blood, and ascribed to 

it a saving virtue, 345 

. 44. Jesus speaks of stones which would cry out under certain circum- 
I ' stances, but Mohammed of stones and trees which actually did 

call out, 345-346 

45. Each of the two prophets illustrated the hopelessness of a case by 

referring to a camel passing through the eye of a needle, . . 346 

CONTENTS, xvii * 


46. Both the prophets sometimes imparted Divine benefits and blessings 

by the laying on of their hands, 347 -34^ 

|f 47. By their mediation and benediction a small quantity of food miracu- 
T lously sufficed to feed a large number of people, . 


48. Towards the close of their earthly course, both the prophets 

triumphantly re-enter the capital city and national sanctuary, 
accompanied by a vast multitude of exultant followers, though 
previously they had to flee from it, their liberty and even their 
life being threatened by the parties in power ; and they authorita- 
tively rid the sanctuary of what was desecrating it, . . 350-355 

49. Both Jesus and Mohammed continued up to the close of their 

career, and with death already at the door, in the zealous discharge 

of their respective life-work, 355*358 

50. The death of both these prophets was no less wonderful than their 

birth and life, 358-374 

a. Their approaching death was foreknown and foretold by them, 358-359 
h. Their death was not unavoidable, but freely accepted by them, 359-361 

c. Angels would have been ready to prevent their death, had 

they desired it, 361 

d. They died a martyr's death, 361-362 

e. As the sufferings in their death were greater than other men's, 

so also is their reward, 362-363 

/ Their sufferings and death are meritorious, taking away sin 

and helping all their people into paradise or heaven, . 363-364 

g. In their sufferings of death, Satan had no power over them, 364-365 

A. Their death-agonies were so extreme, tWat in their distress 

they called out after God 3^5 

i. The fact of their death was indubitably established by the 

state of their body, 365-366 

/. Their death was accompanied by extraordinary phenomena, 

and its effects reached even to the invisible world of spirits, 366-368 

k. They were expected not to succumb to the power of death, 

or to remain in its grasp, 368-369 

/. They received an honourable burial, their friends preparing 
their body, wrapping it in fine linen, and, with an ample 
use of costly spices, depositing it in a new sepulchre, 369-37' 

m. Their sacred tomb had been the subject of a previous Divine 

revelation, 371-372 

n. Devoted friends visited their tomb, and there received super- 
natural revelations, showing that, even after death, they 
were still living, 372-374 


* xviii CONTENTS, 



Sundry Sketches of Mohammed under various aspects, 

DRAWN BY Moslem hands, 375-446 

I. Physical Qualities and Moral Virtues of the Lord of the world, 375-383 

1. Mohammed's bodily or physical qualities, . , 375-377 

2. Mohammed's mental qualities, 377*3^3 

II. Habits of the Prince of Princes, 383-405 

1. His habits in regard to dress, 383-385 

2. His habits as regards eating and drinking, 385-389 

3. His noble travelling habits, 389-390 

4. His habits in the intercourse with his pure wives, . . 390-392 

5. His habits in the intercourse and conversation with his friends 

and companions, 392-396 

6. His habits in using ornaments and ointments, 396-397 

7. His habits in r^;ard to auguries, 397-398 

8. His habits as regards the Akika-offerings, .... 398 

9. His habits in asking permission, and in saluting, . 398-399 

10. His habits as to sneezing and yawning, 400 

11. His habits as to walking and riding, ..... 400 

12. His habits as to waking and sleeping, 401 

13. His habits in administering medicines to the sick, . 401-405 

III. The Religious Services of that Prince, 406-416 

IV. Peculiarities of the Prophet, 416-422 

1. The religious duties peculiar to the Prophet, . . 417-418 

2. Things unlawful and forbidden to the Prophet, . . 418-420 

3. Things permitted to him, i,e, things whose legality was 

peculiar to that prince, ^zo-^zz 

V. Mohammed's Excellencies and Miracles, .... ^22-446 

1, His excellencies, 422-434 

2. His miracles, 434-446 







Our Canon of Judgment, 447-448 

I. Mohammedanism, by its historical hostility to Christianity, has 
proved itself a weapon of the kingdom of darkness against the 
kingdom of light, thus taking rank, side by side, with anti- 
Christian Judaism and anti-Christian Paganism, . . 448-458 

11. Unbelieving Judaism diabolically opposed Christianity in its 

personal manifestation, 458-461 

III. The Heathenism of Rome diabolically opposed Christianity in its 

congregational or ecclesiastical manifestation, . . . 461-464 

IV. Islamism, a compound of Jewish fanaticism and Roman despotism, 

likewise opposed Christianity, but more especially in its national 

and political manifestation, 465-468 

V. Mohammed, the Prophet and Propagator of Islam, laid the founda- 
tion of the anti-Christian and permanently hostile policy of the 
Mussulman world against Christianity and Christendom, . 468-474 

VI. The Mohammedan world, under the direction of the Arabs, and 
acting in the spirit of its prophet, pursues an interior and exterior 
policy, decidedly anti- Christian, 474-479 

VII. The Mohammedan world, under the direction of the Turks, retains 
and carries out the anti-Christian policy started by the Arabs, 
as long as its power of doing so lasts, .... 479-485 

APPENDIX I. Mohammed's Wives and Concubines, . 487-509 

APPENDIX II. Mohammed's Children and Grandchildren, 510-524 

INDEX, 525-540 


Page 17, line 7,/i?r hcl up read held up 

^37) If iS, /or EX Amrzn read Al-i-AmnLU. 
159» ,» 13. >. id. „ id. 

I95f >f 3i» <>/?^^ had iffj^r/ after claiming to be a prophet. 
210, , , 7, /or capitulation read capitation . 
250, ,, 20, iiM^r/ " fl/?^ mothers. 
,, ,, 2i,y&r true."' r^tf^true.* 
^7^t it 23 and 2$, /or Him, His read him, his. 
288, „ 27, a/ter deemed add them. 
307, line 3 from {ooi, /or Aksa read Mosque of Omar. 
349, line 29, /or ^ read '. 
469, last line, /or national read rational. 
475, line 30, yi^ religion. r^a</ religion.' 
508, lines 8 and 19^ /or Leili read Leila. 


S^ofiamtneh bfetoeh in t|e 9DapUgf|t of !^f0torp. 

As every man, in his place and degree, is an architect of 
the world's history, and contributes his share, great or small, 
for good or for evil, to the work of his time : so also is 
every one the child of the age in which he lives, and bears 
the impress of the generation to which he belongs. This 
becomes all the more manifest, the greater the power he 
wields and the closer the contact he experiences amongst 
his fellow-men. No man can be fully understood, nor his 
character duly appreciated, without regard to the family in 
which he was born, the circumstances under which he grew 
up, the social organism of which he was a member, not even 
without a reference to the country which furnished him with 
a home. In like manner, any age can only be rightly 
estimated, if considered as the result of previous ages ; and 
any nation, if viewed in the light of its own past history and 
in its relation to other nations. 

If, therefore, we undertake to form a true estimate of the 
character and work of Mehammed} who was so prominent a 
figure of his age, and left such deep and strongly marked 

^ This is the proper form of the Arabic name as pronounced in the polished 
and highly euphonic language of the Turks, and it deserves to be generally 
adopted amongst Europeans. ' Muhammad* is the harsher pronunciation of the 
same word used by Eastern Moslems who are accustomed to more guttural and 
less polished sounds. 'Mahomet/ ' Makhumet,' etc., are simply corruptions of 
the proper word, and are justly discarded as having no foundation whatever in 
Arabic gnunmar. It is surely a false conservatism which retains such obviously 
faulty forms ; and the reading public has a right to expect that the proper names 
should be brought before it in their true form. 



* footprints in the sands of time/ we must not regard him 
as a mere individual, but in his organic connection with the 
world around him, in his family relationship and social ties, 
in short, as a child of the age and country by which he was 
moulded, and which he influenced in return. 

Mohammed was not only the Ruler of a State^ but 
pre-eminently also the Founder of a Religion. Though not 
ignorant of Jesus Christ and the Divine adoration paid Him 
by the Christians, yet was he bold enough to claim for 
himself a heavenly mission as the last and greatest of all 
Grod's messengers for the guidance of mankind. His utter- 
ances, as God's mouthpiece or prophet, were to be un- 
questioningly received by his Arab countrymen and by the 
world at large. It is in this extraordinary character and 
with these astounding pretensions that he presents himself 
to us in history ; and as such he is still reverenced by the 
world of Moslem believers. Hence, in seeking rightly to 
apprehend Mohammed as an historical phenomenon, the 
first great question confronting us with a demand for solu- 
tion, is this: How and by what moving influences came 
Mohammed of Mecca to conceive the lofty pretension of 
being God's highest Apostle, God's final Prophet ? And the 
second, of no less moment, and necessarily following from 
the first, is this double question : What was the actual life 
and work of Mohammed? and how did it bear out his 
extraordinary claims ? 

The succeeding biographical sketch of the Arabian 
Prophet And Potentate is intended to materially assist the 
intelligent reader in forming a correct answer to these 
important questions ; and its division into two chapters is 
naturally suggested by the subject-matter itself. 





According to the principles just mentioned, we have here 
to bring to light the different elements entering into the 
composition of the Arabian Prophet ; or to point out how 
Mohammed's claim of prophetship is the product of a variety 
of factors, which we shall distinguish as apolitical^ a religious^ 
an ancestral^ and a personal factor. 

I. The Political Factor. 

The physical character of Arabia as a Peninsula with 
extensive deserts and high mountain-ranges ; the common 
descent and national affinity of its Semitic inhabitants ; the 
peculiar language or dialects spoken by them ; their passion- 
ate love of liberty and their war-like disposition — ^had co- 
operated for several thousand years in preserving national 
independence and in preventing the invasion of foreign 
conquerors. Neither the Egyptians and Assyrians, nor the 
Babylonians and ancient Persians, nor finally the Mace- 
donians in their rapid march of Asiatic conquests, subjugated 
and held any part of Arabia. But at last the want of 
national union and the greatly increasing internal discords 
which frequently led to sanguinary inter-tribal feuds gradu- 
ally prepared the way for foreign invaders. After ages of 
independence, the liberty-loving roamers of the desert and 
the proud dynasties of warlike kingdoms had to bend their 
necks repeatedly to Roman^ Abyssinian^ and /Vrjiiar» domina- 
tion, though they sought, by desperate but mostly isolated 
efforts, to regain their independence as soon as favourable 
circumstances seemed to offer them any prospect of success. 


The war-expedition consisting of 10,000 Roman troops 
and several thousand Eastern auxiliaries which the Roman 
Emperor Augustus despatched in the year 24 B.C. under 
Aelius Gallus to the southern kingdom of Yemen, for the 
purpose of securing a direct trade-route to India, appears not 
to have led to any real conquest. But from the time when 
Trajan first sent an expedition under his General, Cornelius 
Palma, against Northern Arabia, which conquered the kingdom 
of Nabathea, A.D. 105, and when he himself, after having 
subdued Mesopotamia, invaded Arabia with his victorious 
army and completely devastated its eastern coast along the 
Persian Gulf, A.D. 116, Roman influence maintained itself 
more or less. Several of the Arab chiefs in the northern 
parts of the country yielded submission, and accepted the 
position of Roman vassals. Roman historians record that 
about 536 A.D. the Emperor Justinian conferred the chieftain- 
ship of the Arabs of Palestine upon the Emir Abu Karib, in 
exchange for a country he had possessed on the shores of 
the Red Sea ; and likewise assigned an Arab principality to 
Kais, a prince of the Kinda tribe. The kingdom of Hira 
in the north-east of Arabia, though mostly under Persian 
influence and frequently at war with the Emperor of Con- 
stantinople and his allies, had yet also to suffer, at times, 
from the power of Rome. One of its kings, Munzir iv., who 
ascended the throne A.D. 580, repaired with his suite to 
Constantinople to secure the Emperor's favour and support ; 
but aflerwards turning against him and siding with the 
Persians, he was defeated, dethroned, and banished by the 
Romans. The kingdom of the Ghassanides in North-western 
Arabia was almost uninterruptedly dependent on the Roman 
power, since its establishment about the end of the third 
Christian century till the time of Mohammed. 

'The dynasties of Hira and of the Ghassanides were 
native to Arabia, and it was through them that the Arabs 
communicated with the external world and received their 
ideas as well of Europe as of Asia. Hira, moreover, since 
the fall of the Himyar line in Yemen, became the paramount 
power of Central Arabia. To this cause, and to the per- 
manence and prosperity of its capital, it was owing that 
Hira enjoyed a larger /(;/r/^a/ influence than the Ghassanide 

CHAP. I. SEC l] the political factor. 5 

kingdom. But the latter, though inferior in magnificence 
and stability, possessed, especially over the Western Arabs, a 
more important social power. It lay closer to the Hejaz and 
in the direct line of its commerce. There was therefore with 
its prince and people a frequent interchange of civility, both 
in casual visits at the court and in the regular passage of 
the mercantile caravans through the country. It is to this 
quarter therefore, that we must chiefly look for the external 
influences which moulded the opinion of Mecca and Medina.' 
Sir W. Muir, from whose able Life of Mahomet the 
preceding passage is quoted, also further observes: 'It is 
remarked even by a Mohammedan writer, that the decadence 
of the race of Ghassan was preparing the way for the glories 
of the Arabian prophet* 

But this kind of preparation for Mohammed's later ex- 
ploits and military triumphs to which Mohammedan writers 
draw attention, is not what we chiefly mean in speaking of 
a political factor as contributing to the very rise itself of 
a prophet-king in Mecca and Medina. True, the relatively 
weakened state of the Empires of Persia and Rome rendered 
the Mohammedan foreign conquests at all feasible : but it 
was the oppressive power they had acquired over great por- 
tions of Arabia, and the humiliation this implied for the 
Arabs, which first of all roused the latter into searching for 
means by which they might resist the foreigner and recover 
their own independence. The truer the patriot and the 
greater his love of country, the more he burned with indig- 
nation at the existing state of things, and the more earnestly 
he cast about for a remedy. The nearer foreign usurpation 
pressed, the stronger became the incentives to see it removed, 
and rendered impossible for the future. 

Now, when Mohammed had already attained the age of 
manhood, Roman domination made itself felt for a time in 
the sacred metropolis of Mecca itself. For shortly after his 
accession to the throne, A.D. 6io, the Emperor Heraclius 
nominated Othman, then a convert to Christianity and 
(earlier) a friend and follower of the Hanif Zeid, as Governor 
of Mecca, recommending him to the Koreishites in an authori- 
tative letter. Othman endeavoured by moderation and kind- 
liness to make himself acceptable with the Meccans. He 


pointed out to them that it vras to their own interest to 
acknowledge his authority, inasmuch as the Emperor had it 
in his power materially to damage or greatly to foster their 
commerce abroad. Thus they were induced to accept him, 
though reluctantly, as their Governor. But before long they 
rose in rebellion agfainst him, at the instigation chiefly of 
his cousin Abu Zama. Othman was driven from the country, 
having to flee for his life, and straightway went to the 
Emperor to inform him of what had happened. Upon this, 
Heraclius sent an order to Amr, the Governor of Arabia 
Petraea, to imprison every merchant from Mecca whom 
Othman might denounce to him. Othman no doubt believed 
that he was working for the true welfare of his country, sunk 
in heathenism, by helping the Roman Grovemment, as the 
exponent of the superior Christian religion, to extend its 
influence over his native city. But this made him obnoxious 
to his countrymen who were jealous of their independence 
and wedded to their own ancestral institutions. His later 
interference with their commerce still further exasperated 
them against him, and he is reported to have been assassinated 
in Arabia Petraea. 

These facts were well calculated to prove instructive to his 
Hanifite friends in Mecca and to other awakened patriots who 
were equally desirous of raising their country politically, and 
of leading it to a purer Faith. For they showed them how 
precarious and dangerous it was to make use of foreign 
support and to encourage political influence from abroad for 
securing the realisation of their object, and thus suggested 
to them the adoption of less irritating and more strictly 
patriotic measures, such as we afterwards find Mohammed 
actually employing. 

The Abyssinian wars and conquests in Arabia during the 
century preceding the age of Mohammed are expressly 
mentioned and their origin is circumstantially related by 
Ibn Ishak, in his celebrated Life of Mohammed. This is 
the earliest of the Mohammedan biographies by Moslem 
authors, still preserved to us, and it is constantly referred to 
as an authority throughout the following pages. Ibn Hisham, 
who edited that work, with additions and omissions, tells 
us that the reason why Ibn Ishak at all referred to those 


wars was * their connection with the life of the Apostle of 
God' That the Abyssinian and other foreign conquests in 
Arabia had an important bearing on the rise and victorious 
career of Mohammed, can be accepted as an historical truth, 
though we have to view it in a light and to trace it in a 
manner widely different from that of the Mohammedan 
historians. The details with which they adorn their account 
make it clear that in their eyes the connection of those events 
with the life of Mohammed was, that they appeared to point 
to a special Divine Providence for the protection of the holy 
cities of Mecca and Medina from foreign subjugation and for 
the prevention of Christian Governments from permanently 
establishing their power within the Peninsula of Arabia. 

Their narrative, evidently much embellished, if not wholly 
fictitious, is as follows : One of the Himyarite kings, Tiban 
Asad Abu Karib by name, whose son had been killed in 
Medina, brought an army before that city, intending to 
destroy it, to slay, its inhabitants, and to cut down its palm- 
trees. But two learned Jewish doctors came before him, 
earnestly trying to dissuade him from carrying out his inten- 
tion, lest he should draw upon himself a speedy punishment ; 
for, said they, this city is destined to become the refuge and 
home of a prophet, who, in the latter times, will rise up 
amongst the Koreish in the holy city. The Himyarite 
Tobba or king was so impressed with the speech of the 
Jewish doctors that he not only spared the city, but also em- 
braced the Jewish religion. On his departure, he was met 
by a deputation whose object was to induce him to sack the 
temple of Mecca, by promising him that he would find there 
great treasures of pearls, precious stones, gold and silver. 
But being again enlightened by the Jewish doctors that this 
was a mere stratagem to lead him and his army to certain 
destruction and that the only temple chosen by God upon 
earth, the temple of their father Abraham, was the one in 
Mecca : he rewarded the deputation by cutting off their hands 
and feet Thereupon proceeding to Mecca to perform the 
usual religious services in its sanctuary, he was the first to 
cover it with costly striped linen, as bidden in a dream. He 
also offered sacrifices and regaled the inhabitants of Mecca 
at a feast But the last of his successors in the Himyarite 


kingdom, Yusuf dzu Nowaz, a Jewish zealot, attacked the 
Christian province of Najran, and, having conquered it, gave 
its inhabitants the choice between Judaism and death. On 
their preferring death, he caused a long ditch to be dug for 
them, where he had some of them burned, and the rest slain 
with the sword, till about 20,000 of their number were killed, 
amongst them Abd Allah Ibn Thamir, their chief and priest 
Thus we are given to understand that whilst Mecca and Medina 
were signally preserved from the cruelty and cupidity of Him- 
yar. Christian Najran was delivered up to become an easy prey. 

This Jewish atrocity became the cause of the conquest 
of Yemen by the Abyssinians and of their subsequent rule 
in Arabia. For one of the doomed Christians, Dauz dzu 
Thalaban by name, escaped into the desert on so fleet a 
horse that the Jew^ could not overtake him. He went 
straight to the Emperor of Constantinople to tell him what 
misfortune had befallen the Christians of Najran and to sup- 
plicate help against Dzu Nowaz. The Emperor replied : 
' Your country is far from mine ; but I will give you a letter 
to the king of Abyssinia who is also of our Faith and nearer 
to your home.* Accordingly he wrote to the Nejashi or 
king of Abyssinia, requesting him to help and avenge the 
Christians. When Dauz had delivered the Emperor's letter, 
the king placed 70,000 Abyssinians at his disposal, under the 
command of Aryat The army was conveyed across the sea 
to Yemen in many hundred vessels, and the opposing 
Himyarites, with their allies, were totally defeated. The 
king Dzu Nowaz sought his death in the sea, and the Abys- 
sinians took possession of his country. 

After some years, the command of the army of occupation 
passed from the hands of Aryat into those of Abraha, whom 
Ibn Ishak describes as 'a good Christian.' He built so 
magnificent a cathedral in the capital, Sana, that nothing 
like it could be seen anywhere. When he informed the king 
of this, he also expressed his determination not to rest till he 
had turned the course of the pilgrimages of the Arabs from 
their temple in Mecca to this cathedral. The Arabs, on 
hearing of this resolve, were much irritated; and one of them, 
connected with the national sanctuary, went to Sana and 
polluted the grand Christian church. Abraha was highly 


offended by this act of contempt and swore he would in 
retaliation level the temple of Mecca to the ground. He at 
once ordered an expedition for this purpose which he com- 
manded in person, being mounted upon an elephant. 

On the route he encountered a hostile army of confederate 
Arab tribes, under Dzu Nefr, which he defeated, and further 
on another under Nufeil, which he likewise routed, and finally 
encamped at Moghammas, whence he despatched horsemen 
to plunder the tribes of Mecca. By Abd ul M6ttaleb's advice 
the whole population of Mecca left the threatened city and 
took refuge in the mountains, to await what further steps 
would be taken by Abraha. But on the following morning, 
when the army was ready to enter the city, his elephant lay 
down and would not move a step in that direction. Then, 
according to Ibn Ishak's further account, God sent against 
them, from the sea, birds like swallows, each of which carried 
three pebbles as lai^e as a pea, one in the beak and two 
between the claws ; and any person on whom these pebbles 
were dropped, died immediately. The warriors fell down on 
every side and perished in every path. Those who were not 
hit, precipitately fled by the way they had come. They 
carried Abraha along with them, who had likewise been hit 
His limbs fell from him, one after another, so that on reach- 
ing Sana he looked like an unfledged bird, and ere he died his 
chest and heart had become dissolved. But immediately after 
the close of this dreadful story Ibn Ishak adds a remark which 
far better accounts for the hasty retreat of the Abyssinian 
army, saying, ' Yakub Ibn Otba told me that in the same 
year small-pox had for the first time been seen in Arabia.' 

This disastrous expedition against Mecca which hap- 
pened A.D. 570, the very year of Mohammed's birth, and 
generally known as * the year of the elephant,' on account of 
the elephants employed by Abraha, greatly damaged the 
Abyssinian power in Arabia and revived the patriotic hopes 
of the native tribes. But it was not till nearly the end of the 
century that the Abyssinians were finally expelled from 
Arabia, by the help obtained from Persia. Ibn Ishak says : 
' The dominion of the Abyssinians in Yemen lasted seventy- 
two years, under the four princes, Aryat, Abraha, Yaksum, 
and Masruk.' 


These events happened, so to speak, before the eyes of 
Mohammed, and he would not have been the refiecting, cal* 
culating, and shrewdly observant man he appears in history, 
if they had not impressed upon him the danger of inviting 
one foreign power in order to get rid of another, and taught 
him to rely on Arabs alone for the security of his country 
against foreign domination. He vras wise enough to learn a 
lesson where many others remained uninstructed. 

Galling as the tribes of Southern Arabia felt the yoke of 
Abyssinia, they did not summon enough patriotism and 
heroism to shake it off, but rather looked abroad for help. 
This they found in Persia \ but thus they only passed from 
one foreign oppressor to another. Ibn Ishak interestingly 
narrates this change in the following words: •When the 
oppression of the Himyarites had lasted a long time, the 
Himyarite Abu Murra Seif went to the Emperor of Byzanz, 
requesting him to drive the Abyssinians out of the country 
and to take possession of it in their stead. But as the 
Emperor did not listen to him, he departed, and applied to 
the Persian Governor of Hira, who accompanied him to the 
Persian court and presented him to Chosroes. The audience 
took place in the saloon where the king's golden crown, 
studded with hyacinths, smaragds, and pearls, was sus- 
pended from the cupola by a golden chain. As it was too 
heavy to be worn, the king only put his head into it, and 
every one who saw himfor the first time had reverentially to 
prostrate himself before him. Accordingly Seif did the same, 
saying to the monarch, " O king, strangers have subdued our 
land, and I am come to seek thy help and to ask thee to take 
possession of it" Chosroes excused himself, on the ground 
that the country was far off and offered few advantages ; and 
then presented Seif with the gift of 10,000 dirhems and 
a beautiful garment. After having quitted the kingfs 
presence, Seif distributed the money amongst the people. 
When the king, who gathered from this that he must be of 
high rank, asked him for the reason of his conduct, he 
replied, " What should I do with this money ? The moun- 
tains of the land from which I come consist of gold and silver, 
for which reason it is so much coveted." 

'Upon this Chosroes assembled his satraps to consult 


them about Self s request. One of them said : ^ O king, thy 
prisons contain many who are condemned to death whom 
thou mightest send with him. If they perish, thy will is 
accomplished ; and if they conquer, thou hast gained another 
kingdom." Chosroes being persuaded, sent with him 800 
men out of the prisons, and gave them an elderly man from 
one of the noblest families for a commander, whose name 
was Wehrez. They embarked in eight vessels, of which two 
were lost and six landed safely at Aden. There Seif col- 
lected from his countrymen as many as he could and 
brought them to Wehrez, saying, " My foot shall stand by 
thine, till we together conquer or die." 

* Meanwhile Masruk also, the Abyssinian prince of Yemen, 
had collected his troop& Wehrez first sent his own son against 
him, in order to exercise him in the practice of war ; but he 
was slain, and his death greatly increased the wrath of the 
Persians. When afterwards the two armies met in battle- 
array, Wehrez took up his bow, which was so strong that none 
but himself could bend it, and aimed at the Abyssinian com- 
mander. His arrow cleft the hyacinth worn by Masruk 
between his eyes and penetrated his head to the neck, so 
that he reeled and fell from his mule. Then the Persians 
made an impetuous attack, defeated the Abyssinians with 
great slaughter and dispersed them in every direction. On 
arriving before the city of Sana, Wehrez had the gate demo- 
lished ; for he said, **My banner shall not enter bent but erect." 

* Thus the Persians occupied Yemen instead of the Abys- 
sinians. On the death of Wehrez, Chosroes appointed his 
son Merzeban to succeed him ; and his second successor was 
Badzan, who remained Governor of Yemen till the time of 
Mohammed. In those days Chosroes wrote to him : " I have 
heard that a Koreishite in Mecca pretends to be a prophet: go 
to him and tell him to desist; and if he does not comply, 
send me his head" Badzan forwarded Chosroes* letter to the 
Apostle of God who sent him the following reply : " God has 
sent me the assurance that in such and such a month and on 
such and such a day Chosroes will be slain." Badzan, on receiv- 
ing this letter, waited to see what would happen, thinking, if 
he is a prophet, then what he has foretold will come to pass. 
God actually slew Chosroes by the hand of his son Shiruweih 


on the same day which the Apostle of God had foretold. As 
soon as Badzan learned this, he sent to inform the Prophet 
that himself and all the Persians under him had embraced 

This narrative of the Moslem historian evidently seeks to 
attribute to Mohammed a supernatural knowledge of a future 
event, and connects Badzan's conversion to Islam with the 
fulfilment of that prophecy. But it is known from history 
that when Chosroes II. was completely defeated, A.D. 627, 
near the ruins of ancient Nineveh, and his capital Destagerd 
(= Artemita), with all its accumulated treasures, fell into the 
hands of the Emperor Heraclius, he was so enraged against 
his satraps and grandees, that a conspiracy headed by 
Shiruweih, one of Chosroes* own sons, was formed amongst 
them which led to his assassination. Badzan, whose disloyalty 
is apparent from his communicating his royal master's letter 
to Mohammed, had, as we learn, previously received an offer 
from the prophet that, if he embraced Islam, he should be 
confirmed in his dominion and have other portions of Persia 
added to it 

Some time before Mohammed claimed to be a prophet 
in Mecca, a request of Chosroes to his vassal, the ruler of 
Hira, for a supply of Arab beauties to replenish his harem, 
led to a conflict in which the powerful Arab tribe of the Beni 
Bekr became involved. The Persians mustered a large 
army, comprising many Arab auxiliaries, with the view of 
crushing the Beni Bekr. A battle ensued^ but it terminated 
in favour of the Arabs, as is thus grraphically described by 
Sir W. Muir : * The word of alarm had been given, and as it 
rapidly passed from clan to clan amongst the ramifications 
of that great tribe, the Arabs flocked to the rendezvous in 
the valley of Dzu Kar. The opposing ranks were about to 
close, when the iron-hearted Hanzala, their commander, with 
his own hand severed the girths of the camels on which were 
seated his wife and the other women of the tribe, and thus 
abandoned them, in case of defeat, to certain captivity. The 
Arabs fought with desperate bravery, and the Persian army 
was completely routed. This defeat, ominous of the fate of 
Persia, took place A.D. 611, a few months after Mohammed 
had entered on his prophetic career.' 


This gjeat military success, crowning the united and 
determined efforts of a single, but large and powerful tribe, 
clearly proved the possibility of entirely throwing off the 
Persian yoke. It took place when Mohammed was just 
rather timidly beginning to offer himself to the faith of his 
countr)anen, and could hardly fail to inspire him and the 
Arabs who were half disposed to listen to his proposals 
with the hope of far gjreater successes in the future, if they 
were but united as one nation, and fought the foreigner under 
a generally recognised leadership. 

The preceding rapid glance at Arab politics has shown us 
that for ages before the Mohammedan era Arabia had been 
forced to yield part of its independence to foreigners : to 
Romans, Abyssinians, and Persians. From them it had in 
turn to accept that domination and interference which is 
always felt the more humiliating and vexatious by any 
people the greater its national pride and the stronger its 
love of liberty. We have seen that since 'the year of the 
elephant,' or about the time of Mohammed's birth, the 
Abyssinian power began to wane, but that the Persian 
influence steadily waxed stronger, so that at the time when 
Mohammed sprang into manhood, Persian domination had 
become firmly established both in Yemen and Hira, and 
was gradually extending from these southern and northern 
centres over the interior portions of the Peninsula. Even 
Mecca and Medina seem to have been claimed as under 
Persian suzerainty. For when Mohammed sent his summons 
to Chosroes IL to embrace Islam, that potentate angrily tore 
up the letter, saying, 'Shall Mohammed, who lives in my 
dominion and is my subject, write to me such a letter?' 
Still, it could not escape the observation of the keen-eyed 
sons of Arabia, that whilst Persian domination was seeking 
to tighten its hold upon their country, desperate struggles 
for supremacy were going on in the north between Persia 
and Rome, necessarily tending to exhaust both those 
national adversaries. These were circumstances eminently 
calculated to revive the hopes of independence amongst the 
liberty-loving tribes of Arabia. They would particularly 
influence the merchants of Mecca, who knew more about 
foreign politics, and were naturally eager to extend their 



influence abroad, and to secure for themselves free commerce 
and low duties. 

The Arabs had now been taught, by long and painful 
experience, that it was chiefly owing to their division into 
independent and often hostile tribes, to their want of 
brotherly union and national cohesion, that they had been 
unable to keep themselves from foreign subjugation ; that 
their national sanctuary had been in danger; their com- 
merce, that vital condition of their existence, threatened ; 
and that they had even been compelled to submit to the 
degradation of fighting against each other in the interest of 
foreigners. We need only call to mind the modem instances 
of Germany and Italy, in order to understand how, when a 
great nation has been forced, through its internal dissensions, 
to submit to contempt, invasion, and conquest, all the pride 
and patriotism of its citizens are roused to contend for the 
restoration of their national honour and power. Though 
their efforts may for a time be defeated, or prove only parti- 
ally successful, strength and wisdom are gained by the very 
conflict, till that surest and saddest cause of national degra- 
dation, internal disunion and mutual antagonism, is removed, 
and their great object accomplished. 

It cannot be doubted that the thoughtful and patriotic 
Arabs were no less keenly sensible of the dishonour and weak- 
ness resulting from their disunion, and equally determined on 
vigorous efforts for gaining national strength and security. 
In point qf fact, we find Mohammed, by suasion and con- 
straint, uniting all the hitherto isolated tribes of Arabia into 
one political organisation under his own rule; and then 
sending forth vast hosts of horsemen on foreign expeditions 
of conquest Surely it cannot be supposed that he effected 
these great political results, without having actually aimed 
at them, or formed some plan for their accomplishment It 
is but rational to infer from what he has done, what he wished 
to do.^ In all probability his political plan, as it happens 
generally, was not at once definite and complete, but grew 
out of more or less vague ideas and indistinct cravings for 

' This inference is fully borne out by the opinion of so powerful a thinker as 
Hegel, who says in his Logic^ p. 281 :' In respect of the union between the inner 
and the outer, it is to be acknowledged that the great men wished to do that 
which they have done and that they did that which they wished to do.' 


power ; but it must have formed an integral part of the vast 
scheme before the eye of the prophet's mind, just as its realis- 
ation constituted an essential and prominent portion of the 
stupendous work which he achieved. Armies of thousands 
and tens of thousands of men are not formed and employed 
by chance, or by a mere sudden impulse; but they presuppose 
in their originator a deliberate purpose, and, in the world 
around, inviting causes and favourable conditions. The 
important political exploits of Mohammed demand for their 
explanation corresponding political designs ; and the forma- 
tion of these designs implies a political situation which called 
for them and suggested their feasibility. This is the rational 
principle here contended for, and this the explanation why in 
the development of so singular a prophet as the one before 
us we have to recognise a Political Factor. 

A tacit recognition of this principle plainly underlies the 
fact that the Moslem historians recite the above-mentioned 
political events as an introduction to their narrative of Mo- 
hammed's history ; and it is with the same view that they also 
record an extraordinary prophecy, which is evidently a pre^ 
dictio post eventum. The fabulous story, seriously narrated 
by Ibn Ishak as history, is this : Rabia Ibn Nazr, one of the 
weakest of the Tobbas or kings of Yemen, had a dream 
which so frightened him that he called together all the sooth- 
sayers, sorcerers, augurs, and astrologers of his realm, saying 
to them : ' I have had a bad dream which terrifies me : tell 
me what I have dreamt and what is the meaning of the 
dream.' They said, ' Tell us thy dream and we will give thee 
its interpretation.' He replied, ' If I tell it you, I shall have 
no guarantee as to the correctness of the interpretation : he 
who is able to interpret it correctly, must also know what the 
dream was, without my telling it him.* Then one of them 
answered, ' If the king requires this, then let him send for 
Satih and Shik, who will tell the king what he wishes to 
know ; for these are the two most learned men.' The king 
sent for them ; and Satih arriving first, told the king that he 
had seen in his dream a fire proceeding out of darkness, 
spreading over the sea-coast, and consuming everything 
having a skull. The king said, * Thou hast truly stated the 
dream, O Satih I and now, how dost thou interpret it?' 


Satih continued, ' I swear by the wild beasts of the field that 
the Abyssinians will invade your land and take possession 
of the provinces between Abjan and Jorash.' The king said, 
' By thy father, O Satih I this is sad news ; and when is it to 
come to pass, in my tidie or later ? ' Satih replied, ' Not for 
sixty or seventy years.' The king inquired, ' Will their do- 
minion be lasting or not ? * Satih answered, * After continuing 
for upwards of seventy years, part of them will perish and 
part be routed.' The king asked, ' Who will defeat them and 
drive them out of the country ? * Satih answered, * Arim dzu 
Yezen will come against them from Aden and will not leave 
one of them in Yemen.* The king : ' Will his dominion last ? ' 
Satih : *It also will come to an end.' The king: * Who will put 
an end to it ? ' Satih : A pure prophet, the receiver of revela- 
tions from the Most High, with whose people the dominion will 
remain to the end of time.' The king : Hast thou told me 
the truth ? ' Satih : ' By the evening redness, by the night, 
and by the early dawn, I have told thee the truth-' Then 
also came Shik, narrated and interpreted the dream in 
substantially the same way. King Rabia was so impressed 
with what he heard that he sent away his wife and children 
with provisions for the journey and a letter to Sabur I., king 
of Persia, who assigned a residence to them in Hira, 

It is nothing more than retranslating the scope of this 
spurious prophecy into history, to affirm that Mohammed, 
by pondering the political events which had lately passed 
or were just passing in his country, was led to conceive the 
idea that it was fully as practicable for him, in the character 
of a heaven-commissioned ambassador, to gain political 
authority over the multitudinous tribes of Arabia, as for 
those foreigners who had successively exercised their 
humiliating domination ; and that, having once formed this 
conviction, he also possessed enterprise, self-confidence, and 
daring enough to attempt the proud plan, and, favoured by 
circumstances, marvellously to succeed in its realisation. In 
the sense of Rabia's symbolical dream, Mohammed, by the 
system of violence and conquest in the name of religfion, 
which he inaugurated and began to carry out with all the 
rapidity and irresistibility of a conflagration, only fulfilled 
the fore-ordained decree of an inscrutable Providence. 


It is a known fact that in the age and fatherland of 
Mohammed, politics and religion were closely intertwined 
and inseparably bound up together. The several political 
parties exercising power and dominion, also represented 
different tenets of belief and sundry religious interests. The 
Romans and Abyssinians were identified with Christianity. 
Whole tribes and districts held up the banner of Judaism 
and waged war in its propagation. The Persian power was 
the exponent of fire-worship ; and the Arabs in general were 
devoted to that native idolatry which had its centre in the 
national sanctuary of the Kaaba. Under these circumstances 
it could hardly be otherwise, but that any great national 
movement for breaking the yoke of foreign usurpation and 
enforcing the principle of * Arabia for the Arabs, under one 
central government purely native,' should also essentially bear 
a religious character. 

II. The Religious Factor, 

The religion most widely prevalent in Arabia, when 
Mohammed began life, was a species of heathenism or idol- 
worship, which had its local centre in Mecca and its temple. 
The city of Mecca was the religious metropolis of the nation, 
and consequently its influence extended to every part of 
Arabia where the sanctity of its shrine was acknowledged. 
In the days of Mohammed the Kaaba or Meccan temple 
was already of high antiquity ; and as early as the time of 
Christ, the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus mentions a 
celebrated temple in the Hejaz which was revered and 
visited by all the Arabs. According to a theory held by 
many, this temple had been originally connected with the 
ancient worship of the sun, moon, and stars, and its circum- 
ambulation by the worshippers had a symbolical reference 
to the rotation of the heavenly bodies.^ Within its precincts 

^ Dr. L. Krehl, in his carefully written Dcu Leben des Muhammed, says on 
p. 21 : The primitive religion of the Arabs was a worship of the stars, itself a 
transmutation of the still more ancient worship of light, which was intended for 
the powers on high, symbolised by the visible heaven, and in which idea and 
symbol were easily confounded. Taking the image for the ideal itself, man came 
to regard the celestial bodies as deities, and as controllers of his own destiny to 
whom he owed worship. 



and in its neighbourhood there were found many idols, such 
as, Hobal, Lat, Ozza, Manah, Wadd, Sawa, Yaghut, Nasr, 
Isaf, Naila, etc. A black stone in the temple wall was 
regarded with superstitious awe as eminently sacred. It is 
not quite clear what was the origin of the worship of this 
black stone : whether it was held to be supernatural as being 
an aerolite ; or whether its supposed sanctity was a relic of 
the stone-worship anciently more or less prevalent in Arabia ; 
or whether it had some connection with the Eastern practice 
of erecting stone altars for the purpose of sacrifices, and 
stone pillars as monuments of gratitude for Divine favours, 
a practice which we meet with in the history of the Patriarchs. 
The attempt of the Mussulmans to derive it direct from a 
stone altar or pillar, erected by Abraham and his son 
Ishmael, in that identical locality, is altogether unsupported 
by history, and, in fact, flagrantly contrary to the Biblical 
record of the life of Abraham and his son. The pagan 
character of the temple is sufficiently marked by the state- 
ment of Mohammedan writers that before its purification by 
their Prophet, it contained no less than 360 idols, as many 
as there were days in their year ; and that on its walls were 
painted the figures of angels, prophets, saints, including those 
of Abraham and Ishmael, and even of the Virgin Mary with 
her infant Son. 

The Meccan religion was therefore not one of a narrow, 
exclusive kind, but so elastic and comprehensive that its 
temple could well serve as the national sanctuary for entire 
Arabia. This was in perfect agreement with the relatively 
liberal spirit and enlarged horizon of the Meccans as habi- 
tual travellers and intelligent merchants. Their commercial 
interests brought them into contact with the professors of 
many different religions, and dictated to them the policy of 
living in friendship with them all. They were thus prepared 
to tolerate and recognise the various creeds, and to please 
the Heathens, the Ishmaelites, the Jews, and the Christians 
alike, by opening the Kaaba to the several objects of their 
veneration. From the same latitudinarian standpoint they 
were also afterwards by no means indisposed to recognise 
Mohammed as a prophet : if he, in return, had but continued 
to acknowledge their idols as useful mediators, and as worthy 


of worship. They only opposed him when he claimed an 
exclusive right for his new way, and wished to abolish the 
old religion altogether. 

The influence exercised by the sanctuary of Mecca over 
the Arabian tribes, far and near, was very considerable : it 
was, in fact, the greatest national power, and the most ex- 
tensively recognised authority then existing in all Arabia. 
The Kaaba was looked upon as the Beit Ullah or House of 
God, where Divine revelations and decisions were sought 
in doubts, difficulties, and disputes. The reputed sanctity 
of the temple extended to the whole surrounding district, 
which was treated as Haram^ or an inviolable territory, at 
whose border all hostilities and combats had to be hushed. 
To facilitate the pilgrimage to this national Holy Place, 
from even the remotest provinces, four months of every year 
were set apart as sacred, during which all feuds and wars 
had to cease throughout the land, so that every one might 
travel without danger or molestation. In consequence, mul- 
titudes from every part of Arabia annually flocked to Mecca 
to worship at God's Holy House, whose very guardians were 
looked upon with special respect and reverence. The people 
of Mecca were fully sensible of their dignity and privilege, 
as the keepers and ministers of the national temple. 
Amongst their leading families the right of directing the 
ritual observances during the annual pilgrimage, the pre- 
rogative of providing the pilgrims with food and water, and 
the honour of keeping the key of the Kaaba, were considered 
so desirable and valuable as often to become the cause of 
mutual jealousy and even of sanguinary conflicts. 

It is therefore no matter of surprise, but a thing to be 
reasonably expected, that, in case a native of Mecca were 
to conceive the idea of establishing a power over the scattered 
tribes of Arabia, and of uniting them under one central 
government, he should avail himself of a means already in 
existence and with which he had been familiar from his youth. 
Mohammed, with great practical insight and shrewdness, 
seized on this advantage and retained the heathen shrine of 
his native city as the local centre of Islam. He sanctioned 
it by his own example as a place of religious pilgrimage for 
all his followers ; and though, after his flight to Medina, he 


for a short time adopted Jerusalem as his Kibla, in the 
hope of thus reconciling the Jews to Islam ; yet when he 
saw the device fail, he, in the second year, returned to his 
former practice of worshipping towards the Kaaba. It is 
not impossible that this was his concealed intention all 
through the period of his outward accommodation to Judaism, 
and if so, he would no doubt, after securing the submission 
of the Jews, have reverted to his original practice, by ag^in 
transferring the Kibla from Jerusalem to Mecca. His 
prudence naturally dictated to him to delay the step until 
the strength of his Arab following had sufficiently increased 
to warrant him in disregarding the opposition sure to come 
from the great number of Jewish converts hoped for. In 
what light Mohammed wished Mecca, as the guardian of 
God's Holy House, to be considered, is well seen from the 
public address which, on the day after the conquest of the 
city, he delivered, and which will be found recorded in its 
proper place. 

Thus the belief in the sanctity and unique character of 
the Meccan temple became firmly established amongst the 
Mussulmans ; and it will perhaps not be uninteresting to 
the reader to find here their teachings on this subject, as 
translated from the well-known Rawzet ul Ahbab : * When 
Adam had been sent out of Paradise to this earth, he became 
exceedingly sad and downcast, and thus made complaint 
to God : *' O God, I am distressed because I can no longer 
hear the voice of the angels."^ The Most High gave him 
this answer : " O Adam, I have sent a House to the earth 
which the angels compass about, just as they surround my 
Throne in heaven ; therefore turn towards it and become 
familiar with it" Upon this Adam, who at that time was in 
India, walked to the House of the Kaaba, God sending an 
angel with him to show him the way. Every one of Adam's 
steps was 50 parasangs long ; and every spot on which he 
trod was destined to become a city, as also the space be- 
tween his feet to become cultivated. In a very short time he 
reached the Haram, where he found a temple, consisting of 

^ Notice how here the sad consequence of the fall of man is placed in his 
separation from angelic company, and not in the interruption of communion with 
his Maker. 



a single celestial hyacinth, with two doors of green smaragd, 
one on the east side and the other on the west side. Then 
God sent an angel to teach Adam the ceremonies of the 

' According to another report, the Most High commanded 
Adam to build the House of the Kaaba, and sent angels to 
assist him in doing so. Gabriel swept the place with his 
wing, till it lay open down to the seventh foundation of the 
earth ; and other angels brought stones, of such a weight 
that thirty men could not lift one of them. In this way Adam 
laid the foundation and completed the building. The Black 
Stone was sent by God from Paradise, to be inserted in a 
certain fixed place of the structure. This stone was a white 
hyacinth, as is stated in a tradition derived from the 
Prophet ; and when it first came from Paradise it was whiter 
than milk, but men's sins made it black. It is recorded on 
the authority of Ibn Abbas that Adam made forty pilgrimages 
from India to the Kaaba. After him, his children also paid 
their visits to the House, till the time of the flood of Noah. 
Seth was the first to repair it with stone and mortar. At the 
Deluge the House of the Kaaba was taken up to the seventh 
heaven ; and Gabriel was sent to hide the Black Stone in 
the mountain Abu Kabis, to prevent its becoming immersed. 
The prophets succeeding Noah went to the Haram territory, 
with the purpose of visiting the House ; but did not know 
the exact spot where the building had stood. 

* This state of things lasted till the time of Abraham, to 
whom God showed again the exact locality, and gave him a 
command to rebuild the Kaaba. The way in which God 
made this known to him is differently reported : (i) God 
made the creature Shechina, in the shape of a little cloud, 
and ordered Abraham to follow it whithersoever it went, 
and to build the Kaaba on the spot where it should happen 
to alight^ (2) In that Shechina there was something like the 
head of a lion, or like the head of a lion's whelp, which said to 
Abraham, '' Make the building of the Kaaba exactly as large 
as my shadow, neither larger nor smaller." (3) God sent a 
storm which so thoroughly swept the place of the Kaaba 

^ This is obviously a travesty of the Biblical pillar of fire and cloud and the 
Shechina, in glorification of Islam. 


that Abraham could lay its foundation. (4) Gabriel came 
and showed him the place. These different views can be 
reconciled by assuming that the place was first shown to 
Abraham by means of the Shechina, and of the storm, and 
that afterwards Gabriel came to confirm and ratify the choice 
of the spot 

'Then Abraham rebuilt the House of the Kaaba ac- 
cording to Gabriel's instruction, and with the assistance of 
Ishmael. Having reached the height of the Black Stone 
he said to Ishmael, "Fetch me a fine stone to serve as a 
token to the servants of God." When he had brought one, 
Abraham said, '^ Fetch me a finer one ; " and as Ishmael was 
going to look for one, the mountain Abu Kabis called out, 
" O Abraham, what thou requirest (viz. the Black Stone) is 
with me : take it." Then Abraham took the Black Stone 
and built it firmly in its place. 

'When the building was finished, Gabriel came and 
taught Abraham all the ceremonies of the pilgrimage, by 
practically going with him through them all. At the close 
of this instruction, Abraham mounted the place of stones and 
called out : " O ye servants of God, the pilgrimage to the 
House of the Kaaba is a religious duty for you." God caused 
this call to be heard by all, even by those who were still in 
the reins of their fathers and in the wombs of their mothers, 
so that all who are predestined to make the pilgrimage, until 
the day of the resurrection, replied to Abraham's call, " We 
are ready at thy behest, O God ! we are ready." 

' It is recorded that the stones with which the Kaaba was 
built were taken from five, or according to some, from six 
different mountains ; and that the angels helped Ishmael to 
quarry and carry them. After the days of Abraham the 
House of the Kaaba was repeatedly rebuilt, namely, first by 
the Amalekites, then the Jorhamides, then the Koreishites, 
and lastly by several Moslem potentates. In its present 
form it is to remain, till the time when it will be demolished 
by the Abyssinians, as the Prophet has foretold.* ^ End of 
the quotation from the Rawzet ul Ahbab. 

History shows us that Mohammed, by declaring the 

^ The reader will observe that this extravagant story is only a loose collection 
of the several accounts circulating amongst the Mussulmans on the subject. 


national sanctuary of Mecca a Divine Institution and by re- 
enacting the obligatoriness of a pilgrimage to its temple as 
God's House, only adopted one of the most effectual means 
within his reach for extending his authority over all Arabia. 
In like manner we can see by the aid of the same light of 
history, that there exists no constraining reason for tracing 
his reformation of the national religion, or his rejection of 
idols and idol-worship, to a supernatural revelation and a 
miraculous Divine interposition made specially to himself; 
but that all this can be perfectly well accounted for by the 
religious condition of society in his days. In the age of 
Mohammed, heathen idolatry was no longer universally 
dominant in Arabia, but had suffered greatly in extent and 
prestige. Whole tribes and districts were under the sway of 
Judaism, the stubborn advocate of an absolute Monotheism. 
Christianity, equally opposed to Polytheism, prevailed in 
great portions of Najran and other parts, and its tenets were 
known far and wide. A picture of the Virgin Mary with her 
infant Son was found in the Kaaba itself, and the Abyssin- 
ians had started a military expedition from Yemen, in the 
jrear of Mohammed's birth, for the purpose of demolishing 
the idol-temple of Mecca. The idea of worshipping only one 
God, instead of many, was therefore nothing new in Arabia, 
nothing which Mohammed could only learn by a direct reve- 
lation from heaven : but something widely known and with 
which every Arab who cared for it could easily acquaint himself. 

But what shows still more conclusively that even in 
Mecca the prevailing idolatry was no longer unquestioningly 
followed by all, and that there were thoughtful men wishing 
for something better, is a fact with which Mohammedan 
historians themselves acquaint us. Ibn Ishak gives us the 
following interesting narrative : 

'The Koreish had an annual festival on which they 
assembled round their idols whom they worshipped, to whom 
they sacrificed and whom they carried about in procession. 
But four men kept aloof and made a secret covenant of 
friendship with each other. These four men were : Waraka 
Ibn Nawfal, Obeid Allah Ibn Jahsh whose mother Omeima 
was Abd ul Mottaleb's daughter, Othman Ibn el Huweireth, 
and Zeid Ibn Amr. They said to each other, " Ye know, by 


God, that your nation has not the true Faith and that they 
have corrupted the religion of their father Abraham : how 
shall we compass a stone which neither hears nor sees, neither 
helps nor hurts ? Seek ye another faith for yourselves : for 
the one you have is useless." Thereupon they separated and 
travelled in different countries, seeking the true faith of 
Abraham. Waraka absorbed himself in Christianity and 
studied the books of the Christians, till he was well acquainted 
with their doctrine. Obeid Allah continued in his doubts 
till he embraced Islam. Then he emigrated to Abyssinia, 
together with his wife 0mm Habibeh, Abu Sofyan's 
daughter, who also was a believer. Whilst they were there, 
he embraced Christianity and died as a Christian. • After 
Obeid Allah had become a Christian, he said to his com- 
panions who had emigrated with him to Abyssinia, " We see 
clearly : but you are still seeking and do not yet see." He 
made use of a word which is employed in speaking of the 
young of a dog opening its eyes for the first time and not 
yet able to see clearly. Later on Mohammed married Obeid 
Allah's widowi sending Amr Ibn Omaia to the king of 
Abyssinia to ask for her; and the king accepted the 
application in consideration of a dowry of 400 dinars. 
Othman went to the Emperor of Byzanz, became a Christian, 
and attained to great honour there. Zeid embraced neither 
Judaism nor Christianity, yet relinquished the faith of his 
nation, kept aloof from the idols, abstained from eating dead 
carcasses or of the meat of an animal sacrificed to idols, 
and from drinking blood ; and he condemned the practice of 
burying female infants alive. He said, " I worship the Lord 
of Abraham," and also openly rebuked the faults of his nation. 
In his old age he sometimes leaned against the Kaaba, saying, 
" O ye assembly of the Koreish, by Him in Whose power my 
soul is, there is none of you in the faith of Abraham, except 
myself" Then he continued, " O God, if I knew in what 
manner Thou likest best to be worshipped, I would do so : 
but I know it not." When once Mohammed was asked by 
a woman related to Zeid, whether she might pray for him 
(Zeid), he answered, " Yes, you may : he will be raised at the 
resurrection as a distinct religious community." He wrote 
verses about separating himself from the faith of his nation, 


saying: "Shall I believe in one Lord, or in a thousand 
Lords ? If so, dominion would have to be divided. I have 
forsaken Lat and Ozza : thus acts the strong, the faithful • • . 
I worship my Lord, in order that He, the Gracious, may 
forgive my sins. O ye people, preserve the fear of God, your 
Lord : then you will not perish. Thou shalt see how gardens 
shall be assigned to the pious for their habitations, but to the 
unbelievers the flaming fire of hell. In life they find reproach, 
and after death what oppresses their bosoms." ' 

This quotation from Ibn Ishak's work proves conclusively 
that the religious fermentation, produced among Arab society 
in general by the spread of Monotheism in its Jewish and 
Christian forms, had actually reached Mecca ; and that the 
idolatry practised in the national temple of the Kaaba was 
exposed by men of character and standing as contrary to 
sound reason and inconsistent with true notions of the Divine 
Being. Nor can it be doubted that this opposition to the ' 
prevailing form of religion in Mecca became notorious 
throughout the city. For Ibn Ishak further tells us that El 
Khattab, Zeid's uncle, * reproached him (Zeid) with forsak- 
ing the religion of his people, and so persecuted him that he 
was compelled to leave Mecca and to remain outside the city 
on Mount Hira. £1 Khattab even instigated the young folks 
to prevent his re-entering the town. Therefore when they 
heard of his having come secretly, they drove him back again 
and ill-treated him, lest he should harm their religion and 
lest any one should follow him in turning away from the 
ancient Faith.* Sprenger, one of Mohammed's latest and 
ablest biographers, says of this Zeid : * It is probable that 
he travelled and discoursed with men acquainted with the 
Scriptures on religious matters ; and he may have been a 
Deist before Hanifism was being propagated in Mecca : but 
Ibn Ishak is mistaken in saying that he was murdered on 
his way home. He did return to his native city, but had to \ 
live in banishment on Mount Hira, because of his faith, and 
after dying as a Hanifite, was buried at the foot of the 

Besides the four men named by Ibn Ishak, there were 
others who likewise repudiated the prevailing idolatry, e,g, 
Abu Amir of Medina and his followers there ; and Omaia Ibn 


Zalt of the important town Taif, two days from Mecca, who 
was at the same time a renowned poet These men naturally 
ixjet with more or less sympathy from the intelligent portion 
of thQir countrymen, and were in fact a small sect of Deists, 
distinguished by the appellation of * Hanifitesl i.e. Separatists, 
Dissenters, Nonconformists, Protestants, on account of their 
having turned away and separated from the national Poly- 
theism and professing only the one true God.^ This step of 
separation and turning away from idols to God, being similar 
to what Abraham did in his days, they also professed that 
they were holding * the Faith or Religion of Abraham.' One 
of these Nonconformists was the son of an aunt of Moham- 
med ; and two others were near relatives of his wife Khadija. 
' Is it surprising that a reflective mind like Mohammed's should 
be attracted by the more enlightened religious views of in- 
fluential and intelligent men, so closely related to him? 
May we not go still further than this? It was, we are 
informed, Mohammed's custom during the hottest season of 
the year to retire to that very Mount Hira where' the zealous 
Hanif Zeid lived in banishment for many years. There 
he may perhaps have enjoyed many an instructive interview 
with this persecuted but steadfast reformer, and have received 
from him much of that light on religious matters which, 

^ The transient assumption of a similar name by a number of Turks who 
were disposed to break loose from orthodox Islamism, became the direct cause 
of the notorious violent interference of the Turkish Government with the Protestant 
missions in Constantinople, in the year 1864. Rumours were then spreading that 
30,000 or 70,000 or 120,000 Turks had become Protestants and were petitioning 
the Government to hand over to them one of the mosques for their own separate 
worship. We, the Missionaries of several Societies, were astonished at those 
rumours, because we had no connection with, nor even knowledge of, a Protes- 
tant movement of anything like those dimensions. The Government nevertheless 
suspected us of being at the bottom of the movement, and perhaps not unnatur- 
ally, on account of the name mixed up with it. The Sublime Porte, wishing to 
stop the movement and silence the rumours, determined to close and seal up all 
the offices of the different Protestant Missionary Societies then at work in 
Constantinople. A long correspondence ensued between the English and the 
Turkish Governments. The end of this was, that we Missionaries were restricted 
in our work to mere private intercourse with individual Turks, and enjoined 
to avoid anything the least calculated to draw public attention upon us. The 
rumoured existence of so widespread a reputedly Protestant movement long 
remained an unsolved mystery to us. 

A number of years later, when on a Missionary tour in Western Turkey, I was 
requested by some Albanians to assist them in procuring the recall of one of their 


after the master's death, he gave out as having been derived 
direct from heaven, dirough an angel specially sent to him 
by the Almighty. As a matter of fact and history we find 
Mohammed glory in the appellation of * Hanifite' and openly 
declare that his doctrine is nothing but the ancient * Faith 
or Religion of Abraham.' 

The very idea of some one becoming * the prophet of his 
country,' that is, specially of Arabia, does not seem to have 
been originated by Mohammed, but to have been extensively 
entertained by the Hanifite sect For it is expressly recorded 
by El Zobair, that Omaia, the celebrated poet of Taif, him- 
self a Hanifite, * had a desire to be chosen to the prophetic 
office, because he had read in the Sacred Books that a 
prophet was to rise up amongst the Arabs ; and it was believed 
that he might himself be that prophet When Mohammed 
had received his mission, people said to Omaia, " This is he 
of whom thou didst speak, and whom thou didst expect" 
But he envied him and said, "I had hoped to be chosen 

It must therefore be accepted as an established fact of 
history that the religious condition of Arabia, about the age 
of Mohammed, was such that no new supernatural revela- 
tion, nor even uncommon originality of mind, was required 

friends, a native Bey, who had been banished to a fortress in Syria, ostensibly on 
the charge of having had a share, at Constantinople, in an attempt to place 
Marad Effendi on the throne, but in reality, they affirmed, because he had 
become a 'Protestant.' On closer inquiry I found that this Bey had nothing 
whatever to do with our Christian Protestantism, but that in fact he was a kind 
of Protestant Mussulman, repudiating traditional Mohammedanism, as the 
Protestant Christians had repudiated Roman Catholicism. There were thousands 
of Mohammedans in those parts, generally called Pektashis, but, as it would 
seem, occasionally also Protestants, who were described to me as men abstaining 
from the Ramadan fast and the five daily prayers, but retaining the Mussulman 
form of a deistic belief in God. 

Now if the many thousands of rumoured Protestants in Constantinople who, 
without any desire to embrace historical Protestantism, wished to occupy a 
position within Islam, corresponding to that of Protestants within Christendom ; 
the alarm of the Porte at those rumours and the fact that the whole movement 
was kept apart and concealed from the Protestant Missionaries, became equally 
intelligible. It is evident that in name and in religion these Mussulman 
Protestants of Turkey closely resembled the ancient Hanifites of Ara> ia. Their 
movement was virtually an attempted return to pre-Islaraic Hanifism, which 
latter had itself been the protoplast from which historic Islamism developed 


for any one living in Mecca, to perceive and expose the folly 
of idolatry, to profess Monotheism, and, at the same time, to 
retain the ancient customs and ceremonies of the national 
sanctuary, the Kaaba. Mohammed in attempting all this 
only followed the example of others. They were unable to 
bring about the change in the national religion which they 
desired : but he succeeded in the difficult undertaking because 
he was more favoured by circumstances, and because he did 
not shrink from freely adopting the means of violence and 
coercion, or of craftiness and bribery, which lie outside the 
domain of pure religion. Zeid Ibn Amr signally failed in his 
attempted national reformation, because, instead of being 
supported by a powerful family, he was shamefully abandoned 
by his nearest relatives and delivered over to the cruel per- 
secution and heartless contumely of an ignorant and frivolous 
populace. Mohammed, on the contrary, when likewise at 
the point of succumbing to popular annoyances and vexations, 
was protected by mighty friends and patrons ; and it is 
abundantly clear that what saved him from the fate of Zeid 
and others, was his kinship to a powerful aristocratic family. 
This, therefore, aptly forms our next subject for consideration. 

III. The Ancestral or Family Factor. 

f It is a great mistake to represent Mohammed as a poor 
. man of low birth and as having been in his youth a mere 
'camel-driver.' His biographer, Ibn Hisham, concludes the 
genealogy he gives of him with this remark : * Accordingly 
the Apostle of God was the noblest of the sons of Adam, as 
regards descent, both on the paternal and the maternal side.' 
The fact is, that he belonged to one of the most distinguished 
tribes of Arabia, and was the scion of one of the most pro- 
minent aristocratic families in the important mercantile city 
of Mecca, that religious metropolis of the whole nation. 

Several generations before Mohammed, Kussei, a leading 
man of the tribe of the Koreish, a branch of the larger 
Kinana tribe, married the daughter of Huleil, at that time 
the chief man of Mecca and the overseer of the temple. 
When Huleil died, Kussei's influence had already so far in- 
creasedf that he could meditate on plans of securing for him- 


self the position hitherto occupied by his father-in-law. He 
united round his person the family of the Koreish, who till 
then had been divided and dispersed amongst the Kinana 
tribe, together with many of the Kinanites themselves, and 
with the help of the party thus gained, he overcame his rivals 
and made himself the chief man of Mecca and the protector 
of its temple. The Koreish, thenceforth, were the ruling 
tribe or clan in Mecca, and Kussei's the most influential 
family. In recognition of his having united them into one 
tribe and raised them to their commanding position in Mecca, 
they sumamed him * the Uniter or Gatherer* (El Mojammi). 

After Kussei's death, the privileges connected with the 
supervision of the temple and the annual pilgrimage caused 
rivalries and discord amongst his sons. They formed two 
opposite factions, each allying itself with native clans and 
entering into solemn pacts and covenants with them, faith- 
fully to support each other, and never to deliver any of their 
number to the opposite party, ' as long as the sea availed to 
wet a fleece of wool.' When both sides were already muster- 
ing for an open fight, the fratricidal combat was happily 
avoided by an agreement to share the coveted privileges 
between the two rival factions. The alliances and covenants, 
however, by which the opposite parties had severally united 
themselves with other clans, remained in force and imparted 
a certain dual character to the social state of Mecca, which 
lasted till the time of Mohammed and essentially contributed 
to ensure to him a protection without which he would cer- 
tainly have been crushed by his enemies. No wonder, there- 
fore that, as Ibn Ishak informs us, the Prophet at one period 
declared, ' The alliances which existed in the time of idolatry, 
are rendered only the more firm by Islam.' 

In the above-mentioned peaceable arrangement, the im- 
portant privilege of providing the pilgrims with food and 
water was assigned to Abd Menaf, the son of Kussei, and at 
his death, passed to his son Hashim, because he was wealthier 
than his elder brother Abd Shems. On one occasion Hashim 
made a journey to Medina and there married into an influ- 
ential family. Salma, the new wife, had been married before, 
and Ibn Hisham says of her that she was so independent 
and held in such high repute that she could presume to 


boast, * she would not marry any man who did not leave her 
the liberty of quitting him again as soon as she liked.' She 
bore a son to Hashim ; but when her husband returned to 
Mecca, she did not accompany him and also retained her 
infant son Sheiba with her. After a time, Hashim died at 
Gaza, during a mercantile journey, and his privileges passed 
to his younger brother El Mottaleb, who discharged his duties 
with such liberality in his new position that the Koreish sur- 
named him *the Bountiful* (El Feiz). When Sheiba had 
grown up to man's estate, his uncle El Mottaleb went to 
Medina to fetch him. But Salma being unwilling to part 
with her son, he had to use great firmness, declaring, ' I shall 
not depart without him. My nephew is grown up. We are 
an honoured family amongst our people and enjoy many 
privileges. It is better for him to go home to his own 
family and his own tribe, than to live here amongst strangers.' 
At last Salma gave her consent, and El Mottaleb placed his 
nephew behind him on his magnificent she-camel and returned 
with him to Mecca. On their arrival, the Koreishites, taking 
the young man for a newly acquired slave, called him ' Abdu- 
1-Mottaleb,' {i.e, the slave of El Mottaleb) ; and by this sur- 
name he was known ever afterwards. But El Mottaleb said, 
* Do not call him my slave : he is my brother Hashim's son 
whom I have fetched from Medina.' 

Abdu-1- Mottaleb, therefore, is a native of Medina, where 
he grew up to man's estate, and where his mother and all his 
maternal relatives lived. What more natural than that he 
should always preserve a certain partiality for, and keep up 
a connection with, his native city ? That the kinship was 
remembered and cultivated in his family is established by 
historical facts. His favourite son, Abd Allah, being taken 
ill on a mercantile journey to Gaza, remained with his 
relatives in Medina and died theref Abd Allah's widow, 
Fatlma, with her little son Mohammed, likewise paid them 
a visit and stayed amongst them for a month, in the very 
house where her husband had died ; she herself also dying 
on her homeward journey. This Abdu-1-Mottaleb is Moham- 
med's grandfather, under whose protection and as whose 
special favourite the lad grew up, after the premature death 
of his father Abd Allah. Thus we see that the way for the 


famous Flight to Medina had been prepared, not merely by 
the conversion of a number of Medinites to Islam, but 
obviously also by the previously existing family ties and 
influences. This is nothing but what naturally resulted from 
the clannish character of Arab society in those days, and 
from the mutual jealousies of those two rival cities, Mecca 
and Medina. 

After El Mottaleb's death, the right and honour of pro- 
viding for the pilgrims reverted to the line of his elder 
brother and thus passed to Abdu-l-Mottaleb^ his nephew from 
Medina. Abdu-1-Mottaleb was a rich man, as heir of his 
father Hashim's property. He had the wisdom and discre- 
tion to abstain from introducing novelties which might have 
given offence. Ibn Hisham, the historian, says of him : * He 
retained everything which his fathers had introduced, and 
acquired an esteem beyond any of his predecessors, being 
loved and honoured by his entire people.' Ibn Ishak records 
that Abdu-1-Mottaleb, guided by a dream, rediscovered the 
celebrated well Zemzem, near the temple, which the Jorho- 
mides had formerly covered over and obliterated, and that he 
successfully asserted his right over the well against the claims 
of the other Koreishites. The good quality and great abund- 
ance of the water of Zemzem soon brought the other wells 
into disuse ; and so valuable was the discovery considered, 
that poets celebrated it in song and extolled the Hashimites 
as thereby surpassing all other Koreishites and all the rest 
of the Arabs in fame. 

That Mohammed did not spring from an obscure family, 
but that his grandfather Abdu-1-Mottaleb was the most in- 
fluential and powerful man of the aristocratic city of Mecca, 
will also appear from the following historical incident 
narrated by Ibn Ishak in his account of the unsuccessful 
expedition of Abraha against the idolatrous shrine of Mecca. 
He says : ' When Abraha was encamped at Mogammas, he 
sent his general. El Aswad, with a body of cavalry to plunder 
the neighbourhood of Mecca Amongst the spoil which he 
collected, there were 200 camels, the property of Abdu-1- 
Mottaleb who was then the chief and lord of the Koreish. 
Abraha despatched the Himyarite Hunata to Mecca with 
this injunction : " Inquire after the chief and lord of the city^ 


and tell him that I am not come to make war against him, 
but only to destroy the temple. If they will not oppose 
this, I thirst not for their blood ; and if he will not make 
war against me, bring him here to me." When Hunata, on 
making the necessary inquiry in Mecca, was taken to Abdu-1- 
Mottaleb and delivered Abrahams message to him, he replied : 
" By Allah, we will not war against him ; for we are too weak 
for it As regards the temple of Allah ; if He will protect 
it against Abraha, it is His own temple and sanctuar}" ; but 
if He will deliver it up, then we ourselves cannot protect 
it" After this, Abdu-1-Mottaleb accepted the invitation to 
the Abyssinian camp, where he made the acquaintance of 
the commander's elephant-keeper who thus introduced him 
to his master: "The Lord of the Koreish is before the 
door, soliciting admittance. He is the lord of the well of 
Mecca, feeding the men in the plain and the wild beasts 
on the mountain-tops: allow him to enter and to submit 
to thee his request" Permission being given, he entered 
and said, " I wish that the king would restore to me the 200 
camels which have been taken away." Upon this Abraha, 
speaking through an interpreter, said : " When I saw thee 
first, I was pleased with thee ; but thy words have lowered 
thee in my estimation. Thou makest mention of the 200 lost 
camels, but sayest nothing about the temple which I am 
come to destroy and which is the sanctuary of thyself and 
thy fathers." To this Abdu-1-Mottaleb replied : " I am the 
master of the camels : the temple also has its master, who 
will take care of it" Abraha said, " He probably will not 
stop me ; " to which Abdu-1-Mottaleb again replied, " That is 
a matter between Him and thee." Abraha then ordered the 
camels to be restored to Abdu-1-Mottaleb who, on his return, 
informed the Koreish of all that had happened, and com- 
manded them to leave Mecca and to retire to the mountain- 
recesses, from fear of the Abyssinian soldiery. Then Abdu- 
1-Mottaleb took hold of the ring of the temple-door, and, 
together with other Koreishites, implored God's help against 
Abraha and his army, adding, ** O God, Thy servant looks 
after his camels : do Thou protect what belongs to Thee, and 
suifer not their cross and their cunning to prevail against 
Thy power.' 

n ) 


Next morning, when Abraha wished to proceed to Mecca, 
his elephant, with whose keeper (be it observed) Abdu-1- 
Mottaleb had made friendship, would not rise from the 
ground ; and a virulent epidemic of small-pox broke out in 
the camp, necessitating the hasty retreat of the Abyssinians. 
But besides the fact that Abdu-1-Mottaleb had 200 camels to 
lose on a single occasion, there may be mentioned another 
indirect proof of his opulence. The Fihrist contains the 
following notice : ' In the museum of Mamun there was a 
document in the handwriting of Abdu-1-Mottaleb Ibn 
Hashim, written on leather. It was to the effect that Abdu- 
1-Mottaleb of Mecca had a claim on a certain Himyarite of 
Wark Sana, amounting to 1000 dirhems of silver, not 
counted, but weighed with an iron weight; and that, on 
demand, he received payment of that debt' 

Abdu-1-Mottaleb not only occupied a most influential 
social and political position in Mecca, but he was also a rigid 
devotee of idol-worship, as is proved by his readiness to 
sacrifice one of his own sons at the Kaaba. The following 
narrative is taken from Ibn Ishak : ' It is believed that when, 
at the time of the digging of the Zemzem well, the other 
Koreishitcs showed hostility to Abdu-1-Mottaleb, he made 
the vow that if he should ever have ten sons of an age to give 
him assistance, he would sacrifice one of them at the Kaaba. 
As soon as his ten sons had grown up to the requisite age, 
he informed them of his vow, and requested them to submit 
to its fulfilment On expressing their readiness, and inquir- 
ing how it was to be done, he said to them, " Let every one 
of you write his name on an arrow and give it me." This 
done, he went to the idol Hobal who was placed within the 
Kaaba and before whom the sacrifices of the temple were 
offered. Hobal had seven arrows, each with a different in- 
scription. If the arrow with the inscription " atonement " 
was drawn, the person for whom it was drawn had to pay 
the price of blood ; if with " yes " or " no," a question was 
answered in the affirmative or negative; if with "water," 
the digging of a well was agreed to ; if with ** from you," 
or "not from you," a person was declared to belong, or 
not to belong, to a certain tribe; and if with "remain- 
ing," the case remained undecided. If they wished for 



the answer " y^s^' but received the answer " no," they used 
to wait a year, and then repeat the inquiry till it became 
possible for them to act in agreement with the oracle. Abdu-1- 
Mottaleb's dearest son was Abd Allah, Mohammed's father ; 
yet when the lot fell on him, Abdu-1-Mottaleb, provided with 
his sword, at once took him to the idols Isaf and Naila, to 
sacrifice him. But his other sons and the Koreish in general 
interfered, saying, " By Allah, thou shalt not slay him ! for 
if thou do, any one might bring his son for an offering, 
and then how could mankind continue ? " Upon this they 
agreed to submit the case to a priestess in Khaibar who 
had •* a spirit that followed her." After she had learned from 
them that in their home the atonement for a man was ten 
camels, she told them, " Go home, place Abd Allah on one 
side and ten camels on the other, and let lots be drawn 
between them. If the arrow for the camels comes out, then 
sacrifice them in his stead — he is saved, and your Lord 
satisfied ; but if the arrow for Abd Allah comes out, then 
add ten camels more ; and go on in this way until the arrow 
for the camels is drawn." Having returned to Mecca, they 
acted on this advice, and the arrow for the camels was not 
drawn till their number had been increased to one hundred.' 

To show Abdu'l-Mottaleb's special affection for his 
grandson, Ibn Ishak further narrates : *The Apostle of God 
lived with his mother and grandfather ; but his mother died 
in Abwa, between Mecca and Medina, when returning with 
him from a visit to his uncles, the Beni Adi, he being only 
six years old. After her death, he lived entirely with his 
grandfather. Abdu-1-Mottaleb had his couch near the Kaaba 
and when his sons attended on him, they stood around the 
couch ; but such was their reverence for him, that none of 
them ever ventured to sit upon it Once the Apostle of God, 
when yet a little boy, came and sat down on the couch. His 
uncles wanted to remove him, but Abdu-1-Mottaleb forbade 
it, saying, " Leave my son alone : by Allah, he will one day 
occupy a high rank ! " Then he allowed him to remain sitting 
by his side and to stroke him, being pleased with whatever 
the child did. When the Apostle of God was eight years old, 
eight years after the elephant year, Abdu-1-Mottaleb died.' 

One of his daughters lamented him in the following dirge. 


*Shed tears in abundance, O mine eye, over the bountiful, 
the noble, the very best that ever rode on camel ; over the 
excellent father who diffused blessings like the Euphrates. 
He was a lion, when anything great had to be fought for :. 
every eye looked up to him. He was the prince of the Beni 
Kinana : of him they expected help, when the times brought 
misfortune; he was their refuge, when war threatened de- 
struction ; and he combated for them against every calamity. 
Oh weep for him, and weary not to mourn him, as long as 
there are weeping women ! ' 

After Abdu-1-Mottaleb's death, the little boy Mohammed ' 
was taken to the house of his uncle Abu Talib, to whom 
Abdu-1-MottaIeb had commended him, because his father 
Abd Allah was Abu Talib's double brother, that is, they had 
not only a common father, but also one and the same 
mother, Fatima, the daughter of Amr Ibn Aid. * Abu Talib 
now took care of the Apostle of God and always kept him 
near his person.' 

It must, therefore, be admitted as beyond dispute, that ) 
Mohammed belonged to a family and a tribe which enjoyed 
a high position in their country, and were the distinguished 
exponents of a pure and genuine Arab nationality. The 
tribe of the Koreish, amongst which he was bom and brought 
up, greatly prided itself on the purity of their descent and 
the services they had rendered to the fatherland and its 
temple. After having long felt the disadvantages and evils 
accruing from the disunion and disruption to which they had 
been a prey, in common with the whole nation, they at last 
wisely united, and, by valour no less than by a prudent use 
of circumstances, succeeded in making themselves masters, 
of the important city of Mecca, at once the religious metro- 
polis and an opulent emporium of the entire nation. The ' 
family in which Mohammed was born and bred, exercised a 
most powerful political and social influence ; and, as we have 
seen, took the most prominent part in the negotiations with 
the invading Abyssinian army which had penetrated to the 
neighbourhood of Mecca, but was successfully kept from 
taking and sacking the city by Abdu-l-Mottaleb*s dexterous 
management The highest interests of this family centred 
in the national sanctuary, of which they had acquired the 


superintendence, and whose pilgrims they were privileged to 
supply with food and water. Their riches were gained and 
multiplied by a diligent participation in the mercantile enter- 
prises of the leading Meccan houses ; and the regular trading 
expeditions to foreign lands which they assiduously used 
widened the circle of their knowledge and raised the scope 
of their aspirations. 

All these more or less favourable circumstances could not 
but have a very decided effect and produce a certain inefface- 
able impress upon any Meccan citizen of a susceptible 
nature and a calculating turn of mind Now of such a 
nature and of such a bent of mind was Mohammed. View* 
ing the Arabian Prophet from the standpoint of family and 
kinship, we cannot but be struck with the thought that the 
religious aims and worldly projects which he mixed up in his 
mind and resolutely pursued by means as unscrupulous as 
they proved successful, were in full accord with his birth and 
education, and, in fact, the natural outcome of his antecedents. 
Belonging to a family of lordly merchants, the self-constituted 
guardians of the national temple, and inheriting alike their 
mercantile enterprise and their religious enthusiasm, he did 
not shrink from present self-denial and privation in order to 
secure the rich prize he saw glittering in the distance. As a 
merchant in a higher sphere and on a grander scale, he risked 
much and gained more. His later successes did credit to 
the mercantile family amongst which he had obtained his 
early schooling. But manifold and powerful as were the 
influences acting upon Mohammed from without, their actual 
results were necessarily shaped in accordance with the 
physical and psychical constitution, and with the strongly 
marked personality^ of the man himself. 

IV. The Personal Factor. 

Mohammed was the only child of his father Abd Allah, 
the son of Abdu-1-MottaIeb, and of his mother Amina, the 
daughter of Wahb, lord of the Beni Zuhra. Ibn Ishak calls 
Amina * the noblest woman amongst the Koreish, both by 
descent and rank.' He also states that Abd Allah died 
before the birth of his son ; and Amina when he was only 


six years of age. From this early death of both his parents 
it may perhaps be inferred that they were not of a sound 
constitution and robust health, and that his own highly sensi- 
tive and delicate nature may have been inherited from them. 

At all events, his mother must have been a nervous, 
visionary person, if the traditional accounts of her have any 
foundation in facts, and are not altogether gratuitous inven- 
tions. The following narrative is attributed to her : ' When 
six months of my pregnancy had passed, I once happened 
to be in a state between waking and sleeping, and some one 
said to me : '* Knowest thou that thou art with child ? " and 
on my replying in the negative, that person continued, 
** Verily thou art bearing the Lord and Prophet of this nation." 
As the time of parturition drew near, that person again 
appeared to me in a vision, and said, ** Commit him to the 
protection of the One, against the harm of every envier ; and 
call his name Mohammed." Then this speaker from the 
unseen world^ added, " The sign of the truth of my word is» 
that, together with that Mohammed, a light shall be bom 
which will fill the palaces of Bosra." On another occasion, 
likewise before Mohammed's birth, I saw in reality that a 
light proceeded from me by which the whole world became 
illuminated. It was by a reflection from this light that 
previously the palaces of the land of Bosra had become 
visible to me, so that I clearly saw them in Mecca. 

' In the night when labour-pain seized me, I heard a great 
voice by which I was terrified ; and I saw, as it were, a white 
wing brush across my bosom, whereupon that terror left me. 
Then I saw a cup with a white beverage, placed before me, 
resembling milk ; and as I was thirsty I drank it and became 
quite calm and composed. In the same night there also 
appeared in my house a peculiar kind of birds which filled 
the whole house. Their beaks were of emerald, and their 
wings of ruby. The Most High lifted the veil off my eye, 
so that I saw the eastern and the western portions of the 
earth, and I beheld them plant three banners: one in the 
east, one in the west, and one on the roof of the Kaaba. At 
the birth there issued forth from me, together with the child, 
a light by which I saw the palaces of Bosra in Syria. When 
Mohammed was bom, a white cloud from heaven enveloped 


him, and took him up to heaven, so that he disappeared out 
of my sight. In that state I heard a caller call out, "Pass 
him through the east and west of the earth, and take him to 
the birthplaces of the prophets, that they may bless him, 
and pray for him, and that they may clothe him in the dress 
of the Hanifites, and present him to his father Abraham ; 
and take him also to all the seas, that all their inhabitants 
may know his name, his attributes, and his form. Verily, in 
the seas his name is Annihilator, for not a grain of Polytheism 
remains on the face of the earth that shall not be annihilated 
in his time." Then in an instant they brought Mohammed 
back' to me, wrapt in wool whiter than snow,' eta etc 

Ibn Ishak narrates : ' The Apostle of God was bom on a 
Monday in **the year of the elephant" (see p, 9), when 
twelve nights of the month Rabia-1-ewwel had passed. 
After he was bom, his mother sent for Abdu-1-Mottaleb, 
b^^ing him to come and see the child. When he came, she 
told him what she had seen during the time of her pregnancy, 
what she was told about him, and how she had been com- 
manded to name him. It is believed that his grandfather 
then took him in his arms, and carried him to the Kaaba, 
to thank God for the gift ; and after this was done, he 
brought him back to his mother and began to look out for 
a wet-nurse.' 

In the Mohammedan biography entitled Rawzet ul Ahbab, 
the subject of the wet-nurse is thus introduced: 'It was 
customary amongst the noble families of the Arabs to give 
their children to wet-nurses, so that their wives might without 
care or trouble occupy themselves with their husbands, and 
bear the more children ; and also because it is acknowledged 
that the enjoyment of fresh water and a healthy climate 
by children predisposes them to clearness of speech and 
eloquence. Hence they used to have their children nursed 
amongst Arab tribes, whose localities were celebrated for 
their pure water and salubrious air. Of all the Arab tribes 
the Beni Saad enjoyed the highest reputation on the score 
of the excellency of their air and water. Accordingly the 
women of the tribes in the neighbourhood of Mecca used to 
come to the city twice a year, in spring and autumn, for the 
purpose of obtaining infants to nurse ; and when they had 


received any, they took them away with them to their own 
tribe, to suckle and tend them there.' 

Ibn Ishak has preserved to us the story which, in after- 
day^, the Saadite woman Halima is reported to have told 
as to the way in which she became Mohammed's wet-nurse. 
It is highly coloured, to suit Moslem notions as to the special 
providences which ought to have signalised their Prophet 
from his infancy, and runs as follows : * In a year of grievous 
famine I left my home with my husband and sucking babe, 
together with other women of the Beni Saad, who likewise 
were in search of babies for suckling. I had a troublesome 
journey, because my baby was crying with hunger. Neither 
myself nor the she-camel we took with us had milk enough 
to satisfy him ; and the donkey on which I rode was so lean 
and weak that it could not keep pace with the caravan, and 
proved an irksome drag to it. But we buoyed ourselves up 
with the hope of help and deliverance, till we at last reached 
Mecca. The Apostle of God was offered to all the women ; 
but none of them would accept him as soon as they learned 
that he was an orphan. For we expected presents from the 
fathers of the sucklings, and thought that a mere grandfather 
and widow mother were not likely to do much for us. But 
when all the other women had found sucklings, and we were 
about to return home, I said to my husband, " By Allah ! I 
do not like to go back with my companions without a 
suckling ; I will take this orphan." He replied, " Thou wilt 
not be a sufferer by taking it : God may bless us on its 
account" So I took the child, from no other reason than 
that I could not find another. When I laid him on my bosom, 
he found so much milk that he could drink till he had enough, 
and likewise his foster-brother drank, and was satisfied. 
Then they also both slept quietly, whilst before that my 
own child had been so restless as to give us no sleep. My 
husband, on going to our camel, found her quite swollen with 
milk, and drew so much from her that both he and I could 
drink as much as we liked ; and we spent a most happy night. 
The following morning my husband said to me, " Know, O 
Halima, that thou hast obtained a blessed child." 1 replied, 
" By Allah, I hope so !" Then we departed, and I took him 
with me on my ass, which now ran so nimbly that my fellow- 


travellers, with their asses, could hardly follow, and asked 
me whether this was the same animal as that on which I 
came. After our arrival at home, in the land of the Beni 
Saad, the most unfruitful of lands, my cattle returned every 
evening satisfied and full of milk, so that we had milk enough 
to drink whilst others suffered great want. Thus we found 
God's blessing and abundance in everything, till two years 
had passed, when the boy was weaned, having grown stronger 
than any other child. We now took him to his mother, 
though desirous to keep him longer, on account of the bless- 
ing he had brought to us. Accordingly I said to his mother : 
" Will you not leave your child longer with us, till he has 
grown stronger ; for I fear the bad air of Mecca might prove 
hurtful to him ? " We urged the matter until she consented, 
and sent the child back with us.' 

The necessity which thus appeared to have existed, and 
to which Halima's story only covertly alludes, of securing to 
the child the benefit of a more invigorating climate beyond 
the usual term of suckling, confirms the assumption of his 
constitutional delicacy. An event happening not long after 
his second return to the country of the Beni Saad is a 
palpable proof that he was organically and from childhood 
an hysterical, visionary subject. Ibn Ishak reports that, 
when their Prophet was one day asked by some of his friends 
for an account of his early life, he described that event in 
the following words : * Once, whilst I was tending the cattle, 
together with my foster-brother, two men clothed in white 
and bearing a golden wash-basin, filled with snow, came 
towards me, seized me, split open my body, took out my 
heart, cut it open, and removed from it a black clot, which 
they threw away. Then they washed my heart and body 
quite clean with the snow, and one of them said to the other, 
" Weigh him against ten of his people ;" and when he did so, 
I outweighed them. Then he said, " Weigh him against a 
hundred of his people ; " but I again outweighed them. He 
continued, " Weigh him against a thousand of his people ; " 
and when I outweighed them too, he said, " Leave him now : 
for if thou wert to put his entire people into the scale, he 
would outweigh them all." ' 

Halima also refers to the same subject, proceeding with 


her story as follows : ' Some months after our return home, 
when he was with the cattle, in company of his foster-brother, 
the latter, one day, came running to us, and said, '' Two men 
robed in white, have seized my brother, the Koreishite, 
stretched him on the ground, cut open his body, and felt 
about in it" ^ I and his father hastened to the spot, and, 
finding him quite altered in appearance, we asked him what 
had happened. He answered thus : '* There came towards 
me two men in white clothes, stretched me on the ground, 
split open my body, and sought something in it, I know not 
what" We brought him to our tent, and his father said to 
me, ^ I fear this boy is plagued by evil spirits : take him back 
to his family, before it becomes known." We therefore soon 
started to take him to his mother. She, on seeing us so 
unexpectedly, exclaimed, •* O nurse, what has happened to 
bring thee hither, after all thy solicitation to keep the child 
longer ? " I answered, " God has allowed my son to grow 
up ; I have done my part, and am afraid lest any misfortune 
should happen to him." Amina rejoined, " This is not the 
reason : tell me the exact truth ; " and she urged me, till I 
told her all that had taken place. Upon this she said to me, 
** Fearest thou that he is possessed with an evil spirit ? " and 
on my answering " yes," she continued, " Never, by Allah ! 
Satan finds no access to him ; for he will one day have to 
occupy a high position. Shall I tell thee something about 
him ? " On my again answering ** yes," she went on, saying, 
" When I was with child I saw a light shining forth from me, 
so bright as to illuminate the palaces of Bosra in Syria. My 
pregnancy was lighter and pleasanter than I had ever seen. 
As soon as he was bom he stretched out his hands on the 
ground, and raised his head towards heaven. But leave him 
now with me, and return safely to thy home." ' 

This account of an event happening in Mohammed's 
childhood, when, however, he cannot have been merely two 
or three years old, but must have been about double that 
age, is of great importance in rightly estimating his character 
and history. It proves that the hysterical paroxysms from 
which he suffered in after life, and to which he attributed his 

^ The boy, of course, narrates, not what he had seen himself, with his own eye, 
but what Mohammed had seen and told him. 


prophetic call, did not result from the visit of an angel bring- 
ing him Divine revelations, as is believed by the Moham- 
medans, but were the natural outcome of a diseased state of 
health, and of an abnormal physical constitution, dating back 
to the earliest period of his life. Just as in his mature age 
he remained conscious of the sensations he felt during his 
cataleptic fits, so also in the instance of his childhood, related 
by his Bedouin nurse and himself, he was able to describe 
the subjective play of a disordered imagination during the 
paroxysm, as if it had been an objective reality. The dis- 
order from which he suffered is supposed by his medical 
biographer Sprenger to have been hysteria muscularis, and 
although its attacks closely resembled common epileptic fits, 
yet they also differed from them, inasmuch as he retained a 
recollection of the workings of his mind during the parox- 
ysms, which is not the case in ordinary epilepsy. Moham- 
med's hysterical sensations and visionary fantasies obviously 
were involuntary, and yet proceeded only from within his 
own psychical world, just as our ordinary dreams come in- 
voluntarily, but are nevertheless originated by ourselves. 
The nature of both phenomena is one purely subjective. 

When Mohammed was six years old, his mother took him 
with her on a visit to their relatives in Medina. His great- 
grandmother Salma belonging to the powerful family of the 
Beni Adi, and his father Abd Allah having died, and lying 
buried amongst them, the little orphan was naturally 
remembered with interest by a number of friends and con- 
nections in Medina. The widowed Amina, on her part, whose 
entire hope centred in the one child, was equally disposed to 
keep up and refresh that interest amongst her son's kindred 
in the sister-city, which was at once his father's last resting- 
place and his grandfather's birthplace. They remained a 
whole month with the Beni Adi, living in the very house 
where Abd Allah had died ; and, when many years later- 
Medina opened her gates to the fugitive Prophet, he said 
that he could still recollect several scenes of this early visit 
The short stay in the feverish climate of Medina seems to 
have been too much for his mother's delicate health ; for she 
died during their return journey, before they reached Mecca. 
Such a tragic event was eminently calculated to intensify 


the sympathy for the now fatherless and motherless orphan 
amongst his kinsmen and well-wishers in Medina ; and it is 
but natural to imagine that they always made it a point to 
look after and befriend him, whenever they performed their 
pilgrimage to the shrine of Mecca, which was situated close 
to his grandfather's dwelling-house. This family relation- 
ship and its mutual cultivation prepared the way for, and 
doubtless first suggested the idea of, Mohammed's later 
emigration to Medina. It also supplies an easy explanation 
of the early conversion of a number of Medinites to Islam. 

After Amina's death, her orphan son passed to the sole 
guardianship of his aged grandfather, the revered and in- 
fluential Abdu-1-Mottaleb, who seems to have doted upon 
him with all the fondness and over-indulgence so often met 
with in grandparents towards their grandchildren, and who, 
before he died, urgently commended him to the care of Abu 
Talib, the child's paternal uncle. The biographers say that 
Abu Talib's love for his ward was such that he preferred 
him to his own children, and would never allow a meal to 
be begun until he was present. It requires no stretch of 
imagination to understand how such unusual deference to a 
young lad, could hardly fail to engender in his extremely 
susceptible mind strong notions about his own peculiar 
importance, dignity, and destiny ; and, as fortune-tellers were 
then in great repute amongst the Meccans, it could easily 
be conceived that, for a trifle, those notions were fostered by 
their prognostications, even if Mohammedan history did not 
make express mention of the subject. But Ibn Ishak writes 
thus : * A fortune-teller of the tribe Sihb often came to Mecca 
and prophesied to the lads taken to him by the Koreishites. 
On Abu Talib one day coming with some, the fortune-teller 
specially noticed the Apostle of God ; but his attention was 
just then occupied with something else. As soon as he had 
finished, he again inquired after him, and desired that he 
should be brought. Abu Talib, suspecting those pressing 
solicitations, concealed him, whereupon the soothsayer called 
out, " Woe unto you ! bring me that lad again whom I have 
just seen: by Allah, he will one day occupy a high posi- 
tion ! " ' 

Early travelling with the far-famed mercantile caravans 


of Mecca could not but widen the mental horizon of the aspir- 
ing youth, afford ample scope for his calculating mind, and 
prove a good school for becoming acquainted with different 
classes of men and for learning how to deal with them. His 
father, his uncles, his grandfather and great-grandfather, all 
took part in mercantile pursuits, and derived much of their 
wealth from joining other merchants in regular trading expedi- 
tions of large dimensions to foreign lands. Mohammed him- 
self also had in all probability joined many of these caravans 
before he had developed those mercantile qualifications and 
trading abilities which afterwards recommended him as a fit 
and desirable agent to the wealthy merchant widow Khadija 
who engaged him. 

But what appears to be his first journey of the kind, when 
he was still quite young, is fully narrated by the biographers. 
They tell us that, on one occasion, when Abu Talib was 
ready to start, his orphan nephew clung to him saying, 
' O my uncle, I have neither mother nor father : with whom 
wilt thou leave me? Take me with thee on the journey.' 
This so touched the uncle's heart that he replied : * By Allah ! 
I take thee with me and allow nothing to separate us.' So 
they set out together, and the caravan halted, as was their 
wont, near the abode of a Christian anchorite, Bahira by name. 

The biographers* predilection for the marvellous, and for 
discovering prognostications concerning Mohammed's later 
career, fastens on this journey ; and they seriously narrate 
that Bahira, whom they represent as * well acquainted with 
the Christian Scriptures,' had a book in his cell from which 
the monks instructed themselves, and which passed from one 
to another, as an heirloom. In this book the Arabian Prophet 
is reported to have been so minutely described that Bahira 
recognised him without difficulty in Abu Talib's nephew. 
On examining his back, he found the so-called 'seal of 
prophetship,' in the very place between his shoulders where 
it was to be, according to the description of the book. It 
had the appearance of the cicatrice left by cupping; and 
taking into consideration the lad's previous state of ill-health, ' 
it very probably was nothing more than what it looked. 
Bahira is then reported to have addressed this counsel to 
Abu Talib : ' Go home with the lad and carefully keep him 



from the Jews : for if they see and recognise him as I do, 
they will seek to do him harm. Surely this thy nephew 
will one day occupy a high rank.' Abu Talib acted on this 
advice as soon as he had finished his business transactions 
in Syria. 

Thus Mohammed grew up in the bosom of a mercantile 
family and in the midst of a busy city of traders; and 
turning these favourable circumstances to good account, he 
became himself an accomplished man of business and a 
practical merchant His attractive personal qualities and 
eminent fitness for doing a profitable trade led to his 
marriage with the wealthy widow Khadija ; and the vast 
increase of worldly means thus placed at his disposal 
favoured his conception and pursuit of still higher and more 
pretentious aims. 

Ibn Ishak mentions the circumstances leading to the 
marriage with Khadija ; and faithful to the general Moslem 
propensity of embellishing the ordinary eventsin Mohammed's 
life with traits of the supernatural, narrates as follows : 
'The Koreish were a mercantile tribe, and Khadija an 
honourable merchant lady who placed her goods in the 
hands of agents for trading purposes and allowed them a 
share in the profits. When she heard of Mohammed's 
faithfulness, truthfulness, and good manners, she proposed to 
him to take the charge of her goods for Syria, offering better 
terms to him than to any one else. Mohammed accepted 
the proposal and took her merchandise to Syria, accompanied 
by her trusted servant Meisara. When he rested under the 
shadow of a tree, near the cell of an anchorite, the latter 
said to Meisara : " Under this tree no one has ever rested 
except a prophet." Afler having disposed of their goods 
and bought otihers instead, they returned to Mecca ; but on 
the way, as is believed, l^^eisara saw two angels overshadow 
Mohammed, whilst he was riding on his camel, in the heat 
of the day. On their reaching Mecca, the goods they had 
brought with them were sold, and Khadija found that the 
^ capital invested had been doubled, or nearly so. Meisara 
also told her what the anchorite had said, and what he 
himself had seen of the overshadowing angels. 

' When Khadija, who was an intelligent, good, and noble 


lady, whom God had destined to high favours, had heard 
these things, she sent for Mohammed and said to him, " My 
cousin, I love thee on account of thy kinship with me, on 
account of the esteem thou enjoyest among thy people, as 
well as on account of thy faithfulness, truthfulness, and good 
manners ; " and she wound up by offering herself to him for 
his wife. Khadija was at that time the most renowned of 
the Koreish ladies, both as regards her descent and her great 
wealth, so that every man amongst her people exceedingly 
desired to obtain her in marriage. Mohammed, who was 
then twenty-five years old, gladly accepted her flattering 
offer and went with his uncle Hamza to Khuweiled Ibn 
Asad, her father, formally to ask for her hand, and giving 
her twenty young camels as her wedding gift. Khadija was 
Mohammed's first wife, during whose lifetime he married no 
other, and she was the mother of all his children, with the 
only exception of Ibrahim, whom he had by the Coptic 
woman Mary.' 

We are further informed by the biographers that Khadija 
lost no time in communicating Meisara's report about the 
anchorite and the overshadowing angels to her cousin, 
Waraka Ibn Nawfal, known as a learned Christian, reading 
the Scriptures ; and that he said to her, ' If what thou hast 
told me is true, then Mohammed will become the prophet of 
this nation ; for I know that such a prophet is to be expected 
and that the time is near.' He also made the following 
declaration on the subject in verse : * Mohammed shall 
become the lord of this nation and shall conquer those who 
make the pilgrimage ; he shall produce a light in the land by 
which unsteady mankind shall be kept straight; he shall 
destroy his enemies and bless those who are at peace with 

Now though this prophecy bt nothing more than a 
vaticinium post eventum, put into Waraka's mouth for the 
glorification of Mohammed, it still tends to show that, in the 
eyes of his admiring Arab countrymen, it did not appear as 
at all unnatural or unreasonable to anticipate for him, 
even at that early period, an exalted position, both religious 
and political. For they saw that by his lucky marriage 
command of wealth had been added to his prestige as a 


distinguished member of the most powerful aristocratic 
family of Mecca, which, at the same time, held the highest 
rank in religion, as the special guardians of the national 

But this account of Khadija's visit possesses a still 
further significance of moment by showing that, already at 
this early period, she felt so drawn to her Hanifite friend 
Waraka, as to consult with him on delicate matters of 
affection and family interest It is therefore exceedingly 
probable that she herself also sympathised at heart with the 
views and aspirations of the Hanifite sect. Fifteen years 
later, when perplexed and distressed on account of her 
husband's strange visions, we find her again resorting to the 
same counsellor for guidance and relief Now by allowing 
due weight to both these facts, expressly reported by the 
historians, \^ may justly infer that likewise during the 
fifteen years' interval Hanifite sympathies and Hanifite 
influences were no strangers in the household of Khadija and 
her husband. In that household it was not the youthful 
husband but the staid wife who gave the tone and bore the 
sway. Khadija was evidently an Arab lady of a strong 
mind and mature experience, who maintained a decided 
ascendency over her husband, and managed him with great 
wisdom and firmness. This appears from nothing more 
strikingly than from the very remarkable fact that she 
succeeded in keeping him from marrying any other wife, as 
long as she lived, though at her death, when he had long 
ceased to be a young man, he indulged without restraint in 
the multiplication of wives. But as Khadija herself was 
favourably disposed towards Hanifism, it is highly probable 
that she exercised her commanding influence over her 
husband in such a manner as to promote and strengthen 
his own attachment to the reformatory sect of monotheists. 

Under these conditions of religion, rank, wealth, domestic 
influence and friendly intercourse with awakened patriots 
who were fretting beneath the shackles of prevailing super- 
stitions and anxiously feeling after religious reform, Mo- 
hammed's otherwise uneventful life smoothly passed on, 
till a serious and protracted return of his early cataleptic fits 
brought to the surface what had long been working in the 



depths of his soul, and placed him before the public in an 
entirely new character — that of a man claiming to be God's 
specially commissioned Apostle or Ambassador. It is to 
the more direct tracing of this gradual inward process 
from its first inception till it reached its full manifestation, 
or, as it were, crystallised into solidity, that we have now to 
direct our attention. 

V. The Product of the afore-mentianed Factors^ or Mohammed 
assuming the character of a Prophet and Messenger of 

The facts and data hitherto mai-shalled furnish us with 
adequate means, apart from all reference to any special 
intervention of Providence, for comprehending that remark- 
able character which stamped itself so mysteriously on the 
pages of history as the Prophet and Ruler of Arabia and as 
the Author of the Politico-religious System of Islam. 

We have seen that by birth Mohammed belonged to a 
family which, from its influential political position, and from 
its enjoyment of valuable privileges connected with the 
national sanctuary, naturally took a special interest in the 
concerns of the whole nation, and regarded with indignation 
and pain the progress of foreign domination in the common 
Arab fatherland. It can be easily conceived, especially if we 
take into account the sociable manner in which the Arabs 
like to spend their leisure hours, how inevitably these matters 
must have formed, within the temple precincts, that regular 
rendezvous of the people, the topic of frequent and earnest 
conversations, to which Mohammed could not possibly have 
remained a stranger. 

These deliberations about the degraded, suffering state of 
the nation, about the urgency and best method of doing 
something for its deliverance, necessarily affected Mohammed 
all the more deeply and strongly, the more he was distin- 
guished by susceptibility, pensiveness, and activity of mind. 
Whatever stirred his soul, stirred it to the bottom, and 
took possession of it with something like overwhelming 
force. The patriotic feelings, extensively called into play 
around him, were sure to find in him a patriot of uncommon 


devotion and of a planning, plotting thoughtfulness. The 
ills and wounds of the country lay patent to all. The Arab 
nation was one only in name, was a mere 'geographical 
idea;' but in reality it was broken up into endless sub- 
divisions of independent tribes and «clans, kept asunder 
by frequent inter-tribal feuds and worried by acrimonious 
internal dissensions, so that they fell an easy prey to the 
covetous designs of surrounding nations. Under these cir- 
cumstances the earnest patriots could not easily mistake 
their duty. It must have appeared plain to them that, before 
everything else, they were to seek to unite the discordant 
elements into one political whole, and thus to form a power 
strong enough to effect a speedy emancipation from the 
foreign yoke, and to guard against the danger of a return of 
such calamities in the future Of some such kind as this, 
were, in all probability, the political thoughts and aspirations 
which occupied and possessed Mohammed's mind, up to the 
time of the great personal crisis from which he emerged as 
the Prophet of his people ; and their reflex action can be 
distinctly traced in the excessive political colouring of the 
religion which he bestowed on his followers. 

But let Mohammed and his fellow-patriots set about 
realising their political plan, and by what truly appalling 
obstacles will they find themselves confronted! To call 
into existence a great political union — how difficult every- 
where, and what a truly Herculean task in a country like 
Arabia I Where was the authority, the overawing power, 
likely to command recognition and submission from so many 
independent tribes, jealous of their liberty and morbidly 
suspicious of each other, or even from the small but proud 
aristocratic oligarchy of Mecca ? The only thing known to 
them as possessing a sort of national influence was their 
temple in Mecca and the religion it represented : but this had 
wholly failed thus far in proving the uniting force required. 
Still it seemed that nothing short of a power possessing 
Divine authority could serve the purpose. Might not, 
therefore, the traditional religion be rendered serviceable by 
means of reform? Or might, perhaps, any other religion, 
with its supernatural prestige, be found preferable? Was it 
not by their religion, that the Christian Abyssinians and the 



Christian Romans were united powers ? Surely, if questions 
like these arose in the minds of Mohammed and other Arab 
patriots, it was very natural ; and if religion was looked upon 
by them as one of the strongest bonds of union, they only 
gave proof of a just appreciation of facts. 

As by birth Mohammed belonged to a family which was 
at once the chief representative of political power and the 
principal exponent of the traditional religion ; so by marriage 
he had become the husband of an able and high-minded 
wife, old enough to be his mother, and exercising a con- 
trolling influence over his whole life. She not only herself 
entertained strong leanings towards the reform movement 
that had lately sprung up, but also cultivated familiar inter- 
course with near relatives and friends who took a leading 
part in the new religious fraternity. If Mohammed was not 
yet a Hanifite before his marriage, he surely soon became 
one, either openly or secretly, under the dominant conjugal 
influence of Khadija, and through the encouraging example 
of her esteemed kinsmen and acquaintances. For he was of 
. a plastic nature and easily influenced by those to whom he 
/ felt attached. The Hanifltes, though primarily a religious 
sect of Deists, in opposition to Polytheism, were mostly also 
warm patriots, intent on promoting the political union and 
well-being of their nation. One of their number, Khadija's 
cousin Othman, sought to establish a strong central govern- 
ment in Mecca, with the aid and under the prestige of the 
Roman Emperor, and, doubtless, in the hope of thus event- 
ually securing for his country the inestimable blessings of 
Christianity, to which Hanifism was only a sort of midway- 
station, or stepping-stone, as indeed it had proved in his own 
case. But Othman completely failed with his scheme, and, 
after a very brief rule, had to save his life by a precipitate 
flight from the fury of his countrymen, who looked on his 
mild government as an intolerable yoke. 

This very failure of Othman, through his relying on the 
aid and religion of a foreign country, plainly conveyed the 
lesson to the Hanifite friends whom he had left behind him 
in Mecca, that an entire dependence on their own people, 
the recognition, to a certain extent, of the ancient central 
sanctuary, and the preservation of a strictly national charac- 


ter, might form a surer and a safer road to the goal after 
which they aspired. They had had a proof before their very 
eyes that to put forward the Christian religion as a shibboleth 
implied, in the estimation of the public, a reliance on the 
foreign States of Abyssinia and Rome and was sure to evoke 
all the national jealousies and animosities of the proud and 
sensitive Arabs. The religion prevailing in Mecca, notwith- 
standing its tolerant and comprehensive character, had no 
less failed as a rallying-point and uniting force to bring 
about the desired national union and national strength. For 
though the Kaaba enjoyed a wide reputation and included 
a great number of idols, yet different towns and districts 
possessed images and tutelary deities of their own to which 
they fondly clung, and which they were not prepared to give 
up or degrade in favour of others. Moreover, belief in the 
polytheistic shrine of Mecca had become greatly under- 
mined by a widespread monotheistic ferment, the outcome 
of Judaism and Christianity. The Hanifites had indeed 
personally risen above the national idol-worship : they had 
clearly discerned that its time was fast passing away, that 
the spirit of the age demanded progress, and that a religion 
was needed more in keeping with the higher aspirations of 
man and with the truer ideas of the sacred writings by which 
the Jews and the Christians were raised so far above the 
benighted Pagans. But to be guided exclusively by the 
spiritual interests of pure religion might most seriously con- 
flict with their much cherished political plans ; and to yield 
to the latter the paramount importance they seemed to 
demand, might fatally interfere with the supreme interests 
of the revealed religion to which their consciences had be- 
come more or less awakened. 

It is clear, then, that in this critical state two courses still 
presented themselves as possible to the partisans of Hanifism. 
Some of them might conscientiously subordinate their poli- 
tical aspirations and worldly plans to the deepest cravings 
of their God-seeking heart and openly embrace the religion 
of revelation and salvation, regardless of temporal conse- 
quences. Others might remain entangled in national political 
schemes and seek to find out a middle path. These would 
endeavour to unite the superior religious truths which had 


dawned upon them with such a recognition of the hereditary 
sanctuary and its guardians as might prove helpful in gain- 
ing over a majority of the people to the intended compro- 
mise, and thus prepare the way for more extended national 

As a matter of fact, such a division between the leading 
advocates of religious reform actually took place. Ibn Ishak 
narrates that Waraka and Othman became Christians. 
Obeid Allah at first joined his cousin Mohammed, but after- 
wards likewise entered the Christian Church in Abyssinia, 
where also he remained till his death. Zeid, however, neither 
embraced Judaism nor Christianity, but professed to hold the 
Faith of Abraham and boldly repudiated all idol-worship. 
He openly rebuked his countrymen for their idolatry and evil 
practices, and strenuously sought to make propaganda for 
his views. In consequence of his zeal, he was persecuted and 
had to take up his abode outside the city on Mount Hira, 
where he probably remained for the rest of his life and was 
buried at the foot of the mount, though some traditions have 
it that he finally left his country and was killed amongst 
the Lachmites. 

Mohammed, it appears, chiefly moulded himself after the 
pattern of Zeid, and, like him, professed to hold and teach 
nothing but the ancient Faith of Abraham. Though not 
really a great mind or original thinker, and rather of a soft, 
impressible nature, yet Mohammed possessed a good deal of 
tenacity ; and what he had once mentally seized upon, he 
held fast, ruminated over it, and strove to carry it out with 
as much firm perseverance as shrewd calculation. Men of 
Mohammed's hysterical disposition are often found to have 
such an unexpected amount of strong will and quiet resolve, 
bordering on stubborn obstinacy, that their whole soul be- 
comes absorbed in their aspirations and they seem more 
possessed by their ideas than possessing them. Mohammed 
venerated Zeid, and quietly, but tenaciously, took up his 
views and aims. We are informed by Ibn Ishak that, on 
being asked after Zeid's death whether his soul might be 
prayed for, Mohammed unhesitatingly declared such prayer 
lawful, adding, ' In the resurrection he will be raised up as a 
distinct religious community.' Wakidy, another of his bio- 


graphers, narrates that the Prophet gave Zeid the salutation 
of peace, an honour vouchsafed only to Moslems ; that he 
invoked God's grace on him and affirme'd, * I have seen him 
in Paradise : he is drawing a train after him.' Sprenger, one 
of his most learned biographers, says, ^ Mohammed openly 
acknowledged Zeid as his precursor, and every word known 
as Zeid's we find again in the Koran.' 

An indirect proof of Mohammed's veneration for the Hanif 
Zeid, before he claimed to be a prophet, may also be dis- 
cerned in the fact that the young slave whom he received as 
a present from his wife Khadija, and whom he manumitted 
and adopted for his own son, was named Zeid. For as Ibn 
Hisham tells us that he had been brought from Syria, where 
Christianity was already dominant, he most probably was of 
Christian parentage and bore a Christian name. Now if his 
Meccan master gave him instead the new name of Zeid, he 
obviously did so in honour of the esteemed Hanif reformer 
of the same name whom he revered as his own spiritual 

Neither Zeid nor Mohammed was spiritually prepared, nor 
had their conscience been sufficiently stirred by an adequate 
sense of their fallen condition and sinfulness, thankfully to 
accept the salvation and earnestly to long for the sanctifica- 
tion offered in the Gospel of Christ. They both were and 
remained mere * natural men,' unable to discern ^ the things 
of the Spirit of God ' (i Cor. ii. 14) ; and, as far as we know, 
they died without having experienced the second birth and 
the renewing of their mind by that same blessed Spirit. But 
notwithstanding this, both were equally persuaded and 
sincerely believed that it would be a desirable thing, making 
for their countrj^s good, to have its irrational idolatry re- 
placed by the more reasonable profession of a deistic Mono- 
theism. Had Mohammed been actuated by truly ethical 
motives, and had he aimed at purely religious objects only, 
there would have been no reason why he should not have 
followed a Waraka, an Othman and others in embracing the 
religion of the God-man Christ Jesus, which offers to fallen 
man salvation from sin and communion with the reconciled 
* Father in heaven.' But as he yielded to the allurements of 
the world and the attractions of secular power, and as he 



contented himself in religion with a mere formal worship and 
an external relation to God, like that between slave and 
master, ignoring altogether the indispensable regeneration 
by the Holy Spirit, he fell into the same snare as Zeid. 
Like him he stubbornly adhered to Hanifism, as distinct 
from Christianity, Paganism, and Judaism, and thus occupied 
a religious position which necessarily bore not only an anti- 
Polytheistic and anti-Judaistic, but also an anti-Christian 
character. It is on account of this unsatisfactory ethical 
condition of Mohammed personally, and as its unmistakable 
reflex, that the Islam which he afterwards instituted was 
essentially and from the first not merely opposed to Poly- 
theism, but also to Christianity. Even the marked Jewish 
colouring which for a brief term he gave it in Medina, was 
not genuine, but the result of shrewd political calculation, 
and consequently was at once discarded when he saw the 
latter fail. 

Accordingly, the most momentous and fatal turning-point 
in Mohammed's ethical history is to be looked for not within 
his prophetic period, but some considerable time before it 
Then already he was placed in the critical balance and found 
wanting. What followed upon this was only the natural 
outcome of his first momentous lapse. At the time when 
the more enlightened Hanifites quitted their intermedial 
position of Deism and consistently advanced to the goal of 
Christian Theism, to which it naturally tends and for which 
it is a mere preparation, Mohammed, with his religious 
guide Zeid, obstinately held back, and treated the prepara- 
tory and temporary as the perfect and the final. This was 
the fatal step, the moral and religious lapse which led to all 
the subsequent vagaries and errors. Both these men were 
then acting as the Jews also had acted, when invited by their 
Messiah to the sublime consummation for which their whole 
past history had been merely a preparation. The Jews shut 
their ears to Christ's voice, and instead of allowing their 
ancient religion, on which they so greatly prided themselves, 
to issue into ' the new and living way,' degraded it into a 
dead formalism. 

It would have been as possible for Mohammed to follow 
the wisest of his Hanifite friends into the daylight of 


Christianity, as obstinately to wrap himself up in the dim 
twilight of a perverted Hanifism. But by refusing to be led 
on to Christ, the Saviour of man, he culpably closed his eyes 
to * the Light of the world,' and turned the Hanifite twilight, 
by means of which he might have found the right way, into 
the dense darkness of night. He had heard the Gospel 
invitation : * Come unto Me ; ' and this could not but produce 
a crisis in his inner life. The gates of darkness and of light, 
of death and of life, stood open before him. It was for him 
to choose which of them to enter. Unhappily he allowed 
the crisis to pass away without coming to the light, that he 
might have life ; and preferred to take his stand and his 
portion with those whose conduct on one occasion was thus 
censured by the mouth of truth, ' But ye would not ' (Matt 
xxiii. 37). We see, therefore, that Mohammed's position with 
respect to Christianity was fully decided in principle, years 
before he presented himself as a prophet The fatal decision 
happened when he practically rejected its claims to suf- 
ficiency, finality, and universality, by his stubborn clinging 
to Hanifism. 

Such appears to have been the spiritual and ethical 
condition of Mohammed's own person, when the notorious 
physico-psychical phenomena of his disordered health led to 
his posing himself as the prophet of a religion whose his- 
torical basis and personal substratum we have now sufficiently 
brought to light The fuel is prepared and laid ready. 
Only the igniting spark is required to kindle the whole and 
set the sinister fire ablaze. This spark proceeded from the 
darkness of the inner and unseen world, like the flash of 
lightning from a black cloud. 

A new religion, pretending to possess a better title than 
Judaism and Christianity for replacing the prevalent and 
time-honoured Idol-worship of Arabia, had, at the very least, 
to claim for itself an origin in Divine revelation ; and for its 
Prophet a special call and heaven-imparted mission, similar 
to that of Moses at the burning bush and to that of Jesus, 
whose coming had been announced by the angel Gabriel. 
Mohammed's visionary predisposition and unsound state of 
health furnished the ready means needed for the occasion. 
All his ancient biographers agree in ascribing to him symp* 



toms of a state of nervous derangement, called listeria 
muscularis, which in his case often manifested itself by acute 
paroxysms, culminating in cataleptic fits. During these par- 
oxysms, as we have already learned, he retained conscious- 
ness, so that when they were over, he could still remember 
the wild fantasies and strange ravings of his overwrought 
imagination, which he held to be supernatural communica- 
tions from a higher world. But it has been ascertained by 
medical observation that such hysterical subjects frequently . 
develop a tendency to dissimulation and deception, and 
this they seek to conceal so dexterously from themselves 
and others, that it requires experienced skill to detect it 
Thus the patriotic sentiments and ambitious aims, both of a 
political and religious character, which for a long time had 
taken possession of Mohammed's mind and had increasingly 
become the all-absorbing subject of his day-dreams, also 
retained their hold on his soul in sleep. They formed the 
burden of the strange reveries and excited fancies which 
agitated his mind during his cataleptic fits and mental 
hallucinations, and were in fact the birth-throes which 
ushered the unlooked-for 'Arabian Prophet' into the world. 

Ibn Ishak, the renowned collector of Mohammedan 
traditions and the author of the earliest history of Moham- 
med's life preserved to us, who already has been repeatedly 
mentioned, lived about a hundred years after Mohammed, 
and on the ground of his communications we trace, in the 
following pages, Mohammed's gradual transformation into 
a prophet. All the later Arab historians follow in his 
track, only that, as a rule, the later the historian, the more 
his recital abounds with the marvellous. 

Ibn Ishak opens the fourth section of his book by the 
following statement, based on a tradition derived from the 
Prophet's favourite wife Aisha : * When the time had come 
that God wished to honour Mohammed and to show mercy 
to mankind, Mohammed*s prophetic mission began by his 
having true dreams^ like the bright morning dawn^ and by 
his partiality for solitude^ The biographer, in pointing out 
the origin of what he regards as the Divine mission of his 
Prophet, only goes back to his dreams. He might have 
gone still further back, as we have done, and have traced 


those dreams to the ideals and aims which filled his imagin- 
ation in a waking state. The dreams possessed for him a 
certain impress of * truth/ because they were the reflection 
of his waking thoughts ; and in a subject of such supreme 
excitability of nerves as Mohammed, they assumed a vivid- 
ness which suggested a comparison with the ' dawn of morn- 
ing.' As we are not told what the dreams themselves were, 
we may suppose ths^t they had substantially the same 
character with which we are all familiar from our own 
experience in dreamland. A man brooding over such far- 
reaching and momentous plans as Mohammed, will naturally 
acquire an air of gravity and contract a partiality for solitude 
in which he may undisturbedly indulge his reveries. 

From this first stage in the formation of the Arabian 
Prophet, that of dreams^ Ibn Ishak proceeds in due order to 
the second^ that of visions. He tells us in his narrative, on 
the authority of another tradition derived from * some learned 
man,' that, *One day, when Mohammed had gone out on 
some business, he remained away so long that he was missed 
everywhere, having wandered far in the deep valley of 
Mecca; and whenever he passed a tree or a stone, they 
called out, " Peace to thee, thou Apostle of God I " But on 
turning round and looking in every direction, Mohammed 
saw nothing but stones and trees. In this state Mohammed 
remained a long time, seeing and hearing many a thing.' 
In a later biography, the Rawzet ul Ahbab, we are told that, 
* Before the coming down of the Koran, for the space of 
eleven years, Mohammed was hearing voices, without seeing 
any person ; and for the space of seven years he was seeing 
a light' Here, then, we have hallucinations of the ear and 
the eye and the former beginning before the latter, an order 
which has also been observed in other individuals of a 
similar organisation. As in our dreams the involuntary 
activity of our imaginative soul presents its images to us as 
objective realities, though on waking we become conscious 
that these had no existence out of ourselves, but were merely 
the half-conscious play of our own psychical powers, so also, 
in a diseased state of the nervous system, the imaginations 
and cogitations of the soul can reflect themselves in a 
person's waking consciousness or half-consciousness under 


the form of objective realities. In both cases the affected 
individual has the sensation of seeing and hearing, although 
he does not actually see and hear in the ordinary sense of 
the word. There is plainly a close affinity bet\yeen the 
soul's activity which, in an abnormal state of health, pro- 
duces these hallucinations of the senses and that which is at 
the bottom of our ordinary dreams. But however much 
Mohammed's hallucinations of this indefinite sort were a 
step in advance of his vivid dreams, they were not yet 
sufficient to constitute a prophet The voices coming he 
knew not whence and the lights flickering at random had 
to take a more definite shape : the lights had to become a 
supernatural person to his eyes and the voices intelligible 
words of revelation to his ears. 

Xlbn Ishak's next paragraph is headed : * How Gabriel 
first descended^' and thus sets before us the third stage 
of the process by which Mohammed unexpectedly developed 
into the Prophet of his people. The account given by him 
is derived from Obeid Ibn Omair, who, under the early 
Califs, used publicly to recite their Prophet's personal history 
in Medina, and he narrated the supposed apparition in 
the following way : * The Prophet used annually to spend 
a month on Mount Hira, as it was a custom with the 
Koreishites, in their heathen state, to regard this as 
tahannuth {ije. penance). He fed the poor who came to him ; 
and when the month was over, he first circumambulated the 
Kaaba seven times, or as many times as it pleased God ; 
and not till then returned he to his own house. Now when 
the year of his mission came, he went to Hira as usual, 
together with his family, in the month of Ramazan. In 
the night when God, from mercy towards his servant, 
honoured him with His message, Gabriel brought to him 
God's behest I was asleep, Mohammed himself narrated, 
when he brought to me a silk cloth, written all over, and 
said to me, "Read!" I replied, "I cannot read." Then 
he pressed me upon the cloth, so that I thought I must die ; 
and, on releasing me, he said to me again, " Read 1 " On 
my answering him as at first, " I cannot read," he again 
covered me with the cloth, so that I nearly gave up the 
ghost. Having released me and repeating his previous 


command, I, from fear of being treated as before, asked, 
" What shall I read ? " He answered, " Read in the name of 
thy Lord who has created man from a clot of blood. Read, 
thy Lord is the Most MergifULwha .has-laughLJBaa-hjLjJxe 
pen wh at he did not J^nnw." , I now read and Gabriel 
departed from me. Then I awoke, and it was as if these 
words stood inscribed upon my heart I came forth from 
the cave and stood in the midst of the mount, when F heard 
a voice from heaven calling unto me, " Mohammed, thou art 
the Apostle of God, and I am Gabriel." I raised my head 
towards heaven to look for him who was speaking, and I 
saw Gabriel in the form of a man with wings, and his feet 
on the horizon. He called out, '* Mohammed, thou art the 
Apostle of God, and I am Gabriel." I remained standing 
and gazing, going neither forward nor backward. Then I 
turned away from him : but to whichever side I directed my 
looks I still saw him before me. So I remained standing, 
without going forward or backward, till Khadija sent people 
to look after me. They having gone as far as the height of 
Mecca, returned to her ; but I remained standing till the 
angel went away and then returned to my family. When I 
came to Khadija, I sat down on her lap and pressed myself 
against her. She asked me where I had been, and told me 
that she had sent people to look after me who had gone as 
far as the height of Mecca and returned to her. On recount- 
ing to her what I had seen, she said : " Rejoice, my cousin, 
and be of good courage : by Him in whose power my soul 
is, I hope thou wilt become the Prophet of thy people!" 
Then she arose, dressed herself and went to her cousin, 
Waraka Ibn Nawfal, who was a Christian, had read the 
Scriptures and acquired much knowledge from the Jews and 
Christians, and told him what I had seen and heard. Waraka 
exclaimed, " Holy I Holy ! by Him in Whose hand Waraka's 
soul is, if thou hast told me the truth, then the greatest 
Namus (=1/0^09, Law) has come to him which also appeared 
to Moses, and he is the Prophet of this nation. Tell him to 
be constant" Thereupon Khadija returned to Mohammed 
and communicated to him what Waraka had said.' ^ 

^ The reader will no doubt have noticed that Waraka 's exclamation bears a 
strong Mohammedan colouring. For if he was a Christian and had read the 


But either Khadija was not fully convinced by what she 
is reported to have heard from her Christian cousin, or she 
wished to make assurance doubly sure ; for Ibn Ishak gives 
his next paragraph the superscription : * How Khadija tested 
Mokammed^s revelation^ and thus introduces the fourth 
stage, which brought conviction to Khadija and through her to 
her husband, that he was indeed the recipient of Divine revela- 
tion as a chosen prophet of God, The story is derived by 
tradition from Khadija's own mouth. ' I said to Mohammed, 
"Canst thou give me notice when thy friend appears to 
thee?" He said, "Yes." I begged him to do so. Now 
when Gabriel appeared to him next he informed me of it 
I thereupon said to him, " Sit here on my left thigh ; " and 
when he had done so, I inquired, " Dost thou still see him } " 
He replied, " Yes." Then I made him sit on my right thigh 
and asked whether he still saw him ; and he having answered 
in the affirmative, I made him sit on my lap and repeated 
my question. On his again answering by " Yes," I sighed, 
threw off my veil, and inquired once more whether he still 
saw him, whereupon he replied "No." Then I said, " Rejoice, 
O my cousin, and be of good courage. By Allah, it is an 
angel and not a Satan 1 " ' 

Khadija's singular reasoning was this, that a good angel 
could not bear to see her in a state of undress, permitted 
only to the eyes of a husband ; but that an evil spirit would 
enjoy the illicit sight and therefore remain. Truly a very 
earthly and questionable criterion for discriminating between 
angels and demons : as if clothes could be to the sight of 
spirits what they are to the eyes of men, an impenetrable 
covering, or, as if the sexless spirits needed such a protection ! 

Mohammed's Moslem biographers have connected his 
periodical retirement to Mount Hira with his development 
into a prophet ; and even modem Christian writers have 
made much of the circumstance, with the view of enhancing 
the spiritual character of their hero. According to these 

Scriptures, he could not look forward to a still higher stage of Divine revelation, 
through a new prophet. But it is quite usual with Moslem historians to put 
such fictitious speedies into the mouths of men, to heighten the prestige of their 
Prophet. The idea put into Waraka*s mouth is thoroughly Mohammedan, but 
altogether unbecoming a Christian. 


representations Mohammed appears like a great, original 
mind whose consuming thirst for religious truth and certainty 
drove him into a new and lonely path to seek by abstraction 
from everything earthly, and by uninterrupted intense medi- 
tation, that light and spiritual communion with God after 
which his soul panted. But the historical record just quoted 
informs us that his annual retirement to Hira, instead of 
being the newly opened path of an original mind whose 
extraordinary energy shapes for itself uncommon forms of 
manifestation, was rather ' a custom with the Koreishites in 
their heathen state,' which he docilely followed, with a 
characteristic want of originality; and as for the ascetic 
recluse he has been painted, at those times, we are told that 
he not only did not leave his cherished Khadija behind him 
in Mecca, but always went ^witk his family'^ Khadija was 
near him when he had his dream in the cave, and she had 
servants at hand to send in search of him when, on rising, 
she found that he had gone. They went ' as far as the height 
of Mecca,' and not finding him, returned to their mistress on 
Mount Hira. After having regained his consciousness, he, 
of his own accord, returned to his family and sat on Khadija's 
lap, pressing himself against her like a frightened child. We 
have evidently to understand that his family was accommo- 
dated in tents not far from the cave. For the cave itself is 
small, extending only a dozen feet, or so, into the rock. It 
could not hold the entire family, but was a cool and quiet 
recess for one or a few at a time. We are told that the 
Koreishites regarded these annual sojourns on Mount Hira 
as ta/tannuth: and in whichever sense we take this word, 
it gives us to understand that the religiously disposed of 
the people made special use of their leisure, during these 

^ It is really strange that in the teeth of such clear statements by the earliest 
Mohammedan history preserved to us, even theologians like Dr. Marcus Dods 
should present to their readers such pictures of their own imagination as he does 
in his published Lectures on Mohammed^ saying, on p. 19, *Who can doubt 
the earnestness of that search after truth and the living God, that drove the 
affluent merchant from his comfortable home and his fond wife, to make his 
abode for months at a time in the dismal cave of Mount Hira?' It is time that 
the mistaken representation of Mohammed's annual retirement to Mount Hira, 
as if he tore himself from every creature and was not rather following the general 
custom of his heathen countrymen, should at last give way to the sober truth 
of histcfy.— See also Sir W. Muir's Life of Mohamet^ voL ii. p. 55, 59, 82, 83. 





seasons, for religious exercises. But such regular changes 
to the purer country air from the confined and not over- 
clean city, especially during the heat of summer, have been 
of old, and are still, a widespread custom throughout the 
East, for the purposes of health, retirement, or pleasure. 

Perhaps in earlier years Mount Hira had a still more 
particular attraction for Mohammed. For "it was here that 
the persistent Hanif Zeid, his spiritual guide and pattern, 
lived in banishment, after his expulsion from Mecca ; and 
here he may have enjoyed undisturbed intercourse with 
Mohammed and other Meccan sympathisers, during their 
annual retirement from the bustle of city life, till his death. 
This opinion seems to be' borne out by the note in which 
Ibn Hisham comments upon Ibn Ishak's statement that 
Mohammed annually retired to Mount Hira for the purpose 
of penance. For he observes that the word of the original 
translated by 'penance' {tahannutK) ought, in accordance 
with an Arab custom, to be pronounced with /for its final 
consonant {^tahannuf) and rendered by 'Hanifdom or 
Hanifism,' that is, 'the exercise of the true Faith,' which, 
with Hanifs, meant pure Deism, as opposed to the prevailing 
idolatry. Within the city of Mecca it was part of common 
propriety and good manners, especially for one so closely con- 
nected by birth with the national sanctuary as Mohammed, 
to conform to the practice of its polytheistic religion. Out- 
side its precincts this yoke could be shaken off, in favour 
of a simple, liberal Deism, either from a sincere conviction 
of its superiority or as merely a more convenient substitute 
for the accustomed ritual observances. But it was in the 
interest of Islam as a religion directly revealed from heaven, 
for its historians to keep out of sight Mohammed's inter- 
course with better instructed, superior minds, like Zeid and 
others, to whom he stood in the relation more of a learner 
and pupil than of a prophet According to the teaching of 
Islamism, Mohammed derived his prophetic qualifications 
not from any human instruction, but from direct communica- 
tion with the angel Gabriel, whose first apparition, as just 
related, is therefore of special importance and ought to be 
well understood. 

The first part of the vision, in which Mohammed was 


commanded to read, was obviously a dream ; for he says 
himself that at its close he ' awoke.' Mohammed, knowing 
perfectly well that the religion of the Jews and of the 
Christians was affirmed to have been derived from Divine 
revelation, necessarily felt that he could not well present 
himself to the Arabs with a new Law, or a new Gospel, unless 
he was able to point to something like a supernatural com- 
mission. Such waking desires of great intensity not infre- 
quently lead to dreams which seem to bring their fulfilment 
Towards the middle of the present century, there lived near 
Cape Mount on the West coast of Africa, an interesting man, 
named Doalu Bukere, who, when a little boy, was taught a 
few Scripture passages in English, but not how to read and 
write, because the missionary who had taught him soon left 
the country. Doalu burnt with desire to learn to read and 
write, but lacked the opportunity. Such hold had this wish 
taken on his mind that at last, when he had reached the age 
of manhood, he, one night, had a dream in which the white 
teacher of his childhood appeared to him again and taught 
him to make a number of syllabic signs in the sand, for 
writing his native language. In this way he was able to 
form a complete syllabarium of original signs wherewith to 
write the Vei language : the only instance on record of 
negroes having invented a mode of writing of their own 
and applied it practically to one of their languages. Doalu 
described his dream as so vivid, that, on waking in the morn- 
ing, he still distinctly recollected many of the signs taught 
him, and the very attitude assumed by his teacher in writing 
them for him on the sand.^ In a manner exactly similar 
Mohammed declared concerning the words which he dreamt 
that Gabriel had taught him, * These words stood inscribed 
upon my heart.' The more nervous and visionary the pre- 
disposition of the dreamer, the more impressive and vivid are 
his dreams and the more easily they pass into actual halluci- 
nation of the senses. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at 
that Mohammed, as he tells us, on leaving the cave where he 
had dreamt, heard the voice he so much wished to hear, * Thou 
art the Apostle of God ; ' and that, in raising his head towards 

^ See the Appendix to ' Outlines of a Grammar of the Vei Language, together 
with a Vei- English Vocabulary, by S. W. Koelle.* Church Missionary House, 1854. 


heaven, he ' saw Gabriel in the form of a winged man, with 
his feet on the horizon.' 

That the things which Mohammed heard and saw had 
no objective reality, but were merely the subjective workings 
of an overwrought and morbidly excitable imagination, 
seems also to be confirmed by his own statement, *To 
whichever side I directed my looks, I still saw the angel be- 
fore me.' For if Gabriel had really been standing with his 
feet on the horizon, like any ordinary object of the senses, it 
would have been quite possible to look away from him ; but 
if, on the contrary, he had no existence except in Mo- 
hammed's own vision, then he was naturally seen by 
Mohammed's eyes in whichever direction they might be 
turned. It can be easily conceived that the more uncommon 
and abnormal the experience was, the easier it became for 
Mohammed and his friends either sincerely to form, or 
interestedly to feign, a belief in its supernatural origin ; 
and the heavenly character of the vision once assumed and 
abetted, Mohammed could come before his countrymen 
with the claims of a divinely commissioned ambassador and 
prophet This was quite enough to begin with. First let 
him be widely reciognised as the Prophet speaking in the 
name of heaven and it will become easy, ere long, to assert 
himself as the paramount authority and irresponsible dictator 
on the earth. 

His clear-headed and affectionate wife Khadija natur- 
ally employed all her influence to have her husband's ecstatic 
visions regarded as a Divine call to become the religious and 
political reformer of his nation, rather than allow them to 
be looked upon as indications of his being a sorcerer and 
possessed by demons, which would have been the only other 
alternative according to the prevalent Arab notions in those 
days. Thus Mohammed became persuaded by the help of 
his circumspect and kind-hearted wife to look upon his 
dreams and hallucinations as Divine revelations, and on 
himself as a heaven-commissioned ambassador and chosen 

This may be called the fourth and final stage of his de- 
velopment into a prophet His prophetic character appeared 
now indubitably established, being based upon the extra- 


ordinary experience of what looked like a direct call and 
commission from heaven. 

But it was not without great difficulty that Mohammed 
maintained himself on the height of this elevated position. 
His Arab biographers narrate that a cessation of those visions 
took place, lasting for a number of days, according to some 
account ; or for longer periods, varying up to three years, 
according to other accounts. He, therefore, fell a prey to 
doubts again, being afraid lest Gabriel might have altogether 
deserted him. So great became his grief and despondency 
that he contemplated suicide, and repeatedly went to the 
neighbouring mountains, intending to cast himself over some 
precipice. It is plain that his whole soul was now possessed 
with this one idea and that his life had no longer any value 
for him, unless he could become the prophet he wished to be. 
No wonder that this all-absorbing desire soon issued in a fresh 
hallucination. According to the Rawzet ul Ahbab, he nar- 
rated it in these words : * Walking in the way, I suddenly 
heard a voice from heaven ; and lifting up my head, I saw the 
angel who had come to me in the cave of Hira, sitting upon 
a throne between earth and heaven and saying to me, " O 
Mohammed, thou verily art the apostle of God ! " * According 
to Ibn Ishak, the angel further addressed to him the following 
words, which were afterwards embodied in the Koran as the 
93rd Surah : * By the morning brightness and by the night 
when it darkeneth I Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee, neither 
hath He been displeased. And surely the Future shall be 
better for thee than the Past ; and soon shall thy Lord give 
thee, and thou shalt be satisfied. Did He not find thee an 
orphan and gave thee a home ? and found thee erring and 
guided thee ? and found thee needy and enriched thee ? ' 
Ibn Ishak explains the promised gift which shall ' satisfy ' 
him, by * Victory in this life and reward in the next.* Thus 
he suggests that from the very first beginning of Islam worldly 
conquests, power and riches, entered the contemplation and 
hope of its exponents, and that their realisation in Medina was 
nothing but the natural unfolding of these early germs. 

After this fresh hallucination, as his biographers inform us,, 
the revelations succeeded each other without further inter- 
ruption, which we must take to mean, if we adopt the inter- 



pretation given by Sprenger, that * he now no longer waited 
for angel-visits, but took the voice of his own mind for Divine 
inspirations/ Such, indeed, may have been the case gener- 
ally ; and it is an accepted doctrine with the Moslems them- 
selves, that there were revelations which Gabriel only com- 
municated to Mohammed's heart, without visibly appearing 
to him : yet the hallucinations do not seem to have ceased 
altogether, but to have also subsequently occurred from 
time to time. Amongst others, Ibn Ishak communicates 
the following account which he received from *a learned 
man,' as to the first institution of legal prayer, with the ab- 
lutions by which it must be preceded : — * When prayer was 
prescribed to Mohammed, Gabriel came to him on the height 
of Mecca, and pressed his heel into the ground, towards the 
valley, so that there welled forth water. Then Gabriel 
washed himself, whilst Mohammed was looking on to see 
how purification is to be made before prayer. When he had 
finished, Mohammed also washed himself in like manner, 
and when Gabriel performed the prayers, he repeated them 
after him. As soon as Gabriel had departed, Mohammed 
went to Khadija, and showed her how one is to wash be- 
fore prayer, just as Gabriel had shown it to him. Then 
he also performed the prayers, as Gabriel had done ; and she 
repeated them after him.' 

Mohammedan history describes the more violent fits 
during which the supposed supernatural communications were 
made, as marked by the following traits : — He felt oppressed 
and his countenance was troubled, turning deadly pale or 
glowing red. He fell to the ground like one intoxicated or 
overcome by sleep, and foam would appear at his mouth. 
Sometimes he would hear the coming of the revelation like 
the ringing of a bell. If this state came upon him whilst 
riding on a camel, that camel's leg would bend from the 
weight of it. Even if it happened during the cold of a 
winter's day, perspiration would roll from his forehead. The 
Rawzet ul Ahbab enumerates these seven different modes in 
which Mohammed received his supposed revelations : i, by 
true dreams ; 2, by suggestions to the heart, without Gabriel 
being visible ; 3, by Gabriel assuming the likeness of a man ; 
4, by the resemblance of the ringing of a bell, which of all 


was the hardest and most painful to the prophet; 5, by 
Gabriel in his own proper form ; 6, by Gabriel coming to 
him in the highest heaven on the night of the ascension ; 7, 
by God speaking to him direct from behind a curtain on the 
night of the ascension. 

From all this it can be readily perceived how easy and 
tempting it must have been for Mohammed to pass off as a 
Divine revelation any thought, wish, or fancy of his own which 
he liked to see invested, in the eyes of others, with a super- 
natural origin and a more than human authority. Still it is 
highly probable that all the visions reported of him are not 
the mere product of dishonest fabrication, without any foun- 
dation in fact. On the contrary, it appears that what formed 
the important turning-point in his outward course of life and 
what led him to regard himself as a chosen ambassador of 
God, such as he had long conceived to be the chief want of 
his country, was really a hallucination of his senses producing 
in him the sensations of seeing and hearing the angel Gabriel. 
It is likewise not impossible that, after the first hallucination, 
other similar ones supervened ; and we have already seen 
how intensely and morbidly he yearned for them. But the 
manner in which they are narrated, and even the fact of 
their occurrence have to be received with stringent dis- 
crimination and great caution, because of the impure motives 
undeniably at work, as e.g.y in the case concerning Zeinab ; 
and because of the strong tendency to dissimulation in 
subjects afflicted with the nervous derangement from which 
he suffered. 

Those night-regions, where the half-conscious soul ap- 
proaches the precincts of the invisible world of spirits, appear 
to be such treacherous ground that persons who venture upon 
it are ever in danger of falling under the misleading delusions 
of the Powers of Darkness, especially when their mind is still 
ethically undecided, and not firmly grounded in what is pure 
and true and good. It is freely to be admitted thatMohammed, 
in his character of a prophet, showed much zeal to overthrow 
idolatry and erect a kind of Deism in its place. In this way 
he conferred an undoubted boon upon his countrymen. But 
he had already, years before, refused to be led on, like some 
of his more enlightened Hanifite friends, from Deism to 


Christianity, and he now set himself up as a rival to Christ, 
boldly denying both His Divine Sonship and His atoning 
death upon the cross.^ He thus assumed a directly anti- 
Christian position, barring the way of his followers to the 
true and only Mediator between God and man. Thereby he 
inflicted upon them the greatest conceivable injury ; and in 
doing so he, of course, cannot have acted under the influence 
and by the will of a holy God of love. This lamentable 
position of an open rival and virtual enemy, he occupied 
ifrom the moment and by the very act of his starting a re- 
ligion of his own in the face of Christianity, which was already 
asserting its claim to finality and to a destiny for all 

There is, therefore, no alternative for any one who recog- 
nises in Jesus Christ the Divine Saviour of man and in Chris- 
tianity the highest revelation of religious truth, but to look 
upon Mohammed as a false prophet, and upon Islam, despite 
its borrowed truths, as in its religious distinctness, a stupend- 
ous system of fatal delusions. As such, their origin surely 
cannot be derived from the realms of Light, but must be 
traced to the mysterious agency of the kingdom of Dark- 

Only if people forget that God * who spake in time past 
unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days 
spoken unto us by His Son ' (Hebrews i. i, 2) and if they 
define the prophet of the Bible in some such manner 
as to make him out to be ^ a man so penetrated by the 
idea of God, His omnipotence. His glory, that fie takes his 
own conceptions of God for thoughts of God Himself com- 
municated to him by revelation^ can they mistake the author 
of Islam for a true prophet, or affirm that 'quite undeni- 
ably there was something of prophetship in Mohammed* 

^ Compare the Tract, ' The Death of Christ upon the Cross, a Fact, not a 
Fiction : Being a Word in defence of Christianity against Mohammedan attacks * 
(Church Missionary House, London, 1885). 

' Sir W. Muir, who expresses such exaggerated views of Mohammed's sincerity 
and piety at the beginning of his prophetic career, and even admits that the 
author of Islam might have been a true prophet of God, but for his secular aims 
and immoralities, cannot help gravely to discuss the question of a Satanic in- 
fluence on Mohammed, though his manner of doing so is open to objections. 
See his Life of Mahomet ^ vol. ii. pp. 90-96. 


(see pp. 55 and 56 in Dr. Ludolf Krehl's Das Leben des 
Mii/iammed,) ^ 

Much stress is often laid on * the sincerity of Mohammed's 
convictions.* But in the instructive chapter, i Kings xx., 
four hundred prophets are mentioned as prophesying, and 
one of them appears so sincerely persuaded about the truth 
of his prophecy that he made him horns of iron to symbolise 
the manner of its fulfilment ; and he smote the true prophet 
Micaiah on the cheek, saying ' Which way went the Spirit of 
the Lord from me, to speak unto thee ? ' Yet all these four 
hundred were not prophets of God, making known His will, 
but prophets of falsehood, uttering the inspirations of ' a lying 
spirit* Earnestness and sincerity in promoting a cause are 
not in themselves proofs of its goodness. There are false 
prophets as well as true prophets. Between them there may 
often be a close similarity in appearance ; but in reality they 
differ as widely as darkness differs from light Instead of 
being dazzled by the zealous earnestness of Mohammed and 
by the Divine truths incorporated in Islam, it rather behoves 
us soberly to admit that error becomes all the more danger- 
ous a masterpiece of Satan the better it succeeds in assuming 
the semblance of Truth or mixes itself up with it ; and the 
more its advocates uphold it with an air of sincerity and 

^ Dr. Krehl, in making these hyper -liberal concessions to Mohammed's claims, 
feels constrained, on page 343 of his work — where he admits that the prophet 
' often pretended to spei^ under the influence of Divine inspiration, whilst he 
was consciously only trying to palliate selfish dispositions* — ^thus to confess the 
dilemma into which his theory has brought him : ' In such cases one often really 
does not know where the God-inspired prophet ceases and the ^otistical man 
begins who is only thinking of thii^ earthly, and is enclosed within the hazy 
atmosphere of earth.' This perplexity of the amiable biographer is the natural 
outcome of his false position, which prevents him from seeing that any man who 
diametrically opposes Jesus Christ and seeks to supplant Him, can only be a 
' false prophet,* whatever his zeal and good intentions may otherwise be. The 
true Prophets are described by the Bible as ' holy men of God, speaking as they 
are moved by the Holy Ghost * (2 Pet. i. 21.) They therefore did not confound 
their own personal thoughts with the Divine inspirations, but clearly distinguished 
between their own ideas and the message which they were commissioned to 
deliver (comp. i Cor. vii. 25 to 40.) On the other hand, it is mentioned as 
characteristics of the false Prophets that they * prophesy out of their own hearts * 
and ' follow their own spirit * (Ezek. xiii. 2, 3), and that they ' speak lying words 
in God*s name which he has not commanded them * (Jer. xxix. 23). 


Hitherto Mohammedanism has proved no common barrier 
to the spreading of the Gospel ; and its aggressive hostility 
to the Kingdom of Christ has been marked by no ordinary 
violence and persistency. Should the future happen to differ 
from the past, by presenting to us the novel spectacle of 
Islamism becoming a stepping-stone to Christianity, even 
this could not change its original character or clear the 
Arabian prophet of his anti-Christian designs. We should 
then only have a fresh illustration placed before us of the 
fact that it is one of the most glorious achievements of the 
great God who guides the destinies of man to call light out 
of darkness and to overrule evil for good. 

Mohammed's antipathetic behaviour towards Christianity 
could not but have the most fatal consequences for himself 
and the world. As soon as he made up his mind not to 
follow his friends who placed themselves under the leader- 
ship of Christ, but rather to set himself up as His rival and 
opponent, by founding a counter-religion, he practically 
violated the highest principle of Truth, and placed himself 
more completely under the dominion of error. Thus he 
fatally laid himself open to being used by spiritual powers 
as an instrument for carrying out dark designs, far beyond 
the horizon of his own will and perception. 

From a general historical and religious standpoint, there- 
fore, the question is of subordinate importance, How far 
Mohammed realised the sinister nature and fatal bearings 
of his enterprise and how far he believed himself God's chosen 
apostle ; or, to what extent he was a conscious deceiver and 
to what extent the unconscious victim of deception. In either 
case — and there can be no doubt that sometimes the one 
and sometimes the other predominated — the indisputable 
fact remains that he consciously rejected Christianity and 
strenuously sought to supplant it. He made himself guilty 
of the great * sin of the world,' by not believing in Jesus, 
the Saviour of man (John xv. 8, 9). He branded himself 
with the stigma * Not of the Truth ! ' by refusing to follow 
the guidance of * the good Shepherd ; ' according to the word 
of Christ, * Every one tJuit is of the Truth heareth my voice ' 
(John xviii. 37). Consequently his politico-religious system 
also, as being essentially anti-Christian, and implying the 


principle of cruel war and galling subjugation to all non- 
Mussulmans, cannot have been initiated in the interest of 
the kingdom of God or propagated for the promotion of the 
cause of righteousness and truth. 

But in giving expression to this frank avowal, we need 
hardly add that it is not intended to convey the impression 
as if we held that Islam may not at some times .and under 
some circumstances have proved, and still prove, a positive 
temporal boon and a relative spiritual blessing to its pro- 
fessors. The borrowed truths, embodied in the system, and 
the overruling government of an all-wise and all-merciful God, 
indeed amply justify us in expecting so much. We readily 
make this candid admission to those who may feel disposed 
to remind us of the brighter periods in the dark history of 
Islam, or who wish to lay stress on the superiority of the 
Mohammedan religion and civilisation, as compared with 
the utter darkness and deep degradation of many heathen 

Thus far we have traced how Mohammed became the 
prophet he was, and what were the different elements com- 
bining to produce in him the belief that he had to fulfil a 
great mission in the world. We have contemplated him in 
his own distinct individuality, his family relationship, his 
religious tendencies, and his political aspirations, till he stood 
before us in the form of a fully developed prophet and a 
miraculously commissioned ambassador. It now is our duty 
in the following chapter to inquire how his pretensions were 
received by his countrymen, and what success he achieved 
in the Arab nation. 

The well-known Flight or Hegira (pronounce : Hetchrd) 

naturally divides the period about to be treated into two 

halves, of pretty equal duration, but of very unequal result : 

firsty the prophet's Meccan period of ill success ; and secondly, 

his Medinan period of complete triumph. 





What history clearly places before us is the well-known 
fact that, when Mohammed died, he had virtually succeeded 
in making himself the paramount chief and sovereign ruler 
of the Arab nation. And what is no less notorious, is the 
other fact, that, about twenty years before his death, he had 
presented himself to his countrymen with the claims of a 
messenger of God, a bearer of new revelations, the founder, 
or at least restorer, of an absolutely true and final religion. 
He began his public career as a Prophet and finished his 
course as, in fact, a ruling Sovereign. 

To us, in this present age, which distinguishes so widely 
between * the things which are God's * and * the things which 
are Caesar's,* there appears in this something glaringly in- 
consistent and anomalous. Hence it has happened in our 
days that Mohammed's public life was sometimes represented 
as broken up into two heterogeneous halves — the one, that 
of a sincere man and true prophet of God ; the other, that 
of a base apostate and carnal worldling.^ 

In the original records of Mohammed's life we cannot 
discover proofs of such an apostasy. He is never represented 
as betraying the least apprehension that the connecting link 
between his earlier and his later public life might have been 

^ The views expressed by Sir W. Muir in his different works on Mohammed 
belong to this category. See, e,g^ his Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. chap. iii. In his 
last and shortest work entitled Mahomet and Islam, he asks, 'Whether, in 
fact, the eye (of Mohammed) being no longer single, the whole body did not 
become full of darkness ? * (p. 25), and exclaims, ' How has Xht fine gold become 
dim / ' (p. 129) : thus concisely indicating his appreciation of the difference of 
Mohammed's character in the two great periods of his prophetic activity. 


a spiritual lapse. On the contrary, he and his followers 
recognised in his military exploits and political ascendency 
nothing less than the natural outcome and the due reward of 
his earlier labours and sufferings as a prophet To Moham- 
med and the Mohammedans his public life from beginning 
to end is one congruous whole, which leaves room for no 
radical change of principles, but only for the development 
and maturing of what was originally aimed at and hoped for. 

Therefore the historian of Mohammed's life seems bound, 
in order to do justice to his subject, to lay bare, if possible, 
this essential union, notwithstanding all the difference of 
outward appearances, and to give the most careful attention 
to all those historical records which may help him in explain- 
ing the intimate connection subsisting between the political 
and the religious, the worldly and the spiritual, throughout 
Mohammed's prophetic career. He must try to discover, from 
the materials transmitted to us, those traits and data which are 
calculated to demonstrate the inward connection and agree- 
ment of the different periods in Mohammed's life. He must 
seek to furnish historical proof that, as in his later period, 
when he ruled Arabia with the harshness of a military despot, 
he did so in the name of religion and by virtue of his pro- 
phetic character, so also, when he began his career as a 
religious reformer and apostle of God, he already entertained, 
more or less consciously, those secular and political designs 
which he afterwards realised. An historical view and psycho- 
logical study of the subject must greatly enhance its claims 
to soundness and correctness, if it can produce in us the 
conviction, so natural in itself and so plainly entertained by 
the Moslem historians, that Mohammed became what he 
desired to become, and that he aimed from the first at what 
he obtained at last ; and not, that the single-eyed, spiritually- 
minded prophet of the Meccan period rather suddenly, as if 
by accident, by the mere change of outward circumstances, 
turned into the cunning deceiver, the sensual worldling, of 

Islam being evidently an attempted amalgam of God and 
the world, of religion and politics, the source from which it 
flowed cannot have been one of limpid purity. The prophet 
who instituted it, and whose impress it bears, surely cannot 


have been a character of pure gold and unalloyed piety. It 
is by the fruit that the nature of a tree is made known. The 
impure secular and sensual outcome of Mohammed's second 
period was nothing else, as this work will plainly show, than 
the full development of the potentialities, the matured fruit 
of the seeds and germs, already covertly operative in the first. 

That the political power and military conquests which 
mark Mohammed's second period were already contemplated 
by him, when he was still an opposed and persecuted reformer 
in Mecca, is not a mere surmise founded on the historical 
sequence of the two periods, but must necessarily be gathered 
from sundry express statements by his earliest biographers. 
Ibn Ishak narrates that on one occasion, when the prophet 
was still destitute of any political power, and owed the 
toleration which he enjoyed solely to his powerful family and 
influential friends, the elders of the Koreish came to his 
uncle Abu Talib, for the purpose of effecting a modus vivetidi 
with his nephew, based on mutual concessions. Abu Talib 
called the troublesome nephew, and thus addressed him 
before them : ' Thou seest the nobles of thy people are 
assembled here to concede to thee certain things, and, in 
return, to receive concessions from thee.' Mohammed made 
this reply : * Well, then, give me a word whereby the Arabs 
may be governed and the Persians subjugated! Abu Jahl 
responded to this request in the name of his fellow-elders by 
saying : * Thou shalt have ten words.' But Mohammed, set- 
ting him right, and indicating what kind of word, in his 
opinion, could alone answer the purpose, rejoined : * Say, 
There is no God except Allah ; and renounce what you 
worship besides Him.' These two remarkable words of 
Mohammed, taken in their context, as reported by his earliest 
biographer, plainly entitle us to the logical conclusion that 
Mohammed looked upon religion as the best means for 
securing worldly power : for he says in effect, — * If you wish 
to govern the Arabs and to subjugate the Persians, then 
exchange your idolatry with the profession of Monotheism 
and you will succeed.' 

Ibn Ishak further reports that, when rough and combatant 
Omar, a near relative of Mohammed's precursor Zeid, had 
openly cast in his lot with the new prophet's movement. 


he was in consequence attacked by some Koreishites. 
Having struggled with them from early morning till the 
sun stood above their heads, and being well nigh exhausted, 
he addressed them thus : * Do what you think best ; but, by 
Allah, if we were only three hundred men in number, we 
would fight till either you had to give way to us, or we to you/ 

These and such-like incidents plainly show that, with 
Mohammed and his early coadjutors, aspirations after secular 
power no less than after the dominance of their creed, and 
a disposition to use force, were not at all foreign to their 
iconoclastic zeal and their wish for religious reform even in 
Mecca. The Meccans were keen-sighted enough to perceive 
this full well. The historian, from whom we quote, expressly 
ascribes their sending the above deputation to the motive 
of fear. He informs us that they said : * We are not 
sure whether the dominion will not be taken from us.* Re- 
ligious profession and political pursuits were evidently as 
much blended in Mohammed's own thoughts and life as 
religion and politics are inseparably mixed up in Islam. 
The words spoken by him on the formal occasion referred 
to clearly show that when apparently he laboured for the 
subversion of idolatry and the propagation of Monotheism 
only, he was in fact already aiming at civil government at 
home and at military conquests abroad. 

It is in this light that the two distinct periods of Moham- 
med's public life have to be viewed, and thus their essential 
continuity and their substantial inward union will without 
difficulty be discerned. Mohammed's apostolic cloak was 
loose and elastic enough to cover both the prophet and the 
tyrant, as the circumstances seemed to require it. The ardent 
preacher, the zealous reformer, the austere prophet of Mecca, 
pleading amidst annoyances and opposition for mere tolera- 
tion and the bare recognition of his teaching, is in reality the 
seed and the precursor of the military commander, the in- 
satiable conqueror, the despotic autocrat of Medina. In both 
places he is essentially the same man : only in Mecca he is 
trying to succeed with his plan, and in Medina he actually 
succeeds. This sameness, as well as distinctness of the two 
periods now to be passed in review before us, is intimated 
by the superscriptions which they respectively bear. 


I. — Mohammed's ill success in seeking recognition as the 
Prophet of Islam, or, The Meccan Period of his 
Public Life from about the fortieth to the fifty- 
third YEAR OF his AGE. 

(i.) Mohammed* s Diffident Start as a Prophet. 

When, by the process described in the first chapter, 
Mohammed had become persuaded that he might regard 
himself as a chosen apostle of God, he was, according to the 
common belief of his followers, just forty years old. His age 
at the Flight to Medina being 53 years, his prophetic period 
in Mecca must have lasted about 13 years. But during all 
this time he did not succeed in effecting anything like a 
general recognition of his assumed new character ; and at its 
close there was nothing left him but to flee from his home 
in despair and to seek in a distant city a better starting-point 
for realising his plans. 

The cautious, not to say timid, manner in which 
Mohammed entered upon his prophetic mission is quite in 
keeping with the assumption that he did not consider 
religious reform as his exclusive object, but that he rather 
looked already beyond it to a more material and secular 
goal. His start as a prophet by no means calls to mind 
the saying: *The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up' 
(John ii. 17). He did not court martyrdom, or give proof, 
at this time, that he had the stuff in him of which martyrs 
are made. Ibn Ishak has a short sentence in his biography 
of the prophet which throws an important light on his 
personal character and courage, namely, * For the space of 
three years, after his mission, he concealed his faith.' So long 
an interval he needed, before he could summon courage 
enough to profess openly what he contemplated and believed 
in secret. It required a fresh supposed admonition from God 
to induce him to take that further step. Ibn Ishak reports : 
'Then God commanded him to come forward with his 
revelation, to acquaint the people with it, and to invite them 
to embrace Islam.' The Rawzet ul Ahbab, instead of saying 
that Mohammed 'concealed' his faith, uses the expression 
that he invited to Islam * secretly , so that only one or two at 


a time embraced the faith.' In either case the admission is 
forced upon his biographers that at first he showed great 
diffidence and timidity in spreading the imagined revela- 

This is also confirmed by the circumstance that his 
earliest converts all belonged to the circle of his own family 
and friends. His biographers are careful to enumerate 
them by name. The lists handed down to us date from 
about a century after his own life, when priority of belief in 
Islam and its prophet, among ancestors, already constituted 
an honourable distinction in Moslem society with which 
valuable privileges and worldly advantages were connected. 
This naturally caused a tendency amongst the believers to 
date the conversion of their ancestors as early as possible ; 
and we may take for granted that none of them was omitted 
from the list of early converts, and that every one's claims 
were insisted upon without any lack of interest and zeal. 

The fact that Mohammed * concealed ' his faith for three 
years and invited to Islam * secretly,' or ventured to persuade 
only members of his own family and dependent persons, 
might be looked upon as little creditable to a prophet called 
in so supernatural a manner and commissioned with so 
wonderful a charge direct from heaven. Perhaps Ibn Ishak 
felt something of this kind, and wanted to forestall possible 
objections on that score, when he found it judicious to make 
the following observation : * The office of a prophet carries 
its troubles and burdens with it which only the constant and 
strong of God's apostles can bear, with His help and 
assistance ; for they have to suffer much from men, and 
people quarrel with them about that which they proclaim in 
the name of God. But Mohammed acted according to the 
command of God, despite all the contradiction and ill- 
treatment from his people.* Such an assurance by the 
biographer is all the more opportune the less the actual 
life and conduct of his hero renders it superfluous, at this 

(2.) Mohammed! s Earliest Converts, 

The first of his converts was his devoted wife Khadija, 
Traditions differ with regard to the order in which others 

78 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA. [bk. i. ch. il 

embraced the faith : but there exists complete unanimity on 
the point that Khadija's conversion preceded that of all the 
rest. There is not any reason for doubting this. Khadija, 
as we have seen above, had so great a share in Mohammed's 
persuasion of his prophetic call, and welcomed it with such 
fervid eagerness, that it is not easy to decide whether 
historical truth is better expressed by calling her his convert 
or him hers. Already at their marriage she was the propos- 
ing and he the consenting party. Mohammed was decidedly 
wanting in lofty independence and robust manliness of 
character. He had something nalCve and almost feeble in his 
mental constitution, which at a later period invited the 
dominating influence of men like Abu Bekr, Omar, and others, 
and at the present kept him abjectly dependent on his high- 
minded and clear-sighted wife Khadija. Ibn Ishak says of 
her : ^ She was the first who believed in God, in His apostle, 
and in the revelation. Thereby God sent him comfort : for 
whenever he heard something unpleasant, or was grieved by 
contradiction or charges of lying, God comforted him by her, 
when he returned home to her. She cheered him, made 
things easy for him, assured him of her faith in him, and 
represented to him the talk of the people as utterly in- 
significant' Hers was plainly the stronger mind of the two, 
and he was aware of it, and good-naturedly accepted his 
position of subordination. She was rich, and he profited 
by her wealth. It was in her family that Hanifdom had 
obtained an extensive footing, whilst his own was identified 
with the interests of idolatry. He had to look up to her in 
every respect. She was full of resorts and kept her clear head 
above water, when he was engulfed in melancholy and fears. 
It has been found strange that a man who later on 
manifested such an excessive passion for women, and pro- 
vided himself with more than twice the complement of wives 
he permitted to his followers, should have remained a prac- 
tical monogamist so long as Khadija lived ; and the circum- 
stance has been seized upon by his advocates as a proof of 
his earlier spirituality and purity. But the cogency of this 
proof is more than questionable, because the general authority 
and sway she exercised over him was quite sufficient to keep 
him within bounds in this respect. The true reason why he 


remained a monogamist so long, was plainly not his personal 
continence and spirituality, but his dread of Khadija, whom 
he did not dare to offend, by adding to her rival objects of 
his affection. He, later on, gives the drastic counsel to 
husbands to punish refractory wives by * removing them into 
beds apart and scourging them ' (Surah iv. 38); but who can 
conceive that he himself would have ventured to carry out 
this advice against Khadija ? 

By her death he lost a master, and was set free to carry 
out his long-checked propensities. What these were can be 
gathered from the following anecdote of the Rawzet ul Ahbab. 
Shortly after Khadija's death, when Mohammed is represented 
as having been in a very dejected state of mind, Khawla, the 
sympathising wife of one of his friends, paid him a visit and 
asked him why he did not marry again. He replied : * Who 
is there that I could take ? ' She answered : ' If thou 
wishest for a virgin, there is Aisha, the daughter of thy friend 
Abu Bekr ; and if thou wishest for a woman, there is Sewda 
who believes in thee.' He without hesitation, solved the 
dilemma by saying to Khawla: 'Then ask them both for 
me.' She lost no time in doing what she was bidden, so 
that two months after Khadija had closed her eyes, Moham- 
med was already married to the attractive widow Sewda, who 
is described as tall and corpulent ; and betrothed to Aisha, 
who was then only a girl six years old, and actually became 
his wife three years later. Aisha herself thus refers to the 
way in which her mother reared her to meet the prophet's 
taste : * When I was betrothed to the prophet, my mother 
endeavoured to make me fat ; and she found that with me 
nothing succeeded so well as gourds and fresh dates. Eating 
well of them I became round.' 

This carnal taste and tendency of the Arabian prophet, 
which he showed already under his adverse circumstances in 
Mecca, naturally increased with his prosperity and oppor- 
tunities in Medina, and furnished Aisha with a telling retort 
only a few days before his death. According to the Rawzet ul 
Ahbab, Aisha narrated as follows : * The beginning of his 
Excellency's illness happened in Meimuna's room, whose turn 
it was that day. Then he came to my room, and as I had 
a headache, I said, " Oh, my head aches I " His Excellency 


replied, "What harm would it be to thee, if thou wert to 
leave this world before me, — for then I would lay thee out, 
wrap thee in a winding-sheet, and say the prayers over thee." 
Being roused, I thus retorted on him : " This is exactly what 
thou wishest for ; and I believe that on the same day thou 
buriest me, thou wouldest be bridegroom and bride with a 
new wife in my very room." His Excellency smiled.' 

Khadija's superior mind and good manners were so highly 
appreciated by Mohamnved that long after her decease he 
frequently praised her virtues ; and it is reported of Aisha 
that the lavish praise bestowed upon her, though dead, raised 
feelings of jealousy in her own bosom, she being annoyed by 
his * constantly holding up that toothless old woman as the 
pattern of a wife.' Before her death, which happened when 
she was 65 years old, her husband comforted her by saying, 
* I have been commanded to announce to Khadija that in 
Paradise she will receive a house excavated out of one pearl 
to which neither noise nor illness can penetrate.' 

Next in order to Khadija, Ali is mentioned as a con- 
vert to Islam : the first from amongst males. He was then 
only a little boy ten years of age ; and his conversion can 
therefore not have been the result of mature conviction at 
all, but merely of that gratitude and affection which tied 
him to Mohammed as his benefactor and foster-father. 
Young and dependent as he was, he naturally accepted as 
true, without examination, whatever the prophet and the 
prophet's wife told him. 

Their mutual relation can be gathered from the following 
account by Ibn Ishak : * The first male person who believed 
in Mohammed, prayed with him and credited his revelations, 
was the ten-year-old Ali. It was a work of Divine favour 
and grace towards Ali, that once the Koreish were visited 
by a great scarcity. For then, as Abu Talib had a numerous 
family, Mohammed said to his uncle Abbas, who was the 
richest among the Beni Hashim, "Thou knowest that thy 
brother Abu Talib has a numerous family, and that all the 
people are suffering during this year of scarcity : let us go to 
him and lighten his burden by each of us taking one of his 
sons off his hands." Abbas consenting, they went together 
to Abu Talib, and made their offer. Then Mohammed took 


AH, pressing him to himself, and Abbas did the same with 
Jafar. Thus Ali remained with Mohammed till he received 
his prophetic mission, when he followed him, believed in him, 
and acknowledged him to be true.' 

The same biographer also narrates, on the authority of 
' some scholars,* that when the time for saying the prayers 
arrived, Mohammed went to the valleys of Mecca ; and that 
Ali, without the cognisance of his father and uncles, accom- 
panied him to pray with him thei-e. One day Abu Talib 
surprised them in the act ; and being requested by Mohammed 
likewise to embrace Islam and become his helper, he replied, 

* Dear nephew, I cannot forsake the faith of my fathers, but, 
by Allah, so long as I live, no harm shall be done to thee.' 
Thus it appears that Abu Talib protected the new prophet, 
without accepting his revelations, simply because he was his 
nephew and the generous benefactor of his son Ali ; and 
that, therefore, the fate of Islam, from its earliest infancy, 
did not depend solely on its religious merits, but was very 
largely shaped by the earthly interests of family and clan- 

Some time later, Ali became Mohammed's son-in-law and 
a valiant combatant in the cause of Islam ; but Aisha's 
spite against him greatly marred his fortune, and at last 
issued in an open rupture and the sanguinary * battle of the 

Zeidy Ibn Haritha, is Mohammed's third convert, likewise 
from his own household. How he became one of its members 
is thus told by Ibn Hisham : ^ Hakim had arrived from Syria 
with a batch of slaves, amongst whom was Zeid,^ Ibn Haritha, 
a lad just passing out of boyhood. When his aunt Khadija, 

^ Above (p. 53) the opinion has been expressed that originally he had a 
Christian name, and that it was not till he became an inmate of Mohammed's 
house that he was called Zeid. This opinion is not weakened by the fact that 
Ibn Hisham here introduces him at once by the latter name. For it is quite usual 
with Mohammedan historians to call Moslems by their later appellations long 
before they had adopted them, so much so, that their originsil and proper names 
sometimes became lost altogether. Thus, e,g, the name of 'Abu Bekr' {ue, 

* father of the virgin ') can only have been applied to him since his daughter 
Aisha became Mohammed's wife ; and yet he is always spoken of by that name, 
long before he can possibly have borne it Even as r^;ards Mohammed's own 
name, it is doubtful whether it was given him originally, or whether it was not 
rather adopted by him late in life. 



who was then Mohammed's wife, visited him, he made her 
the offer of choosing one of the slaves for herself. Her 
choice falling on Zeid, she took him away with her. When 
Mohammed saw him, he begged him of her as a present, and 
having received him, he gave him his liberty and adopted 
him for his own son. This happened before the time of his 
mission. Haritha, Zeid's father, was much grieved by the 
loss of his son, and went in search of him, till at last he found 
him with Mohammed. Zeid, on being asked whether he 
would return with his father or remain where he was, pre- 
ferred his new home, and so stayed with Mohammed till 
his prophetic mission, when he believed in him, became a 
Moslem, and prayed with him.' 

Though made a free man by manumission, Zeid always 
belonged to Mohammed's family, and, since his adoption, 
was called his * son.* This position kept him in complete 
dependence on Mohammed, whose wishes he dared not dis- 
regard. Zeid was a dexterous archer, and later on made 
himself very useful to Mohammed, being frequently intrusted 
with the command of an army. But how slavishly dependent 
he remained on his adoptive father, even after the migration 
to Medina, is made glaringly manifest by the scandalous 
affair about his wife Zeinab. 

One day Mohammed unexpectedly called at Zeid's 
dwelling to see him on some business. He found him absent, 
but surprised his wife Zeinab in a state of undress, not cal- 
culated for a visitor. The prophet was so smitten with her 
white delicate skin and beauty, that he could not refrain from 
showing his feelings. The indiscretion was a grave one. From 
that time her conduct to her own husband became changed, 
and gave him cause for complaint. He at last found it best 
to divorce her, so as no longer to be in the way of her new 
relation to his old benefactor. Mohammed married her forth- 
with, and in his cruel selfishness thus far presumed on Zeid's 
good-nature and subordinate position as to make him go 
in person to ask her hand for him, in order that he might 
appear to the world a willingly consenting party and not a 
most deeply injured husband. 

But though Mohammed, by this heartless trick, screened 
himself from the wrong inflicted on the husband, the im- 


morality perpetrated against the adopted son and his wife 
still remained/ The Arabs were scandalised by such conduct 
of a supposed prophet towards his adopted son and his 
daughter-in-law. Aisha boldly charged him with serious 
misconduct. Mohammed, who degraded religion into a 
stepping-stone to worldly empire, was, of course, not too 
scrupulous to extricate himself from this awkward personal 
difficulty by a pretended revelation. Heaven inspired him 
to declare that all this had happened by Divine appointment 
to make known to the world the benign purpose that thence- 
forth it should not be a sin for a man to marry the divorced 
wife of an adopted son ! As if the world could be much 
benefited by having conferred upon it so questionable a 
liberty. At the same time, Zeid was forbidden to call himself 
any longer ^Ibn Mohammed,' and had to revert to the 
original ' Ibn Haritha.' 

Now of how little value must Zeid's early testimony to 
Mohammed's prophetic mission appear, if we find him, at 
a riper age, quietly submitting to all these extravagances, 
without being staggered in his profession of Islam and in his 
allegiance to its prophet ? 

Abu Bekr is mentioned next in order. He is the first 
convert, not, strictly speaking, belonging to Mohammed's own 
household. But he was his best friend, and, since Mohammed 
lived in Khadija's house, his close neighbour. ' Abu Bekr,' 
the appellation by which he is invariably mentioned, means 
' father of the virgin.' He was thus designated, because his 
daughter Aisha was the only one of Mohammed's wives 
whom he married as a virgin. He can therefore have borne 
this name only since that marriage. Ibn Hisham says of 
him : ' His proper name was Abd Allah {}) and he was sur- 
named Atik (=aged, noble), on account of his beautiful, noble 
face. He was a kind, amiable man, whom every one liked. 
He was the most learned of the Koreish, and best acquainted 
with their genealogy, their weaknesses, and their excellences. 
He was a benevolent merchant, of good manners, and the 
people of his tribe frequently came to him to consult with 
him about their own affairs, because he was experienced in 
commerce and other matters, and his conduct pleased every 
one. He invited to Islam those who trusted him and who 

am 9 "SL *-^m'-^mi^^v^amM 


sought his society. Mohammed, as I have learned, is re- 
ported to have said, " I have not called any one to Islam who 
had not first his doubts, hesitation, and gainsaying, except 
Abu Bekr, who showed no objection and no hesitation." ' 

If Abu Bekr is here represented as already fully prepared 
for the adoption of Islam, the explanatory cause was no doubt 
this, that he now had likewise joined the Hanifite fraternity, 
who, for some time, had relinquished idol-worship in favour 
pf Deism. Such an assumption is quite natural, because of 
his intimate connection with Khadija's family where Hanif- 
dom had so strong a footing. The new doctrine of Islam, 
that Mohammed was its heaven-sent apostle, presented no 
serious difficulty to the affectionate regard in which Abu 
Bekr held his visionary friend. Their friendship had long 
been so close that it could not but favour a gradual approxima- 
tion of thoughts and ideas ; and Abu Bekr's superiority of 
judgment and forethought necessarily must have had a great 
influence on his impressible friend and on the religion offered 
by him to his heatiien countrymen. These two men were, 
from the first, joined in Islam, and treated it as their common 
cause and as the highest object of their aspirations, with 
which all their personal and private interests became in- 
separably interwoven. 

Nothing can be more certain than that Islam is not the 
product of Mohammed alone, but that he was materially in- 
fluenced and assisted in its concoction by others, notably by 
Abu Bekr and Omar, besides sundry renegade Christians 
and Jews whom he used as channels of imformation. How 
dependent Mohammed ordinarily was on his friends Abu 
Bekr and Omar, is well illustrated by the following statement 
of Ali : * The prophet always said, " I, Abu Bekr, and Omar 
went to, or came from, such and such a place ; I, Abu Bekr, 
and Omar have done such and such a thing." ' There is also 
a tradition, mentioned by Sprenger, according to which 
Mohammed declared : * Every prophet has two heavenly and 
two earthly Viziers: my heavenly Viziers are Gabriel and 
Michael, and my earthly Viziers Abu Bekr and Omar/ 
As Omar's courage and strength, so Abu Bekr's knowledge 
and wealth, were made subservient to Islam, and had no 
small share in its rise and progress. 


It is recorded of Abu Bekr that he possessed a fortune of 
40,000 dirhams, but that he so liberally devoted it to the 
promotion of the new religion that, at the time of the Hegira, 
it had dwindled down to 5,000 dirhams. By his early pros- 
elytising efforts, Othman, Zobeir, Abd Errahman, Saad, and 
Talha embraced Islam, some of whom were mere lads, and 
all were related either to Mohammed's or to Abu Bekr's 
family. At a time, therefore, when Mohammed himself could 
only boast of three male converts (viz., AH, Zeid, and Abu 
Bekr), Abu Bekr had succeeded in gaining no less than five. 
Ibn Ishak says concerning these early converts : * These eight 
men preceded all the rest in Islam. They prayed, believed 
in Mohammed, and accepted his revelation as Divine.' 

(3.) A further Increase in the Number of Converts 
emboldens Mohammed^ but^ at the same time^ arouses 

After enumerating these eight precursors of the Moslem 
converts, Ibn Ishak gives a list of the names of 44 persons — 
viz., 35 men and 9 women — who gradually followed their 
example by likewise embracing Islam. At first Mohammed 
and his converts provoked no opposition or persecution ; 
that is, so long as they cautiously and timidly abstained from 
coming forward with the claims of their new religion. It is 
expressly stated that, at that time, the people did not keep 
aloof from the prophet or refute him. But as soon as they 
opposed others, they were opposed in return. Ibn Ishak, who 
tells us that Mohammed concealed his faith for three years 
after he had received the supposed mission from heaven, also 
informs us that the prophet, whilst enjoying the protection of 
his influential family, quietly and one by one, gained upwards 
of forty adherents whose religious devotion naturally still 
further encouraged him and strengthened his position. It is 
significant that only after this, the historian assures us, 
'Mohammed obeyed the command of God, and sufiered 
himself to be detained by nothing in revealing his faith.' 

This frankness in opposing a new religion to the old, and 
the one Allah to the idols, slow as it had been in coming, at 
once led to a change in the conduct of the general public 


towards the prophet and his small party of followers. Ibn 
Ishak distinctly notices the change and its cause in these 
words: *When Mohammed came openly forward with his 
religion among the people, as God had commanded him, they 
did not keep aloof from him or gainsay him, until he spoke 
of their gods and reviled them. Then they thought it worth 
their while to deny him, and they resolved to oppose and per- 
secute him ; except those whom God kept by Islam, but they 
were few in number and despised. Mohammed, however, was 
pitied by his uncle Abu Talib, who protected him and inter- 
fered on his behalf/ The change, as affecting the converts, 
is thus set forth : * When the companions of Mohammed 
wanted to pray, they went to ravines and concealed their 
praying from the people. One day, when Saad, with other 
companions, was praying in one of the ravines of Mecca, there 
appeared several idol-worshippers, who censured them, and, 
by annoyances, provoked them to fight. Saad, on that 
occasion, struck one of the idol-worshippers with the jaw- 
bone of an ass, and wounded him. This was the^rj"/^ blood 
spilt in Islam.' 

From these records it appears that the earliest Moslems, 
for several years, hid their faith from their countrymen, to 
avoid being laughed at or annoyed, but that they did not 
scruple to have recourse to violence and bloodshed, as soon 
as they considered their number strong enough to warrant 
such a step. In like manner Mohammed himself, from fear 
of man, did not at once, after having laid claim to a prophetic 
mission, openly profess his faith or venture to speak publicly 
against idolatry, but only summoned courage enough to do 
so when he had gained a number of trusty adherents and made 
sure of his uncle Abu Talib's protection. Thus it becomes 
patent how very early Mohammed made ' flesh his arm,' by 
relying on his kinsman for protection and on the number of 
his followers for support 

^ In calling this the ' first ' blood shed in Islam, Ibn Ishak evidently thinks 
of the profuse bloodshed by which it was followed, down to his own days. But 
how much more significative must the expression appear to us now, when we 
remember the countless streams of blood poured out in the cause of Islam, during 
all the subsequent centuries I ^liat a contrast between Christ Who founded His 
religion by the shedding of His own blood, and Mohammed who established 
Islam by shedding the blood of others ! 



But this courage, based on such a foundation, and tardily as 
as it came, was yet sufficient to stir into activity the much 
dreaded hostility of his countrymen. They called him bad 
names, such as * liar, sorcerer, poet, soothsayer, demoniac/ 
Ill-disposed neighbours, some of them near relatives, threw 
unclean things before his door, to annoy him. Even at the 
public sanctuary, which he continued to visit, he was assailed 
with cutting words, so that on one occasion he turned 
round in anger, and said to his persecutors sharply, * Hear, ye 
congregation of the Koreish, I come to you with slaughter!' 
This was a threat which he could not carry into effect till 
many years later. But some of the Koreishites seem to have 
taken the hint seriously, so that, when he came to the Kaaba 
on the following day, they surrounded him, and one of them 
seized him by the front of his cloak. Abu Bekr had to come 
to his rescue, and, delivering him from their hands, said to 
them, weeping : * Will you kill a man who says, " Allah is 
my Lord " ? ' Ibn Ishak, on the information ' of a scholar,' 
reports that * The worst which happened to Mohammed from 
the Koreish was, that, one day when he went out, there was 
no man, either free or slave, who, on passing him, did not call 
him a liar and insult him.' 

But besides these petty annoyances and private persecu- 
tions, more serious and formal steps were taken to get rid of 
the unwelcome prophet and his vexatious denunciations. 
Ibn Ishak specifies three distinct deputations from amongst 
the leading men of the city, for the purpose of inducing Abu 
Talib to withdraw his protection from the troublesome nephew, 
so that they might silence him by force, without thereby 
incurring the vengeance of his family. The charges they 
brought s^ainst him were, that he blasphemed their gods, 
reviled their faith, seduced their youths, and condemned their 
fathers. Abu Talib is represented as having, on each 
occasion, declined their demand with dignified firmness, and 
continued his protection as before. But after one of these 
deputations had departed, Abu Talib called Mohammed to 
communicate to him the charges which had been brought 
forward, and gravely added, * Spare both me and thyself ; and 
do not burden me with more than I can bear.' Mohammed 
believed that his uncle, not feeling strong enough to protect 

88 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA, [bk. i. ch. li. 

him any longer, had already made up his mind actually to with- 
draw his protection and to surrender him to his adversaries. 
Yet we are informed that far from yielding, he plainly told 
his uncle he would never give up his cause ; and, bursting 
into tears, rose up to go away. Abu Talib, moved by seeing 
his nephew in such a plight, called him back and said, ' Go on, 
speak what thou wilt : by Allah, I shall in no case surrender 
thee to them.' Still, it appears, that Mohammed was not 
altogether free from anxiety, as to the precariousness and 
danger of his position. 

(4.) Mohammed finds Safety from Persecution by removing 
to the house of Arkam ; and his believer Sy by emigrating 
to Abyssinia, 

It was most probably under these circumstances, about 
five or six years before the Hegira, that Mohammed quitted 
his own residence, where he had been surrounded by unfriendly 
and vexatious neighbours, to live at some distance on Mount 
Safa, in the house of one of his welUto-do followers, Arkam 
by name. This change of habitation, by which he placed 
himself under the protection of Arkam and his clan, reflected, 
according to Arab notions, on the honour of his own family, 
to which he clung, and whose protection he had hitherto 
enjoyed. Therefore he remained in this place of safety no 
longer than was found quite necessary. Still it appears that 
he had to continue his stay on Mount Safa for a term lasting 
about two years. In Arkam's house Mohammed was indeed 
sufficiently safe for his own person, and even found the 
opportunity of proselytising with some success ; but he had 
no power to shield his more dependent followers, especially 
the slaves, from the persecution to which they were exposed. 
Ibn Ishak thus continues his narrative : * The Koreish showed 
themselves hostile to those who believed in Mohammed, 
each clan rising up against the weak Moslems who were in 
their midst These were shut up, beaten with stripes, had to 
suffer hunger and thirst, and were exposed to the sun, so that 
many of them relinquished their faith, to escape from ill-treat- 
ment, whilst others were strengthened by God to persevere.' 


When Mohammed saw the persecution of his defenceless 
followers, whom he was powerless to protect, and who could 
find no other influential men under whose auspices they might 
place themselves, he said to them : * Had you not better 
emigrate to Abyssinia ? There reigns a prince who tolerates 
no injustice. It is a land of honesty,^ where you can remain 
until God delivers you from the present condition.' A small 
number of his followers acted on his advice without delay ; 
and others did so, from time to time, during the following 
years, down to the Hegira, so that eventually all the emigrants 
in Abyssinia were computed to amount to no less than 83 
men. This emigration to Abyssinia was greatly facilitated 
by the close commercial relations which existed with that 
country. Besides, the Abyssinians being professed Christians, 
they doubtless felt all the more disposed to treat the fugitives 
kindly. These were at present needy suppliants, not the 
haughty adversaries of a later period ; and their Deism could 
still be expected to prove a stepping-stone to the religion of 
Christ. Such hope was actually realised in the case of several 
of the emigrants, who joined the Church in Abyssinia and 
died there as Christians. 

It is a remarkable circumstance that Mohammed, who, 
by setting up a rival religion, practically tried to supplant 
Christianity, had to apply to a Christian country for the 
protection of his early converts ; and that the Mohammedan 
historians dwell with complacency on the kind hospitality of 
the Abyssinian king to the refugees and on his laudable 
firmness in refusing their extradition, when demanded by a 
formal embassy from the idolatrous Koreishites of Mecca 
But Mohammed soon forgot these strong obligations under 
which Christianity had placed him ; and in his later dealings 
with the Christians, he did not extend to them the same 
magnanimous treatment which they had shown to his early 
followers in their distress. 

^ This important admission deserves to be well pondered by those advocates 
of Mohammed who try to excuse him for his rejection of the Christian religion by 
assuming that its professors, in his days, were oif so low a morality that they could 
inspire him only with feelings of contempt We are here informed, on the 
contrary, that Mohammed looked upon Christian Abyssinia as ' a land of honesty, 
where no injustice was tolerated.* 

go HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA, [bk. i. ch. ll. 

(S.) Mohammed^ by sacrificing principles^ enters into a 

Compromise with the Koreish. 

As by all their hostile measures the authorities of Mecca 
did not succeed in stopping the evil at its source, and could 
not effectually silence Mohammed, they tried to accomplish 
their object — for the Arabs are a cunning people — by induc- 
ing him to accept a compromise which was to put an end to 
the existing dissension. With this view, one of the leading 
men of the Koreish, Otba by name, was deputed to him, and 
addressed him thus : * Thou knowest, my cousin, that thou 
occupiest a high rank in our tribe, and that thou hast brought 
before us a grave matter by which thou hast divided the 
community. Thou hast called us fools, hast blasphemed our 
gods, reviled our religion, and charged our departed fathers 
with unbelief Now, listen to me whilst I submit to thee 
proposals, which, after reflecting upon them, thou mayest 
deem acceptable/ Then Mohammed was offered 'money 
enough to make him the richest man, honour like that of an 
Elder or even a Prince, physicians to heal him if he con- 
sidered himself troubled by evil spirits' — ^all this on the 
condition that he would openly recognise their local deities, 
or at least some of them, as mediators and intercessors with 
Allah, the Creator and Preserver. The Koreish, in their 
turn, were ready to acknowledge and worship Allah. 

Mohammed was not at once prepared to accept the 
proposition, but promised to see what God would reveal to 
him on the subject. After this interview, Otba counselled 
his friends to leave Mohammed alone, shrewdly assigning 
for his reason, * If the Bedouins fight him, you will get rid 
of him by others ; if he conquers them, his dominion will 
also become your dominion, his power your power, and you 
will be made the happiest men through him.' This advice 
of Otba to the Koreish was no doubt suggested, in substance, 
by the interview he had with the prophet, and throws light 
on the kind of subjects discussed between them. Viewed 
thus, it incidentally reveals that Mohammed's plans of con- 
quest by no means sprang from his altered circumstances in 
Medina,' but were harboured from the first, and never lost 
sight of, even amidst his gloomiest prospects in Mecca. He 


wished to reduce the Arab tribes under one rule : and it was 
with this object in view that he strove so hard to become the 
highest authority of his own tribe, and to obtain a solid centre 
for his power in his native town. Accordingly we are told 
that he was now most desirous to receive a fresh revelation 
which might lead to a reconciliation with the people and a 
recognition of his claims. 

Deeply occupied with these hopes and wishes, he em- 
braced an opportunity, when the leading men of Mecca were 
assembled round the temple, to openly accept the proposed 
compromise. He rehearsed before them what was to be 
regarded as the Divine revelation which he had promised, and 
it contained the words : * Do you see the Lat and the Ozza 
and the Manah, as the third of them ? They are exalted 
Gharaniks and, verily, their intercession can be expected.* 
The Meccans were much pleased with this recognition of 
their idols, and in token of their acceptance of the concession, 
there and then prostrated themselves together with him and 
his remaining partisans as a public act of united worship. 
It was felt a relief by the whole town that a reconciliation 
had been effected and openly manifested in so unequivocal 
a manner. 

But this result was obtained by a sacrifice of principles on 
the part of the new prophet. He had sustained a moral 
defeat, and allowed his adversaries to gain a victory. Such 
weakness could not much recommend him to the leadership 
of Arabia, nor raise his prophetic character in the estimation 
of his keen-eyed countrymen. . He could not be long in 
discovering that, with regard to his ulterior design, the com- 
promise into which he had been led was not a gain but a 
decided loss. Those of the Hanifite fraternity, whose Deistic 
convictions were clearer and purer than his own, could not 
approve of the compromise, and that portion of his followers 
who had fled to Abyssinia could not fail to become still more 
decidedly opposed to any recognition of idol-worship, by 
their sojourn in a Christian land. Mohammed awoke to the 
consciousness that he had made a great mistake, and that it 
was necessary to extricate himself from his unsatisfactory 
position as best he might For he saw no chance of becom- 
ing the dictator of Mecca and of Arabia, except in a prophet's 

92 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA, [bk. i. ch. IL 

garb ; and he found that no one would seriously accept him 
as a prophet, whilst he was paying homage to idols. 

So he gave out that the words as far as * Do you see the 
Lat and the Ozza and the Manah, as the third of them ? ' 
were a correct repetition of Gabriel's dictate ; but that then 
the Devil, aware of his strong desire to conciliate the Meccans, 
had put' on his tongue the false declaration : * They are 
exalted Gharaniks, and, verily, their intercession can be 
expected/ These compromising words were therefore can- 
celled, and their place supplied by harmless ones, as they 
still stand in the 53d Sura. Mohammed is reported not to 
have become aware of the mischievous character and Satanic 
origin of the words he had uttered, till the angel Gabriel 
came and pointed it out to him. What a sorry picture is 
here presented of a prophet who pretends to speak the words 
of God, whilst he is uttering the inspirations of the Evil One, 
and needs an angel to point out to him so gross a mistake 1 
Who can feel any confidence in the utterances of a man 
who is driven to make so humiliating a confession ! 


(6.) Mohammed's withdrawal from the compromise fans afresh 

the flame of ridicule and Persecution. 

The effect of Mohammed's palpable error and his clumsy 
way of extricating himself from it, could not but be an 
increased contempt of his prophetic pretensions on the part 
of his astute fellow-townsmen. No wonder they now cruelly 
mocked him with proposals such as these : * Thou knowest 
we have great lack of water in our narrow valley : pray, 
therefore, to thy Lord who has sent thee, that He may 
enlarge our land by moving the mountains further back ; and 
that He may water it with rivers, like Syria and Irak. Or, 
if thou wilt not do this for us, provide at least for thyself. 
Ask God to send one of His angels to remove our objec- 
tions by declaring thee true ; or solicit Him to send thee 
gardens, palaces, and treasures of gold and silver, so that 
thou mayest no longer have to go to market to buy victuals, 
like any one of us. Then we shall know thy privilege and 
rank with God, and whether, as thou affirmest, thou really 
art a messenger of God. Surely thy Lord knows that we 


are sitting with thee here and making certain requests to 
thee : why does He not come and tell thee how to refute us, 
or what He will do if we refuse to listen to thee ? We have 
heard that a man in Yemama, called Rahman, is thy teacher ; 
but, by Allah, we shall never believe in Rahman. We have 
now done what behoved us, and we shall no longer tolerate 
thee with thy machinations, till we have destroyed thee or 
thou hast destroyed us.' Thus Mohammed's prophetic claims 
were ridiculed, his pretended revelations openly attributed 
to some human source, and he was given to understand 
that still stronger repressive measures should now be adopted 
against him and his party. 

We are informed that ' he went away dejected because 
his hope in the conversion of his fellow-tribesmen was dis- 
appointed, and he saw that they were further and further 
withdrawing from him.' The wonder is that, after this more 
than dubious instance of their prophet's reliableness, any of 
his adherents should remain ; and if the faith of intelligent 
men like Abu Bekr did not become effectually disabused 
by such glaring inconsistencies, we may assume either that 
they had been consenting parties to the transaction, or that 
what they expected of Mohammed was not so much the revela- 
tion of God's pure truth, as rather the realisation of political 
and national aims, such as later on were actually achieved. 

The sad compromise had lasted long enough to admit of 
the despatch of a messenger to Abyssinia to recall the 
refugees. But when they returned, the expected reconcilia- 
tion and amity had come to nothing, and the old persecution 
was still raging as fiercely as ever. Hence only those of 
them ventured to remain who found influential men in Mecca 
under whose protection they could place themselves, whilst 
the rest went back to their Abyssinian asylum. % 

(7.) The two important Conversions of Hamza and Omar 
take place^ notwithstanding the prevailing persecution, 

A short time before the prophet's notorious lapse which 
has just occupied our attention, Hamza, one of his uncles, 
espoused his cause ; and this instance of a conversion, if so 
it may be called. Veil illustrates how personal or tribal con- 


siderations sometimes entirely outweighed religious interests 
in tljose who joined him and his party. 

One day as Hamza, still an idolater, was returning from 
the chase, he was met by a woman who told him how rudely 
his nephew had just been reproached by Abu Jahl, when 
passing him on Mount Safa. This communication so touched 
the uncle's honour and family pride, that he forthwith took 
the nephew's part, as narrated by Ibn Ishak in these words : 
* Hamza, since God was about to bless him with His grace, 
was filled with wrath, and resolved to attack Abu Jahl at 
once, if he should still happen to be near the Kaaba. Then 
taking the way to the Kaaba, and finding him sitting with 
others, he went straight up to him, and gave him a severe 
blow with his bow, saying, " Wilt thou also dare to revile 
him, if I confess his faith and make his words my own ? 
Return the blow if thou hast the courage ! " Abu Jahl did 
not retaliate, and said to some Makhzumites who were ready 
to take his part, " Leave him alone ; for, by Allah, I have 
badly reviled his nephew." From that moment Hamza 
remained a Moslem, following Mohammed's teaching in every 
thing ; and the Koreish perceived that in Hamza's protection 
Mohammed had acquired a strong support, so that they 
desisted from many a vexation which they had hitherto 
been giving him.* 

Hamza possessed a powerful frame, and is described as 
one of the strongest men among the Koreish. The prowess 
which he afterwards displayed in Mohammed's wars earned 
for him the distinction of being sumamed by him, 'The 
Lion of God.' Now a man who so obviously embraced 
Mohammed's cause from pity and a sense of family honour 
rather than from religious conviction, would naturally exercise 
his ^fluence in favour of the unprincipled compromise which 
was brought about soon after, and was to have stilled for 
ever the bitter strife. Thus it is quite possible that Hamza's 
so-called conversion may have had something to do with 
Mohammed's notorious compromise, which reflects so un- 
favourably upon the prophet, and had to be given up again 
as soon as it was found that it did not effect the results 
which were looked for from it 

Mohammed was still living in the house of his Makhzumite 

<:hap. II. SEC 1. 7.] OMAR* 95 

friend Arkam, and under the shadow of his protection, when 
he acquired another convert of equal importance, in the 
person of Omar Ibn ul Khattaby whose influence on the fate of 
Islam was of a most decided character. He, like Abu Bekr, 
gave Mohammed one of his daughters for a wife, succeeded 
him in the capacity of Calif, to extend the power of Islam by 
victorious armies, and had no small share in its formation 
from the time he became a convert It is recorded of him 
that he declared: 'God agreed with me in three things.' 
These are specified to be : the adding of the so-called place 
of Abraham to the temple proper ; the introduction of the 
practice of veiling the women ; and the quelling of a mutiny 
of the prophet's wives, by the threat that they might have to 
make place for others more submissive. The agreement in 
point of fact consisted in this, that the pretended revelations 
on these points were made at Omar's suggestion. It was 
quite natural that the trenchant, strong, and impetuous mind 
of the highly esteemed disciple should leave its marked 
impress on the weaker and far more pliable mind of the 
visionary teacher. 

Omar was closely related to the reforming party ; for he 
was first cousin to Zeid, the distinguished Hanifite leader, 
and his sister was married to Seid, the surviving son of Zeid 
He probably had views and plans of his own, as to who 
might be best fitted for the fuller development and chief 
direction of the Hanifite movement Perhaps doubts of 
this nature had hitherto kept him back from joining 
Mohammed as a subordinate. That Omar had already 
previously exercised an independent activity on behalf of 
religion, may be gathered from a public declaration made at 
a later period in Kufa by his brother-in-law, Seid, who said : 
'There was a time when Omar strengthened me and my 
wife in our faith, even before he had himself joined Islam.' 

Mohammedan tradition gives several contradictory ac- 
counts of Omar's conversion, all with a tendency to show 
that it was owing to the striking beauty of a portion of the 
Koran which he accidentally heard, and by which his enmity 
to the new prophet was suddenly turned into friendship and 
devotion.^ But the question of personal protection, the 

^ See Book 11., chap. i. sec. 21, footnote. 


growing strength of the Moslem party by the accession of 
vah'ant men like Hamza, and perhaps even concern for the 
fate of Deism, so dear to every Hanifite, which had been 
endangered by the recent compromise with idolatry, may 
have been factors in Omar's decision more cogent than the 
beauty of the Koran, though this also may have operated in 
favour of the step. 

Omar was then twenty-six years old, of unusual bodily 
strength, and so tall that in a crowd he towered above all the 
rest. He could use the left hand as easily as the right, and 
his natural impetuosity was reflected by his rapid walk and 
long steps. Such a man could not but be a most valuable 
acquisition to a cause so fundamentally allied to the principle 
of physical force, as Islam. Mohammed's dreamy* specula* 
tion and relative weakness found its needed complement 
in the trenchant determination and rude vigour of a man of 
action like Omar. If Mohammed was the mouth of Islam, 
and Abu Bekr its calculating head, Omar proved its strong 
arm and heavy fist 

Mohammed so fully appreciated this mighty arm of fleshi 
that he soon quitted Arkam's house and Makhzumite pro- 
tection, to rely again on his own family and his few, but 
increasing and fearless, followers. One of the latter, Zohaib by 
name, made the following declaration : * After Omar's conver- 
sion we confessed and preached Islam openly. We ventured 
to sit round the Kaaba, and to perform the circumambula* 
tion of the black stone. We no longer submitted to rough 
treatment, and as much as possible returned blow for blow.' 

Omar himself, whose family either would or could not 
sufficiently protect him, had taken the precaution, notwith- 
standing his own strength, of placing himself under the 
protection of the influential Lahmite Az Ibn Wail, who, 
when the people surrounded his house with hostile intentions, 
calling out, ' Omar has turned Sabi,' put an end to the uproar 
by saying, ' What matters it if Omar has turned Sabi ? I 
am his protector.' Having secured so effectual a protection, 
and being fully conscious of his own personal strength, Omar 
appears to have somewhat ostentatiously displayed his 
religious profession. According to Ibn Ishak's narrative, he 
purposely went to Jemil, who was reputed as being the man 


best versed in the ancient traditions of the Koreish, to 
inform him boldly that he had embraced the faith of 
Mohammed. When Jemil thereupon exposed him before an 
assembly of people at the temple, saying, * The son of El 
Khattab has apostatised,' Omar called out aloud, * He tells 
a falsehood. I have turned Moslem, and confess that there is 
no God besides Allah, and that Mohammed is His minister 
and ambassador.' 

(8.) After t/tese Conversions^ Persecution bursts out more fiercely, 
and Mohammed, with his entire family , is put under a ban. 

The accession of two such bold and powerful men as 
Hamza and Omar to the cause of Mohammed, showed the 
aristocracy of Mecca that the new movement was not to be 
despised, and that the division it had produced in their 
community really threatened to become serious. In con- 
sequence, they resorted to a far more drastic measure, by 
placing Mohammed and his entire clan, as far as it openly 
espoused his cause or joined in his defence, under a regular 
social ban. Ibn Ishak narrates : * When the Koreish saw 
that Mohammed's companions had found rest and shelter in 
Abyssinia, that Omar was converted and Hamza openly ./"'^ 
, took his part, and that Islam gradually spread amongst the 
clans, they resolved to join in pledging themselves, by -a 
written document, thenceforth not to contract any more 
marriages or have any sort of commercial dealings with the 
Beni Hashim and Mottaleb ; and this document was to be 
suspended within the Kaaba to enhance its binding force. 
Thus they lived two or three years in great trouble, because 
it was only by stealth that their friends amongst the Koreish 
could take any provisions to them.' 

The clan of Hashim and Mottaleb to which Mohammed 
belonged inhabited a confined, ravine-like quarter of the 
town, called Shib ; and to this quarter all their scattered 
members who did not repudiate their family obligations to 
Mohammed, together with any other partisans, had now to 
withdraw, for the sake of greater personal safety and mutual 
protection. Being prevented from joining the mercantile 
caravans of the town and from trading as before, they 



98 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA. [bk. i. ch. ii. 

naturally had to suffer great privation and hardship in their 
social isolation, though it appears that they were not closely 
blockaded or forbidden to move about singly. 

It is likely that at this juncture any Moslems who had not 
previously emigrated or could find effectual protection in 
Mecca, went to participate in the shelter which a number of 
their fellow-believers were already enjoying in Abyssinia. 
For it is recorded that even Abu Bekr decided on emigrating, 
and had actually left the town with that view, when he was 
brought back again by one of the leading men who met him on 
the way and compassionately took him under his protection. 

Mohammed himself could remain, protected by his family, 
though burning with feelings of resentment at the contumely 
to which he was exposed whenever he showed his face. We 
read : ' When the family of Hashim and Mottaleb, together 
with his uncle, prevented the Koreish from using violence 
against him, these latter maligned and ridiculed him ; where- 
upon there appeared revelations in the Koran against the 
Koreish and all those who signalised themselves by their 
hostility to Mohammed.' Against one of his uncles and his 
wife who persevered in rejecting the upstart prophet these 
words were revealed, *May Abu Lahab*s hands wither and 
himself perish ! Of no avail shall be to him the wealth he has 
acquired. He shall be burned in a flaming fire and his wife . 
shall have a rope tied round her neck ! * Many instances are 
given by the biographers of persons openly contradicting 
and exposing Mohammed. Amongst others it is reported 
that when he recited passages of the Koran to assemblies 
of Koreishites, El Nadhr used to object, 'Mohammed's 
recitations are not better than mine : they are only copied 
from ancient books like my own.* 

It appears that under these circumstances Mohammed 
moderated himself and that his preaching assumed a less 
aggressive form. Abu Jahl had said to him, 'Cease 
blaspheming our gods, or else we will blaspheme the God 
whom thou worshippest ; ' and we are told that, in conse- 
quence, * Mohammed desisted from blaspheming their gods 
and only called upon them to believe in Allah.* This 
moderation on the part of Mohammed, and the inconvenience 
caused by the state of things to the community at large, 


seems to have gradually led to a relaxation, and ultimately 
to have brought about the formal discontinuation of the 
social ban. A growing party of sympathisers ventured to 
propose in a public assembly the* tearing up of the ban- 
document, suspended in the Kaaba. The biographers do not 
omit tracing in the event a special Divine interposition, by 
informing us that when the document was fetched, it was 
found to have been completely obliterated by worms, and 
that the hand of the man who originally wrote it had after- 
wards withered away. 

(9.) Mohammed, bereft by death of Kliadija and Abu Talib, 
finds Mecca increasingly unsympathetic and at last 
fixedly hostile. 

The ban was indeed removed, but it had been sufficiently 
severe and protracted to show how determined was the 
opposition of the 'majority of the Meccans to the would-be 
prophet, and how little chance he had of ever being volun- 
tarily recognised by them as their supreme teacher and ruler. 
About this time ajgreat loss befell him which still further 
darkened his prospects in Mecca. In one year death de- 
prived him*of his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Khadija. 
The place of the former was ill supplied by another of his 
uncles, Abu Lahab ; and we have already seen (p. 79) that, 
in compensation for the latter, he with great haste engaged 
himself to two ladies at once, namely, the widow Sewda, 
and the extremely youthful maiden Aisha. Ibn Ishak says, 
concerning his loss, ' This was a great misfortune to him ; 
for Khadija had been his faithful support in Islam with whom 
he always found reassurance ; and Abu Talib had been his 
staunch defender and protector against his fellow-tribesmen. 
They died three years before the Flight to Medina. After 
Abu Talib's death the Koreishites ill-treated Mohammed in 
a way they would) never have ventured to do during his 
lifetime. One of the fools went so far as to strew dust on 
his head. When this had happened and he went to his house, 
with the dust still on his head, one of his daughters washed 
his head, weeping. He said to her, " Weep not, my daughter, 
God will protect thy father;" and he added, "Whilst Abu 

loo HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

Talib was alive, the Koreish could not do to me anything so 
disagreeable." ' 

Five very influential men are mentioned by name as 
being his worst revilers. When the offensive and contemptu- 
ous words of one of them reached Mohammed, he is reported 
to have prayed, * O God, make him blind, and deprive him 
of his son ! ' And when they hardened themselves in their 
wickedness and continued to mock him, God revealed the 
verse, 'Proclaim aloud what is enjoined upon thee. Turn 
away from the idolaters. We shall protect thee against the 
mockers.' No wonder, then, that all these five mockers met 
with a condign retribution at the hand of God, according to 
the following story narrated by Ibn Ishak, and evidently 
invented to illustrate the effects of a prophet's vindictive 
prayer and of God's promise to protect him against the 
mockers. * Yezid Ibn Ruman has told me on the authority 
of Urwa or some other learned man, that once Gabriel came 
to Mohammed, whilst those mockers were circumambulating 
the temple. Mohammed arose and placed himself at his side. 
When El Aswad Ibn El Mottaleb passed by, the angel cast 
a green leaf in his face, and he became blind. Then came 
El Aswad Ibn Abd Yaghut, when the angel pointed at his 
body, and he was overtaken by dropsy, of which he died. 
Then came El Welid, when Gabriel pointed at the scar of an 
old wound on his heel, and the wound re-opened, so that he 
died of it. After him El Az passed by, and Gabriel pointed 
at the sole of his foot ; and it happened soon after that the 
ass on which he was riding lay down on a thorny place and 
a thorn pierced the sole of his foot, so that he died of it 
Lastly, when El Harith passed by, Gabriel pointed at his 
head, and it began to suppurate, till he died.' 

But notwithstanding all these retributive judgments of a 
later date, the experienced bereavement left Mohammed in 
a very dejected condition, so that we are informed his uncle 
Abu Lahab, on hearing of his grief, went to him with the 
comforting assurance, ' Go about and do what thou wilt, as 
during the life of my brother Abu Talib. I swear by the 
goddess Lat, that no harm shall happen to thee as long as 
I live.' But Abu Lahab proved no Abu Talib. Not long 
after he had given this inspiriting promise, he changed his 


mind and again declared himself his nephew's enemy, on the 
professed ground that when asked about the present state of 
his late father, Abdu-1-Mottaleb, Mohammed had pronounced 
him to be in hell, an answer by which he gave great offence 
to Abu Lahab and all the Koreish. 

The position of Mohammed as one protected by his family 
at great inconvenience was very delicate, and imposed on him 
the obligation of refraining from steps disapproved of by his 
protectors. For although it was a matter of honour for the 
whole clan to guard his life and personal safety so long as 
he was recognised as one of themselves ; yet in case he 
should give them grave cause of offence, they might with- 
draw their countenance from him and openly repudiate his 
claim to their protection. The unbelieving Koreish had long 
been making great efforts to induce his family thus to aban- 
don him to their vengeance. This danger had now become 
more acute and Mohammed did not conceal it from himself. 
Abu Talib having been under deep obligation to him for acts 
of kindness, such as the adoption of one of his many children, 
allowed him great freedom of action, so long as the responsi- 
bility for his safety rested mainly with him. But after his 
death no leading member of the family was disposed to under- 
take the serious charge of making himself answerable for the 
good conduct of one who had already given so much trouble. 
Abu Lahab indeed came forward from a sense of duty and 
honour ; but we have already seen how gladly he availed 
himself of the first chance of withdrawing again from the 
responsibility he had undertaken. The necessity was now 
forced upon Mohammed of acting with very great caution 
and of leaving unavenged the many petty annoyances to 
which he was still exposed. Thus his life in Mecca became 
more and more intolerable, and his prospects of gaining over 
the Meccans to his views, gloomy in the extreme. 

(lo.) Definitively rejected by Mecca, Mohammed addresses him- 
self to other Arab Communities ; but meets with no 
better reception. 

Not minded, like Jesus Christ and His apostles, to trust 
implicitly and solely in God, Mohammed now cast about 


whether he might not find that worldly protection, that fleshly 
arm of human help, in one of the neighbouring towns, or 
amongst the roaming Bedouin tribes, which was refused him 
by his fellow-citizens in Mecca. The first attempt of this 
kind he made in Taif, the nearest town of importance, 
in whose neighbourhood many of the Meccan grandees 
kept gardens. The close intercourse thus fostered between 
the two towns afforded him an opportunity of which he 
availed himself. He went in company with his liberated 
slave Zeid, and addressing himself to the leading men of the 
Thakifites, requested them, as Ibn Ishak tells us, ' to aid and 
protect him against his own tribe, hoping that they would 
receive his revelation,* But they turned from his proposals 
in derision, and did not even heed his expressed request, at 
least to keep secret the interview which he had with them. 
Instead of promising protection or encouraging his pretensions 
to a heavenly mission, they stirred up the mob to drive him 
away with ignominy. A hostile crowd pursued him with 
missiles, so that he was wounded in his legs, and Zeid, who 
endeavoured to protect him with his own body, received a 
severe injury in his head. 

The attempt to obtain in Taif what had been denied him 
in Mecca signally failed ; and the biographers, always partial 
to their hero, endeavour to compensate for the humiliating 
disappointment, by treating us to the story that when Mo- 
hammed, on his way back to Mecca, performed his evening 
prayers at Nakhla, a number of demons who were just 
coming from Nissibin, stopped to listen to him. What they 
heard induced them to embrace Islam, which henceforth 
they spread amongst their fellow-demons. 

After his ignominious failure in Taif to find partisans and 
protectors against the hostile Koreish, Mohammed did not 
venture to re-enter Mecca, but halted at Mount Hira for the 
purpose of first securing the protection of some mighty man. 
His trust in God evidently did not raise him above the fear 
of man. In two cases his application for protection was 
coldly declined on some slight excuse ; but finally he 
succeeded in obtaining the consent of Motim Ibn Adi. 
Accordingly Motim, with his armed retainers, awaited 
Mohammed and Zeid at the Kaaba, and on their arrival 


called out, ' Hear, ye Koreishites, I am protecting Mo- 
hammed : take care not to offend him.' 

. Thus protected, Mohammed could, for his own person, 
live quietly in Mecca ; but it had become abundantly clear 
that the bulk of his fellow-townsmen had fully made up 
their minds to treat his arrogant pretensions with sovereign 
disdain. Ibn Ishak says, ' When Mohammed had returned 
to Mecca, the people gainsaid him more than before and 
kept aloof from his faith, except a few weak ones who 
believed in him.' There being, therefore, no hope left him 
of gaining over so important a city as Mecca, or even Taif, 
he employed all his efforts to obtain a foothold amongst any 
of the Arab tribes who visited the Kaaba during the annual 
festival. According to Ibn Ishak, ' he showed himself to the 
Kabiles on the days of the feast, exhorted them to believe in 
God, whose prophet he was, and requested them to acknow- 
ledge and protect him as such, so that he might expound to 
them God's revelation ; and in the same way he also pre- 
sented himself to individual persons whom he knew to 
possess great influence.' Evidently his motto was not, 
* The poor have the Gospel preached unto them ; ' but he 
cared for men of influence and power, for the adhesion of 
whole tribes, to secure his own protection and the establish- 
ment of a worldly dominion. 

The following narrative in which Ibn Ishak communi- 
cates the result of these efforts, shows that Mohammed's 
designs were looked through, and that the Kabiles had no 
wish to risk their necks for his aggrandisement and the dom- 
ination of his party. ' Mohammed visited the Beni Kinda 
in their encampment, whose chief was Muleih, and requested 
them to believe in Allah whose prophet he was : but they 
turned away from him. He also went to the camp of a 
branch of the Kalbites, inviting them to believe in Allah and 
in himself; but neither did they hearken to him. In like 
manner he visited the Beni Hanifa, exhorting them to accept 
Islam ; but no Arab ever gave him a ruder answer than they 
did. He also wanted to convert the Beni Amir, on which 
occasion one of them, Beihara by name, said to him, " By 
Allah, if I took this man from the Koreish, I could, with him, 
stir up all the Arabs into rebellion. Now, O Mohammed, if 

104 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA. [bk. i. ch. li. 

we pay allegiance to thee, and God gives thee the victory 
over thy adversaries, shall we receive the dominion after 
thee ? " Mohammed answered, " Dominion belongs to God : 
He gives it to whomsoever He pleases." To this Beihara 
replied, " Shall we expose our necks to the Arabs for thee, 
and, if God makes thee victorious, leave the dominion in the 
hands of others ? We will have nothing to do with thee." 
Thus they also turned away from him.' Surely we need no 
clearer proof than this, that Mohammed's plans of conquest 
were not engendered by his favourable circumstances in 
Medina ; but that they formed a chief feature of his *aspira- 
tions already in Mecca, by means of which he sought to 
attract the Arabs. But the latter were clear-sighted enough 
to perceive that their desired conversion was but to furnish 
him with the means of establishing his own dominion, and 
for such a purpose they did not wish to risk their lives. 

Mohammed's failure in Mecca was complete, and all the 
Kabiles he tried were too wary to cast in their lot with his. 
All the means at his disposal as the unarmed Prophet of 
Mecca — his personal virtues, his eloquence, his high social 
position, his family connection with the keepers of the 
Kaaba, his deistic teaching, the prospects of political 
domination and worldly gain which he held out with 
undisguised plainness — availed for him only to procure 
a small number of partisans amongst interested persons. 
The many means in his favour proved wholly inadequate 
to convince the intelligence of Mecca, or even the bulk of the 
common population, that he was a messenger of God whose 
words had to be believed and his behests obeyed. 

(i I.) Mohammed succeeds in gaining a number of Partisans 

amongst the People of Medina, 

To all appearance the Meccan Prophet and his Islam 
would have been nipped in the bud, had not Mecca's old rival, 
the city of Yathreby snatched at the chance of supremacy 
now offering, and opened its gates to the desperate 
suppliants. Yathreb, or Medina^ i.e. *the city,* as it was 
named by the Mohammedans for becoming the first home 
of their politico-religious oi^anisation, was not, as we have 


already learned, a stranger to Mohammed. His great- 
grandmother and his grandfather were natives of that town. 
His father died and was buried there. When he was six 
years of age, his mother paid a visit to the place, and took 
him with her to form the acquaintance of his distant 
relatives and to see his father's grave. The sickly mother 
never returned to Mecca, but died on her homeward journey. 
An interest in the orphan child and his fate must, therefore, 
have survived in Medina, and when the tidings reached it 
that he professed himself God's Prophet to the Arab nation, 
this could not but form a subject for frequent lively con- 
versations in that city. 

Mohammed tenaciously clung to his own tribe, the 
Koreish, and would infinitely have preferred his native 
Mecca ; but when all hopes from that quarter had vanished 
and he was driven to look abroad for safety and shelter, 
what was more natural for him than to turn his hopes 
and enthusiasm to the other town with which he was 
likewise connected by such strong links .^ And what 
could offer more attraction to the ancient jealousy of the 
Yathrebites, than an accession of strength from the Meccans 
themselves, including such men of mark as Abu Bekr, 
Hamza, Omar, Othman, together with the much-talked-of 
new prophet? Moreover, the strong Jewish colony in 
Yathreb, with their ancient Monotheism, must have in a 
sense prepared the way for the reception of a religious 
reformer. Without Yathreb, Mohammed would in all 
probability have died as a derided enthusiast, and his name 
been utterly forgotten. By opening herself as a refuge to 
him and his partisans, Medina became the real birthplace 
of Islam, the cradle of its political power, and the centre of 
its conquests throughout Arabia. It fully deserves its name 
as * the city,* and its early converts that of * the assistants 
or helpers ' of Islam. 

The biographers duly appreciate the nature and im- 
portance of the transfer of incipient Islam from Mecca to 
Medina, and give a detailed account of the manner in which 
it was brought about. It is highly instructive as showing 
the predominantly political and secular character of the 
Mohammedan movement, already at this period. For now 

io6 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA. [bk. i. ch. ii. 

it still appeared in its best and purest form, as the natural 
outcome of its gradual development amidst the restrictions 
and persecutions of Mecca, and was not yet affected by the 
sunshine of worldly prosperity and power. 

Ibn Ishak narrates ' the beginning of Islam amongst the 
assistants ' in these words : * When God wished to make 
His faith victorious, to glorify His Prophet and to fulfil 
His promise to him, Mohammed, at the time of the pilgrim 
festival, went as usual to the Kabiles to present himself to 
them as prophet, and on the eminence he met a party of 
Khazrajites by whom God intended something good. He 
asked them, " Who are you ? " They answered, " We are 
Khazrajites." Then Mohammed inquired, "Are you friends 
of the Jews?" and they said " Yes." He then invited them 
to sit down with him, propounded to them the doctrine of 
Islam, and read out portions from the Koran. It belongs 
to God's works that the Jews, those men of Scripture and 
science, who lived amongst the idolatrous Khazrajites and 
were oppressed by them, often said in their brawls, "The 
time is nigh when a prophet will arise : we shall follow him 
and with his help destroy you, like Ad and Iram." Now, 
therefore, when Mohammed exhorted these people to believe 
in Gody they said to each other, "Know, that this is the 
prophet with whom the Jews have threatened us : let us 
anticipate them." So it came to pass that they listened to 
Mohammed, believed in him, and accepted Islam. They 
also said to Mohammed, " We belong to a people amongst 
whom there is much ill-will and enmity ; perhaps God will 
unite them through thee. We will invite them to the faith 
which we now possess ; and if God unites them around thee, 
there will then be no more powerful man than thou." After 
this, they returned to their home as believers. They were 
six in number; and when they had reached Medina, they 
talked with their fellow-tribesmen about Mohammed and 
invited them to Islam, so that soon the Prophet of God was 
spoken of in every house.' 

Thus, in the course of the year, the movement began to 
spread in Medina, and we are told that when the festival 
came round again, twelve Ansars, or 'Assistants,* were 
amongst the pilgrims to Mecca. They arranged a meeting 


with Mohammed, which is known as ' the first meeting on 
the eminence/ and it was on the same occasion that they 
also took an oath of allegiance to him, ' after the manner of 
women/ that is, they did not yet engage to fight for Islam, 
but only to give up idolatry, stealing, fornication, and the 
killing of infants, and to obey Mohammed in all that is good. 
When they returned to Medina, Mohammed sent with them 
Mosaby for the express purpose of spreading the knowledge 
of Islam and the Koran amongst their countrymen ; and it 
is in consequence of this, that he became generally known 
as ' the reading-master of Medina:' Asad, in whose house he 
lived, pointed out to him Saad^ the lord of his people, 
saying, ' If he follows thee, not two of his clan will remain 
behind/ As soon as Saad was gained over, he said to his 
clan, ' I vow not to speak a word either with your men or 
your women, till you believe in God and His Prophet' So 
it came to pass that, after a time, not a man or a woman of 
the clan remained who had not embraced Islam. Although 
these conversions, at the mere dictate of a chief, must have 
been very unspiritual and superficial, yet they were perfectly 
consistent with the external nature of Islam, and fully served 
the purpose of its Prophet. 

(12.) The Spread of Islam amongst the People of Medina 
prepares the way for Mohammed and his whole Party 
to emigrate to that City. 

At the pilgrimage festival of the following year, Mosab, 
who had been most successful in his missionary operations, 
returned to Mecca in the company of a caravan of pilgrims. 
On their arrival he lost no time in arranging another formal 
meeting, known as *the second meeting on the eminence,* 
between Mohammed and those of his fellow-pilgrims who 
were converts to Islam. Kaab^ one of the leading men 
present at the meeting, gives the following account of it: 
* We slept till a third part of the night was over. Then we 
left t^e caravan and crept silently to the ravine near the 
eminence. We were seventy-three men and two women. 
When we had waited a while, Mohammed arrived, accom- 
panied by his uncle Abbas, who, though still a heathen, yet 

io8 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA. [bk. i. ch. ii. 

wished to be present, in order to secure a sure covenant for 
his nephew. After taking their seat, Abbas first took the 
word, saying, "Ye know, O ye Khazrajites — as then all 
the Arabs of Medina were called, inclusive of the Awsites — 
that Mohammed is one of us. We have hitherto protected 
him against those of the people who share my opinion 
respecting him. Though he now lives in power amongst his 
people and enjoys the shelter of his home, yet he wishes to 
go and unite himself with you. Now if you are sure that 
you can fulfil what you promise him, and that you will 
protect him against his enemies ; then accept the burden 
with which you wish to load yourselves. But if you think 
that you might deceive and betray him, then leave him here ; 
for in his own home he is strong and protected." We 
returned this answer, "We have heard thy words, and 
Mohammed has only to declare what is to be our obligation 
with r^ard to him and to God." Then Mohammed made a 
speech to us, invited us to Allah, recited the Koran, 
awakened in us a love to Islam, and concluded by saying, 
"Now, swear that you will preserve me from everything 
from which you preserve your own wives and children." El 
Bara, seizing his hand, replied, "Yea, by Him who hath 
sent thee a prophet with truth, we shall protect thee as our 
bodies : receive our allegiance, O Apostle of God ! By 
Allah ! we are the sons of war and men of arms which we, 
the valiant, have inherited from the valiant." While he thus 
spake, another interposed, saying, "O Apostle of God, 
there are ties between us and others — he meant the Jews — 
which now we shall have to tear asunder ; but if we do 
this, and God gives thee victory, wilt thou then leave us 
again and return to thy own home?" Mohammed made 
answer in this wise : " Your blood is my blood ; what you 
shed, I also shed ; you belong to me and I belong to you ; I 
declare war to whom you declare war, and make peace with 
whom you make peace." * 

What a light this covenant throws on Mohammed as a 
prophet and on the nature and bearings of the religion he 
undertook to establish! That this whole movement was 
essentially of a secular and political kind into which religion 
merely entered as an element, is abundantly evident from 



the fact that the actual contractor on Mohammed's side was 
his uncle Abbas, who positively repudiated his nephew's 
religious pretensions, but was naturally eager to rid his 
family of so troublesome a client, without dishonour, by 
assisting to secure for him the protection of a distant town. 
The stipulations entered into, the promises given between 
Mohammed and the Khazrajites of Medina, only reveal what 
kind of relationship he had all along striven to establish, 
though unsuccessfully, with the Koreishites of Mecca. It 
was plainly a civil and political compact, defensive and 
offensive, with express reference to the contingencies of war, 
bloodshed, and conquest, but based on a profession of Deism 
and the recognition of Mohammed as its prophet, or highest 
authority in all religious and secular matters. His own 
prerogatives and personal protection always constituted a 
prominent feature of his scheme. But he had to advance 
step by step. On the first pilgrimage his sympathisers from 
Medina had only to avow the fealty of women ; but on the 
second, when further progress had been made, so that their 
number exceeded seventy, they had to promise the fealty of 
men and of warriors. 

Consequently the view propounded in this work is fully 
justified that, although indeed the ulterior design of worldly 
gain and military conquest is less apparent in Mohammed's 
earlier period, this was not the case because the design did 
not exist, but because the suitable time for its prominent 
manifestation had not yet arrived. The calculating prophet 
could not help seeing that a premature resort to arms would 
infallibly have led to a complete frustration of all his plans. 
As soon as he could command about a hundred men able 
to fight, and before he had actually set out to place himself 
at their head in Medina, he received the commission from 
God, as Ibn Ishak tells us, to make war and to resist by 
force of arms all those who molested him or his followers. 
Hitherto Mohammed had tried hard, but tried in vain, to 
accomplish his first step amongst the Koreish and other 
tribes, that of inducing them to accept him as the prophet of 
Deism. Had he succeeded in this, the next step would have 
followed as naturally and necessarily in their case, as it now 
did in that of the more confiding people of Medina. The 

I lo HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA, [br. i. ch. ii. 

political form and military development obtained by Islam 
in Medina were not something foreign to the minds and 
aspirations of its originators in Mecca, but something which, 
by the force of circumstances, had to be left to the future, 
until it should be sufficiently grounded in its initiatory stage 
as a deistic form of Atabian Heathenism. The politico- 
religious compact between Mohammed and the Khazrajites 
which we have just considered, embodies at once the growing 
development of the principles of Islam in its Meccan period 
and the foundation for its national and foreign conquests of 
the period on which it was now about to enter. The inward 
character of both these periods is perfectly homogeneous, and 
the transition from the one to the other natural, and 
designedly brought about by Mohammed and his coadjutors. 

Despite all precaution the nightly rendezvous and its 
object had transpired in Mecca. Kaab continues his nar- 
rative thus : * On the following morning the leading men of 
the Koreish came to us and* said, " We have heard that you 
intend to take away Mohammed and to swear to him that 
you will make war against us!' Then several unbelievers 
from our tribe arose and declared with an oath that this was 
not so, and that they knew nothing about it They were 
speaking the truth ; for they did not know what had hap- 
pened. But we who knew looked at each other.* Kaab 
also mentions an incident which is quite characteristic of the 
disposition and hopes of those early converts to Islam. 
Before the Koreish left, Kaab said, in their hearing, to a 
leading man of his own party, * Why dost thou not also 
wear sandals as these Koreish do?' Then one of the 
Koreish took off his sandals and threw them to Kaab, re- 
questing him to put them on. Kaab did so ; and on being 
advised by his own party to throw them back, replied, ' By 
Allah ! I will not give them back to him, for this is an omen ; 
and in fulfilment of it / shall one day take his goods front him! 
The suspicions of the Koreish were not removed by this 
interview, and on the Yathrebite pilgrims returning home, 
the Koreish pursued them for some distance. 

When the people of Mecca had ascertained beyond a 
doubt that Mohammed had gained over a considerable party 
in the city of Medina and allied himself with them, they 


perceived that there really existed grave cause to dread a 
movement which was depriving them of a number of power- 
ful fellow-citizens to augment the jealousy and antagonisqn 
of a formidable rival city. The movement now really con- 
stituted a political danger of no small magnitude. The 
Meccans, therefore, renewed their persecutions, and at the 
same time sought to retain by force those who showed a 
disposition to emigrate to Medina. The latter had to use 
great circumspection and to evade their adversaries* vigilance 
by leaving in small groups and by taking different directions. 
Ibn Ishak says : * When Mohammed had received the per- 
mission to make war, and when the tribe of "assistants" had 
sworn to accept Islam and to aid him and his followers, he 
commanded his companions, both those who had already 
emigrated and those who had remained with him in Mecca, 
to remove to Medina and there to join their brethren, " the 
assistants," saying to them, "God has given you brethren 
and a sure dwelling-place." They now left in groups, but 
Mohammed himself still remained in Mecca, waiting for 
permission from God likewise to emigrate to Medina. 
Besides those who were detained by force and those who 
were made to apostatise, only Ali and Abu Bekr remained 
with him in Mecca. The latter frequently asked for per- 
mission to follow the other emigrants ; but Mohammed said 
to him, " Do not hasten, perhaps God will give thee a com- 
panion." Abu Bekr hoped that this companion would be 
Mohammed himself.' 

The account of Mohammed's own emigration or 'Flight' 
to Medina is thus given by Ibn Ishak, according to several 
contemporary authorities whom he mentions by name, and, 
as every one will observe, is not without a strongly mythical 
element. 'When the Koreish saw that Mohammed had 
gained companions and adherents outside their own tribe, 
in another town to which his friends emigrated, and where 
they found a refuge and protection, they feared Mohammed 
might also join them and then resolve on war against them- 
selves. They, therefore, assembled in their council-house to 
deliberate what steps to take against Mohammed, whom 
they now dreaded. The devil also came, in the form of an 
old man, wearing a threadbare garment, and stood at the 

1 12 HIS ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

door of the council- house. On the Koreish asking him who 
he was, he said, " I am an old man from Nejd, who has 
heard what you have arranged and who has come to listen 
to your deliberations, and perhaps to give a useful counsel." 
They said, "All right," and admitted him to the assembly 
of the Koreishite nobles. Several proposals being made how 
to deal with Mohammed, he pointed out their objectionable- 
ness, on the ground of not being effective enough, till at last 
Abu Jahl took the word, saying, " My proposal is, that we 
select from every clan a powerful suitable youth of good 
family, and provide them with sharp swords, to fall on him 
as one man and to slay him ; then we shall have rest and 
his blood will be on all the clans, so that the sons of Abd 
Eddar, unable to make war against an entire people, will be 
content to accept the price of atonement which we shall 
willingly pay," Thereupon the old man from Nejd said, 
" This man's proposal is the only good one ; " and the assem- 
bly, indorsing the opinion, dispersed. 

' Now when the third part of the night was over, the 
Koreish gathered before Mohammed's door and waited till 
he went to sleep, so that they might fall upon him. As soon 
as Mohammed perceived this, he said to Ali, " Do thou sleep 
on my bed and wrap thyself up in my green cloak of Hadra- 
maut — the same in which he himself used to sleep, — they 
will not hurt thee." Whilst the Koreish were before Mo- 
hammed's door, Abu Jahl, who was amongst them, said, 
" Mohammed believes that, if you follow him, you will become 
the mcLsters of the Arabs and ifie Persians ; that, after death, 
you will rise again and receive gardens like those on the 
river Jordan ; but that if you do not follow him, he will slay 
you ; and on being raised again after death, you will have to 
bum in hell." Then Mohammed came out, cast a handful 
of earth on their heads, and said to Abu Jahl, " Yes, indeed, 
I have spoken thus ; and thou wilt be one of the latter." 
God had deprived them of their sight, every one of them, so 
that they could not see him. Then came some one who was 
not of their party and asked them for whom they were 
waiting. They answered, " For Mohammed. " He con- 
tinued, "May God put you to shame! he came out long 
ago, cast earth 'upon your heads and went his way. Do you 


not see what is upon you ? *' They felt their heads, and 
found them covered with earth. Then they entered the 
house ; and seeing All on the bed, wrapt in Mohammed's 
cloak, they said, "By Allah, Mohammed sleeps, wrapt in 
his cloak ; " and they remained of that opinion till the morn- 
ing. At length, when Ali rose from the bed, they said, 
" After all, the man who accosted us has spoken the truth." 

' Abu Bekr, who was a rich man, had, as soon as Moham- 
med gave him the hint not to hasten with his departure, 
bought two camels which he fed in his own house, so as to 
have them ready for this occasion. Therefore Mohammed 
went to Abu Bekr ; and they both left the house through an 
opening at its back part. They first went to a cave of the 
Mount Thaur, below the city. Abu Bekr considerately entered 
the cave before Mohammed, to see whether there was no wild 
beast or serpent in it. They remained concealed there for 
three days, because the Koreish, as soon as they missed 
Mohammed, had offered a hundred camels to any one who 
should bring him back. Abu Bekr's son, Abd Allah, mixed 
with the Koreish, to hear what they were saying about 
Mohammed and his father, and in the evening he reported 
to them what he had heard. His shepherd remained with 
the other shepherds of Mecca ; but in the evening he took 
his sheep to the cave to provide them with milk and meat ; 
and in the morning, when the son left, the shepherd followed 
him with his flock, to avert suspicion. 

* After three days, they sent for the two camels, together 
with the man they had hired for the journey, who also 
brought with him a third camel, for his own use. Asma, 
Abu Bekr's daughter, brought provisions for their journey ; 
and having forgotten the rope with which to fasten them, 
she took her girdle from her body and tied them on with it. 
Then Abu Bekr led forth the better of the two camels for 
Mohammed to mount But the Prophet said, " I ride on 
no camel which does not belong to me." Abu Bekr replied, 
"It belongs to thee; for thou art to me as father and 
mother." Mohammed rejoined, " No ; but for how much 
didst thou buy it ? " and having been told the price, he said, 
** I buy it for this price." Then they mounted, Abu Bekr 
allowing his freed slave Amir to sit behind him on the same 


114 ^^S ILL SUCCESS IN MECCA. [bk. I. CH. ll. 

camel, so as to attend on them during the journey; and 
they started forthwith. To avoid capture, the guide whom 
they had hired did not take the usual route, but one of his 
own choosing, and thus brought them safely to the place of 
their destination. 

'They arrived in the neighbourhood of the city, on a 
Monday, the 13th day of the month Rabia-1-ewwel (A.D. 
622), when it was already very hot, the sun standing nearly 
in mid-heaven. He had been anxiously awaited by his 
people in Medina ; and one of them narrates the event of 
his coming thus : "When we had heard that Mohammed had 
left Mecca, and we could expect his arrival, we daily went 
out, after morning prayer, to the stony field, waiting for him, 
till we found no more shadow. Then we returned, for the 
days were hot Thus we also acted on the day of his actual 
coming ; and we had already returned home, when he arrived. 
It was a Jew who discerned him first ; and as he had noticed 
how we had been waiting for him, he called out in a loud 
voice, * O ye sons of Keilah, your fortune has come.' We 
went out and found Mohammed in the shade of a date-tree, 
together with Abu Bekr." ' Thus far Ibn Ishak's narrative. 

The emigration of Mohammed and his partisans to 
Medina, which in Arabic is called Hetchra^ i.e. a * Flight,* 
because it had to be accomplished by stealth, amounts in 
itself to a virtual proof of his utter failure to convince the 
people of Mecca that he was a prophet sent by God. He 
had persevered for ten or thirteen years in trying to persuade 
his countrymen, but met only with determined opposition 
and contemptuous slight. His flight to Medina openly set 
the seal to his complete fiasco in Mecca. The Koreish were 
acute enough to look through his professions and to perceive 
that their realisation would lead to an intolerable civil 
despotism, exercised by him in the name of religion. But 
they, having been accustomed to bear rule themselves, showed 
no inclination to become the pedestal for Mohammed's 
elevation. Of all the well-to-do men in Mecca, only a very 
few joined him ; and they, probably, entertained the hope 
that, by their influence on him, they might secure for them- 
selves a full share in his contemplated power, should he 
ever be able, with their assistance, to establish it 


The state of affairs in Medina offered a much more 
favourable prospect, and presented a far greater chance of 
success. There the Jews had already awakened the ex- 
pectation of a heaven-commissioned Messiah, destined to 
become a universal Monarch, and had popularised the idea 
that the profession of religion may be turned into a means 
of secular power and military conquest Whereas in Mecca, 
Mohammed was merely a distrusted reformer of religion, not 
yet able to stretch out his hands after earthly dominion, and 
even trying in vain to obtain the recognition of his deistic 
teaching : in Medina he could set out, from the first, as the 
acknowledged head of a popular party which expected to be 
made dominant by his help, and therefore encouraged rather 
than checked, his ulterior political aspirations. Such aims 
as these required no repentance of sin, no regeneration by 
the Holy Spirit, but merely implicit obedience, daring 
courage, and physical force. It was in Medina that Islam 
found the ground prepared for it freely and fully to develop 
its true nature, and to attain to that completeness and 
maturity from which it had been hopelessly debarred in 
Mecca. The historical fact stands out in bold relief that 
Mohammed's failure in Mecca was properly that of the 
Prophet, and his triumph in Medina that of the Chieftain 
and Conqueror. 

II. — Mohammed's complete success in securing recognition as 
A Prophet, and in rendering Islam the dominant power 
OF Arabia, or, his Medinan Period, comprising the last 

TEN years of his LIFE. 

(i.) Mohammed settles in Medina^ and seeks to unite around 
him the different sections of the population^ as a first 
step in the realisation of his plan. 

When on a Friday in June (or, according to other accounts, 
in September) A.D. 622, Mohammed, after warily resting for 
several days in one of the suburbs, held his public entrance 
into the city of Medina, he was welcomed by a considerable 
number of adherents who came forth, well armed, to meet him. 

Ii6 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

The population generally was indeed willing to let him come 
amongst them, but it was by no means agreed on his claims 
as a divinely commissioned apostle and prophet Especially 
the most powerful tribe of the city, the Awsites, amongst 
whom Christianity seems already to have gained an entrance, 
were very incredulous on that point This did not prevent 
him from entering Medina with some degree of ostentation ; 
and it would seem that he already looked forward in imagina- 
tion to the time of the realisation of his far-reaching plan. 

With prudent forethought, and masterly appreciation of 
Arab proclivities, he, from the first day of his arrival, 
managed to secure for himself that independence of position 
and freedom of action which he deemed indispensable for 
the success he afterwards achieved. Had he chosen openly 
to accept the exclusive hospitality of any one clan, and 
formally placed himself under its special protection, his 
own liberty would have been restricted, and he would have 
excited jealousies in so clannish a town as Medina, which 
might have fatally interfered with the accomplishment of 
his ambitious designs. But he cautiously evaded this danger. 
When, on entering the city, the chief men of the Beni 
Salem invited him to take up his quarters with them, 
saying, ' We are numerous, and well able to protect thee ; ' 
and when the heads of several other clans, amongst them 
that of his great-grandmother Salma, urged the same request 
on similar grounds, he oracularly informed them that the 
camel on which he was mounted had received Divine 
direction to halt on the spot where it was ordained his head- 
quarters should be. The camel proceeded till it reached 
a large neglected and seemingly ownerless place, partly 
fenced in, where it stopped and knelt down, as a sign for 
the rider to dismount, stretching out its neck upon the 
ground, and uttering the well-known sounds of relief 
common to its kind. In this manner Mohammed had 
reached his destination, not by his own human choice, 
but by a Divine decree, manifested through the action of 
a brute. 

The place happened to be situated in the quarter of 
the Beni Najjar, of which clan the Beni Adi, that is, the 
family of Mohammed's great-grandmother, formed part ; and 


it belonged to two orphan children whose guardian, Asad 
Ibn Zorara, the chief of the Beni Najjar, was one of the first 
six converts of Medina. He had erected some sort of 
sheltered enclosure upon it for Moslem worship, when 
Mohammed was still in Mecca. Now he hastened to offer 
it to his spiritual chief, as the most suitable spot for his 
headquarters ; and Mohammed requested Abu Bekr to pay 
him its value of ten dinars, in compensation for the rights 
of the two orphans. 

The acquired site was cleared without delay, in pre- 
paration for building upon it a substantial mosque and 
several private dwellings, to meet the Prophet's requirements. 
As all the converts helped together, it did not take many 
months before the buildings were finished. Till then, 
Mohammed lived close by, in the house of Abu Eyub, one 
of his converts, who felt honoured by having him for his 

Mohammed needed no house specially for himself, 
because the mosque served both as a place of religious 
worship and as an office for business transactions. When 
he desired retirement, he withdrew to the apartment of one 
of his wives, each of whom had a little cottage to herself. 
At first only two such private dwellings had to be erected : 
one joining the mosque, for Aisha, his favourite spouse, 
then only nine or ten years of age ; and one by its side for 
Sewda, whom he had married as a widow a few weeks afifcer 
his first wife's death. Afterwards more cottages were added, 
as the inmates of the Prophet's harem multiplied. 

The mosque with its surroundings was the proper 
centre of Islam, the court and official residence of its 
founder. Thence proceeded the military and political orders, 
the pretended Divine revelations and inspirations which 
transformed all Arabia into one commonwealth, and laid 
the foundation for the world-wide empire of Islam. The 
Prophet's pretence about the supernatural guidance of his 
camel had marvellously succeeded. Though a refugee and 
guest, he, without wounding the jealous sensitiveness of 
Yathrebite clanship, had at the outset secured for himself, 
in the very midst of a tribe to which he was related by 
descent, a position of relative independence, a home of his 

1 18 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. I. ch. ii. 

own, a material centre for his new religion round which all 
the converts might cluster, as their common headquarters, to 
whatever family, or clan, or tribe, they might otherwise belong. 
But with all this, the artifice cannot be ethically justified. 
It throws a prejudicial light on the man ; and the ease with 
which he had already accustomed himself in Mecca to 
handle the sacred subject of Divine revelation, to his own 
advantage, bodes ill for his future conduct in the same line, 
when his power will have increased, and his perplexities 
become more pressing. 

The Arab population of Medina was mainly composed of 
two great tribes, the Awsites and the Khazrajites, the former 
more powerful than the latter, and each joined by Jewish 
confederates who for long had been settled amongst them. 
The Awsites had allied themselves with the two Israelitish 
clans the Beni Nadhir and the Beni Koreiza ; and the 
Khazrajites with the Beni Keinoka, The jealousy between 
the two Arab tribes sometimes led to sanguinary encounters 
which were shared by their Jewish allies. In their most 
recent battle, that of Buath, where many leading men were 
slain, the victory had remained with the Awsites. This 
naturally all the more disposed the defeated Khazrajites to 
welcome the addition of strength offering in the Moslem 
party from Mecca. It is true, a small number of Awsites 
also embraced Islam ; but the great majority of Mohammed's 
adherents as yet belonged to the Khazrajites, who included 
the Beni Najjar. Thus the ancient jealousy between these 
leading tribes was only moderated a little, but by no means 
wholly removed. Under these circumstances Mohammed 
could not but see, from the very outset, that his great aim 
must be to bring these two tribes more closely together and 
to neutralise their old antipathies, by placing before them 
attractive objects for their common aspiration, and by im- 
posing on them a supreme authority which both would have 
to respect equally. 

Living no longer far off, but in their very midst, on 
property he had acquired by the supposed intervention of a 
miraculous agency, the Prophet could now personally press 
his wishes upon them by all his powers of persuasion. What 
wonder, that the number of his followers from both sides 


daily increased, and that, ere long, entire families and clans 
were amongst his declared partisans ? The Meccan disciples 
who had not previously emigrated to Medina or who had fled 
elsewhere for protection, now also speedily joined their 
master in his place of safety. They were hospitably received 
by the converts of the city which had freely opened its gates 
to Islam. There were thus two main bodies of professed 
believers, the natives and the immigrants ; and these had first 
of all to be welded into one homogeneous whole, to form the 
attracting nucleus round which all the still isolated and 
hostile elements might gradually gather. By their means 
Mohammed hoped soon to unite all Medina under his 
leadership and to confer upon it the distinction which Mecca 
had so contemptuously rejected, that of becoming the power- 
ful centre for extending the triumph of Islam throughout all 
Arabia. This plainly was the object he aimed at ; and the 
following pages will show us that, by the means, fair and foul, 
which he employed, in concert with his chief friends, he also 
carried out his plan with astonishing success. 

Union of all in the bonds of Islam, and, what was its 
indispensable correlative, submission of all to the Prophet, as 
the highest authority — this was the great principle which had 
now to be practically carried out in Medina, in order to heal 
its divisions and to provide it with the needed supreme 
authority. In doing so, Mohammed made use of the means 
at his disposal with a dexterity and efficacy which testify to 
his eminent talents as a ruler of men. 

The refugees from Mecca, on whose fidelity he could 
naturally rely most, were now no longer to be regarded as 
strangers, dependent on the charity of their new fellow- 
believers, but formally united with them, as if they had 
always belonged to one and the same tribe, or even as if 
they were all members of one family, brothers of a common 
parent. To this end Mohammed arranged a feast of f rater- 
nisatum between his fellow-refugees and the Medinan converts^ 
whereby the former, at that time amounting to about fifty, 
were one by one united with selected individuals of the 
latter, in the bonds of a brotherhood so close and complete 
that, in case of death, they were even to inherit from each 
other, to the exclusion of their natural heirs. 


This new brotherliood^ besides promoting general concord 
and tribal fusion, evidently favoured the refugees, who, as 
the poorer party, were the chief gainers by it. They much 
needed such an encouragement and such a material attraction 
to their new home. For they not only felt the ordinary 
privations of strangers and refugees, but they also found the 
damper and colder climate of Medina, especially during the 
winter months, injurious to their health. All of them were 
more or less prostrated by the prevailing intermittent fevers, 
so that they pined for the healthy air of their native home, 
and Mohammed found it necessary to pray, *0 God, give 
us so much love for Medina as we have for Mecca ; yea, even 
more!' The refugees being his main stay, he felt that if 
they deserted him, all his plans might be frustrated. He 
certainly could not have done more at this time to reconcile 
them to their adopted country, despite its relative insalubrity, 
than what he accomplished by this institution of fraternity. 
For it at once secured them against destitution and provided 
them with the solace and comforts of an actual home. Not- 
withstanding the delicate stipulation concerning inheritance, 
this communistic brotherhood remained in force till after the 
battle of Bedr, when a new and wider vista opened before 
them to material wealth and earthly pleasure. 

Another measure, no less worldly wise and equally directed 
to the promotion of union, Mohammed soon found it possible 
to adopt, in order to strengthen the foundation on which he 
might safely rear the vast superstructure he was contemplat- 
ing. This measure, much more comprehensive than the one 
just mentioned, consisted of a kind of constitution for all his 
followers^ or a formal pact of solidarity^ a written treaty^ 
defensive and offensive^ which he established between the 
converts from the Koreish and those from the city of Medina, 
and which he also extended to the Jewish tribes who, 
without embracing Islam, might join them for warlike 

In this document it is declared that the believers form one 
compact community, distinct from all other men, and that in 
any doubts or dissensions which may arise, they will submit 
to the decision of God and His Prophet They are not to 
leave any heavily burdened one amongst themselves, be he 


such through the required payment of blood-money or of the 
price of redemption from bondage, without affording him the 
needed assistance. No believer may kill a fellow-believer to 
avenge the blood of an unbeliever, nor may he assist an un- 
believer against a believer. God's protection is one, even for 
the lowest, and the believers are to protect each other s^ainst 
all other men. Whoever kills a believer shall likewise be 
killed, except if the nearest relative can be otherwise satisfied : 
all the Mussulmans shall rise against the murderer. Those 
of the Jews who follow the believers shall receive assistance 
and equal rights. They shall not be wronged and their 
enemies shall not be helped against them. In all war-expe- 
ditions which they join, the horsemen shall charge in turn. 
One shall avenge the other, if blood has been shed in the holy 
war. The Jews contribute to the war-expenses equally with 
the believers. The Jews retain their religion, the Moslems 
theirs. None of the Jews shall take the field without the 
permission of Mohammed ; but they shall not be hindered 
from avenging bodily injuries. The Jews have to defray 
their expenses, the Moslems theirs ; but they are bound to 
help each other against any one who attacks one of the 
parties of this pact To both parties Medina shall be sacred 
and inviolable. Persons taken under protection shall enjoy 
the same privileges as their protectors. No protection shall 
be given to the unbelieving Koreish or their confederates ; 
and all must combine to repel any one who threatens Medina. 
For the conclusion of peace the consent of both parties is 
required, except when the believers are engaged in a religious 
war. Both he who takes the field and he who remains at 
home shall be secure in Medina, with the exception of the 
wrong-doers and the guilty ; for God protects the loyal and 
the pious, and Mohammed is God's ambassador. 

By bringing about such a compact as this, Mohammed, it 
is plain, created a firmly united and solid power which he 
could employ, later on, with the certainty of a machine. He 
established himself as the sovereign director not only of the 
religious, but also of the civil, political, and military affairs of 
his followers. The Jews he desired to make use of as 
valuable auxiliaries in war, and he so highly estimated the 
hoped-for accession of strength that, to secure it, he unhesita- 

122 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il 

tingly guaranteed to them the free exercise of their reh'gion 
and dealt with them on the footing of religious equality. * 
This he could do all the more readily, as the Jews were 
Monotheists like himself, and he hoped either to draw them 
over to Islam, by considerately meeting them half-way, or, at 
least, to obtain from them the open acknowledgment, so much 
coveted by him, of his prophetic mission, if not to them- 
selves, yet to the idolatrous Arabs. 

Had Mohammed's own conviction of his Divine mission 
been surer and freer from doubt, he would probably have 
cared less for what the Jews thought about him ; and had he 
been more concerned for men's salvation than for worldly 
domination, he need not have brought such heavy pressure to 
bear upon the Arabs of Medina that somepreferred emigration, 
whilst many others, wholly unconvinced, feigned belief in him 
from sheer dread, and were consequently looked upon, even 
by himself, as mere hypocrites. But his actual conduct shows 

^ The curious fact may here be noticed that the Arabic verb from which the 
word ' Mohammed ' is formed, and the Hebrew verb from which the word ' Juda 
or Jew ' is derived, are identical in meaning, both signifying ' to praise * (see 
Gen. xxix. 35). It is also, to say the least, doubtful whether Mohammed bore 
this name from his childhood, or whether he was not then known by another, 
perhaps one taken from some idol, in accordance with an extensive practice. If 
so, he must have wished to drop it since he came publicly forward as the 
apostle of a rigid Monotheism. Was it perhaps about this time, when he took 
such great pains to make himself agreeable to the Jews, that he adopted in its 
stead the new name which was at the same time Arabic in form and Jewish in 
meaning ? However this may be, the singular and significative fact remains that, 
as Islam might aptly be designated ' Judaism in an Arabic guise,' so also the 
name of Mohammed (* praised ') is an Arabic reproduction of the Hebrew word 
'Jew, * only with this telling difference that in 'Jew' the intended object of the 
' praise ' is God ; and in ' Mohammed ' it is the Prophet's own person. If the 
name ' Mohammed ' has been intentionally adopted by the Arabian Prophet, in 
order to apply the meaning of the Hebrew ' Juda ' to himself, this would not be 
an isolated instance of the kind ; for we are expressly informed in vol. i. p. 693 
of the Mirat el Kainaty that he also gave to his grandsons the names of ' Hasan, 
Hosein, and Mohassen,' on the ground that these names had the same meaning in 
Arabic which ' Shabbar, Shobeir, and Moshabber,' the (imaginary) names of the 
sons of Aaron, brother of Moses, had in Hebitw. As we are here told that 
Mohammed sought to establish a connecting link between himself and Aaron and 
Moses by giving to his grandsons Arabic names whose meaning he derived from 
Hebrew, the supposition is plainly not outside the bounds of probability, that he 
may also have wished to figure as the true 'Juda,' and the heir of the great 
promises attached to him, by appropriating to himself this Hebrew name in a 
suitable Arabic form. (Compare also the note on p. 81.) 


that Divine truth and pure religion were not the all-absorb- 
ing subject with him, and that he looked beyond them to 
something else, which made him both apprehensive and 

It is interesting, in this respect, to notice what Ibn Ishak 
narrates in connection with the death of Asad Ibn Zorara, 
also named Abu Umama. We must gather from the nar- 
rative that his death greatly alarmed Mohammed, on account 
of the effect he dreaded it might have on the opinion of the 
Jews concerning himself ; and also that then already, only a 
few months after his arrival in Medina, when the mosque was 
not yet finished, unconvinced Arabs had cause hypocriti- 
cally to simulate faith. The passage referred to, reports the 
following complaint from Mohammed's own mouth: 'Abu 
Umama's death is unfortunate in regard to the Jews and the 
hypocrites amongst the Arabs ; for they will now say, if I 
were a Prophet, my companion would not have died, and they 
will believe that I can obtain nothing from God, either for 
myself or for my companions.' 

But the death of his helpful friend led to a still more 
telling manifestation of the importance attached by Moham- 
med to worldly influence, and of the eagerness with which 
he snatched at secular power, as soon as his observant eye 
discovered the slightest chance. Ibn Ishak further states : 
* When Abu Umama had died, the Beni Najjar, whose chief 
he was, assembled before Mohammed and requested him to 
appoint for them a successor who might attend to their 
affairs, as he had done while alive. Mohammed answered 
them thus : " You are my maternal uncles, I belong to you, 
and I myself will be your chief." ' Ibn Ishak palliates this 
step of his Prophet by saying, * Mohammed acted thus, 
because he did not wish to place one of them above the 
other.' But the impartial reader cannot help perceiving that 
Mohammed, by considerately refusing to raise one of the 
Beni Najjar above the other, only raised himself above them 
all, and reduced them all equally to the position of subjects. 
The Beni Najjar could not decline their prophet's interested 
proposal, and in course of time counted it a special privilege 
to have had him for their peculiar chief 

Mohammed's eager haste thus to thrust himself into 

124 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il. 

positions of worldly influence and supremacy, contrasts 
strongly with the single-eyed and resolute determination of 
the Lord Jesus Christ in withdrawing Himself from the Jews, 
when He observed their resolve to make Him their king, 
and their readiness to resort even to force, in order to effect 
this purpose (John vi. 15). 

(2.) Mohammed^ by establishing Islam as the paramount 
power of Medina^ displaces the previous Polytheism and 
forces the dissenting Arabs either to emigrate^ or to 
simulate submission. In this sense he shows himself 

Mohammed had now attained to the position of civil 
chief both amongst the Beni Najjar and amongst the 
refugees who had followed him from Mecca. He thus had 
at his disposal no inconsiderable amount of secular influence 
and power. This greatly aided him in gaining converts to 
his creed and in rapidly extending his authority as a prophet 
throughout the town. He now could take steps to consoli- 
date Islam, and to establish it, with all its obligations, as a 
regular public institution, in the place of the hitherto pre- 
vailing religion. 

Ibn Ishak continues his history in these significant 
words: 'When Mohammed had found a safe abode in 
Medina, when his friends, the refugees, had united around 
him, and when the concerns of his helpers {i,e, his converts 
from Medina) had been arranged, then Islam became firmly 
established. Public prayers were performed, fasts and poor- 
rates were instituted, penal laws were executed, things lawful 
and unlawful were determined, and Islam gained strength 
amongst the tribe of the helpers, both as regards faith and 
as regards the sure provision for its professors.' The new 
religion, not many months after its importation, had prac- 
tically become the chief power in Medina, which not only 
swayed its avowed adherents in every relation of life, but 
was also strongly pressing on that portion of the population 
which wished to keep aloof from it 

Besides the enactments mentioned by Ibn Ishak in this 
passage, another decided onward step in the public assertion 


of Islam was the introduction of the loud call to prayer 
from some elevated spot. In Mecca, as a matter of course, 
and also for some time in Medina, there was no public 
summons to prayer, and the intending worshippers simply 
came at certain times, without being specially called. But 
now, when the new religion claimed for itself the rank of a 
public institution, it naturally also adopted a public mode 
of invitation to its formal services. 

We are told that for a time Mohammed wavered in his 
choice. He at first thought of using a trumpet, in imitation 
of the Jews ; but he afterwards relinquished that idea in 
favour of the ringing of a bell, as was the custom with the 
Christians ; and we learn that a bell was actually procured 
for the purpose. Eventually neither the method of the Jews 
nor that of the Christians was adopted ; and Mohammed 
struck out a path of his own. It is reported that several 
believers had visions in which the loud call was recom- 
mended. Ibn Hisham says, *Omar was already on the 
point of purchasing two beams for the scaffold of a bell, 
when he had a vision in which he was commanded not to 
introduce a bell, but to invite to prayer by a loud call. 
Omar went to Mohammed to apprise him of his vision. 
But Mohammed, having received the same direction by 
revelation, met him with the declaration, "Revelation has 
anticipated thee ; " and Omar had hardly returned home, 
when Bilal was already shouting out the call to prayer.' 

Thus Islam, so deficient in originality generally, avoided 
the appearance of dependence on either Judaism or Chris- 
tianity, in this trifling particular. But after we have seen 
the Arab Prophet guided to his new quarters in Medina by 
an inspired camel, it can no longer surprise us to find his 
choice of the mode of announcing the time for public 
worship decided by a special revelation from heaven. 
Religion and revelation are evidently at this Prophet's beck 
and call for any purpose he chooses. 

As soon as Islam had become the professed religion of 
the majority of the Arabs in Medina, it asserted its claim 
to supreme authority and exclusive domination with such 
unbending persistency against all those citizens who still 
kept aloof from it, that their position became increasingly 

126 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. li. 

untenable. In consequence, their number rapidly dwindled 
down, and in a short time Medina had become a town in 
which Islam reigned paramount, the capital and stronghold 
of its apostle. As such, the city could not continue to afford 
even to Jewish Monotheism the shelter of a home, notwith- 
standing the formal treaty in which the Prophet had declared 
it to be safe and inviolable for all the confederates, and had 
guaranteed to the Jews the free exercise of their religion. 
But as for the Arab inhabitants who sided with Christianity, 
or remained wedded to Polytheism, they had no choice 
left them but either to emigrate, or outwardly to accept the 

Of the former — that is, of those who had courage and 
character enough rather to forsake their native home than 
to submit to the rule of a prophet whom they deemed un- 
worthy of faith — ^was Abu Amir, who enjoyed great respect 
and influence amongst the Awsites, to whose tribe he be- 
longed. Ibn Ishak says of him, ' In the time of Heathenism 
he led the life of an anchorite, wore a rough garment and 
was called a monk.' He, therefore, appears to have been a 
believer in some kind of Christianity, and Wakidi simply 
calls him a ' Christian.' In all probability he was not alone 
amongst the Awsites in giving preference to Christianity ; 
and this may have been the chief reason why this powerful 
tribe was so slow in acknowledging Mohammed. Even at 
the battle of Bedr there were amongst those who fought under 
Mohammed's banner and shared in the booty, only 6i 
Awsites, whilst the smaller tribe of Khazraj was represented 
by no less than 170 individuals. Abu Amir had a personal 
interview with Mohammed, in which he frankly charged him 
with * adulterating * the Faith of Abraham, which he pre- 
tended to revive. But he had to give way before the new 
prophet, whose views already enjoyed the support of those 
in whose hand was the preponderating secular power. Ibn 
Ishak continues: 'Abu Amir remained an unbeliever, 
separated himself from his tribe, which embraced Islam, and 
went to Mecca with ten other men.' These ten do not seem 
to represent the entire number of those who found Medina 
too hot for themselves. For at the battle of Ohod, which 
was opened by an attack of archers headed by Abu Amir, 


he is reported to have been accompanied by * sixty ' of his 
fellow-tribesmen. He remained with the Koreish, to whose 
victory at Ohod he had materially contributed, till Mecca 
was conquered by Mohammed, when he fled to Taif ; and, 
on this town also succumbing to Islam, he retired into Syria, 
where he died. 

Of those Arabs who did not quit Medina but outwardly 
submitted to the dominant new faith, there seems to have 
been a still larger number. They were as unconvinced of 
Mohammed's Divine mission as Abu Amir and his fellow- 
emigrants, and still remained as fondly attached to Poly- 
theism as they had ever been. To whatever tribe they 
belonged, they grouped round Abd Allah Ibn Obei, a 
Khazrajite of the highest rank and influence. His disbelief 
in Mohammed is ascribed by Ibn Ishak to mere jealousy. 
He says, 'The tribe of Abd Allah Ibn Obei had already 
prepared the jewels for a crown, in order to make him their 
king, when God brought His ambassador to them. Now, as 
soon as Abd Allah saw that his people turned to Islam, he 
was disappointed and understood that Mohammed had 
deprived him of the dominion. But perceiving that his tribe 
would not be kept back from Islam, he yielded to the force 
of circumstances, by also professing it, though continuing in 
his ill-will and hypocrisy.' This is but another of the early 
instances, which render it manifest that what Mohammed 
aspired after and seized upon, was not merely the religious 
authority of a prophet, but also the influence and power of 
a secular ruler. Those who disbelieved or opposed him had 
to dread both the spiritual and temporal sword, which he 
claimed equal authority to wield. Hence the feigned sub- 
mission and unmistakable hypocrisy of great numbers, — 
till, later on, they were reconciled by worldly gain and the 
spoils of war. Ibn Ishak says of this class, * Many Awsites 
and Khazrajites clung to idolatry, according to the faith of 
their fathers, and, like these, disbelieved in the resurrection. 
They, to save themselves from death (!), were compelled to 
accept Islam, at least in appearance, which had been em- 
braced by their entire people. But they were hypocrites and 
inwardly inclined towards the Jews, who rejected Islam and 
called Mohammed a liar.' 



Thus it is manifest that Mohammed, as soon as he 
possibly could, employed violence and force in stopping the 
spread of Christianity, and in seeking to replace the ancient 
Heathenism by his newly manufactured Islam. The Chris- 
tians had to emigrate, and those who differed from him, by 
adhering to the traditional idolatry, had to fear for their life, 
and simulated faith in the new order of things, from sheer 
fear of death. Though to all who look below the surface 
and judge by the high standard of *the truth as it is in 
Jesus,' it cannot but be abundantly patent that the religious 
standpoint occupied by this singular prophet was essentially 
of a heathen character, opposed to the * worship in spirit and 
in truth,' and that he knew only of an external relation to 
the Deity; yet it will also be readily admitted that he 
stoutly opposed the outward forms of Paganism, the honour 
paid to idols of wood and stone, and that he went so far in 
his iconoclastic zeal as to place before the unfortunate 
idolaters the trenchant alternative of * Death or Islam ! ' In 
this way, and to this extent, he amply merited the praise 
which has always been claimed for him, that the object for 
which he laboured and fought was anti-Pagan, But it 
must never be forgotten that this anti-Paganism was such 
more in form than in substance. False views, underlying 
Heathenism, were retained in a modified form. A man so 
consciously and honestly striving to give full weight to 
whatever may be urged in favour of Islam and its author, 
as Professor Dr. L. Krehl, one of Mohammed's most recent 
biographers, has yet to confess that ' under the apparently 
Islamic and Monotheistic surface. Heathenism long con- 
tinued to live on in Arabia and even to-day is not yet fully 
eradicated.' (See p. 325 of Das Leben des Muhammed^ 
dargestellt von Ludolf Krehl.) 

(3.) Mohammed at first accommodates himself to the Jews^ in 
the hope of gaining them over to Islam; but y failing in 
thiSy deliberately turns against them and shows himself 
decidedly anti-Jewish. 

It was unfortunate for the Jews that the unconvinced 
Arabs betrayed a tendency rather to side with them than 


with the Moslems, and that they often justified their own dis- 
belief in Mohammed by theirs. Such a combination might 
become dangerous, might even prove subversive to the very 
foundation of Islam, and therefore could not be viewed with 
indifference by the new ruling power of Medina. It helped 
to bring on a crisis in the position of the Jews, which had 
already become shaken by other causes. Mohammed's re- 
lations and dealings with the Jews, which now begin to claim 
our attention, form an important chapter in his history, and 
cast a dark shadow on his character. This is all the more 
remarkable, as he had set his eyes upon them from the time 
when he first formed the idea of removing to Medina, and 
had reckoned on their sympathy and support in asserting 
himself as a prophet. 

The Arabs, being heathens, and possessing no religious 
literature, were accustomed, from olden times, to look up to 
the Jews and Christians as *the people of the book,* the 
depositaries of Divine revelations. Mohammed shared this 
view ; and as he professed that his new religion was nothing 
else than the ancient * Faith of Abraham,' he felt naturally 
called upon to trace a connection between it and those previous 
religions which likewise regarded Abraham as * the father of 
the faithful.' He maintained that Islam, with the religion of 
the Jews and Christians in its primitive purity, had but one 
common source : Divine revelation of * the Book,' preserved 
in heaven. In return for this admission he expected of the 
Jews and Christians that they would admit the same heavenly 
origin for his religion which they claimed for their own. 
Already in his conversation with the leading Khazrajites, 
before he left Mecca, he had referred to the Jews ; and from 
the beginning of his residence in Medina he made it a special 
aim to conciliate the Beni Israel, and to obtain from them 
the acknowledgment that he was a divinely chosen prophet, 
at least for the Arabs, and equal in rank with the heaven- 
sent prophets of former times. He even affirmed that his 
coming had been foretold in the Law and the Gospel. 
We have already seen that in the document embodying his 
first constitution for Medina, he treated the Jews as valuable 
confederates, whom he guaranteed in the free exercise of 
their religion. As they, in worshipping God, turned their 


130 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. l. ch. ii. 

faces towards Jerusalem, he, with his followers, also imitated 
them by adopting the same Kibla or direction for saying 
their prayers. Likewise, finding that the Jews observed their 
Feast of Atonement on the tenth day of the month, by sacri- 
fices and a rigorous fast, he further ordained the slaying of 
rams as a Korban, and enjoined on his community a strict 
fast on that day, retaining for it even its Jewish name Ashura 
ie. * the tenth.* 

This accommodation to the Jews and their religion, though 
betokening a certain dependence and want of originality, 
yet in some small degree seems to have had the effect of 
smoothing the path for the Jews to pass from their old to 
the new religion. Ibn Ishak mentions by name Abd Allah 
Ibn Salam and Mukheirik as two learned Rabbis who became 
converts to Islam, through recognising in Mohammed the 
traits of the prophet they were expecting. The former went 
over to the prophet with his whole family, and the latter, not 
merely a learned Rabbi, but also a landed proprietor ex- 
tremely rich in palm-trees, bequeathed all his wealth to Mo- 
hammed, fell fighting on the Moslem side in the battle of Ohod, 
and is said to have been called by Mohammed 'the best of the 
Jews.' These Jewish Rabbis, who, in becoming converts to 
Islam, were no doubt accompanied by a number of less noted 
followers, formed a most useful acquisition for Mohammed 
Being acquainted with the ancient Scriptures, they could 
furnish him with much information which he lacked, and even 
direct him to passages which, by a plausible misinterpretation, 
he might insist upon as prophecies referring to himself. It was 
fair to expect of him that he should possess a full acquaint- 
ance with the previous revelations, since he averred that he 
was receiving the whole text of God's Book, of which portions 
only had been revealed to the prophets of old. How help- 
ful, therefore, for obtaining the needed information, must he 
have found the ren^ade Jews and Christians who joined his 
cause, and thus made his interests their own! On such 
authorities as these he in fact relied, in pretending that he 
was the prophet whose coming had long been foretold in the 
ancient Scriptures. 

But whatever confidence he and his uninstructed fol- 
lowers may have put in such support, the great body of the 


Jews were of a very different opinion. They indeed were 
aware that the advent of a remarkable prophet was foretold 
in their Holy Book, but they also knew that he was to spring 
from the Beni Israel, the house of David, not from the Koreish 
or any other Arab tribe. The Jews were unquestionably 
right in their view of the ancient prophecies, and on this very 
account formed all the more formidable an impediment in 
the way of the prophet They were a standing protest 
against his pretensions. It thus became evident that Islam 
could as little remain in harmony and amity with the dis- 
believing Jews, as with the disbelieving Arabs. The Jews 
were given to understand that they must either believe in 
the prophet, or take the consequences of unbelieC The 
prophet's right was established by his might. To resist him 
was a crime deserving punishment Ibn Ishak says : ' Under 
these circumstances the Rabbis of the Jews became Mo- 
hammed's enemies. They were filled with envy and wrath, 
because Grod had chosen His ambassador from amongst the 
Arabs.' But the Moslem historian, in thus attributing the 
disbelief of the Jews to mere jealousy of race, overlooks the 
fact that the disbelieving Arabs of Mecca and Medina had 
no such motive for their want of faith, and that Mohammed 
had himself provoked and almost necessitated the opposition 
of the Jews, by claiming, without any justification, that he 
was the subject of prophecies in their Holy Scriptures. At 
all events it is perfectly clear that the cause of the rupture 
between Mohammed and the Jews was his claim to be the 
Great Prophet promised in their Scriptures, and their stout 
denial of this pretension. 

Thenceforth Mohammed's policy assumed a decidedly anti- 
Jewish character. Regretting the civil concessions and 
religious accommodation by which he had hitherto vainly 
tried to bring over the Jews to Islam, he now began to 
retrace his previous steps, and to make the Jewish unbelievers 
feel that his aims and claims could not be contravened with 
impunity. The pressure he brought to bear on them had a 
similar effect to that produced amongst the Arabs. A number 
of Jews, always keen to discover means of worldly advantages, 
simulated submission to the new prophet and his religion, 
merely to evade the dangers resulting from an open anta- 

132 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

gonism. There was now a class of Jewish hypocrites, just as 
there was one amongst the Arabs. Ibn Ishak enumerates 
a long list of * Jewish Rabbis who sought shelter in Islam 
and accepted it only in appearance, whilst they were hypo- 
crites at heart' They were sharp enough to perceive Mo- 
hammed's failings and the groundlessness of his pretensions. 
They sought to undermine his religion in secret, whilst 
they accommodated themselves to it in public Ibn Ishak 
says : * These hypocrites attended the mosque and listened 
to the conversations of the Moslems, but afterwards they 
mocked at them and ridiculed their faith ; ' and again : * Some 
of them said to one another, " Come, let us believe Moham- 
med's revelations in the morning and deny them in the 
evening, in order to confuse them in their religion : perhaps 
they will then do as we do, and renounce their religion alto- 
gether." ' But less forbearance was shown to these Jewish 
than to the Arab hypocrites. We read : * On one occasion 
several of them came to the mosque, spoke to each other in an 
undertone, and kept close together. When Mohammed saw 
this, he ordered that they should be ejected from the mosque 
by force.' This order was promptly executed, and we are 
graphically informed how one was seized by the leg, another 
by the collar, a third by the beard ; how they were struck in 
the face, knocked down, violently thrust out and angrily told 
* not to come near again to the mosque of God's Apostle.* 
Thus was raillery treated in Medina, which had often been 
borne with such apparent meekness and gentleness in Mecca. 
The entire body of the Jews was now accused of unbelief, 
jealousy, and dishonesty, for disbelieving in Mohammed and 
for refusing to regard him as that Great Prophet with whose 
expected advent they had formerly threatened their Arab 
enemies. Revelations were issued against them, holding 
out condign punishment for their enmity, envy, and unbelief, 
many of them being embodied in the second Surah of the 
Koran. The Moslems were enjoined to sever the close ties 
of friendship which had hitherto united many of them with 
the Jews, through their being neighbours or allies. They 
were asked : ' Will you love them, though they, on account 
of your believing the entire Scripture, do not love you ? ' 
Nay, Mohammed, only seventeen months after his arrival in 


Medina, took the decided step of changing his Kibla from 
Jerusalem to the temple of Mecca, and thus purposely- 
widened the breach between him and the Jews. 

As soon as this was done, a number of the latter went to 
Mohammed, saying : * What has caused thee to give up thy 
former Kibla, though thou still professest to be in the faith of 
Abraham ? Return to thy former Kibla, and we will follow 
thee.' But the narrator adds that, by this, they only intended 
to lead him away from his faith. Mohammed proved him- 
self equal to the occasion, by giving forth this revelation : 
* The fools say, "What has turned him from his former Kibla?" 
Answer, " To God belong the east and the west ; He leads in 
the right way whomsoever He will. So we have made you 
{sc, the Arabs) the centre of the nations, that you should 
bear witness to men, and the ambassador should bear witness 
to you. We appointed the former Kibla only for the purpose 
of seeing who should follow the ambassador and who turn away 
from him. As for Abraham, he was neither a Jew nor a 
Christian, nor an idolater, but one turning from what is evil 
and resigning himself to God. Nearest to Abraham are those 
who follow him and this prophet and those who believe." ' 

The Jews remained unconvinced. They declined to follow 
him in the direction of the idol shrine of Mecca, saying : * We 
remain in that in which we have found our fathers, who were 
better and more learned than we are.' They were not dis- 
posed to recognise the Arab nation as the religious centre 
of the world, but held fast to their settled belief, which they 
had already expressed to the renegade Abd Allah, by 
telling him : * Prophetship does not belong to the Arabs : 
thy master is a mere secular chief.' 

This being their conviction, the Jews sought to expose 
Mohammed's disqualification as a prophet, by perplexing him 
with knotty questions, and demanding of him supernatural 
signs, just as the Koreishites had previously puzzled him in 
Mecca. He was to give them information about * Alexander 
the two homed,' to tell them what punishment God intended 
for adulterers, or to let them hear God speak w^ith him, as 
He spoke with Moses, and the like. Ibn Hisham narrates 
one of their interviews and its consequences in the following 
words : ' A number of Jews came to Mohammed and said, 


" God has created the world ; but who has created God ? " 
This put Mohammed in so violent a rage that he turned quite 
pale, and, from zeal for God, seized them by the head. Then 
came Gabriel to quiet him, sa3ang : " Restrain thyself, O 
Mohammed ! " and conveyed to him this answer to their 
question about God : " Say, God is one, God is strong. He 
never begets nor is begotten, and nothing is like unto Him." 
When Mohammed read out this communication to them, 
they said : " Describe to us the form of God and His arm." 
Thereupon Mohammed's anger grew still more violent, and 
he seized them a second time. But Gabriel returned, and 
quieting him as before, brought this reply to their request : 
" They have no correct notion about God's power. On the 
day of the resurrection He taketh the whole earth with one 
hand ; and the heavens, rolled up, lie in the other. Praised 
be the Lord and exalted above their idolatry." ' 

They also, in the hope of injuring Mohammed's cause, 
tried to rekindle the ancient jealousies between the Arab 
tribes of Medina, by reminding them of their former bloody 
conflicts ; and they sought to rouse their self-interest, by 
exhortations like this : * Waste not your wealth : you might 
fall into poverty. Be not in such a hurry to part with your 
money, without knowing for what purpose.' Of the Jews 
who had apostatised to the new faith, they spoke thus : * Only 
the worst of us follow Mohammed and believe in him. Did 
they belong to the better class of us, they would not apostatise 
from the religion of their fathers, to embrace another.' 

Thus Mohammed's temporary coquetting with the Jews, 
by which he hoped to gain them over in a body to his cause 
and to purchase their united testimony to his being the Great 
Prophet foretold in their sacred books, proved a complete 
failure, and terminated in a mutual alienation of a deeply 
hostile character. Thenceforth the Jews were determinately 
anti-Mohammedan and Mohammed intensely anti-Jewish. 
But such a state of things, amongst the population of a single 
city, could not last long without leading to open war, to a 
conflict of life and death, in which the prophet took the 
initiative, and from which the strongest and most unscru- 
pulous party came forth victorious. This will form the subject 
of a subsequent paragraph. 


(4.) Mohammedy unsuccessful in his efforts to convert the 
Christians by way of theological disputation, seeks to 
degrade their religion and reduces them to a state of 
vasscUage. He shows himself positively anti-Christian, 

Mohammed, in his endeavour to make Islam the para- 
mount power of Arabia, could not afford to be more tolerant 
to Christianity than to Judaism, although the former did not 
confront him in Medina with such compact force and political 
organisation, as the latter. We have already seen (cp. p. 126) 
that the monk Abu Amir and his ten or sixty fellow-Christians, 
the representatives of the slender beginning of Christianity in 
Medina, could not maintain themselves against his growing 
and overbearing power, but were compelled to quit their 
home and seek for security, free from molestation, in the 
more liberal heathen city of Mecca. At a somewhat later 
period, when Mohammed's victorious warriors extended his 
dominion through the length and breadth of the country, 
they, in an interior district of Najran, came in contact with 
Christianity, as the openly professed religion of whole com- 
munities. These also, despite Mohammed's professed regard 
for the Christians and the Gospel, had to yield their inde- 
pendence and to acknowledge the supreme power of Islam, 
by submitting to the payment of an annual tribute. 

Ibn Ishak gives us an account of the deputation which 
the Christians of Najran felt themselves necessitated by the 
march of events to despatch to Mohammed, in order to 
regulate their position with regard to what was then rapidly 
becoming the dominant power of all Arabia. The deputation 
consisted of sixty individuals, of whom fourteen were leading 
men and three the religious and civil chiefs who mainly 
conducted the negotiations. They are described as * Chris- 
tians according to the Emperor's faith,' that is, as belonging 
to the orthodox Catholic Church, in contradistinction to the 
semi-Christian sects of the Arians and others. The Moham- 
medan historian informs us that the leading man amongst 
them, Abu Haritha, their bishop and the director of their 
schools, had studied much, and was highly esteemed as a 
learned theologian. The Christian kings of the Greeks, 
hearing of his pious zeal and great learning, showed their 

136 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. li. 

veneration by sending him goods and servants, building 
churches for him, and loading him with favours. But even 
such high distinction and patronage could not save the 
Christian deputation from being humiliated by the authori- 
ties of Islam. When they presented themselves before 
Mohammed, they were clothed in fine raiment, lined with 
silk ; and the prophet, observing this, refused to speak with 
them till they had first stript themselves of their fine robes 
(probably the gifts of Christian princes), and put on the 
monastic dress instead. So plainly they were given to under- 
stand, at the outset, that they must not presume to carry 
their heads high, or pretend to a position of equality, before 
the Mussulmans and their prophet. 

Ibn Ishak, in the following words, summarises the exposi- 
tion of their faith, which they gave on that occasion : * Like 
all the Christians they said, " Jesus is God, the Son of God, 
and the third of three." They proved His being God, from 
His having raised the dead, healed the sick, revealed the 
hidden, made the form of a bird out of clay, and converted it 
into a real bird by breathing into it They proved His being 
the Son of God, from no father being known of Him, and from 
His having spoken already in the cradle, which no other 
child of man had done before Him. They proved further 
that He is the third of three, namely, God, Christ, and Mary, 
because it is said, " We have created, we have decreed ; " 
whereas if God were one, it would have to be said, / have 
created, /have decreed."' 

This summary is obviously not one of diplomatic exact- 
ness, but was made from a Mohammedan point of view, so 
as to admit of an easy and triumphant refutation in the 
Koran. For no Bishop of the orthodox Catholic Church and 
distinguished theologian, of those days, could possibly have 
represented the Holy Trinity to consist of God, Christ, and 
Mary, after the whole Eastern world had been resounding for 
centuries with the profound and searching controversies and 
the sharply defined dogmas respecting that fundamental 
subject of the Christian Faith. But how could it be expected 
that the founder of a rival religion should fairly examine 
and duly weigh the arguments in favour of Christianity, 
which, if accepted, would have left no room whatever for 


the very existence of Islam? Instead of wishing to be 
enlightened on the all-important subject of Christianity, 
Mohammed's one desire plainly was, to show its insufficiency 
and imperfection, so as to enhance the superior claims of 
his own rival system. 

The result of his controversy with the Najranite Christians 
and their learned Bishop, as communicated by Ibn Ishak, 
fully confirms this view. He says : * When the priests had 
thus spoken with Mohammed, he called upon them to become 
Moslems. They replied, "We are Moslems" {i,e. resigned 
and surrendered to God). He repeated his request, and they 
answered, " We have long been Moslems." Then Moham- 
med said : " You lie : if you were Moslems, you would not 
affirm that God has a Son, would not worship the cross, nor 
eat swine's flesh." Thereupon they asked : " Who, then, was 
Christ's Father ? " Mohammed remained silent, giving no 
answer at all. Then, in order to refute these words, God 
revealed the Sura El Amran (the third), up to beyond its 
eightieth verse.' In the Koran Mohammed had his own 
way and found it easy, without being staggered by opposing 
argumentation, to enunciate the nullity of the Christian 
doctrines, or rather what he represented as such ; and to 
declare that 'the true religion before God is Islam ' (Sura iii. 
17), or ' the Faith of Abraham, who was neither a Jew, nor 
a Christian, but a Hanif and a Moslem ' (Sura iii. 60). 
Mohammed also made a proposal, to settle the question of 
superiority between Christianity and Islam, by a mutual 
invocation of God's wrath upon the party in the wrong 
(Sura iii. 54) ; and, in doing so, he may have been looking 
not only to God's retributive judgment, but equally to 
his own material power for preventing or producing the 
intended effects of such invocation. No wonder the Chris- 
tians declined the proposed strange method of solving 
doctrinal problems. 

As the views and arguments of the Najranite Christians 
had to give way before Mohammed's religious dictatorship, 
so also their civil rights and national independence had to 
succumb to the overbearing power of the political despot. 
The Christian commissioners were sent back to their country 
in the company of Abu Obeida, who had to go with them 


in the capacity of judge and political controller. A treaty 
also was imposed on them, in which Mohammed claimed the 
right to all their land produce and even to their persons, 
whom he might use as slaves. But he magnanimously 
waived the full application of that right, and promised them 
protection for their life, land, property, and faith, under the 
following humiliating conditions. The Najranites had to 
pay an annual tribute consisting of 2000 hollas or suits of 
clothes, each of the value of one ounce of gold. They had 
to provide Mohammed's commissaries, sent to their country, 
with food and other necessaries for twenty days, free from 
all charge. In case of a war or encampment in Yemen, they 
were to furnish thirty suits of armour, thirty horses, and 
thirty camels. They were not allowed to lend money on 
interest ; and if any Moslem took one of their daughters for 
a wife, he should have to pay to the family one half only, 
of the usual compensation. Thus Mohammed made it 
patent to all that, in his eyes, Christianity was inferior to 
Islam, and that the relation between the Christians and the 
Mussulmans was to be that between subjects and their 

Though Mohammed loved to represent his new religion 
as nothing more than the ancient * Faith of Abraham : * yet, 
as he also emphatically declared it to be the only one now 
desired and sanctioned by God, and to differ essentially from 
the faith of the then living Jews and Christians, he could not 
consistently wish to countenance Judaism and Christianity 
in any way, but had to oppose them both, and to seek to 
supplant the one as well as the other. When he speaks of the 
Law and the Gospel as Divine revelations, it is not with the 
view of recommending them to his people, but rather for the 
purpose of extolling his own Koran, as the last and complete 
edition of God's Book, of which they were only subservient 
precursors. Even if he claims for himself to be the subject 
of prophecies in the Old and New Testament, it is only to 
enhance his own prestige as a prophet and to draw Jews and 
Christians over to his side ; and not to uphold the eternal 
validity of the Law and the Gospel, as marking essential 

^ For farther instances of Mohammed's application of his anti-Christian 
measures, see the dose of Paragraph 17 in the present Section. 


Steps in the revelation of God's entire truth for the salvation 
of man. 

In fact, it appears that Mohammed himself had not the 
faintest idea of the development and organic growth of 
Divine Revelation,.from its elementary b^inning in the days 
of Adam, till its perfect maturity in the Person of the God- 
man Christ Jesus. Else, how could he have supposed that 
the religion of Abraham, as such, could simply- be brought 
back again, after thousands of years, to re-occupy the place 
which it had filled before, and to set aside the Law and the 
Gospel which meanwhile had formed God's way for man ? 
All God's plans being marked with infinite wisdom and 
carried out with unerring consistency, no truly thoughtful 
man can regard it agreeable to the supreme wisdom and 
perfection of God, first to reveal the religion of Abraham, 
then to replace it for ever so long by the Law and the 
Gospel, and at last to send it back again by the Archangel 
Gabriel to a prophet in Arabia, thus, as it were, altering and 
correcting His previous measures. 

When Mohammed hazarded the assertion in the Koran 
that the Law and the Gospel contained prophecies about his 
own coming (see Sura vii. 155-156 and IxL 6 ; ii. 141), it was 
no doubt from a sense of the propriety, in which every think- 
ing person must share, that, to be recognised as the last and 
greatest of all the prophets, and as the mediator of the final 
and perfect covenant, such prophecies ought really to have 
existed, as witnesses to his exalted character. In order to 
discover them, if possible, he must have been fain to avail 
himself of the renegade Jews and Christians who, having 
made his interests their own, would readily show him pas- 
sages in the Scriptures which, taken out of their context 
and apart from their obvious import, might be misinterpreted 
as referring to his own person. But all honest Jews and 
Christians could not for a moment remain doubtful as to the 
utter baselessness and futility of such interpretation. For 
the former knew full well that the great Prophet and King, 
promised them in their Holy Books, must be an Israelite of 
the house of David, not a Koreishite Arab ; and the latter 
found it unequivocally explained in the Gospel itself, that 
the coming Paraclete, instead of being the Arabian prophet, 


was no human being at all, but the Holy Spirit — the Spirit 
of Truth. 

It is plain that neither the personal character of Mo- 
hammed, nor the prophecies he wrongly invoked in his 
behalf, could ever have produced amongst his countrymen a 
general opinion in his favour, strong enough to make his 
religion dominant in Arabia. This result was only accom- 
plished by an arm of flesh, by a warfare which was not 
spiritual but carnal ; and history leaves no doubt that the 
halo of victory and triumph with which Islam figures on its 
pages, is owing mainly, if not solely, to the fact that it was 
the religion of the sword. 

(5.) Mohammed engages in a number of warlike expeditions 
against the Koreishy for the purposes of revenge and 
plunder^ which culminate in the victorious battle at Bedr, 

We have now, in following the example of the Mo- 
hammedan biographers, to turn to those incessant marauding 
expeditions, wars, and conquests by which Mohammed's 
biography, after the Hegira, appears less that of a prophet 
than of a warrior. As an unscrupulous conqueror, he sheds 
men's blood and coolly seizes the property of those weaker 
than himself. With regard to the earlier of those warlike 
expeditions, it was especially clear that their direct and main 
object was by no means the propagation of Islam, though 
this also followed, as a necessary consequence, wherever 
Mohammed could gain a footing for his power. The aim 
with which the martial enterprises against the Koreish were 
undertaken in such quick succession, for the space of about a 
year, was rather the double one of plundering Meccan cara- 
vans, with whose booty Mohammed ar\d his fellow-fugitives 
might supply the wants of their poverty, and of avenging 
themselves for the hostility of Mecca, which had forced them 
from home, to seek a place of refuge abroad. 

Mohammedan historians themselves are not quite agreed 
as to the exact order in which these first martial attempts of 
the Moslems took place ; but they inform us that in some of 
them Mohammed personally took the lead, whilst for others 
he appointed a commander who acted under his instruction 


and in his name. Ibn Ishak states that the Meccan refugees 
had hardly recovered from the attacks of fever which befell 
them in the unaccustomed climate of Medina, when Mo- 
hammed 'prepared for war against his enemies, the Arab 
idolaters, according to the command of God.' 

Scarcely twelve months after his arrival in Medina, he 
started on his first war expedition, that to Waddan and Adwa, 
He was in search of the Koreish, but returned home without 
having encountered them. The only thing he accomplished 
was the conclusion of a treaty of peace with the Beni Dhamra, 
by which he detached them from the Koreishites, their 
former allies. In a second expedition against the same 
enemy, he reached as far as Bowat^ and returned, as Ibn 
Ishak informs us, 'without having met with anything 
untoward.' The third enterprise he undertook with nearly 
200 followers and 30 camels, against a rich caravan proceed- 
ing from Mecca to Syria, under the leadership of Abu Sof- 
yan. He hoped to intercept the caravan at Oslteira^ in the 
plain of Yembo ; but on arriving there, he found that it had 
already safely passed on towards Syria. This same caravan 
was again pursued, but with no better success, during its 
return journey the following spring; when, however, the 
pursuers were fortunate enough to defeat, in the cele- 
brated battle of Bedr, the Meccan army, sent forth for its 
protection. Mohammed remained a month in Osheira, and 
utilised his time by concluding a treaty of amity with the 
Beni Modlij and that branch of the Beni Dhamra living 
under their protection. Then he returned to Medina, with- 
out meeting an enemy. After his return from Osheira, he 
remained not quite ten nights in Medina, before he marched 
forth again. This time it was in pursuit of Kurz Ibn Jabir, 
who had made a raid on Medinan territory and carried away 
some flocks. Kurz belonged to the Fihri tribe, which was 
allied with the Koreish, and Mohammed pursued him as far 
the valley of Safwan, near Bedr (wherefore this expedition is 
called * the first of Bedr '), but without being able to overtake 
him. These four expeditions, all of them unsuccessful, the 
prophet had headed in person. 

The earliest of the expeditions against the Koreish which 
Mohammed despatched under the command of one of his 


companions, is that under Obeida Ibn El Haritk His was 
the first banner reared by the prophet's hand. He was sent 
with 60 or 80 horsemen from amongst the emigrants against 
the unbelievers, without being joined by a single individual 
from amongst * the Helpers.* They went as far as the water 
of Hejaz, below Tanijat el Murat, where they came upon a 
Koreishite caravan, already encamped and, therefore, in a 
position not so easily attacked. No conflict took place : 
only Saad Ibn Abu Wakkas shot an arrow against them, 
reputed to be the first arrow shot in behalf of Islam. Then 
the Moslems retired, and were joined by two men from the 
caravan, who are represented as being already secret believers 
in Mohammed. 

Soon after this failure, the prophet sent his uncle Hantza 
with 30 mounted emigrants, again unaccompanied by any of 
the Helpers, against a caravan of 300 mounted Meccans, 
headed by Abu Jahl and returning from Syria. Hamza 
came upon them near the shore of the Red Sea, on the 
territory of the Beni Johaina, from whom, by way of pre- 
caution, they had engaged a guard, under their chief MejdL 
Now as the Beni Johaina had a treaty with Medina, Mejdi 
placed himself between the two parties, and induced them to 
separate, without coming to blows. Ibn Ishak appends a 
remark to his account of the affair which is worth communi- 
cating, as throwing some light on the manner in which Mo- 
hammedan historians used their materials. It is to this 
effect : * Some affirm Hamza's banner to have been the first 
reared by Mohammed, and that the expedition of Hamza 
and that of Abu Obeida took place contemporaneously, so 
that they became confounded. It is also asserted that 
Hamza mentioned himself, in a poem, as the first who 
received a banner from Mohammed. Now if he really said 
so, it must be true, as, of course, he only spoke the truth. 
God knows how it was. Still, we have learned from scholars 
that it was Obeida who received the first banner.* 

Another marauding party was despatched, under Scuid 
Ibn Abu Wakkas^ to lie in wait for a Meccan caravan near 
Kharrar, and to seize the right moment for surprising it. 
This party was very small, consisting of twenty emigrants, 
according to Wakidi, or only of eight, according to Ibn 


Ishak. As the caravan had already passed the day before 
they reached Kharrar, * they returned without having seen an 

Seven expeditions had now been undertaken, four headed 
by Mohammed himself and three by his trusted lieutenants : 
but all had signally failed. Not one of them had inflicted 
any perceptible damage on the Koreish, or returned home 
laden with spoil. Such want of success ill comported with 
the pretence that these marauding expeditions were all 
organised by God's chosen ambassador and with a special 
Divine sanction. In order to ensure success, and thereby to 
justify his assumed position before the eyes of his followers, 
Mohammed resolved on a very bold and hazardous step. 
He organised a raid against the Koreish for the very month 
which had been kept sacred from ancient times by all the 

This season of universal peace, during which all wars had 
to cease and enemies met each other like friends, was the 
middle month of the lunar year, called in consequence Rejeb 
el Arabf ie. *the honoured (month) of the Arabs.* Mo- 
hammed knew that the Koreish, relying on the sacredness of 
this ancient usage, would not suspect any danger, and suffer 
their caravans to depart without special guards. But he was 
also equally aware that he could not depend on the general 
approval of his intended violation of a popular custom, even 
amongst his own followers. His cousin Abu Obeida declined 
the honour he offered him of heading the expedition. He 
then fixed his choice on Abd Allah Ibn Jahsh and nominated 
him for the occasion as the * Commander of the Faithful ' 
{Emir el Mufnenin\ a title afterwards retained by the Califs. 
Sealed orders were put into his hands, with the injunction 
not to open them till he had advanced two days on his 
march. Abd Allah had with him only twelve, or, according to 
Ibn Ishak's account, only eight emigrants, mounted on six 
camels. On breaking the seal of his instructions at the time 
appointed, he read as follows : ' Go in the name and with the 
blessing of God to Nakhla (a place between Mecca and Taif), 
and there lie in wait for the Koreishite caravans. Compel 
none of thy men to come with thee ; but carry out my order 
with those who follow thee voluntarily.* All his companions 

144 ^^S FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

agreed to go on with him ; and only two afterwards remained 
behind, because they were detained, as we are told, by a 
search for their camel, which had happened to go astray. 

When the party had reached Nakhla, and was lying in 
ambush, a small caravan of the Koreish, headed by Amr Ibn 
el Hadhrami, was passing by, earring dried grapes, leather, 
and other goods. In order to remove their suspicion, one of 
the Moslems had his head shaven, thus giving his party the 
appearance of pilgrims to the sacred shrine, of whom nothing 
was to be feared. It being the last day of Rejeb, the Mos- 
lems thus deliberated in their council : * If we let the caravan 
alone this night, it will enter the sacred territory and be safe 
there ; but if we attack them now, we shall commit murder 
in the sacred month.* At first they felt afraid and hesitated ; 
but soon they took courage and * decided to kill as many of 
the caravan as they could and to seize upon the goods.' In 
the attack which ensued, the leader of the caravan was shot 
dead with an arrow, two of his men made prisoners, the rest 
dispersed, and the spoil taken in triumph to Medina. Abd 
Allah apportioned a fifth of the booty to the prophet who 
had sent him, and only retained four-fifths for himself and 
party : this at a time when such a distribution had not yet 
been enacted as a Moslem law. 

This violation of the sacred month was having a very 
unfavourable effect amongst the people ; and Mohammed 
noticing this, became afraid, and at first disavowed the action 
of his emissaries. In consequence, these showed great dis- 
couragement, feeling sure that in what they had done they 
had but carried out their instructions. The prophet observ- 
ing this, and rightly gauging the true character of the people 
of Medina, discovered a ready means of extricating himself 
from this novel difficulty. God had to come to his aid, 
favouring him with the following revelation : * They question 
thee about the lawfulness of war in the holy month. Say, a 
war in the holy month is a serious matter ; but obstructing 
the way of God and unbelief, and debarring from the sacred 
place of worship and expelling its people therefrom, is still 
more serious before God. Tempting to apostasy is more 
serious than murder' (Sura ii. 214). Ibn Ishak thus inter- 
prets this verse : * If you make war in the holy month, they 


kept you from the way of God, are unbelievers and debar 
you from the holy temple, having chased you from it, you 
who are its guardians. This is more serious before God 
than the death of some men whom ye killed/ The effect of 
this opportune revelation he makes known in the following 
words: 'After God had delivered the believers from their 
fear, by this revelation, Mohammed took his share of the 
spoil and of the prisoners. When the Koreish sent to 
Mohammed to redeem the two prisoners, he said, " I shall 
not give them up until my two companions, Saad and Otba, 
about whom we are concerned, come back : if you kill them, 
we shall also kill your prisoners." As soon as Saad and Otba 
had returned, Mohammed accepted the redemption-money 
and set the two prisoners free. One of them turning a good 
Mussulman remained with him ; and the other returned to 
Mecca and died there an unbeliever.* Ibn Hisham observes 
that the said two men were the first prisoners taken by the 
Moslems, the spoil of Nakhla their first booty, and Amr el 
Hadhrami the first man killed by them. 

Nice first-fruits these, which ushered in so abundant a 
harvest ! As with a beast of prey, when it has once tasted blood, 
so also with the Moslems, this first success only stimulated 
their desire for further acts of violence, unchecked and un- 
abashed by the stinging reproach of the Koreish : * Mohammed 
and his companions have desecrated the holy month by 
shedding blood, seizing goods, and making captives in it* 

The opportunity of making a decided step onward in the 
path of bloodshed and plunder, now fairly entered upon, had 
not long to be waited for. The large caravan, consisting of 
a thousand camels, laden with costly merchandise and 
guarded by only two or three score of men, which Moham- 
med had in vain tried to intercept at Osheira, on its way to 
Syria, was now returning home under the leadership of Abu 
Sofyan. This presented an opportunity far too attractive for 
the Prophet, not to make a fresh attempt at securing so rich 
a booty. As soon as the information reached him that Abu 
Sofyan was approaching, he called * the believers * together, 
and said to them, * There comes a caravan of the Koreish 
laden with goods ; march out to meet them, perhaps God will 
give them to you for a prey.' They considered the prospect 



too inviting not to seize it with alacrity. Not merely * the 
believers/ but also some of the heathens responded to the 
call, thus proving that the motives which gathered men 
around the Arab Prophet were not of a purely religious, but 
also of a very worldly nature. So eager were even the 
heathens to participate in the affair, that several of them, 
there and then, professed Islam, rather than lose so splendid 
an opportunity of making booty. Mohammed gathered a 
larger army on this occasion than had ever before served 
under his banner. For though his direct object was only to 
overmatch and plunder the caravan, he could not be sure 
whether he might not have to encounter armed troops, sent 
out for its protection. His army consisted of more than 300 
men, namely all the refugees from Mecca, 83 in number, 61 
Awsites and 170 Khazrajites, as specified by Ibn Ishak. 

Mohammed, always keen-eyed to discover advantages in 
his favour, decided to attack Abu Sofyan at Bedr^ where the 
caravan route approached Medina to about a couple of days* 
march, and where a number of wells furnished a rich supply 
of fresh water. Thither he despatched two spies to collect 
information for him, about the movements of the caravan. 
When the Moslems had reached the neighbourhood of Safra, 
Mohammed inquired after the names of the tribes living 
there, and on being told that one was called Beni Nar 
( = *the sons of fire'), and another Beni Hurak ( = 'the sons 
of burning*), he, superstitious as he was, considered the 
names of evil omen, and would not remain amongst them, 
but passed on to the valley of Zafiran where he encamped. 
Here he received the important tidings that the Koreish had 
despatched a body of troops from Mecca to protect their 
caravan. The latter could therefore no longer be looked 
forward to as an easy prey, but the prospect arose before 
him of a serious fight, a sanguinary battle. Hence Moham- 
med, before advancing further, had to make sure whether, 
under these altered circumstances, he could still rely on the 
fidelity of all his followers. For it must be remembered that 
the men of Medina had as yet only given him the pledge of 
protecting him in their own home, but not outside their 
territory or in a war of aggression. He therefore asked them 
to say whether they were ready to stand by him in the 


present enterprise. Several high-flown speeches were made, 
in which all protested their firm allegiance, and promised 
Mohammed that not one would remain behind, even should 
he lead them against the enemy the very next day. He was 
rejoiced by these assurances of his troops, and told them, in 
return, that God had shown him that the enemies whom they 
were going to meet should be few, and that either the cara- 
van or the army should be delivered into their hands, adding, 
* By Allah ! I already see them, in spirit, lying stretched out 
before me.' But as the enemies, instead of beii^ few, turned 
out to be twice the number of the Moslems, Mohammed, 
later on, sought to justify his statement, by letting himself be 
thus addressed in a verse of the Koran : * God showed them 
to thee in thy sleep as few ; for if He had shown them to 
thee as many, you would certainly have become faint-hearted 
and would have disputed about the matter : but from this 
God kept you, for He knows what is in the heart ' (S. viii. 45). 
After having assured himself of the fidelity of his entire 
army, Mohammed quitted Zafiran to move nearer to Bedr. 
On the way he was met by his two spies, who told him that 
they had proceeded as far as the wells where they overheard 
the conversation of two damsels. The one said to the other, 
'When the caravan arrives to-morrow, or the day after, I 
shall work for it, and then be able to repay thee my debt.' 
From this information Mohammed could conclude that he 
had full time to prepare his attack upon the caravan, without 
any haste. But wary Abu Sofyan, travelling with all speed, 
already arrived that same evening at the wells ; and having 
ascertained that two riders on camels from Medina had been 
there, he at once perceived the necessity of trying to avoid a 
possible surprise from Mohammed and his party. Accord- 
ingly he did not encamp there, much as his beasts required 
rest, but continued his journey with the least possible delay. 
Travelling all night, he succeeded in putting a safe distance 
between himself and his would-be plunderers. He was also 
aware that troops from Mecca were on their way for his pro- 
tection ; for, rightly gauging his danger, he, at the proper 
time, had urgently demanded such succour by a special 
messenger. Therefore the faster he marched, the sooner he 
could hope to meet with his protectors. But, after all, he 

148 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk, i. ch. il 

owed his safe escape to his own watchful circumspection, by 
which he again eluded Mohammed, and could now dispense 
with the help from Mecca which he had taken the pre- 
caution to request. As soon as Abu Sofyan had succeeded 
a second time in outwitting Mohammed, by placing his 
caravan beyond the reach of pursuit, he despatched a mes- 
senger to Abu Jahl, the commander of the Meccan troops, to 
apprise him of his safety and to advise his return home 
without advancing any further to meet him. 

Well would it have been for Abu Jahl had he taken this 
advice from one who was evidently his superior in tact and 
prudence. Several of the chiefs who served under him, acted 
on Abu Sofyan's counsel and returned home with their men, 
consisting of several hundred. But the main army from 
which they separated, was still over 600 strong. Abu Jahl, 
as Ibn Ishak informs us, resolved on a different course, 
saying, * We will not return, but proceed to B^dr to attend 
the annual feast and market there. We will stay three days, 
slay animals, feed the people, regale them with wine, and 
amuse ourselves with singing-girls. The Arabs, seeing our 
expedition and our concord, will highly esteem us for all 
future times : therefore let us march on ! * This boastful 
speech of the commander is well calculated to prepare us for 
the ignominious overthrow of his army, a few days later, 
though double the number of the Moslems. Evidently the 
Meccan army was not guided by the wisest and ablest hands. 
They marched forward in the direction of a daring enemy, 
without a thought of fighting, bent only on feasting and 
pleasure, and desirous of profitably bartering the supply of 
leather and other goods they carried with them. When they 
arrived at Bedr, they found Mohammed and his determined 
followers already in possession of the wells. 

What a different material these Moslems presented for 
the ensuing conflict! A horseman sent forth from the 
Koreish to reconnoitre them, gave the following description 
on his return : ' They are about 300 men, with no reserve. 
But know, O ye Koreish, that temptation brings destruction ; 
for the camels of Medina carry sudden death with them. 
These are men who have no other protection or refuge but 
their sword. Surely, none of them will fall without having 


first killed one of your number.* The army of Mecca had 
been looking forward to a kind of military promenade : that 
of Medina was terribly in earnest and ready to fight with 
the courage of despair. They felt that their very exist- 
ence was at stake. A defeat of Mohammed was likely 
to prove crushing, and to lead to the dissolution of his 
whole party. 

The conflict itself was commenced by the daring 
Moslems who forcibly prevented the Koreish from helping 
themselves to water, or approaching the wells which they 
were occupying. According to Arab fashion, the day of 
battle was mostly occupied with a series of single combats, 
in which several of the Meccan champions were killed by 
Hamza, Ali, and Obeida. Gradually the two armies drew 
nearer to each other. Mohammed had commanded his 
men not to attack till he gave the signal. Only in case the 
enemy should approach too near, they were to drive him 
back by a discharge of arrows. Having first ordered the 
line of battle himself, the Prophet retired to a hut prepared 
for him. Here a fleet camel was kept ready on which he 
might make his escape, in case of need. He anxiously 
prayed for Divine help, saying, * O God, if this army 
perishes to-day, thou wilt be worshipped no more.' On the 
general charge being made, he incited his men to fight 
bravely, promising them that every one who, from love to 
God, persevered in battle till he was slain, should eoter 
paradise without fail. Ibn Ishak gives us some instances, 
showing what effect such teaching had on his credulous 
followers. One Omeir^ who was just eating some dates, 
called out, 'Then there lies nothing between me and 
paradise, but death at the hand of these people ; * and, 
casting away his dates, he seized his sword and fought till 
he was killed. Another, Awf by name, asked Mohammed 
whereby man could cause joy to God. On being answered, 
* By casting himself upon the enemy without any arms of 
defence,* he laid aside his armour, grasped his sword, and 
likewise fought till he was slain. 

Against such fanatical heroism the Meccan army, which 
had come to Bedr not for risking, but for enjoying, life, had 
little chance of success. They cowardly turned their back 


as soon as the united body of Moslems made a determined 
onslaught. Thus the disgraceful rout becomes fully ex- 
plicable, without having recourse to hosts of interfering 
angels, or attributing any efficacy to Mohammed's super- 
stitious act of casting handfuls of sand against the enemy. 
Ibn Ishak seriously narrates : ' A reliable man told me on 
the authority of several persons, that Ibn Abbas said, " On 
the day of Bedr the angels wore white turbans and took 
part in the fight, whereas in other battles they were only 
present to increase the number, without fighting themselves," ' 
and again : ' Mohammed took up a handful of sand, and, 
turning towards the Koreish, flung it against them, saying, 
"May God confound their sight!" Then he commanded 
his people to press upon the enemy, whose defeat was 
decided. God killed many of the nobles ; and others He 
allowed to be made prisoners.' The slain enemies were 
ruthlessly cast into one of the wells and covered over with 
earth. The battle had not been very bloody: it cost the 
lives of little over a dozen from amongst the Moslems ; and 
the Koreish had seventy, or, according to another account, 
only forty-nine, men killed — mostly cut down, it would 
appear, after the rout had commenced. About the same 
number were made prisoners. 

The result of the battle proved of immense advantage 
to the Moslem cause. The spoil, though not so rich as it 
would have been if the caravan itself had been captured, was 
yet very considerable, and greatly relieved the pressing 
poverty in Medina. It consisted of lo horses, 150 cameb, 
valuable arms, beautiful robes, and a great quantity of 
leather, besides the captives, for whose ransom large sums 
were demanded. After Mohammed had taken the fifth 
part for his own portion, and given sundry prizes for special 
acts of bravery, the remainder was divided into 313 portions, 
each of the value of about two camels, and distributed by 
lot amongst the warriors. Othman, Mohammed's son-in- 
law, also received his share, though he had not joined the 
army, but remained at home to attend on his dying wife. 

The life of the Meccans taken captive was in jeopardy for 
a while. Such was the fanaticism of many of the Mussul- 
mans, Omar foremost amongst them, that they wished to 


massacre them all forthwith. But, at the end, calmer 
counsels prevailed, especially by Abu Bekr's influence ; and 
it was agreed upon to allow the captives to be ransomed at 
a high price, thus consulting at the same time the claims 
of humanity and the dictates of mercantile self-interest 
Only a few of the prisoners who had made themselves 
specially obnoxious to Mohammed, in Mecca, fell as victims 
of revenge, being massacred in cold blood, before the victors 
reached Medina. One of them, just before being killed, 
asked the vindictive Prophet, * Who is to be the guardian of 
my little children ? * and received the heartless answer from 
his lips, * Hell-fire.' The remaining captives were treated 
kindly, for Mohammed still felt his family ties connecting 
him with the Koreish. In consequence, several of them 
consented to embrace Islam and were set free without a 
ransom, whilst the rest were allowed to return to Mecca 
after their ransom had been paid. But, as already intimated, 
sterner measures would have been so consonant to the 
fanaticism of early Islam, that even Mohammed soon felt, 
or perhaps feigned, regret at his temporary leniency. For 
Omar is reported by a tradition derived from himself, to 
have visited the Prophet on the following day and to have 
found him weeping. On asking him the reason of his tears, 
he received this answer, * I weep because we have consented 
to accept a ransom : and verily the punishment which will 
overtake me for it is nearer than this tree ' — he pointing to a 
tree close by. Mohammed and his victorious party returned 
to Medina in triumph, where they were welcomed with 
joyous acclamation. 

This signal success was regarded as a sign of Divine 
approval, and raised the Prophet mightily in the eyes of 
the whole population. Not only in Medina and Mecca, 
but also amongst the Bedouin tribes, the victory made a 
great impression. It was now plain that Mohammed repre- 
sented a military force not to be despised, and that he had 
already become a formidable power in the countrj'. Not 
two years had elapsed since he had come to his new home 
as a refugee, and already he had inflicted a humiliating 
defeat on the great rival city of Mecca and made Medina 
renowned far and wide. No wonder that the battle of 

152 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

Bedr should be sung by numberless bards, and that the 
very names of the combatants engaged in it should have 
been carefully preserved by the Mohammedan historians. 

(6.) The Meccans, under a sense of their disgraceful defeat at 
Bedr^ stir up their Confederates against Mohammed^ 
and avenge themselves by tfte decided Victory at Ohod, 

The battle of Bedr, which had taken place early in 
spring 624 A.D., inaugurated a period of bitter warfare 
between the two rival communities of Mecca and Medina, 
in which, for three years, the former took the offensive and 
the latter defended itself with more or less success. Then, 
for three years longer, Mohammed indeed refrained from 
open attack, but indirectly worked against the Koreish, by 
steadily pursuing a policy of conquest elsewhere, and 
stealthily concluding treaties of amity with sundry Bedouin 
tribes, up to the very confines of the Meccan territory. He 
was evidently much impressed with the power of his great 
adversary, and perhaps also not a little influenced by the 
kinship subsisting between the refugees and leading Meccan 
families, and by a lingering regard for his native city with its 
cherished sanctuary. His slow and prudent tactics proved 
eminently successful. At the end of the six years under 
consideration, the coveted prize fell into his lap, like a ripe 
fruit. Proud Mecca, after a bare semblance of resistance, 
tamely submitted to its wily adversary, and became a 
Moslem city in the year 630 A.D. 

It may also be mentioned in this place, though the 
subject will be more fully treated further on, that the first 
half of this sexennial period, or the three years* defensive 
warfare against Mecca, was at the same time marked by active 
aggression and exterminating persecution against the three 
Jewish tribes of Medina. They persistently rejected 
Mohammed's prophetic claims, and were therefore looked 
upon by him as disguised enemies, or, at best, as doubtful 
allies. He therefore determined to get rid of them by any 
means, so as to free the seat of his power from all 
appearance of religious discord and from every possible 
danger of political treachery. Thus relieved of anxieties 


about home affairs, he could hope to direct his attention 
with safety to the extension of his conquests in Arabia and 
to deal a successful blow against Mecca. The three Jewish 
tribes of Medina fell victims to this policy, in rapid suc- 
cession, and only a year after he had got rid of them, 
Mohammed consummated his anti-Jewish plans by the 
unprovoked and cruel conquest of the flourishing colony 
of Khaibar, A.D. 628. The rich' spoil taken from the Jews 
greatly increased his means for effectually operating against 
the Arabs. 

The defeat of Bedr was keenly felt as a vexatious 
surprise and galling humiliation by the over-confident 
Koreish. They mourned their dead in silence, abstaining 
from the usual lamentations, Mest Mohammed and his 
companions should hear of it and maliciously rejoice in 
their misfortune.' They also purposely avoided all appear- 
ance of haste, in treating for the release of their prisoners of 
war, ' lest Mohammed and his companions should demand 
too high a ransom.' It was no easy matter to stir this 
cautious city of traders into measures of a magnitude suf- 
ficient to ensure the overthrow of their formidable enemy 
and to vindicate their own tarnished honour. But Abu 
Sofyan — who had already, on several occasions, shown his 
superiority over Mohammed, as a strategist — possessed 
confidence in himself, and did not allow the Moslems to 
believe that Mecca was cowed and afraid of meditating 
retaliation. Ibn Hisham narrates that when Abu Sofyan 
arrived at Mecca, simultaneously with the fugitives from 
Bedr, he made a vow, not to wash his head with water until 
he had made a warlike demonstration against Mohammed. 
After a delay of only a few weeks, he started with 200, 
or, according to another account, with only 40 horsemen, 
marched warily along the pathless highlands and reached 
the neighbourhood of Medina unobserved. During the 
night he went alone to the house of a chief of the Beni 
Nadhir, at some distance from the town, received refresh- 
ments and information, and, having rejoined his party, 
set fire to some huts and date-plantations, belonging to 
Medina, and killed several of its people. So rapidly did 
he execute this feat, that Mohammed was again signally 


154 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il. 

out-marshalled. As soon as the latter had received tidings 
of the mischief done, he hotly pursued the party some 
distance, but failed to overtake them. It seems that the 
Koreish, in order to facilitate their retreat, had thrown away 
sacks of crushed wheat, called sawik^ which they were 
carrying with them for food, and that the Moslems picked 
them up, on their way back. This is the reason why the 
expedition became known by the name of that of Sawik. 

During the same year, 624 A.D., Mohammed had to 
undertake three more expeditions, likewise on a small scale, 
to avert dangers, threatening him from tjie side of the con- 
federates of Mecca. Two powerful Bedouin tribes, the 
Beni Ghatafan and the Beni Soleim, occupied the extensive 
highlands to the east of Medina, but were allied to the 
Koreish of Mecca, and consequently participated in the 
hostile feelings against the rising Moslem power of Medina. 
The Beni Soleim first concentrated their fighting men near 
El Kadr, one of their water wells, and Mohammed no sooner 
heard of it than he suspected that the measure was directed 
against himself He started with a body of 200 men, but, 
on arriving at El Kadr, learnt that the enemy had received 
tidings of his approach and withdrawn. The Moslems 
could only seize 500 camels, with which they had to content 
themselves for their spoil. Mohammed had not returned 
long, when he received intelligence of a similar concentration 
of troops by the Beni Ghatafan, On this occasion he set 
out with more than double the previous number of warriors. 
But on reaching Amarr, he found the place deserted, the 
Bedouins having retired, with their families and flocks, to 
the mountain fastnesses, where he could not venture to 
attack thenfL This time he had to return empty-handed. 
In the autumn, information reached him that the Beni 
Soleim were again assembling. He set out with 300 
followers and advanced as far as the mines of BaAran, near 
Foro ; but the enemy once more eluded him by a timely 

Perhaps it was to compensate himself for all this un- 
successful trouble, that Mohammed now reverted to his former 
tactics of waylaying and pillaging Meccan caravans. It must 
have been during his last return journey, or soon after, that 



he despatched his adopted son Zeid with a hundred chosen 
men, for that purpose. The season for the departure of the 
great caravan from Mecca to Syria had come round. But 
the affair of Bedr having closed the usual route alongside the 
Red Sea coast to the merchants of Mecca, they had now to 
make a long detour eastward, in the direction of the Persian 
Gulf, hoping thus to avoid the Moslem marauders. Moham- 
med knew this and was not minded to leave the new route 
undisturbed. He had ascertained that the caravan was going 
to pass by Karada; and thither Zeid was ordered to direct 
his march. He was more successful than his master. For 
whilst all Mohammed's efforts to seize and plunder Meccan 
caravans had hitherto failed, Zeid arrived in good time. 
The Koreish not suspecting any danger in this direction, had 
sent no extra guard with their caravan, though one of great 
value, chiefly in precious metals. The men in charge of the 
caravan seeing no chance of resisting such an armed force, 
took to flight, without striking a blow, and the whole rich 
booty fell into Zeid's hands. The value was so great that 
each warrior received a thousand dirhems for his portion and 
Mohammed's fifth amounted to 20,000 or, according to others, 
25,000 dirhems. This was the first Meccan caravan falling 
as a prize into the hands of the Moslems ; and it was a most 
costly one. No wonder that Zeid's fame as a successful 
leader was at once established, and that in the following wars 
he was often intrusted with the supreme command. 

The blow thus inflicted by Zeid upon Mecca was not re- 
stricted to the loss of an entire caravan, though this was a 
very serious disaster by itself. What the Koreish must have 
felt still more acutely was the conviction, thus forced upon 
them, that as their western, so also their eastern, route to 
Syria, was actually at the mercy of their Moslem adversaries ; 
and that, in fact, their very existence was threatened, which to 
a great extent depended on their trade and the safety of the 
roads for their mercantile expeditions. Seeing that they were 
now hemmed in, and that their most vital interests were at 
stake, they could no longer postpone a supreme military effort 
The trading interests themselves, though as a rule opposed 
to war, now loudly demanded the punishment of the daring 
Moslem marauders, by an immediate attack upon their terri- 

156 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 


tory. Already a year ago, after the disaster of Bedr, the 
grandees of Mecca had agreed that the bulk of the profit 
accruing from the caravan which Abu Sofyan's clever 
management had brought back in safety, should be devoted 
to war preparations against Medina, and Abu Sofyan himself 
is reported to have contributed the large sum of 40 ounces of 
gold. But nothing decisive was done, till now it had become 
plain that either trade must cease, or Medina be severely 
chastised. By enlisting the neighbouring Bedouin tribes, 
Mecca raised an army of 3000 men, amongst them 700 clad 
in armour, with 3000 camels and 200 horses. The chief 
command of these troops was deservedly intrusted to the 
dexterous hand of Abu Sofyan, and they reached the neigh- 
bourhood of Medina early in spring 625. They laid waste 
the barley fields ; but found that the rural population, with 
their implements and cattle, had taken shelter in the city. 
For Mohammed had been informed of their approach, and 
there may be some truth in the tradition that his uncle 
Abbas, looking to future contingencies, was already acting 
a double part, and had sent timely warning to his nephew 
of the war preparations going on in Mecca. 

Mohammed, advised by men of experience like Abd Allah 
Ibn Obei, at first wished to act on the defensive, by letting 
his men protect the town and placing the women and children 
on the tops of the houses, supplied with stones and other 
missiles, to be used against an attacking foe. But the 
younger and more daring men did not wish to remain quiet 
whilst their fields were being devastated by the enemy. 
They were afraid their Bedouin neighbours might interpret 
it as cowardice and afterwards likewise venture to attack 
them. Moreover, they alluded to the supernatural aid so 
repeatedly promised by their prophet. Mohammed yielded 
to these representations, and adopted the plan of quitting 
the town and meeting the enemy in the open field. Events 
proved this change to have been an unwise one ; and had 
the Koreish shown more pluck during the battle, and made 
a sudden rush on the city, it might have led to a catastrophe. 

Mohammed relied on the daring courage of his followers, 
though they amounted to only one thousand. Seeing the 
Jewish confederates join his army in a disorderly crowd, he 


bade them stop behind. He evidently no longer entertained 
any confidence in the fidelity of the Jews, and already 
meditated getting rid of them altogether. When he had 
advanced three miles from the city, to the foot of the rugged 
mountain of Ohod^ he found himself face to face with the 
enemy. Abd Allah Ibn Obei was now struck still more 
forcibly with the great mistake made by Mohammed in 
rejecting his counsel; and he avenged himself by at 
once returning to Medina with 300 partisans from the Beni 
Salama and Beni Haritha. Thereby the Moslem army be- 
came indeed reduced to 700 combatants, of whom 100 were 
clad in armour, but they were all the more firmly united by 
a common sense of their extreme danger. Their rear was 
protected by the mountain, on a spur of which Mohammed 
had placed himself with fifty well-trained archers, to ward 
off the hostile cavalry. 

The battle began, as usual, with a series of single combats 
in which several of the Koreishite champions were killed by 
Moslem heroes. Abu Amir, the Christian monk, began the 
attack. He led a company of from fifty to sixty, or, accord- 
ing to other accounts, of only fifteen, like-minded compatriots 
who had all been forced to leave their home in Medina and 
seek an asylum in the rival city. They opened the battle by 
a vigorous discharge of arrows and stones, but met with so 
stubborn a resistance that they had to retreat The Moslem 
warriors now made a desperate onslaught, sword in hand, 
and, according to the account of their own historians, com- 
pletely put the Meccans to flight and sent their women, who 
had been brought to stimulate them with their music, 
clambering up the mountains, screaming with terror. But 
considering the very small number of the slain, it would rather 
seem that this flight was a mere feint, for entrapping the 
Moslems into the ditches which had previously been dug for 
this very purpose. The Moslems, in the joy of their sup- 
posed victory, had no sooner begun what always had an 
irresistible attraction for them, namely, to plunder the 
enemy's camp, when the clever cavalry leader Khalid, who 
had been carefully watching the enemy's movements, swept 
round with his horsemen and took the Moslems in the rear. 
By this manoeuvre he caused such consternation amongst 


158 N/S FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il. 

the enemies that some were killed by their own party, and 
their main army with difficulty managed to retreat to the 
mountain of Ohod, to re-form under its shelter. 

This cavalry charge had proved most destructive to the 
Moslems. Their slain amounted to 70 or 75, amongst whom 
was Mohammed's valiant uncle Hamza and three other re- 
fugees. The victory was decidedly on the side of the Meccans, 
who lost altogether only 22 men killed Mohammed's own 
life had for a while been in danger. He was hit by a stone, 
bruising his lip and depriving him of a tooth. A blow from 
a sword drove two helmet-rings into his flesh ; and he fell 
into one of the ditches from which he could not extricate 
himself alone, being weighed down by a double armour 
with which he had guarded himself against the dangers of 
the day. His enemies already believed that their triumph 
had been crowned with his death ; but his cry, * Who 
will sacrifice himself for us } ' was heard in time to bring 
friends to his rescue, and he was soon taken to a place of 
safety, on the mount, where his defeated army had likewise 
found shelter. The two armies remained for a time at 
speaking distance and reproached each other in Arab fashion : 
but the revenge taken was considered sufficient for the pre- 
sent, and they parted with the mutual threat, * Next year we 
shall meet again at Bedr.' Abu Sofyan, it is true, showed a 
disposition to complete his work forthwith, by utterly crush- 
ing the defeated enemy ; but he could not persuade the 
cautious moderation of his fellow-citizens. They were afraid 
of goading the enemy into a resistance of despair and advised 
the return home, content with having thus far repaid the 
debt of Bedr. 

Some time after the enemy had departed, Mohammed 
followed in the same direction with his whole army, as far 
as Hamra, where they remained several days, in order to 
produce the appearance of not being cowed, but able to 
pursue an enemy retreating before them. However, the 
defeat was undeniable, and threatened the prestige of the 
militant prophet, whilst in Medina the loss of so many brave 
men was deeply felt. The lamentations by the women, for 
their loved dead, were so loud and heart-rending that they 
had to be checked by a special order. Mohammed was not 


at a loss for words of comfort and explanation. According 
to Ibn Hisham he declared concerning his uncle Hamza, 
whose dead body had been found shockingly mutilated, 
' Gabriel has paid me a visit to bring me the glad tidings 
that Hamza is amongst the inmates of the seven heavens, 
and that there is an inscription to this effect: "Hamza, 
Abdu-1-Mottaleb's son, the lion of God and of His apostle." ' 
According to Ibn Ishak he af&rmed, that all those who had 
been slain in the path of God would rise on the day of the 
resurrection, with their wounds shining red and emitting a 
blood of musk-like aroma. The same authority also assures 
us that, amongst the revelations concerning the affair of 
Ohod, the single Sura £1 Amran contains sixty verses in 
which Mohammed's measures are justified and the blame of 
defeat is laid on the greed and disobedience of his followers. 
But in spite of all these extenuations, the awkward fact 
remains that the Prophet rejected the good advice of a man 
whom he had supplanted, in favour of other counsels, which 
led to a great disaster. 

(7.) In consequence of his defeat at Ohod^ Mohammed has to 
meet several hostile demonstrations of Bedouin tribes^ 
and afterwards a protracted siege of Medina by a 
formidable Meccan army. 

The sham pursuit of the retreating Meccans by Mo- 
hammed deceived no one; and the undeniable defeat he 
had sustained, encouraged the keen-eyed Bedouin tribes to 
sundry hostile movements, against which he had to defend 
himself by warlike enterprises of a less important character. 
These occupied a great part of the two years which inter- 
vened between the battle of Ohod and the formidable but 
fruitless siege of Medina, by another Meccan army, again 
under the command of Abu Sofyan. 

The first who attempted to turn the calamity of Ohod to 
their own advantage, were the Beni Asad of Faid^ in the 
Nejd. Their chief Toleiha^ trusting in his horsemen and 
fleet camels, prepared a raid on Medinan territory, with the 
view of carrying away a portion of its flocks. But Mohammed 
received early information of the plan, and at once despatched 

i6o HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [br. i. ch. ii. 

150 chosen men under Abu Salma, at whose unexpected 
approach the Bedouins hastily dispersed, leaving a numerous 
herd of camels in their hands. Abu Salma had received a 
wound at the battle of Ohod which now re-opened, in con- 
sequence of this fresh exposure, and six months later caused 
his death. His wife, Om Salma, had only been a widow 
four months, when the Prophet put an end to her widowhood 
by adding her to the number of his own wives. 

A similar danger of invasion also threatened from the 
Beni Likyatiy near Taif, which the unscrupulous Prophet 
averted, by sending one of his fanatical tools to assassinate 
their chief. The assassin first insinuated himself into the 
confidence of the chief, and one night, when he was alone 
with him, treacherously murdered him by cutting off his 
head. This dastardly act earned for him a commendation 
from his master and an honourable reward in the shape of 
Mohammed's own staff. 

The Bedouins were not slow to repay such treachery in 
the same coin, and with interest. Instigated by the Lih- 
yanites, a caravan of the Beni Adhl and Kari applied to the 
Prophet for teachers, pretending that their tribe was* inclin- 
ing towards Islam. Mohammed unsuspectingly sent six or 
eight of his followers with them ; but having reached the 
well of Raji in the Hejaz, the teachers were suddenly 
pounced upon and slain. Still more serious was the case 
when a chief of the powerful Beni Amir of Nejd^ who, on a 
visit to Mohammed was pressed to embrace Islam, declined 
this for his own person, but said that if teachers were sent 
to his tribe, they would probably become converts. The 
Prophet was again taken in. He sent forty, or by some 
accounts even seventy, Moslems who had learned to read. 
But when they reached the well of Mauna, belonging to the 
Beni Soleim, they were surrounded and put to death. 
Mohammed was so indignant at this cruel perfidy, that for 
some weeks he, after morning prayer, invoked a solemn 
malediction on the heads of the guilty and their entire tribe. 

According to the mutual engagement after the battle of 
Ohod, the Meccans and the Moslems were to meet again in 
hostile array, at the fair of Bedr^ in spring 626. But the 
former, though making a great show of preparation, did not 


keep their word, on account of a severe drought which 
rendered it inadvisable to march with a large body of camels. 
They only proceeded a day's journey to Majanna, where 
they attended the fair and then returned. Mohammed, who 
probably received secret information of this, had therefore a 
good opportunity of re-establishing his prestige. He duly 
appeared at Bedr, with 1500 followers, the largest number 
he had as yet commanded. They had brought with them a 
rich supply of goods for the fair, and, as no enemy showed 
himself, they did a good business, realising 100 per cent, or, 
according to others, 200 per cent, profit 

Abu Sofyan was not remiss in collecting means for 
another stroke; but for the present the advantage rested 
with Mohammed. He was prepared, when soon after he 
learned that the Beni GJiatafan were collecting troops 
against him. He started with 400 or 800 men, and on 
reaching the mountains of Rikc^^ found the Bedouin camp in 
so formidable a position that he did not venture on an 
attack. The two armies were so near each other that, at 
the usual time of prayer, the Moslems alternated their ser- 
vice, one portion praying, and the other facing the enemy 
in battle-array. This mode of worship, in war, was thence- 
forth denominated * the service of danger.' Mohammed was 
contented with this demonstration of religious discipline and 
courage, and soon withdrew, carrying with him a number of 
captured womea This whole enterprise occupied only a 

The next expedition, that against Duma^ took up double 
that time. Duma lay fifteen days' march in a directly 
northern line from Medina, not far from the borders of 
Syria ; and its annual fair was frequented by many 
merchants and Bedouins. Mohammed's attempt in this 
direction was not occasioned so much by a threatening 
danger, as rather by the hope of plunder and the wish thus 
to make some impression on Syria and the Roman empire. 
He was accompanied by 1000 men, travelling at night and 
resting concealed by day. He did not attack the town of 
Duma itself, but, on having reached the oasis in which it was 
situated, he sent out corps in different directions to seize as 
many camels as they could. With many of the latter, but 


i62 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii, 

only a single prisoner, he returned to Medina. On the way 
he made friendship with Oyeina, chief of the powerful Beni 
Fezara, whom he permitted to pasture his flocks at a day's 
journey from the town. 

The great danger for Mohammed came from the south, 
from the direction of Mecca. Abu Sofyan was very active 
and tried to enlist on his side all the Bedouin tribes of the 
neighbourhood. Mohammed received information that on 
the north-west of Mecca, near the coast of the Red Sea, the 
Beni Mostalik were gathering with hostile intentions, under 
their chief Harith Ibn Dhirar. To overthrow them would 
be a discouragement to other confederates of the Koreish, 
and, at the same time, clear the way in the direction of Mecca 
Mohammed was well supported by every class in Medina 
and started with a large army and thirty horses. Against 
such a force the Mostaliks deemed resistance useless. They 
killed only one enemy, whilst ten of their own number were 
slain. The whole tribe, 200 families, with all their goods, 
including 2000 camels, fell into the hands of the victors. 
The chief's daughter Jowairia^ was so beautiful and attrac- 
tive that Aisha, as Ibn Ishak tells us, hated her from the 
moment she first set eyes on her. She augured right 
Mohammed could not resist those charms, and, without delay, 
procured her liberty and added her to the number of his 
wives. In honour of the occasion the whole tribe was 
liberated, as now joined to the Prophet by the ties of 
kindred. It was good policy to attach to himself, by this 
liberal treatment, a Bedouin tribe living so near Mecca, 
and on the usual caravan road to Syria. 

An incident, happening before he left the territory of the 
Beni Mostalik, showed that his position in Medina was not 
yet altogether free from internal danger. Amidst the bustle 
round the well of Moreisi an altercation, resulting in blows, 
arose between a native of Medina and a refugee, during 
which each of them called on his own party for assistance. 
The excitement grew hot on both sides, and Abd Allah Ibn 
Obei gave vent to the threat, 'I look upon these low 
Koreish in the light of the ancient saying, " Fatten a dog 
and it will eat thee up : but, by Allah ! when we return to 
Medina, the strong shall cast out the low."' As soon as 


Mohammed heard of this, he ordered the camp to be struck, 
and marched his troops for a day and a night, without halt- 
ing, to make them forget the quarrel. Peace was restored, 
and even Abd Allah, who soon saw cause to regret his out- 
spokenness and to fear for his life, was spared. One of his 
friends said to Mohammed, concerning him, ' He himself is 
the low and thou the strong ; if thou wilt, thou canst cast 
him out But pity him ; for when God brought thee to us, 
his people were already preparing the pearls for crowning 
him, and he believes that thou hast robbed him of his empire.' 
It appeared more prudent, at the time, to be conciliatory to 
such a man, than to drive him into the open arms of the 
Koreish enemies who still aimed at crushing the entire 
Moslem power. 

Another unpleasant affair resulted to Mohammed from 
this expedition against the Mostaliks. On the homeward 
journey of the army, Aisha remained behind at the last 
halting-place before Medina and next morning arrived alone, 
mounted on a camel, which was led by a young man named 
Safwan. She affirmed that, whilst walking about in search 
of a precious necklace which she had dropped, the army 
departed and unwittingly left her behind, whereupon Safwan, 
who had been accidentally delayed by some business, 
observed her, and safely conducted her home. But the 
general talk was, that the adventure implied a conjugal 
misconduct on her part. This was all the more natural, on 
account of the recent addition to the objects of her rivalry in 
the person of the beautiful Jowairia. Mohammed seems to 
have at first shared the general opinion and let his youthful 
wife feel that he suspected her. She became ill and received 
permission to return home, in order to be cared for by her 
mother. Repudiation seemed impending and Ali hinted to his 
father-in-law that there was no lack of women to supply her 
place, a suggestion which may account for the ill-feeling ever 
afterwards shown by Aisha to Ali. But it was not politic 
to wound his oldest and best friend Abu Bekr by disgracing 
his daughter. Her tears and attractions, after a few weeks' 
estrangement, softened the Prophet's heart. The slanderers 
were silenced by being publicly flogged ; and he paid his 
injured wife a visit in the house of her parents. Whilst there, 


i64 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

he had one of those singular revelations which were but 
expressions of the thoughts and bent of his own mind. He 
exclaimed, *Good news for thee, Aisha! God has revealed 
thy innocence.' Aisha herself was surprised, and when 
narrating the story in after life, modestly confessed, 'I 
considered myself too mean and insignificant to hope that 
on my account God would reveal what thenceforth had to 
be read in the mosques and recited at prayers, as part of 
the Koran.' 

About the same time, the scandalous affair also took place 
between Mohammed and Zeinab, his adopted son Zeid's wife, 
which is already recorded (p. 82-3). That conduct, marked 
by such loose morality and such thinly disguised deception, 
did not at once prove ruinous to Mohammed's assumed 
character as a prophet and his general influence, plainly 
shows the indiscriminating credulity of his followers and the 
ascendency he had already gained in Medina, by the support 
of a compact body of warriors and the secret terrorism of his 
system of government A fresh stroke was now about to be 
aimed at him from Mecca, more threatening than any 
previous one ; but he dexterously parried it, and the storm 
only served him to strike the roots of his power more deeply 
and widely. 

Abu Sofyan, especially since the Moslems had appeared 
in gfreat force at Bedr and he been obliged to break his 
engagement of meeting them there, had been very busy 
preparing for a decisive blow against Medina. He collected 
money from house to house, accepting no contribution 
under one ounce of gold and bringing all possible pressure to 
bear upon the people, so jthat soon a considerable sum was 
at his disposal. Thus it had become possible to raise a 
great army and to secure the co-operation of many Bedouin 
tribes. Sufferers from Mohammedan oppression, such as 
Abd Allah Ibn Obei and sundry Jews, especially from the 
lately expatriated Nadhir tribe, zealously assisted in promot- 
ing these objects, hoping the complete destruction of the 
Moslem cause might thus be brought about Ibn Ishak 
narrates that the Koreish said to these Jews, * You are the 
men who possess the ancient Scripture and know what we 
contend about with Mohammed ; now tell us which religion 



is the best, ours or his ? ' They, incensed by his unjustifiable 
religious pretensions, and smarting under the recent effects 
of his political violence, unscrupulously replied, * Your reli- 
gion is the better of the two, and you are nearer the truth 
than he.' Wily Abu Sofyan gladly accepted any assistance 
in promotion of his plan, and Mecca resounded with the din 
of preparations for war. Even if the Moslem historians 
exaggerate in estimating the hostile army at 10,000 strong, 
its number was no doubt a formidable one. Mecca alone 
raised 4000 men, including 300 horse and 1 500 camels ; the 
Bedouins of the Beni Soleim, Ghatafan, Fezara, Asad, Ashja, 
and Morra, joined with several thousands more. The chief 
command naturally was in the hands of Abu Sofyan ; but 
the chieftains of the different tribes retained much indepen- 
dence, a circumstance which did not enhance the efficiency 
of the army. It was in spring 627 that these hosts began 
to move northwards, in the direction of Medina. 

Mohammed had received full information of what was 
going on in Mecca, and prepared to ward off the threatening 
blow. At the battle of Ohod he had acted contrary to the 
wise counsel of his rival Abd Allah Ibn Obei, by marching 
forth to meet the enemy, and suffered defeat by so doing ; now 
he benefited by past experience and kept his men close to the 
town, leaving the attack to the enemy. It was evidently a 
wise disposition, to assign to his army, which was by far the 
smaller of the two, consisting of only 3000 men, the less 
onerous task of acting strictly on the defensive. The town, 
with its houses built of stone and closely joining each other, 
was comparatively easy of defence, and this advantage was 
heightened at the suggestion of Salman, a Persian resident, 
by the formation of a deep ditch, lining an open space on 
which the army could be collected, secure against any sudden 
surprise from the enemy's cavalry. As soon as the con- 
federate army had reached the neighbourhood, Mohammed 
and his warriors took up their position in the wide open 
space, bordered by the city on one side and by the newly 
made ditch and rampart on the other. The city had thus 
been converted into a sort of fortified camp, which was quite 
a new thing in Arab warfare. The confederates taunted the 
Moslems with the innovation, as an intended substitute for 

i66 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

personal valour ; but the ditch and dike proved an effectual 
barrier to their cavalry and largely contributed to their 
Ignominious failure. Another great advantage on the side 
of the besieged was this, that they had been able toi collect 
all the produce of the field within the city, so that there was 
plenty of food for man and beast, whilst the enemy found the 
whole neighbourhood bare and had to send foraging parties 
to a great distance. The ditch and rampart keeping the two 
armies apart, there could not be the single combats so usual 
in Arab warfare. But it was easy for the confederates, from 
their superiority of numbers, to keep the city in perpetual 
alarm, by incessant and constantly changing attacks on 
different parts of the city, compelling the defenders to divide 
into several corps, so as to be speedily at hand on every 
point which might be threatened. These sudden attacks 
were generally made and repulsed by means of shooting 
arrows and throwing stones. They were rather harassing 
than sanguinary. 

After these resultless alarms had been kept up for some 
time, a little band of four daring horsemen succeeded in 
crossing the ditch, at a spot where it was narrow, and thus 
broke the novel spell of the fortifications, for a moment. 
But instead of immediately securing the ground they had 
gained and seeking to facilitate the crossing over of the army 
after them, they recklessly advanced, and one of them, the 
aged Amr, who wished to avenge a wound he had received 
at Bedr, loudly challenged any of the Moslems to single 
combat The Moslems were not slow in occupying the weak 
point of the ditch ; and one of them, the heroic Ali, took up 
the challenge to the duel. After a brief combat, Amr was 
killed, and lay stretched upon the ground * like the trunk of 
a tree.' Then his three companions sought safety in a swift 
retreat, but only two of them succeeded, and the third, unable 
to clear the ditch, was cut down there by a pursuer. In the 
night the dangerous part of the ditch was widened and 
deepened, under the direction of Salman the Persian, and for 
some days longer the hostile armies remained face to face, 
and exchanged showers of arrows across the ditch which 
kept them asunder. These arrows did little harm, and we 
can form an idea of the very unbloody character of the 


blustering Arab wars of those days, and especially of the 
absence of martial qualities amongst the allied forces of 
Meccan traders and greedy Bedouins, when we are told that, 
during this close siege of several weeks, the Moslems had 
only five men killed, and the entire loss of the confederates 
amounted to three, inclusive of the two heroes who dared to 
beard the Moslem lions in their den behind the ditch. 

Both sides evinced a greater partiality for cunning and 
secret machinations, than for self-sacrificing heroism. Mo- 
hammed was ready to buy off the powerful Beni Ghatafan 
and to induce them to desert the Meccans, by the offer of the 
third part of Medina's date harvest He had already made 
progress in his secret negotiations with their chiefs, one of 
whom, Oyeina, was under obligation to him for a former act 
of kindness, during a season of drought ; but the plan had 
to be relinquished, because the leading men of Medina were 
reluctant to part with their dates. Abu Sofyan, on his part, 
made underhand efforts to induce the Beni Koreiza, the only 
Jewish tribe still remaining in Medina, to play falsely to 
Mohammed by raising the banner of revolt in the city itself 
and openly embracing the cause of the besiegers. But the 
Jews considered such a step fraught with too great a peril ; 
for Moslem soldiers were constantly patrolling the streets, 
and the Jews were well enough acquainted with Arab fidelity 
to apprehend that they might be deserted and left to Moslem 
vengeance, in case the confederate cause did not triumph. 
All these intrigues from both sides did not lead to any 
practical result, and, as spies were freely employed, only 
served to increase distrust against the suspected parties and 
to lessen the disposition to risk a decisive engagement 

When the siege had lasted for two or three weeks, Medina 
was still intact behind its dike and effectually guarded by 
its untiring defenders ; but the hosts of besieging Bedouins 
were sorely pressed by want of provisions for the men and 
fodder for their numerous camels. The hardships of the 
Meccan army were increasing, and no gain accrued to com- 
pensate for them. At last a violent tempest, with cold wind 
and pouring rain, swept over the district, so that the tents 
were blown down, the cooking-pots upset, and the fires 
extinguished. According to Ibn Ishak, one of Mohammed's 




i68 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

spies returned from the hostile camp, reporting that he had 
heard Abu Sofyan making this address to his people, * We 
cannot remain here any longer. Cattle and camels are dying. 
The Beni Koreiza have deserted us and we have heard evil 
tidings of them. The wind troubles us, so that, as you see, no 
pot and no tent remains standing and no fire bums. Up ! I 
remain here no longer.' To depict Abu Sofyan*s haste, the 
Mohammedan historian says, ' He mounted his camel and 
urged it on by blows, even before it was untied' The 
Bedouins were but too glad to repack their camels and 
march in front of the soldiers. The whole army left in 
good order, having its rear protected by the cavalry. 

Mohammed also was greatly relieved by the turn events 
had taken. Not to have been defeated in combat, not to 
have his stronghold wrested from him by force, despite the 
number and formidable appearance of the enemy opposed to 
him, could not but raise his prestige almost as much as if 
he had gained an actual victory. But he did not think it 
prudent, this time, to quit the shelter of his rampart, and 
risk an encounter with the retreating enemy's cavalry by 
another pretence at pursuit, as he had done at the close of the 
Ohod affair. He now saw a nearer and an easier road to the 
promotion of his prestige and power. The Jews of Medina 
were to be entirely crushed, and thus every vestige of danger, 
threatening his capital through their neutrality or hostility, 
removed for ever. Accordingly, the final consummation of 
his anti-Jewish policy will now have to occupy our attention 
for a while. 

(8.) Mohammed's anti-Jewish policy leads to the heartless 
overthrow of the Jewish tribes of Medina and the unjust 
conquest of Khaibar with other Jewish cotmnunities. 

We have already traced the growth of the complete 
rupture which took place between Mohammed and the Jews, 
owing to their determined refusal to recognise in him the pro- 
mised Messiah, the long-expected prophet of God (p. 13 1-4) ; 
and we have also surveyed his equally antagonistic position 
towards Christianity and the Christians (p. 135-9). Now we 
can give a consecutive account of the arbitrary measures 


which he adopted against the Jews, as soon as he dared to 
do so, and which he persistently carried through to the 
bitter end, by his heartless massacre of the Beni Koreiza 
and by his no less brutal conquest of the Jewish colony at 
Khaibar. We therefore now turn back a couple of years, to 
about the time of the battle of Bedr, and take up the thread 
of our narrative where we then left it 

The three Jewish tribes who lived in Medina formed a 
very important portion of the population of that place. 
They were distinguished for their learning, their industry, 
and even their warlike ability. Had they combined, they 
could have presented a formidable front to Mohammed which 
he would not have found easy to break through. But being 
disunited, and even, at times, fighting against each other, as 
allies of mutually opposed Arab factions, they were doomed 
to succumb. 

The first to fall as victims of Mohammed's vengeance, were 
some individuals of the Jewish persuasion who had made 
themselves obnoxious above others, by attacking him in 
verse. He managed to produce an impression amongst the 
people that he would like to be rid of them. The hint was 
readily taken up by persons anxious to ingratiate themselves 
in the Prophet's favour. The gifted woman Asma and the 
hoary poet Abu Afak were both murdered in their sleep: 
the former while slumbering on her bed, with an infant in her 
arms ; the latter whilst lying, for coolness* sake, in an open 
verandah. No one dared to molest the assassin of either of 
these victims ; for it was no secret that the foul deeds had 
been approved of by the Prophet, and that he had treated 
the perpetrators with marked favour. 

Finding that the public thus quietly accepted and tacitly 
indorsed the murder of individual Jews, Mohammed con- 
sidered the way open for taking another and a more decisive 
step towards the execution of his anti-Jewish projects. An 
entire Jewish tribe was now to be got rid off, and this despite 
the defensive and offensive treaty-engagements which existed 
between Mohammed and the Jews, since the early part of his 
residence in Medina 

In selecting the tribe which was to fall as the first victim 
of his avarice and cruelty, the calculating Prophet showed 

I70 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

his usual shrewd appreciation of circumstances. Two of the 
Jewish tribes of Medina, the Beni Nadhir and the Beni 
Koreiza, had long been the allies of the powerful Awsites, 
amongst whom Islam had as yet made slower and smaller 
progress ; but the third, the Beni Keinoka^ who had been the 
ancient allies of the less powerful Khazrajites, in whose midst 
the profession of Islam had become general, were now left 
isolated, because the brotherhood of the new religion had 
superseded the former bonds of amity and alliance. They 
could therefore be attacked with comparatively little risk, 
inasmuch as their Arab allies had either become staunch 
Moslems, or at least outwardly conformed to the new order 
of things ; and their removal appeared all the more desirable, 
because, as artisans, they occupied a convenient and central 
part of the city. Hence the Beni Keinoka were fixed upon 
by the astute Prophet as the first victims of a policy which 
aimed at the entire removal of the Jews, in order to make 
room for himself and his followers. 

He did not delay the execution of this selfish purpose 
longer than was necessary, but entered upon it as soon as 
his victory at Bedr enabled him to do so. Ibn Hisham 
narrates, * When God had visited the Koreish on the battle- 
day of Bedr, Mohammed returned to Medina and assembling 
the Jews on the bazar of the Beni Keinoka, said to them, 
" O ye Jews, believe in Islam, ere God visit you like the 
Koreish." But they answered, " Be not deceived by thy 
imagination. Thou hast indeed slain some Koreishites who 
were without experience and knowledge of war ; but, by 
God ! if thou make war with us, thou wilt find that we are 
men the like of whom thou hast not yet encountered " ' — a 
boast which they soon after flagrantly belied. Mohammed 
was not the man to be turned aside from his plans by vain 
boasts or empty threats. 

The actual outbreak of hostilities had not long to be 
waited for, and Mohammedan historians narrate it in this way. 
A Moslem woman went to the market of the Beni Keinoka 
to sell milk, and sat down in front of a goldsmith's shop. 
Being veiled, the Jewish shopkeeper annoyed her in a 
manner which caused her to blush and to weep. This was 
witnessed by a Mussulman, who forthwith slew the offending 


goldsmith ; and he, in his turn, was slain by the Jews. The 
Moslems, indignant at this, now called all their brethren to 
arms : and thus the war began. If this story, told by Mos- 
lem biographers to explain the cause of the conflict, was 
well founded on fact — which is improbable, because at the 
time to which it refers the injunction to veil had not yet 
been given, — it could only account for the outbreak of hostili- 
ties at this particular moment. Its real cause lay much 
deeper, and must surely have led to war, sooner or later, 
without any such accidental occurrence, which, moreover, 
could have been so easily settled by gentler means than war 
and expatriation. Mohammed, only too glad to avail him- 
self of any plausible pretext for commencing open hostilities, 
summoned his followers to arms and surrounded the quarter 
of the Beni Keinoka. This was all the more easy, because, 
being artisans, mostly gold and silver smiths, they lived close 
together within the city and were not scattered on planta- 
tions like the other Jews. 

The beleaguered Jews defended their fortified houses for 
a fortnight; but being deserted, in this hour of need, by 
their former allies, the Khazrajites, in whose cause they had 
often shed their blood, and expecting no help from the two 
other Jewish tribes, against whom they had often fought on 
the side of Arabs ; they thought it better to surrender, than 
further irritate their implacable foe. Obada, one of the lead- 
ing Khazrajites, went to Mohammed and formally renounced 
his obligations towards his former allies, handing them over 
to the Prophet's discretion. Abd Allah Ibn Obei, whose 
attachment to Islam was not so strong, indeed sympathised 
with his former confederates, but dared not openly join their 
ranks. The only thing he ventured to do was, to insist 
strongly on having their lives spared. When they had 
surrendered, and were already being bound, in preparation 
for execution, he went to Mohammed to induce him not to 
slay them. Ibn Ishak thus describes the scene : * Moham- 
med at first turned away from him, and when Abd Allah 
held him by the armour, to stop him, he called out, " Let me 
go!" and became so enraged that his face turned quite 
dark. But Abd Allah swore, saying, " I will not let thee 
go till thou relentest towards my clients : they are 700 


172 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. 11. 

warriors, including 300 clad in armour, who have often 
protected me against the red and against the black : them 
thou mayest not cut off in one morning ; for, by Allah ! I 
apprehend a change of fortune." Thereupon Mohammed 
said, " Well, I will grant them to thee." * Thus it is seen 
that it required all the importunities of Abd Allah, who 
was looked upon by Mohammed as a hypocrite, to keep the 
sanctimonious Prophet from crowning his violence against 
the Keinokas by massacring them in cold blood. Their 
lives were spared, but their houses and goods, including 
their arms and suits of armour, were seized as prey, and 
they themselves, with women and children, expelled the 
country. Obada was commissioned by Mohammed to 
superintend and expedite their departure. They went first 
to Wadi el Kora where the Jewish inhabitants assisted 
them, and then proceeded further, to settle in Syria. 

A beginning had now been made by Mohammed to 
carry out his plan of pushing the Jews out of the way, so 
as to establish himself in their stead, and to increase his 
power with their spoil. After the expulsion of the Keinoka, 
he at once cast his longing eyes on the rich palm-plantations 
of the Bent Nadhir^ but a short distance from the city. 
They boasted of a sacerdotal descent, and lived together 
by themselves in a comely suburb, fortified by a number of 
strong towers. One of their more influential Rabbis was 
Kab Ibn Ashraf who had looked favourably upon Moham- 
med, till he changed the Kibla from Jerusalem to Mecca. 
Then he became his decided opponent, attacking him and 
his religion in verse, and working against him in various 
ways. He was to fall first as a victim to Mohammed's 
vindictiveness. The Prophet despatched four men, amongst 
them Kab's own foster-brother, to assassinate him, and 
sanctioned beforehand any lie or stratagem which they 
might see fit to employ, so as to lure him aside. It was 
dark when they arrived at his house, and he was already 
in bed ; but they cunningly prevailed upon him to come 
out to them, and when they had him alone in the dark, 
they foully murdered him. Mohammed remained up, to 
await their return ; and when they showed him Kab's head, 
he commended their deed, and praised Allah. But on the 


following morning, when the assassination had become 
generally known, the Jews, as Ibn Ishak informs us, were 
struck with terror, and none of them regarded his life safe 
any longer. 

The blow intended for the whole Nadhir tribe did not 
delay many months. One day Mohammed, with a con- 
siderable suite, including Abu Bekr, Omar, and Ali, appeared 
amongst the Beni Nadhir, for the ostensible purpose of 
asking them to contribute their share towards the blood- 
money which had to be paid to a confederate tribe, because 
some of their men had been wrongfully slain by a Moslem. 
The Beni Nadhir received the party with marked respect, 
promised ready compliance with their request, and hospitably 
invited them to a repast On account of the heat, they 
were sitting in the open air, Mohammed leaning his back 
against the wall of a house. After a while, he suddenly 
rose and walked away, without saying a word. He was 
expected to return directly ; but as he delayed, his friends 
looked after him, and found that he had returned to the 
city. They followed him ; and he told them that the 
cause of his sudden departure was an intimation he had 
received from heaven, that one of the Jews was going to 
ascend the roof of the house, beneath which they were 
sitting, to throw down a stone upon him. Unlikely as it 
is that the Jews meditated such a step under such circum- 
stances, it is quite possible that the dastardly assassination 
of Kab now weighed on Mohammed's conscience, and 
engendered in him the fear which he expressed in language, 
adapted to his prophetic character. Judging others by 
himself, he coukl not but dread vengeance, from the hand 
of those who had suffered from his treachery and violence. 

The preconceived plan, which the story about the 
intended stone-throwing had to justify, was now at once 
carried out. Mohammed collected his followers, and 
marched with them against the Beni Nadhir, who barricaded 
themselves in their houses and towers. When they 
showed no signs of surrender, after a siege of six days, 
but still valiantly defended themselves with arrows and 
stones, Mohammed had recourse to a barbarous measure, 
contrary to the Arab usages of war, and expressly forbidden 

174 ^^S FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

by the Law of Moses (Deut xx. 19). He gave orders to 
cut down and burn the trees of their fine palm-fields, their 
chief wealth, so as to drive them to despair, and to force 
them to yield. They gave vent to their indignation, by 
calling out, ' Oh Mohammed ! didst thou not forbid to cause 
devastation, and blame him who does it ? How canst thou 
let these date-trees be cut down and burnt ? * But seeing 
him determined to destroy the future means of their 
livelihood, and having no longer any hope of military 
succour from Arab sympathisers and former allies, not 
even from their fellow Jews, the Beni Koreiza, they at last, 
after a siege of two or three weeks, capitulated. 

Through the intercession of old friends amongst the 
professed Moslems, their lives were spared, and they were 
allowed a camel-load of their substance, with the exception 
of arms and suits of armour ; but their emigration from the 
country, within a few days, was rigidly insisted upon. 
According to some tradition, each three men were only 
allowed one camel and one sword ; and in several instances 
the camel's load had to be completed by the ornamented 
door-posts of their houses. They are reported to have left 
with their wives, and children, and substance, amidst the 
sounds of music, some singing songs, others playing cymbals 
and flutes. If this is true, they must have been strongly 
impressed with the peril, in which they had been, of losing 
not only their possessions, but also their lives, and of having 
their wives and children reduced to a state of abject slavery. 
A portion of them joined their brethren in Khaibar, and the 
rest, with greater prudence and foresight, went on to Syria. 
Only two of the number consented to save their property, 
by embracing Islam. 

The spoil falling into the hands of the Moslems was 
considerable ; and as there had been no regular fighting, 
Mohammed claimed the right of freely disposing of it. He 
saw his opportunity for compensating his fellow-refugees 
from Mecca, by making them rich landowners in Medina. 
The whole booty was distributed amongst them, and only 
two of the Moslem natives, who were poor, also received a 
share. This happened in summer 625. Mohammed's high- 
handed disposal of the spoil, the barbarous destruction of 


date-trees, and his whole conduct towards the Beni Nadhir, 
naturally caused much unpleasant talk amongst the dis- 
affected. But he knew how to silence every objection. A 
revelation from heaven justified him in every particular, and 
can still be read in the 59th Sura of the Koran. 

Two years later, as we have already seen, the great 
army of Meccans and Bedouins laid siege to Medina, and 
threatened to involve it in a catastrophe. Fugitives of the 
Beni Nadhir, smarting under a sense of their wrongs, helped 
to incite the Koreish to this vast effort of revenge ; and, 
during the siege, attempts were made to induce the Beni 
Koreiza, the only Jewish tribe still left in Medina, openly 
to break with Mohammed, and to join the side of the 
besiegers. Though it does not appear that those attempts 
convinced the cautious foresight of the Jews, and proved 
successful with them, yet they sufficed to show Mohammed 
that the continuance of a Jewish tribe in Medina might, 
under certain circumstances, endanger the town. Accus- 
tomed, as he already was, to regard as right whatever seemed 
to advance his interests, he did not scruple to make this 
last remaining tribe of Jews a holocaust to his selfishness. 
The cruel project was to be carried out forthwith ; and the 
Jews were to be taken by surprise. 

But the Mussulman historians, as is their wont, represent 
that the sanguinary measure was only taken in obedience 
to a direct injunction from heaven. Ibn Ishak's narrative 
is this : * On the following morning, after the withdrawal of 
the confederate army from Medina, Mohammed, with the 
faithful, left the rampart and returned into the city to lay 
down their arms. But about noon the angel Gabriel, 
wearing a turban of silk, and mounted on a mule, in 
trappings of damask, came to Mohammed and asked him, 
" Hast thou already laid down thy arms ? " He answered 
" Yes." Gabriel continued, " But the angels have not yet 
laid down their arms ; and I am come to summon the 
people to war ; for God commands thee to march against 
the Beni Koreiza, and I myself am going thither to shake 
their towers." Mohammed at once ordered a proclamation 
to be made that no man was to say the afternoon prayer 
an)^here but in the Koreiza quarter. He sent Ali with a 


176 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

flag in advance against the Beni Koreiza, and the people 
gathered around him in haste/ 

The quarter of the Jews was now closely invested ; but 
they bravely defended themselves, for twenty-five days, from 
their towers and barricaded houses. When it had become 
evident that Mohammed would not raise the siege, before 
he had obtained his object, one of their number proposed to 
them, either to acknowledge the Arab Prophet, or, by a 
desperate effort, to break through the circle of besiegers. But 
his proposal was rejecjted, and he then indignantly upbraided 
them with never having formed any serious resolution since 
their birth. They preferred to treat with Mohammed ; and, at 
their request, he sent to them as delegate one of the Awsites, 
their former confederates. On their asking him whether he 
would advise them to surrender to Mohammed, he told 
them they had better do so ; but, at the same time, he put his 
hand to his throat, signifying that they must be prepared to 
have their throats cut. He was touched by the women and 
children pressing round him, weeping and trembling; but 
he had no authority to offer them better terms than uncon- 
ditional surrender. They longed to escape from the 
privations of the siege, and with the example of the Beni 
Keinoka and Nadhir fresh in their minds, whose lives, 
though likewise threatened, had yet been spared, they 
capitulated, trusting in the Prophet's clemency. 

But he had now his hands freer than formerly and could 
afford to disappoint their hope. In the night of the surrender, 
four Jews embraced Islam and thus saved their life and 
liberty ; and in the morning, the Awsites approached Mo- 
hammed to intercede for the lives of the rest, saying, * These 
Jews are our confederates ; and thou knowest how thou didst 
formerly deal with those who were confederates of the Beni 
Khazraj.' This placed him in a dilemma : he wished to kill 
the Jews and yet not to offend the Awsites. His cunning 
was equal to the occasion : he discovered a way of extricat- 
ing himself from his dilemma. A prominent man of the 
Awsites, Saad Ibn Moadz by name, had been wounded during 
the siege and lay in the mosque, without hope of recovery. 
With him Mohammed had a conversation and then addressed 
the Awsites thus, 'Are you content, if I appoint one of 


your own tribe as arbiter in the matter ? ' and as soon as 
they had reph'ed in the affirmative, he added, 'Saad Ibn 
Moadz is the man I appoint' Saad being too ifl to walk, a 
leathern bolster was laid on a donkey for him, and he was 
thus conveyed before Mohammed and the assembled people. 
On the way he was exhorted by humane persons to be lenient 
to his former confederates whose destiny had now been placed 
in his hands ; but he answered, ' It is now time that I should 
do nothing blameworthy in the sight of God.' He was 
received with an unusual demonstration of respect, by Mo- 
hammed's special order ; and having first taken the formal 
promise that his decision should be accepted as final, he said, 
* My judgment is, that the men should be killed, their goods 
divided, and their wives and children treated as captives.' 
The Prophet, relieved by this utterance, indorsed it on the 
spot, by saying, *Thy judgment agrees with that of God 
above the seven heavens.' 

He was now free to indulge his feelings of revenge 
against the Jews. They were to pay dearly for persevering 
in the denial of his pretensions to a prophetic mission. The 
women and children were torn from their husbands, brothers, 
and fathers ; the men, all manacled, were penned up for the 
night in a large shed, and Mohammed ordered long ditches 
to be dug in the market-place. On the following morning 
the butchery began under the Prophet's own eyes and lasted 
till night. The manacled Jews were led forth in small batches, 
made to sit down on the brink of the ditch, and after being 
cruelly put to death, hurled into it as their common 
grave. According to the Mohammedan historians, 600 to 
700 or 800 to 900 Jews were thus massacred in cold blood. 
Their lands, houses, and chattels were distributed among the 
conquerors, and the women and children appropriated as 
slaves. In dividing the booty, Mohammed assigned three 
portions to each horseman, one for himself and two for his 
horse, in order thus to encourage his followers to possess 
themselves of horses, which proved so invaluable to them in 
their future campaigns, especially when they undertook to 
invade the Roman empire and Persia. The spoil was so 
great that the Prophet's fifth alone included two hundred 
women and children. He selected the beautiful widow 


178 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il 

Raihana for his own harem, and the rest he bartered away to 
Bedouins for horses and arms. By such means as these, a 
man who called himself an ambassador of God solved his 
difficulties, and smoothed the way to wealth and power for 
himself and his followers. 

Seeing that Mohammed himself did not scruple to own 
and sell his fellow-men as slaves, how can we wonder that 
slavery has always been a recognised institution throughout 
the Mohammedan world ? It is but natural, that the religion 
of such a prophet should be as tolerant and favourable to the 
continuance of slavery, as the religion of Jesus Christ tends 
surely, though perhaps slowly, to bring about the cessation 
of this degraded condition of humanity .^ 

Medina was now clear of the Jews : two of the tribes had 
been banished, the third massacred, and those individuals 
who still remained, conformed, at least outwardly, to the new 
order of things and professed Islam. Mohammed had com- 
pletely triumphed and all his rivals were humbled to the dust 
The Jews were relatively weak, forming mere colonies of 
strangers in a land not originally their own, and the alliances 
they had formed with native Arabs could, therefore, be disre- 
garded by the latter with comparatively little risk. This, 
Mohammed and his friends were shrewd enough to perceive 
and to turn to their own advantage. They succeeded in 
getting rid of the three Jewish tribes, one by one, without 
having to encounter armed forces of confederates, hastening 
to their assistance. 

Thereby they became emboldened to extend their anti- 
Jewish policy still further and to aim at subjugating all other 
Jews of Arabia to their power, so that, thus strengthened, 

^ The celebrated philosopher Hegel beautifully recognises the superior 
excellency of Christianity in this respect, by saying in his Logic, p. 322, * The 
question has been raised as to the cause of the fact that slavery has disappeared 
from modem Europe, and, in answering it, sometimes one'circumstance has been 
mentioned, sometimes another. The true cause why there are no longer any 
slaves in Christian Europe is not to be looked for in anything but in the very 
principle of Christianity itself. The Christian religion is the religion of absolute 
liberty ; and it is only for the Christian that man as such possesses worth in his 
infiniteness and universality. What is lacking in the slave is the acknowledg- 
ment of his personality ; but the principle of personality is universality. The 
master tf^gards his slave not as a person, but an impersonal thing. The slave 
is not counted as a self, but the master is his self.' 


their ulterior object of uniting all Arabia under the banner 
of Islam might be all the more easily accomplished. The 
massacre of the Beni Koreiza took place A.D. 627, and 
in the spring, or, according to others, the autumn, of the 
year 628, the Moslem army marched against the Jewish 
colonies situated four or five days' journey to the north of 
Medina, the richest and most flourishing of which was 
that of Kliaibar^ with its extensive and fertile plantations 
of far-famed date-palms. This expedition was to deal 
the finishing stroke against Jewish independence and 
Jewish nationality in Arabia. 

But some time before it was actually carried out, the 
inhabitants of Khaibar were horrified by one of the dastardly 
assassinations to which Mohammed did not scruple to stoop, 
for the purposes of revenge. The victim selected this time 
was ScdlatHy a leading man of the Beni Nadhir who, after the 
expulsion of the tribe from Medina, had settled in Khaibar 
and enjoyed great influence there. He was accused of having 
had a hand in stirring up the Meccans to the war in which 
they laid si^e to Medina. Mohammed never had any 
difficulty in finding amongst his followers willing tools for 
executing such secret missions. Ibn Ishak mentions it as 
one of the Divine favours to Mohammed, that ' the two tribes 
of the Awsites and Khazrajites were as jealous about his head 
as two male camels.' Accordingly, as the former had assas- 
sinated Kab Ibn Ashraf, the latter aspired after an equal 
distinction and asked the Prophet's permission, which was 
gladly given, to do away with Sallam. Five Khazrajites, one 
of whom Mahommed had appointed chief for the occasion, 
reached Khaibar after dark, and, professing to have come for 
the purpose of buying corn, were admitted to Sallam's upper 
apartment, where he was already lying on his bed. But as 
soon as they had him thus in their power, they fell upon him 
with their daggers and massacred the defenceless man, with- 
out the slightest shame or compunction. By the time the 
startled Jews came to see what had happened, the assassins 
had decamped and 'were on the way to their master, to 
receive his thanks. 

Mohammed, with a considerable army of followers, in- 
tended to celebrate the pilgrimage festival of the yea^r 628, at 

i8o HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

the shrine of Mecca. But on approaching the sacred territory, 
they were debarred from entering it by a formidable Meccan 
army. The only concession they could obtain was a long 
armistice, and the promise that next year they might attend 
the festival for three days, but unarmed. It was to compen- 
sate his followers for this disappointment, that the Prophet 
promised them the conquest and spoils of Khaibar. They 
slaughtered their sacrifices at Hodeibia, outside the sacred 
confines, and returned to Medina to prepare for the promised 
expedition the spoils of which should only be shared by those 
who had taken part in the disappointed pilgrimage. 

To take the Jews by surprise, the Moslem army managed 
to arrive near Khaibar during the night. Early in the morning, 
when the people went forth to their field-work, they met the 
enemy and hasted back with the cry of alarm, * Mohammed 
and his army are upon us.' The Jews hastily withdrew into 
their fortified houses or towers, and defended themselves, as 
well as they could, against an over-matching enemy. They 
had made an alliance with the Ghatafan Bedouins, to secure 
their help in such an emergency ; but the selfish Bedouins 
did not wish to run any serious risk for the sake of the Jews, 
and contented themselves with a harmless demonstration. 
Ibn Ishak thus narrates their movements : * When the Ghat- 
afan heard that Mohammed was encamped before Khaibar, 
they gathered together, in order to assist the Jews agfainst 
him. But when they passed through the narrow valley where 
their families and goods were collected, they heard a noise 
behind them, and, thinking the enemy was about to attack 
them in the rear, they turned back to remain with their 
families and substance, and did not molest Mohammed in his 
war against Khaibar.' 

Thus coolly deserted by their Arab confederates, the 
Jews were doomed. All their strongholds, one after another, 
were besieged and taken. To strike terror into them and 
lame their resistance, Mohammed mercilessly put to the 
sword all armed Jews who fell into his hands. Nine hundred 
Jews were thus killed, whilst on the Moslem side scarcely 
a score were slain. The actual fighting, therefore, does not 
appear to have been of a very sanguinary character, and the 
resistance of the Jews, who soon saw the hopelessness of 


their cause, was easily overcome. In the usual single 
combats, which were not wanting, some of the Jews fought 
valiantly, but still were overpowered by their antagonists. 
Ali had his shield struck from his hand, and then seized a 
house-door with which to defend himself. The last two 
strongholds, in which many of the escaped defenders of 
towers already surrendered, had sought refuge, resisted the 
besiegers for ten days, and at last capitulated to save their 
lives and some of their substance, whilst all their arms, 
treasures, and landed possessions, fell into the hands of the 

When this news reached the Jews olFadaky some distance 
to the north of Khaibar, they sent a deputation to Moham- 
med, begging him similarly to spare their blood and allow 
them to depart unmolested, in return for which favour they 
would leave in his hands all their possessions. Also the 
Jewish colony of Taimay still further to the north in the 
direction of Syria, were induced to despatch a deputation 
and sue for peace, offering to accept the same conditions. 
Mohammed granted their request and also admitted the 
Jews of Wadi elKora^ a short distance south-west of Khaibar, 
tojthe like favours. 

Thus Mohammed put an end to the independence of all 
the Jewish communities in Arabia and substituted his own 
authority over the extensive districts formerly owned by them. 
He had at first used every effort to gain them over to his 
cause. They would have been a most important accession 
to his fighting strength ; and their acceptance of him as a 
prophet would, he believed, have had a great effect upon the 
Arabs, in leading them to regard him in the same light. 
But when he found they would not voluntarily own his claim, 
he determined that they should be made to serve his cause 
against their will. They were now separately attacked and 
conquered, tribe by tribe, till they were either swept away 
or reduced to a state of bondage and disposed of at the will 
and for the benefit of the conquerors. Refusing to become 
the willing abettors of the Prophet, they were used as step- 
ping-stones in the onward march of the Potentate. Not by 
the spiritual weapon of truth, but by the carnal means of 
violence, and intrigue, not by seeking to follow the example 

i82 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. n. 

of God, * the Merciful, the Compassionate,' but as a sanguin- 
ary warrior, Mohammed made his cause triumphant 

The booty taken from these industrious and thrifty Jewish 
communities was very great. The treasure of the Beni 
Nadhir alone, which had been removed from Medina merely 
to fall into the Moslems' hands in Khaibar, contained a 
single set of jewels, often hired out at weddings, which was 
estimated at a value of 10,000 dinars in gold. All the move- 
able property was treated as lawful spoil, of which one-fifth 
was appropriated by Mohammed and the remaining four- 
fifths divided amongst his warriors. The latter also obtained 
one half of the lands of Khaibar, whilst Mohammed claimed 
the other half; and, on the plea that Fadak, Tamai, and 
Wadi el Kora, were not taken by actual fighting, but had 
freely surrendered, the modest prophet demanded the entire 
spoil of those places for himself, to be disposed of as he 

It was first intended to send all the Jews who had capitu- 
lated out of the country. But as then there would not 
have remained cultivators enough for the lands they left 
behind, their proposal to be allowed to continue in the 
occupation of the ground was accepted, on the condition of 
their yielding up half the produce to the Moslems. This 
formal arrangement remained in force till the Calif Omar 
arbitrarily set it aside, by removing the Jews to lands in Syria, 
in order that, as it already had been Mohammed's wish, there 
should only exist one religion throughout all Arabia. 

Some episodes of this campaign are recorded which like- 
wise show up Mohammed in the light of a common, rather 
unscrupulous, conqueror, and as glaringly wanting in the 
characteristics of the true, heavenly-minded prophet Among 
the women made captive in one of the first Khaibar strong- 
holds taken, was Sofia ( = Sophie), daughter of the chief of 
the Beni Nadhir, and hence probably known to Mohammed 
by sight Her husband, Kinana, was accused by Mohammed 
of concealing part of his treasure, and was cruelly tortured 
to death. Safia and some other females, on being taken to 
Mohammed, passed their newly slain husbands and relatives 
on the way, and naturally burst into a paroxysm of grief. 
The Prophet, seeing them in this state, said, *Take these 


demons away from me ; ' but he detained Safia, casting 
his mantle over her, thus marking her as destined for his 
own harem. 

According to the rules of his religion, such captives 
may not be married till at the expiration of three months ; 
but this Prophet's carnal passions were so strong that he 
could not brook the delay, and he actually made her his wife, 
almost within sight of the place where her husband and 
friends had been slaughtered only a few days before. Abu 
Eyub, with drawn sword, unbidden, circumambulated the tent 
where they spent the first night together ; and when Moham- 
med, in the morning, asked him for the reason of his solicitude, 
he replied, * I felt anxious for thee on account of this woman, 
whose father, husband, and relatives thou hast caused to be 
slain, and who herself has been an unbeliever till quite lately/ 
Mohammed's cruel outrage of the feelings of a woman whose 
nearest relatives he had just put to death, casts so unfavour- 
able a light upon his character, that, to screen him, his 
biographers tell a story, obviously invented for the purpose, 
which represents Safia as a willingly consenting party. 
According to this story, Mohammed observed a blue mark 
on her eye, and inquiring after the cause, she told him that 
having communicated to her late husband one of her dreams, 
to the effect that she had seen the moon fall into her lap, he 
gave her a blow in the face which left the blue mark on her 
eye, saying, *Thou wishest to have Mohammed for thy 
husband, the king of the Hejaz.' 

Another Jewish woman, Zeinab by name, whose husband 
and male relatives had likewise been killed, nearly succeeded 
in avenging herself on Mohammed by poisoning him. She 
roasted a lamb for his party, and having first ascertained 
that he had a predilection for the shoulder, rubbed more 
poison into that part than the rest. The biographers say, 
that he only took a mouthful and threw it out again without 
swallowing it, exclaiming, * This shoulder tells me that it is 
poisoned.* But this is again an obvious invention of pious 
Mussulmans, for the purpose of investing their prophet with 
that supernatural knowledge which they thought he ought 
to have possessed. The actual fact seems to have been, that 
Mohammed really did eat some of the poisoned shoulder. 

1 84 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

and suffered from its evil effects ; but that his friend Bishr^ 
to whom he handed some of it, being less cautious, ate a larger 
quantity and died in consequence. This can be gathered 
from an incident recorded to have happened during Moham- 
med's last illness. Bishr's mother (or, according to other 
accounts, sister) visited the Prophet on his deathbed and 
condoled with him in his illness, observing that it was sup- 
posed to be pleurisy, whereupon he replied, * No, the Lord 
would not permit that illness, which is from Satan, to befall 
His apostle : but I feel now the artery of my heart bursting, 
in consequence of the morsel which I ate with thy son (or 
brother) Bishr, in Khaibar.' The early tendency amongst 
the Mussulmans to attribute to Mohammed traits which they 
thought ought to have distinguished him as prophet, is also 
apparent from the remark which Ibn Ishak adds to this 
recital, viz., * The Moslems may infer from this, that God also 
permitted him to die a martyr^ after having honoured him 
with the office of prophet.' 

Ibn Ishak favours us with another story, which is a sad 
illustration of the want of truthfulness in early Islam, and 
shows how unscrupulously Mohammed himself authorised 
the circulation of untruths. We are told that, as soon as 
Khaibar was conquered, Hajaj Ibn Ildt, one of his followers, 
asked permission of Mohammed to leave the army and go 
to Mecca, in order to collect some debts which were owing 
to him there. Having obtained the permission asked for, he 
added, * But I shall have to tell lies.' Mohammed not only 
abstained from expressing any displeasure, but he approv- 
ingly replied, * Say what thou wilt' 

Hajaj narrates that, thus authorised, he told the first party 
of Meccans whom he met, and who asked for news about 
Khaibar, *that storehouse of the Hejaz,* whither, according 
to their information, * that corrupter had gone,' the following 
story, fabricated by him for the occasion. * I have joyous news 
for you : he has been completely defeated and his companions 
are slain. Mohammed himself has been taken prisoner by 
the Jews ; but they do not intend to kill him themselves, 
wishing that this should be done in the midst of Mecca, 
whither they are now bringing him, so that the Meccans 
may avenge their brethren whom he has slain.' This good 


news was at once proclaimed throughout the city. Hajaj adds, 

* I requested them to aid me in collecting my debts, so that 
I might hasten back to Khaibar and buy of the booty, taken 
from Mohammed and his companions, before the arrival of 
other merchants ; and they used great pressure in forthwith 
collecting my debts.' But having speedily settled his busi- 
ness, he went to Abbas, Mohammed's uncle, and taking a 
promise that he would not publish before the end of three 
days (when he hoped to be beyond the reach of pursuit) what 
he had to confide to him, made this startling communication, 

* By Allah ! when I left thy nephew, he was marrying the 
daughter of the chief (he meant Saiia) ; he has conquered 
Khaibar and taken as spoil all it contained, so that it now 
belongs to him and his companions.' 

(9.) Mohammed extends his policy of conquesty subjugation^ 
and plunder y to a number of Bedouin tribes^ and injures 
Mecca whenever he can. 

Mohammed's success in effectually resisting the siege of 
Medina by the numerous army of the Koreish and their 
confederates, and in completely overcoming and dispossess- 
ing the three Jewish tribes who had owned such valuable 
property in the home of his adoption, greatly increased his 
prestige and power. His rapid onward march in the path 
of conquest, since that time, can really not be wondered at. 
We have just seen that a year after those events he was able 
to consummate his anti-Jewish aspirations, by subjugating 
Khaibar and all the different colonies of Jews, as far north 
as Fadak and TamaL Now it behoves us to trace his 
exploits and successes amongst the native Arabs. 

Only a few weeks after the massacre of the Beni Koreiza, 
Mohammed sent a body of troops under the command of 
Ibn Maslama southward, against the Korta Bedouins, a 
branch of the Hawazins. Concealing themselves by day, 
and marching only by night, they surprised the Bedouins 
before the dawn of morning. A number of these were 
killed in the confusion of the sudden attack and the re- 
mainder put to a precipitate flight. The Moslems possessed 

i86 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA. [bk. i. ch. ii. 

themselves of their flocks, and returned to Medina with the 
booty of 1 500 camels and 3000 sheep. 

In the summer of the same year, the Prophet himself 
headed a select army to take revenge on the Bent Lihyan, 
near the sea-coast to the north-west of Mecca, for the share 
they had had in massacring some Moslem emissaries, not long 
after the battle of Ohod. These being first invited to come 
and teach the new religion, were treacherously attacked in 
their sleep at the station of Raji, as already mentioned 
(p. 160). Though Mohammed tried to take the Lihyanites 
off their guard, by starting in an opposite direction, they had 
obtained timely information of his approach, to enable them 
to withdraw to the heights of the Hejaz mountains where 
they were beyond his reach. Thus finding his plan of ven- 
geance frustrated, he contented himself with a harmless 
demonstration against the Koreishy by advancing on the way 
to Mecca as far as OsfaUy accompanied by 200 mounted 
followers, ^nd then returned to Medina, with the sole satis- 
faction of having shown a bold front to his enemies. 

But the Bedouins were not behind him in boldness, where 
there was a prospect of plunder. Ibn Ishak tells us that 
Mohammed had only slept a few nights at home, after his 
return from the Beni Libyan, when, early one morning, a 
cry of alarm was raised, because the Fezara chief Oyeina^ 
with a score of Ghatafan horsemen, had suddenly shown him- 
self near Medina and driven away Mohammed's valuable she- 
camels, killing their keeper and carrying off his wife. Moham- 
med at once despatched some horsemen to hang on their rear, 
he himself following with several hundred warriors. They 
pursued them as far as Zu Karady and succeeded in killing 
a few and retaking some of the camels, whilst the rest 
retreated tlnscathed. Mohammed had to slaughter some of 
his own camels to provide food for his men, who, in the 
hurry of starting, had been unable to bring the necessary 
provisions with them. 

The camel-keeper's widow afterwards escaped from her 
captors, on one of the camels they had carried away. Mo- 
hammed showed in her case that he did not humour the 
pious emotions of his followers, if they ran counter to his 
own interests. When she told him that she had vowed to 


sacriiice the camel, if it became the means of her escape, he 
smiled and, as Ibn Ishak informs us, said to her, 'Thou 
badly recompensest the animal, by wishing to slay it, after 
God had lifted thee upon it and made it the means of thy 
safety. A vow displeasing to God is not binding. Thou 
canst not sacrifice what thou dost not possess, for this camel 
belongs to me. Therefore, go thou home, with God's bless- 

In this same year, 627, several more plundering expedi- 
tions were undertaken, not by Mohammed himself, but by 
his lieutenants at his request Thus Okasha^ with forty 
horsemen, was sent to attack the Beni Asad and brought 
back 200 captured camels. Ibn Maslama^ with only ten 
companions, had to march against the Beni Ghatafan, whose 
flocks were encroaching on the Moslem pasture-lands near 
Zu Kassa ; but instead of taking booty, his men were slain, 
he himself wounded, and when troops were sent in pursuit, 
they found the Bedouins gone. Zeid Ibn Haritha was 
despatched against the Beni Soleim from whom he took flocks 
and prisoners, including Mohammed's wet-nurse, Halima, 
and her husband, both of whom were naturally set at liberty 
on reaching Medina. Zeid also attacked the Bent Talab^ of 
whom he seized forty camels, and a Meccan caravan which 
he surprised at Iss and robbed of its treasure of silver. On 
this same occasion he took a number of captives, amongst 
whom was Abu-l-As, Mohammed's son-in-law, who was set 
free in Medina and there embraced the religion of his father- 
in-law. Soon after, Zeid started with a trading caravan for 
Syria, but on reaching the neighbourhood of Wadi el Kora 
was plundered and wounded by the Beni Fezara, As soon 
as he had recovered from his wounds, at the beginning of 
the following year, he took his revenge, by attacking them 
with several hundred men. He seized the aged wife of one 
of their chiefs and ordered her to be torn asunder, by having 
a camel tied to each of her legs. 

That such inhuman punishments were quite in keeping 
with the spirit of Islam, appears from one which the Prophet 
himself inflicted on some oflenders about the same time. A 
small number of poor and sickly Bedouins, of the Orain and 
Okla families, professed their faith in the Prophet and then 

1 88 HIS FULL SUCCESS W MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

obtained permission to stay on the pasture of his she-camels 
and drink their milk, for the benefit of their health. But as 
soon as they had recovered, they decamped with fifteen 
milk-camels and slew the keeper who tried to prevent them. 
Mohammed sent twenty fleet horsemen in their pursuit who 
easily captured them. When they were brought back to 
Medina, he had their eyes put out, their hands and feet cut 
off, and their bodies impaled, till death delivered them from 
their miseries (compare also Sura v. 39). It argues no 
tender feelings of humanity, to inflict such terrible punish- 
ments for these offences ; and they are little creditable to a 
prophet claiming to supersede Jesus Christ, though they 
may not have been unusual amongst the Arabs in those 
days. So also we have to discriminate between the two 
cases, when we are informed that both Abu Sofyan and 
Mohammed despatched assassins, each with the object — 
fortunately unattained by either side — of ridding himself of 
his adversary : for, in the one case, the intended assassination 
was prompted by a person who claimed to be God's chosen 
prophet, and in the other, by a man of the wof Id who put 
forth no such claim. 

(10.) Mohammed shows his veneration for the Kadba by 
arranging a pompous Pilgrimage to it ; but the Koreish 
prevent his caravan of pilgrims from approaching nearer 
than Hodeibiay where he succeeds in concluding an 
armistice with them. 

Meanwhile, in spring A.D. 628, the time of the annual 
festival at the shrine of Mecca was coming round, and Mo- 
hammed resolved to attend it, with a great number of his 
followers. This was the first attempt of the kind since his 
flight to Medina, six years previously. To please the Jews, 
he, for two years, as we have already learned, disregarded 
the Kaaba and took the temple of Jerusalem for his Kibla. 
But now, since the power of the Jews in Medina was com- 
pletely broken, he was free to humour and conciliate the 
Arabs, by an ostentatious participation in the annual pilgrim- 
age. Thus he afforded them a proof that he was not hostile 
to their renowned national sanctuary, as they might — not 


without apparent good reason — have supposed ; but that 
he rather allowed it a central position in the deistic religion 
of which he claimed to be the prophet It must be 
owned that, in a man whose supreme object of aspiration 
was not Divine truth, but worldly influence and power, the 
intended step argued a wise and clever appreciation of 
circumstances, and was justified by its substantial and 
prospective, though not formal and immediate, success. 
Mohammed could reasonably hope that> his show of power, 
thus far, had made a sufficient impression upon the Koreish, 
not to insist on excluding him, by force, from a visit to the 
sacred territory, professedly undertaken only for purposes 
of devotion. 

It is true, this hope was not at once completely fulfilled ; 
but his present attempt secured for him a guarantee of its 
realisation a year later ; and the wisdom of the step was 
shown by an immediate rapid increase of accessions to his 
cause, amongst the Arabs generally. He took with him 
seventy camels, marked for sacrifice, and donned the pilgrim's 
garb, to let it be seen that he did not intend war, but 
came merely to do honour to the Meccan temple. Still, he 
wished to be prepared for any eventuality, by inviting the 
Arabs and Bedouins within reach, to swell his train. He 
thus succeeded in raising the number of his followers 
altogether to about 1400 men, more or less armed. 

When the company had reached Osfan, they heard that 
the Meccans were preparing to oppose them by force and 
that Khalid had already set out with the cavalry. On re- 
ceiving this information, Mohammed said, *Woe to the 
Koreish, who are already nearly ruined by war I AVhat harm 
would it have done them, had they let me fight out- the 
matter with the Arabs ? For had I succumbed, their wish 
would have been fulfilled ; and had God made me victorious, 
they could either have embraced Islam in a body, or fought 
against me with their whole strength.* This declaration, 
reported by Ibn Ishak, shows how naturally it came to 
Mohammed to assume, that jnen in general were prepared 
to subordinate religion to politics, and that, if he could but 
show them great military success, they would readily join 
his banner and accept his religion into the bargain. Thus 

I90 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. l ch. ii. 

he furnishes us with a glimpse of what was the current of 
his own thoughts : politics and power seem to be the great 
motors, religion the indispensable, but still subordinate, 
adjunct. Mohammed, anxious to avoid a hostile encounter 
with the Koreishite force, took his way over rocks and 
through ravines where cavalry could not easily follow, to the 
plain of Hodeibia in the Nakhla valley, and there encamped, 
close to the border of the sacred territory. 

From this position a sudden rush upon the city of Mecca 
might perhaps have been effected with success, and accord- 
ing to one account Mohammed actually made the proposal, 
and was only kept from attempting it by Abu Bekr's wise 
and moderating counsel. But, according to another account, 
he openly declared, 'There is no favour whereby the 
Koreish may this day request me to prove my love of 
kindred towards them, that I will not grant ; ' and he even 
ascribed the peaceful lying down of his weary camel to 
Divine agency, saying, * He who once prevented the 
elephant from entering Mecca, has also now stopped my 

The propinquity of Hodeibia to the city rendered 
negotiation by means of messengers easy. It was therefore 
speedily entered upon and actively carried on. Mohammed 
protested against the injustice of excluding him from the 
sanctuary, urging that he had no hostile intentions, but was 
actuated merely by motives of devotion. The Meccans, 
on their part, were afraid that, by letting him come in, they 
might assume the appearance of yielding to force and being 
swayed by a dread of his power. They said, * Even if he 
does not come for war, yet shall he not force us to let him 
enter ; the Arabs shall never taunt us with his having done 
so.' After much discussion and mutual protestation, a 
formal agreement was arrived at, by which the Meccans 
saved appearances and the Moslems secured substantial 
advantages. Such an issue is scarcely to be wondered at, 
if we bear in mind that, in consequence of Mohammed's 
rapid advance in wealth and power, he had already gained 
many secret sympathisers in Mecca, both amongst his 
relatives and others, so that Ibn Ishak could report, 'The 
Beni Khoza, as well believers as unbelievers, were Moham- 


med*s secret partisans and communicated to him whatever 
happened in Mecca.' 

According to the stipulations of the treaty entered upon, 
there was to be a cessation of war for ten years, during 
which term neither party might commit any act of hostility, 
robbery, or theft, against the other. Both parties should be 
perfectly free to form alliances with whomsoever they 
pleased ; but in the case of fugitives whose extradition is 
demanded, only the Moslems, not the 3Ieccans, should be 
bound to surrender them. On the present occasion Moham- 
med and his followers should not be allowed to cross the 
sacred precincts, but in the following year, the Koreish were 
to vacate the city for three days, in favour of the Moslems, 
who might then enter, unarmed and with their swords 
sheathed, as mere pilgrims. Mohammed certainly acted 
with prudence in accepting these conditions and thus avert- 
ing a sanguinary conflict under unfavourable circumstances, 
though, by doing so, he caused disappointment to his more 
bellicose followers, notably Omar, who expected to enter 
Mecca triumphantly, according to a dream which the 
Prophet had previously had to that effect. But even they 
were soon compensated for the present disappointment by 
the far easier conquest of the Jewish colonies in Khaibar 
and elsewhere, as we have already seen (p. 179- 181). 

The important advantages which Mohammed secured 
by his treaty with the Koreish are thus referred to by Ibn 
Ishak : * No greater victory had as yet been obtained for 
Islam. Hitherto there had been war everywhere. But 
after this treaty of peace, when war had ceased and people 
met in security, then they entered into conversation, and 
every intelligent person with whom the merits of Islam were 
discussed, embraced it, so that, within the two following 
years, as many or more people joined it as had done so since 
it first began. This is proved by the fact that Mohammed 
went to Hodeibia with only 1400 followers, according to 
Jabir's account, whereas, two years later, he marched out 
for the conquest of Mecca with an army 10,000 strong.' 

192 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

(II.) Mohammed^ making good use of his armistice with tlie 
Koreish^ seeks to extend his influence abroad^ by sending 
messengers to neighbouring Potentates^ summoning 
them to embrace Islam. 

It surely was no small triumph for Mohammed to 
conclude, on even terms, a formal treaty with proud Mecca, 
and thus to see himself recognised as the sovereign head of 
a rival commonwealth, entitled to form alliances and extend 
his power, as he might see fit The state of long and bitter 
warfare between the two rival powers was now succeeded 
by one of tranquillity and peace, secured by a solemn treaty. 
The Beni Khoza, who lived in the immediate neighbourhood 
of Mecca, and had hitherto been united with the Koreish, 
though of late secretly favourable to Mohammed, forthwith 
availed themselves of the treaty-stipulation, by entering into 
an open league with him, even before he started on his 
return journey. 

There can also be no doubt, that the circumspect 
prophet made good use of his proximity to the city and 
of the constant passing to and fro of messengers, amongst 
them his own son-in-law Othman, for seeking to convert 
influential men, by various promises, from open enemies 
into secret friends. The Meccans, especially those of them 
who were near relatives, shrewdly calculating the chances of 
the future in genuine Arab fashion, were now much more 
open to influences of this kind than formerly. It is 
certainly remarkable that, within a few weeks of the 
apparently unsuccessful pilgrimage, he despatched a 
messenger with rich presents to the king of Abyssinia, in 
order to woo the widowed daughter of his old adversary 
Abu Sofyan, the most prominent man of Mecca ; and that 
she at once consented to return with the messenger and 
swell the number of the Prophet's wives. This points to a 
probability that he had found means to act even on the 
feelings of Abu Sofyan and secretly to inspire him with 
more benevolent sentiments. 

From underhand inquiries Mohammed ascertained with 
satisfaction, that the general current of opinion was begin- 
ning to take a turn in his favour. This could not but 


greatly raise his expectations as regards the future. He 
was so fully cognisant of the military weakness of the 
trading city in which he had grown up and which he 
had now again observed from the close proximity of 
Hodeibia, and he had so high an appreciation of his 
own strength, as the chief commander of a devoted army 
of tried warriors who looked upon his orders as Divine 
injunctions, that, to his sanguine mind, the time already 
seemed near, when the two greatest cities of Arabia would 
own him as their head, and he be acknowledged as the virtual 
dictator of the entire Arab nation. Once beholding, with 
the eager eye of hopeful anticipation, all Arabia united 
under his more than Imperial sceptre, it was not too great 
a step for him to go still further, by casting his longing eyes 
beyond the borders of the Arabian Peninsula, and to 
indulge the hope of one day imposing his religion and his 
dominion upon the rulers and people of the surrounding 
countries, in every direction. 

The Mohammedan biographers agree in recording that, 
immediately after his return home from Hodeibia, their 
prophet addressed formal letters, stamped with a seal 
specially made for the occasion, to a number of neighbour- 
ing potentates. He boldly summoned them to embrace 
Islam, and thus to accept him as their virtual suzerain 
whose utterances were to be regarded as the law paramount. 
These letters were forwarded to their respective destina- 
tions by special messengers. The whole ceremony appears 
to have been intended as a parallel to the mission given by 
Jesus Christ to His twelve apostles, to *go into all the world 
and preach the Gospel to every nation.' But it is clear that, 
by seeking to substitute and enforce a universal dominion of 
the Koran, in place of the universal destiny of the Gospel, 
which was already in course of realisation, the Arab Prophet 
only gave an historical expression to the essentially anti- 
Christian character both of himself and of his new religion. 

Ibn Ishak's account of the transaction is in these words : 
* One day, after his return from Hodeibia, Mohammed came 
to his companions and said, " O ye people ! God has sent 
me to you with grace and to avert evil from you ; therefore 
do not resist me, as the apostles cesisted Jesus, the Son of 


194 ^^S FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il. 

Mary." The companions asked, "How did they resist 
Him ? " Mohammed answered, ** He called them to the 
same thing to which I now call you, but only those whom 
He sent to a near place were content and did well, whilst 
those whom He sent to a distance were displeased and 
raised difficulties, whereupon Jesus laid the matter before 
God, and on the following morning all those who had raised 
difficulties spoke the language of the people to whom they 
were sent" Amongst the apostles and their successors 
whom Jesus sent forth, were Peter and Paul, which latter 
belonged to the successors and not to the apostles. These 
two were sent to Rome, but Andrew and Matthew into the 
land where people eat each other; Thomas eastward into 
the land of Babel; Philip to Carthagena, that is, Africa; 
John to Ephesus, the land of the sleepers in the cave ; James 
to Jerusalem, the city of the Holy Temple ; Ibn Talma 
( = Bartholomew) to Arabia, the land of Hejaz ; Simon to 
the land of the Berbers ; and Jehuda, who had not belonged 
to the apostles, was put in Judas' place.* Ibn Ishak also 
mentions the names of nine different messengers who had to 
carry Mohammed's letters to the following potentates : 
(i) to the Emperor of the Greeks ; (2) to Chosroes, the king 
of Persia ; (3) to Najashi, the prince of Abyssinia ; (4) to 
Mokawkas, the prince of Alexandria ; (5) to Jeifar and lyaz, 
the princes of Oman ; (6) to Thumama and Hawza, the 
princes of Yemama ; (7) to Munzir, the prince of Bahrein ; 
(8) to El Harith, the prince of the border districts of Syria ; 
and (9) to the Himyarite Harith Ibn Abd Kulal, the prince 
of Yemen. 

These letters may have made some impression on those 
recipients who lived near enough to see cause for apprehend- 
ing that the Prophet might follow them up with measures of 
violence, such as he had already employed against the Jews 
and others. But what the biographers tell about the effects 
they produced on the Emperor Heraclius and the king of 
Abyssinia, who are represented as becoming fully convinced 
of Mohammed's Divine mission, and as only kept back from 
giving public effect to this conviction, by the dread of their 
Christian subjects, is plainly a gratuitous invention. Thus 
the Moslem historians seek to magnify the influence of their 


prophet ; but this only shows us what great need there exists 
for a wise discrimination, in making use of the Mohammedan 
biographies as sources of history. Probably Mohammed 
himself did not seriously expect that his letters and embassies 
would produce the effect which was their professed object. 
He may have imagined that the potentates whom he dared 
to address with such an air of authority, might, by silently 
ignoring or contemptuously rejecting his summonses, afford 
him a sufficiently plausible justification for the invasion of 
their countries by hostile armies, which he already contem- 

In sending to Abyssinia, he had the additional object of 
increasing his harem. For he aspired after the hand of Om 
Habiba, Abu Sofyan's daughter, who lived there as a widow, 
since her husband's death. The messenger who took the 
letter to Abyssinia was commissioned to bring her back with 
him. There also returned with him fifty other emigrants who 
now wished to join the victorious prophet, though perhaps 
some of them had not previously been professors of Islam, 
but stayed in Abyssinia for purposes of trade. They reached 
Mohammed when the conquest of Khaibar was barely 
accomplished, and he admitted them to a share in the rich 
spoil, as a token of welcome. 

It is narrated that the governor of Alexandria, after 
having ascertained the Prophet's fancies, and probably in 
consideration of presents received from him, accompanied his 
answer with the gift of a white mule and two beautiful slave 
girls. One of the latter, a baptized Christian, Mary by name, 
became so great a favourite with the Prophet that she was 
envied by his other spouses. She gave birth to Ibrahim, 
the only son he ever had, but who died in infancy. 

As regards his expectation of ultimately conquering Persia 
and the eastern empire of Rome, it was not so chimerical as it 
may at first appear ; for he well knew the strength of his com- 
pact and daily increasing army of followers, and he was fully 
acquainted with the devastating wars by which, for a long time, 
those two neighbouring countries had been weakening each 
other, and preparing the way for the invasion and conquest 
of them both. The Emperor Heraclius was on his way to 
Jerusalem, to render thanks to God for his recent victories 

196 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

over the Persians, when Mohammed's letter reached him. 
But far from showing any sign of a disposition to accede 
to the summons it contained, Heraclius stationed a lai^e 
body of troops in the districts of the'empire bordering on 
Arabia, to guard against any possible trouble from that 

(12.) Mohammed^ with 2000 followers, visits the Pilgrivt 
Festival, according to treaty-right, and, after despatch- 
ing marauding expeditions to various parts, including 
one to Muta, finds a pretext for breaking the armistice 
and easily conquers Mecca with an imposing anny of 
10,000 men, 

Mohammed, having once risen to the comtemplation of 
early conquests in foreign parts, naturally redoubled his efforts 
first to consolidate and still further to extend his power within 
Arabia itself. The conquest of Khaibar which had greatly 
added to his sinews of war, was speedily followed by a series 
of smaller expeditions, despatched to different parts, under 
sundry chosen leaders. Thus we read of one, under Omar, 
against a Bedouin tribe to the south-east of Mecca, on the 
road to Sana and Najran ; of one, under Abu Bekr, against 
the Kilabites in the Nejd ; of another, under Bashir, against 
the Morrites, near Fadak ; again of one, under Ghalib, against 
the Owalites at Mafaa, to the north-east of Medina ; and 
finally of one, again under Bashir, against the Gliatafanites, 
in the neighbourhood of Khaibar. 

But the crowning object of Mohammed's aspirations, for 
the present, was, to obtain possession of Mecca where, in con- 
sequence of his rapidly expanding power, the number of his 
secret partisans was daily increasing. Therefore, in spring 
629, he gladly availed himself of the treaty-right, which he 
had acquired the year before, by visiting, with his followers, 
the national shrine from which they had been debarred for 
seven years. The occasion could be turned to account for 
strengthening the footing already obtained there, though the 
Meccans would, during the visit, haughtily retire from the 
city to its environs. 

That the ostentatious observance of this prudent stipulation 
did not prove an insuperable barrier to mutual intercourse, 


appears clearly from the fact that, though the Moslems 
were not permitted to extend their visit beyond the three 
days agreed upon, yet this short time afforded Mohammed 
opportunity enough to engage himself to another Meccan 
lady, Meimuna, the younger sister of his uncle Abbas' wife. 
He even proposed to celebrate the wedding there, and to 
regale the Meccans by a sumptuous wedding repast, which 
would, of course, have been a splendid opportunity for 
further lessening their remaining antipathy ; but his proposal 
was looked through by the wary Koreish. Being not yet 
prepared, as a body, to humour him, they firmly insisted 
on his departure at the close of the stipulated three days, 
and his new bride had to follow after him, to be married 
during the return journey. 

It was obvious to all that, even in this hurried pilgrimage, 
the Prophet's sole wish was not to give himself up to devout 
worship at the Kaaba, but that he, at the same time, pursued 
other and very different objects. He had come with 2000 
followers, a sufficient force to make an impression on the city, 
though they were bound to deposit their arms outside the 
sacred territory, and to enter with only a sheathed sword on 
their side. They were left entirely unmolested, whilst they 
performed their devotion ; and it must, of course, have been a 
secret satisfaction to the Meccans to see the Moslems, the 
reputed foes of all idolatry, pay such high honour to the 
national sanctuary, still full of idols. According to Ibn Ishak, 
many Meccans had remained in the city, and were standing 
in rows, * to see what Mohammed and his companions would 
do ; ' and he describes the scene thus : * When Mohammed 
entered the temple, he cast his garb on the left shoulder, so 
that his right arm appeared, and said, " May God be gracious 
to the man whom He shows them to-day in his strength ! " 
Then he embraced the pillar and came out leaping, his com- 
panions leaping after him, till he was hid from them by the 
temple. After this, he embraced the pillar towards Yemen, 
and the Black Stone. Thus he made three circumambula- 
tions, leaping ; and then marched again slowly.' 

By publicly paying so much honour to the ancient temple 
of idolatry and its proud guardian city ; by at the same time 
strengthening old ties of friendship and forming new ones. 

198 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il. 

amongst the citizens of Mecca ; and by his quiet demon- 
stration of power, at the head of such an army of devoted 
followers, — Mohammed decidedly advanced his cause during 
this pilgrimage, and effectually smoothed the way for his 
almost unopposed seizure of the city, a year later. Nothing 
shows more the success of these measures, and the attraction 
already possessed by Islam for military talent, than the fact 
that, almost immediately after this pilgrimage, the two great 
cavalry generals of Mecca, Khalid Ibn Walid and Amr Ibn 
As, who had taken a distinguished part against the Moslems 
at the battle of Ohod and the siege of Medina, openly went 
over to Mohammed, and took service under his banner in the 
rival city. Others followed their example, and many more 
became convinced of his ultimate triumph, and prepared to 
join him on the first occasion. 

Not quite a year elapsed between this first successful 
pilgrimage to Mecca and the conquest of the city, with 
the sacred territory in which it was situated; and this 
short interval was again crowded with exploits of the usual 
marauding and military character. Only a few weeks after 
the pilgrimage, a small expedition, of not more than fifty 
warriors, was sent against the Beni Soleim^ at some distance 
to the east of Medina. But having already been attacked 
once before, they were now on their guard, and so effectually 
resisted their invaders, that most of these were slain, and 
their leader fled back to Mohammed, wounded. To avert 
an attack in greater force, which they had now to dread, 
several of their chief men thought it best to treat with 
Mohammed, and to conciliate him, by promising him their 
conversion to Islam. These matters were so speedily 
settled, that, nine months later, we find looo Soleimites 
marching under his banner to the conquest of Mecca. 

Another party of Moslems was sent against a section of 
the Beni Leith. Having arrived in their neighbourhood, 
they concealed themselves till night had set in ; and when 
the Bedouins were fast asleep, they rushed upon their flocks 
and drove them away in great haste. Though hotly pursued, 
they effected their escape, being aided by a swollen brook. 

To avenge the defeat inflicted on Bashir, 200 warriors 
were despatched against the Beni Morra, near Fadak, with 


the injunction to kill all the enemies who might fall into 
their hands. Still, Mohammed afterwards rebuked them for 
having killed a man, who had professed himself a Moslem, at 
the time, though, in self-justification, they expressed their 
opinion that he had made that profession merely from the 
fear of death. 

A small body of only twenty-four chosen Moslems was 
sent to attack a camp of the Beni Amir, a section of the 
hostile Hawasin. They were so successful, despite their 
small number, that each one's share in the booty amounted 
to fifteen camels. About the same time, fifteen men pro- 
ceeded to Zat Atlahy north of Wadi el Kora and not far 
from Syria, where they were all slain by a party of Bedouins 
whom they had requested to embrace Islam, with the ex- 
ception of a single one who returned to Medina, badly 
wounded. Mohammed would at once have sent a strong 
body of troops to punish them, had he not been informed 
that the victorious Bedouins could not be found, having 
quitted that locality. 

But in the autumn of 629 he sent an army of revenge, 
3000 strong, still further northward, for the bold purpose of 
invading the southern parts of the Roman empire. The 
Mohammedan historians affirm that one of the messengers, 
who was the bearer of a letter in which the Emperor 
Heraclius was summoned to embrace Islam, had, on his 
return jou^^ney, been slain amongst the Ghassanide tribe, in 
the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea. This death had to be 
avenged and, at the same time, a way was to be opened, if 
possible, to the much coveted riches of the north. The 
army was placed under the command of Zeid Ibn Haritha, 
who, as originally coming from Syria, may have had some 
acquaintance with those parts. When leaving, Mohammed 
told them that he expected to see them come back * laden 
with spoil.' But though, a few years later, the overwhelming 
hosts of Moslem horsemen bore down everything before 
them, on this first occasion, notwithstanding all their 
bravery and daring, the comparative smallness of their 
number invited a signal defeat. It is probably a great 
exaggeration, when we are told that Zeid found himself 
opposed by an army of 100,000 Christian warriors, and that, 

200 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. 11. 

at some distance, another 100,000 of Imperial troops were 
in reserve ; but of his being vastly outnumjbered there can 
be no doubt 

The first battle on Roman ground took place at Muta, 
at the south-east end of the Dead Sea, the country of the 
ancient Moabites. In coming upon the enemy, the Moslems 
first retired to a favourable position and there awaited the 
attack in close lines. Their leaders dismounted, and Jafar, 
Ali's brother, is reported to have hamstringed his horse with 
his own hands, in token that he had discarded every thought 
of fleeing. The banner was held by Zeid, and as he was 
soon struck down, Jafar took it up after him, but met with 
the same fate. Then Abd Allah Ibn Rawaha seized it, and 
having both his hands cut off, pressed it to his body with 
the stumps of his arms, till he likewise fell. The Moslems 
were beaten and put to flight. They lost their bravest men, 
and would have suffered still more severely, had not the 
celebrated Khalid, though but a recent convert, taken the 
command, and with great dexterity somewhat restored the 
fight, so as to secure an orderly retreat. 

The defeated army was coldly received by the people of 
Medina, who called them runaways ; but Mohammed, who 
had been the first to make known the disaster, as soon as 
the news had reached him, defended them and expressed 
the conviction that they would resume the conflict in the 
future and amply make up for their late repulse. He much 
felt the loss of the slain who had so bravely defended them- 
selves, and showed kindness to their bereaved families ; but, 
to be able to avenge their death, it was plain that he would 
first have greatly to increase the number of his army. For 
the present he could only despatch a few hundred chosen 
men, under Amr Ibn As, the future conqueror of Egypt, 
who, by rapid night-marches, surprised and scattered the 
tribes on the Syrian border, and thus restored the Mussulman 
prestige in those quarters which had been dangerously 
shaken by the reverse of Muta. 

Effectually to cope with the Roman power in the north, 
it was clearly necessary first to give greater strength and 
wider dimensions to the new Arab empire at home. This 
object was accomplished by the conquest of MeccUy whereby 


that primitive barrier to Islam was converted into its lasting 
bulwark, and the way opened for the Arab tribes throughout 
the Peninsula to join Mohammed's cause in rapid succession. 
According to the agreement of Hodeibia, the peace between 
Medina and Mecca was to last for ten years. But two years 
had not yet fully elapsed, when a pretext conveniently 
offered itself to the Prophet for breaking it 

The Khozaite Bedouins, near Mecca, who, as has been 
already noticed (p. 192), had allied themselves with Moham- 
me'd, were attacked by the Beni Bekr, allies of the Koreish, 
because of some existing blood-feud, and lost a score of men 
in the encounter. They applied to Mohammed for assistance 
and accused the Koreish, against whom their alliance with 
the Prophet was mainly directed, of having abetted the Beni 
Bekr in the late fight He now felt strong enough to deal a 
decisive blow against the city which had persecuted him, and 
therefore welcomed such an opportunity for reaching his goal. 
He promised the help which the Khozaites demanded, and 
at once made preparations for a war-expedition, on a larger 
scale than any previous one. Abu Sofyan went to Medina 
in person, to confer with the Prophet, who was now his 
son-in-law, and to smooth over matters, but, as might be 
anticipated, without success. 

In January 630 we find Mohammed on the march against 
Mecca with an army of 10,000 men, all of them professed 
believers and including many Bedouins. We are not told, 
but can form our own surmises, whether Abu Sofyan's 
late diplomatic mission had resulted in a secret understanding 
with his son-in-law, to facilitate his taking the coveted city. 
In any case, we must allow due weight to the fact that in 
Medina he was the guest of his daughter, Om Habiba, one 
of the Prophet's wives. Thus it came to pass that the 
Moslem army, on its arrival, found the sacred city so little 
guarded and so little on the alert, that its approach was not 
known till it encamped at Marr el Zahran, close by, and its 
ten thousand watch-fires startled the deluded city from its 
false security. Mohammed's uncle, Abbas, is represented as 
having set out, at this very time, to emigrate to the city of his 
nephew ; but he conveniently met him on the way, marching 
with his army, and therefore came back in his company. 

202 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

Abu Sofyan also sallied forth, to ascertain what the thou- 
sands of watch-fires meant ; and he most opportunely fell in 
with Abbas, who, on his own mule, took him at once into 
the presence of the Prophet Here he became so deeply 
impressed with the irresistible power of the Moslems, 
especially when he saw the mail-clad ^lite of their army, 
that his religious scruples vanished in a moment, and he 
then and there made profession of his faith in Islam and 
its apostle. 

Mohammed was mightily pleased with the submission of 
this his old antagonist and new father-in-law, and, to give an 
open expression to his feelings of gratitude, sent him back 
to the city, with the message of peace that all the inhabitants 
who would take refuge in Abu Sofyan's house, or in the 
sanctuary, or would quietly remain in-doors, might consider 
themselves safe. The people readily accepted Abu Sofyan's 
advice to abstain from every attempt at resisting the over- 
whelming forces of the conqueror. Mohammed, on his part, 
issued orders that no harm should be done to any, except 
those who might offer armed resistance. In four columns, 
from four different sides, the Moslem army made its 
triumphant entrance into the city, without encountering any 
opposition. Only the column commanded by Khalid was 
opposed by a small body of patriots. They killed two of 
the invaders, but were easily put to flight, with a loss on 
their side of twelve men, according to one account, of 
twenty-eight, according to another account. 

Mohammed's coup de main had proved a complete success : 
the whole city lay prostrate at his feet, and the former objec- 
tions to his prophetic claim had vanished as by magic. He 
could afford to be magnanimous : the city was spared, the 
kinship with the Koreish upheld and honoured, and a general 
amnesty proclaimed. From the amnesty, only ten persons, 
amongst them four women, were excluded, because they had 
personally insulted the Prophet or ridiculed his religion ; but 
even most of these were finally spared, through their suing 
for pardon and making profession of Islam. 

Mohammed lost no time in visiting the temple, riding 
round it seven times and saluting its Black Stone, as a public 
act of religious worship. He, indeed, ordered the idols which 


it contained to be destroyed, and had the painted images 
on its walls whitewashed over ; but the Kaaba itself was 
retained as the local centre of Islam and as the Kibla for all 
its worshippers. By this local feature impressed upon it, 
Mohammedanism must always appear stamped with a mark 
of inferiority, as compared to the sublime spirituality of the 
Christian religion, which it aims to supersede. Ibn Ishak 
records that, on the day after the conquest, Mohammed 
made the following public address to his assembled followers : 
*0 ye people I God has sanctified Mecca on the day He 
created heaven and earth ; and it will remain sacred until 
the day of the resurrection. It is not lawful for any believer 
to shed blood in it, or fell a tree : it was not lawful for any 
one before me, nor will it be lawful for any one after me. 
It was only made lawful for me, in this hour, because of 
God's wrath against its inhabitants ; and it has now been 
sanctified again, as before. Let those present make this 
known to the absent' 

So marked was now the Prophet's esteem and partiality 
for his native city, with its time-honoured temple, that his 
followers from Medina gave expression to their fear lest 
he should relinquish their town and remain here altogether. 
He had to appease them by pledging his word that he 
would never forsake them, but with them would live and 
with them die. 

(13.) After the conquest of Mecca^ Mohammed's power rapidly 
increases y and he gains the important battle of Honein^ 
which yields him an immense booty and leads to the 
capitulation of the rich town of Taif 

The conquest of Mecca could not but enhance Moham- 
med's prestige and greatly promote the extension of his 
power and of his religion. Eight years ago he had to quit 
the town as a persecuted enthusiast and a despised outcast : 
now he had returned to it in triumph at the head of a vast 
army, before which every opposition had to cease. Two 
years ago it was permitted him, as a favour, to remain for 
three days with his followers, restricted to acts of devotion 
at its shrine : now the whole sacred territory was in his 

204 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

possession, and his will the law paramount, to which the 
proudest of the Koreish had to bow in humble submission. 
The national sanctuary, which had hitherto repudiated him, 
was now converted into an institution which reflected and 
recommended to the multitudes of annually arriving pilgrims 
the religion he taught. At his command, the Kaaba was 
purged of its idols. He, by a sovereign disposition, con- 
firmed to Othman the office of keeping its key, and to 
Abbas the privilege of providing the pilgrims with water. 
Before departing from the city, he appointed a governor to 
rule in his stead, and to lead the people in their public 
worship. He forbade idolatry in Mecca and despatched 
Khalid and others, at the head of armed soldiers, to destroy 
the idols of the land and to invite their worshippers to the 
adoption of Islam. 

No wonder, the profession of the new faith spread most 
rapidly. With it, the military power which it implies, as an 
integral part, advanced apace. This found a striking illus- 
tration at this juncture. Mohammed had only remained a 
fortnight in Mecca, after its conquest, when he had to 
march out against the hostile camp which the Hawazin 
Bedouins had formed near Honein. Yet, during this short 
period, his army had gained an accession of no less than 
2000 men from the conquered Meccans. For whereas he 
had arrived with an army io,ooo strong, we are informed 
that he could face the new danger at the head of 12,000 
armed followers. This was very fortunate for him, because 
the enemy he had to encounter was of the same numerical 

The Hawazins, together with the confederate town of 
Taif, had perceived the imminent danger which threatened 
their own independence, from the moment that Mohammed 
had added Mecca to his dominion. They resolved to ward 
off, if possible, a similar fate from themselves ; and their chief 
sought to stimulate them to a desperate resistance, by order- 
ing all their women and children, as well as their treasures, 
to be removed to the camp. In consequence of this, Moham- 
med's forces suffered a check in their first onslaught, and 
his levy of new converts betrayed a strong tendency to bolt ; 
but the tried and mailed portion of his army soon restored 


the fight and obtained an easy victory over the undisciplined 
Bedouins, scattering them in all directions. A rich spoil 
fell into the hands of the conquerors, namely, 6000 captive 
women and children, 24,000 camels, over 40,000 sheep, and 
4000 ounces of silver. The fifth part of this booty was 
claimed by the Prophet, as his share, and enabled him to 
reconcile the Koreish to the new order of things, by the 
bestowal of bountiful presents. 

How munificently he treated the aristocracy of Mecca, 
whose conversion to Islam had so long formed a chief object 
of his desire, is seen from the fact that to Abu Sofyan alone he 
gave 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels, and an equal amount 
to his two sons Yazid and Moawia. This lavish liberality to 
the Meccans, whom he thus wished to bind to himself by 
the tie of self-interest, roused afresh the jealousy of his 
friends from Medina, so that he had to pacify them in these 
touching words, 'Are you sad on account of the earthly 
things which I have given to these people, in order to attach 
them to Islam, whilst I have full confidence in your faith ? 
Can you not be content, if others return home with sheep 
and camels, but yourselves with the apostle of God ? ' The 
Hawazins also, with true Bedouin shrewdness, came forward 
to benefit by the Prophet's liberality to converts : they hastily 
made up their minds to profess Islam, and, in return, had 
their 6000 captives restored to them. Thus the result of the 
battle of Honein considerably added to the strength of the 
Moslem power. But this was not all ; it materially helped 
to open the gates of the important town of Taif 

The ThakifiteSy or inhabitants of Taif^ who had fought 
valiantly by the side of the Hawazins, as is known by their 
loss of 70 men killed, entrenched themselves after the defeat 
they had shared, behind the walls of their city. Mohammed 
besieged them for several weeks, with his whole army ; but 
he encountered a most determinate resistance and could 
not break it, even by seeking to entice their slaves to desert 
with a promise of emancipation, or by adopting the bar- 
barous measure of cutting down the vines in their renowned 
vineyards. Having lost quite a number of his followers in 
the attack, he thought it prudent to raise the siege and trust 
to easier means for their reduction. Malik^ the commander- 

2o6 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. CH. li. 

in-chief at the battle of Honein, who on his defeat had taken 
refuge in Taifi was induced by promises and presents to quit 
Jiis asylum and, after turning Mussulman, to place himself 
at the head of the recently converted Hawazins. He was 
enjoined to harass the population of Taif in every possible 
way, till they should be ready to submit. This method proved 
successful. The Thakifites, tired of the incessant warfare, and 
despairing of ultimate success against the rapidly increasing 
power of their enemy, sent a deputation to the Prophet, 
offering to accept his rule and his religion, in return for 
the protection of their persons and their possessions : a pro- 
posal he had confidently anticipated and with which he 
gladly complied. 

(14.) Mohammed starts with a military expedition against the 
Roman empire ; but only reaches as far as Tabuk, whence 
he despatches some troops against Duma and then returns. 

The deputations from numerous Arab tribes, anxious to 
secure treaties of amity, by surrendering their liberty and 
faith — as we shall see in the next paragraph — had already 
commenced to arrive, when the ostentatious march to and 
from Tabuk was carried out. This was nothing less than a 
military enterprise, on a large scale, against the Christian 
empire of Rome^ from which it became afresh manifest what 
bold and vast designs Mohammed entertained, whilst trying 
to melt the disunited Arab tribes into one compact nation. 
Two years had already passed since his despatch of special am- 
bassadors to neighbouring rulers, amongst them the Emperor 
Heraclius, summoning them to submit to Islam. But the sub- 
sequent military expedition under Zeid, intended to be helpful 
in giving effect to that summons, only showed how much 
more difficult it was to make headway against the Emperor 
of Rome, than to subdue undisciplined Bedouin tribes ; for 
Zeid, as we have seen, instead of conquering, was completely 
routed at Muta, and, with many of his companions, remained 
slain on the battle-field. Mohammed could not allow him- 
self thus to be turned from his great object, an attack on the 
Roman empire, but kept it steadfastly in view, and placed 
it prominently before the eyes of the Moslem community, 


determined to carry it out as soon as circumstances presented 
a fair chance of success. The Emperor Heraclius had like- 
wise been shown by the affair of Muta what serious danger 
was menacing his empire from the south. It was, therefore, 
natural for him to keep considerable bodies of troops near 
the southern borders, ready to meet the Mussulman hordes, 
in the not unlikely event of a renewed incursion. 

Mohammed, though probably not unaware of this, yet 
was resolved, by planning a war-expedition on the largest 
scale, to try the attempt afresh, of forcing open the southern 
gate of the Roman empire, strongly guarded though it was. 
The contemplated enterprise was indeed one of no common 
magnitude and difficulty ; but his followers and allies had 
now swelled into an immense multitude, and so he lost no 
time in publicly making known his intention and ordering the 
extensive preparations requisite. Ibn Ishak says, 'When Mo- 
hammed undertook a war, he usually concealed his true object, 
by feigning another ; but, in the case of the Tabuk expedition, 
he mentioned it at once, because of the great distance, the 
difficulty of the season, and the strength of the enemy to be 
encountered. In order that they might make the necessary 
preparation, he told them openly that they were to prepare 
for an expedition against the Romans! He intended to raise 
a vast army with which he might overwhelm the Emperor's 
forces ; and, if all the Bedouin tribes who were already 
brought under his suzerainty, had responded to his call and 
joined his standard, he might have commanded an armed 
host of a hundred thousand followers. 

But the recently and superficially converted Bedouins 
showed no great disposition to be pitted against the Roman 
legions who had so gallantly defeated the flower of the 
Moslem warriors at Muta ; and even in Medina itself, many 
searched for excuses to justify them in stopping at home. 
Some pretended that the heat of the season was too great for 
them ; others, that the fruits of their gardens had to be 
gathered in ; and some even, that they were afraid the beauti- 
ful Roman women might prove too great a temptation for 
them. To the latter Mohammed answered, that the tempta- 
tion to desert the Prophet was worse than the temptation of 
the Roman women. The whole party known as * hypocrites,' 

2o8 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

or those who had turned Moslems a^inst their will, from 
the mere force of circumstances, were thoroughly averse to 
the hazardous expedition, and anxious to escape from its 
hardships and dangers. Some of them are said to have 
been assembling outside the city in the house of Suweilim, a 
Jew ; and when Mohammed heard of it, he sent a number of 
trusty followers and had the house burned over their heads. 
The other ' dissemblers and doubters ' in Medina made the 
requisite preparations for the war, but formed a distinct camp 
under their leader Abd Allah Ibn Obei ; and Ibn Ishak 
observes that the number of the dissemblers was supposed to 
have been not inferior to that of the sincere Moslems. It 
must have been no small disappointment to Mohammed to 
find that, at the decisive moment, when he issued the order 
to march, a very considerable body of men, with their 
leader, made excuses and stopped behind, so that, to pre- 
vent them from doing mischief during his absence, he had 
to request AH, that formidable champion, likewise to remain 
in Medina. 

But even the ixiain army, gathered from so many tribes, 
was not free from ' hypocrites * ; and Ibn Ishak informs us 
that some, with the intent of disheartening others, expressed 
their apprehensions, during the march, in words such as these, 
' Do you suppose that a war against the Romans is the same 
thing as a war against the Arabs ? To us it seems as if we 
were already bound with ropes, like captives.' Mohammed 
had also urged on the believers the duty of contributing 
money and beasts of burden to * the cause of God,' as he was 
pleased to call this war-expedition. Many of the rich re- 
sponded liberally, and Othman alone is said to have con- 
tributed a thousand gold pieces ; but others were behind- 
hand even in this, and the Prophet is reported to have said, 
concerning some of them, a section of the Aslamites, * What 
hindered these people, if stopping behind themselves, from 
at least lending their camels to those who gladly march in 
the path of God ? ' 

The army which Mohammed succeeded in collecting did 
not come up to the standard desired by him, as regards 
number and equipment. Ibn Ishak gives no particulars on 
these points ; but later historians represent it as consisting 

SEC. II. 14.] MARCH TO TABUK. 209 

of 30,(XX) men, with lOfiOO horses and 12,000 camels. If 
this IS not an exaggeration, the force was still such as to 
cause surprise that Mohammed attempted no more with it 
than he actually did. He had summoned the people to a 
war against the Romans ; but he arrested his northward 
march at Tabuky little more than half the distance to Muta, 
where, the year before, Zeid had first met the Roman troops, 
and where he, no doubt, would also have found them, had he 
still had the courage to engage them in battle. But he had 
evidently given up his original intention and come to the 
conclusion that his safer and more prudent course was, to 
avoid a hostile encounter with the Romans. The multitude 
of his converts, about the hoUowness of whose conversion he 
ought never to have entertained any illusion, sadly disap- 
pointed his expectation : the army was far less numerous 
than he had hoped it would be, and yet abounded in 
doubtful elements. Besides, he could not conceal from 
himself that the * hypocrites ' staying at home, constituted 
a most serious danger, especially if he were to meet with a 
reverse similar to Zeid's. Mohammed was always more 
distinguished for prudent calculation than for manly 
courage. He evidently shrank from attempting, with his 
not inconsiderable army, what a year ago he had expected 
Zeid to accomplish with a much smaller force. 

At Tabuk he mounted an eminence, and, turning to the 
north, said, 'This is Syria;' then, turning to the south, 
said, 'This is Yemen,' as if content to leave the confines 
between Rome and Arabia undisturbed, for the moment. 
Ibn Ishak sums up the whole exploit in these few words, 
' Mohammed remained about ten nights in Tabuk, and did 
not go beyond it. Then he returned to Medina.' His plan 
of invading and conquering Syria was postponed, under 
existing circumstances, but by no means relinquished. A 
year later, another army was equipped for the same purpose ; 
and then Mohammed found it practicable to devolve the 
responsibilities and risks of commandership upon younger 
shoulders. The present much trumpeted expedition against 
the Romans dwindled down to a mere armed demonstration, 
to impress the border tribes with the stirring activity and 



power of the Moslems, and to smooth the way for a future 
successful invasion of the empire. 

Some practical consequences of an immediate character, 
resulting from the expedition to Tabuk, were a treaty with 
Yohanna, the ruler of a small Christian principality at Aila, 
or Akaba, on the Red Sea, who went to Tabuk and agreed 
to pay a capitulation tax, in return for the promise of friend- 
ship and protection ; as also similar treaties, concluded with 
the petty Jewish communities of Makna, Jarba, and Azruh, 
in adjoining localities. Of greater importance was the de- 
spatch of Khalid from Tabuk, with a force of 420 chosen 
horsemen, against the oasis of Dutna^ where Okaidir, a 
Christian prince, ruled. He was taken prisoner, with his 
suite, whilst out hunting wild cows, and had to surrender his 
town and fortress, with all its arms, 400 mail-suits, and 
2800 camels, to the hands of the exacting captor. He was 
brought to Medina, where he was induced to accept the 
conquering prophet's religion, in return for a treaty of 
amity, confirming him in the government of Duma. 

On his return home from what proved to be the last 
expedition which he commanded in person, Mohammed 
showed his displeasure to *■ the hypocrites ' who had abstained 
from accompanying him. They were compelled to make a 
humble apology, and the mosque, which they had erected 
near Medina, and where they used to assemble together, was 
utterly demolished and levelled with the ground. Several 
men from amongst the professed Moslems who were not 
suspected of hypocrisy, and had yet remained at home, were 
put under a sort of ban, all the believers being prohibited 
from speaking to them, or having any dealings with them, for 
many weeks. Thus it becomes apparent that, even during 
the Prophet's lifetime, his followers were induced to keep 
and act together, more by fear and self-interest, than by 
purely religious and conscientious motives. 


(15.) The Arab power of resistance being broken by the rapid 
extension of Mohammed s triumphs^ so many tribes 
are induced by fear and self interest to send special 
Deputies to Medina^ offering their submission to Islam^ 
that the ^th year after the Flight is styled * The Year 
of the Deputations^ 

When once Mecca, with its temple and sacred territory, 
had passed into Mohammed's possession, and the far-famed 
Koreish were enlisted under his banner, the most powerful 
influence existing in Arabia, from being exercised against him, 
as heretofore, was turned in his favour and contributed most 
effectually to the rapid extension of his dominion over the 
whole land. The national sanctuary of the Kaaba was now 
the local centre of Islam, and the annual pilgrimage to it, 
from every quarter, could not, therefore, but enhance the 
fame and power of its Prophet. The triumphant and ever- 
increasing hosts, whom he guided by his sovereign will, no 
longer met in Arabia with any truly formidable obstacle 
to their incessant advance. On the contrary, Arab tribes, 
from far and near, acutely appreciating the new situation, 
sent deputations, of their own accord, to arrange terms of 
friendship with the irresistible prophet and to share in the 
manifest advantages of belonging to the politico-religious 
organisation of his followers. So it came to pass that, 
before his death, all Arabia was virtually under his sway, 
and he could collect his hosts of emulating warriors, with 
the reasonable hope of proving a match for the weakened 
forces of the long-contending empires of Rome and Persia. 
After the battle of Honein, the advance of Islam to universal 
domination in Arabia had, in reality, become either a mere 
military promenade, or an easy triumph of diplomatic nego- 
tiation over parties, who clearly saw it to be their worldly 
interest to embrace the offered religion. 

About two years before Mohammed's death, deputations 
began to be sent from every part of Arabia, offering sub- 
mission and the profession of Islam. They soon became so 
frequent that the 9th year of the Hegira, from spring 630 
to spring 631, is distinguished by Mohammedan historians 
as * 714^ Year of the Deputations^ Ibn Ishak, in a passage 

212 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. il. 

of his work, honestly tells us what, in his opinion, led up 
to so decisive a result, and unconsciously admits that it 
was not religious conviction, but political calculation and 
fear, which moved these tribes, one after another, to proffer 
their submission to the redoubtable prophet and accept the 
faith he pressed upon them with so much zeal. He says, 
' When Mohammed had conquered Mecca, and come back 
from Tabuk, and when the Thakifites had been converted 
and taken the oath of allegfiance, then deputations arrived 
from all parts of Arabia. For the Arabs had waited to see 
what turn matters would take between Mohammed and the 
Koreish, because the latter were the guides and directors of 
the people, the lords of the sacred temple, and the declared 
descendants cyf Ishmael, the son of Abraham. This was 
well known to the chief men of the Arabs, as also that it 
had been the Koreish who first gainsaid Mohammed and 
kindled war against him. As soon, therefore, as Mecca was 
conquered, and the Koreish had submitted to him, being 
humbled by Islam, the Arabs, understanding that they 
themselves had not the power to oppose Mohammed and 
make war against him, professed the faith of Allah.' 

It is undeniable that the vaunted Deputations, recorded 
in honour of the attractive nature of Islam, mainly resulted 
from fear and from the secular pressure brought to bear on 
the different Arab tribes. Moslem bands of daring horse- 
men, under leaders like the irresistible Khalid, scoured the 
country in every direction, so that all the tribes who had not 
yet bowed to the new authority were in constant danger of 
sudden attacks, and could not lie down to sleep, without the 
harassing consciousness that prowling Moslems might pounce 
upon them during the darkness of the night, dealing death 
to the men, and carrying away the women, children, and 
flocks. Moreover, at the pilgrimage-festival in the 9th year 
of the Hegira, the existing covenant, that no one should be 
prevented from visiting the temple or be molested during the 
holy month, was formally annulled, as regards non-Moslems; 
and the believers received the injunction, 'When the holy 
months, granted for a respite, are over, then slay the idola- 
ters where you find them, or take them captive, or shut 
them up, and lie in wait for them on every road ; but if they 


believe, say the prayers, and give the alms to the poor, then 
let them go free.' Mohammed, who but a few years ago had 
himself been excluded from the temple, and pleaded the 
common right of all to visit it, naturally did not care to give 
so unexpected and intolerant a message in person, to the 
collected heathen pilgrims, but preferred to stay at home and 
convey the declaration by deputy. Abu Bekr, who this year 
headed the caravan of pilgrims to Mecca, was already far 
advanced on the way, when Ali was sent after him, with 
the direction to accompany him to the holy city, and there 
publicly to proclaim the unwelcome message. 

The disbelieving Arabs now could not help seeing that 
if they continued any longer in their old religion, they would 
thenceforth be excluded from their national sanctuary and 
have to bear the active hostility of the united and irresistible 
Moslem power. The only alternative before them was, 
either to embrace the offered new religion, with all its con- 
comitant advantages, or to accept a mortal contest, with the 
certain prospect of defeat and galling subjugation. The 
choice could, therefore, not appear difficult to them. So, in 
like manner, the isolated Christian and Jewish communities, 
still surviving in distant parts of the land, could only avoid 
an exterminating war, by accepting Islam, or submitting to a 
vexatious capitation tax and other humiliating conditions. 
Individual conversions, mostly from interested motives, had 
been of frequent occurrence among many tribes ; and the 
fanaticism of these neophytes, who fancied they possessed a 
Divine sanction for breaking all the ties of kindred, honour, 
and duty towards those of another faith, had caused a 
widespread distrust, a radical unsettlement of the notions of 
right and wrong, of honour and shame, hitherto prevailing 
in Arab society. Ancient bonds and bases being thus 
entirely dissolved, the need of a new stay and reuniting 
power was all the more generally felt ; and such a centralising 
authority was now offering, or rather obtruding, itself in 
victorious Islam and its iron laws. What wonder, then, that 
during the last few years of Mohammed's life, deputations 
from the shrewd, keen-sighted Arabs all over the Peninsula, 
should crowd to Medina, as anxious to strike a profitable 
bargain with the compatriot prophet, as he was willing to 

214 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

recognise their natural claim to his jurisdiction ? The ten- 
dency towards Islam now assumed the form of a national 
movement, swaying the current of public opinion ; and the 
cause which long had been the source of heart-burnings, 
violence, and bloodshed, was now rapidly becoming the 
strongest bond of union, the universally acknowledged 
authority amongst the countless tribes and clans of the 
Arab nation. 

The Moslem historians delight in enumerating the 
different deputations, consisting of a few individuals, or of 
tens, or of hundreds, flocking to Medina, to profess faith in 
their prophet and submission to his laws. They arrived from 
every quarter : from the confines of Syria ; from the provinces 
of Bahrein and Oman, on the Persian Gulf; from Mahra and 
Hadramaut, on the shores of the Indian Ocean ; from Yemen 
in the south-west ; from the widespread area of the central 
districts; and, in fact, from every part where the power of 
Islam had not as yet been established. 

These deputations from distant tribes were generally pre- 
sented to Mohammed in the mosque, after the public service, 
with the view of favourably impressing them ; and, in their 
reception, he strove to fascinate and attach them by much 
affability and kindness, never forgetting to supply them with 
rich presents at their departure. He often granted special 
privileges of a worldly nature to those who solicited them, 
and showed an inclination to render the new order of things 
as little irksome as possible, provided always, that his 
authority as a prophet was accepted, idol-worship abolished, 
and the tithes and taxes regularly paid. Sometimes he 
despatched armed parties to destroy idols and shrines ; and 
to the Thakifites he conceded, as a special favour, that their 
idol should be destroyed, not by their own hands, but by men 
whom he would send for the express purpose. Chiefs, as a 
rule, were continued in office, if they readily submitted to 
Islam ; and to induce them to do so, the Prophet did not 
hesitate to unroll before their minds pictures of a most 
attractive worldly character. According to Ibn Hisham, the 
Tay-chief Adi^ a professed Christian, took flight, when Mos- 
lem hordes seized his land, but afterwards was persuaded 
to visit Mohammed, who addressed him in these words : 

SEC. II. 15, 16.] WORLDLY PROMISES. 215 

* Perhaps thou declinest our Faith, because its professors are 
so poor ; but, by Allah ! the time is not distant when money 
will become so abundant that people will be wanted to 
receive it. Or art thou frightened by the great number of 
their enemies and their own fewness ; but, by Allah ! thou 
wilt soon hear that a woman can travel safely on a camel 
from Kadesia to visit the holy temple. Or dost thou refuse 
our Faith because empire and dominion are with others ; 
but, by Allah ! thou wilt soon hear that the white castles of 
Babylon have been taken by conquest' Whether this con- 
versation took place exactly as recorded by Ibn Hisham, or 
not, the fact, that Mohammed had already given a tangible 
form to his plan of conquering the northern countries, quite 
justifies him in not considering its substance improbable or 
unhistorical. He also narrates that Adi used to say in later 
times, ' Two of these prophecies are already fulfilled : I have 
seen that the white castles of Babylon have been taken, and 
that a woman can, without fear, perform her pilgrimage to 
this temple, riding from Kadesia on a camel ; and the third, 
I hope, will also soon come to pass : such abundance of 
money that none will any more care to take it* 

(16.) The superficiality of the Conversions and Compacts, 
effected by those Deputations, is illustrated by the in- 
stances of two A rab Tribes and of two Rival Prophets. 

That Mohammed, in seeking to make converts, gave so 
much prominence to purely secular considerations, argues 
ill for the spirituality of his own character, and throws light 
on the unsatisfactory nature of the conversions he aimed at, 
which plainly consisted of a mere outward change, or a 
substitution of one sort of religious forms and formulas, in 
the place of others. Heart-religion was of little moment to 
him, if only he obtained the profession of the mouth and 
submission to his legal enactments. Hence the conversions 
to Islam could be so rapid and so general. 

What Ibn Ishak reports of the Beni Saad is very instruc- 
tive, in this respect They sent Dhimam Ibn Thalaba as their 
deputy, to bring about an arrangement with the Prophet. 
On arriving in Medina, he found him sitting in the mosque, 

2i6 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

surrounded by his companions. He therefore tied his camel 
to the door of the mosque, and, being admitted to Moham- 
med's presence, addressed him thus, * I adjure thee to tell 
me, whether God did really send thee to us as His ambassador 
and forbid the worship of idols, and whether He commanded 
thee to enjoin five daily prayers, alms, fasts, the pilgrimage, 
and other ordinances?' On Mohammed answering these 
questions in the affirmative, he forthwith exclaimed, * I con- 
fess that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is 
His ambassador, whose precepts I shall obey, neither adding 
thereto, nor taking therefrom.' Then, untying his camel, he 
remounted and hastily travelled back to his tribe. On 
arriving, his first word to them was, *The idols Lat and 
Ozza have been put to shame,' They called out, 'Keep 
silence, Dhimam ! be afraid of leprosy, elephantiasis, and mad- 
ness ! ' He answered, * Woe to you : they can neither harm 
nor help.' Having added some further account of his visit, 
the effect was truly magic, and the historian describes it in 
these words, ' By Allah ! before it had become evening, all the 
men and women in the whole camp were converted to Islam.' 
Sometimes, when deputations, suing for treaties of sub- 
mission, did not come forward as fast as Mohammed 
expected, he used means to bring them about, quite char- 
acteristic of his peculiar method. When the Christians of 
Najran, as recorded above (p. 138), had already secured a 
treaty for themselves, the Bent Haritky a heathen tribe of 
Najranites, were still sullenly holding back. Mohammed, 
apprehending that this might lead to unpleasant conse- 
quences, by unsettling others, despatched his daring cavalry 
commander Khalid, with a body of chosen troops, to either 
convert or conquer them. Khalid was instructed not to fight 
them till he had first, for three days, invited them to Islam 
and they had refused. Accordingly he sent forth his horse- 
men in every direction, calling out to the people, *0 ye 
Beni Harith, believe in Islam, and you shall be spared.' The 
invitation of these martial missionaries had the desired result. 
All the people turned Moslems ; and the cavalry commander, 
as far as his own knowledge went, instructed them in the 
doctrine and usages of Islam. On writing to the Prophet 
whether he was to continue his teaching still longer, he was 

SEC II. i6.] MOSEILAMA. 217 

directed to return home and to bring with him a deputation 
from those new converts, to solicit and receive a formal 
treaty. This was accordingly done ; and when the deputies, 
on their arrival in Medina, wished to show some indepen- 
dence, and calmly reiterated that they were men who, after 
being beaten, returned to the attack, Mohammed cowed 
them by the declaration, ' If Khalid had not written to me 
that you did embrace Islam, without going to war, I should 
now lay your heads before your feet' It is evident, therefore, 
that the treaties of amity, concluded with the deputations of 
so many different tribes, proceeding as they did from a sense 
of fear and worldly interest, were often of a very hollow 
character, and glaringly failed in establishing a state of 
mutual confidence and cordial agreement 

Sometimes they did no more than momentarily conceal 
and gloss over a still-continuing and deep-seated disagree- 
ment, which at any moment might break out into an open 
rupture. The treaty effected with the Beni Hanifa of 
Yemama was of this nature. Their deputation to Medina 
included Abu Thumama^ who, in Mohammedan documents, 
figures only by the opprobrious appellative of * MoseUama ' 
{i.e, * the diminutive Moslem '). He claimed to be Moham- 
med's equal, entitled to share with him the authority over 
Arabia, and eventually to succeed him. Mohammed, as was 
his wont, received him in the mosque, sitting amongst his 
companions ; and though we are assured that, in reply to the 
rival's demands, he, holding a dry palm-branch in his hand, 
declared to him, ' Even if thou wert to demand this branch 
only, I should not give it thee ' ; yet the subsequent pact 
seems to have resulted from concessions on both sides. 
Tradition affirms that Moseilama received presents, like his 
fellow-deputies, but that, on returning to Yemama, he apo- 
statised, like an enemy of God, and began to speak to his 
people in rhyme, imitating the Koran. After a time, he de- 
spatched two messengers to Mohammed, to hand to him the 
following letter : * From Moseilama,^ the Apostle of God, to 

^ The reader will observe that the Mohammedan historian makes the rival 
prophet call himself by the nickname with which the Moslems invariably stig- 
matise him. This can hardly be in accordance with the terms actually employed 
in the letter. 


2i8 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

Mohammed, the Apostle of God, Peace to thee. Then 
know, that I am thy equal in dominion : half of the land 
belongs to us and half to the Koreish, though they are evil- 
doers.' Having read the letter, Mohammed asked the 
messengers, 'And what is your opinion?' They replied, 
* We speak as he does.' Thereupon Mohammed said to the 
messengers, 'If ambassadors were not inviolable, I should 
have your heads cut off;' and he sent them back to Mosei- 
lama with the following letter : ' In the name of God, the 
Merciful, the Compassionate! From Mohammed, the 
Apostle of God, to Moseilama, the liar. Peace to him who 
follows the guidance. Then know, the earth belongs to 
God, He gives it to the servant He pleases. The pious 
shall have a good end.' Notwithstanding this epistolary 
antagonism between the two rival prophets, the compact 
with the Beni Hanifa seems to have been silently admitted 
as still in force, inasmuch as we are not told of any open 
hostility or actual fighting between the two parties, till after 
Mohammed's death, when we find Moseilama a leading 
figure amongst those who made a desperate, though finally 
unavailing, effort to throw off and break the yoke of Mussul- 
man domination. 

If Moseilama of Yemama in the Nejd contented himself 
during Mohammed's lifetime with a war of correspondence, 
and a mere theoretical assertion of equal claims, another rival 
prophet who made his appearance further south, in Yemen^ 
openly unfurled the banner of revolt, four months before 
Mohammed's death, and for a short time drew the whole 
southern portion of Arabia after him. This was Ayhala 
Ibn Kaby of the Beni Madhij, who is only known amongst 
the Mussulmans by the nickname of ' El Aswad^ (i.e. * the 
Black '). He also had for a time professed Islam. But when 
Mohammed made sundry arbitrary changes in the governor- 
ships of the south, substituting men of his own choice, often 
strangers, to the native chiefs whom he had at first confirmed 
in their office, and when he directed the tithes to be forwarded 
to Medina, instead of having them spent where they were 
raised, Aswad availed himself of the general discontent 
caused thereby, drove the Moslem tax-gatherers out of Naj- 
ran, and in a few weeks made himself master of the fortified 

SEC. II. i6.] EL ASWAD, 219 

town of Sana^ whose governor, appointed by Mohammed, 
fell in its defence. Aswad, to make his triumph more telling, 
forthwith espoused the governor's widow. This proved his 
ruin. For she was actuated more by thoughts of revenge for 
her former, than by feelings of affection for her present, hus- 
band. Mohammed, through his unscrupulous agents, who 
were amply furnished with means, found the way to Aswad's 
generals and to Aswad's wife. She herself placed a lamp 
to direct the assassins to her husband's sleeping apartment, 
where they foully murdered him. This is stated to have 
happened only one day before Mohammed himself breathed 
his last in Medina. 

Mohammed must have felt the rivalry and hostility of 
Moseilama and El Aswad all the more deeply, as they are 
both reported to have, for a time, made profession of Islam. 
Ibn Ishak records a tradition according to which he said 
one morning, 'To-night I dreamt that I saw two golden 
rings upon my arm ; but, being displeased with them, I blew 
upon them, and they flew away. I interpret this of the 
two liars, the lords of Yemen and of Yemama.' With a 
reference to the same inconvenient rivals, he is also reported 
to have said on another occasion, * The hour of the resurrec- 
tion will not come before thirty Antichrists will have risen 
up, pretending to be prophets.' But who can help seeing 
that his rivals, and any impartial persons, could with equal 
justice regard Mohammed himself as one of the thirty? If 
he treated as false prophets those who put forth claims 
similar to his own, in what character must he appear, if it is 
considered that he claimed to be equal with Christ, yea, even 
superior to all the previous prophets, as being their * seal ' } 
Moseilama and Aswad only wished to restrict his dominion 
within certain limits and to prevent his encroachment upon 
other parts of Arabia ; but he aimed at subjugating the 
Christian world, as is seen from the summonses he sent to 
the Christian rulers, and from the humiliating capitation 
tax he imposed on the Arab communities who made their 
retention of Christianity a stipulation in the treaties to which 
they had to submit By his own practice he has justified 
being himself called an Antichrist. 

In connection with * The Year of Deputations,' two in- 

220 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk^i. ch. li. 

stances are mentioned by which the anti-Christian character 
of his aims becomes particularly apparent When the 
deputies of the Beni Sohaim, connected with the Beni 
Hanifa, returned to their home, the Prophet, besides having 
imposed a treaty upon them, also gave them a leather bag 
full of water, wherewith he had made his ablution, adding this 
injunction, * Having arrived in your country, demolish your 
church ; then sprinkle the place with this water and build a 
mosque upon it/ And the Beni Taghliby who sent a deputa- 
tion of sixteen men, had to accept a treaty which, in addition 
to the usual burdensome stipulations, contained also a clause 
to the effect that, though they themselves might remain 
Christians, their children were no longer to be baptized, or 
brought up in the doctrines of Christianity. 

These treaties, though Mohammed judiciously strove to 
make their conditions, at the first, as little galling as his vast 
and autocratic ulterior designs permitted, could not but be 
felt irksome and oppressive by tribes who hitherto were 
wont to manage their own affairs independently and without 
being interfered with by other tribes. The national move- 
ment in favour of Islam, which manifested itself by the 
arrival of a multitude of pliable deputies from every quarter, 
was spontaneous rather in appearance, than in reality. As a 
rule, these deputations were brought about by solicitations, 
very peremptory in tone, and by the application of more or 
less of direct and indirect pressure. Left to their own free 
choice, the tribes would have far preferred their ancient 
independence, with its relative weakness, to their union 
under the iron yoke of Islam, with its concomitant increase 
of power. Therefore* Mohammed's great national work 
was not of a very sound and solid quality, as we can see 
from the fact that it threatened altogether to crumble to 
pieces, the moment he closed his eyes in death. But for the 
present, and in appearance, Mohammed's plan had proved 
completely successful ; and the prophet of Medina, by means 
of the formidable military power which he had called into 
existence, ruled with the sovereign authority of an autocrat, 
over all the multitudinous tribes of Arabia. 

Arrived at this pinnacle, he could afresh revert to his long- 
cherished idea, by preparing another serious attempt to invade 


and conquer the Roman empire. But first of all he gave a 
grand spectacle to all Arabia, by exhibiting before their eyes 
the vastness of his success, in replacing the ancient religion 
of the whole nation by the victorious institution of Islam. 

(17.) Mohammed celebrates the Complete Triumph of Islam 
over Arabia^ by attending the Reformed Pilgrim- 
Festival of the year 632, with a company of 1 14,000 
Moslem followers. 

Meanwhile the season for the annual festival of the 
pilgrimage to Mecca had come round again, which appears 
to have always been celebrated in spring, about March ; 
and Mohammed resolved to give it this time a character 
of unprecedented gfrandeur. It was at the Festival of the 
previous year that he had caused a proclamation to be 
published by his son-in-law Ali to the effect that then, for 
the last time. Pagans were admitted to share in the ceremony ; 
but that thenceforth the privilege should be open to pro- 
fessed Moslems only. Thus this ancient festival of Arabian 
heathenism was at one stroke converted into an exclusively 
Mussulman institution, for all future times ; and, as such, it 
was also a token and proof of the public recognition of 
Islam as the national religion, for the whole of Arabia. 
Mohammed determined, formally to usher in this new era of 
the complete national triumph of the religion whose prophet 
he was, by arranging a pilgrimage for the spring 632, on the 
grandest scale, and by joining it in person, with his entire 
household. To make known his intention, he sent out 
messengers in all directions. The professors of the new 
religion responded to the call in vast numbers. It is recorded 
by some Mohammedan historians that the Prophet's retinue 
on this occasion consisted of 1 14,000 persons ; by others, of 
124,000 ; and again by others, that the multitude of pilgrims, 
accompanying him, was so immense that none, save God, 
could know their number. Ali was at this time commanding 
a body of troops in Najran, and therefore took Mecca on 
his march back, arriving early enough to have a share in the 
sacrifices at Mina No special mention is made of the 
Prophet's concubines ; but all his surviving married wives, 

222 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk.;. ch. ii. 

nine in number, he took with him, having them comfortably 
seated in litters, on the backs of camels. Starting from 
Medina five days before the beginning of the month of 
pilgrimage, the caravan reached the sacred territory in very 
good time ; and Mohammed made his entrance into Mecca 
from the same gate by which he had entered it, as its 
conqueror, little more than two years before. 

During the following days he went through the accustomed 
ceremonies, as they had to be performed in the sundry 
traditional spots of the sacred locality, only making slight 
alterations here and there, and omitting throughout whatever 
had been a direct homage to idols. On the tenth day of 
the month, the high day and climax of the entire festival, 
the offering of animal sacrifices took place at Mina. Who- 
ever had brought animals for that purpose, slew them, and 
divided amongst the people the flesh he did not require for 
his own use. So abundant was the flesh, that it could not 
be consumed at once, but had to be cut in slices and dried 
in the sun, for future use. Mohammed alone had brought 
with him lOO camels, intended for sacrifice. Of them he 
slaughtered 63 himself, by cutting their throat with his 
own hand This number, as the historian obSferves, corre- 
sponded to that of the years of his age. The remaining 
37 camels he assigned to the hand of his son-in-law, Ali, to 
be sacrificed by him. The three days spent at Mina, when 
the sacrificing was over, were a time of feasting, merriment, 
and barter ; and Mohammed is reported to have proceeded 
every evening to a certain spot in the valley, for the purpose 
of casting a number of little stones at the devil, in compliance 
with a superstitious custom of ancient date. 

All the festival observances being finished, Mohammed 
and the rest of the pilgrims had their heads shaved ; and it 
is mentioned that he distributed his hair amongst his friends 
for mementoes. His famous cavalry general, Khalid, re- 
ceived, at his special request, some hairs from his forehead, 
which he fixed to his skull-cap, as a talisman ; and we are 
told that, in consequence, he was always victorious in his 
attacks on the enemy. After being shaved, Mohammed had 
himself anointed by his favourite wife, the youthful Aisha, 
with an ointment largely consisting of musk. The time for 


observing the pilgrimage festival was now changed, and fixed, 
for the future, to be always the last month of the lunar year. 
Thus it happened ever since that, in the course of thirty-three 
years, it makes a complete circle through all the solar months. 
Ibn Ishak concludes his account of this celebrated festival 
in the following words, * By thus performing the pilgrimage, 
Mohammed showed its usages to the people and instructed 
them in the Divine precepts respecting it, as also concerning 
the halting-places, the stone-casting, the circumambulation 
of the temple, and the things allowed and forbidden during 
the pilgrimage. Hence this is called the ^^ Pilgrimage of 
Instruction!' and also, on account of its being the last per- 
formed by Mohammed, the " Farewell Pilgrimage" * 

This ostentatious visit to the sanctuary of his native city, 
which was now entirely under his control, and from which 
every one who rejected his pretensions to sovereign authority 
in civil and religious matters, was rigidly excluded, shows 
Mohammed at the height of his success and in the pleni- 
tude of his power. Surrounded by a vast army of followers, 
from all parts of Arabia, he reformed the national sanctuary 
at his will, and reconstituted it as the local centre of his new 
religion and^the annual rendezvous of its votaries. This 
reformed, that is, purely Mussulman, pilgrimage, whose first 
celebration by its author proved also his last and his final 
farewell, was in fact the initiation of a lasting institution of 
welcome to all future Moslem generations, from every quarter 
of the globe. Hither they were to direct their steps, once a 
year, as obedient, humble pilgrims, and hence they were to 
carry back to their homes a deeper sense of mutual brother- 
hood, a livelier appreciation of the common faith and the 
common interests, and a more fanatical zeal to make their 
cause triumphant throughout the world, by every means in 
their power. Mohammed's farewell pilgrimage was the 
crowning of his successes, the zenith of his power. He had 
triumphed over every obstacle and rendered his cause un- 
deniably victorious. But he had achieved his triumph by 
force, by fear, and by fraud. Therefore the proud edifice 
he left behind him to the world, was lacking in solidity, 
and contained within itself the germs of inevitable decay. 
These, however, could not fully develop till after his death. 

224 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. l ch. il. 

(i8.) Mohammed seeks to tighten his grasp on Arabia by the 
despatch of Collectors or Residents to its different 
provinces^ and then directs his earnest attention to a 
fresh attack upon the Roman empire^ by collecting an 
army to invcule Syria. 

Returned from his pilgrimage, and conscious of the g^eat 
power which he wielded, and with which the immense 
multitude of pilgrims had just strongly impressed him, 
Mohammed speedily reverted to his grand idea of conquer- 
ing Syria and began active preparations for making another 
vigorous attempt in that direction. He had reached Medina 
before the end of March 632 ; but finding that Badzan, 
the chief of Yemen, whom he had confirmed in his post 
after making his submission, had just died, his attention 
necessarily had first to be directed to affairs in the south. 
He permitted Shahr, Badzan's son, to succeed his father at 
Sana ; but ordained that the highest political power should 
pass into the hands of Mohajir, whom he had sent thither 
from Medina as collector of the taxes. Similar collectors 
of taxes and political agents had, for some time past, been 
sent forth from Medina, to promote the interests of Islam, by 
replenishing the Prophet's treasury and by controlling the 
action of the native chiefs. Ibn Ishak furnishes us with 
the following list of such collectors or residents : Mohajir 
to Sana, Ziyad to Hadramaut, Adi to the Beni Asad and 
Tay, Mcdik to the Beni Hanzala, Ala to Bahrein, Ali to 

What the biographers say about this last-mentioned 
mission requires some elucidation. Ali was sent at the 
head of a body of troops to that portion of Najran which 
had already made its submission, in order to 'collect the 
alms and the capitation-tax.' This mission seems to have 
taken place in the summer of the year 631. Some time 
after he had left, Khalid was despatched with more troops 
to second him, and received the instruction, * If you meet, 
then AH is to have the chief command/ We do not read 
that they met, but Khalid remained in Najran and brought 
the still refractory Beni Harith to terms. Their deputies 
accompanied him to Medina, to make their submission to 

SEC II. i8.] ALI IN YEMEN. 225 

the Prophet in person, according to superior orders, and Ibn 
Ishak remarks that they returned to their own country 
• not quite four months before Mohammed^s death,' that is, 
about a month before the farewell pilgrimage. Ali appears 
to have marched further south than Khalid, to the remoter 
parts of Yemen, but to have returned to Medina about the 
same time as he did. Now as Ibn Hisham states that AH, 
at this period, undertook two expeditions to Yemen, he can 
only have remained a very short time at head-quarters, and 
must have started again soon after, with a fresh body of 
troops. In all probability the object of this second mission 
was, to keep order and quiet in the province, whilst the 
collector, who had been sent in company with the returning 
Najranite deputies, was entering .upon his unpopular office. 
It must have been at the close of this second expedition, 
that he rejoined Mohammed, during the farewell visit to 
Mecca in March 632, as already mentioned. His own 
actual coUectorship can only have lasted a very short 

The great number of men who were responding to 
Mohammed's pressing invitation to swell the bulk of his 
followers, on his ostentatious pilgrimage to Mecca, naturally 
caused, by their departure from home, an almost complete 
disappearance of the more decided and trusted supporters of 
Islam. Ali also, with his army, departing soon after, to join 
the pilgrim-throngs at Mecca, still further denuded the 
south of the guardians of public tranquillity. This was 
seized upon by those who had only from sheer necessity 
submitted to the new order of things, as the opportune 
moment for casting off the hated yoke of Mussulman 
domination. The rival prophet. El Aswad, as we have 
already seen, forthwith placed himself at the head of the 
discontented, and, fpr the brief space of two or three months, 
held up the banner of independence in the south. The 
patriots of Najran received him with open arms, and 
Mohammed's delegate had to flee for his life. As Mo- 
hammed had hitherto pursued the political aim of ' Arabia 
for the Arabians,' so El Aswad, in adapting the same 
principle to his own circumstances, insisted on the project 
of * The South for the Southerners,* and treated Moham- 



226 JI/S FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii, 

med's collectors and plenipotentiaries as odious intruders. 
In a letter addressed to Moadz, Mohammed's political 
Resident in southern Yemen, El Aswad used the bold 
language : * Give back to us, ye intruders, the land which 
you have seized, and restore to us in full what you have 
taken from us.' 

These occurrences wore a sufficiently threatening aspect 
to engage Mohammed's serious attention, when their report 
reached him after his return from the farewell pilgrimage. 
For a few weeks they kept his settled designs upon Syria in 
the background. But to get rid of a dangerous adversary 
and rival, this fighting prophet possessed such great means, 
and had such little scruple in using them, that the rising of 
Aswad did not cause him great alarm, or turn him aside 
from his northern scheme. We have already seen that Sana, 
the capital of Yemen, which was the scene of Aswad's great 
triumph, also shortly after witnessed his assassination. 
Mohammed had not found it necessary to despatch a 
great army to the south : he accomplished his object in a 
simpler way, by applying a golden key to those in whom 
his rival trusted. 

As soon as Mohammed had made arrangements to 
restore his supremacy in the south, by such easy means, he 
felt again at liberty to direct his whole attention to the 
renewal of attacks on the Roman empire, which he still 
contemplated as the consummation of his long-cherished 
and far-reaching plans. United Arabia, under his leader- 
ship, was not only to remain free from foreign domination 
and invasions, but it could aspire after subjugating foreign 
nations and supplying its wants from their riches. Towards 
the end of May, A.D. 632, two months after his last visit to 
Mecca, Mohammed issued orders to the people that the 
fighting men were to assemble, prepared to start on a war 
expedition against the Romans. 

His own career was now rapidly drawing to a close, and 
the enterprise he thus commenced, but did not live to 
accomplish, fittingly crowns his life, and afresh reveals to 
us the ambitious goal to which it had long been directed. 
Mohammed began his activity as a prophet, by trying to 
make himself the supreme authority in heathen Mecca; 


he spent the last ten years of his life as autocratic Ruler 
of Medina, whence he gradually extended his power over the 
whole of Arabia ; and when death was already hovering over 
him, to snatch him for its prey, we find him absorbed in 
preparations for a renewed attempt to wrest dominion from 
the hands of the Christian Emperor of Rome. 

In this last military enterprise it was not his intention 
to take the command of his army in person. His late 
experience with the expedition to Tabuk let it appear 
preferable for him to devolve the hardships and great 
responsibilities of such a campaign on younger shoulders. 
On the day following his call to arms, Mohammed sent for 
Osama, the son of his emancipated slave and constant friend 
Zeid, who had lost his life in the first invasion of. Syria, 
which he commanded, and addressed him thus : ' Osama, I 
appoint thee Commander-in-Chief of the army. March 
against the infidels of the country where thy father has 
been killed. Set fire to their goods and dwellings. March 
rapidly, so as to arrive before tidings of thy approach reach 
them. If the Most High give thee victory, do not long 
delay in the country, but return hither. Take guides and 
spies with thee, and send on archers in front.' Is it not 
remarkable and characteristic of this martial prophet that 
his course was cut short in the midst of the bustle of pre- 
parations for such a war, and that he died with these orders 
for slaughter, fire, and devastation, as it were, still on his lips ? 

In confiding to youthful Osama so responsible a post, 
the acute prophet was not only guided by feelings of 
gratitude for his late heroic friend, but also by the shrewd 
calculation that a young man who burned with the desire 
to avenge his father's death, and gallantly to win his spurs as 
a successful commander, would carry out most faithfully and 
fully the sanguinary instructions given him. Three days after 
Osama's appointment, Mohammed was seized with a violent 
attack of illness, an acute form of remittent fever, which was 
not of rare occurrence in Medina. On the following day, 
when the malady was steadily settling on his system, he fixed 
the army's standard with his own hands and presented it to 
Osama, saying : ' Enter thou on the holy war, in the name of 
God, and in behalf of the religion of God, and fight every one 


who disbelieves in Allah.' Osama, thus accredited and in- 
structed, took up his quarters outside the city, in a place called 
Jorfy about three miles distant, where the army was to gather 
round him, and to get into a state of readiness for starting. 

But as Osama was still very young for so important a 
post, only about twenty years old, and as experienced 
elderly men, such as Abu Bekr, Omar, Othman, etc., had to 
serve in the- army, murmurs against the appointment soon 
became loud, and it was said : * He has appointed this youth 
over the most noble refugees and helpers ! ' When this 
reached the Prophet's ears, he became very angary, we are 
told, and although fever and headache had already a strong 
hold on him, yet he left his room to ascend the pulpit in the 
mosque close by, and, with a cloth tied round his head, 
freely vented his mind to the people, saying : * What word 
is this which has reached me from some of you, concerning 
my appointment of Osama as commander of the army ? If 
you now object to his appointment, you also blamed that of 
his father Zeid, in the late expedition to Muta. But I 
swear by God that Zeid was a man worthy of the com- 
mandership, and that his son Osama is likewise worthy of it 
Zeid was most dear to me, and his son also is one of those 
I love. Both of them are worthy the esteem of all good 
persons. Therefore, accept my appointment of him with 
pleasure, and fulfil your duties respecting it.' 

Returned to his own room, the fever naturally became 
aggravated. Yet he still urged the departure of the army 
upon those of its leading men who, before leaving, paid him 
their farewell visit But Osama was r^^larly informed about 
the progress and alarming character of the sickness, by 
his mother, who attended on the Prophet. He therefore 
delayed his departure under these critical circumstances. 
So it happened that he did not actually start till some time 
after Mohammed's death, when Abu Bekr, the first Calif, 
insisted on the despatch of the army, exactly as the Prophet 
had appointed it The expedition retained the character, 
probably intended for it from the first, of being a mere 
sudden incursion to strike terror into the population of Syria, 
and as the precursor of a speedily succeeding permanent 


(19.) Mohammed is arrested in his career of conquests and 
sensuality, by the unsparing hand of Death, 

In the midst of the preparations for this unprovoked 
aggression upon the Christian empire of Rome, Mohammed 
was struck down by the interposing hand of death. The 
course of unrestrained sensuality, in which, for years, he had 
been indulging,^ had a naitural tendency to undermine his 
constitution and to ruin his nervous system — not of the 
strongest from the first — so that he had no stamina left to re- 
sist the ravages of disease. We cannot wonder that despite the 
exhilarating air he breathed, especially during his frequent 
war-expeditions, the oil of his lamp of life was consumed so 
soon. The fever which at last fastened upon him, exhausted 
his vital powers and caused death in less than a fortnight 

His illness began in the chamber of his wife Meimuna, 
whose turn it was to have him stay with her that day. From 
her he went to his favourite wife Aisha. She relates that, 
suffering herself also from headache, she called out, *0h, 
my head ! ' He said to her, * Thy headache will pass away 
easily ; but mine is one whose cure is difficult.' * So he 
went back to Meimuna's room ; and as his symptoms grew 
worse, all his wives gathered there to see him. He asked 
them several times in whose apartment he was to be on the 
day following; and they, perceiving his desire to be with 
Aisha, consented with one accord to his remaining in Aisha's 
chamber for the rest of his illness, promising to come and 
attend upon him as occasion might require. Accordingly 
he removed from Meimuna's to Aisha's apartment; and 
the fever had already so much told upon him, that he could 
not walk the short distance without assistance. The malady 
progressed rapidly, and, with it, the distress he felt He 
could not lie quiet ; but, turning from one side to the other, 
restlessly threw himself about in his bed. So great was his 
impatience and disquiet, that Aisha felt called upon to 
rebuke him, saying, * O Apostle of God, if one of us had been 
ill and shown so much distress and restlessness, thou surely 
wouldest have been angry with us.' He replied, * O Aisha, 
my illness is exceedingly severe ; and verily the Most High 

1 Compare Book 11. Chap. 11. Sec ii. 4. ^ Compare also pp. 79, 80. 

230 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ll. 

sends the severest troubles to the true believers ; but He 
does so only with the intent of raising them to a higher 
degree and wiping out their sins, even if that trouble should 
merely be a thorn in their foot* 

Many visitors called to inquird after the health of their 
prophet. Amongst them was the mother (or, according to 
some account, sister) of Bishr. She relates that, finding 
him in a very hot paroxysm of intermittent fever, she thus 
expressed her surprise, * O Apostle of God, I have never seen 
such fever as thine in any one else.' He answered, * There- 
fore my reward also will be double that of others ; but tell 
me, O mother of Bishr, what the people say about my 
illness.' On her replying, ' They say, the Prophet is suffering 
from pleurisy.* He said to her, * It is not in accord with the 
goodness of the Most High to inflict that illness on His 
Prophet. The illness of which thou speakest is caused by 
Satan, and he has no power over me. My illness is the effect 
of that poisoned meat which I ate, together with thy son, in 
Khaibar. Many times have I suffered from it ; but now I 
feel as if the artery of life was being cut through.* The 
historian, recording this interview, observes that in all pro- 
bability God*s purpose with regard to this poisoned meat was, 
that the Prophet might thus share in the dignity oi martyrdom. 

Remedies were indeed applied, as was sure to be done in 
the case of a sick husband, surrounded by so many anxious 
wives : but they failed in subduing the violence of the fever. 
Aisha remembered that, with the view of assuaging pain in 
himself and in others, her husband had sometimes uttered 
certain words of incantation, whilst stroking the affected parts 
with his hand. She, therefore, repeated the same words, and 
took his hand to draw it over his body. But he soon withdrew 
it from her, saying, ' Formerly such incantation did me good ; 
but now it is of no use.* His fever rose so high that the 
burning heat of *his body could be felt through the bed- 
clothes. He had the sensation of a fire raging within his 
veins ; and this suggested to him the application of a more 
drastic remedy which, however, only afforded him relief 
for the moment. He ordered that seven water-skins/ never 
before used, should be filled from seven different wells and 
simultaneously poured over him. Accordingly they placed 


him in a bathing-tub, belonging to his wife Hafza, Omar*s 
daughter, and poured the water over him, as he had directed. 
But he soon made signs with his hands for them to desist ; 
and the fever yielded as little to this sevenfold mixture of 
water, as to incantation. His strength decreased fast, and 
fainting fits supervened. During one of these, his wives 
dropped some medicine into his mouth, such as was used in 
Abyssinia against pleurisy. When he ascertained this, on 
recovering consciousness, he was so vexed with them that, 
sick as he was, he insisted on their all partaking of the same 
medicine, for a punishment. Every one of them had to 
swallow some of the objectionable drug in his presence ; and 
it is expressly remarked that even Meimuna had to submit 
to the ordeal, although she was fasting at the time. 

On the Thursday preceding his death, when his weakness 
was already very great and his mind clouded, he asked for 
writing materials, to make a last will, probably urged to do 
so by some interested person of his surroundings. As he 
left no son, and there were several parties looking forward to 
the privilege of succession, this caused quite a scene and 
unseemly quarrel in the very sick-room of the Prophet, 
several of the persons interested dreading lest he should bar 
their chance. Some were for complying with the sick Pro- 
phet's request ; others loudly opposed it, on the ground of it 
causing him too great an effort, or, as being the dictate of a 
delirious mind, under the effect of a burning fever. So 
boisterous became the altercation, that the patient expressed 
his displeasure and relinquished his wish in anger. Yet we 
are told that, in this last illness, he bequeathed to his followers 
the legacy of three verbal injunctions. The first was, that 
they should drive all non-Moslems out of the country, so as 
to have only one religion in Arabia ; the second^ that they 
were to continue his practice of giving presents to Arab 
communities offering to embrace Islam ; but the third is 
mysteriously withheld by the biographers, and may possibly 
have had reference to a successor, which it was deemed 
prudent to keep secret Only so much he is reported to 
have Said on this subject, that it was his wish the Califate 
should remain in the hands of the Koreish. 

He also still found it necessary to exhort the Refugees 


232 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

from Mecca and the Helpers from Medina to recognise each 
other's merits, and to exercise mutual forbearance and 
kindness. In the early part of his illness he freely conversed 
with visitors, and at the public prayers occupied his usual 
place in the mosque, to which he had a private entrance, by 
a door from Aisha's apartment ; but for the last few days he 
was too weak to rise, and Abu Bekr, his father-in-law and 
old friend, officiated for him as Imam, by taking the lead 
in conducting public worship. On one occasion Abu Bekr 
was late and Omar took his place as Imam ; but no sooner 
did Mohammed hear his voice, than he called through the 
window, opening into the mosque from Aisha's room, and 
ordered him to desist and to give way to Abu Bekr. 

The Mohammedan biographers, in their account of their 
prophet's death-bed, as in fact of his life in general, make 
mention of many extraordinary circumstances, calculated to 
throw a supernatural halo around him, as, e,g. that, for the 
last three days, God daily sent Gabriel to inquire after his 
health ; that, on the third day, Gabriel was accompanied by 
the angel Ismael, who was at the head of 70,000 or 100,000 
angels, each one of whom again headed a like number of 
other angels ; that the angel of death obediently waited 
outside the room, till the sick man gave him permission to 
enter ; that the keeper of hell was ordered to extinguish 
the infernal flames, whilst Mohammed was passing by, on his 
way to heaven ; that the houris of Paradise were requested 
to adorn themselves, and the angelic hosts received command 
to form in lines, in honour of the Prophet's advent to the 
celestial realms, etc. But no sober-minded person can for a 
moment doubt that these stories are wholly without founda- 
tion in fact, and are nothing but the gratuitous invention of 
friends and partisans, according to whose heated imagination 
the close of their prophet's life ought to have been thus 
marvellously distinguished. 

In reality, Mohammed's death-agonies seem rather to 
have been unusually severe, than otherwise. We are in- 
formed that he alternately grew red and pale ; that some- 
times he pulled back his right, sometimes his left, hand ; that 
large drops of perspiration, like pearls, fell from his cheeks ; 
and that Aisha declared : * Since I have seen his Excellency 

SEC II. 19, 20.] HIS DEA TH. 233 

yield up his soul with so much difficulty, I have no longer 
wished for an easy death : for if an easy death were best, God 
would certainly have chosen it for His Prophet' 

The circumstances of Mohammed's death were in keeping 
with his life : he was surrounded by a circle of nine surviving 
wives, to whom another was just about to be added (but who 
only received his matrimonial promise together with the 
tidings of his death) ; he expired in the apartment of his 
favourite Aisha, with his head reposing on her bosom, 
' between her lungs and her neck ' ; and whilst he lay on his 
death-bed, his army was collecting at a small distance from 
Medina, for the purpose of carrying death and devastation 
into the Roman empire. 

Who can help being struck with the contrast of all this 
to the close of the earthly life of Christ, who died upon the 
cross, and prayed for His tormentors : * Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do.' Mohammed strove to 
supersede Christ : but how long the distance between them, 
how great the difference between their respective life and 
death ! Christ was * a prophet mighty in deed and in word 
before God and all the people' (Luke xxiv. 18), and sealed 
His testimony with His blood ; Mohammed was a worldly 
ruler in a prophet's garb who, to extend his tyrannical power 
and compass his selfish ends, did not shrink from employ- 
ing cunning, assassination, and war. Can any one, with the 
least spiritual perception, remain a moment doubtful as to 
which of the two deserves our confidence in the paramount 
concerns of the soul and of eternity ? 

(2a) Mohammed has scarcely closed his eyes, when Discord 
amongst his followers threatens to break up the whole 
fabric he had erected: but Abu Bekr manages to be 
chosen as the first Calif andy as such, takes up the 
plans of his late friend. 

The Arabian Prophet, not more than sixty-three years 
old, had hardly breathed his last, about noon on Monday, 
June 8th, A.D. 632, when the politico-religious structure he 
had reared, threatened to crumble to pieces ; and those who 
had helped him in fabricating it, had to resort to the same 
sinister means which he had used himself, in order to keep it 


together. Directly after he had expired, an unpleasant 
scene occurred between Omar and Abu Bekr, which is 
graphically narrated by Ibn Ishak. He tells us that, before 
the death had become known to the people generally, Omar 
thus harangued the dense congregation, assembled in the 
mosque : * Some hypocrites assert that Mohammed is dead : 
but, by Allah, Mohammed is not dead, he has only gone to 
his Lord, like Moses who remained away from his people for 
40 days and yet returned, after he had already been reported 
dead. Surely the apostle of God will return like Moses, 
and cut off the hands and feet of those who reported him 
dead.' Whilst speaking in this way, Abu Bekr, who had just 
had ocular demonstration of his friend's death, entered the 
mosque, and called out to Omar : * Gently, Omar ! Listen to 
me ! ' But he took no notice of him and went on speaking 
as before. Abu Bekr seeing this, now also began to address 
the people, who soon turned away from Omar and listened 
to him. Abu Bekr said : * O ye people, whoever of you 
worshipped Mohammed, let him know that he is dead ; but 
whoever worshipped God, let him know that He lives and 
will never die.' Then he recited the following verse, now 
incorporated in the Koran as verse 138, or, according to 
another division, verse 144, of the third Surah. * Mohammed 
is only an apostle, and other apostles have died before him. 
Now if he die or be killed, will ye turn on your heels ? Who 
does so, will not harm God ; but God rewards the grateful.' 
Ibn Ishak proceeds to remark : ' By Allah, it was as if the 
people had not known anything about the revelation of this 
verse, until Abu Bekr recited it on that day. Then the 
people received it of Abu Bekr, and still have it in their 
mouth.' This quite looks as if Abu Bekr had improvised 
the verse for the occasion ; and if we combine this with the fact 
that he, directly after, took up and carried on the Prophet's 
plan, so exactly in the Prophet's way and in the Prophet's 
spirit, we shall probably not go far wrong by surmising that 
these are not the only instances where Abu Bekr contributed 
in giving shape and substance to Islam. But whoever may 
have been the real author of this verse, it proved very 
opportune in calming Omar and bringing him over to Abu 
Bekr's mode of thinking. 


It was plainly necessary that these two influential men, 
as well as the rest of the refugees, should show a firm and 
united front, in the present critical moment For already 
the * helpers * of Medina were assembling in a court of the 
Beni Saida, in order to appoint a chief from amongst them- 
selves, in the person of Saad Ibn Ubada. Abu Bekr and 
Omar hastened to them, the same afternoon, to prevent the 
threatening mischief. Matters indeed looked very grave. 
Mohammed had not yet grown cold, and was still lying on 
the couch where he had died, when his followers were 
already on the verge of separating into two antagonistic 
parties, the helpers and the refugees, whilst Ali and his 
friends kept aloof from them botL The helpers, or natives 
of Medina, formulated their grievances thus : ' We are the 
helpers of Allah, the army of Islam : but you refugees 
have come upon us, in a body, to tear us away from our root, 
and to deprive us of our dominion.' Abu Bekr, speaking 
the mind of himself and his fellow-refugees, replied in a 
very conciliatory tone, and said : * You helpers certainly 
deserve all the good which you claim for yourselves : but the 
Arabs will concede the right of sovereign dominion to none 
but the Koreish. These are the centre of the Arabs, both 
as regards descent and habitation. Therefore direct your 
choice to one of their number.* 

The helpers now showed signs of readiness to come to a 
compromise, and their speaker, by boasting of their strengfth, 
hoped to succeed, at least, with a proposal of such a nature. 
He said in their name : * I am the stem against which the 
camel rubs itself, the well-supported date-tree : let, therefore, 
one chief be chosen from amongst us, and one from amongst 
you, the Koreish.* Thereupon the noise became so great, and 
the voices grew so loud, that a violent collision and final 
rupture seemed imminent. But Omar, who doubtless acted 
in unispn with Abu Bekr, and probably under his thoughtful 
inspiration, suddenly led the way to a peaceable solution, by 
saying to Abu Bekr : * Stretch out thy hand ! ' Abu Bekr 
having done so, he seized it and instantly took the oath of 
allegiance to him. The refugees, all of whom seem to have 
followed Abu Bekr and Omar to the meeting, forthwith did 
the same; and their example drew even the helpers after 

236 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA. [bk. i. CH. ll. 

them, who likewise took his hand and pledged their troth. 
The yptended chief, Saad Ibn Ubada, thus deserted, could 
easily be disposed of. Omar proceeds with his narrative: 
' We fell upon Saad, so that one of them said, " You are 
murdering him ; " but I replied : " May God kill him ! " * 

This looks remarkably like a coup de main^ such as are 
not uncommon in the sphere of worldly politics ; aiid the 
Arabs were too keen-sighted not to have viewed it in this 
light. Ibn Ishak records that, towards the end of Omar's 
Califate, some talked to him of overruling the choice of a 
successor, in favour of a certain individual, in case it should 
become necessary, and that they justified their intention 
by saying : * Verily, the oath of allegiance to Abu Bekr was 
nothing but a surprise, which was afterwards ratified.' The 
public reply which Omar made to this suggestion shows, 
that he could not altogether deny this character of Abu 
Bekr's appointment, and that he justified it merely on the 
ground of its inevitableness. He said : * Let none be so 
blinded as to affirm that the allegiance to Abu Bekr was 
only a coup de niain which succeeded. For though it was 
such, God thereby averted evil, and there was none amongst 
you before whom the people bowed more readily than 
before Abu Bekr.* 

By these efforts to prevent an open rupture between the 
helpers and the refugees, and to unite the leading men of 
both parties in th§ election of Abu Bekr to the Califate, 
the whole afternoon and evening of Monday were taken up. 
The great work ren^aining to be done on Tuesday was, to 
consolidate and secure the success of the previous day, by 
laying it before the general assembly of the Moslems, and 
by having it publicly indorsed by the entire population of 
Medina. For a Calif, once chosen and obeyed by all 
Medina, would be the exponent of a strong centre of power, 
for upholding the Koran and the Mohammedan institutions 
throughout Arabia, where the Prophet's death might possibly 
unchain centrifugal forces, similar to those which had so 
soon manifested themselves in Medina. Accordingly, on 
Tuesday, when the way had been sufficiently prepared 
amongst the bulk of the inhabitants, Abu Bekr occupied 
Mohammed's place in the mosque, and Omar, rising up 


before him, addressed the following oration to the assembly, 
as reported by Ibn Ishak : * O ye people, I have yesterday 
spoken words to you which I had neither found in God's 
Book, neither had the Apostle of God commissioned me with 
them. It tad only appeared to me that Mohammed would 
direct our affairs by his last word. But God has left His 
Book amongst you, which contains the directions of His 
apostle. If you hold this fast, God will direct you by it, 
as He directed him. Now God has united you around the 
best amongst you, around the " companion of the Apostle of 
God," who had been the only one with him in the cave. 
Therefore arise and take the oath of allegience to him ! ' 
To this exhortation the whole body of Moslems at once 
responded, by taking the oath proposed to them, and thus 
ratified the arrangement and oath of the previous day. 

These State affairs, claiming precedence before even the 
Prophet's burial, furnish us with a fresh illustration of the 
predominance of the political and secular in the system of 
Islam. Notwithstanding the intense summer-heat, prevail- 
ing at the time, the Prophet's dead body was left unburied, 
Contrary to the universal practice, from noon on Monday, 
all through Tuesday ; and it was not till late at night, be- 
tween Tuesday and Wednesday, that the pressure of State 
business permitted a grave being dug for him. This was 
done in a corner of Aisha's room, on the very spot where he 
had died, and there his more immediate friends, during the 
hours of midnight darkness, consigned his mortal remains 
to the keeping of mother earth. He still tenants the grave 
which then received him ; and no resurrection has as yet 
testified to his pretended equality with Christ, Whom he 
ventured to call his brother-prophet For a time, the tomb 
was only separated by a partition-wall from the rest of the 
apartment, which continued in Aisha's occupation ; but 
later on, the whole area was added to the mosque, of which 
it still forms part, and where it is annually visited by crowds 
of Moslem pilgrims. 

No sooner had the news of Mohammed's death reached 
the city of his birth, than most Meccans, as Ibn Ishak 
records, wanted to throw off the fetters of Islam, which, for 
some years, they had been obliged to bear. Attab, Moham- 

238 HIS FULL SUCCESS IN MEDINA, [bk. i. ch. ii. 

med's representative, who presided at public worship, became 
so frightened by the mutinous manifestations, that he hid 
himself. Many of those whom the Prophet believed he 
had effectually conciliated by rich presents, now wholly 
forgot the largesses they had received. But ^Soheil Ibn 
Amr, one of those whose present from the booty of Taif 
amounted to lOO camels, summoned courage, and openly 
declared in the name of other partisans, * The death of 
Mohammed will only have the effect of increasing the power 
of Islam ; and we shall not hesitate to cut off the heads of 
those whom we may have cause to suspect.* This show of 
a bold front had the desired effect. The people were afraid 
of the consequences of actual mutiny and re-assumed a 
quiet attitude. Attab left his hiding-place and once more 
became the champion of Islam in Mecca. 

It was not equally easy, in other places, to suppress the 
anti-Islamic aspirations after freedom, which were not long 
in manifesting themselves all over Arabia. Ibn Ishak 
refers to the gloomy state of things in the following words : 
* By the death of Mohammed great misfortune overtook 
the Moslems. I have been informed that Aisha said : 
" When Mohammed died, the Arabs rebelled, Judaism and 
Christianity raised up their heads, and the Hypocrites showed 
themselves openly. The Moslems resembled a wet flock 
on a winter's night, because of the loss of their prophet, 
until God re-united them round Abu Bekr." ' 

But Abu Bekr, the Prophet's devoted friend from the 
first, whose calm reflection and open-handed liberality had 
been no strangers to the development and successes of Islam 
thus far, also proved the right man for the present emergency. 
He was fully imbued with the spirit of his late friend, 
thoroughly acquainted with his aims and plans, and, on 
being chosen for his successor or Calif, was found in every 
way qualified to maintain and extend the Islamic common- 
wealth, by the same means and tactics by which it had 
been founded. Despite the advice of some, to keep back 
the army intended for an attack upon Syria, or, at least, to 
replace its youthful commander by an older and more 
experienced man, Abu Bekr insisted on carrying out the 
prophet's wishes to the letter, and on doing so at once. 


Osama crossed the borders of Syria; spread death and 
desolation before him, as he advanced ; committed to the 
flames what he could not carry away ; and after having 
avenged his father's death, and the disaster of Muta, by 
devastating that whole neighbourhood, he, with his army, 
returned to Medina in triumph, having carried out his 
movements with such rapidity that the whole expedition 
lasted only little more than a month. 

This speedy return of the army was most opportune and 
necessary ; for already the contagion of disaffection and 
opposition to the Moslem rule was openly showing itself 
far and wide amongst the Arab tribes ; and the rival 
prophets, Toleiha and Moseilama, lost no time in availing 
themselves of the anti- Mohammedan movement. Abu Bekr 
and his friends saw clearly that boldness and physical force 
were indispensable, to maintain the cause established by 
wiliness and warfare. The Calif had already intimated the 
warlike nature of the policy he intended to pursue, when, in 
the public speech by which he acknowledged his election, 
whilst Mohammed was still lying unburied, he used these 
words : * Never did a people desist from warring in the cause 
of God, without God delivering it over to shame ; and never 
did a people commit flagrant acts, without God bringing 
misfortune upon it' It was no easy matter to secure the 
domination of Islam by the force of arms. But what 
Mohammed had accomplished, with scantier resources, could 
assuredly also be done by his successor, with far ampler 

The great advantage on Abu Bekr's side was, that his 
party was compact, being held together by a rigidly enforced 
discipline ; that they were conscious of fighting for their 
very existence, defeat meaning ruin ; and that, for a con- 
siderable time, warfare had been their regular employment, 
by which they had been converted into practised warriors, 
accustomed to act together with one common purpose, 
always ready for war, like a standing army, and having 
learnt to fight with the hope of victory, even against superior 
numbers. Abu Bekr felt all the confidence of superiority on 
these grounds, and was fully aware of the martial inferiority 
of his adversaries from corresponding disadvantages. Thus 



the Calif could venture to divide the bulk of his military 
forces into smaller armies, and, placing them under efficient 
commanders, send them forth in every direction, wherever 
they were most needed at the moment Resistance was 
borne down with great rapidity, by the united onslaught of 
these fierce and valiant corps of Mussulman warriors. The 
isolated Arab tribes were no match for the iron union of 
martial Islam. 

Only, in the centre of the Peninsula, the rival prophet 
Moseilama had collected around him so powerful an army, 
that he could rout two Moslem corps which successively 
advanced against him. But when the able and daring 
Cavalry-General Khalid, who till then had been ruthlessly 
quelling the anti-Islamic rebellion further north, arrived on 
the field with a fresh army, flushed with a succession of 
victories, his impetuous valour and dexterous generalship 
soon prevailed ; and the opposing army was completely 
overthrown with great slaughter, though not without severe 
losses to the Moslems themselves. By this crushing defeat 
of the Beni Hanifa in Yemama, in which Moseilama himself 
lost his life, being afterwards discovered under a heap of 
slain, the backbone of the general but disunited resistance 
to Mussulman rule was broken ; and, before Abu Bekr had 
completed the first year of his Califate, all Arabia was com- 
pelled to acknowledge his sovereign authority. 

With Arabia at his feet, the Calif had his hands free to 
resume the cherished plan of foreign conquests. This open- 
ing prospect of abundant plunder was, at the same time, also 
the best means for keeping* together in one commonwealth 
the multitude of reluctant and inwardly disunited Arab 
tribes, by beckoning them to a common goal of self-interest, 
possessing irresistible attraction to the marauding instincts 
of the whole nation. What wonder, then, that already in 
the second year of Abu Bekr's Califate, we find the hungry 
and fanatical hosts of Arab warriors leaping the northern 
boundaries of their Peninsula and casting themselves, almost 
simultaneously, on the already much-weakened empires of 
Rome and Persia. 

This is the manner in which Abu Bekr understood and 
carried out the duties bequeathed to him by the author of 


Islam ; and thus it came to pass, that the Mohammedan 
armies entered upon that furious march of conquest through 
the world, the ti^ck of which has been lurid for centuries 
with fire and blood. Now, as the saying is true, that the 
nature of a tree becomes known from the fruit it bears, so 
also we may be prepared, by what has hitherto passed in 
review before our eyes, to admit that the untold miseries 
and woes which the politico-religious amalgam of Islamism 
has, age after age, inflicted on mankind, as the pages of 
history testify, are really the outward and tangible manifesta- 
tion of its true inward nature. As such they revert, in due 
proportion, to the prophet and author of the system, their 
indirect cause, and brand them both with the stigma of well- 
merited reprobation. 

BOOK 11. 

9^o|iammeti bietotH in t^£ 9^oon0||fn£ oC "ZEraHttion. 

The object of the First Book was, to set forth Mohammed 
in his true historical character, as, from the materials and 
data transmitted to us, he can be conceived t6 have lived 
and acted, to have been influenced by his surroundings, and 
to have exercised an influence upon others. Our historical 
information concerning him being derived almost exclusively 
from his enthusiastic admirers and implicit believers, the 
picture with which they have furnished us is not the least 
likely to do injustice to the actual man. It might possibly 
have had to be drawn still more to his disadvantage, had the 
stream of Mohammed's history flowed from purer and less 
partial sources. It was a plain duty for the author, in avail- 
ing himself of the material at our disposal, to make use of a 
due measure of critical discrimination, and to put the reader 
on his guard against the exaggerations of blindly uncritical 

In this Second Book the author's duty is changed. He 
no longer aims at placing before the reader an image of the 
Arabian Prophet, as he actually lived in the body ; but he 
wishes, by mere literal quotations from professed Mussulman 
writings, to illustrate how the glowing imagination and 
devout admiration of the Moslem believers have metamor- 
phosed him, and enveloped the genuine natural original in 
the fictitious halo of a dazzling radiance and a supernatural 

There can be no doubt, that the first impulse to this 
transfiguration of the eminently earthly Prophet into the 
all, but in name, superhuman Apostle and transcendent 
Favourite of God, was given by Mohammed himself. What 


we have seen of him in the First Book must have sufficiently 
convinced us that he was by no means given to the rational- 
istic method of seeking to explain supernatural things by 
natural causes ; but that he was rather prone to raise himself 
in the estimation of others, by imparting a miraculous 
colouring to things perfectly natural. From the moment he 
affirmed himself to be equal, nay superior, to all the pre- 
ceding prophets, as their chief and seal, he was almost com- 
pelled also to claim ascendency over them as the recipient 
of Divine favours. This he must have found very difficult, 
especially with regard to Jesus Christ ; and it could not but 
draw him on to very hazardous assertions. 

His partisans soon understood how he wished to be 
estimated by them, and that it was their interest to please 
him by responding to his wishes. Once having indorsed his 
pretension of being God's highest Apostle, they became 
naturally disposed to attribute to him what they fancied so 
transcendent a dignity should actually comprise. They 
reasoned thus, if they reasoned at all, *■ Mohammed is the 
last and greatest of the prophets ; and therefore it is but 
right and fitting that he should possess, in a superlative 
degree, those gifts and favours which distinguished former 
prophets.' In this way the true dimensions of their prophet's 
figure imperceptibly magnified themselves to them into 
gigantic proportions ; more especially after his death, when 
they looked at him through the radiance of almost unex- 
ampled military glory and undreamt-of riches of spoil. The 
not unnatural admiration of his successes soon degenerated 
into a superstitious credulity, which accepted whatever was 
told about him, with all the greater avidity, the more extra- 
ordinary and fantastic it appeared. To the dazzled vision 
of devout Moslems, a story possessed the highest degree of 
probability, when it most tended to raise the founder of 
their triumphant religion far above any other messenger 
of God. 

Hence we find that what is to correspond, in Mohammed, 
to the ' signs and wonders * of former prophets, notably of 
Jesus Christ, assumes- such an offensively grotesque and 
utterly incredible character. What an immense contrast 
between the miracles of the Bible and the miracles of Moslem 


Tradition ! The Biblical wonders resemble beautiful flowers 
of Paradise, springing up from a purely ethical ground, 
where the ever-faithful God of Love pities the need of His 
children, hears their prayers, and helps them. The Moham- 
medan marvels look like unreal phantoms of the air, pro- 
duced for the purpose of ostentatious display, and result 
from an unethical trifling with the supernatural. The 
miraculous works of Jesus Christ were deliverances from 
death, disease, and distress, with the only exception of the 
withering of a fruitless fig-tree, as the symbol of the punish- 
ment awaiting a favoured nation in which God looks in vain 
for the fruits of repentance and righteousness. But even 
this one exception, how favourably does it compare, on the 
ground of reasonableness and chaste propriety, with the 
date-tree which is said to have been caused by Mohammed's 
prayer to grow forth from a camel's hump, and instantane- 
ously to bear fruit of which a whole assembly of men could 
eat, the dates being exceeding sweet to the palates of be- 
lievers, but becoming stones in the mouths of unbelievers ! 
or with the other tree which, in obedience to a. message sent 
by Mohammed, swayed from side to side, as is reported, in 
tearing up its roots, and walked to his Excellency, greeting 
him with the salutation, * Peace be on thee, O thou Apostle 
of God ! ' 

Surely the extravagant descriptions of Mohammed's 
supposed * excellencies ' and * miracles,* by which Mussulman 
devotees have sought to sustain his pretension to the highest 
rank amongst God's ambassadors, can only lower him in the 
estimation of truth-loving men, whose sense of religious 
propriety and spiritual decorum is not vitiated ; and invest 
him, to their view, with the character of prophetic charlatanism 
and religious monstrosity. Reading an account of Moham- 
med's fictitious virtues and fantastic miracles, after perusing 
the Scriptural record of God's true prophets and their 
wondrous works of faith, is like turning from a sunny walk 
through life-teeming nature to the unrealities of a phantas- 

The author is fully conscious that this is strong language 
concerning a character which the many millions of Moslems 
throughout the world regard with religious reverence and 


superstitious devotion ; but he confidently anticipates that 
it will be fully justified and deliberately indorsed by all his 
Christian readers who pay due attention to the subject. It 
can hardly be otherwise than that every one, whose judicial 
faculties have matured under the influence of Christian truth, 
should at once discover a repulsive and truly blasphemous 
caricature of the Divine beauty of the Son of Man, if he 
carefully peruses the following pages in which Mussulman 
pens have so hyperbolically described, and so excessively 
coloured, the physiognomy of the author of Islam. 

The image now about to be unrolled is not that of the 
historical Mohammed, as he actually lived in the flesh, an 
Arab amongst the Arabs, but that of a mythical Moham- 
med, as he was portrayed by the vivid imagination of his 
uncritical admirers, on the ground of outlines drawn by 
himself Stories which had come into circulation about 
the Prophet, with his ready connivance, were embellished 
on their passage by his admirers. What was known of the 
lives of previous prophets was exaggerated to suit the 
conception of the chief and seal of all the prophets, such as 
Mohammed claimed to be, and was most unscrupulously 
applied to him. He had to unite in himself the excellencies 
and virtues of all former prophets, and something more. 
His biographers looked at his person through this magnify- 
ing mirror. It is mainly this unnaturally magnified, this 
unhistorical, and fictitious Mohammed, who sways the hearts 
of the Moslems and keeps them from recognising in Jesus 
Christ the true Saviour of man, * the Way, the Truth, and the 
Life,' in the full sense of the word. But this supernatural 
halo, this transcendent glory, with which he shines in the 
following pages, is not really his own. It is a borrowed 
lustre, just as the moonshine of the night is merely a dim 
reflection from the king of day. As the moon unconsciously 
bears witness to the glory of the sun, so also the so-called 
'Light of Mohammed' involuntarily testifies to the prim- 
eval glory of Him who said, ' I am the Light of the world * 
(John ix. 5). 



Remark : In the following numerous illustrations of the 
subject of this chapter, the method, uniformly observed, 
is : first {a) to point out the Christian Original, by the 
quotation of a few verses from the Bible ; and then {b) 
to show the Mohammedan Imitation thereof, by a literal 
translation of ample portions from Moslem biographical 
works. The reader is requested to remember that what 
he is reading about Mohammed, in both the chapters of 
this Second Book, is merely a faithful translation of 
Mohammedan records, and not a statement of the 
author's own opinion, or an indorsement of those records. 
Only the headings of the first chapter and the footnotes 
of both, conveying the requisite explanations and 
elucidations, are by the author. 

(l.) Pre-existence is ascribed as first to Christ, so afterwards 
to Mohammed, and each of them is represented as the 
Cause or Medium, oft/te existence of all other creatures, 

a. In the New Testament we are taught that Jesus Christ 
had pre-existed, before He came to live the life of man upon 
this earth ; and that all things received their being through 
Him. St. John opens his Gospel thus, *In the beginning 


was the Word ( = Logos), and the Word was with God, and the 
Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made by him ; and without him was not 
anything made that was made' (John i. 1-3). St Paul, in 
writing to the Colossians, refers to the same subject, Jesus 
Christ, in these words : * Who is the firstborn of every 
creature : for by him were all things created, that are in 
heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether 
they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : 
all things were created by him, and for him ; and he is 
before all things, and by him all things consist* (Col. i. 


b. In Mohammed's biography, * Rawzat ul Ahbabl we 

read as follows : * The learned doctors of religion differ as to 
which thing was the first of the creatures. Some regard 
Reason {=Logos\ others the Pen {^kalaniy with which 
destiny was written), and, again, others the Light of Moham- 
med's prophetship, as the first created thing. Each of these 
views is supported by tradition. If all three views are true, 
they can best be thus reconciled, that absolutely the first 
creature is the Light of our Prophet ; and that the priority 
of Reason and the Pen is only qualitative, i,e. Reason is the 
first created power, and the Pen the first created substance. 
But there are men of deep research who hold that these 
three expressions mean one and the same thing, which, being 
considered from different points of view, is called by different 
names ; that is to say, this one and self-same thing is called 
Reason, because it knows itself and its origin, and compre- 
hends all other things ; Pen, because by its instrumentality 
the impresses of knowledge upon the Preserved Tablet and 
other works, were made ; and Light of Mohammed,^ because 
all perfections possible are but rays of this Light In some 
books of history it is recorded that Ibn Abbas said : The 
first creature which God made was a Pen, whose length was 
500 years, and its thickness 40 years. When God said to it, 

^ ' The Light of Mohammed ' is apparently a counterfeit of the IhS^ rov Oeov 
which, according to John xii. 41, is identical with the d6^a 'I170-OC XpurroD, or 
the manifestation of the pre-existing X&yos (see John i. 14). This opinion also 
derives confirmation from the tradition that Mohammed said, in referring to the 
time when heavenly messengers purified his heart and body, * They filled my 
heart with the Shecfiina,* 


" Write ! " it asked, " What shall I write, O my Lord ? " The 
Most High answered, "Write those things which I have 
pre-determined for all creatures, till the day of the resurrec- 
tion." The Pen at once carried out this Divine behest, 
writing first of all these words on the Preserved Tablet : " In 
the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate : I am 
God, beside whom there is no God, except myself; and 
Mohammed is my Apostle. Whoever yields himself Up to 
my decrees, submits patiently to my adversities, is thankful 
for my favours, and agrees with my judgment, him I write 
down as a just one, and him will I raise up, on the day of 
the resurrection, amongst the just" According to another 
account, the Pen, on being commanded to write down all 
the things that are, and are to be, first wrote on the foot of 
the Throne : ** There is no God but Allah : Mohammed is 
the Apostle of Allah" — ^and then wrote down the drops 
that were to descend from the sky, the leaves that were to 
fall from the trees, the pieces of stone on the face of the 
earth, all the plants that were ever to grow, and all Ithe 
nourishment that was to be obtained by every creature. 

* There are several different accounts of the creation of 
the Light of Mohammed. The sum and substance of them, 
as God knows best, amounts to this: Many thousands of 
years before the Lord Most High created heaven and earth, 
the upper and the lower Throne, the Tablet and the Pen, 
Paradise and Hell, the Angels, Men, and Genii, and the other 
creatures, He created the Light of that Excellency's 
prophetship, and trained it in the arena of the world of 
holiness, sometimes commanding it to prostrate itself in 
adoration, at other times employing it in praising and 
ascribing holiness. In the abode of this Light God created 
curtains, in each of which He kept it for a long space of 
time, and caused it to offer a special hymn of praise. When, 
after the lapse of a very long time, it came forth from these 
curtains, it breathed out after the manner of a lover, and 
from its blessed breath God created the spirits of the 
Prophets and Saints, and the spirits of the Righteous, the 
Martyrs, and the other Believers, and the spirits of the 
Angels. God also divided that blessed breath into several 
parts, creating out of one of them the upper and the lower 


Throne, the Tablet, the Pen, Paradise, Heaven and Earth, 
Sunlight and Moonlight, the Stars, the Vapours, the Winds 
and the Mountains. After this, He spread out the earth, 
and divided heaven and earth into seven stories, appointing 
each of them as the abode of one class of creatures ; and 
caused day and night to appear. Then he commanded 
Gabriel to go and fetch a handful of pure earth from the 
buryihg-place of his Excellency the Prophet, and to mix 
it with that Light Gabriel did as he was commanded, by 
mixing up that Light with the pure earth, and made it into 
a dough, with water from the highest fountain, giving that 
dough the shape of a white pearl. This white pearl he 
flung into the rivers of Paradise, and presented it to the 
earths and to the skies, to the seas and to the mountains, 
so that they should know and understand who he (the 
Prophet) was, before he was created. 

* It is recorded that Meiseret ul Fejr narrated as follows : 
I asked his Excellency the Prophet, "When didst thou 
becdme a Prophet ? " and he replied to me thus, " When 
God created the great Throne, and expanded the heavens 
and the earths, and placed the great Throne upon the 
shoulders of the angels who are the bearers of the throne, 
He, by means of the Pen, wrote on the foot of the Throne, 
' There is no God but Allah : Mohammed is the Apostle of 
Allah, and the seal of the prophets ; ' and He wrote and 
impressed my name upon the gates of Paradise, upon the 
leaves of the trees of Paradise, and upon its cupolas and 
tents, though at that time Adam was still between body 
and spirit, that is to say, no spirit was as yet dwelling in his 
body. After that, the Almighty created Adam, the pure, 
fully; and placed that Light on his forehead, saying, "O 
Adam, this Light which I have placed on thy forehead is 
the Light of the noblest and best of thy oflFspring, and of 
the Prince of the Prophets who are to be sent." 

* It is also recorded that, in order to preserve and honour 
that Light, a formal promise was taken from Adam, that 
his children should not convey that Light to pure wives, 
without previous purification ; and that the angels became 
witnesses to this covenant ; and that it was arranged that 
from every one of Adam's children, on whom that Light 


may be placed, promise should be taken that he also was to 
preserve and honour that Light, and not to transfer and 
communicate it to any woman except to one duly married, 
and who is the fittest and best of her time. Then Adam 
had many children, until that Light was communicated to 
Eve and she bore Seth. Whenever Eve gave birth, she 
brought forth twins, a boy and a girl, till the turn came for 
Seth to be born, whom she brought forth alone, without a 
twin-sister, because of the honourable distinction of the 
Light of Mohammed. Though this is the more generally 
received account, there is also another, according to which 
Seth likewise was born with a twin-sister ; but, according to 
both accounts, the Light of Mohammed was only transferred 
upon Seth. Afterwards that pure Light was conveyed, by 
proper covenants, pacts, and marriage, from the best of men 
to the purest of women, till it reached Abd Allah Ibn 
Mottaleb (Mohammed's father), and from him was conveyed 
to Amina Bent Wahb Ibn Abd Menaf (his mother), accord- 
ing to the generally received tradition, " I was conveyed 
from the best of fathers to the purest of mothers.'* But God 
knows best what is true.'^' 

In the Kitabi Ahwal el Kidntat we read the following 
singular account : * It is recorded by tradition that God first 
created a Tree, with 4000 branches, and called it the Tree 
of Life. Then He created the Light of Mohammed^ in a 
veil of white pearl, of the shape of a Peacock, and placed it 
upon that Tree, where it praised Him for 70,000 years. 
Then Grod created the Mirror of Shame and placed it before 
it ; and when the Peacock looked into it, it beheld its own 
form most beautiful, and its figure most elegant, wherefore it 
blushed before God with a true shame, and prostrated itself 
five times in worship. This is the reason why God has 
imposed prostrations and five daily prayers upon Mohammed 
and his people. When God looked upon that Light it per- 
spired, from a sense of shame, because of Him. Then God 
created from the perspiration of its head the angels ; from 
the perspiration of its face the upper and the lower Throne, 
the Tablet, the Pen, Paradise, Hell, the Sun, the Moon, the 
Stars, the Veil, and all that is in heaven ; and of the per- 
spiration of its breast He created the Prophets, the Apostles, 


the Ulemas, the Martyrs, and the Righteous ; from the per- 
spiration of its back He created the Flourishing House and 
the Kaaba, the temple of Jerusalem, and the places of the 
houses of worship in the world ; of the perspiration of its 
eyebrows He created the people of believing men and 
women, the Mussulmans of both sexes ; of the perspiration 
of its ears He created the spirits of the Jews, the Christians, 
the Magi, and what is like them ; of the perspiration of its 
legs He created the Earth, from the west to the east, and 
what is in it After this, when the Light of Mohammed had 
praised God for 70,000 years, God created the Light of the 
prophets, out of the Light of Mohammed, and looked upon 
that Light and created their spirits ; and they said, " There 
is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the apostle of 
Allah." Then God created a Lamp of transparent red*car- 
nelian, and the figure of Mohammed, just as he afterwards 
was in this world, and put it on that Lamp, exactly in the 
form he had when he was saying his prayers.^ Then the 
spirits went round the Light of Mohammed, praising and 
worshipping, for the space of 100,000 years. Then God 
commanded the spirits to look upon the form of Mohammed, 
and they all obeyed : and whoso saw his head became a 
Calif and a Sultan amongst men ; whoso saw his forehead 
became a just commander ; whoso saw his eyes became one 
who knows the Word of God by heart ; whoso saw his eye- 
brows became a painter ; whoso saw his ears became a 
listener and forward-comer ; whoso saw his cheeks became 
virtuous and intelligent ; whoso saw his nose became a 
doctor, physician, and apothecary ; whoso saw his lips be- 
came a minister of state ; whoso saw his mouth became one 
who keeps the fast ; whoso saw his teeth became one of a 
beautiful countenance ; whoso saw his tongue became an 
ambassador amongst men ; whoso saw his throat became a 
preacher, a crier who calls to prayer, and a councillor; 

^ This notion of a fully-formed pre-existing Mohammed appears to be an 
imitation both of the Logos of the Gospel and the Kabbalistic Adam kadmon^ 
who is represented in the Kabbala as the first Divine manifestation, the source 
of all other forms and ideas. Altogether these Mussulman speculations have a 
remarkable affinity with the teaching of the Talmud, where we read : ' Seven 
things existed before the creation of the world, viz., the Law, the Temple, the 
Messiah, Paradise, Hell, Repentance, and the Throne of Glory.'' 


whoso saw his beard became a combatant for the religion of 
God ; whoso saw his neck became a merchant ; whoso saw 
both his arms became a spear-maker and a sword-manu- 
facturer ; whoso saw his right arm became a surgeon ; 
whoso saw his left arm became an igjnoramus ; whoso saw 
the hollow of his right hand became a banker and an em- 
broiderer ; whoso saw the hollow of his left hand became a 
corn-measurer; whoso saw both his hands became liberal; 
whoso saw the back of his hollow hands became a miser ; 
whoso saw the back of his right hand became a dyer ; whoso 
saw the tips of his fingers became a writer; whoso saw 
the back of the fingers of his right hand became a tailor ; 
whoso saw the back of the fingers of his left hand became a 
blacksmith ; whoso saw his chest became learned, generous, 
and diligent ; whoso saw his back became humble and 
obedient to the ordinances of the law ; whoso saw his sides 
became a warrior ; whoso saw his stomach became content 
and frugal; whoso saw his knees became a kneeler and 
worshipper; whoso saw his legs became a hunter; whoso 
saw the soles of his feet became a walker ; whoso saw his 
shadow became a singer and player ; whoso saw nothing 
became a Jew, a Christian, an infidel, and magician ; and 
whoso not even looked at him became an infidel arrogating 
to himself divinity, such as Pharaoh and other similar 

*Be it also known that God has created man after the 
form of the name of Mohammed («X4o.^), namely, the head 

round like the first M (^), the arms like the h (rw), the 

stomach like the medial m C*), and the legs like the d (j). 
Of the infidels, however, He creates none after this form, but 
changes them after the form of swine/ 

(2.) MokammecPs Genealogy is traced through Abraham to 

Adam^just as that of Jesus Christ 

a. See Matt i. 1-16, and Luke iii. 23-38. 

A The oldest extant biography of Mohammed, compiled 
by Mohammed Ibn Ishak, and edited by Abu Mohammed 
Abd el Malik Ibn Hisham, opens thus: — *This book con- 
tains the life of the Apostle of God : Mohammed was the 


son of Abd Allah, son of Abdu-1-Mottaleb, son of Hashim, 
son of Abd Menaf, son of Kussei, son of Kilab, son of Murra, 
son of Kaab, son of Luei, son of Ghalib, son of Fihr, son of 
Malik, son of Nadhr, son of Kinana, son of Khuzeima, son of 
Mudrika, son of Alya, son of Mudhar, son of Nizar, son of 
Maad, son of Adnan, son of Udd, son of Mukawwam, son 
of Nahor, son of Teira, son of Yarub, son of Yashyub, son of 
Nabit, son of Ishmael, son of Abraham, the Friend of God,^ 
son of Tara, son of Nahor, son of Sarukh, son of Rau, son 
of Falih, son of Fiber, son of Shalih, son of Arphakhsad, 
son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamek, son of Metushalakh, 
son of Khanukh, — who, as is believed, was the prophet Idris, 
the first prophet, and the first who wrote with the reed, — ^son 
of Yared, son of Mahaleel, son of Kainanan, son of Yanish, 
son of Sheth, son of Adam, to whom may God be Gracious ! * 

(3.) As tite angel Gabriel announced the Conception of Jesus 
by the Virgin Mary^ so he also announced that of 
Mohammedy and the latter to * every place on the face 
of the earth! 

a. * The angel Gabriel was sent from God ... to a 
virgin, . . . and said unto her, Fear not, Mary ; for thou 
hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt con- 
ceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son/ etc (Luke i. 

b. In the Rawzat we read : * The biographers have re- 
corded that the Light of Mohammed was transferred from 
Abd Allah to Amina in the days of the pilgrims^e, in the 
middle of the three days following the feast of sacrifices, 
which by one account was a Friday night. In that night 
God commanded the treasurer of Paradise to open the gates 
of Paradise, in honour of the Light of Mohammed, which 
then took its abode in Amina's body. The angels of heaven 
also rejoiced and were glad ; and the angel Gabriel descended 
to the earth, bringing Mohammed's green standard with him, 

^ It will be observed that the genealogy from Abraham, IshmaeFs father, up 
to Adam is identical with Luke iii. 34-38, with the only exception that the 
Cainan of ver. 36 is omitted, evidently from the reason that there is another 
Cainan in ver. 37. 


and planting it upon the roof of the Kaaba ; and he gave the 
glad tidings to every place on the face of the earth that the 
Light of Mohammed had taken up its abode in Amina, in 
order that the foremost of the creatures should come forth 
from her, and receive a mission to the foremost one of the 

(4.) As before the birth of fesuSy so also before that of 
Mohammedy an Angel announced THE NAME he was 
to receive, 

a. In Matt i. 2 1, it is written : * The angel of the Lord said 
unto Joseph, She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou 
shalt call his name Jesus ; for he shall save his people from 
their sins.' 

b, Ibn Hisham narrates : * When Amina was pregnant 
with the Apostle of God, a spirit appeared to her, saying. 
Thou art bearing the Lord of this people ; say at his birth : 
" I place him under the protection of the One that He may 
protect him against the envious ; " and call his name 
" Mohammed." ' 

(5.) The birth of both was distinguished by the glory of a 
heavenly Lights tlu appearance of Angels^ and by signs 
on the earth and in the starry sphere, 

a. 'And Mary brought forth her first-born son, and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. 
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the 
field, keeping watch over their flock by night And, lo, the 
angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord 
shone round about them ; and they were sore afraid. And the 
angel said unto them, Fear not : for, behold, I bring you good 
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto 
you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which 
is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you ; Ye 
shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a 
manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude 
of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to 
God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward 
men' (Luke ii. 7-14). 'When Jesus was bom in Beth- 


lehem of Judaea, there came wise men from the east to 
Jerusalem, saying. Where is he that is bom King of the 
Jews ? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come 
to worship him* (Matt. 11. i, 2). 

b. * Abd ur Rahman Ibn Awf narrates that his mother, 
Shefa, declared as follows : I was Amina's midwife : in the 
night when labour-pains seized her, and Mohammed Mus- 
tapha fell into my hands, at his birth, a voice reached my ears 
from the unseen world, saying, " Thy Lord shew mercy unto 
thee!" and the face of the earth became so illuminated, from 
the east to the west, that I could see some of the palaces of 
Damascus by that light. Soon after that, darkness, fear, and 
trembling came upon me ; and then there appeared a light 
on my right hand, and in that state I heard some one from 
the invisible world say, "Whither didst thou take him?" 
Another answered, " I have taken him westward to all the 
blessed and holy places, and I have presented him to Abraham, 
the Friend of God, who pressed him to his bosom, purified, 
and blessed him." It is also recorded that in the same night 
the Most High sent down a host of angels upon the earth, 
in order that they should guard Amina, and keep her from 
the eyes of the demons. Again, it is reported that Amina 
said: " In that night a flight of birds turned into my house, in 
such numbers as to fill the whole house. Their beaks were of 
emerald and their wings of ruby. The Most High took off 
the veil from my eyes, so that I saw the entire east and west 
of the earth ; and I beheld how they planted three standards, 
one in the east, one in the west, and one on the flat roof of 
the Kaaba." ' 

Abdu-1-Mottaleb, after narrating marvellous things which 
he saw and heard in the Kaaba, continues thus : ' I was 
astonished and knew not what to say, and, putting my hand 
to my eyes, I said to myself, " Am I asleep or awake ? " and 
I saw that I was awake. The same moment I arose and 
turned towards Amina's dwelling ; and, when I came near 
her door, I found that house adorned with sundry lights 
and sweet-smelling scents. Knocking at the door, Amina 
answered with a feeble voice. I said, " Open the door 
quickly, or else my gall-bladder will burst." Amina opened 
the door with haste. I looked in her face ; and when I did 


not see a trace left of the Light of Mohammed, my strength 
left me, and I said, " O Amina, what has become of that 
Light ? " She answered, " I have given birth to a son." ' 

* Sheikh Zarandi says, in his Book of Signs, that in the 
night of Mohammed's birth the courts of Chosroes parted 
asunder, and remained so till now, i.e. till A.H. 746 ( = A.D. 
1368). Their remaining so is one of the greatest facts ; and 
the great and adorable God alone knows how long they 
will still be left/ 

* It is reported that, in the night of the birth of that prince, 
the sea of Sawa overflowed the land ; and that the Wady 
of Samawa, whose water had been stopped for a thousand 
years, began to be flooded with the waters of a great river, 
and the courts of Chosroes became shaking and trembling, 
and their fourteen towers fell to the earth. Chosroes seeing 
this, lamented and feared exceedingly; for he knew that these 
occurrences portended a national calamity. But, assuming 
an air of fortitude and courage, he kept his distress and 
trouble of mind concealed, for a while, from his people ; and 
then made up his mind not to hide those occurrences any 
longer from his ministers of state and intimate friends. So 
he put on his crown, sat upon his throne, called a council, 
and when the ^lite of the people and his friends were 
assembled, there arrived a letter from his Persian empire. 
In this letter it was stated that the fires of the fire-temples 
of Persia, which for a thousand years had not been extin- 
guished, but were continually burning, had gone out in a 
certain night, namely, in that in which also the towers of 
Chosroes* palaces had fallen down. This circumstance, there- 
fore, still further increased Chosroes' grief and sorrow. A 
wise philosopher, also, the chief Judge, called the chief Fire- 
priest, said, " O Shah, I also have seen in a dream, on that 
night, that swift and indomitable camels were drawing Arab 
horses from the Tigris and were spreading over town and 
country." On hearing this from his chief Fire-priest, Chosroes 
said to him, " O chief Fire-priest, what is the interpretation 
of this dream ? and what is to happen in the world ? " The 
chief Fire-priest answered, * A great event is to happen in 
the direction of Arabia." ' 

Ibn Ishak reports, * Hassan Ibn Thabit said, "I was a 


lad of seven or eight years, understanding quite well what I 
heard, when a Jew, on one of the buildings of Yathreb, called 
together an assembly of his fellow-Jews and said to them, 
To-night the star has arisen under which Mohammed is to 
be bom. I asked Said, Hassan's grandson, how old his 
grandfather was when Mohammed came to Medina, and he 
answered. Sixty years. Now, as Mohammed was then fifty- 
three years of age, Hassan must have been seven years old 
when he heard those words." * (I. I. and I. H.) 

Othman Ibn Abu-l-As narrates that Fatima, Abd Allah's 
daughter, said, * I was with Amina, when the symptoms of 
her approaching confinement set in ; and, on looking up to 
heaven, I saw the stars to such an extent incline towards the 
earth, that I thought they must fall down ; or, according to 
another account, the stars were so near the earth that I 
thought they would fall upon my head.' (Rawzat.) 

(& Though both were subjected to tJie rite of circumcision^ 
yet there was a difference in favour of Mohammed, 

a. * When eight days were accomplished for the circum- 
cision of the child, his name was called Jesus ' (Luke ii. 21). 

b, * The majority of the biographers and historians agree 
in this, that Mohammed was born circumcised and with his 
navel-string cut The Ulemas say that the reason why he 
was born in this state is, that no creature should have any- 
thing to do with his perfect natural frame, by depriving his 
foreskin and navel of strength. Another reason is this,'that 
he might not remain dishonoured, by uncircumcision, till he 
could be circumcised ; and still another reason is, that not 
any man might see his natural parts. It is recorded, on the 
authority of Uns Ibn Malik, that the Prophet said, " I was 
bom circumcised, and none has seen my nakedness." But 
some of the later historians have objected to this tradition, 
and declared that any traditionist who mentions it, without 
also making known its weakness, will have to answer for it 
on the day of the Resurrection. And some of the later 
biographers have affirmed that Gabriel circumcised him, at 
the same time when he purified his blessed heart in his child- 
hood ; and yet another saying is, that Abdu-1-Mottaleb cir- 
cumcised him on the seventh day after his birth.' (Rawzat) 



(7.) A Benediction is uttered on the breasts tfiat gave them 
suckf but in the one case it came from the visible^ and 
in tfie other y from the invisible ^ world. 

a, * As Jesus spake those things, a certain woman of the 
company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is 
the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast 
sucked * (Luke xi. 27). 

b. * Ibn Abbas states, all creatures, even birds, air, clouds, 
and winds contended for and contested the privilege of suck- 
ling the prophet ; for, when some one from the unseen world 
had taken that Excellency away from his mother's sight and 
carried him about to all the places of the east and of the west, 
a Caller from the Compassionate was calling out thus, " O, all 
ye creatures, this infant is Mohammed Ibn Abd Allah Ibn 
Abdu-1-Mottaleb : blessed are the breasts that give him milk, 
and blessed are the hands that bring him up, and blessed are 
the places where he dwells." Then all the creatures which 
heard this call, were seized with the desire of suckling him, 
and all of them, birds, clouds, winds, and others, claimed a 
prerogative and priority in the matter. Thereupon another 
call came from the unseen world, to this effect, " Stand ye 
back from this matter : in the beginning of eternity this 
blessed writing has been drawn up in the name of Halima 
Saadia, the daughter of Abu Zuweib." It is recorded that 
Halima narrated as follows : When the women of my people 
went to Mecca in search of a living, I joined them, with the 
same object. On arriving in the neighbourhood of Mecca, 
we heard a voice (Jiatif) from the unseen world, calling out 
thus, *' Know and understand that the Most High has this 
year rendered it unlawful for the women to take girls, on 
account of that male child which has been born amongst the 
Koreish. That child is the sunshine of the day, and the 
moonshine of the night ; and blessed are the paps that shall 
give it milk. O ye women of the Beni Saad tribe, walk 
quickly, make haste, that ye may obtain that child." ' (R.) 



(8.) Not long after their birthy their Nature and Destiny are 

made known by special Revelation, 

a, *The angel said unto the shepherds, Fear not: for, 
behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be 
to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, 
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord* (Luke ii. 10, 11). — 
' Simeon took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said. 
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, accord- 
ing to thy word : for mine ^y^s have seen thy salvation, 
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people ;* etc. 
(Luke ii. 28-32). — *And Anna the prophetess coming that 
instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him 
to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem ' (Luke 

ii. 38). 
• b, ' Shefa Bint Awf says, After that, the person speaking 

from the unseen world called, " O Mohammed, the honour 
and glory of the world are promised to thee. Verily thou 
art he who holds firmly under the strongest protection every 
one that lays hold on the branches of the tree of thy religion, 
and peculiar people, and acts according to thy words, and will 
be known to belong to thy people, on the day of the Resurrec- 
tion." — Amina heard another Caller call thus, " Verily in the 
seas his name is the Destroyer ; ^ for he will destroy all 
idolatry, so as not to leave a particle of it on the face of the 
earth." — It is recorded that Abdu-1-Mottaleb said, I was 
that night in the Kaaba. At midnight I saw that the four 
side-walls of the Kaaba inclined toward the place of Abraham, 
and worshipped before it. Then they rose again and returned 
to their former places; and I heard a wonderful thing in 
them, namely, a voice calling out, "God is great! God is 
great I The Lord Mohammed, the chosen, has now cleansed 
me, my Lord, from the pollution of idols and from the 

^ The word in the Arabic original is El MdhL This is an appellative 
specially applied as a proper name to Mohammed. It signifies ' the Destroyer, 
the AnnihHator,' derived from the verb mahw, 'to wipe out, to cause to disappear, 
to annihilate, to destroy.' It is rather singular, and perhaps significant, that also 
in Rev. ix. 1 1 we read of a remarkable personage whose name is stated to be in 
the Hebrew tongue Abaddon and in the Greek ApoUyon, both which words 
likewise signify • The Destroyer.' The opposite to this is : * The Preserver, the 


uncleanness of the idolaters." And the idols which were 
about the Kaaba were broken in pieces, as an old rag is torn 
up ; and the largest idol, named Hobal, lay prostrate, with his 
face upon the stones ; and I heard a Caller call, " Mohammed 
is bom of Amina." — Irvet Ibn Zobeir narrates, that a company 
of the Koreish had an idol in the idol-house, which they 
visited once a year, on a certain day, which they regarded as 
a festival, and on which they sacrificed camels and drank 
wine in their assemblies. When they arrived on one such 
occasion, they saw that the idol was undeniably fallen down 
upon his face. They lifted him up and replaced him, but in 
a moment they saw him fallen down again, head foremost. 
This happened twice; and when they had again strongly 
posted him in his place, they heard a voice proceeding from 
the hollow part of the idol, reciting these verses : 

" Rejoicing because of the child, 
And radiant with his light, 
Are all the mountain-passes of the earth, 
Both in the east and in the west ; 
And bowing down to him are all the idols, 
And trembling are the hearts of all the kings. 
Throughout the world, from fear." 

This occurrence happened on the night of that Excellency's 

* Halima, Mohammed's wet-nurse, relates : When we were 
returning from Mecca, with our nurslings, to the tribe of the 
Beni Saad, all the women of the tribe wondered at the change 
that had come over my donkey, saying, " O Halima, is not 
the donkey on which thou ridest the same as that on which 
thou camest to Mecca > How strange, that the donkey which 
then could not walk straight, now cannot be overtaken by 
any other donkey. There must be something uncommon 
and mysterious in this donkey." Upon this I heard my 
donkey say, "Yes, for God's sake, there is something 
uncommon and mysterious in me whom God, the Nourisher, 
has quickened, and, when emaciated, has fattened. O ye 
tawny Beni Saad women, ye are ignorant of my state. Do 
ye know that he who is riding on me is the seal of the 
prophets, the Lord of the apostles, superior in nature to the 
former and the latter, and the loved one of both worlds ? " 


When I met a flock of sheep, on that journey, the sheep 
would come near me and say, ** O Halima, knowest thou who 
thy nursling is ? He is Mohammed, the Lord of heaven and 
earth, and thq first of the sons of men." — The nursing being 
over and Halima about to take the child back to Mecca, she 
heard in the night an invisible Caller call, " The fountain of 
blessing and safety is departing from the Beni Saad tribe : 
O valley of Mecca, thy time is propitious, thy light, ray, life, 
beauty, paradise, and ornament is to come back to thee ; and 
thou art always to remain preserved and protected by his 
blessing."' (R.) 

(9.) Like Jesus y Mohammed also was presented^ in his early 
infancy y to the Deity of the national Sanctuary. 

a. 'When the days of Mary's purification according to 
the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Jesus 
to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord [in the temple] " 
(Luke ii. 22, 27). 

b, Ibn Ishak narrates : ' When Mohammed was born, his 
mother sent for Abdu-1-Mottaleb, begging him to come and 
see the child. When he came, she told him what she had 
seen during the time of her pregnancy, what she had been told 
concerning him, and what name she was to give him. It is 
believed that Abdu-1-Mottaleb then took him, carried him to 
the Kaaba, thanked God for the gift, and then took him back 
again to his mother, and went to find a wet-nurse for him.' 

(10.) They both developed in their childhood under the special 
favour of Gody and showed marks of an uncommon 
measure of Divine Grace. 

a. 'The child Jesus grew, and waxed strong in spirit, 
filled with wisdom ; and the grace of God was upon him ' 
(Luke ii. 40). 

b. * Amina said, When Mohammed was born, he put his 
hands upon the earth, lifted up his face heavenwards, knelt 
upon his knees and moved his fingers, as if using the rosary. 
He also sucked his thumb, whereupon milk flowed from it 
Afterwards he took a handful of earth, turned towards the 


Kaaba and began to worship. And together with him a 
light came forth from me, by which I could see the houses 
of Bosra in Syria. 

* Halima thus describes her first interview with her nursling: 
Abdu-1-Mottaleb took me to the house in which Amina, 
Mohammed's mother, was. I saw a beautiful and strong lady, 
from whose forehead, as it were, the new moon shone forth, 
and from whose visage brilliant stars were glittering. When 
Abdu-l-Mottaleb made known my state and name to Amina, 
she said, " Well and good, O Halima." Then she took me 
by the hand and brought me to the house in which 
Mohammed was. I saw Mohammed wrapt in white wool, 
which yielded a sweet fragrance, like musk ; and he was 
sleeping, covered with green silk. When I uncovered his 
face and saw his fairness and beauty, I became enamoured. 
I put my hand upon his breast to awaken him. Then he 
smiled, and, on opening his eyes, a light beamed forth from 
them, reaching up to heaven. I took him up in my arms 
and pressed him to my bosom, to give him suck. When I 
put my right breast into his mouth, he sucked, but when' I 
wanted to give him the left, he did not Ibn Abbas remarks, 
** In this matter God inspired him with equity ; for Halima's 
son was his partner, therefore, having regard to justice, he 
halved his wet-nurse's breasts with his foster-brother." 
Halima adds. After this I always nourished him from my 
right breast, and the left I gave to his foster-brother ; and my 
own son did not wish for milk, except Mohammed had enough. 
When we returned to our tribe, the high and adorable God 
counted our beasts and flocks and possessions worthy of such 
countless blessings and unlimited favour that, in the same 
year, all our sheep had lambs and in their udders was 
abundance of milk ; and the sheep of no one else in that tribe 
were blest like our own. Thereupon most other shepherds 
led their sheep to pasture with ours, and God bestowed a 
blessing on them also, so that as long as Mohammed remained 
with our tribe, there were not wanting to it prosperity and 

' Halima further said : God imparted to the hearts of those 
who saw Mohammed such a love towards him that they 
could not contain themselves. That Excellency also did not 


wet or soil his bed-linen like other infants. Every time 
I wanted to wash and clean his blessed mouth from the 
milk, I found it already washed and cleaned by some one 
from the unseen world. When he was uncovered he became 
angry, and did not cease crying till he was covered again. 
When that noble one had begun to walk, and saw other 
children playing, he moved away from them, and, forbidding 
them their play, would say, " We have not been created in 
order to play." — ^There are some accounts to the effect that 
Mohammed grew in a day as much as other children in a 
month ; and in a month as much as other children in a year ; 
so that when he was in his second year, he had already the 
strength of a young man. — Halima says, He did not cry, 
nor was naughty like other children ; and never took up a 
thing with his left hand, but whatever he ate, he seized with 
his right hand ; and when he had begun to speak, he always 
said " In the name of God," as often as he stretched out his 
hand after anything ; and for fear of him I did not let my 
husband come near me for two full years. One day that 
noble one was on my lap, whilst some sheep were walking 
about ; and one of them approached this noble one, made a 
low bow before him, kissed his hand and then walked away 
again ; and every day a light, like the sun, came down, 
enveloped him, and then let him come forth from it again ; 
and every day two white birds or two men in white clothes 
went in by his collar and disappeared. 

' Halima's account of the angelic purification of his heart 
is as follows: One day Mohammed expressed a wish to 
accompany his foster-brothers, who were tending the sheep, 
so that he might likewise be usefully employed. I, 
therefore, next morning combed his blessed hair, put oint- 
ment to his eyes, dressed him and hung a necklace of 
Yemen beads round his neck to prevent the effects of the 
evil eye. According to one account, that Excellency at once 
tore this necklace from his neck, and threw it away, saying, 
**My guardian and keeper is with me." Then Mohammed 
took a stick in his hand and joyfully went away with his 
foster-brothers ; and they were engaged in tending the sheep 
somewhere near our dwelling. About mid-day I saw my 
son running in, dripping with perspiration, and calling out. 


" O mother, O father, help Mohammed ! " I asked, " What 
has happened to him ? " He answered, " When we were 
sitting together with Mohammed, we suddenly saw some 
one come, take him from the midst of us, carry him to the 
top of the mountain, throw him down and split open his 
body : what happened to him afterwards I do not know ; 
but I do not expect him to be still alive." Then I and my 
husband ran thither, stupefied. When we reached him, we 
found him sitting on the mountain-top and looking up to 
heaven. Seeing us, he smiled. I kissed his head and his 
eyes, saying, "My soul be a sacrifice for thine. What has 
happened to thee } " He answered, " O mother, I was sitting 
with my brothers, when suddenly I saw three men appearing 
to me, and according to another account they were two men, 
dressed in white raiment, and they said that they were 
Gabriel and Michael, on both of whom be peace ! In the 
hand of one of them there was a silver ewer, and in the 
other's hand a washing-basin of green emerald, filled with 
snow. They came, took me from the midst of my brothers, 
and carried me to the top of the mountain. One of them 
drew me kindly and gently to himself and split me open 
from my chest to my navel ; and I saw him, but there was 
not any pain. Then he plunged his hand into my body, 
took out my intestines, and, after having washed them with 
snow-water in that washing-basin, put them back again to 
their place. Then the other said to him, * Thou hast now 
done what thou hast been commanded : stand back, that I 
also may carry out what has been enjoined upon me.' Then 
he thrust his hand into my body, took out my heart, split it 
in half, removed the blood with which the dot of desire was 
polluted and threw it away, saying, * This is the portion of 
Satan from thee, O thou loved one of God.' Then there 
was something in his hand which he had brought with him, 
and with which he filled my heart, after which he put it 
back to its place, and sealed it with a seal of light, whose 
charm and ease now remains in my limbs and joints. Then 
again another rose up .and said, 'Stand back, both of you 
who have done what you have been commanded.' When 
they had stood back, he came, put his hand on the place 
where my chest was split, passing it on to the navel ; and 


that instant my wound closed and healed, whilst I was stand- 
ing and looking on. After this they kissed me on my 
forehead, and said, * O loved one, fear not : if thou knewest 
what good things are ready prepared for thee, thine eyes 
would brighten up.' Then they left me in this state, flew 
away, and entered mid-heaven. I saw them entering heaven^ 
and if thou wishest, I will show thee where they entered." 
When I had brought him back to my dwelling, my husband, 
relatives, and acquaintances said, '^ Take him to a seer, that 
he may ascertain what is the matter with him." The true 
and honest of the tribe and people said, '* Surely he is 
possessed : it is proper to take him to a seer." 

* As regards this subject of the splitting of the heart, there 
is a difference in the accounts : according to one, it happened 
either during his flrst or second stay amongst the Beni Saad ; 
according to another, it took place in his sixth year ; and 
according to yet another, in his tenth year ; and by trust- 
worthy traditions it is affirmed that the splitting of his chest 
came to pass in the night of his ascension. If it please God, 
the truth resulting from these different accounts is this, that 
the splitting of the chest took place several times.* (R.) 

(11.) Both were lost in their childhood^ but found again: the 
one by his mother^ s diligent search, the other by a super- 
natural revelation, 

a, * When they found him not, they turned back again to 
Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after 
three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst 
of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions ' 
(Luke ii. 45, 46). 

b. * Halima, in narrating how she took back Mohammed 
to his mother, relates as follows : When I reached Mecca, 
I set Mohammed down at the chief city gate, to go a little 
aside, as there was a crowd of people in the place. On my 
return directly after, I did not find him. I therefore asked the 
people where the boy was whom I had just put down there, 
and swore by the God of Abraham that I would cast myself 
down a mountain and kill myself, if I did not find him again. 


Seeing no trace of him, I became disconsolate, and, putting 
my hands to my head, called out, "O Mohammed, O my 
boy ! " A crowd of people gathered round me, men, women, 
and children, who also cried because of my grief. Suddenly 
I saw an old man approach me, saying, "Weep not and 
grieve not : I will lead thee to one who can let thee find 
him, if he please." Then that old man took me to the idol- 
house, walked seven times round the idol, kissed his head, 
and, after having lauded and praised him according to rule 
and precept, said, " O exalted Hobal, wilt thou be pleased 
to bring back Mohammed Ibn Abd Allah whose wet-nurse 
this woman is ?" When the old man had uttered these words, 
I saw that Hobal and the other idols fell prostrate upon 
their faces, and out of their hollow part a voice proceeded, 
saying, '' O old man, remain thou far from us, and do not 
mention Mohammed's name before us: the destruction of 
ourselves and the other idols and the idolaters is to be in 
his hand ; and his God does not lose him, but keeps him 
by any means. Tell the idol-worshippers that our greatest 
sacrificer is to be Mohammed, that is, he is to kill us all, 
whilst they that follow him shall be safe." Halima then 
went and told Abdu-1-Mottaleb what had happened. He at 
once called the Koreish together ; and with them, on horse- 
back, searched the high and low parts of Mecca, but without 
success. He therefore also went to the temple, and inquiring 
of the idols, heard in reply this Voice from the invisible 
world, " O ye men, grieve not ; for Mohammed has a God 
vi^o does not lose him." Abdu-1-Mottaleb again asked, 
•' O Voice, where is Mohammed ? " The Voice replied, " He 
is sitting under a tree in the Wady of Teham." Upon this, 
Abdu-1-Mottaleb started and found Mohammed in that valley, 
sitting under a tree and gathering leaves. Asking him who 
he was, the child answered, " I am Mohammed Ibn Abd 
Allah Ibn Abdu-1-Mottaleb." Abdu-1-Mottaleb rejoined, 
" My soul be a sacrifice for thee. I am thy grandfather ; " 
and taking him up on horseback, carried him home. Ibn 
Abbas observes that, in recognition of having found Moham- 
med, Abdu-1-Mottaleb gave away much gold and silver 
money, camels, and sheep, as alms, and also enriched and 
rejoiced Halima with a variety of gifts and favours.' (R.) 


(12.) Twelve years old, their special relation to God and 
uncommon destiny was made known during a 
Journey ; and then they were taken away from the 
place where their presence vtight prematurely have 
roused the hostility of the Jews, 

a. * When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to 
Jerusalem after the custom of the feast And when they had 
fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried 
behind in Jerusalem. . . . And his mother said unto him, 
Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us ? behold, thy father 
and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them. 
How is it that ye sought me ? wist ye not that / must be 
about my Father's business ? And they understood not the 
saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with 
them [away from the dangerous city], and came to Nazareth, 
and was subject unto them : but his mother kept all these 
sayings in her heart' (Luke li. 42-51). 

b, * The biographers and historians of Mohammed record, 
that when that noble one was twelve years, two months, and 
ten days old, he expressed the desire of accompanying Abu 
Talib on a mercantile journey to Bosra in Syria. Abu Talib 
had already laden his beasts, and was ready for the journey, 
without intending to take Mohammed with him, when that 
noble one addressed him thus, "O uncle, I have neither 
father nor mother: with whom wilt thou leave me ? I will go 
with thee." Abu Talib willingly consenting, said, " By Allah, 
I shall go together with thee, and not separate from thee." 
Then, journeying in company with the Lord of the world, 
they reached a village called Kefer, six miles from Bosra. 
In that village the monk Bahira, who was a Christian scholar 
and divine of great asceticism and piety, had his monastery. 
He had acquired a knowledge of the nature and attributes 
of the Prophet from the Gospel and other heavenly books, 
and had long been expecting to see that prince in his monas- 
tery ; for he had found in the heavenly books that he was to 
come at such a time, and in such a place, and that he was to 
alight under the shadow of a certain tree in a particular monas- 
tery. When the Koreishite caravan came with that noble one 
and encamped by the side of Bahira's monastery, he went 


upon the roof, and saw a cloud overshadowing that caravan, 
moving when it moved, and resting when it rested. When 
Bahira observed this, he wondered, saying, " This can only 
be, if the Prophet is in this caravan ; to all appearance he 
whom I have so long desired and expected is now there." 
Another account informs us that when the caravan came to 
a hilly and stony spot, Bahira heard the trees and stones of 
the monastery calling with a loud voice, " Peace be unto thee, 
O Apostle of God ; " and, when the Prophet and his uncle 
alighted under a tree, the said cloud overshadowed it, and its 
branches multiplied, became green, young, and fresh, and bore 
fruit When the monk saw these things, he knew for certain 
that the Prophet of the latter time was there ; and he ordered 
his disciples and servants to prepare a dinner and lay the 
table for that caravan. The people of the caravan accepted 
his invitation ; but after they had come, he still saw the cloud 
in its former place. He therefore inquired which of their 
number had been left behind ; and, hearing it was the lad 
Mohammed, he at once caused him to be sent for ; and when 
he came, the overshadowing cloud came with him. 

' Another account is this, that when the caravan had en- 
camped near the monastery, Bahira came and searched it, till 
he arrived where Abu Talib sat, and there saw the blessed 
beauty of Mohammed, the chosen one, whose blessed hand he 
took, saying, " This the Lord of both worlds. God has sent 
him out of compassion for both worlds." The old men of the 
Koreish said, " O Bahira, whence knowest thou that this one 
will be a prophet ? " Bahira answered, that it was from those 
signs and tokens which he had witnessed ; and he declared 
unto them all, that the noble form and proportioned figure of 
that prince had become known to him from the heavenly books, 
adding, " I know the prophetic seal to his being the prophet 
of the latter days ; it is between his shoulder-blades, and is 
of the size of an apple." Then he returned to his convent, 
and prepared the dinner, as narrated before. After dinner, 
when the other chief men had left, Bahira said to Abu Talib, 
** What relationship is there between thee and this youth ?" 
Abu Talib answered, " He is my son." Bahira, " It is impos- 
sible that his parents are still living." According to Ibn 
Ishak's account Bahira said, " He is not thy son : this boy 


no longer needs a father^ Abu Talib replied, " Thou hast 
rightly spoken ; he is my nephew, but is to me like a son." 
After this, Bahira, for the purpose of trying that prince and 
making known his true state, turned to Mohammed, saying, 
" I adjure thee by Lat and Ozza ! " to which the Prophet 
replied, " O Bahira, do not adjure me by Lat and Ozza, to 
whom I am a greater enemy than to anything else in the 
world." Bahira continued, " Then I adjure thee, by the Most 
High God, to tell me whether there is not a certain sign and 
mark of such a form and nature between thy shoulder- 
blades." That Excellency answered, " Yes, there is." Then 
Bahira jumped up, kissed that prince between his eyes, and 
said, " I testify that he is the Apostle of God in truth ; " and 
it is said that he also kissed the feet of the Lord of the world. 
Another account adds that, on Bahira's entreaty, that prince 
took off his mantle from his blessed shoulders, so that Bahira 
could see the seal of prophetship between his two shoulder- 
blades, and he found it to be such as he had ascertained 
it from the heavenly books ; and he kissed that place. 

* It is recorded that some Jews, or, according to another 
account, some Greeks, amongst whom were three distin- 
guished priests, came to kill that prince. They entered 
Bahira's convent that day, saying, "O Bahira, we have 
learned from the heavenly books that to-day Mohammed is to 
come with a caravan of the Koreish and to encamp near this 
monastery ; we have come in order to kill him." But Bahira, 
instead of assisting them in their purpose, demonstrated to 
them by clear proofs that this youth was the Prophet of the 
latter time, and thus induced them to desist from their design. 
It is recorded that Bahira saici to Abu Talib, " This youth is 
to be the Prophet of the latter days, and his law is to spread 
over the whole world, and his religion is to abrogate all 
other religions; if thou lovest this youth, beware, do not 
take him to Syria, for the Jews are his enemies ; God forbid 
that they, recognising him, should do him any harm." Upon 
this, Abu Talib sold his merchandise with a good profit in 
Bosra, and returned to Mecca. But there is also another 
account, according to which Abu Talib sent the Prophet back 
to Mecca with another company, whilst he himself went to 
Syria, and there completed his mercantile transactions.' (R.) 


(13.) TJu appearance both of Jesus Christ and of Mohammed 
was expected amongst the Jews and others^ having been 
foretold by prophets, 

a. 'When John had heard in the prison the works of 
Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art 
thou he that should come, or do we look for another ? ' (Matt 
xi. 2, 3.) 

' Philip iindeth Nathanael, and saith unto him. We have 
found him, of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets, 
did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph' (John i. 


b, * The Jewish Rabbis and the Christian Priests, as well 

as the Diviners amongst the Arabs, had already been speaking 
of Mohammed before his public mission, when its time had 
drawn near: the former, in accordance with the testimony of 
their prophets, which they found in their books, concerning 
him and his time; and the latter, in accordance with the 
information, which evil spirits had brought them, of what they 
had overheard of the celestial conversations, before they were 
prevented from listening, by stars being hurled at them. 
Assim Ibn Amr narrated that men of his tribe assured him 
that, next to God's grace and guidance, they had been led to 
adopt Islam by what they had heard from the Jews, saying, 
** We were polytheists and idolaters, but they possessed a book 
and knowledge which we were without. We often had war 
with them and when we did them any harm, they would say, 
" The time is at hand when a prophet will be sent with whose 
help we shall destroy you, like Ad and Irem." Generally we 
paid no attention to this threat ; but when God sent Moham- 
med, and he preached to us, we followed him ; for then we 
understood that with which they had been threatening us ; but 
we anticipated them, by believing in him, whilst they them- 
selves remained unbelieving." — Salama Ibn Wakash, one of 
the warriors of Bedr, related, " Once, when I was still very 
young, a Jew who enjoyed their protection, came to the Beni 
Abd el Ashhal and spoke of the Resurrection, the Account, the 
Balance, Paradise, and Hell. When the idolaters asked him 
what sign he had in proof of this, he answered, A prophet 
is to arise from that land, pointing to Yemen and Mecca ; 


and on their inquiring further, When will this happen? 
he replied whilst pointing at me, the youngest among them, 
If this lad reaches his proper age, he may live to see it And in 
fact, continued Salama, a day and a night did not pass, before 
God sent Mohammed into our midst and we believed in him, 
whereas he, from envy and stubbornness, remained unbelieving. 
When we said to him. Woe unto thee ; didst not thou say 
so and so of him ? he replied. Yes, I did, but this is not the 
right one." A sheikh of the Beni Koreiza gave this report : 
Some years before Islam, a certain Jew from Syria, Ibn el 
Haggaban by name, settled amongst us, who certainly was the 
most excellent non- Moslem I ever knew. Whenever there 
was a drought, he, at our request, went out with us to the 
field and offered up prayers for rain ; and scarcely had he 
risen, before a cloud passed by and drenched us, a thing which 
happened very often. When his dying hour approached, 
he said," O ye Jews, the reason why I have left a land of wine 
and corn, and come into a land of want and hunger, is this, that 
I have expected the appearance of a prophet whose time is 
at hand, and who is to emigrate to this country. I have been 
waiting for him, in order to follow him. Do not let others 
anticipate you by their believing in him, for, in accordance 
with his mission, the blood of his adversaries will be shed, 
their children made captives, and nothing can protect you 
against him." Afterwards, when God sent Mohammed, and 
he besieged the Beni Koreiza, those men, who then were still 
young, said, " O ye sons of Koreiza, by God, this is the pro- 
phet promised by Ibn el Haggaban." But they said, " No, 
he is not." Those men, however, took God for a witness 
that he was exactly such as he had been described ; and 
they embraced Islam, and thus their blood, their goods, and 
their families were saved.' (Ibn Ishak.) 

(14) Whilst they were honouring a Penitentiary Institution^ by 
accommodating themselves to it^ a Supernatural Occur- 
rence and Voice inaugurated their own Public Mission. 

a. 'John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the 
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins * (Mark i. 4). 

* Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, 
to be baptized of him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, 


went up straightway out of the water : and, lo, the heavens 
were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God^ 
descending like a dove, and lighting upon him : and lo a 
voice from heaven, saying. This is my beloved Son, in whom 
I am well pleased" (Matt iii. 13-17). 

b, Ibn Ishak narrates: *The Prophet used annually to 
spend a month on Mount Hira, for it was a custom amongst * 
the Koreishites in their heathen state to look upon this as 
Tahannuth, i,e. * penance/ During that time he fed the poor 
who visited him, and, when the month was over, he first 
.went seven times round the Kaaba and then returned to 
his own house. In the year of his public mission he went 
there, as usual, in the month of Rhamadan, and, whilst there, 
Gabriel brought to him God's behest, in the night, in which 
God, from compassion to His servants, honoured him with 
his mission,' etc. (see pp. $8, 59). 

The Rawzat refers to the same event in these words : 
'When that Excellency was sitting in the cave of Hira, 
bending forward, Gabriel came behind him, and once more 
roused that Excellency's attention, saying, " Rise, O Mo- 
hammed : I am Gabriel." Rising up, that Excellency saw 
some one walking before him and the Lord of the world 
followed him. When that person went between the 
mountains of Safa and Merva, his feet were on the earth 
and his head was in the sky, and when he opened his wings, 
he took in the space between the east and the west His 
feet were yellow, his wings green. He wore two necklaces 
of red ruby. His forehead was radiant and bright, his cheeks 
light-like, his teeth white, his hair had the colour of red coral, 
and between his two eyes were the words written, " There 
is no God but Allah : Mohammed is the apostle of Allah." 
When the Prophet saw that form and figure, he, afraid of 
his greatness and rank, said, "Who art thou? God have 
mercy on thee: verily I have never seen any one greater 
and more beautiful than thee." Gabriel replied, " I am the 

^ It is worthy of special notice that, according to Mohammedan theology, the 
word 'Holy Spirit,* which also occurs in the Koran, e.g. Sura ii. 81 (87), is 
only another name for ' the angel Gabriel. ' According to Ibn Ishak, Moham- 
med himself answered the question put to him by the Jews, ' Who is the 
Spirit ? ' by saying, < It is Gabriel who visits me.* This makes the imitation 
still more striking. 


faithful Spirit ^ to all the prophets and sent ones : Read, O 
Mohammed." That prince answered, " What can I read 
who have never read ? " * Then Gabriel took from under his 
wings a book, made of the silk of paradise, and embossed 
with pearls and rubies, held it to that prince's face, and said, 
"Read!" Mohammed replied, and was treated as before. 
Then Gabriel stamped with his foot on the earth, so that 
water gushed forth from it« in which he made an ablution, 
by rinsing his mouth, snuffing up water with his nostrils, 
and washing his face and feet Having done this three 
times, and once rubbed his head, he also commanded 
that prince to make the abljution exactly in the same 
manner. When he had finished, Gabriel took a handful of 
water, and splashed it in that Excellency's face, and then 
placing himself before him, performed two prostrations of 
prayer, that Excellency following him. After this, Gabriel 
said to him, '* O Mohammed, behold, thus are the prayers 
performed." Then Gabriel disappeared, and that Excellency 
returned home, trembling in mind, and calling out, " Cover 
me ! cover me ! " And they covered him, till his fear and 
terror had passed off.' 

(15.) Witness is borne to thenty and their Divine Mission is 
made known to men^ by anot/ter distinguished Servant 
of the true Gody who soon afterwards is removed from 
this world} 

a, 'John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This 
was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is 
preferred before me : for he was before me. And of his 
fulness have .all we received, and grace for grace. For the 

^ See the previous foot-note. 

* One is here reminded of the word, 'How knoweth this man letters, 
having never learned ? ' (John viL 15.) 

* This parallelism between the two precursors, John the Baptist and Waraka, 
is further sustained by the circumstance of kinship, for, as the mothers of John 
and Jesus were 'cousins' (Luke i. 36), so also Waraka was the 'cousin' of 
Mohammed's wife Khadija, and by the fact that as John's disciples, through 
their master's testimony, became the first believers in Jesus (John L 35-42), so 
also Waraka's testimony convinced Khadija, who, as Ibn Hisham tells us, was 
* the first who believed in God, and His apostle, and His revelation.' 



Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by 
Jesus Christ. • . . Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh 
away the sin of the world ! . . . That he should be made 
manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 
... I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, 
and it abode upon him* (John i. 15-34; Matt. xiv. 1-12). 

b. Waraka's connection with Mohammed is thus referred 
to in the Rawzat : ^ * After Gabriel's first appearance to 
Mohammed on Mount Hira, that Excellency returned 
home, trembling in mind, and afterwards said to Khadija, 
" Verily, I fear for my life." Khadija replied, " Fear not ; 
for God will not bring trouble upon thee ; " and, after having 
thus comforted that Excellency, Khadija continued, "If 
thou wishest it, I will lay thy state before my cousin Waraka 
Ibn Nawfal, that we may see what he will say about it'* 
This Waraka was a person who, even in the time of 
ignorance, had turned away from the religion of the Koreish, 
had become a Christian and professor of the Unity, know- 
ing the Gospel well, which he had copied in Arabic, or, 
according to another account, in Hebrew, and at this time 
he had become very aged and blind. When she had 
received that prince's permission, Khadija went to Waraka, 
saying, " O my cousin, give me information about Gabriel" 
Waraka exclaimed, " Holy ! holy ! " or, according to 
another account, "Praiseworthy! praiseworthy!" and then 
went on saying, '* O Khadija, who amongst the idolatrous 
people of this land knows anything about Gabriel, that 
fiaithful one between God and His prophets? and who 
mentions his name ? " Khadija declared to him how that 
Excellency had said, " Gabriel has come down to me," and 
what state and condition he was in. Waraka replied, " If 
Gabriel has descended to this place, then God is to send to 
this land many favours and countless blessings. O Khadija, 
if thou hast spoken this word in truth, then know that the 
same excellent Law which came down to Moses and Jesus 
has also come down to Mohammed. When that person who 
came to him comes again, it is right that thou shouldest be 
present in that place, and when he has come, then uncover 
thy head and let thy hair be seen : if that person is from God 

' Refer to p. 60. 


he will not be able to see thy hair." Khadija says, I 
returned and told that Excellency Waraka's words, adding, 
"If that person comes again, let me know." Then, on 
Gabriel again appearing to that Excellency, he informed 
me of it I set that prince on my right thigh, and said, 
" Dost thou see that person ? " He answered, " I do." 
Then I uncovered my head, dishevelled my hair, and again 
asked, ** Dost thou see that person ? " He replied, " No, I 
do not : he is gone." Then I said, " Good news to thee : 
that person coming to thee, comes down from God, and is 
a good angeL" When I went again to Waraka and told 
him the story, he said, "In truth, an excellent Law has 
come down to the earth." Waraka also composed some 
poetry on the subject, and said to Khadija, " Send Moham- 
med to me, that he may make known unto me his own 
state." The Prophet went to Waraka, whereupon Waraka 
said, " Rejoice, O Mohammed, again and again rejoice : 
I bear witness in truth that thou art that prophet whom 
Jesus has announced in the words : " After me an apostle is 
to be sent whose name is Ahmed,^ and I testify that thou 
art Ahmed and God's apostle ; and verily that Law which 
came down to Jesus has also come down to thee, and it will 
soon come to pass that thou shalt be commissioned to war 
and battle with the unbelievers.^ If I shall be alive in those 
days I shall certainly assist thee ; " and bending his head 
forward, he kissed that prince's forehead. Another account 
adds that Waraka said to that prince, " Would that I were 
still young and alive in those days, when thy people will 
drive thee out of this city." His Excellency asked, "O 
Waraka, will they then indeed drive me out?" Waraka 
answered, "Yes, they will do it: for no one ever has 
brought such a thing as thou, without his people having 

^ This is another of the prophet's proper names. Whilst ' Mohammed ' 
means simply 'praised/ 'Ahmed' signifies 'most praised, or most praise- 
worthy.' It is an intensive form expressing an eminent or superlative degree 
of the radical verb hamada^ 'to praise.' The words put into Waraka's mouth 
refer to the well-known passages in St John's Gospel about the promised 
Spirit, the Comforter, and give the notorious Mohammedan mistranslation of 
the Greek Paraclete. 

* This is very unlike John's 'Lamb of God,' and reminds one rather of 
' the wrath of the Lamb ' in Apoc. vL 16. 


been hostile to him, injuring, and persecuting him." ^ Not 
long after this, Waraka died, without reaching the time of 
the gathering of disciples.' * 

(i6.) Th^ and their public mission are the Object and End of 
all previous Prophecy ^ as ushering in the grand era 
of Fulfilment 

a. * Jesus began to say unto them, This day is this 
scripture fulfilled in your ears' (Luke iv. 16-21). 

* This that is written must yet be accomplished in me, . . • 
for the things concerning me have an end ' (Luke xxii. 37). 

* All this was done that the scriptures of the prophets 
might be fulfilled * (Matt xxvi. 56). 

'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he 
expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things 
concerning himself (Luke xxiv. 27). 

* God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these 
last days spoken unto us by his Son.' (Heb. i. i, 2). 

b. Ibn Ishak says, * When Mohammed was forty years 
old, God sent him as a prophet, from compassion towards 
the world and all mankind. He had already before rendered 
it obligatory on every prophet whom He sent, to believe 
in Him, to declare Him to be true, to assist Him against His 
enemies, and also to announce this to all those who were 
going to believe in Him. Therefore it is written in the 
Koran : " When God made a firm covenant with the prophets, 
saying, I have brought you a Scripture and instruction, 
then also there comes an apostle to you, confirming what 
you had already : verily, ye are to believe in him and to 
assist him. Do you acknowledge this and do you recognise 
the burden of my covenant } They answered, We acknow- 
ledge it Then God said. Bear witness, and I myself shall 
bear witness with you." In this way God took a promise 

^ Waraka here speaks from his own experience as a Hanifite and a Christian, 
and with the recollection of a Zeid and an Othman fresh in his mind. These 
words sound like a faint echo of the Baptist's ' Behold, the Lamb of God.' 

' Here we may be reminded of the Baptist's word, ' He that hath the bride 
is the bridegroom. ... He must increase, but I must decrease' (John iii. 
29. 30)- 


from all the prophets, to declare Mohammed to be true, and 
to assist him against his enemies : and they proclaimed this 
to those who believed in them ; and many of the professors 
of both the sacred books believed it' 

In the Rawzat we read : * Sundry portentous events, 
which took place in the night of Mohammed's birth, having 
been brought to the knowledge of Chosroes, the king of 
Persia, he wrote a letter to Naeman Ibn Munzir, saying, 
" Send us a man who is able to answer questions which we 
may put to him." Then Naeman sent Abdu-1-Massiah, to 
whom Chosroes narrated what had taken place, and then 
asked him what was portended thereby. Abdu-1-Massiah 
replied, "The answer to this question is not with me, but 
with my friend Satih, who is now living in Syria." It is 
said that Satih was a diviner, of the tribe of the Beni Zeeb, 
who had no joints in his body, so that he could neither stand 
up nor sit down, but only, on being angered, he became 
swollen up, bloated, and sitting. In his limbs there were no 
bones at all, except that he had a skull and bones in the top 
of his fingers : he was, as it were, a flat surface (sssath) of 
flesh. When he had to be taken anywhere, he was rolled 
up and folded together like a cloth. His face was on his chest, 
and he had no neck. The historians say that Satih lived 
in a district of Syria, called Gabie. He was born in the days 
of Seil the Syrian, and, after quitting the country Marab, 
with the tribe of Azad, and wandering over the world, he 
had come with them to Gabie. Living till the birth of the 
Prophet, he must have been about 600 years old : but God 
knows it best And it is said that when they wanted him 
to prophesy and to announce something unknown, they 
shook him, as the buttering-skin is shaken in making butter, 
and thus they caused him to move ; then he spake and made 
unknown things known. It is recorded, on the authority 
of Heb Ibn Munhib, that they asked Satih, " Whence didst 
thou obtain the knowledge of prophecy ? " Satih answered, 
" I have a friend amongst the demons Oi^)> who hears the 
news of heaven, and who told me many of the things which 
God had told Moses on Mount Sinai, and which I tell the 

* Abdu-1-Massiah was ordered to resort to his friend in 


Gabie and to fetch the answer to that question. Then 
Abdu-1-Massiah went to Satih ; and on reaching him, found 
him in the agonies of death. When he saluted Satih and 
gave him the salutations and felicitations of Chosroes, there 
came no reply. Then Abdu-1-Massiah recited to him some 
verses which Chosroes had sent to Satih, and in which he 
had expressed the hope of receiving a favourable reply to 
his query. When Satih heard those verses, he raised his 
head, and said, '' Abdu-1-Massiah has come to Satih upon a 
^^'Sssd camel, when Satih had already received the honour 
of entering the grave. O Abdu-l-Massiah, the king of the 
Assanides, i^. Nushirvan, has sent thee to me, because his 
palaces have been distressed and shaken, and their towers 
fallen to the earth, and the fire-altars of the Persians have 
been extinguished, and the chief fire-priest hks seen in his 
dream unruly camels, drawing after them Arab horses 
beyond the Tigris, to be spread over the land of Persia : in 
the time when the reading of the Koran is to come to pass, 
and when the Lord of the stick,* i,e. Mohammed, is to 
appear, and the Wady of Semawa shall flow with water, and 
the sea of Sawa shall overflow the land, and the fire of the 
fire-worshippers shall be extinguished^ — in that time shall 
Babylon be no longer Persian, and Syria shall no longer 
belong to Satih, i,e. the Persians shall be driven out of the 
empire of Babylon, and Satih shall quit the world, so that 
the science of prophecy shall no longer remain in Syria ; and 
according to the fourteen dilapidated towers of the palace 
of Chosroes there shall still be fourteen rulers from amongst 
his males and females, after which mighty and great things 
will come to pass and all that is to be will be." 

* Satih had no sooner given utterance to these words 
than he collapsed, and expired. But Abdu-l-Massiah re- 
turned to Chosroes, and told him all he had heard from 
Satih. Chosroes was somewhat comforted, and said, "It 
will take a long time before the reigns of fourteen of our 
descendants can have passed away." But Chosroes had no 
knowledge of the Divine decrees. It is reported that ten of 

^ Mohammed is here called ' the Lord of the stick ' to represent him as 
making free use of the stick, that is, as destined to administer severe chastisement 
and to execute unsparing judgment upon the evil-doers. 


their kings passed away in four years ; and the reigns of the 
four other kings were completed under Omar ; and God 
granted the overthrow of Yezdejerd, who was the last king 
of Persia, by the hand of Saad Ibn Abi Wakaz. Yezdejerd 
escaped, and many times collected soldiers to war against 
the Mussulmans, till A.H. 31, under the Califate of Osman, 
he fled from the battle of Nehavend to Khorassan, where a 
miller killed him. But God knows best 

'The masters' of biographical and historical science have 
stated that when Satih died, prophecy was taken away from 
the world. ^ This statement indicates that the original 
object of the existence of prophets and diviners was, as it 
were, to make known in Arabia the mission of Mohammed ; 
and the expression in the traditions, "There is no more 
prophecy after the mission of the prophet," confirms this 
meaning. And the import of the word "prophet" in the 
tradition, " They believed in what came to the prophets and 
diviners, but they rejected in unbelief what was sent down 
upon Mohammed," shows, that whoever claims the gift of 
prophecy, after the prophetic mission of Mohammed, is a 
mere diviner, whereas he who disclaims it, has the reality 
of prophetic gift and is not a diviner. For whoever dis- 
claims prophetic gifts after Mohammed's prophetic mission, 
IS a true prophet, like Satih and Suwad, and to testify to 
what is true is not unbelief: but whoever lays claim to 
being a prophet, after God had taken away the prophetic 
gift from amongst men, when He made known the prophetic 
mission of Mohammed the chosen, — he is a liar and makes 
the prophet a liar ; and whoever bears testimony in favour 
of such a liar, must certainly be counted an infidel."** (R.) 

^ This statement is a complete parallel to the Lord's word : ' All the 
Prophets and the Law prophesied until John ' (Matt xi. 13). As John passed 
away with Christ's coming, so Satih with the appearance of Mohammed. Each 
was the last of the prophets, to make way for the era of fulfilment. 

' The thoughtful reader cannot help seeing that the very same method of 
reasoning here employed by these learned ' masters of biographical and historical 
science ' must lead the Christian thinker, from the standpoint of Christianity, to 
come to the incTitable conclusion that Mohammed, who claimed a prophetic 
mission after revelation had reached its climax and goal in tht San^ who was the 
end of the Law and the prophets (Heb. i. 2 ; Luke xvi. 16), cannot have been a 
true prophet, sent by God, but must belong to the category referred to in Christ's 
word : ' Many y^j^ prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many' (Matt. xxiv. II). 


(17.) After the commencement of their public ministry, both 
of them had to pass through the ordeal of a remarkable 
Satanic Temptation, which aimed at seducing them 
into a most important change of their mission, but 
without success} 

a. In Matt. iv. i-ii we read concerning Jesus Christ that 
'He was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be 
tempted of the devil/ and that He victoriously passed through 
the ordeal, without the least wavering in His resistance to 
the tempter, by meeting the first temptation with the word, 
* It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every 
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God ; ' the second, 
with the declaration, *It is written again. Thou sbalt not 
tempt the Lord thy God ; ' and the third, with the rebuke, 
' Get thee hence, Satan : for it is written. Thou shalt worship 
the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.* 

^ Let the reader be expressly reminded that this heading (as are also other 
similar ones) is not in the least intended to convey the notion as if there was a 
real parallelism between the two cases. The parallelism results only from 
the Mohammedan invention of a story in excuse of an unethical action of 
Mohammed. In Christ's case we stand before a real, though unsuccessful, 
Satanic temptation, to lead Him astray from the Messianic course marked ont 
for Him ; in Mohammed's case, before an unprincipled compromise which he 
formally accepted, and from which he afterwards cunningly tried to extricate 
himself, by throwing the whole blame on the devil, and by representing himself 
as merely the innocent sufferer of his unsuccessful temptation. Sir W. Muii 
expressly asserts the possibility of a true and real parallel between the two cases, by 
saying, in his Life of Mahomet, voL ii. p. 95, 'If we admit that our Saviour was 
at the commencement of His mission the subject of a direct and special tempta- 
tion by the Evil One, we may safely assuiAe that a similar combat possibly was 
waged, though with far other results, in the case of Mahomet.' This assertion 
not only needs the apology from which he boldly dispenses himself ; but it is 
so gravely objectionable that no apology could make amends for it. From a 
Christian standpoint it is altogether inadmissible. For it presupposes the 
belief that, as Jesus had the Divine mission to be the prophet of Israel, so 
Mohammed had equally a Divine mission to become the prophet of the Arabs ; 
and that the Evil One naturally felt the same interest in spoiling the one and 
the other of these Divine missions. 

Sir W. Muir, in several places of his work, speaks of Mohammed as if he 
had fiurly begun to be a true prophet, a kind of Messiah for Arabia ; and that 
this Divine purpose was only frustrated by the moral delinquencies to which he 
yielded. But if Christ was sent by God as the true prophet and only Saviour of 
aU mankind (which Sir William undoubtedly believes), how can Mohammed^ 
as the founder of a non*Christian and anti-Christian religion, by any possibility 

CH. 1. 1 7.] TEMPTED BY SA TAN, 281 

b. The Rawzat narrates Mohammed's notorious tempta- 
tion and its result in the following manner : ' It is recorded 
that that Excellency's anxiety for the conversion of the 
Koreish to the faith was so great, that he desired the Most 
High might send a spirit to subdue the people's mind, and 
to incline their hearts to the Faith, and that he read to the 
polytheists revelations which from time to time came down 
from the One, in order that thus their hearts might be 
softened and themselves turned into Mussulmans. When 
the Sura " By the Star" {i,e. the S3d) came down, the Lord 
of the world went to the holy house of prayer and read that 
Sura in the assembly of the Koreish. In reading it out, he 
paused between the verses, to enable the people to take 
them in and remember them entirely. When he had reached 
the noble verse, " Do you see Lat, Ozza, and Manat, the 
third, besides ? " then Satan found it possible to cause the 
stupefied ears of the polytheists to hear these words, " These 

have likewise had a Divine mission from which it required a special Satanic 
temptation to turn him aside? Theoretical Monotheism is of itself not so 
certain a token of the presence of God's kingdom as to be intolerable to Satan« 
The Jews were strict monotheists, and yet they were so completely under the 
influence of the devil that Jesus could affirm, he was their father (John viii. 44). 
In fact, the devils themselves, as St. James teaches us (James iu 19), are pro- 
fessed monotheists ; but to no good, except to make them 'tremble.' Accord- 
ingly, Mohammed's iconoclastic advocacy of Monotheism cannot by any means 
be relied upon as a proof that even during the best period of his prophetic 
career, when some regard him as a true prophet, with a special Divine mission 
for the Arabs, he was anything but an instrument in the hand of the Powers of 
Darkness for raising up one of the most formidable obstacles to the coming of 
the Kingdom of God and the spreading of the Faith in Christ, as the Divine 
and only Saviour of man. The theological views, plainly underlying Sir W. 
Muir's valuable work on Mohammed, demand, if consistently carried to their 
logical conclusion, a rectification of the manner in which he has hitherto 
represented the outwardly purer period in the life of a fictitious prophet whose 
claims to replace Christ as a Divine Ambassador, from the very time they were 
first put forth, could not be anything but the outcome of deception. Not his 
immoralities constitute Mohammed 2l false prophet, but his claimed prophetship 
itself, his gratuitous assertion of a Divine mission to supersede Christ, as th 
last and greatest of all God's messengers. Therefore whatever appears to prove 
Mohammed z, prophet ^ can, in the face of Christ, only prove him a false prophet. 
The kingdom of Darkness had obviously a far greater interest in upholding 
Mohammed's anti-Christian prophetship, than in demolishing it by an extraor- 
dinary Satanic temptation. The whole ' parallel,' discovered by Sir W. Mnir, 
therefore reduces itself to this : that Christ's temptation was a fact and Mo* 
hammed's a fiction. 


are the exalted Goddesses whose intercession may be hoped 
for." In hearing these words, the infidels were exceedingly 
delighted. After having read the whole Sura, his Excellency 
worshipped, and the polytheists also followed his example, 
by doing so. When the infidels rose up from that assembly, 
they said, " Mohammed has mentioned our Gods in the 
handsomest manner ; and, although we know that the Most 
High God is the Lord of life and death, the Creator and 
Preserver, yet we also, at the same time, affirm that these 
our Deities are Intercessors with the highest God. In the 
present state of affairs, now that Mohammed has agreed 
with us in the matter, by declaring them to be * those 
exalted Goddesses whose intercession may be hoped for,' 
we make peace with him and desist from persecuting him." 
The news of this peaceable arrangement spread abroad, and 
on reaching the fugitives in Abyssinia, they, on the strength 
of it, returned to their fatherland Mecca. 

* It is recorded that Gabriel came and informed the pro- 
phet, upon whom be prayers and peace, of the words, " These 
exalted Goddesses," which Satan had suggested ; and on that 
Excellency becoming exceedingly pained and sad, God, in 
order to comfort his blessed heart, sent him this verse, " We 
did not send any apostle or prophet before thee, but when he 
desired anything, Satan cast evil suggestions into his desires. 
But God cancels that which Satan suggests. Then God 
establishes His revealed verses ; for God is knowing and 
wise." Then, on this verse reaching the ears of the infidels, 
they said, " Mohammed has repented of his declaration that 
there is room and a standing for our Deities, with God : 
therefore we also now withdraw from that peace." There- 
upon they resumed their persecution.* * 

^ It is evident from the preceding account, that the Mohammedan nanators 
strove to screen Mohammed from having uttered the compromising words, and 
to represent the latter as a mere magical effect produced by Satan upon the ears 
of the listening polytheists. The design of screening Mohammed from the 
readiness shown by him to come to a compromise with idolaters, so damaging to 
his prophetic pretensions, is already apparent in the earliest biographers. For 
whilst Tabari in his first account of the affair says expressly, ' Satan put upon 
hb tongue that of which his soul had been discoursing to him,* he altogether 
omits these words in his second version ; and though Ibn Ishak had related the 
story in his biography, as is known by Tabari quoting it from that source, yet 
Ibn Hisham, in editing Ibn Ishak *s work, eliminated the entire story, so that 


(18.) As Jesus Christ chose Twelve Apostles from amongst 
His discipleSy so also Moluimmed selected Twelve 
Apostles from his Moslem followers : but he not only 
from amongst men^ but also from amongst spirits, 

a, *When it was day, Jesus called unto him his dis- 
ciples : and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named 
Apostles ' (Luke vi. 1 3). 

* These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, 
saying, As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is 
at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, 
cast out devils : freely ye have received, freely give ' (Matt. 
X. 5-7). 

b. 'When Mohammed returned from the Arab tribes 
whom he had invited to accept him for a prophet, but who 
in return had persecuted and ridiculed him, he, at a day's 
journey from Mecca, made the acquaintance of a number of 
spirits (jin) whom he converted to Islam ; and a month 

now it is no longer found in Ibn Ishak's biography. Sir W. Muir treats this 
subject well, in his Life of Mahomet^ vol. ii. pp. 149-160. He also gives the 
more unfavourable account, on Tabori and Wakidi's authority, of Gabriel's in- 
terference, in these words, 'Gabriel said, What is this that thou hast done? 
Thou hast repeated before the people words which I never gave unto thee. So 
Mohammed grieved sore and feared the Lord greatly; and he said, I have 
spoken of God that which He has not said.' The same author makes the fol- 
lowing just remarks on the af!air : ' Mohammed was not long in perceiving the 
inconsistency into which he had been betrayed. His only safety now lay in dis- 
owning the concession. The devil had deceived him. The words of compromise 
were no part of the Divine system received from God through His heavenly 
messenger. The lapse was thus remedied. The heretical verses spoken under 
delusion were cancelled, and others revealed in their stead denying the existence 
of female angels, such as Lat and Ozza, and denouncing idolatry with a sentence 
of irrevocable condemnation. But although Mohammed may have completely 
re-established his own convictions, there is little doubt that the concession to 
idolatry, followed by a recantation so sudden and so entire, seriously weakened 
his position with the people at large. They would not readily credit the excuse 
that words of error were cast by the devil into his mouth. Even supposing it to 
have been so, what faith could be placed in the revelations of a prophet liable to 
such influences?' But the biographers, whose great object was to represent 
Mohammed as in no way inferior to Christ, were fain, as soon as they found what 
unpleasant use could be made of the passage, to extricate themselves from a 
serious difficulty by resorting to the stratagem of either suppressing the story 
altogether, or so modifying it that the devil did not put the objectionable words 
on the Prophet's tongue at all, but only caused them to be heard by the un- 
hallowed ears of the people. 



later he was visited by a vast host of spirits who likewise 
became Mussulmans. In that night his Excellency selected 
twelve from amongst the nobles of the spirits^ to whom he 
taught the ordinances of the Law, and whom he commanded 
to teach the same unto others.' (R.) 

* In the thirteenth year of Mohammed's prophetship, about 
three months before the Hegira, seventy-two of the people of 
Medina who had come to Mecca on the occasion of the pil- 
grimage, took the oath of submission and allegiance to him. 
Out of these he chose twelve men^ whom he appointed as over- 
seers over the rest ; and he said on the occasion, " Let not 
those whom I did not choose to the office of overseer grieve or 
be vexed ; for it is not I who have chosen them, but Gabriel 
has chosen and selected them for me ; " and to those who 
were chosen and appointed as overseers, his Excellency said, 
"You are the sureties of the people over whom you are 
appointed as overseers, Just as the Apostles were Jesus* 
sureties} and I am the surety of my entire people." * (R.) 

(19.) In tJte exercise of their public ministry ^ they gathered Dis- 
ciples around them and zealously preached the Faithy one 
Sermon on a Mount being specially noted ; and they 
also m,ade diligent use of the gathering of Great Multi- 
tudeSy during the annual Festivals of the nation. 

a. * From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, 
Repent : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, 
walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, . . . and he 
saitn unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of 
men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed 
him, etc. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a 

^ This express reference to a Christian institution, as the pattern for its 
Mohammedan imitation, is of importance, as strongly supporting the idea under- 
lying this whole chapter, namely, that there is in Islam an obvious tendency to 
represent Christianity as rendered no longer necessary, and therefore justly 
superseded and replaced by its own revelation and ordinances. Once the postu- 
late being admitted, that Islam offers benefits and blessings as great or greater 
than those of Christianity, it follows, as a matter of course, that it is justified in 
asserting a position of equality and superiority, which must turn into one of direct 
antagonism whenever the assumed superseded religion presumes to maintain 
itself against its rival. Thus Islam proved itself a»/f-Christian in the doable 
sense of the ' anti,' by first affecting a correspondence and equality of worth with 
regard to Christianity, and then assuming an attitude of open hostility. 


mountain : and when he was set, his disciples came unto 
him : and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 
Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven,' etc. (Matt. iv. 17-20; v. vi. vii.) 

* Now when Jesus was in Jerusalem at the passover, in 
the feast day, many believed in his name' (John ii. 23). 
* After this there was a feast of the Jews ; and Jesus went up 
to Jerusalem,' etc. (John v. 1-47). •Now about the midst of 
the feast (of tabernacles), Jesus went up into the temple, 
and taught' (John vii. 14-53). 

b. ' The biographers and historians record that when that 
Excellency knew by clear proofs that he was a prophet, he 
preached Islam first of all to Khadija, and she believed in 
him without any hesitation. One day later, or, according to 
another account, at the close of that same day, Ali Ibn Abu 
Talib, who was being brought up by that Excellenty, be- 
lieved in him. After him, Zeid Ibn Haritha, who was a 
liberated slave of Khadija, came to the faith. After him, 
Abu Bekr, the faithful, became ennobled with the nobility 
of the faith, etc. 

' It is recorded that at first Mohammed invited the people 
to Islam in a private, secret manner, and that they embraced 
the faith by ones or by twos. This state lasted for three* 
years, till Gabriel came and brought down this verse, "O 
Mohammed, bring thou openly forward that with which thou 
art commissioned, and turn away from the idolaters." Then 
that Excellency tied the girdle of preaching round his loins, 
and openly called upon the people to embrace Islam, so^that 
men and women believed in numbers ; and Islam was much 
spoken of in Mecca. 

* On receiving the command in the words of this verse, 
** Warn thy own tribe, thy relatives ; and spread thy wing 
over the believers who follow thee," his Excellency went up 
to mount Safa^ and called together all the different branches 
of the Koreish. On hea/ing his voice, they said, " Moham- 
med has gone up to Mount Safa and calls us." So all the 
heads of the Koreish were gathered to him, and even those 
who could not come themselves sent some representative in 
their stead. Being gathered round him, they said, " What is 
the matter with thee, O Mohammed, and what dost thou 


want ? " Then the Lord of the world addressed them, say- 
ing, " Redeem your souls from God : God is not enriched 
from you by anything. O ye sons of Abdu-1-Mottaleb, God 
is not enriched of you by anything. O Abbas, thou son of 
Abdu-1-Mottaleb, God is not enriched of thee by anything. 
O Safiya, thou aunt of the Apostle of God, God is not en- 
riched of thee by anything. O Fatima, thou daughter of 
Mohammed, ask of me what thou wilt of the things which 
concern me: God is not enriched of thee by anything." 
After that he said, " If I told you that hostile soldiers were 
coming from the other side of the mountain, who would 
suddenly pounce upon you and wish to make you prisoners, 
would you believe me in giving you such information, or 
would you not ? " They all answered, " We would believe 
thee : for thou art not known amongst us as a liar, and we 
have seen nothing in thee but what is true." His Excellency 
continued, "Then know and understand that I warn and 
threaten you with a severe punishment" That Excellency's 
uncle, Abu Lahab, replied, "What a pity, O Mohammed, 
that thou callest us together for such a purpose as this."* 
(Ibn Hisham, Part IV.) 

' It is recorded that that prince presented himself to the 
• people during the seasons of pilgrimage, and invited them to 
embrace Islam, saying, " O ye people, call out. There is no 
God but the true God." ' (R.) 

(20.) In order to tempt and test t/unty difficult questions were 
submitted to them by tluir opponents^ which they were 
able to solve, 

a, * Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they 
might entangle him in his talk. . . . But Jesus perceived 
their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? 
Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him 
a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and 
superscription ? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith 
he unto them. Render therefore unto Caesar the things 
which are Caesar's ; and unto God the things that are God's. 
When they heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, 
and went their way. The same day came to him the Sad- 


ducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked 
him, saying/ etc. (Matt. xxii. 1 5-46). 

b, * El Nadhr was of the Satans of the Koreish, one of 
those who reviled and opposed Mohammed. Having visited 
Hira, he had there heard the history of the Persian kings, 
and of Rustem and of Isfendar. So when Mohammed 
warned his people of the Divine punishments which had 
befallen former nations, he would rise after him, and say, 
" I know more beautiful stories than Mohammed ; " and 
having told them, he would ask, " Now, whereby are Moham- 
med's stories distinguished above mine?" He also once 
said, " I can reveal to you similar things to those which Allah 
reveals." When El Nadhr had spoken thus, the Koreish sent 
him with Okba Ibn Abi Mueit to the Jewish Rabbis of 
Medina, in order to tell them about Mohammed, and to ask 
them what they thought of him, because they had knowledge 
of the ancient books and knew more about prophets than 
themselves.^ Having gone to Medina and delivered their 
errand, the Rabbis said, "Address three questions to him, 
which we will communicate to you : if he answers them, he 
is sent as a prophet ; if not, he is a liar ; * and you will know 
how to deal with him. First ask him concerning the men 
who went away in former times ; for marvellous things are 
told about them. Secondly ask him concerning the wanderer 
who reached the remotest east and west of the earth. And 
lastly ask him concerning the Spirit, what it is." On their 
return to Mecca, El Nadhr and Okba communicated the result 
of their journey to the Koreish; and then went to Mohammed 
and proposed to him the three questions. Mohammed 
replied definitely, " To-morrow I shall give you the answer." 
But when fifteen nights had passed, without his having 
received a revelation on the subject, the Meccans assembled 

^ The reader will here notice the further parallelism, that not only were Jesus 
and Mohammed alike subjected to the test of hard questions, but also that in 
both cases the puzzling questions proceeded from the same Jewish source. 

' According to another accoimt communicated in A. Sprenger's Leben und 
Lehre des Mohammed^ voL ii. p. 231, the Rabbis said, 'In order to test- him, 
submit to him three questions : if he answers them all three, he is not a pro- 
phet ; but if he answers some and evades others, he is a prophet' This would 
seem to show that Mohammed's definition of ' the Spirit ' was r^;arded, even 
by some early Mohammedans, as not a solution, but a mere evasion of the 


together and said, ^ Mohammed has promised to give us an 
answer on the following day, and now fifteen nights have 
passed away, without his giving an explanation." Moham- 
med himself was sad, because of his non-reception of a revela- 
tion and because of the Meccans' talk against him. At last 
God sent Gabriel with the Sura of the Cave {i,e. the i8th), 
in which he is rebuked on account of his grief, and informed 
about the men who had gone away, and about the wanderer, 
and about the Spirit* Mohammed said to Gabriel, " Thou 
hast been long in coming, so that I feared for the worst." 
Gabriel replied, "We can only come down to thee at the 
behest of God, thy Lord." In the said Sura the story of the 
men who had gone away is thus elucidated : ** When the 
youths betook themselves to the cave, they said, O our Lord, 
grant us mercy from before thee, and order for us our affair 
aright Then struck we upon their ear with deafness, in the 
cave, for many years. Then we awakened them that we 
might know which of the two parties could best reckon the 
space of their abiding. We will relate to thee their tale with 
truth. They were youths who had believed in their Lord, 
and we had increased them in guidance. And we had made 
them stout of heart, when they stood up and said, Our Lord 
is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth : we will call on 
no other God but Him. • . . And thou mightest have seen 
the sun, when it arose, passing on the right of their cave ; 
and when it set, leave them on the left, while they were in 
its spacious chamber. . . . And thou wouldest have deemed 
awake, though they were sleeping: and we turned them 
to the right and to the left ; and at the entrance lay their 
dog with outstretched paws. Hadst thou come suddenly 
upon them, thou wouldest surely have turned thy back on 
them in flight, and have been filled with fear of them. . • . 
Some say they were three, their dog the fourth ; others say 
five, their dog the sixth, guessing at the secret ; others say 
seven, and their dog the eighth. Say, my Lord best knoweth 
the. number: none, save a few shall know them. . . , And 

^ In point of fact only the two first questions are answered in the i8th Sura 
(entitled ' the Cave '), whereas the third answer, concerning the Spirit, is found 
not in the i8th, but in the 15th Sura, so that either Ibn Hisham's account is 
inexact in this particular, or the verse defining * the Spirit ' originally formed 
part of Sura 18. 


they tarried in their cave 300 years and 9 years over. Say, 
God best knows how long they tarried : with Him are the 
secrets of the heavens and of the earth." ^ The story of the 
wanderer who reached to the remotest east and west is thus 
explained : " They will ask thee about Dzu-l-Kamain.^ Say, 
I will recite to you an account of him. We stablished his 
power upon the earth, and made for him a way to every 
thing, and a route which he followed until he reached the 
setting of the sun. He found that it set in a miry fount ; 
and, hard by, he discovered a people. We said, O Dzu-1- 
Kamain, either chastise them or treat them generously. . . . 
Then followed he a route until he reached the rising of the sun. 
He found that it rose on a people to whom we had given no 
shelter from it. . . . Then followed he a route until he came 
between the two mountains between which he discovered a 
people who scarce understood a language. They said, " O 
Dzu-1-Karnain, verily Gog and Magog waste this land. 
Shall we then pay thee a tribute, so that thou mayest build 
a rampart between us and them ? " . . . He said, " Bring me 
blocks of iron," until, on having filled the space between the 
mountain-sides, he said, "Ply your bellows," until, after 
having made it red with heat, he said, " Bring me molten brass 
that I may pour it all over it." And Gog and Magog ' were 
not able to scale it, neither were they able to dig through it. 

^ The stoiy of the men who had gone away or disappeared from amongst their 
fellow-men, is the well-known legend De septem dormientibus aptid urbem 
Ephesum, according to which seven Christian youths, in order to escape the 
cmel persecution under the Emperor Dacius, entered a cave in Mount Kalion, 
near Ephesus, a.d. 251, and, falling asleep, remained there till the reign of 
Theodosius, when they were awakened by the accidental re*opening of the cave, 
A.D. 446 ; and after having been seen by the Emperor and a bishop, died, with 
a halo of glory round their head« This legend became widely spread in the 
East, reaching even to Abyssinia and Arabia. 

' Of Dzu-1-Kamain (lit. 'the two-homed,' from his representation by a ram's 
head with horns). Ibn Hisham says, that his name was Iskander (ue. Alexander), 
the founder of Iskanderia {ue, Alexandria), which city bears his name ; but he 
adds, that some one, well versed in Persian traditions, had told him that he was 
an Egyptian, called Marzulan, and descended from Jonan, the son of Japhet, the 
son of Noah. 

' Gog and Magog are believed by the Mussulmans to be powerful nations 
living in the northern and eastern parts of Asia, and their future irruption upon 
the lands of the believers will be one of the signs of the approaching day of 
judgment and the end of the world. So vast will be their hosts that they will 
drink the Lake of Tiberias dry, on their march to Jerusalem, where they will 



* The answer to the third question is found in Sura 17, 
verse 87, where we read, " They will ask thee about the 
Spirit Say, The Spirit belongs to the things of my Lord 
(or, the Spirit is owing, as a creature, to a command of my 
Lord);^ but the knowledge given to you is only a small 

* But when Mohammed, by answering their questions and 
giving an account of the unknown, had demonstrated to 
them that what he spoke was true and that he was a real 
prophet, envy prevented them from believing in him and 
following him, so that they remained rebellious against God, 
turned away from him with open eyes, and continued in 
unbelief (Ibn Ishak and Ibn Hisham in Part IV.) 

(21.) The impression made by their words and presence was 
such as often to disarm their enemies^ and frustrate tlu 
hostile desigfis which they had entertained against them. 

a, * The Pharisees and chief priests sent officers to take 
him. And some of them would have taken him ; but no 
man laid hands on him. Then came the officers to the 
chief priests and Pharisees ; and they said unto them, Why 
have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never 
man spake like this man ' (John vii. 14-46). Compare also 
John viii. 3-1 1. 

' As soon as he had said unto them, I am he, they went 
backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them 

greatly distress Jesus, who will have returned to this earth, and His companions. 
But at their request God will destroy them and send birds of prey to carry away 
and consume them. Their bows, arrows, and quivers will last the surviving 
Mussulmans as fuel for seven years ; and at length God will send a pouring rain 
to cleanse and fertilise the land. The idea of these innumerable hosts of Gog and 
Magog seems to have been suggested to the Western Asiatics by the westward 
incursions of hundreds of thousands of horsemen from Eastern Tartary and 
China, for centuries before the Qiristian era. (Compare Ezek. xxxix. I -16 and 
Rev. XX. 7-10.) The 'Rampart' mentioned, seems to refer to the 'Chinese 

^ The word used in Arabic (emr\ having the double meaning of ' command ' 
and ' thing,' the verse can be literally translated by either, ' The Spirit is (one) 
from (amongst) the things of my Lord,' or, ' The Spirit is (proceeding) from 
(f.«. owing to) the command of my Lord.' In either case Mohammed's pro- 
bable intention was, to represent the Spirit as one of the many things or 
creatures of God, produced by His creative fiat ; and therefore the verse 
conveys a latent and indirect opposition to the Christian Faith in the Spirit, as 
one of the Three eternal h3rpostases of the Holy Trinity. 

CH. 1. 21.] HE A WES HIS OPPONENTS, 291 

again, Whom seek ye ? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 
Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore 
ye seek me, let these go their way ' (John xviii. 3-9). 

b. * Abd Allah Ibn Omar said, I was present one day, 
when the chiefs of the Koreish were assembled in the temple 
and thus spoke about Mohammed : " We have never endured 
anything like what we endure from this man: he calls us 
fools, dishonours our fathers, reviles our faith, divides our 
congregation, and blasphemes our gods. Verily, we endure 
hard things from him." While they were thus speaking, 
Mohammed arrived, embraced the pillar of the temple, and 
passing them in going round the temple, I observed from 
his face that they had been saying something offensive to 
him. I made the same observation, when he passed them 
the second and the third time. Then he stood still, and said 
to them, " Hearken, O ye congregation of the Koreish, by 
Him in Whose power Mohammed's soul is, I come to you 
with sacrificing." The people being struck by this word, 
every one felt as if a bird had alighted upon his head, so 
that the worst amongst them addressed him with tender 
words, saying, ** Go home, O Abu-1-Kasim ; by Allah ! thou 
art not a fool," whereupon Mohammed went away. 

* Otba Ibn Rabia, one of the chief men of the Koreish, 
said once in their assembly, whilst Mohammed was sitting 
alone in the temple, "Shall I not go to Mohammed and 
make him certain offers which, perhaps, he will accept, so 
that he may not any longer trouble us with his faith?" 
They approved his proposal ; and he went to lay his offers 
before Mohammed, who in reply recited to him a Sura from 
the Koran. When Otba returned to his friends, after this 
interview, they said one to the other, " We can swear by God 
that Otba has returned with quite a different countenance." 
On having seated himself near them, they asked him, " What 
is the report thou bringest ? " He answered, " By Allah, I 
heard words such as I have never heard before: they are 
neither poetry, nor enchantment, nor soothsaying ; therefore 
trust and follow me, by leaving Mohammed in peace." 
Upon this they replied, "By God; he has enchanted thee 
with his tongue." But he said, " This is my view, do ye what 
you deem proper." 


' When Mohammed had left the Koreish, Abu Jahl said, 
"You see that Mohammed will only despise our religion, 
revile our fathers, call us fools, and blaspheme our gods. I 
therefore take God for a witness that to-morrow I will take 
with me a stone into the temple, as heavy as I can carry ; 
and when he prostrates himself in prayer, I will smash his 
head with it. Then you may either protect me, or give me 
up to be dealt with by the Beni Abd Menaf, as they please." 
To this the Koreish replied, We shall never give thee up : do 
what thou wilt." The next day Abu Jahl took a heavy stone 
and waited for Mohammed in the temple. In the morning 
the latter went to the temple to worship, as he always did 
in Mecca, with his face turned towards Syria, between the 
Black Stone and the southern pillar, so that the Kaaba lay 
between himself and Syria.^ The Koreish were all assembled 
to see what Abu Jahl was going to do. When Mohammed 
prostrated himself, Abu Jahl went towards him with the 
stone ; but on approaching him, he turned back again like a 
fugitive, pale and terrified, his hands sinking down with the 
stone, till he let it drop. The Koreish went towards him 
and asked what was the matter with him. He answered, 
" I wanted to carry out what I had told you yesterday ; but 
when I came near him, I saw a camel between him and me, 
with a head, neck, and teeth, such as I had never seen in a 
camel, and it showed signs as if it was going to devour me." 
At the close of this account Ibn Ishak adds, I have been 
informed that Mohammed said, ''This was Gabriel who 
would have annihilated him, had he approached nearer." * 

Abd Allah Ibn Abi Nejih reported that the Calif Omar 
narrated his conversion to Islam as follows : ' I was an 
enemy of Islam, loved wine, and drank a great deal of it. 
One night I went to a certain wine-seller of Mecca, in order 
to drink wine ; but not finding him at home, I resolved to 
go to the Kaaba to circumambulate it seven or fourteen times. 
On my arrival there, I found Mohammed praying between the 
Black Stone and the southern pillar, and with his face turned 
towards Syria, having the Kaaba between him and Syria. 

^ The drift of this observation seems to be to intimate that Mohammed did 
not neglect any one of the two Kiblas, but that in facing the one he at the 
same time also faced the other. 


When I saw him, I thought I will listen to-night to what he 
says ; but lest I should frighten him, I went near him softly 
from the side of the northern wall and passed behind the 
curtains of the Kaaba, by which alone I was separated from 
him. On hearing how Mohammed prayed and read the 
Koran, my heart softened, I wept, and Islam gained entrance 
with me. I remained in my place till Mohammed had 
finished his prayer and went away. Going after him, I over- 
took him between the houses of Abbas and Ibn Azhar. 
Recognising me, and supposing that I had followed him, in 
order to harm him, he called out aloud, '^ What dost thou 
want at this hour, thou son of Khattab i " I answered, " I 
come, in order to believe in God and His apostle, and that 
which he has brought from God.*' Mohammed praised God, 
and said, " God has guided thee aright" ^ 

^ It is worthy of remark that immediately before this account of Omar's 
conversion, Ibn Ishak, on the authority of Abd-er- Rahman Ibn el Harith, gives 
a wholly different narrative of it with equal minuteness ; and, as both cannot by 
any possibility be true, the truth of the one necessarily demonstrating the false- 
hood of the other, we have here an undeniable proof that the most detailed 
circumstantiality of description and the most plau^ble semblance to a graphic 
account by eye-witnesses, in these Mussulman %ources of history, cannot by any 
means be relied upon as of themselves safe guarantees for the historical truth of 
a narrative. According to Abd-er- Rahman's account, Omar took his sword 
one day and went out with the intent of killing Mohammed. Being met on the 
way by Nueim Ibn Abd Allah, and asked what he was about, he communicated 
to him his intention. Nueim said. Thou hadst better righten matters in thy 
own family. Omar asked. Whom dost thou mean? Nueim replied. Thy 
brother-in-law Seid and thy sister Fatima have embraced Islam and followed 
Mohammed: first occupy thyself with them. Thereupon Omar went to his 
brother-in-law's house, where he found them engaged in reading a portion of the 
Koran. He smote Seid in the face, and on Fatima interfering, he also gave her a 
blow which wounded her. When he saw his sister bleeding, he regretted what 
he had done, was frightened, and said to her, Give me the manuscript from 
which I have just now heard you read, so that I may see what Mohammed has 
brought to you. After having read a little, he exclaimed, ' How beautiful, how 
sublime are these words! Take me to Mohammed that I may become a 
Moslem in his presence.' They told him that Mohammed was in a house near 
Safa, together with some of his companions ; and after having gone there and 
confessed his faith in Islam, Mohammed exclaimed, God is great ! and all those 
assembled in the house knew from this, that Omar had become a Moslem. At 
the end of these stories Ibn Ishak, evidently feeling their mutual contradiction, 
observes, ' God knows which of the two traditions is the correct one ; ' and the 
scrutinising reader may add with equal candour, ' God knows whether any is 
correct, and whether both are not false, and merely invented, as so many other 
things, to glorify the Koran and its earliest professors.' 


(22.) Tkey were reviled and persecuted in their own home, 
because of their testimony and the unflinching discharge 
of their prophetic mission, especially when this involved 
opposition to the then existing state of religion and 
exposure of prevailing abuses, 

a, 'Jesus began to say unto them, This day is this 
scripture fulfilled in your ears. . . . And he said, Verily I 
say unto you, No prophet Is accepted in his own country. 
. . . And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these 
things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him 
out of the city' (Luke iv. 21-29). Compare John v. 15-18 ; 
vL 41, 42 ; Heb. xii. 3. 

' The world cannot hate you ; but me it hateth, because 
I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil * (John vii. 7). 

'And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve 
disciples apart in the way, and said unto them. Behold, we 
go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of man shall be betrayed 
unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall 
condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles 
to mock, and to scourge,^ and to crucify him : ^ and the third 
day he shall rise again ' (Matt. xx. 17-19). 

b. * The mission of a prophet is accompanied by troubles 

^ It may here be remarked that, as regards the termination of their persecu- 
tions, the life of Christ and the life of Mohammed present a striking contrast. 
Jesus Christ deliberately went up to Jerusalem, knowing for certain that He 
would then and there be condemned to death by crucifixion ; but Mohammed, 
on seeing his life seriously threatened in Mecca, fled from his persecutors to 
Medina ; and, in order to secure his own escape, condescended even to deceive 
the Koreish who were watching his house, by causing his nephew Ali to lay 
himself on the Prophet's bed in the Prophet*s clothes. Besides, as long as 
Jesus lived in this world, the eminence of His Person drew all the persecutions 
upon Himself, thus saving His disciples from likewise becoming the special 
objects of persecution (John xviii. 8, 9) ; but Mohammed's personal influence, 
even taken together with that of his protectors, did not suffice to screen his 
foUowers fipom ill-treatment ; for Ibn Ishak tells us, ' The weak amongst the 
Moslems were imprisoned, beaten, exposed to hunger and thirst, and to the 
heat of the sun, so that many of them forsook their faith in order to escape the 
persecutions, whilst others were strengthened by God to defy and resist.' After 
they had endured persecution for a while, they, by the advice of Mohammed, 
who thus confessed his own inability to keep them, emigrated to the Christian 
country of Abyssinia, where they found the needed protection, till Mohammed 
had become the chief of a powerful party in Medina, when they, at his request, 
rejoined him, in order to help in rendering that party dominant. 


and burdens which only the persevering and strong amongst 
God's apostles can bear, with God's help ; for they have to 
endure much from men who contend with them concerning 
that which they proclaim in the name of God." (Ibn Ishak.) 

* Waraka said to that prince : " Would that I were still 
living, and young and strong on that day, when thy people 
will drive thee out of this city." ^ Upon this his Excellency 
said, " O Waraka, are they, then, going to drive me out ? " 
Waraka replied, "Yes, certainly, they will drive thee out; 
for no one has ever brought such a thing as thou bringest, 
without his people having shown him enmity and troubled 
and persecuted him." * * (R,) 

' As Mohammed continued to publish the religion of God 
and to invite to its adoption, the discord between him and 
the Koreish increased, so that they shunned him, hated him, 
spoke against him, and excited each other to hostilities 
against hinL Then they went again to Abu Talib, saying, 
" Thou art a learned and distinguished man amongst us, and 
we have already requested thee to put a stop to thy nephew's 
doings, but thou hast not done so : therefore, by Allah, we 
shall no longer tolerate his reviling our fathers, misleading 
our youths, and blaspheming our gods; either thou restrainest 
him, or we shall combat you both" On their leaving, Abu 
Talib was very sorry for the discord and enmity of his 
people; and yet he could not forsake and deliver up 
Mohammed. • • • 

*Then the Koreish became hostile to the companions of 
Mohammed who had embraced Islam and lived amongst 
them : every clan rose against the Moslems amongst them, 
sought to induce them to give up their faith, and ill-treated 
them. But God protected Mohammed by his uncle Abu 
Talib, who, on seeing the conduct of the Koreish, called 
upon the Beni Hashim and Mottaleb to join him in pro- 
tecting Mohammed and taking his part They accepted 

1 f.r. the city of Mecca where Mohammed was born and had grown up, as a 
complete paraUel to Jesus' being thrust out of the city of Nazareth, * where He 
had been brought up ' (Luke iv. 16). 

' This word, put into Waraka*s mouth, shows that the Moslem writers 
believed it to be their duty to illustrate that Mohammed's equality with the 
previous prophets also consisted in his having to suffer persecutions, for delivering 
a message purporting to come from God. 


this invitation and joined him, with the exception of Abu 
Lahab, that wicked enemy of God. When Abu Talib had 
the pleasure of seeing that his tribe inclined towards him 
and shared his zeal, he praised them, recalling the memory 
of their ancestors, and the excellencies of the apostle of 
God, and his position amongst them, in order to strengthen 
them in their love towards him.^ 

* The Koreish became still more violent on account of the 
unpleasantness which they had brought upon themselves by 
their hostility to Mohammed, they incited the most daring 
ones against him ; and these called him a liar, a sorcerer, a 
poet, a soothsayer, a demoniac, and ill-treated him. Mo- 
hammed, in openly carrying out God's commands, said aloud 
what they did not like to hear, reviled their faith, rejected 
their idols, and separated himself from the unbelievers. 

'Yahya Ibn Urwa narrates that his father heard Abd 
Allah Ibn Omar say, One day the Koreish were in the 
temple and I with them, and I heard one of them say to the 
other. Do you remember what he did to you and you to him, 
so that he said to you what you did not like, and yet you 
leftf him alone ? While they were thus speaking, Mohammed 
entered. They fell upon him like one man, surrounded him, 
and asked. Didst thou revile our gods and our Faith in 
such and such a manner ? He answered, Yes, I did. Then 
I saw how one of them seized him just in the place where 
the cloak is folded over. Abu Bekr placed- himself weeping 
before him, and said. Will you kill a man who says, God is 
my Lord ? Upon this, they left him and went away. This 
is the worst of what they did to Mohammed. Ibn Ishak 
says, One of the family of Om Koltum, Abu Bekr's daughter, 
told me that she said. When Abu Bekr came home that 
day, part of his head was bare, so violently had they torn 
him by his beard ; for he had a beautiful beard. A learned 
man also told me. The worst which Mohammed experi- 
enced from the Koreish was this, that one day, when he 

^ This plainly shows that Mohammed, the grandson of the most influential 
man of Mecca, was, from the first, never so wholly independent of the help of 
man and so entirely left to the resources of his own person as Jesus Christ, the 
carpenter's son of Nazareth ; and that Islamism, even in its nascent state in 
Mecca, was supported by an arm of flesh and benefited by the sympathies and 
antipathies of Arab clanship. 


went out, no one, neither freeman nor slave, met him 
without calling him a liar and insulting him. He went 
home and wrapt himself up ; but God said to him, O thou 
who art wrapt up, arise and preach ! ' (Ibn Ishak and Ibn 
Hisham, Part IV.) 

(23.) Unconvinced by their words and acts of the Divine 
Mission they claimed, the people proffer them Un^ 
acceptable Demands which are not granted^ and only 
widen the breach between the prophet and the people. 

a, 'The Jews said unto him, What sign shewest thou 
then, that we may see, and believe thee ? what dost thou 
work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is 
written. He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then 
Jesus said unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses 
gave you not that bread from heaven ; but my Father giveth 
you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is 
he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto 
the world. . . . Many therefore of his disciples, when t];iey 
heard this, said. This is an hard saying ; who can hear it ? * 
(John vi. 28-33, 60). Comp. John ii. 18-22, Matt. xii. 38-40. 

* The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempt- 
ing desired him that he would shew them a sign from 
heaven. He answered and said unto them, ... A wicked 
and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign ; and there 
shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet 
Jonas. And he left them, and departed * (Matt. xvi. 1-4). 

b. * When Islam began to spread in Mecca amongst the 
men and women of the clans of the Koreish, the chief men 
of each clan assembled on one occasion, after sunset, at the 
back wall of the Kaaba and sent for Mohammed that they 
might dispute with him and be excused, afterwards. When 
he had seated himself by them, they repeated their former 
accusations and again, as previously through Otba, offered 
him money, honour, and power, if that were his aim ; or to 
procure a physician for him, in case he was visited by a 
spirit of whom he could not rid himself. Mohammed 
answered, My state is not such as you suppose, neither do I 
seek money, honour, and power ; but God has sent me as 


His apostle, revealed a book to me, and commanded me to 
bring you glad tidings and warnings. Now, if you will 
accept what I have brought to you, it will be for your good 
in this world and in the next ; but if you reject it, I wait 
patiently till God will decide between us. 

' Then they said to Mohammed, " If thou wilt not accept 
these our offers, then, knowing how hard our life is, and how 
we lack water in this our narrow valley, pray to thy Lord 
who has sent thee, that He may remove the straitening 
mountains and widen our land, and dissect it by rivers, like 
Syria and Irak, and that He may cause our late fathers to 
rise again, especially the truthful elder, Kussei Ibn Kilab, so 
that we may ask them whether thou speakest true or false. 
If they declare thee to be true and thou dost what we ask of 
thee, then will we believe in thee, acknowledge thy high rank 
with God, and regard thee as His Apostle." Mohammed 
replied, " I have not been sent to you with this. I bring 
you that with which God has commissioned me." 

'Thereupon they said, " If thou wilt not do this, care for 
thyself: pray God to send an angel to declare thee to be true 
and to refute our objections; beg of Him to send thee 
gardens, palaces, and treasures of gold and silver, that thou 
mayest no longer have to go to market, like any one of us, 
to buy victuals, and we will acknowledge thy distinction and 
rank, if thou art an apostle of God as thou assertest" 
Mohammed replied, " I will not do so and not ask any 
thing of God for myself: I am sent as a wamer and bearer 
of glad tidings ; * if you accept my message, it will be for 
your own happiness in this and the next world." 

' They further said, " Then cause the heaven to fall down 
upon us in pieces, as thou affirmest God does, if it pleases 
Him, else we will not believe in thee." Mohammed replied, 
** This belongs to God : He will do it ; as soon as it pleases 

* Again they said, ' O Mohammed, since thy Lord knows 
that we are here sitting with thee and addressing certain 
demands to thee, why does He not come and tell thee how 

^ These mild answers, which would be so natural and true in the month of 
Jesus, seem plainly framed in imitation of the spirit of the Gospel and Christian 


to refute us and what He will do, if we continue not to listen 
to thee? We have heard that a man of Yemama, called 
Rahman, is thy teacher ; but, by Allah, we shall never believe, 
in Rahman. We have now done our duty ; and we shall no 
longer tolerate thee and thy doings, till either we succumb 
to thee or thou to us." 

* Then Mohammed rose up to go home. His cousin Abd 
Allah Ibn Abi Omeia accompanied him and spoke to him 
thus, "Thy people have made offers to thee which thou 
hast rejected. Then they desired of thee sundry things to 
prove the high esteem thou art held in by God, so that they 
might believe in thee and follow thee; but thou didst not 
comply. Then they requested thee to ask for thyself such 
things by which they might know that thou enjoyest more 
favour with God than themselves ; but thou hast declined. 
Then they wished thee forthwith to carry out a portion of 
the punishment with which thou threatenest them ; but thou 
didst not accede. Therefore, by Allah, I shall not believe in 
thee, till thou, before my eyes, ascendest up to heaven on 
ladders and comest back with a writing in which four angels 
testify to thee; but I think that even then I should not 
believe in thee." With these words he left Mohammed, who 
returned home, sad and cast down, because he was dis- 
appointed in his hope of the conversion of his tribe, and 
saw that they further and further separated themselves from 
him.' (Ibn Ishak and Ibn Hisham, Part IV.) 

(24-) Both of them came in contact with Spirits from the 
unseen worlds who recognised^ honoured, and obeyed 
them^ more readily than the people of this world to 
whom th^ addressed themselves, 

a. *And there was in their synagogue a man with an 
unclean spirit ; and he cried out, saying. Let us alone ; what 
have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art thou 
come to destroy us ? I know thee who thou art, the Holy 
One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying. Hold thy 
peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit 
had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of 
him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they 


questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? 
what new doctrine is this ? for with authority commandeth 
he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him * (Mark 
i. 23-27). 

*And unclean spirits, when they saw Jesus, fell down 
before him, and cried, saying. Thou art the Son of God. 
And he straitly charged them that they should not make 
him known' (Mark iii. 11, 12). Compare Mark i. 32-34; v. 

b. When Mohammed returned from his fruitless mission- 
ary efforts amongst the Kahtanites and Thakifites, sad at 
heart, and spent the last night of the journey, we are told, 
* Whilst he was at his evening prayers, seven or nine spirits 
from Nisibin or Nineveh accidentally came that way, and 
seeing the Teacher of all creatures at prayer, and hearing 
him read the Koran, they stayed and listened, till that 
Excellency had finished. Then they made themselves 
known to him, and he invited them to the Faith. They, 
without any hesitation, became believers, and that Excel- 
lency said unto them, " When you have gone to your home, 
invite also your people to the Faith, and deliver unto them 
my message." It is said that those seven spirits were of the 
Jewish persuasion. Therefore, on reaching their people, 
they said to them, " We have heard a book which has been 
sent down, after Moses," and further invited them to the 
Faith. Thus many of them embraced the Faith, without 
having seen that Excellency's blessed face, and desired to 
be honoured with the distinction of an interview with hinL 
When this was communicated to the Lord of Lords, he 
appointed a night on which they might meet him. It is 
said that the night fixed upon was a Wednesday night 

* About a month after this, Gabriel came and informed 
that Lord of men and spirits that a host of spirits were 
coming. Therefore he said, " I have been commanded this 
night to go out to the spirits, in order to invite them to 
embrace Islam and to recite to them the Koran ; who is 
there amongst my friends that will accompany me ? " But 
all his companions remained silent, except Ibn Masud who 
said, " I am ready to accompany thee." When they 
together had reached the appointed place, the apostle of 


God drew a circle upon the ground with his blessed finger, 
and said to Ibn Masud, " Enter thou within this circle and 
then do not again step beyond this line, lest suddenly a 
calamity might befall thee."^ After this, his Excellency 
ascended a hill to perform his prayers, and while thus 
engaged, 12,000 or, according to another account, 600,000 
spirits, or, according to still another account, 40 banners 
and under each banner a vast assembly of spirits, joined 
him. When that chosen one had finished his prayers, he 
invited them to embrace the Faith, and all of them became 

Another account adds, * When some of those spirits 
asked his Excellency, " Who art thou ? " he answered, " I 
am the apostle and prophet of God." They again said, 
" Who is thy witness that thou art the prophet and apostle 
of God ? " He replied, " My witness is this tree which stands 
here;" and, addressing the tree, he continued, "O tree, 
come hither at the command of God." Thereupon that tree 
at once began to walk, and, dragging along its boughs and 
branches, stood over-against that Excellency, who said, 
" O tree, to what art thou a witness } " The tree, acquiring 
an eloquent tongue, called out, *' I bear witness that thou 
art the apostle of God." Then his Excellency said to that 
tree, ** Return to thy place," whereupon it returned in the 
same way as it had come.' 

It is recorded that Ibn Masud said, ' In that night I saw 
that several black figures, resembling vultures, went near his 
Excellency ; and I heard great voices, so that I feared lest 
some grievous thing might befall that prince. So many black 
figures crowded upon that Excellency that he was entirely 
hid by them and I was no longer able either to see his person 
or to hear his voice. Then they became broken up and 
divided into parts, like a cloud and, going away, disappeared. 
When it had become morning, the Prophet came to me and 
asked, " Ibn Masud, What didst thou see ? " I answered, " O 
apostle of God, I saw black persons wrapt up in white." His 

^ The tendency of this report plainly is, to convey the impression that 
Mohammed freely invited witnesses to be present at the expected strange inter- 
view, and that it was anything but intentional that, after all, he was by himself 
alone, when the interview took place. 



Excellency said, " They were spirits from Nisibin, and as they 
asked provisions of me for themselves and the animals on 
which they rode, I decreed that bones and manure should be 
their provisions." I asked further, " O apostle of God, why 
are bones and manure sufficient for them ? " His Excellency 
answered, "Because on every bone God causes as much meat 
to grow for them as there was originally meat upon it ; and 
for the animals on which they ride, God causes so many 
grains of corns to grow in the manure as that manure con- 
tains old grains." ' (Ibn Ishak.) 

* Sehil Ibn Beiza narrates : " One day, during the expedi- 
tion to Tabuk, his Excellency made me ride behind him on 
his camel, when we suddenly saw an enormous serpent on 
the road, so that the people ran away from fright. That 
serpent came and stood a considerable time opposite him, 
the people seeing it and wondering. Then it glided away 
and at a distance stood again on one side of the road. His 
Excellency now said to the people around him, * Do you at 
all know what this serpent is ? ' They answered, * God and 
His prophet know it best* Thereupon his Excellency con- 
tinued, * This is part of those spirits who came to me in Mecca 
and listened to the Koran. Their abode being in these 
regions, they, as soon as God's apostle reached it, came to 
welcome and salute us, and to ask what were our difficulties ; 
and after having received the answer, they stood again for 
a while and saluted you.' The companions replied, * With it 
also be peace and God's mercy and blessing.' His Excellency 
added, * Salute ye the servants of God, whoever they may 
be." ' (Rawzat.) 

(25.) Both of them received Visits from Good Angels. 

a, * Verily, verily, I say unto you. Hereafter ye shall see 
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descend- 
ing upon the Son of man '.(John i. 51). 

' Behold, angels came and ministered unto him ' (Matt, 
iv. 11). 

*And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, 
strengthening him ' (Luke xxii. 43). 


b. * It IS recorded that his Excellency said, " I was in the 
cave of Hira, when suddenly some one appeared to me and 
said, O Mohammed, to thee be the good news that God has 
sent me, Gabriel, to thee, and thou art God*s apostle over 
His people." ' % 

' Be it known that revelation was brought down to that 
Excellency by Gabriel, who sometimes came to him in the 
form of a beautiful man, visible now and then even to his 
friends ; and sometimes appeared in his own original form, 
without assuming that of any one else.' 

* In the year A.H. 10, Gabriel came to one of the Prophet's 
meetings, in the form of a man whose robes were exceedingly 
white and his hair extremely black, his scent superlatively 
fragrant and his face supremely beautiful, so that those who 
were present in the meeting saw him and wondered at him. 
For there was no appearance of travelling, that one might have 
taken him for a traveller ; and not any one of those present 
knew him, so as to say, he belongs to such or such a country. 
On drawing near, he said, " Peace be on thee, O Mohammed," 
and sat himself down in such a way that his knees touched 
the knees of his Excellency. When his Excellency had re- 
turned his salutation, he put his hands upon his Excellency's 
thighs and asked questions about faith, surrender, doing good, 
the resurrection, and the signs of the resurrection ; but no 
sooner had his Excellency answered these questions, than he 
rose up again and went away. The Lord of the world said, 
" Go and bring this person back." His friends went out, but 
however much they searched, they could not find him. His 
Excellency said, " This was Gabriel : with this one exception, 
I always recognised him in whatever form he came ; but as 
soon as he had disappeared, I knew that it was Gabriel." 
Another account states that, three days afterwards, the 
Prophet asked Omar Ibn Khattab, " O Omar, knowest thou 
who that person was who asked me those questions ? " Omar 
answered, "God and His apostle know it better." His 
Excellency rejoined, " It was Gabriel : he came to teach you 
religion." ' (Rawzat.) 


(26.) The most remarkable story concerning the mythical 
Mohammed is that of his * Ascension into Heaven' 
Whilst Jesus Christy during his earthly life^ conversed 
only with two ofJhe long-departed Saints, Moses and 
Elijah^ and did not ascend into heaven till after his 
deaths Mohammed^ honoured with an Ascension into 
heaven long before his natural deaths had personal com- 
munion with all t/u preinous prophets^ andy leaving 
Jesus far below in the second heaven, himself mounted 
high above the seventh^ and, entering into the immediate 
presence of the Divine Majesty ^ attained to the most 
exalted degree of God-likeness^ so that God said unto 
him, * / and thou, and he unto God, * Thou and // 

a. ' As Jesus prayed, the fashion of his countenance was 
altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, 
behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses 
and Elias ; who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease 
which he should accomplish at Jerusalem' (Luke ix. 28- 
36). Compare Matt, xviii. 1-9. 

* So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was 
received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God ' 
(Mark xvi. 19). Compare Acts i. 2-1 1. 

'God raised up Christ from the dead, and set him at 
his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all 
principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every 
name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that 
which is to come ; and hath put all things under his feet, and 
gave him to be the head over all things to the church' 
(Eph. i. 20-22). 

b. 'According to most high Ulemas, the ascension of 
Mohammed took place in the twelfth year of his prophetic 
mission ; but according to some, in the fifth ; and it is re- 
corded in different ways by the traditionists, commentators, 
and biographers. But all the different narratives are based 
on what twenty of his companions severally declared to have 
heard from his own lips.^ 

' The Mohammedan authors give such long and detailed accounts of 
Mohammed's night-visit to the Aksa of Jerusalem and of his ascension to the 
seven heavens and iju beyond them, that what here follows is in places somewhat 

CH. 1. 26.] HE MOUNTS THE BORAK, 305 

*That Excellency said, "When I was in my house in 
Mecca, its roof opened," or, according to another account, 
" When I was sitting upon my place of prayer in the house 
of Imhani, and had gone a little to sleep, Gabriel came and 
said, O Mohammed, arise, and come out of thy house. Then 
I arose, went out, and there saw an angel and a saddle-beast 
standing, or, by another account, I saw Gabriel and 50,000 
angels with him, all singing praises." According to another 
account, that Excellency began his story thus : " I was 
in the holy temple of Mecca, when suddenly Gabriel and 
Michael came, who, after splitting me open from the chest 
to the navel, washed my inside clean, and removed the 
refuse and alloy that was there ; and then bringing a ewer 
full of wisdom and faith, filled my heart with them and put it 
back to its place Thereupon Gabriel, taking my hand, drew 
me forth from the temple, and I saw the Borak (or Barak ^) 
standing between Safa and Merwa. He was smaller than 
a mule, larger than an ass, having a human face, elephant's 
ears, a horse's mane, a camel's neck, a mule's chest, a camel's 
tail, with the l^s of an ox ; or, according to another account, 
with the legs of a camel and the hoofs of an ox. His breast 
was like red emerald, his back like a white pearl, on his sides 
he had two wings covering his legs, and on his back was one 
of the saddles of Paradise. 

'Gabriel said, O Mohammed, mount thou Abraham's 
Borak on which he visited the Kaaba. Then Gabriel held 
the stirrup, and Michael took the reins, and Borak bending 
himself down to the ground, I mounted. Gabriel accom- 
panied me, with a host of angels before and behind, on 
my right and on my left hand. When we were on our way, 

epitomised, without, however, omitting anything at all characteristic or essential. 
The narrators wish ns expressly to understand that what they communicate 
was derived from their prophet's own lips. 

* ' Barak ' is the usual Hebrew word for ' lightning,' and was plainly obtained 
from Mohammed's Jewish instructors, like several others, e,g, Ashura, Shechina, 
Klsse, Torah, etc. These Hebrew terms unmistakably betray the human source 
of many of Mohammed's pretended supernatural revelations. A vehicle of the 
rapidity of lightning was required to convey the prophet, in the space of a few 
hours, to the temple of Jerusalem, and thence far beyond the seventh heaven, 
and back again to Mecca. Either ignorance or design converted the natural 
barak, or lightning, into the grotesque creature described in the text, and 
dubbed it with the proper name of Borak. 



some one called after me from my right, wishing to ask me 
something, but I did not heed him. Some one likewise 
called to me from the left, desiring to put a question to me, 
neither did I heed him. After that I saw a woman who 
had adorned herself and was standing on my way; and 
when she also called me to stop, that she might ask a ques- 
tion of me, I again passed onward, without heeding her 
in the least Then I asked Gabriel who those had been, 
and he answered, The first was a Jew, and if thou hadst 
attended to him, all thy people would after thy time have 
turned Jews ; the second was a Christian, and if thou hadst 
attended to him, all thy people would after thy time have 
turned Christians ; and the third was the world, if thou hadst 
attended to her, all thy people would after thee have become 
worldlings, choosing this world rather than the next. 

* Then, pursuing our journey, we arrived at the temple of 
Aksa, where I found a congregation of holy angels who had 
come from heaven to meet me. They gave me honour and 
good news from the Lord of Glory, and saluted me in these 
words. Peace be with thee, O thou who art the first and the 
last and the ingatherer (viz. of men, for the day of judgment). 
Upon this, Gabriel took me down from Borak, and tied him 
to the same ring of the temple to which previous prophets 
had tied the animals on which they rode. Then I entered 
the Aksa and there saw an assembly of the prophets, or, by 
another account, of the spirits of the prophets. They saluted 
and felicitated me ;• and on my asking Gabriel who they were, 
he replied. They are thy brethren, the prophets of God. I 
desired that we should offer up prayers, whereupon the pro- 
phets and angels formed lines, and Gabriel said to me. Be 
thou the Imam. Then I stepped forward and acted as 
Imam, the prophets and angels following me. When I had 
finished the prayers, several of the most distinguished pro- 
phets gave praise to God for the special virtues and favours 
with which He had endowed them. The first was Abraham, 
the second Moses, the third David, the fourth Solomon, and 
the fifth Jesus. The latter said. Praise and honour be to 
that God who is the Nourisher of all the dwellers on the 
earth. He has made me His Word, and has formed me like 
Adam, whom He made of earth, and then said to him, ^ Be ! ' 


and he was. He has taught me the book of the Gospel, 
endowed me with wisdom, and enabled me to make a bird 
of clay, which, when I blew upon it, by His permission, 
became a living bird. He also has enabled me to heal the 
deaf and cleanse the lepers ; He has taken me up to heaven 
and purified me, and has so protected me and my mother 
from the wickedness of Satan that he never gained any 
power over us. 

* As soon as these prophets had finished their praises of 
God, I also began mine, saying, Praise and honour be to that 
God who has made me (a means of) mercy for the dwellers 
on the earth, and has sent me with an apostolic mission to all 
men, making me their evangelist and their wamer. He has 
sent the Furkan^ down to me, which contains the clear proofs 
of all things. He has made my people to be the first of all 
others, and given them a name for fair dealing and equity. 
He has made me the first and the last, has cleft open my 
breast and removed from it the weight (viz. of sin and guilt, 
or perhaps even of peccability). He has made my name 
exalted, and called me the Beginner and the Finisher. 

* After this Gabriel took me by the hand and led me up 
upon the Rock.* There appeared a ladder, reaching from 
the Rock up to heaven, of such beauty, as I had never before 
seen. Angels were ascending by it into heaven. By this 
ladder the angel of death also descends, when he is going to 
take away men's spirits. The apostle,' mounting Borak, like- 
wise ascended by this ladder. But, according to another ac- 
count, Gabriel took him with both his wings and carried him 
up to the first heaven. The angelic door-keeper, Ishmael, 
having opened, they entered, and Adam met Mohammed 
with the salutation. Welcome, thou righteous prophet and 
son of a righteous one ! On Adam's right hand there was 
a door by which the righteous of his children passed into 
Paradise, and which yielded a sweet fragrance, so that he 
was delighted, as often as he looked that way; but on 
his left hand there was a door by which the wicked of his 

^ Another name for Koran, It signifies 'distinction,' viz. between truth 
and error. 

' Still shown in the Aksa, as the starting-point of his ascension. 

' From here, by an irregularity, the narrative is carried on in the third 
person, till, with the next new line, a return is made to the first person. 


ofTspring passed into hell, and from which a bad smell issued, 
so that he became sad, whenever he looked to that side. 

* In the second heaven I saw the two youths John and 
Jesus, who were cousins, and they saluted me thus. Welcome, 
thou righteous prophet and righteous brother ! In the third 
heaven I saw Joseph, who saluted me with the same words. 
His beauty was such as to excel the beauty of all other 
creatures, in the same degree, in which the light of the full 
moon surpasses the light of all other stars ; or, according to 
another account, he represented half the beauty in existence, 
whilst the other half is distributed amongst the rest of 
creation. Then Gabriel took me to the fourth heaven, where 
I saw Enoch, who also saluted me by saying. Welcome, thou 
righteous prophet and righteous brother ! Then he took me 
to the fifth heaven, where I saw Aaron, who welcomed me in 
the same words ; and afterwards to the sixth, where I saw 
Moses, who did the same. When I had passed by him, he 
wept ; and on being asked why he wept, he answered, 
Because a young man has been sent as an apostle after me, 
whose people will be more virtuous than my own, and of 
whom more will enter Paradise than of my people. After 
this he brought me to the seventh heaven, where I saw 
Abraham, my Father, who saluted me, saying. Welcome, 
thou righteous prophet and son of a righteous dne ! 

* Thence they took me to the remotest Tree, and I saw 
that its fruit was like the Medina-pitchers, and its leaves 
resembled an elephant's ear, and the light of God overspread 
the whole Tree, and angels flew round it like golden moths, 
in such numbers that none could count them except God. 
This Tree is Gabriel's abode. Under the Tree I saw four 
rivers, two of which flowed within, and two without Gabriel 
informed me that the former watered Paradise, and the latter 
were the rivers Euphrates and Nile. 

* Another account is to this effect : " In the highest parts 
of the seventh heaven he took me to a river, called the River 
of Abundance, on whose banks tents of emerald, pearls, and 
smaragd were erected, and where I saw gfreen birds. Gabriel 
said, This river God has given to thee. It flows over pebbles 
of emerald and smaragd, and its water is whiter than milk. 
Filling one of the golden cups standing there, and drinking 


a little, I found the water sweeter than honey and more 
fragrant than musk. After this they showed me the Visited 
House which, situated in the seventh heaven, so closely 
corresponds with the Kaaba, that, if e,g, a stone were to 
fall from it, it would exactly hit the roof of the Kaaba. This 
house is daily visited by 70,000 angels, and always by fresh 
ones, so that those who visit it one day do not come again 
on another day. I was also offered three covered cups : the 
first I took contained honey, so I drank a very little of it ; 
the secqnd was milk, of which I drank till I had enough. 
Gabriel said, Wilt thou not also drink of the third ? but I 
answered, I have enough. Upon this Gabriel said, The 
Lx>rd be praised, who has guided thee aright ; hadst thou 
taken the cup of wine, thy people would have gone astray. 

'When we left the Tree, Gabriel said to me. Do thou 
pass before, for thou art more highly esteemed of God than 
I. Then I went on first, and Gabriel followed me, till we 
reached a curtain of gold cloth. On Gabriel announcing 
who it was that had come, an angel called out from behind 
the curtain, There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is 
the apostle of Allah ; and stretched forth his hand to take 
me in. I said to Gabriel, Why dost thou remain behind in 
such a place ? He answered, O Mohammed, every one of us 
has his place assigned him, beyond which he cannot pass. 
If I advance only a finger's breadth further, I shall be burnt 
up ; and it is only in honour of thee that I have come thus 
far to-night, otherwise my appointed place is the Tree. 
Then I myself moved on alone, and, one after another, passed 
through 70 curtains of light and darkness, each of which was 
500^ years' march in width, and separated from the other by 
a space of again a 500 years' march. Then Borak ceased 
walking, and there appeared a green carpet, brighter than the 
sun. I was set upon it, and moved on till I reached the foot 
of God's Throne of Glory, and then was moved forward still 
further to the place of * Honour.* " — Another account states 
that God said to Mohammed a thousand times, Come nearer 

' If this measurement is not directly taken from the Talmud, it certainly 
has a close resemblance to it : for, according to the Talmud, the distance from 
our earth to the firmament is a 500 years' journey : such also is the thickness of 
the firmament, and the distance between the different firmaments. 


to me! and that each time that prince was raised higher, 
until he reached the place of * Nearness,' and then that of 
' Intimacy/ whence he entered the innermost Sanctuary, at a 
distance of two bow-ranges ; and then approached still more 

' Some cautious Ulemas thought it best not to define and 
publish what God revealed to His apostle in that night, but 
a number of others hold that we may well mention what in- 
formation, on this subject, is derived from the Prophet himself 
or from his companions, and what conclusions have been 
arrived at by those learned in the Faith. According to an 
accredited tradition, the following three were amongst those 
things which God revealed in the night of the ascension : 
I. The obligatoriness of the five daily prayers ; and the fact 
of their being instituted in the night of the ascension, without 
the intermediatory action of Gabriel, shows that they are 
the most meritorious occupation. 2. The injunctions con- 
tained in the latter part of the second Sura. 3. The declara- 
tion that all Mohammedans shall obtain forgiveness of all 
their sins, with the only exception of Polytheism. 

' According to another tradition, Mohammed also said, '' I 
saw my Lord in the most beautiful form, and He said unto 
me : O Mohammed, on what subject do the angels of the 
higher world contend } I replied, O my God, thou knowest 
it Upon this I was favoured with an especial manifestation : 
for the supreme Lord put His hand on me, between my 
shoulders, so that I felt its soothing and pleasurable effect 
between my breasts, and became cognisant of and knowing, 
the things in heaven and on earth. Then I was addressed 
thus, O Mohammed, knowest thou on what subject the 
highest angels contend ? I answered. Yes, O my Lord, on 
the subject of atonement, that is to say, on the services and 
degrees which are the cause of the atonement of sins. 
Thereupon the word was addressed to me. What is atone- 
ment? I answered, Atonement is the remaining in the 

^ It is hardly possible not to be struck with the intention, concealed in these 
expressions, to transfer to Mohammed, in effect, though not exactly in the very 
same words, what is said in Holy Scripture respecting Jesus Christ, a^. ' Sit 
thou at my right band ' (Ps. ex. i), and ' Then the Lord was received up into 
heaven, and sat on the right hand of God ' (Mark xvi. 19). 


house of prayer after the service has been performed ; the 
going to the meetings on foot ; and the taking an ablution 
when trials and troubles befall : whoever does these things 
will live and die well, and be as pure from sin as if he had 
just been bom of his mother.^ Then the question was 
addressed to me, O Mohammed, what are the degrees? 
I replied, To give or deliver a salutation, to provide others 
with food, and to rise up and perform prayers whilst people 
are asleep." 

' According to another account, that prince, when in the 
Divine presence, was thus addressed, " O Mohammed, I and 
thou, and whatever exists besides, I have created for thy 
sake." His Excellency replied, " Thou and I, and whatever 
exists besides, I have left for Thy sake," Some also affirm 
that on the same occasion this word was said to him, '' O 
Mohammed, until thou shalt have entered Paradise, all the 
other prophets are forbidden to enter." 

* It is likewise recorded that that prince said, " When I 
reached the foot of the throne and saw its grandeur, fear and 
trembling seized on my mind, but at that moment a drop 
was dropping down, and I opened my mouth so that it fell 
on my tongue. That drop was so delicious that, by Allah I no 
one can ever have tasted anything sweeter ; and by its blessing 
I became possessed of the knowledge of the first and of the last, 
and was delivered from an impediment of speech ^ which had 
been the result of my seeing the dreadness and majesty of 
the Most High." God also said to me, " I have forgiven thee 
and thy people ; and thou mayest ask of me whatever thou 
likest and I will give it thee." I replied, " O our Lord, 
rebuke us not if we forget and sin." Thereupon this answer 
came, *^ I have taken away sin and forgetfulness from thy 

^ The reader will understand that the things here mentioned are not legal 
duties, binding on every Moslem, but supererogatory works, and as snch are here 
represented to be eflkacious in atoning for sin. But what a degree of spiritual 
blindness is presupposed by the assumption that man can do more than his duty 
(see Matt» xxii. 37-40), and that such paltry works of supererogation can super- 
sede the ' eternal atonement by the blood of Him, who through the eternal Spirit 
offered Himself without spot to God' (Heb. ix. 1-15) I 

' Perhaps an intended parallel to Moses' slowness of tongue and the Lord's 
promise, ' I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say ' (Exod. iv. 
ID- 1 2). 


people, and I have moreover passed by what they do by com- 
pulsion and against their own will." After this I asked, " O 
our Lord, do not lay upon us a covenant such as thou didst 
lay on those who have been before us." To this I received 
the following reply, " O Mohammed, I have accepted thy re- 
quest, and not laid upon you the covenant of former people."^ 

' It is also recorded that in that night Mohammed wit- 
nessed the worship of the angels of the seven heavens ; 
some performed it by standing erect ; others by kneeling ; 
others by prostrations; others by rehearsing the creed ; others 
by magnifying ; others by praising ; and others by lauding 
(i,e. singing the Hallel). When fifty daily prayers had 
been enjoined, this word came to Mohammed, " O Moham- 
med, I have made a service of prayer obligatory on thee and 
thy people, which consists of standing erect, kneeling, pros- 
tration, recitation of the creed, reading, magnifying, praising, 
and lauding : in order that their worship should comprise 
that of all the angels from the Throne to the carpet, and 
that they should acquire the merit of all those classes of wor- 
shippers who severally worship in all these different ways. 

* His Excellency thus continued his narrative : " After the 
Prayers had been enjoined upon me and my people, I received 
permission to return, and accordingly I went back as I had 
come, till I again reached Gabriel's abode. Gabriel welcomed 
me back by saying, " O Mohammed, receive thou the good 
news that thou art the first and most chosen of creatures. 
To-night the Most High has advanced thee to a degree which 
has not been reached by any other created being, neither the 
most favoured angels nor the prophets that have been sent. 
O Mohammed, may this distinction be blessed and pleasant 
to thee I After this, Gabriel led me onward to Paradise, and 
showed me the abodes and order of the spirits ; and I saw 
all its black-eyed ones, its castles, its youths, children, trees, 
fruits, orchards, fragrant herbs, rivers, gardens, ponds, upper 
rooms, and high galleries." 

According to another account, Mohammed also said, 
" When I entered Paradise I saw large tents made of pearls, 

^ This emancipates the Moslems from conforming to the Christian and Jewish 
religion, though it is theoretically held that the Gospel and the Law were sent 
down from heaven, like the Koran. 


and the soil of Paradise was musk ; and I observed that most 
of its inhabitants were poor people and dervishes ; and I 
also found that most of the inhabitants of Hell were women, 
boasters, and oppressors." It is also established that he 
said, "They showed me Hell and its chains, its fetters, 
serpents, scorpions, the loud groaning and moaning, the cold, 
fetid discharges, and its black smoke." 

* According to some biographies, that Excellency also 
narrated as follows : " In that night I also saw one of the 
angels whose face was altogether without cheerfulness and 
pleasure, and who never smiled at me, as all the other angels 
had done whom I met On my asking Gabriel who this was, 
he answered, This angel has never smiled, and will never 
smile at any one ; if he did, he would have smiled at thy 
blessed face. This is the angel who has power over Hell. 
He always shows a sour face, and his anger and the fury of 
his wrath is always against the inhabitants of Hell, because 
of the wrath of God against them. At my request Gabriel 
asked him to show me hell-fire, whereupon he drew the 
curtain from its opening ; and I saw the fire flaming, black, 
without giving any light, and it rustled with moans and 
groans ; and it rose so high up that I thought it would seize 
me. Then I saw Hell. There are so many diflferent torments 
and dishonours and indignities in it that even stones and 
iron have not the strength to bear them. I asked Gabriel to 
tell the angel to withdraw the fire, as I could no longer bear 
the sight of it, and he did so." In that night his Excellency 
also met the Taker-away-of-life ; and he begged of that high 
angel, " When thou takest away the souls of my people, do 
so easily, kindly, and gently." The angel of death replied, 
" O Mohammed, I g^ve thee the joyous news that the Most 
High says often to me, by night and by day, Deal easily and 
gently with Mohammed's people." ^ 

' It is also authentic that that Excellency said, " When I 
was returning from the Throne of Glory and met Moses, he 
asked me. How many prayers were enjoined upon thee and 
thy people ? I answered, Fifty for one day and night. Moses 
said. Verily thy people will not be able to perform prayers fifty 

^ It is singular that this promise of an easy death was not fulfilled in Mo- 
hammed's own case, as we have been informed on pp. 232, 233. 


times in one day ; for I knew peof)le before thee, and have 
tried the children of Israel ; and thy people is weaker than 
others ; return, therefore, to the Lord's Throne and solicit an 
alleviation for thy people. I went back and had ten taken 
off. On telling Moses of it, he advised me to seek a further 
reduction. So I went back, again and again, and had each 
time ten more taken off, till the fifth time, when only five were 
taken off, so that five remained. Moses thought them still 
too many, and wished to induce me to return once more. But 
I answered, I have already returned to my Lord so often that 
I am quite ashamed ; I will return no more, but be content 
and satisfied and walk in the way of resignation." According 
to another account, Mohammed said, '^ I returned for reduc- 
tions of the number of prayers, till my Lord said to me, O 
Mohammed, I have made five daily prayers obligatory on 
thee and thy people, and I accept each prayer in the stead of 
ten prayers, so that the five prayers shall count for fifty 
prayers ; and if one of thy people purposes to do a good 
action, but is prevented by a legal hindrance from performing 
it, it yet shall count in the register of his good actions ; and 
if he carries that purpose into execution, there shall be 
registered into the register ten good works, or 700, or still 
more, beyond counting ; and for every one of thy people who 
had intended to commit a sin, but for God's sake leaves it 
undone, one good action shall be noted down ; but if he 
commits the sin, only one evil deed shall be marked." 

'That Excellency concluded his narrative by saying, 
" When I returned, Gabriel accompanied me till I entered the 
house of Om Hani ; and all this travelling and journeying 
took place in what is to you one night" It is also reported 
that Omar said, ^' The time in which that prince went and 
returned was three hours of a night ; " but others say that it 
took four hours." God knows best.'^ (Rawzat.) 

^ The Ulemas differ as to the nature of Mohammed's ascension. Some think 
that his purified body ascended with the spirit ; others, that it was only the 
s|nrit, wMlst the body slept ; and again others assume that the ascenaoo took 
place several times, and that thus the contradictory accounts may be reconciled. 
How dexterous the Ulemas are in reconciling such difficulties, may be gathered 
from some of them removing the contradiction that one account places the Tree 
in the 7th heaven and another in the 6th, by the assumption that the branches 
were in the former and the roots in the latter. 


(27.) Persecuted and threatened with death by t/ieir fellow- 
citizens in the town in which they had grown up^ th^f 
escaped from their hands^ as by a miracle, and, together 
with t/uir disciples, transferred their domicile to another 
town, willing to receive them, 

a, *And Jesus camo. to Nazareth, where he had been 
brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the 
synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. 
. . . And he began to say unto them, This day is this 
scripture fulfilled in your ears. . . . And they said, Is not 
this Joseph's son ? And he said unto them, Ye will surely 
say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself, etc. . . . 
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, 
were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the 
city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city 
was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, 
passing through tiie midst of them, went his way, and came 
down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on 
the sabbath-days " (Luke iv. 16-31). 

b. Mohammed's celebrated Flight from Mecca to Medina 
is itself an undoubted historical fact ; what is fictitious in it 
is the supernatural halo with which it has been invested, as 
will appear from the following narrative taken from the 
Rawzat ^ : ' When the covenant and allegiance between the 
people of Medina and his Excellency were firmly established, 
and the friends of that prince were no longer able to remain 
in Mecca, on account of the persecution by the Polytheists, 
then he gave them permission to flee to Medina, saying, '' I 
have been shown the place to which you will flee ; it is a place 
of date-palms, between two mountains." It is recorded by the 
trustworthy Bokhari that when Abu Bekr, the true, was 
engaged with preparations for the journey, his Excellency 
said to him, " O Abu Bekr, have patience for a few days 
longer, for I have hopes that I myself also shall shortly 
receive the command to flee, so that I may become thy com- 

^ It will be observed that this account contains sundry particulars which are 
not given in Ibn Ishak's narrative, pp. Iii-ii3. 


panion, and we may flee together." ' In those days Abu Bekr 
had a dream in which he saw the moon descending on Mecca, 
and illuminating that mother of cities. Then that shining 
moon rose again and, moving towards Medina, alighted and 
abode there, ^ illuminating with its brightness the whole 
neighbourhood of Yathreb. There the moon was joined by 
a multitude of stars, and, after a time, it rose with many 
thousands of them into the air and descended upon the temple 
of Mecca, whilst Medina remained aS bright as before, with 
the exception of 360 or, according to another account, 400 
houses. After a while it rose again towards heaven and re- 
turned to Medina, where it abode in Aisha's dwelling, and 
illumininated the whole land of Yathreb with its radiant 
light, those innumerable stars being still with it Then the 
earth was divided, and a hole was formed in which that moon 
disappeared.' When Abu Bekr awoke, he began to weep ; 
for he was renowned amongst the Arabs for his knowledge 
in the interpretation of dreams, and therefore knew that the 
moon he had seen signified the prophet ; the stars, his com- 
panions and relatives ; their return to Mecca, the conquest of 
that city ; its descent upon Aisha's dwelling, that Aisha alone 
should be ennobled in Medina with the nobility of that 
Excellency's bed ; and its disappearance in a hole, that the 
prince of the prophets should die in Medina. 

The biographers record that as soon as the companions of 
the apostle of God had learned that they might flee to so 
near a place, as the city of Medina, they went thither. The 
unbelievers of Mecca, knowing that his Excellency would join 
his companions, and that the Medinites would protect him, 
formed a plan to prevent this. To this end they assembled 
together and carefully shut the door, lest any of the Beni 
Hashim should be present and become aware of the plan. 

^ From this it may be inferred that it had been intended Abu Bekr shoald 
fly first, but that Mohammed was reluctant to be left behind alone and without 
that intimate friend, by whose calm reflection and firm wiU he had probably 
been long accustomed to be helped and guided. 

' A plain intimation that the intended flight was to become an accomplished 

' An unmistakable historical ouUine down to Mohammed's burial, in the 
form of a prophetic dream. If the dream was a fact, and not a mere invention, 
it shows how completely the thoughts of the two friends moved in the same 


Still, Satan, in the form of an old man, dressed in old clothes, 
made his appearance in their assembly, and, as on being 
asked who he was, he professed to be a stranger from Nejd, 
who sympathised with the object of their meeting, he was 
allowed to remain and to join in their deliberations. After 
the danger had been pointed out that Mohammed, finding 
confederates and helpers in Medina, might one day return with 
them and make war against Medina, the assembly were 
invited to suggest means for preventing such an eventuality. 
To put him in fetters and cast him into a dungeon, or to expel 
and banish him from the city, were the measures successively 
proposed, but objected to by the old man from Nejd, on the 
ground that, in the first case, his relatives might set him at 
liberty again ; and, in the second, that his persuasive speech 
inight gain adherents for him abroad. Upon this, the wicked 
and ill-reputed Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham said, " My proposal is 
this, that we choose a courageous young man from each of our 
clans and provide them with sharp swords, so that they may 
fall upon him and kill him together, in which case his family 
will be obliged to accept the blood-money from us, as they 
will not be able to fight all the other clans united." The old 
man from Nejd fully approving this proposal, the assembly 
broke up, forthwith to carry it into execution. 

* But the faithful Gabriel came to the Lord of the two 
worlds and informed that prince of what had taken place, 
at the same time also delivering to him the Divine command 
to flee, and telling him not to sleep that night in his usual 
bed, but to leave next day for Medina. As soon as it was 
night, the infidels assembled about the door of his house, in 
order, after he had gone to sleep, to fall upon him as one 
man and kill him. The prophet being cognisant of this, 
said to the well-beloved AH : " The infidels having formed 
an evil design against me, I leave this place : do thou rest 
to-night upon my bed, and cover thyself with my green 
cloak, and be confident they will not be able to play thee 
any trick." Then Ali laid himself down on the prophet's 
bed, and drew his cloak over him for a Cover. His Excel- 
lency himself rehearsed the 36th Sura as far as the verse, 
"We have set a barrier before them, and we have set a 
barrier behind them, and we have enshrouded them with a 


veil, so that they cannot see ; " and then threw a handful of 
earth upon them, and thus, passing through them, escaped 
without being perceived by those erring ones.^ 

' At that time God thus addressed the angels Gabriel and 
Michael : " I have made you brothers by establishing a 
covenant of brotherhood between you, and have given to 
one of you a longer life than the other, which of you, then, 
prefers his brother's life to his own, by. giving up as a 
present to his brother that part of his own life by which he 
might have survived him ? " They both answered, " O 
God, we do not wish to give up our life for any one, we 
want it for ourselves, and what could we do with the life of 
another ? " The Most High then spoke to them thus, " O 
Gabriel and Michael, why are ye not like Ali Ibn Abu 
Talib ? I have made him and Mohammed brothers by a 
covenant of brotherhood, by virtue of which Ali has made a 
sacrifice of his life to Mohammed, and preferred his life to 
his own, therefore go ye both down to the earth and guard 
him against any harm from his enemies." In compliance 
with this command they descended to the earth and stood, 
Gabriel at the head and Michael at the feet of the well-be- 
loved Ali ; and Gabriel said to him, " O AH, who is like unto 
thee, of whom the Most High boasts before His angels ? " 

* The infidels looking through a crack of the door, saw 
some one lying on Mohammed's bed, whom they took for 
his Excellency himself. Saying to themselves : " By God, 
Mohammed lies there covered with his clothes," they rushed 
into the room and stretched out their hands to seize him, 

^ It is hard not to recognise in this, 'and thus, passing through them, 
escaped without being perceived,' a direct dependence on the, 'But he, 
passing through the midst of them, went his way,* used in the description of 
, Jesus Girist's remarkable escape from his imminent danger. But what a contrast 
here, between Mohammed, exposing his dependent nephew Ali to a possible 
great danger, for the purpose of securing his own escape, and Jesus Christ in 
the garden of Gethsemane, manfully confronting his enemies and voluntarily 
surrendering Himself, in order to secure the safety of his disciples, by saying to 
his enemies, * I have told you that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these 
go their way ' (John xviii. 1-12) I Both behaviours are significant : Mohammed 
used his followers for his own protection, gratification, and aggrandisement ; 
Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for the protection, salvation, and glorification of 
His people. Hence the needed justification of Mohammed's conduct, implied 
in what immediately follows. 


when, lo, that very moment, Ali, the well-beloved, rose from 
the bed. Seeing that it was Ali, they asked him, " Where 
is Mohammed ? " He answered, " I know not." Jhey, 
feeling perplexed and ashamed, occupied themselves with 
searching after Mohammed and did nothing to Ali. 

'Aisha, the true, narrated that on the day following, 
when it was already hot, Mohammed suddenly appeared 
at her father's house, and, on being informed that there 
were no strangers there, entered and said to Abu Bekr, 
" Know, that God has given me permission to flee." Abu 
Bekr answered, " I shall be thy companion." He also 
offered the prophet one of two fleet camels, which the latter 
accepted on the condition that he should be allowed to pay 
for it, and Wakidi states its price to have been 800 dirhems. 
During the remainder of the day they hastily prepared 
provisions for the journey, Aisha getting together a bag full 
of them, and Asma, in the absence of string, took off her 
girdle from her loins, tore it in half, and tied the bag with it. 
Abu Bekr took with him all the money that was found in 
the house, amounting, as Asma tells us, to 5000 dirhems. 
After Abu Bekr had directed his son, Abd Allah, to be 
amongst the Koreish during the day, and bring him news of 
them in the night, and ordered a liberated slave to furnish 
them regularly with milk, and likewise secured a guide for 
the journey, they left at night, through an upper window, 
for the cave Thaur, where the guide was to meet them, three 
days later, with the camels. 

* It is also recorded that when they were on the way to 
the cave, the prophet took off his shoes and pressed them 
under his toes, so that his footprints might not be known, 
and when his blessed feet became sore, Abu Bekr took him 
on his shoulders, and thus brought him to the opening of 
the cave. That cave was known as a place where flocks 
took shelter, and lest anything unpleasant should meet the 
prophet, Abu Bekr went in first to get it ready, and stopped 
the little crevices with pieces torn from his clothes, and then 
called out : ** O Apostle of God, come in." They spent the 
night in the cave, and in the morning, when the prophet saw 
Abu Bekr denuded, and asked of him the reason, he was 
told that it was because he had torn up his clothes to shut 


the holes, whereupon the prophet invoked a blessing on him. 
Abu Bekr was also troubled by serpents aiid scorpions, so 
that tears rolled down his cheeks, and when the Lord of 
beings saw this, he said to him : " Be not sad, for God is 
with us." Upon this the Glorious One sent such patience 
and composure into the heart of Abu Bekr that he felt quite 
light and at rest, and from that time those creatures could 
no longer hurt him. God also caused an acacia tree to grow 
before the opening of that cave, and inspired a pair of wild 
pigeons to make a nest on that tree, and to lay eggs that 
very night, and He commanded a spider to spin its net 
across the entrance of that cave. 

The Polytheists, knowing what faithful friendship existed 
between that prince and Abu Bekr, went to the latter's 
house-door to obtain information about the former. Asma, 
Abu Bekr's daughter, being asked where her father was, 
answered, " I do not know." For this answer the cursed 
Abu Jahl lifted up his hand and dealt her such a heavy 
blow in her face that her ear-ring fell upon the ground. 
The Polytheists, having brought a sorcerer with them, 
searched till they found the footsteps of the fugitives, and 
then, with sword or stick in hand, pursued their track to the 
vicinity of the cave of Thaur where they lost it The sorcerer 
being puzzled, said : " Behold, they came as far as these 
footprints, but whither they went hence I do not know ; " 
and on having come close to the cave, he added, " The men 
whom you seek have not passed beyond this cave." At that 
moment Abu Bekr, the true, said, "O Apostle of God, if 
any of them were to look down underneath their feet, they 
would see us." The Teacher of all beings replied, " O Abu 
Bekr, God is as the Third amongst those who in thy opinion 
are but two." When they came to the door, the pigeons, 
being frightened, flew from their nest, and the Polytheists, on 
seeing the eggs and the spider's web, gave up all hope and 
said, " If Mohammed had entered this cave, those eggs 
would have been broken and those spider-webs torn." Then 
the Lord of the world knew that by this means God had 
turned away from them the harm which those men had in- 
tended. It is reported that the pigeons, now flying about the 
temple of Mecca, are descendants of that pair upon which 


the prophet had then invoked a blessing, and assigned 
the temple of Mecca for their abode, to roost there where 
they like. As for the infidels, they returned home utterly 
disappointed. Abu Jahl had caused it to be proclaimed, 
throughout the high and low parts of Mecca, that he would 
give 100 camels to any one who brought back Mohammed 
and Abu Bekr, or showed the place of their concealment 
It is from this reason that the infidels continued their search 
for a long time. 

'In the morning after the third night, the hired guide 
and the man with camels arrived at the entrance of the cave. 
The Prophet and Abu Bekr mounted one of the two camels 
and the two men the other, and then started for Medina. 
After having travelled for a day and a night, Abu Bekr 
looked round and, seeing no pursuers, he invited the Prophet 
to dismount and take some rest, whilst he procured a bowl 
of milk from some shepherd. On continuing their journey 
further, they reached some Bedouin tents where no food 
could be obtained, on account of a prevailing famine. But 
Mohammed, seeing a sheep which was so emaciated that it 
could not walk, rubbed her udder with his blessed hands, 
and then could milk from it enough to give drink to the 
inmates of the tents and his own companions, as well as to 
fill all the procurable vessels. The same sheep continued to 
give abundance of milk daily, both morning and evening, for 
eighteen years, till it died in Omar's Califate. 

• Bokhari also narrates that the Koreish sent to the Beni 
Modlej to inform them that if they would either kill Moham- 
med and Abu Bekr, or make them prisoners, they should 
receive their price of blood, consisting of 100 camels each. 
Suraka started in pursuit of the fugitives, without letting 
any one know it ; but when he had approached them to 
within two spears' distance, his horse's fore-legs, or, accord- 
ing to another account, four legs, suddenly sunk in the 
ground, so that they could not be withdrawn, till Suraka 
begged the Prophet to pray for him, and promised that he 
would desist from further pursuit — It is likewise reported 
that Beride Ibn el Khasib pursued Mohammed with seventy 
horsemen, in the hope of earning the offered prize, but on 
reaching the fugitives, he, instead of making them prisoners, 



embraced Islam, and presented Mohammed with his turban- 
cloth and a lance for a flag with which to enter Medina. 

' As soon as the Moslems of Medina learned the approach 
of the fugitives, they went out in a body and welcomed 
them with demonstrations of joy. Ibn Ishak states that all the 
other Moslems likewise emigrated to Medina, and that none 
of them remained in Mecca who had not either been com- 
pelled to renounce his faith, or was detained there by force.' 

(28.) In the town of their new domicile they developed a great 
activity^ and from it, as their headquarters ^ they under- 
took expeditions, in order to carry out their mission and 
to secure for it a more extensive recognition. 

a. *And Jesus came down to Capernaum, a city of 
Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they 
were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with 
power,* etc. (Luke iv. 31-44). 

* And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their 
synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and 
healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease 
among the people, . . . And there followed him great 
multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and 
from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan. 
. . . And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and 
came into his own city.^ And, behold, they brought unto 
him a man sick of the palsy,' etc. (Matt iv. 13-25). Com- 
pare Matt. V. I, 2 ; viii, 5-7, 18-20; ix. 1-38. 

h, ' God commanded Mohammed to build a mosque ; 
and he remained with Abu Eyub till his own dwelling and 
the mosque were finished. In order to encourage the 
believers, he himself shared the labours ; so both emigrants 
and assistants worked with zeal. In the first sermon which ' 
he preached in the mosque, as soon as it was finished, he 

^ Is it not a singular coincidence that as the city to which Jesus transferred 
his headquarters, after having been expelled from Nazareth, is in Scripture 
called *his own city,' so also the town of Yathreb, to which Mohammed migrated, 
and in which he displayed his great politico-religious activity, and fh>m which 
he started on his numerous war-expeditions, is since that time called Medina, 
i.€, 'city,' viz., his peculiar city, or the city panxcelinfce ? 


said, " O ye people, send on good works before you. Know, 
by Allah ! that none of you can escape death : then he will 
leave his flock without a shepherd, and God will say unto 
him, without an interpreter and without a go-between. Did 
not my apostle come to thee and bring thee my message ? 
I have granted thee goods and shown thee favours. "Wiat 
didst thou send on before thee for thy soul ? Then he will 
look to the right hand and to the left hand, but find nothing ; 
and he will have to look forward and there only see Hell. 
Whoever can guard his sight against Hell, let him do so, and 
if it should only be by a piece of a date ; whoso cannot find 
even so much, let him do it by a good word ; for in this way 
the action is recompensed from 10 to 700 times. Peace be 
on you, and God's blessing and mercy I " 

* Mohammed also drew up a contract between the emi- 
grants and the assistants, and between them and the Jews, 
whose faith and property, under certain conditions, were to 
be respected, beginning thus, " In the name of God, the 
Merciful, the Compassionate ! This is the contract from 
Mohammed the Prophet between the believers of the Koreish 
and of Medina, and those who follow them, unite with them, 
and join with them in war. They form but one people, 
separated from all other men," etc. — He likewise established 
a covenant of brotherhood between the believers from Mecca 
and those of Medina, by joining one fugitive to one assistant, 
thus forming forty-five, or, according to another account, fifty, 
pairs of adopted brothers who, in case of death, were even 
to inherit each other, to the exclusion of previous relatives. 

' When Mohammed had found a secure abode in Medina, 
and his friends, the refugees, had joined him, and the affairs of 
the assistants had been arranged, Islam became firmly estab- 
lished, the public prayers were performed, fasting and alms- 
giving were made obligatory, the administration of justice 
was carried out, things allowed and forbidden were deter- 
mined, and Islam acquired strength amongst the tribe of the 
assistants, both as regards faith, and as regards the certain 
maintenance of its professors. 

* During the ten years of his residence in Medina, Moham- 
med organised thirty-eight military expeditions and twenty- 
seven of these he accompanied in person, as chief commander. 


for the furtherance of the cause of Islam.' (Ibn Ishak and 
Ibn Hisham.) 

* The war-expeditions which that prince accompanied in 
person are stated by some biographers to have amounted to 
19 ; by others, to 21 or 24 or 27 ; the difference of numbers 
probably arising from this, that either some were omitted, 
or several happening close together, counted as one. In 9 
of these expeditions it came to a battle with the infidels, 
viz. in those of Bedr, Ohod, Ahzab, the Beni Koreiza, Beni 
el Mo^talik, Khaibar, the conquest of Mecca, at Honein and 
Taif. — The expeditions which that Excellency despatched 
against enemies, under the command of lieutenants, without 
being himself present, amounted to 56. But it must be 
mentioned that some authors give the number at more, 
others at less than 56.' (Rawzat.) 

(29.) They united their followers in the closest ties ^BROTHER- 
HOOD, which caused a relaxation in the stringent laws 
of possession and inheritance, 

a. ' If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will 
pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, 
that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of 
truth ' (John xiv. 15-17). 

* When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were 
all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came 
a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it 
filled all the house where they were sitting. . . . And they 
were all filled with the Holy Ghost. . . . And all that 
believed were together, and had all things common; and 
sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all 
men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily 
with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from 
house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and single- 
ness of heart, praising Grod and having favour with all the 
people ' (Acts ii. 1-47). 

b, ' When it pleased God to make His religion victorious 
and to glorify his Prophet and to fulfil His promises unto 
him ; Mohammed, as he was wont to do during the pilgrim- 


festivals, went to the different tribes, in order to present 
himself to them as Prophet ; and on one of these occasions 
he met a number of Khazrajites from Medina who hearkened 
to him, believed in him, and embraced Islam. They also 
said to Mohammed, " We come from a people amongst whom 
there is much ill-will and enmity ; perhaps God will unite 
them through thee ; we shall invite diem to the faith which 
we ourselves now profess, and if God unites them around 
thee, then no man will be more powerful than thou." After 
this they returned to their home, as believers. — At the 
festival of the following year, when the Medinan converts 
consisted of seventy-three men and two women, Mohammed 
gave them this assurance, " Your blood is my blood ; what 
you shed I also shed ; you belong to me and I belong to 
you ; I fight whomsoever ye fight, and I make peace with 
whomsoever ye make peace." 

* Not long after his emigration to Medina, Mohammed 
established a formal treaty, in writing, between all his 
followers, whether from Mecca or Medina, in which he 
declared, "The believers form but o?ie people, separated 
from all other men. They shall not leave any one heavily 
burdened amongst them, without assisting him, whether a 
price of blood or redemption-money may have to be paid. 
No believer may commit acts of hostility against the con- 
federates of another believer. No believer may slay another 
believer on account of an unbeliever, nor may he assist an 
unbeliever against a believer ; but the believers are to protect 
each other against all other men," * etc. (Ibn Ishak.) 

' Five or eight months after his arrival in Medina, that 
prince established a covenant of brotherhood^ constituting the 
respective parties adoptive brothers of one another, between 
forty-five or fifty of the refugees on the one side, and of the 
assistants on the other. He selected the individuals him- 
self, and in the house of prayer joined them together, two 
and two as brothers. This is universally accepted amongst 
the historians. But Bokhari also narrates that besides this 
fraternity, another similar one was established, exclusively 
amongst the refugees, and to which the assistants were not 
admitted. It is reported that at that time they mutually 
bound themselves to assist and help each other and to inherit 


from each other. According to this covenant, the friends of 
the Apostle of God inherited from one another, till after the 
battle of Bedr, when that covenant of brotherhood and the 
assignment of inheritance to one another was abrogated by 
Divine revelation.' ^ (Rawzat.) 

(30.) They introduced a mode of worship in which Jerusalem 
with its temple ceased to be looked upon as the seat of 
the Divine Presence or the Kibla^ that isy the quarter to 
which the prayers had to be directed, 

a. * Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour 
cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet in 
Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not 
what ; we know what we worship : for salvation is of the 
Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true 
worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth : 
for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is spirit : 
and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and 
in truth ' (John iv. 19-24). Compare Luke xi. 1-13. 

b. 'The traditionists and biographers record that when 
Mohammed had emigrated to Medina, he, for sixteen or 
seventeen months, performed his prayers towards the Holy 
House of Jerusalem, wishing to draw the hearts of the 
possessors of the Scriptures to Islam, by showing himself in 
accord with them in the matter of the Kibla. The Jews of 
Medina used to say, "It is a strange thing that whilst 
Mohammed is opposed to us in religion, he yet agrees with 
us in the Kibla." When this reached the blessed and noble 

^The reader will have noticed that as the followers of Christ became a 
united organised body or church, when Christ, alter having ascended the throne 
of the Majesty on high, sent down the promised Spirit on the day of Pentecost, 
so also the followers of Mohammed were organised into a politico-religious com- 
monwealth, when Mohammed, after the Hegira to Medina, began to rule over 
them as lord«paramount, and gave them laws and institutions which were 
invested with all the sanctity and authority of Divine revelation ; and that the 
introduction of both systems was accompanied by a kind of temporary com- 
munity of goods. But this communism as to worldly possessions, and the entire 
organisation of the fraternity itself, was, in the one case, the natural free result 
of an indwelling Holy Spirit of love, and in the other, the effect of a super- 
imposed external law, soon after formally abrogated, and of the enforcement of 
a commander's absolute will. How great the difference, therefore, notwith- 
standing the apparent similarity I 


ear of the Apostle of God, he knew that they would obstin- 
ately remain in their own objectionable way. His precious 
mind, therefore, set itself upon changing the Kibla from the 
Holy House to the Kaaba, this having been the Kibla of 
his father Abraham, on whom be peace ! He said to Gabriel, 
" I wish God would change the Kibla to the Kaaba ; " but 
he answered, "Thou hadst better ask God thyself; for thou 
art highly esteemed by Him." He therefore always looked 
up towards heaven, waiting for tidings to change the Kibla. 

* On a Tuesday of the month Rejeb in the second year 
of the Hegira, Gabriel brought down the following verse, 
authorising the change of the Kibla : " We have seen thee 
turn thy face towards heaven ; we will have thee turn to a 
Kibla which shall please thee : turn, then, thy face towards 
the sacred Mosque; and, wherever ye be, turn your faces 
towards that part" The biographers report that, when that 
prince was in the house of Beshr Ibn Bara's mother, and the 
time for the noon-day prayers had come, he entered the 
mosque of that quarter and, with a congregation of his com- 
panions, performed the noon-day prayers. It was whilst 
they were on their knees in the second genuflection, that his 
Excellency turned round in the direction of the Kaaba, and 
the companions also, at his back, turned round in the same 
way and completed the prayers in that position — from which 
circumstance that mosque was called "the mosque of the 
two Kiblas." 

* It is recorded that when the news of the change of the 
Kibla reached the public, every section of the population 
had something to say about it. The hypocrites said, " What 
has happened that they gave up their Kibla and chose 
another ? " Some of the Jews said, " Mohammed pines after 
his original fatherland, and turns towards his native city." 
The polytheists said, " Mohammed is confused on the subject 
of religion, not knowing what he wants." And the chief 
men amongst the Jews said, " Mohammed has given up our 
Kibla from nothing but jealousy." Ibn Akhtab and his 
followers thus addressed the Mussulmans, " Tell us, whether 
the prayers which yoii hitherto offered in the direction of 
the Holy House were in accordance with revelation or with 
error : for, in the former case, it is plain that you have now 


turned away from revelation ; and in the latter, that you 
were then in error, and that whilst in error, ye offered up 
prayers to the true God," To this the Mussulmans replied, 
" Whatever God commands, is revelation ; and whatever He 
forbids, is error." The Jews continued, " What do you say 
of those who died whilst you were praying towards our 
Kibla : are they blessed or condemned } " Upon this, the 
Most High sent the verse, "God did not put your faith 
{ji.e, your prayer) towards the Holy House." 

*The earliest Ulemas differ as to the Kibla which Mo- 
hammed observed before his flight to Medina. Ibn Abbas 
and many others affirm that he had been praying towards the 
Holy House ; but that in doing so, he always took up such a 
position that he had the Kaaba on one side and never turned 
his back upon it This is the correct view. But another 
account is, that he had been performing his prayers towards 
the Kaaba ; and that during the early part of his residence 
at Medina he turned towards the Holy House, in order to 
conciliate the Jews and predispose them in favour of Islam. 
Sheikh Ibn Hajr says, that this view is not well supported, 
and that it implies a double abrogation of a previous injunc- 
tion. But God knows best 

'It is recorded that at the time when the Kibla was 
changed, the Prophet went to the Kaba-mosque and changed 
its walls in such a manner that it exactly faced the Kaaba ; 
and that he laid its foundation with his own blessed hands ; 
and that his own blessed self, together with his friends, 
carried the stones and built them up. It is also credibly 
reported that his Excellency went every Saturday to that 
mosque, either on foot or on horseback, and that he declared 
its virtue to be such that any one who, after a complete 
ablution, performs his prayers in it, acquires the merit of a 
pilgrimage to Mecca.' ^ (R.) 

^As regards the general subject of praying in a certain local direction, it 
maybe observed that, from passages like Dan. vi. ii, 12, Psalms v. 8, xxviii. 2, it 
is plain that the Jews made the temple of Jerusalem their Kibla in prayer, as 
Mohammed also at first did, with his earliest followers, in obvious imitation of 
the Jewish practice. But Mohammed, instead of rising altogether above the use 
of a local Kibla, as did Jesus Christ, stuck fast, in this as in many other matters, 
on the Jewish standpoint, and only transferred the Kibla from one locality to 




(31.) They were called upon to decide what punishment should 
be inflicted on adulterers^ regard being had to the 
punishment prescribed by the Law of Moses. 

a. *The scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a 
woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in 
the midst, they say unto him. Master, this woman was taken 
in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law com- 
manded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest 
thou ? This they said, tempting him, that they might have 
to accuse him. . . . Jesus said unto them, He that is with- 
out sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. . . . 
He said unto the woman. Hath no man condemned thee ? 
She said. No man. Lord And Jesus said unto her, Neither 
do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more' (John viii. 2-1 !)• 

b. * In the fourth year after the Flight, his Excellency 
had a man and a Jewish woman stoned. The Jews wanted 
to deceive his Excellency in this matter by a trick, saying, 
"In our Law the punishment of adultery is this, that the 
guilty party, be he man or woman, should have his face 
blackened, and being placed in a reversed position upon a 
camel, should be publicly paraded on the market-place." 
Abd Allah Ibn Selam, who had been a Jewish priest, but 
had been ennobled with the nobility of Islam, said to his 
Excellency, " O thou Prophet of God, these men tell a lie ; 
according to the Torah, adulterers have to be stoned." His 
Excellency commanded a Torah to be brought, in order to 
have the statement verified. Then a Jew read from the 
Torah, but with his hand covered the verse about stoning. 
Ibn Selam observing this, said, "Take thy hand away;" 
and when the Jew withdrew his hand, the verse about 
stoning was seen ; and Ibn Selam read that verse to the 
Prophet: whereupon they stoned that adulterer and adul- 
teress. In this year he also requested Zeid Ibn Thabit to 
learn the Torah, so as to prevent the Jews in the future from 
tampering with or altering any of its verses. Zeid Ibn 
Thabit learned the whole of the Torah in fifteen days. 

In the year 9 A.H. Mohammed also ordered a woman 
of the Ghamid tribe to be stoned, for having committed 


adultery. She had come to him three years previously, 
confessing her adultery, and asking him to make her pure 
from her sin, that is, to deal with her according to law. He 
asked her whether she was with child, and on her answering 
in the affirmative, he directed her to be kept till the child 
was born, exhorting her, at the same time, to repent, and ask 
pardon of God. When the child was bom, Mohammed said, 
" It will not do to make the child destitute ; let her suckle 
it" When it was weaned, the mother took it to Mohammed, 
telling him that she had weaned it, and adding, " It is for 
thee to give further orders." Mohammed gave the child to 
some Mussulman, ordered the woman to be buried, up to her 
chest, and then stoned to death. Khalid threw the first 
stone on her, so that some drops of her blood soiled him, for 
which he reviled her. But Mohammed said to him, "O 
Khalid, do not revile her ; by Him in Whose mighty hand 
my soul is, this woman has made such repentance and 
penance, that if any one who has committed even a greater 
crime, makes a like repentance, he will surely be forgiven." 
After this, he ordered her to be dug out, washed, wrapt in 
a winding-sheet, and buried with prayers.' (R.) 

(32.) They publicly invited the Jews to believe in their heavenly 
mission and to embrace the religion they preached : but 
met only with partial success. 

a. * Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their syn- 
sigogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and 
healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease 
among the people' (Matt. iv. 23). 

* Jesus answered and said unto them [the Jews], This 
is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath 
sent* (John vL 29). Compare John v. 24, vii. 14-37. 

'Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the 
light of the world : he that followeth me shall not walk in 
darkness, but shall have the light of life' (John viii. 12). 

*0 righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: 
but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast 
sent me. And I have declared unto thena thy name, and 


will declare it ; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me 
may be in them, and I in them ' (John xvii. 25, 26). 

b, * Mohammed called upon the Jews, the possessors of 
holy books, to embrace Islam, and endeavoured to gain 
them for it, threatening them with the punishment and 
vengeance of God, in case of refusal. Rafi Ibn Kharija and 
Malik Ibn Awf made answer to him thus, " We remain in 
that in which we have found our fathers, who were better 
and more learned than we are." 

' When God had visited the Koreish on the day of the 
battle of Bedr, Mohammed gathered together the Jews in 
the Bazaar of the Beni Keinoka, as soon as he had returned 
to Medina, and said to them, " O ye Jews, embrace Islam, 
before God visits you, as He visited the Koreish." But they 
answered, etc. 

* Once Mohammed went into a Jewish synagogue and 
called upon the assembled Jews to believe in God. On 
being asked by them, what religion he had, he replied, " The 
religion of Abraham." They said, "Abraham was a Jew." 
But when Mohammed proposed to submit the question to 
the decision of the Torah, they declined. When sontie of 
them were converted to Islam, the unbelieving Rabbis 
said, "Only the bad amongst us follow Mohammed and 
believe in him ; if they belonged to the better ones amongst 
us, they would not forsake the faith of their fathers and 
embrace another. 

' On one occasion, when speaking with the Rabbis of the 
Jews, Mohammed addressed them thus, "O ye Jews, fear 
God, and become Moslems : by God, ye know that my reve- 
lation is true." They replied, " This is exactly what we do 
not know ; " and they denied what they knew, and continued 
in unbelief Then God revealed this, "O ye men of the 
Book, believe in our revelation, which confirms what you 
have, before we destroy their faces and turn them back- 
wards, or curse them, as we cursed the Sabbath-breakers, 
and God's behest was carried out forthwith.' (Ibn Ishak 
and Ibn Hisham.) 


(33.) Besides their efforts amongst the Jews, they also com- 
missioned Ambassadors to distant nations and their 
rulers, for the purpose of inducing them to become 
disciples of the new Faith. 

a, * Jesus came and spake unto his disciples, sajring, All 
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye there- 
fore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching 
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded 
you ; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of 
the world ' (Matt, xxviii. 1 8-20). 

* The Lord said unto Ananias, Go thy way : for he [Saul] 
is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the 
Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel ; for I will 
shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's 
sake' (Acts ix. 15, 16). 

b. Ibn Ishak records, 'Mohammed sent ambassadors 
from amongst his companions and gave them letters to 
different princes in which he called upon them to embrace 
Islam. A trustworthy person has told me the following, 
on the authority of Abu Bekr el Hudsali. One day, after 
Mohammed had returned from the pilgrimage, on the day 
of Hodeibia, he went to his companions, and said, " O ye 
people, God has sent me to you out of mercy, in order to 
avert evil from you ; do not, therefore, resist me, as the 
apostles resisted Jesus the son of Mary." The companions 
asked, "Whereby did they resist him? and Mohammed 
answered, " He charged them with what I charge you ; but 
only those whom he sent to a near place were content and 
did well, whilst those whom he sent to a distance showed 
discontent and raised difficulties. Jesus committed the 
matter to God, and next morning all those who had raised 
difficulties, spoke the language of the nation to which they 
were respectively sent" Of the ambassadors whom Mo- 
hammed then chose amongst his companions and sent to 
the princes, with letters inviting them to Islam, there were : 
Dihye Ibn Khalifa, whom he sent to the Emperor of the 
Greeks ; Abd Allah Ibn Hudsafa, to Chosroes, the King of 
the Persians; Amr Ibn Omeia, to Najashi, the Prince of 


Abyssinia ; Hatib Ibn Abi Balta, to Mokawkas, the Prince 
of Alexandria; Amr Ibn el Aasi, to Jeifar and lyaz, the 
Princes of Oman ; Selit Ibn Amr, to Thumama Ibn Uthal, 
and to Hawza Ibn All, the Princes of Yemama ; Ala Ibn 
el Hadhrami, to Munzir Ibn Sawa, the Prince of Bahrein ; 
Shuja Ibn Wahb, to El Harith Ibn Abi Shamir, Prince of the 
border districts of Syria ; and Mohajir Ibn Omeia, to Harith 
Ibn Abd Kulal, the Prince of Yemen. — ^Yesid Ibn Abi 
Habib told me that he found a manuscript in which 
those are mentioned by name whom Mohammed sent to 
the Princes of the Arabs and of foreign countries ; and 
which also contains what Mohammed told his companions 
in giving them their commission. He sent that manuscript 
to Ibn Shihab ez Zuhri who took knowledge of it' 

(34.) They opened up to men the Way of Atonement and 

Pardon of Sin ^ to find Salvation, 

a, 'The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many' 
(Matt XX. 28 ; Mark x. 45). 

* As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even 
so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believ- 
eth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to 
condemn the world, but that the world through him might be 
saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned : but 
he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath 
not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God ' 
(John iii. 14, 18). 

* We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by 
whom we have now received the atonement ' (Rom. v. 1 1). 

* Christ is not entered into the holy places made with 
hands, which are the figures of the true ; but into heaven 
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us : nor yet 
that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth 
into the holy place every year with blood of others ; . . . 


but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared 
to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is ap- 
pointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment : so 
Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many ; and unto 
them that look for him shall he appear the second time 
without sin unto salvation ' (Heb. ix. 22-28). 

b. Remark : Above, in the account of Mohammed's 
ascension into heaven, there was already an incidental 
reference to the subject of atonement (see pp. 3 10, 31 1), 
which shows that, to his mind, this was so puzzling 
a question that he fancied even the angels in heaven 
contended about it, and he ascribes to a very special 
Divine manifestation what light he possessed on the 
subject, and which he embodies in the following defini- 
tion : * Atonement, that is, what causes atonement for 
sin, are — the abiding in the places of worship, after 
the prescribed prayers have been performed ; the going 
to assemblies on foot ; and the regular and complete 
performance of the legal ablutions during seasons of 
calamities and troubles. Whoever does these things 
will live and die well, and become so entirely purified 
from sins, as if his mother had only just given him 
birth,' If we may judge of the amount of light 
Mohammed possessed on ethical and religious ques- 
tions, from this definition, how truly disappointing and 
lamentably sad is the result: and this, six centuries 
after the rise of the religion of atonement and recon- 
ciliation between God and man! But we may also 
infer from this recital that the great subject of Atone- 
ment, that cardinal point of the Christian religion, 
duly forced itself on the attention of Mohammed, 
though he never took it in. This ought never to have 
been left unnoticed by Christian writers. 
* Omar Ibn Aas, after narrating how in the year 8 A.H. 
he went to Medina to profess his faith in Mohammed, and 
how, on the way, he fell in with Khalid Ibn Walid who was 
travelling in the same direction for the same purpose, thus 
continues his narrative: When we arrived at Medina, we 
went straight to that Excellency, who first required the con- 
fession of the Unity from Khalid. After him, I also went 


into the presence of that prince saying, " Stretch out thy hand, 
that I may take the oath of all^iance to thee." But when 
he stretched out his blessed right hand, I withdrew my owa 
Thereupon he asked, "What has become the matter with 
thee, O Omar ? " and I replied, " I wish to make a condition," 
On asking me again, " What is the condition thou wishest to 
make ? " I answered, " I take the oath of allegiance with this 
condition, that all my sins shall be forgiven." His Excellency 
rejoined, " Dost thou not know, O Omar, that Islam blots out 
all previous sins, and that the Hegira ( = flight, migration) 
from the domain of unbelief to the domain of Islam, and the 
religious visits to the house of the Kaaba, equally demolish 
the structure of former trangressions ? " 

* On the war-expedition to Tabuk, A.H. 9, his Excellency 
rose one night, took down the provender-bag with his own 
hand, and gave barley to one of his horses ; and then wiped 
and cleaned its back and shoulder with his own mantle. 
When his friends said to him, " O Apostle of God, how can 
this be a proper use for thy blessed mantle ? " he replied, " Ye 
do not know that Gabriel came and ordered me to do this ; 
and that last night angels came and rebuked me on account 
of want of attention to the horses, and told me that every 
Mussulman who, with the intention of going to war and 
battle in the cause of God, ties a horse, will not do so with- 
out the Most High writing down for him a good action, and 
pardoning a sin for every grain of com he has given to the 

' It is also recorded that when Adam was punished and 
sent into the world on account of his sin, he repented of his 
sins with weeping and sorrow ; but his repentance was not 
accepted, until at length he took Mohammed, the Apostle 
of God, for his mediator, saying, " O God, forgive my sins for 
Mohammed's sake 1 " God asked him, " Whence knowest thou 
Mohammed ?" Adam replied, " At the time when thou didst 
create me, the foot of the Throne was straight opposite my 
sight, and I beheld written upon it : There is no God but 
Allah : Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah. Then I knew that 
the dearest and noblest of beings in thy sight is Mohammed, 
whose name thou hast joined close to thy own name." After 
this, the voice came, " O Adam, know thou, that one of thy 


offspring is the last of the prophets : I have created thee 
in order that thou shouldest be a residuary portion of him/' 
It is said that on that same day Adam was commanded by 
God to assume the surname of " Abu Mohammed " {ue. father 
of Mohammed).^ 

'Another account is this, that the glorious God asked 
Adam, saying, " O Adam, knowest thou who he is whom 
thou hast taken for a mediator and intercessor with me, in 
order to obtain pardon of sins ? " Adam gave this answer, "^ I 
know that he is thy chosen and loved one, and that the light 
which thou didst put on my forehead is his light ; and from 
the words written upon the foot of the Throne, upon the 
Preserved Tablet, and upon the gates of Paradise, I know 
that this Mohammed is regarded by thee as the noblest and 
dearest of beings." Thereupon this glorious voice came, " O 
Adam, I have pardoned thee and condoned thy sins ; and 
(I swear) by my own glory, (that) whoever of thy offspring 
takes him for a mediator and presents him to me as his 
intercessor, him I will pardon and his wants I will supply." ' 

(35.) They had the mission of Overcoming the Devil and 

Destroying his Works. 

a. * If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the 
kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one 
enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except 
he first bind the strong man.^ and then he will spoil his 
house' (Matt xii. 28, 29). 

Now is the judgment of this world : now shall the 
prince of this world be cast out' (John xii. 31). Compare 
Luke X. 17-20. 

* For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that 
he might destroy the works of the devil ' (i John iii. 8). 

* Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom 
of our God, and the power of his Christ : for the accuser of 

^ It is clear that the name 'Adam Abu Mohammed' requires fo its cor- 
relative ' Mohammed Ibn Adam,' so that the appellation ' Son of Adam, or San 
ef Man^ by which the Lord Jesus so frequently called himself, is here, by impli- 
cation, appropriated for Mohammed. 


our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our 
God day and night And they overcame him by the blood 
of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony ; and they 
loved not their lives unto the death ' (Rev. xii. 10-12). 

b. * It is related that in the night of Mohammed's con- 
ception, when the light of Mohammed passed from Abd 
Allah (his father) to Amina (his mother), all the idols on the 
face of the earth were thrown down, and remained in that 
prostrate state for forty days and forty nights. At the end 
of these forty days and forty nights the angel in charge of 
the Devil's headquarters removed it down to the abyss of the 
sea. Then Satan became sad, crest-fallen, ashamed, burn- 
ing with indignation and g^'ief ; and thus that cursed one 
walked about, uttering loud lamentations, till he reached the 
mountain Abu Kabis. Then all the evil spirits gathered 
around him, and said, *' O our leader, what has happened to 
thee that thou makest such lamentations ? " Satan answered, 
** You have become lost, in a manner as you have never been 
lost before." On their asking again, " How is this ? what has 
happened ? " he replied, " This woman, ix, Amina, has con- 
ceived Mohammed, that glory of the visible and invisible 
world. Henceforth no one is to worship idols ; for that 
Mohammed, being sent with a sharp sword, will change the 
false religions, destroy Lat and Ozza, break the idols, and 
will make fornication, wine, and gambling unlawful; and 
during his empire we shall be prevented from going up to 
heaven and listening ; divining will cease from amongst men ; 
and he will do what is just, speak what is true, and make an 
end of oppression ; and his people will adorn the face of the 
earth with mosques as the sky is adorned with stars, so that 
wherever we may go in the world, we shall find God's praise 
and Unity openly proclaimed ; and his people are to become 
a congregation, on whose account my Lord will have me 
stoned, and cursed, and driven from His court, and no part 
will henceforth remain to us in this world." The evil spirits 
answered thus, " O master, grieve not, for God has created 
seven categories of men, and they have riches and children ; 
as we had our wish gratified by the former categories, so we 
shall surely also not be disappointed by these, but obtain a 
portion." Satan asked, " How can you obtain from them a 



portion for yourselves, seeing that they are a people of 
laudable principles and praiseworthy maxims, such as the 
injunction of what is good, and the prohibition of what is 
evil, kind-heartedness, beneficence, and charity?" They 
replied, " Do not grieve : for we shall excite desires in their 
hearts, leading to error and sin, and shall render oppression 
and avarice attractive to their views ; surely they will be 
caught by our temptations and be ruined." On hearing these 
words from them, the Devil rejoiced and laughed, and said to 
them, " Ye have now delivered my mind from vexation and 
grief, and made me happy." 

* The commentators affirm that the Devil uttered a loud 
wail on four different occasions, viz. first, on being cursed ; 
second, on being driven from Paradise to the earth ; third, 
when Mohammed was bom ; fourth, when the opening 
chapter of the Koran was sent down. 

* It is reported that twenty days after the beginning of 
that Highnesses public ministry, the Satanic spirits were 
forbidden to listen. It is recorded that Ibn Abbas said, 
" Before the Prophet's public mission, the Satanic spirits went 
up close to heaven and held their ears to it, so that they 
overheard some words concerning events, about to take place 
on ' the earth ; and after having mixed up these true words 
with falsehoods, they went to tell them to the people of the 
earth : this they did until they were entirely prevented, at 
the time the Prophet was charged with his public mission." * 

' The Jewish Rabbis and the Christian Priests, as also 
the Diviners amongst the Arabs, had already spoken of Mo- 
hammed, when his mission was drawing near — the former 
on account of what they found concerning him in their 
sacred books and prophetic Scriptures, the latter on account 
of what the evil spirits had communicated to them of those 
things which they overheard, before they were prevented by 
stars being hurled at thentL The male and female Diviners 
dropped many things about Mohammed, but the Arabs did 
not heed them, till they were accomplished by the mission 
itself; but since that time the evil spirits could no longer 
listen, for they were prevented from returning to the places 
where they previously used to listen, by stars being hurled 


down upon them. By this they knew that now had come 
to pass what God had decreed respecting his servant 

' Mohammed, on one occasion, asked the Ansars, ^* What 
was formerly your notion about the shooting-stars ? " They 
answered, " We thought they indicated the death or acces- 
sion of a king, or the birth or death of a child." Mohammed 
replied, " It was not so : rather, when God decreed anything 
concerning His creatures, the Bearers of the Throne praised 
Him, and the angels below them followed their example, and 
thus the praise spread down to the lowest heaven. There, 
one asked the other, * Why did you praise God ? ' and the 
answer was, *• Because the higher ones did so ;' and then the 
higher ones were asked, till the question reached the Bearers 
of the Throne. Then when these made known God's decree, 
the answer by degrees came down to the lowest heaven, and 
here the evil spirits overheard it ; and, misunderstanding or 
misinterpreting some of it, they returned to the Diviners of 
the earth, and sometimes led these astray, sometimes told 
them the truth, till God kept off the evil spirits, by hurling 
stars at them : therefore now divining is at an end, and there 
are no longer any foretellers or soothsayers," ' (Ibn Ishak.) 

(36.) As Jesus Christy so also Mohammed was above all other 

men in worth and dignity, 

a. * He that cometh from above is above all ;* he that is 
of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth ; he that 
cometh from heaven is above all ' (John iii. 31). 

* He is the head of the body, the church : who is the 
beginning, the first-bom from the dead ; that in all things he 
might have the pre-eminence ; for it pleased the Father that 
in him should all fulness dwell ' (Col. i. 18, 19). 

b. Ibn Hisham concludes the second, part of his biography 
of Mohammed in these words, 'He was the best of his 
people, as regards descent and nobility, both on the paternal 
and maternal side.' 

When Halima, Mohammed's wet-nurse, returned with 
her charge from Mecca to her own home, and they were met 
by a flock of sheep on the way, the sheep came near her and 


said, * O Halima, knowest thou who thy nursh'ng is ? He is 
Mohammed, the Apostle of the Lord of heaven and earth, 
and the first of the sons of men.' (R.) 

Ibn Ishak narrates, on the authority of Thaur Ibn Yezid, 
that when on one occasion some of his companions asked 
the Apostle of God for information concerning himself, he 
spoke to them in this wise, *I am he to believe in whom 
men were already invited by my father Abraham, and whose 
coming was foretold by Isa ( = Jesus). When my mother 
had conceived me, she saw a light proceeding from her, 
which illuminated the houses of Syria. I was nursed among 
the Beni Saad ; and one day, when I tended the cattle 
behind our house, together with my brother, two men robed 
in white, and holding a golden laver filled with snow, came 
upon us, seized me, split open my body, took out my heart, 
split it open, and, after removing from it a black clot, 
washed it and my whole body quite clean with the snow, 
and then one of them said to the other, "Weigh him against 
ten of his people." He did so, and I outweighed them. 
Then he said, " Weigh him against a hundred of his people ; '* 
and when I outweighed them also, he said, '' Weigh him 
against a thousand of his people ; " and when I outweighed 
these likewise, he said, " Leave him now, for if thou wert 
to lay his entire people into the scale, he still would 
outweigh them all." ' (I. I.) 

(37.) Each of them was the greatest and best of all GoeTs 


a. * Behold, a greater than Jonas is here. . . . Behold, a 
greater than Solomon is here' (Matt xii. 41). 

* Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead ? 
and the prophets are dead : whom makest thou thyself? 
Jesus answered, . . . Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 
my day : and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews 
unto him. Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou 
seen Abraham ? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, before Abraham was, I am ' (John viii. 53-58). 

* Last of all he sent unto them his son, saying. They will 
reverence my son. . . . Did ye never read in the Scriptures, 


The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become 
the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is 
marvellous in our eyes ? * (Matt. xxi. 37-42.) 

b, Amina, Mohammed's mother, told the following story 
about her child : * Afterwards another little cloud appeared, 
brighter and greater than the former, and I heard sounds like 
the neighing of horses, like the clapping of the wings of birds, 
and like the voice of the talking of men, proceeding from it ; 
and a Caller called out, " Carry Mohammed about, all over 
the earth, and present him to all mankind, and to all the 
spirits ; and honour him as possessing the purity of Adam, 
the tender compassion of Noah, the faithful friendship of 
Abraham, the circumcision of Isaac, the patience of Job, the 
eloquence of Ishmael, the beauty of Joseph, the voice of 
David, the austerity of John the Baptist, and the kindness of 
Jesus ; " and according to another account, the Caller also 
called, " Plunge him into the sea of the qualities of the 
prophets and the apostles;" on which account it is said 
of him in poetry, 

'^ Thou art the heir of all prophetic gifts, 
Combining all the attributes of all Apostles.'' ' 

It is likewise reported that Amina said, ' When Moham- 
med was born, there appeared unto me three persons from 
the unseen world, with faces of such surpassing beauty that 
the sun took its rise from them. One of these, who by Ibn 
Abbas was declared to be the Treasurer of Paradise, after 
having washed the child seven times in a silver laver, and 
tied him up with a musk-scented band in a piece of silk, 
kept him for about one hour under his wings. Then he 
whispered many things into his ear, of which I understood 
nothing, and kissed him between his eyes, saying, "O 
Mohammed, hear thou this glad tidings, that thou hast been 
esteemed worthy to receive the knowledge of all the prophets, 
and thy knowledge and thy courage shall be more than all 
theirs ; and the keys of victory shall accompany thee, and all 
hearts shall be so impressed with thy dread and majesty 
that no one shall be able to hear thy name without fear and 
trembling, though he have never seen thee, O thou loved 
one of God."' (R.) 


(38.) Each of them is the Holder of the Keys. 

a, Jesus saith, ' I am he that liveth, and was dead ; and 
behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen ; and have the keys 
of hell and of death' (Rev. i. 18). 

Jesus IS *he that hath the key of David, he that 
openeth, and no man shutteth ; and shutteth, and no man 
openeth ' (Rev. iii. 7). 

Jesus said unto Peter, *I will give unto thee the keys 
of the kingdom of heaven * (Matt xvi. 19). 

b. In the Rawzat it is reported that when Mohammed 
had been taken away by the angels, immediately after his 
birth, to be carried over the length and breadth of the earth 
and sea, and brought back again to his mother, he was 
wrapt — ^so she affirmed — in some wool, whiter than snow or 
whiter than milk. He lay on a piece of green silk, and was 
holding in his hands a number of keys ; and a voice from 
the unseen world was heard calling out, 'Mohammed has 
taken the key of prophetship, the key of victory, and the key 
of the treasures of the air.* (R.) 

* According to a trustworthy source of information, Abu 
Hureira used to say, at the time of the great conquests 
during the Califate of Omar and Othman, " Conquer as 
much as you like : by Him in whose hand Abu Hureira's 
soul is, you have not conquered a town, neither will you 
conquer one until the day of the resurrection, whose key 
God has not already given to Mohammed."* (I. I. and 1. H.) 

(39.) Their body is the true Temple^ that is, the abode of the 

Divine Presence^ or of the Shechina. 

a, *" Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it 
up. . . . But he spake of the temple of his body ' (John ii* 
19-21). . 

* The Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and 
we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of 
the Father, full of grace and truth * (John i. 14). 

b. Mohammed, in narrating the affair of the splitting of 
his body, says, * When the angel had washed my inside 

CH. 1. 40, 41.] HE IS SEALED AND SEES GOD. 343 

with snow-water, he said to the other angel, " Bring hail- 
water." Then they agreed with each other, and washed my 
heart with hail-water. After this, one of them said, " Bring 
the Shechina." Then they filled my heart with the 
Shechina.' (R.) 

(40.) They are both stamped with the Divine Seal 

a, 'Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for 
that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the 
Son of man shall give unto you : for him hath God the 
Father sealed ' (John vi. 27). 

b. Mohammed, after having related the splitting and 
cleaning of his heart by an angel, thus continues his recital : 
' Then there was something in his hand which he had 
brought with him, and with which he filled my heart ; and 
after having put it back to its place, he sealed it with a seal 
of light whose charm and ease still remain in my limbs and 
joints. . . . And the angel said again, " Stamp him with the 
seal of prophecy," whereupon they stamped my heart with 
the seal of prophecy.' (R.) 

(41.) Both of them have seen God and heard him speak. 

a. * No man hath seen God at any time ; the only- 
begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath 
declared him* (John i. 18). 

* Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which 
is of God, he hath seen the Father ' (John vi. 46). 

* All things that I have heard of my Father I have made 
known unto you * (John xv. 15). Compare viii. 26. 

b. In the place where the Rawzat makes known the 
different modes in which Mohammed received his revelations, 
the seventh and last is thus mentioned : ' At the ascension, 
the Most High spoke to that prince without an intermediary 
angel, and without any other medium, from behind the Veil ; 
and according to one account that prince saw God with the 
eyes of his own head, in the night of the ascension.' (R.) 


(42.) Tkey taught their people how to pray. 

a, * When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the 
heathen do : for they think that they shall be heard for their 
much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them : for 
your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before 
ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye : Our 
Father,' etc. (Matt. vi. 5-13.) 

' He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men 
ought always to pray, and not to faint* (Luke xviii. i). 

b. * When Gabriel had departed, Mohammed returned to 
Khadija, and showed her how it is necessary first to wash 
before prayer, as Gabriel had taught him ; then he prayed, 
as Gabriel had prayed before him, and she prayed after his 
example.* (Ibn Hisham.) 

Ibn Ishak narrates : * Salih Ibn Keisan told me what he 
had heard of Urwa Ibn Zobeir, who had been told it by 
Aisha, namely, that at first, prayer with two genuflexions 
only, was prescribed to Mohammed, which is still the duty 
incumbent on travellers, but afterwards God increased it to 
four genuflexions, for those who are at home.' (I. I.) 

We have already learned from the account of the 
ascension, how Mohammed, by bargaining with the Most 
High, obtained a reduction of the fifty daily prayers at first 
required, to five, and how, when Moses invited him to try 
for a still further reduction, he answered, *I have already 
returned so often to my Lord that I am ashamed to do so 
again ; but I am content with this and walk in the way of 
submission.' ^ According to another account he said, * I 
returned to my Lord for the purpose of obtaining a reduction 
in the number of prayers, till He said, "O Mohammed, I 
have made five prayers obligatory upon thee and thy people ; 
and I accept each one prayer in the stead of ten prayers, so 
that their five prayers shall be as good as fifty prayers." ' (R.) 

^ What a contrast between prayer in a Mohammedan and prayer in a Chris- 
tian sense ! The former is a duty, imposed upon God's slaves, who, in discfaarg- 
ing it, regard it an indulgence to be let off with five prayers rather than ten : 
the latter is a privilege, enjoyed by children, for conversing with their heavenly 
Father, and therefore it becomes to them, as it were, a spiritual atmosphere in 
which they breathe freely and habitually. 

CH. 1. 43, 44,] HIS BLOOD IS DRUNK. 345 

(43.) Each of them sanctioned the drinking of his bloody and 

ascribed to it a saving virtue, 

a, * Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his 
blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and 
drinketh my blood, hath eternal life ; and I will raise him 
up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my 
blood is drink indeed ; he that eateth my flesh and drinketh 
my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him ' (John vi. 53-56). 

b. Abu Saad Khodri relates : * When, at the battle of 
Ohod, the helmet-rings had been taken out of the Prophet's 
cheek, blood flowed from the radiant face of that Lord of 
the pure, and my father Malik Ibn Sinan sucked the wounds 
with his mouth, swallowing the blood. When they said to 
my father, " Malik, is blood to be drunk ? " my father replied, 
"Yes, the blood of the Prophet of God I drink like a bever- 
age." At that time his Excellency, the Prophet, said, " Who- 
ever wishes to see one who has mixed my blood with 
his own, let him look at Malik Ibn Sinan : any one whose 
blood touches mine, him the fire of hell shall not desire." 

' It is narrated that when the false report of Mohammed's 
death in the battle of Ohod had reached Medina, fourteen 
Mussulman women combined to hasten to the battle-field. 
When they met him, Fatima clung round him, and wept, so 
that the Lord of the world showed great emotion. Then she 
cleaned the blood from that prince's blessed head and face, 
the well-beloved Ali bringing water on his shield, and 
Fatima swallowing that prince's blood. She succeeded in 
stanching the flow of blood by burning a piece of mat she 
found, and applying its ashes to the wound.' (R.) 

(44.) testis speaks of stones which would cry outy under certain 
circumstances ; but Mohammed of stones and trees which 
actually did call out. 

a. 'The whole multitude of the disciples praised God, 
saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of 
the Lord ; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And 



some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto 
him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and 
said unto them, If these should hold their peace, the stones 
would immediately cry out' (Luke xix. 37-40). 

b. *The biographers narrate that when that Excellency 
had completed his fortieth year, the Most High gave him 
his apostolic mission to all people. But previously there 
appeared many signs and tokens to that prince, such as true 
dreams, and salutations from trees and stones. Jabir Ibn 
Simre reports that he heard the Prophet make this statement : 
"At the time I was about to receive my mission, I, for 
several days and nights, did not meet a tree or a stone 
which did not say to me, * Peace be on thee, O thou Apostle 
of God.'" 

*In the narrative of the visit of Abu Talib, with his 
nephew Mohammed, to the monk Bahira, it is recorded 
that when the caravan with the future prophet reached a 
certain hilly and stony spot, Bahira heard how all the trees 
and stones of that place called out with a loud voice, " Peace 
be on thee, O thou Apostle of God ! " ' (R.) 

(45.) Each of the two prophets illustrated the hopelessness of a 
case by referring to a cameFs passing through the eye 
of a needle, 

a. 'Jesus said to his disciples. Again I say unto you, It 
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than 
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God' (Matt 
xix. 24). 

b, 'Amar narrates that Hadifa told him he heard 
Mohammed say, on their return from the expedition to 
Tabuk, A.H. 9, " There are twelve^ hypocrites amongst my 
companions who shall not see the face of Paradise, or smell 
its fragrance, until the time when a camel may pass through 
the eye of a needle." * (R.) 

^ These ' twelve ' hypocrites in Islam may perhaps be regarded as a sort of 
counterpart to the twelve apostles. It is also stated that ' twelve hypocrites ' 
were partners in the building of a mosque near Medina, with the view of uphold- 
ing Christian tendencies, which Mohammed, after his return from Tabuk, com* 
manded to be burnt over the heads of those who worshipped in it. 


(46.) Both the prophets sometimes imparted Divine benefits and 
blessings by the laying on of their hands. 

a, * After that Jesus put his hands again upon the blind 
man's eyes, and made him look up : and he was restored, 
and saw every man clearly' (Mark viii. 22-25). Compare 
Mark vii. 32-35. 

*And they brought young children to Jesus, that he 
should touch them. . . . And he took them up in his arms, 
put his hands upon them, and blessed them' (Mark x. 13- 

* Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any 
sick with divers diseases, brought them unto him ; and 
he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them' 
(Luke IV. 40). 

b. * Amongst the Beni Beka, who, A.H. 9, came to Medina 
to profess Islam, there was Moawia Ibn Thor, a venerable 
old man, a hundred years of age. He begged his Excellency 
graciously to lay his blessed hand on his son Beshr, because 
he behaved so well towards him. That Excellency granted 
his request, and stroked Beshr's face with his blessed hand, 
and invoked a blessing upon him. In consequence, when- 
ever a famine happened in the country of the Beni Beka, it 
did not reach them.' 

* In the same year, A.H. 9, Zeiyad Ibn Abd Allah also 
embraced Islam, together with some others. He went to 
the house of Meimuna, one of the Prophet's wives, because 
he was her nephew. It happened that, soon after, his Ex- 
cellency also came to Meimuna's dwelling, but, on seeing 
Zeiyad with her, he became angry and turned away. Meim- 
una called after him, " O Apostle of God, this is my sister's 
son." Then that prince turned back, and sat down with 
them. At noonday prayers they went to the mosque 
together, and his Excellency made Zeiyad sit by his side. 
He also prayed for him, and with his blessed hand stroked 
him, bringing down his blessed hand over Zeiyad's face to 
the end of his nose. It is recorded that the Beni Halal 
said, " After this, we always saw in Zeiyad's face a light, 
and the traces of a blessing." 

*A.H. ID, Jerir Ibn Abd Allah came to Medina with 150 


men from his tribe and embraced Islam. When Mohammed 
requested him to return home and destroy their idol forth- 
with, Jerir said, ** O Apostle of God, the way is long ; if I 
ride on a camel, I shall be late, and I cannot ride on horse- 
back, for if I mount a horse, it throws me down." Jerir 
continues his narrative thus : ^ Then that prince laid his 
blessed hand on my breast, so that I saw the traces of his 
blessed fingers upon my breast, and said, ' O God, stablish 
him and make him a rightly guided guide.' Then I left 
that Excellency, and, by that God who sent him with truth, 
mounted an intractable horse, which at once became under 
me as gentle as a lamb, so that I speedily reached the idol- 
temple, demolished, and burned it When this news reached 
his Excellency, he rejoiced, and prayed for a favour and 
blessing on Jerir's horse." 

' Some one went to Moseilama, the false prophet who 
wished to be named Mohammed's successor, and asked him 
to bless his son, and to pray for him, on the ground that 
Mohammed did the same for the children of his companions. 
Moseilama then prayed for the boy, and stroked his head, 
when, lo, the boy's head turned bald ; and every child to 
whom Moseilama was called to lay his hands on its head, 
or to put his fingers into its mouth, became bald-headed, 
and received a stammering tongue.' (R.) 

(47.) By their mediation and benediction a small quantity of 
food miraculously sufficed to feed a large number of 

a. * Jesus took the loaves ; and when he had given thanks, 
he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them 
that were set down ; and likewise of the fishes as much as 
they would. When they were filled, he said to his disciples, 
Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost 
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve 
baskets with fragments of the five barley-loaves, which re- 
mained over and above unto them that had eaten * (John 

vi. 5-13). 

*And he blessed, and commanded to set them also 
before them. So they did eat, and were filled : and they 


took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 
And they that had eaten were about four thousand (Mark 
viii. 1-9). 

b. Ibn Ishak narrates : ' Said Ibn Mina told me that he 
heard Beshir Ibn Saad's daughter relate the following 
story : My mother Omra called me, and put a handful of 
dates into my dress, saying, " Go, take this breakfast to thy 
father and uncle." I went away with the dates, and on pass- 
ing Mohammed, in seeking my father and uncle, he called 
me, and asked what I was carrying. I answered, " These are 
dates with which my mother has sent me to my father and 
uncle." He said, " Give them to me ; " and when I put them 
into his hands, they did not quite fill them. He then com- 
manded a cloth to be spread, and threw the dates upon it, 
saying to a man who was standing there, "Call the men of 
the ditch ^ to breakfast." All the men of the ditch collected 
around him and ate of them, and they continued to multiply, 
so that when the people left, they were still falling down 
from the side of the cloth. 

'Said Ibn Mina has also told me that Jabir Ibn Abd 
Allah narrated to him as follows : " When we were working 
tc^ether with Mohammed in digging the ditch, I had a lamb 
which was not very fat, and I said to myself, * By Allah, we 
can prepare this lamb for the Apostle of God.' I requested 
my wife to prepare a little barley-flour and bake bread, 
whilst I killed the lamb and dressed it for Mohammed. In 
the evening, when he wanted to go home, I said to him, * I 
have caused a lamb to be prepared for thee which we had in 
our house, and we have also baked barley-bread ^ for it I 
shall be glad if thou wilt come home with me.' Mohammed 
consented, but caused a Caller to call out aloud, * Follow 
the Apostle of God into the house of Jabir Ibn Abd Allah.' 
Then I thought, We are God's, and return to Him. How- 
ever, Mohammed soon came with the people and sat down. 
We brought the food to him. He pronounced a blessing upon 

1 The * men of the ditch ' were the people who, at Mohammed's command, 
fortified Medina by digging a ditch, in a comparatively short time, alongside 
its exposed part, on the occasion when an attack was expected from a Meccan 


* Compare the five * barley-loaves * in John vi. 9. 


it ^ in the name of God and ate. Then the people all ate in 
turn, one company after another,* till all the men of the 
ditch went away satisfied." ' ^ 

(48.) Towards the close of their earthly course^ both the prophets 
triumphantly re-entered the capital city and national 
sanctuary y accompanied by a vast multitude of exultant 
follower Sy though previously they .had to flee from it^ 
their liberty and even tfieir life being threatened by 
the parties in power ; and they authoritatively rid the 
sanctuary of what was desecrating it, 

a, * Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a 
council, and said, What do we ? for this man doeth many 
miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on 
him : and the Romans shall come and take away both our 
place and nation. • • • Then from that day forth they took 
counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore 
walked no more openly among the Jews : but went thence 
unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called 
Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples * (John xi. 


*Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to 

Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he 

raised from the dead. — And when they drew nigh unto 

Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage ... his disciples 

brought an ass and colt, and put on them their clothes, and 

set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their 

garments in the way; others cut down branches from the 

trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes 

that went before, and that followed, cried, sa)ring, Hosanna 

to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the 

name of the Lord ! Hosanna in the highest ! And when he 

was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, 

Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the 

^ Compare the '^ving thanks' of Jestts in John vi. 11. 

' Compare Mark vi. 40 : ' And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by 

' These instances of Mohammed's many miracles must suffice here, as they 
will form a subject by themselves, further on. 


prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the 
temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought 
in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money- 
changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said 
unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house 
of prayer ; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the 
blind and the lame came to him in the temple ; and he 
healed them' (John xii. i ; Matt xxi. 1-14). 

b. What, in the* biographies of Mohammed, corresponds 
to this triumphant entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, separ- 
ates into three distinct acts : aa, the three days* visit, after 
a wholly abortive attempt ; bb. the conquest of Mecca and 
cleansing of the Kaaba ; cc, the grand Farewell Pilgrimage.^ 

acu 'Six years after Mohammed and his followers had 
fled from Mecca, where their liberty and even their lives 
were endangered, and had been received with open arms in 
Medina, he resolved on a visit to the sacred city, in the 
character of a pilgrim. But fearing the Koreish might 
oppose him by force, he invited the friendly Arabs and 
Bedouins to accompany him. Many of these indeed slighted 
his invitation, but others joined the refugees and assistants. 
Then they put on the pilgrim's garment and carried with 
them animals for sacrifices, so that it might be quite obvious 
they were not coming for war, but merely on a religious visit 
to the temple The Koreish, knowing with whom they had 
to do, put no confidence in Mohammed's professions, and 

^ As it can be gathered from the narrative of the four Gospels that the whole 
course of Christ's public life tended towards Jerusalem, where He knew His 
' Father's House ' to be ; where it was assigned Him to ' accomplish His min- 
istry \ * and where His Church was to be founded, by the outpouring of the 
Holy Spirit: so also it appears plain from the Mohammedan records that 
Mohammed, so long as he was forcibly debarred from Mecca, never ceased to 
keep its subjugation steadily in view, and persistently strove to obtain possession 
of the holy city and temple, as the centre and sanctuary of Islam» But how 
great a difference between the two prophets ! Christ went to Jerusalem to be 
crucified, and to found a spiritual kingdom, ' not of this world ; ' but Mohammed 
entered Mecca as a conqueror, establishing a worldly empire under the guise of 
religion. It is, of course, not intended to affirm that Mohammed undertook these 
journeys to Mecca and the Kaaba for the express purpose of establishing a parallel 
to Christ's visit of Jerusalem and the Temple ; but the description given by his 
bic^raphers renders it not improbable that in their minds a desire existed to 
draw attention to Christ's royal entrance into Jerusalem, and to show how 
entirely it was eclipsed by Mohammed's pompous entrance into MecciL 


said, " Even if he does not come for war, the Arabs shall 
never be able to say that we received him because we could 
not help it" Mohammed was not permitted to visit the 
temple on this occasion, and had to content himself with a 
written compact containing this clause, ^' Mohammed is to 
go back this year without entering Mecca, but next year 
the Koreish are to vacate the city for three days, so that he 
and his companions may enter and remain there in the dress 
of pilgrims, and without any other weapon but a sheathed 

'In the following year Mohammed and his followers 
returned to Mecca, which he found vacated, and they re- 
mained three full days. But at the end of this term the 
Koreish sent a deputation to them, reminding them of their 
stipulation to leave. Mohammed replied, " What harm is 
there, if I remain a little longer among you to celebrate my 
marriage and to prepare a wedding feast for you?" But 
they said, " We do not want your feast : depart from us." 
Accordingly Mohammed quitted Mecca in such a hurry 
that he had to leave his freedman, Abu Rafi, behind him, 
to follow with Meimuna, the newly engaged bride. They 
overtook the Prophet at Sarif, where the marriage was con- 
summated.' (Ibn Ishak.) 

bb. 'Although it had been stipulated in the pact of 
Hodeibia that there should be peace for ten years, yet as 
there happened acts of hostility between the confederates 
of the Koreish and the confederates of Mohammed, which 
led to bloodshed, the Prophet, already two years later, 
A.H. 8, determined to undertake an expedition of war and 
conquest against Mecca. According to the narratives of the 
biographers he started from Medina with his army in the 
month of Ramadan, proclaiming it optional for every one 
either to fast or not to fast on that occasion, and taking 
with him Om Salma from amongst his chaste wives. When 
the army encamped four parasangs from Mecca, it numbered 
10,000 or 12,000 men. Abu Sofyan, through the mediation 
of Abbas, went out to Mohammed, and thus interceded for 
the city, " For God's sake, and for the sake of thy affinity 
with the Koreish, forgive them, and spare their blood, and 
show them kindness and favour; for thou art the best of 


men, and most merciful towards relatives." That Excellency 
replied, ." O Abu Sofyan, this is a day of mercy ; a day in 
which God brings glory to the Koreish ; and a day in which 
God's House, the Kaaba, shall be greatly exalted." After 
this he ordered the different commanders of his troops to 
advance against the city, and to enter it simultaneously, from 
seven different directions ; but he enjoined on them all to 
fight with none who did not attack them. Only the troops 
commanded by Khalid were attacked, so that he had to 
fight, and his opponents lost twenty-four men in killed, or 
according to another account, seventy men, this being the 
number Mohammed had once vowed to slay from amongst 
the Koreish, in revenge for his uncle Hamza, who fell in the 
battle of Ohod. It is recorded that the remaining Meccan 
soldiers, on seeing the slain, fled ignominiously, without 
looking back. 

'When Mecca was in the possession of the Mussulman 
army, Mohammed washed the dust off his face and hands, 
took a bath, then put on again his armour and helmet, and, 
accompanied by his friends, rode to the holy place of the 
temple, between drawn-up lines of cavalry. He first saluted 
the Black Stone, as it was usual, with the crooked stick he 
had in his hand, and, together with his fellow-Moslems, raised 
such a loud cry of " Allahu dkbar, i,e. God is great ! " that fear 
and trembling fell on all Mecca. Having performed his pro- 
cessional circumambulation of the sanctuary, he upset the 
360 idols, set up around the. Kaaba, by striking them with 
a javelin or club which he held in his hand, so that some of 
them lay prostrate on their faces, others on their backs. The 
large idols Hobal, Asaf, and Naila, were broken in pieces. 
A few great idols being placed so high that they could not 
be reached with the hand, Ali, God's favourite, said to the 
Prophet, " O Apostle of God, hadst thou not better stand on 
my shoulders and pull these idols down?" To this Mo- 
hammed replied, " O Ali, thou hast not strength enough to 
bear the weight of the prophetship that is in me: thou 
hadst better stand on my shoulders, and do this act thyself." 
Ali obeying, cast down those idols and broke them up into 
fragments. Then he threw himself down upon the ground 
in honour of the Prophet, and smiled ; and his Excellency 



asking him why he laughed, he answered, '^ I laugh, because 
though I let myself down from so great a height, yet no 
harm has happened to me." The Prophet rejoined, " O AH, 
how could any harm have come to thee, seeing that he who 
held thee was Mohammed, and he who let thee down, 
Gabriel." Mohammed also sent Omar and Othman into the 
Kaaba, to efface the figures of angels, prophets, etc which the 
infidels had drawn on its walls. But on afterwards entering 
himself, with some companions, and observing that Omar 
had not ventured to efface the images of Abraham and 
Ishmael, he ordered that these should likewise be obliterated, 
adding these words, "Let God's curse be on that (=any) 
people who make figures of those things which they cannot 

* When he again came out of the Kaaba, and found the 
people of Mecca standing and waiting for a declaration from 
him, as to how he intended to treat them, he addressed this 
question to them, " What do you yourselves think and say, 
as to how I should deal with you } " They answered, " We 
speak of thee and hope from thee nothing but what is good : 
thou art our kind brother and our kind brother's son, who 
hast now obtained power and dominion over us." With 
these words they referred to the story of Joseph and his 
brethren. His Excellency replied, " Inasmuch, then, as your 
thoughts concerning me are such, I also say to you what 
Joseph said to his brethren, * No censure and reproof shall 
be on you to-day : may God forgive you, for He is the Most 
Merciful." ' 

cc, *The biographers record that A.H. lo, that is, in the 
year of his death, that prince performed the pilgrimage to 
Mecca which is called " The Farewell Pilgrimage," on account 
of his taking leave of his friends in his addresses during that 
pilgrimage, saying, " I shall perhaps not see you again after 
this year." But it is affirmed, on the authority of Abbas, that 
his Excellency disliked that appellation and preferred to call 
it " The Pilgrimage of Islam." He sent news to all the sur- 
rounding tribes of Arabs that he had decided on making 
the pilgrimage, and invited them to join ; and God afflicted 
with measles and small-pox those who did not wish to join 
him in the pilgrimage. On that journey so many people 

CH. 1. 48, 49.] HE WORSHIPS A T THE KAABA. 355 

came together that none but God can know their number. 
Another account, however, states their number at 114,000, 
and still another at 124,000 persons. 

*His Excellency entered the sacred mosque, saluted the 
Black Stone, and went seven times round the Kaaba, the 
first three times in haste and the last three times' slowly, 
saluting the Black Stone and touching the Yemenite pillar 
each time. He also went to the place of offering, in order to 
slay his sacrifices. The camels brought by him from Medina, 
and by the well-beloved Ali from Yemen, amounted to 100. 
Of these camels his Excellency slaughtered 63 with his own 
blessed hand, in correspondence with the number of the 
years of his age ; and the remaining 37 he ordered AH to 
slay. On having his blessed head shaved, he distributed his 
sacred hair, giving one half of it to the Ansar Abu Talha, 
and the other half to his chaste wives, and also one or two 
hairs each to every one of his friends, according to their 
different rank. After that, faithful Aisha anointed that 
prince with an ointment in which there was musk,^ where- 
upon he put off his pilgrim dress, and rode into Mecca 
before the noonday prayers.' (R.) 

(49.) Both Jesus and Mohammed continued up to the close of 
their career^ and with death already at the door^ in the 
zealous discharge of their respective life-work. 

a. * And Jesus taught daily in the temple. But the chief 
priests, and the scribes, and the chief of the people, sought 
to destroy him, and could not find what they might do : for 
all the people were very attentive to hear him ' (Luke xix. 

47, 48). 

* And in the day-time he was teaching in the temple ; 

and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is 

called the Mount of Olives. And all the people came early 

in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him' 

(Luke xxi. 37, 38). 

Compare also, in illustration of Christ's wonderful activity 

^ Is this notice, perhaps, a covert reference to Mary's ' ointment of spikenard, 
very costly ' ? (John xii. 3.) 


during the last few days of His life, what is written in Matt. 
XIX. to xxvi., and in John xi. to xviii. 

b, \ The biographers report that when the Apostle of God 
had returned from the farewell pilgrimage to Medina (a few 
months before his death), he was seized with some illness, 
before the last in which he died. When the news of that 
illness became known in the country, several individuals 
openly pretended to be prophets, such as Moseilama, Talha, 
Aswad, and even a woman, named Sajah. Moseilama wrote 
a letter to Mohammed, in which he offered to divide the 
worid equally with the Koreish ; but Mohammed declined 
the offer, concluding his answer in these words, " Thou hast 
ruined the people of Yemama : may the Almighty ruin thee 
and thy followers ! " Aswad was a diviner who had two 
devils telling him what was going to happen amongst men. 
When Badzan, Mohammed's Commissioner of Sana in Yemen, 
had died, he, with the help of his followers, seized and sub- 
dued Sana, and even made Badzan's widow ^ his wife. As soon 
as Mohammed had learned this from his other Commissioners 
in those parts, he ordered them by letter to unite and undo 
that mischief " in any way they might be able." Thereupon 
they secured the co-operation of Aswad's new wife, and with 
her help — she intoxicating him for the occasion — they suc- 
ceeded in cutting off his head. Although the letter in which 
Mohammed was informed of this success reached Medina 
only after his death, he had received the same information by 
a heavenly messenger a day before he died, which he com- 
municated to his friends, saying, "Last night Aswad has 
been killed ; " and on being asked by those around him, he 
was able to give them even the names of the murderers. 

* During his last illness, the Prophet also rose from his bed 
and went at night to the graveyard to pray for the dead. 
Ata Ibn Yesar says, " One night that Excellency was told, 
Arise, go to the Bekia cemetery, and pray for the pardon of 
those who lie in the graves. He arose and did so ; and 
having gone back to sleep, he received the same injunction 
a second time, and complied with it in the same manner. 

^ Or, according to another account, the widow of Shahr, Badzan's son, who 
had succeeded his father for a very short time, and was slain in his struggle with 
VA Aswad. 


Having once more returned to rest, he was told, Arise and 
pray for the pardon of the martyrs of Ohod. His Excellency 
arose, went to Ohod, and prayed for them ; but when he 
returned from Ohod, he suffered from headache, and tied a 
cloth round his blessed head." Akba Ibn Amir says, "Eight 
years after the affair of Ohod, the Prophet of God performed 
prayers over the martyrs of Ohod — that is, he blessed them 
and prayed for pardon for them. In this way he bade fare- 
well, as it were, both to the living and to the dead" * (R.) 

*Abd Allah Ibn Kaab said, "On the day on which 
Mohammed prayed for the martyrs of Ohod, he also mounted 
the pulpit, and said, O ye company of the refugees, deal 
kindly with the assistants. Other people increase in number, 
but they remain the same. They were the shelter to which 
I turned : be kind to those who befriend them, and punish 
those who oppose them. Then Mohammed left the pulpit, 
and his illness increased so much that he fainted." 

'The last war-expedition which Mohammed arranged was 
that of sending Osama Ibn Zeid to Syria, to the districts of 
fialka and Darum, belonging to Palestine. When the people 
were busily preparing for this expedition, and the oldest 
emigrants were already gathering around Ibn Zeid, that ill- 
ness commenced by which God in mercy was pleased to take 
him away. On being informed, during the illness, that the 
people hesitated with the mission of Osama Ibn Zeid, and 
that some objected to his placing a young man over the 
honourable refugees and assistants, he came forth from his 
chamber, and, with his head tied up, mounted the pulpit, and, 
after praising God, thus addressed the people : " O ye people, 
carry out Osama's mission. By my life, if ye object to his 
leadership, ye also object to that of his father before him ; 
but he is as worthy of it as his father has been." When 
Mohammed quitted the pulpit, and the people expedited 
their preparations, his illness became aggravated. Osama 
left the city with his army and encamped at Jorf, three miles 
from the city ; but, as Mohammed was very ill, Osama 
remained with his men in the camp, waiting to see what God 
had decreed concerning His Apostle.' (I. I. and I. H.) 

*On Monday some of the Mussulmans who were to 
accompany Osama, came to bid farewell to the Prophet, and 


then returned to the soldiers' camp. They found him very 
ill, yet he urged them, saying, " Send Osama's soldiers on- 
ward !" Osama also came again that day, and his Excellency, 
on taking leave of him, said, " Fight, with the blessing of 
God !" As soon as Osama returned to the soldiers' camp, he 
gave orders to be mounted and start ; but at that moment 
his mother sent him word, " The Apostle of God is in his 
death-struggle." On hearing this, he returned with the 
leading men of the companions, and had the great banner 
planted before the door of his Excellency's room.' (R.) 

(so.) The Death of both these prophets was no less wonderful 

than their birth and life, 

a. The approaching death was foreknown and foretold 
by them. 

aa, * From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his 
disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer 
many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and 
be killed, and be raised again the third day' (Matt. xvi. 21). 
Compare Luke xviii. 31-33. . 

' Now, before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew 
that his hour was come that he should depart out of this 
world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in 
the world, he loved them unto the end ' (John xiii. i). 

* It is enough, the hour is come ; behold, the Son of man 
is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go : lo, 
he that betrayeth me is at hand ' (Mark xiv. 41, 42). 

bb, 'The biographers record that his Excellency was 
made aware, towards the close of his life, that this year he 
was to migrate from this transitory world to the vicinity of 
the Lord of Glory. He undoubtedly alluded to this subject 
in his Farewell Pilgrimage, when he said, "Learn ye the 
ceremonies of the pilgrimage well of me ; perhaps after this 
year I shall not make any more pilgrimage ; " and again, 
" They have, as it were, invited me to the abiding world ; 
and I also have accepted the invitation, and have become 
one who is going to the eternal world." 

'It is narrated that Abd Allah Ibn Masud said, "Our 
loved one and our prophet, that is, Mohammed, the chosen. 

CH. I. 50, a, 6.] HE ANNOUNCES HIS NEAR END. 359 

apprised us of his approaching death a month before he 
died. He invited us, his special friends, to the house of 
Aisha, the faithful, that mother of the believers ; and when 
we came into his presence, so that his blessed eyes saw us, 
he began to weep. This weeping in all probability proceeded 
from his most tender feelings, and affection, for his friends, 
and from his picturing to himself his separation from them. 
On my asking, O Apostle of God, when will thy appointed 
time be completed } his Excellency replied. The time of 
separation has drawn nigh ; and the hour of the return to the 
Most High, and to the remotest Sidra, and to the abode of 
Paradise, and to the upper companions, is at hand." ' (R.) 

b. Their death was not unavoidable, but freely accepted 
by them. 

aa. 'Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay 
down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it 
from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay 
it down, and I have power to take it again * (John x. 17, 18). 

* But that the world may know that I love the Father ; 
and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. 
Arise, let us go hence' (John xiv. 31). 

* Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh 
and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same ; 
that through death he might destroy him that had the power 
of death, that is, the devil * (Heb. ii. 14). 

bb. * It is a well-accredited tradition that Aisha gave the 
following narrative : " I heard the Prophet say in his healthy 
days, No prophet leaves this world for the next, without the 
option being given him whether he will choose the present 
world or the world to come.^ When his last illness befell 
him and he was seized with a cough, his Excellency said, 
'With the higher companions,' or, according to another ac- 
count, * With the higher and most blessed companions, with 
Gabriel, Michael, and Asrafel.' Then I knew that the option 
had been given him, and that his Excellency had chosen the 
next world" It is also reported that in all his former 

^ It requires little acuteness to perceive that the following story, with all its 
extraordinary details, owes its origin to the desire of illustrating and verifying 
this declaration of the Prophet by his own personal experience. 


illnesses the Prophet had asked God for recovery and health, 
but that in this last illness he never prayed for restoration. 

* According to tradition, Gabriel came three days before 
his Excellency's death, and said to him, " Thy Lord salutes 
thee, and has sent me to thee, as a special mark of honour 
and distinction, to ask of thee what He knows before, 
namely, how thou art" His Excellency replied, " O thou 
faithful messenger of God, I am sad, sorrowful, and distressed." 
Gabriel came also on the second and third day to ask the 
same question and received the same answer. On the third 
day there further came the angel of death, and another angel 
called Ishmael, who is the ruler of 70,000, or, according to 
another account, of 100,000 angels, each of whom, in his turn, 
is again the ruler of 70,000 or 100,000 other angels ; and all 
these thousands of thousands of angels accompanied Ishmael. 
When Gabriel made his usual inquiry after the Prophet's 
health, that same day, he added, " O Mohammed, he that has 
now come, is the angel of death : he stands at the door and 
desires permission from thee to enter. Hitherto he has never 
asked and henceforth he will never ask such permission of 
any one." His Excellency replied, " O Gabriel, give him per- 
mission and let him come in." As soon as the angel of death 
had received permission, he entered, saluted that Excellency, 
and said, " O Mohammed, the Most High has sent me to thee 
and commanded me to obey thy behest : if thou commandest 
it, I am to take thy spirit and convey it to the higher world ; 
but, if not, I am to go back." That prince looked towards 
Gabriel, that is to say, he made a sign to Gabriel to hear from 
him what he was to say. Gabriel replied, " O Ahmed, the 
truth is, that thy Lord longs to see thy noble face." Upon 
this that Excellency said to the angel of death, " Accomplish 
the work with which thou art commissioned." Gabriel further 
said, " O Ahmed, peace be with thee, I am now no more to 
descend to the earth to bring revelations : thou alone hast 
been my object and desire from amongst the people of this 

' It is reported that Ibn Abbas said : On the day of that 
Excellency's death God commanded the angel of death, 
" Go down to the earth, to Mohammed my beloved, but take 
heed not to enter and not to take his spirit, without permis- 

CH. 1. 50, c, d:\ THE ANGEL OF DEA TH, 361 

sion. Then the angel of death, with many hundreds of 
thousands from amongst his angelic assistants, mounted pie- 
bald horses, put on robes woven with pearls and rubies, and 
came to his Excellency's door, bringing in their hands a letter 
from the Lord of the Universe. The angel of death stood 
before the door in the form of an Arab, saying, " Peace be 
with you, O ye inmates of the Prophet's house and of the 
Apostle's residence ! will you grant me permission to enter ? " 
Fatima, the chaste, who was standing at his Excellency's head, 
made answer thus, " The Prophet is just now engaged with 
himself, so that an interview is not quite convenient." The 
angel of death asked permission a second time, and received 
the same reply. On the third occasion he asked so loud that 
all the inmates of the house trembled, from the awfulness of 
his voice. When his Excellency came to himself, he opened 
his eyes, and inquired what it was. On being told, that 
prince said to Fatima, " Knowest thou with whom thou hast 
been holding converse ? " She answered, " God and His 
Prophet know it best" Then his Excellency said, "The 
person who came to the door is the angel of death, the 
spoiler of pleasures, the crosser of wishes, the separator of 
friends, the converter of wives into widows, and of sons 
and daughters into orphans." ' (R.) 

c. Angels would have been ready to prevent their death, 
had they desired it. 

aa. ' Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, 
and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of 
angels ? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that 
thus it must be?' (Matt xxvi. 53, 54.) 

bb. * It is recorded that Gabriel came from God, during 
the Prophet's last illness, and said, " O Mohammed, of a truth 
thy Lord sends thee greeting ; and He has ordered that if 
thou wishest it, I am to cure thee and to deliver thee from 
this illness ; and also that, if thou desirest it, I am to let thee 
die and to pardon thee." His Excellency answered thus : 
" O Gabriel, I have committed my affairs to my Lord. 
Let Him do whatsoever He pleases." * (R.) 

d. They died a martyr's death. 

aa, * To this end was I born, and for this cause came I 


into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth ' 
(John xviii. 37). 

* But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you 
the truth, which I have heard of God ' (John viii. 40). 

' The Jews answered, We have a law, and by our law he 
ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. . . . 
They cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify 
him ! Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your king? 
The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 
Then delivered he him therefore to be crucified. And 
they took Jesus, and led him away ' (John xix. 7-19). 

bb. Ibn Hisham, in narrating the attempt made by a 
Jewess in Khaibar to poison Mohammed, transcribes the 
following passage from Ibn Ishak, *Merwan Ibn Othman 
related to me that when Om Bishr visited Mohammed in his 
last illness, he said to her, " I feel now how my heart-artery 
is bursting in consequence of the bit I ate with thy son (or 
brother) Bishr at Khaibar." From this, let the Moslems 
infer that God, after having honoured Mohammed with the 
prophetic mission, also permitted him to die a martyr.' 
(I. I. and L H.) 

' According to a sound tradition, Aisha, the faithful, said, 
The Prophet used to utter the following magic sentence as a 
charm over the sick : 

Move far away this ill ! 
O Lord of men, do heal ! 
Thou art the healer sure : 
No cure, except thy cure ! 
God, with thy healing heal, 
That we relieved may feel. 

Whenever his Excellency was taken ill, he charmed himself 
with this spell, whilst passing his blessed hand over his noble 
body. During his last illness, when it had become very 
severe, I pronounced this prayer, and wanted to pass his 
blessed hand over his body ; but he drew his hand away 
from me and said, " May the Lord pardon me and join me 
with the higher companions " ' (R.) 

e. As the sufferings in their death were greater than 
other men's, so also is their reward. 

CH. I. 50, ej?i HE SHE WS GREA T DISTRESS, 363 

aa. ' And, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly : 
and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling 
down to the ground ' (Luke xxii. 44). 

'After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now 
accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I 
thirst,' etc. (John xix. 28-30.) 

* Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, 
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him 
a name which is above every name ' (Phil. ii. 8, 9). 

*He, for the joy that was set before him, endured the 
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand 
of the throne of God * (Heb. xii. 2). 

bb. ' It is recorded that Aisha, the faithful, related what 
follows : The Apostle of God showed much restlessness in 
his last illness ; unable to remain in his bed, he turned from 
one side to the other. We said to him, " O Apostle of God, 
if one of us, when ill, had shown such restlessness and wish 
for change, thou surely wouldst have been angry with us." 
To this his Excellency replied thus, " O Aisha, my illness is 
extremely painful : the truth is, that the Most High sends 
exceedingly painful and severe afflictions to the jjust and 
to the believers ; but that no affliction or trouble befalls 
the believer, without God, in return, raising him a degree 
higher and blotting out one of his sins." Aisha also said, 
*'I have never seen in any man a more painful and violent 
illness than the Prophet's." * 

Abu Sayid narrated, * When we went to the Prophet, he 
was covered with velvet, and we felt his fever-heat through 
that velvet ; and on account of that violent heat, we could 
not endure laying our hands on his blessed body ; and we, 
being astonished, said, " Great God, what fever is this ! " His 
Excellency answered, " There is no one more afflicted than a 
prophet : but just as their afflictions are multiplied, so also is 
their reward." The mother of Bishr Ibn Bara said, " I went 
to the apostle of God in his last illness, and finding him in 
an exceedingly hot fever, I said to him, ' O Apostle of God, 
thou hast a fever such as I have never seen in any one else.' 
His Excellency replied. On this account our reward also 
will be double that of other men." ' (R.) 


f. Their sufTerings and death are meritorious, taking away 
sin and helping all their people into Paradise or Heaven. 

aa. * We thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all 
dead ' (2 Cor. v. 14). 

' Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the 
tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteous- 
ness : by whose stripes ye were healed * (i Pet. ii. 24). 

'Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by 
the things which he suffered ; and being made perfect, he 
became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that 
obey him ' (Heb. v. 8, 9). 

bb, *It is an accredited tradition that Abd Allah Ibn 
Masud said, I went to the Apostle of God, when the fever 
had seized him ; and, on laying my hand upon his face, it 
was so burning hot that my hand could not bear it I 
said, " O Apostle of God, thou hast a wonderfully hot fever." 
His Excellency responded, " Yes, and the truth is, that the 
violence of my fever is as great as that of any two of you, 
suffering from fever, put together." I said again, " O Apostle 
of God, then thou acquirest also a double merit and reward." 
His Excellency rejoined, " Yes, so it is ; and by that God in 
whose mighty hand my soul is, no one suffers pain or 
affliction from illness or anything else, without casting off 
his sins, like a tree in autumn casts off its leaves." 

* When Bilal, soon after Mohammed's death, sounded the 
call for prayer and thereby caused a universal weeping in 
Medina, he added, " O friends, for you are these glad tidings 
that every eye which weeps for his Excellency, the apostle, 
shall never see hell-fire." It is known that this virtue is not 
confined to his Excellency's contemporaries, but we have the 
hope that it extends to all believing people, until the day of 
the resurrection, if, touched and moved by that prince's death, 
they weep over his trouble and departure, they all reap the 
same benefit, for it is established that his death is the calamity 
of the entire people.^ Ibn Abbas declares, I heard the Prophet 
say, " Every one of my people who loses two children by 
death will, at God's behest, be taken to Paradise, when he dies, 
by those two precursors." Aisha said, " But if only one child 

^ Compare with this the word of Jesus : ' Weep not for me, but weep for 
yourselves, and for your children " (Luke xxiii. 28). 


has died, what then ? " The Prophet answered, " Then the one 
precursor shall be reckoned for two." Aisha asked again, 
" But if any one has had no precursor at all, what then ? " 
The Prophet answered, "Then I am in the stead of the 
precursor, that is, I am my entire people's precursor (taking 
them to Paradise), so that no such calamity is to befall them, 
as the calamity of my own death." ' (R.) 

g. In their suffering of death Satan had no power over 

aa, 'Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the 
prince of this world cometh,^ and hath nothing in me ' 
(John xiv. 30). 

bb, ' When Om Bishr visited Mohammed in his last 
illness, he asked her, " O Om Bishr, what do the people say 
about my illness ? " She replied, " They say that thou hast 
the pleurisy." Upon this, his Excellency said, "It is not 
consistent with the goodness and kindness of the Most High 
to let that illness seize on His Prophet The illness thou 
hast mentioned arises from Satanic influences ; but Satan 
has no power over me. My illness is the effect of the poisoned 
meat I ate in Khaibar, together with thy son." ' (R.) 

A. Their death-agonies were so extreme, that in their 
distress they called out aloud after God. 

aa, * Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over 
all the land unto the ninth hour ; and about the ninth hour 
Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli ! Eli 1 lama sabach- 
thani? that is to say, My God! my Godl why hast thou 
forsaken me? .... Jesus, when he had cried out with a 
loud voice, yielded up the ghost ' (Matt, xxvii. 45-50). 

bb. * It is reported that the death-struggle of that Excel- 
lency was so painful and violent, that he at times turned 
red ; at times, pale ; sometimes pulled away his right hand, 
sometimes his left ; and that his illustrious face streamed 
with the sweat of death ; and he dipped his blessed hand 
into a cup of water standing there, to moisten his face, and 

^ It is undoubted that the * prince of the world/ here, means Satan. Never- 
theless, the Mohammedans sometimes quote this verse as one of the passages in 
which the coming of Mohammed, as both a prophet and a worldly ruler, has 
been foretold. 


called out, *'0 God, help me against the death-struggle! 
O God, help me against the death-struggle ! " or, according 
to another account, " There is no God but Allah : but there 
is struggle in death." Aisha, the faithful, said, " After having 
seen his Excellency yielding up his soul with so much 
violence, I never longed again to be of those who yield up 
the soul with ease ; for if it were best to yield up the soul 
easily, the Almighty would have chosen such an easy death 
for His Prophet" ' (R.) 

i The fact of their death was indubitably established by 
the state of their body. 

aa. * Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the 
first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But 
when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, 
they break not his legs : but one of the soldiers with a spear 
pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and 
water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is 
true ; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might 
believe ' (John xix. 32-35). 

bb. * It is recorded that some of the hypocrites of Medina 
said, " If Mohammed had been a prophet, he would not have 
died." Omar Ibn Khattab drew his sword, placed himself 
before the door of the mosque, and said, " I shall cut in two 
any one who says that his Excellency the Prophet has died." 
On account of this word of Omar, the people doubted 
whether that Excellency was really dead. Thereupon Asma, 
the daughter of Amish, examined that Excellency's back 
between his shoulders with her hand, but no longer found 
the seal of prophetship in its place, so she said, " Of a truth, 
that prince has migrated from this present world ; for the 
seal of prophetship has disappeared from its place." With 
this word Asma convinced a number of the companions of 
the fact of that Excellency's real death.' (R.) 

j\ Their death was accompanied by extraordinary pheno- 
mena, and its effects reached even to the invisible world of 

aa, * Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voicfe, 
yielded up the ghost And, behold, the veil of the temple 
was rent in twain from the top to the bottom ; and the 


earth did quake, and the rocks rent ; and the graves were 
opened ; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 
and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went 
into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now, when the 
centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw 
the earthquake, and those things that were done, they 
feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God* 
(Matt xxvii. 50-54). 

bb, * When the angel of death was admitted into Moham- 
med's chamber, he said, " Peace be with thee, O Prophet : 
the Most High sends thee greeting, and has commanded me 
not to take thy spirit, except with thy permission." That 
prince answered, " O angel of death, I have something to 
ask of thee ; " and, on being requested to say what it was, 
his Excellency continued, " It is this : that thou shouldest 
not take my spirit until Gabriel has first come again to me." 
Then God addressed the angel who has the power over 
hell, saying, " Exting^uish hell-fire ; for they are now going 
to bring the pure spirit of Mohammed my beloved to 
heaven." He also said to the black-eyed houris, "Adorn 
yourselves ; for Mohammed's spirit is coming." An order 
was issued to the angels of the Kingdom and to the dwellers 
in the strong places of the highest Ruler to this effect, " Arise 
and stand in lines ; Mohammed's spirit is coming." And to 
Gabriel this behest was given, "Go down to the earth, to 
Mohammed my beloved, and take to him a handkerchief of 
Sindis-silk." Then Gabriel went his way weeping, and on 
his arrival, that prince said to him, " O my friend, thou hast 
left me so long alone." Gabriel answered, " O Mohammed, 
I bring thee the glad tidings that the dames have been 
extinguished, the spirits have dressed, and the black-eyed 
houris have adorned themselves, and the angels have formed 
lines, to meet thy spirit." His Excellency said, " All these 
are good things : but tell me something wherewith to cheer 
up my soul." Gabriel responded thus, "The truth is, that 
until thou and thy people have entered Paradise, Paradise 
will be forbidden to all other prophets and their people." 
Mohammed said, " Give me yet more of these glad tidings.' 
Gabriel continued in these words, " O Mohammed, God has 
counted thee worthy of several things which He has not 


given to any other prophet, namely, the pond of nectar, the 
lauded place, the intercession on the day of the resurrection ; 
and then He will also give thee so many of thy people that 
thou shalt be content and pleased." His Excellency replied, 
" Lo, now I am pleased and rejoiced, and my eyes are full of 
light" Then he turned to the angel of death and said, 
"Come now and perform the service with which thou art 

' Aisha related : " When his spirit quitted the body, there 
was observed such a sweet fragrance as had never before 
been perceived by any of the Meccan travellers." Ali is 
reported to have said : I heard a voice from heaven saying, 
" O Mohammed ! " It is also narrated that when the awful 
event had happened, the males and females of the Prophet's 
household heard a voice from the comer of the house, saying, 
" Peace be with you, ye inmates of the house, and the mercy 
and blessing of God ! Know and understand that with God 
there is a comfort for every affliction, and a successor for 
every one dead : therefore trust in the highest Lord and turn 
to Him, but do not wail and lament; for in truth, the 
unfortunate person is he who has not yet been rewarded by 
the Almighty." On Ali, the well-beloved, asking them, " Do 
you know at all whose the voice is that you have just 
heard?" the companions answered "No." Then Ali con- 
tinued, " It is the voice of a messenger from the unseen 
world who has come to comfort us." ' (R.) 

k. They were expected not to succumb to the power of 
death or remain in its grasp. 

aa, * We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth 
for ever: and how sayest thou. The Son of man must be 
lifted up ? " (John xii. 34.) 

' Now the next day, that followed the day of the prepara- 
tion, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto 
Pilate, ' saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, 
while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until 
the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him 
away, and say unto the people. He is risen from the dead 
so the last error shall be worse than the first Pilate said 

CH. 1. 50, k,] OMAR ADMITS HIS DEA TH, 369 

unto them, Ye have a watch : go your way, make it as sure 
as ye can ' (Matt, xxvii. 62-65). 

* Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, 
and to rise from the dead the third day ' (Luke xxiv. 44-46). 

bb. Ibn Ishak states on the authority of Zuhri and Said 
that Abu Horeira narrated as follows : * When Mohammed 
had died, Omar rose up and said, " Some hypocrites affirm 
that Mohammed has died : but, by God, Mohammed has 
not died, but has gone to his Lord like Moses, Amram's son, 
who remained away from his people for forty days and then 
returned, after he had already been announced dead. By 
Allah, the Apostle of God will also come back again like 
Moses, and cut off the hands and feet of those who pro- 
nounced him dead." Then Abu Bekr, on having received 
tidings, came to the door of the mosque, whilst Omar was 
speaking to the people. He looked at no one, but went 
straight into Aisha's room, where Mohammed lay in a corner, 
covered with a striped cloak. He approached him, uncovered 
his face, kissed it, and said, " Thou art dearer to me than 
father and mother: thou hast now tasted death, as God 
decreed ; but after this death, thou wilt be immortal." Then 
he again covered his face with the cloak, went out, and said 
to Omar, who was still speaking, " Gently, Omar, listen to 
me ! " Omar refused, and continued speaking. Abu Bekr 
seeing this, turned himself to the people, and they, as soon 
as they heard his voice, left Omar, and listened to him. Abu 
Bekr, after praising God, said, "O ye people, whoever 
adored Mohammed, let him know that he is dead : but 
whoever adores God, knows that He still lives and will never 
die." Then he read out this verse, " Mohammed is only an 
apostle, other apostles have passed away before him : will 
ye turn on your heels, when he dies or is slain ? " And, by 
Allah, it was as if the people had known nothing of the 
revelation of this verse, till Abu Bekr read it out on that 
day. The people then accepted it of Abu Bekr, and still 
quote it.' Abu Horeira also stated that Omar said, ' By 
Allah, as soon as I heard Abu Bekr read out this verse, I 
was quite overcome, so that my legs would no longer carry 
me, and I fell down : then I knew that the Apostle of God 
had died/ (L L) 



/. They each received an honourable burial, their friends 
preparing their body, wrapping it in fine linen, and, with an 
ample use of costly spices, depositing it in a new sepulchre. 

aa. ' In that she hath poured this ointment on my body, 
she did it for my burial ' (Matt xxvi. 12). 

' There came also Nicodemus, and brought a mixture of 
myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight Then 
took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes 
with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now 
in the place where he was crucified there was a garden ; and 
in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet 
laid : there laid they Jesus ' (John xix. 39-42). 

' The women returned, and prepared spices and ointments ; 
and rested the sabbath-day, according to the commandment 
Now, upon the first day of the week, very early in the 
morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices 
which they had prepared, and certain others with them : 
and they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre ' 
(Luke xxiii. 55 — xxiv. 2). 

66. * Abd Allah Ibn Masud narrated : We asked Moham- 
med in his last illness, who was to wash him after death, 
and he replied, "Those males of my household who are 
nearest to me ; " and our question, how he was to be 
shrouded, he answered thus, " If you like, you can shroud 
me in the linen I now wear, or in Egyptian linen, or in 
Yemen-vestment, or in white linen." When we asked him 
who was to say the prayers over him, we began to weep, 
and he also wept Then he said, " After having washed 
and shrouded me, and laid me on one side of my grave in 
this room,^ then go out and leave me for a while alone: 
the person who will say the prayers over me is to be my 
friend Gabriel, next him Michael, next him Asrafel, and 
next him Azrael, together with a vast host of angels." 
When we asked him again, " Who is to lower thy blessed 
body into the grave?" he replied, "A great congregation 

^ That this reference to Aisha*s room is a bare invention can almost with 
certainty be inferred from Ibn Ishak*s narrative, according to which there 
was a dispute as to whether he was to be interred in the common burying-plaoe, 
or in the mosque : for such a dispute could not have arisen, had he himself, 
during his illness, designated the chamber in which he was lying as the place 
where his grave was to be. 


of angels, together with the people of my house, are to 
lower me : and those angels will see you, but you will not 
see them." ' (R.) 

* On Tuesday, after the oath of allegiance to Abu Bekr 
had been taken, preparations were made for Mohammed's 
funeral. Ali washed him, leaning him against his own 
breast ; Abbas and his sons helped to turn him over, Osama 
and Shokran poured water upon him. Mohammed had his 
under-clothing on, and Ali rubbed him over it, without his 
hand touching the body, saying, " How fair art thou, both 
living and dead ! " Nothing was observed in Mohammed 
that is seen in other dead bodies. Yahya narrated on the 
authority of his father Abbad, that. Aisha said, "When 
Mohammed was to be washed, they were not agreed as to 
whether he was to be undressed like other corpses, or to be 
washed with his clothes on. Then God let them all fall 
asleep, so that their chins sank down on their breasts ; and 
then some unknown voice from the side of the house said, 
" Wash the Prophet in his robes." Then they washed him 
in his under-clothes, pouring the water upon them, and 
rubbing him, so that the clothes were between him and their 
hands. After being washed, he was wrapt in three cloths, 
two of white Sohar and a striped cloak, and laid upon his 
bed in his dwelling. When there was a dispute as to where 
he was to be buried, some wishing it to be in the mosque, 
others, with his companions ; Abu Bekr said, I have heard 
Mohammed say, " Every prophet is to be buried on the spot 
where he dies." Then they lifted up the carpet on which 
Mohammed had died, and dug his grave underneath. Mo- 
hammed was buried in the middle of the night from 
Tuesday to Wednesday.* (I. I.) 

' It is also narrated that, after the washing, a few drops 
of water remained in the corner of that Excellency's eye 
and in the hollow of his navel, which Ali the well-beloved 
drank, and these drops of water, drunk by him, caused his 
extraordinary knowledge and memory. After that, they 
shrouded the Lord of the world in three white cotton 
cloths, none of which was either a shirt or turban-cloth. 
According to another account, that prince's winding-sheets 
were two white linen cloths and a striped piece of Yemen- 


cloth. They also scattered musk and spices on his winding- 
sheet and on his prayer-place. And it is said that Gabriel 
brought the spices for that prince from Paradise.' (R.) 

m. Their sacred tomb had been the subject of a previous 
Divine revelation. 

aa, * For he was cut off from the land of the living, on 
account of the transgression of my people : stricken for 
them. And they appointed his grave with the wicked, but 
[he was] with the rich in his death; because he had done 
no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth' (Isa. 
liii. 8, 9, according to the original). 

*When the even was come, there came a rich man of 
Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' 
disciple : he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 
Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And 
when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean 
linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had 
hewn out in the rock : and he rolled a great stone to the 
door of the sepulchre, and departed ' (Matt xxvii. 57-60). 

bb. * It is recorded of Aisha, the faithful, that she narrated 
as follows: I once saw in a dream, during the Prophet's 
lifetime, that three moons came down from heaven into my 
room. I communicated this to my father, Abu Bekr, and he 
said, " Please God, it will prove an omen for good." Then 
he asked me, " My daughter, how dost thou interpret it } ** 
I answered, "I interpret it as signifying that I shall have 
three sons by the Prophet" To this Abu Bekr did not 
make any observation. Afterwards, when they had interred 
his Excellency in my room, Abu Bekr said to me, "O 
Aisha, this is one of the three moons which thou sawest 
in thy dream, and the best of them." * (R.) 

n. Devoted friends visited their tomb, and there received 
supernatural revelations, showing that even after death they 
were still living. 

aa. ' In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn 
towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, 
and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there 
was a great earthquake : for the angel of the Lord descended 


from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the 
door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, 
and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the 
keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the 
angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye ; for 
I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not 
here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place 
where the Lord lay ; and go quickly, and tell his disciples 
that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth 
before you into Galilee ; there shall ye see him : lo, I have 
told you' (Matt, xxviii. 1-7). 

bb, ' Many of Mohammed's companions, after his death, 
chose to remain in Medina, in order to derive comfort from 
visiting his grave. When they had any difficulty, they used 
to come and stand over-against his sepulchre, and then were 
caused to hear an answer from that Excellency, solving their 
difficulties : to some of them it was given to hear it with the 
ears of their body ; to others with the ears of their soul. 
That prince's sepulchre was exceedingly bright and 
extremely light and shining. Those who did not see his 
Excellency openly, but merely his illumined tomb, used 
to bear witness that he who lies in that tomb must be a 
prophet So it is narrated that once an Arab came upon 
that prince's tomb, and seeing it illumined, he called out on 
the spot, " I testify that there is no God but Allah ; and I 
testify that Mohammed is His servant and His apostle." 
On being asked how he had known that this was a prophet's 
tomb, that Arab swore, " I had never seen this grave, and 
did not know whose it was, but a Divine inspiration reached 
my heart, and I anon knew it beyond a doubt" 

* It is recorded of Ali, the Emir of the believers, that he 
gave this account : Three days after his Excellency's funeral 
there came an Arab, who threw himself down upon that 
prince's grave, and took a handful of earth from it, casting it 
on his own head, and then called out, " O Apostle of God, 
thou hast spoken it, from thee we have heard it, thou hast 
received it from God, and we have received it from thee, and 
it is derived from those who came down to thee, that noble 
verse, * And if they have darkened their souls, let them come 
unto thee 1 ' I have brought darkness on my soul : but I 


am come to thee as a confounded, bewildered sinner, that 
thou mayest ask pardon for me of the Most High." Then 
there came forth a voice from that Excellency's tomb, 
saying three times, *' Thou hast been pardoned, thou hast 
been pardoned." 

* All the Ulemas are agreed that to visit the tomb of the 
Apostle of God is a solemn duty and an acceptable virtue ; 
and that it is very meritorious. It is recorded that his 
Excellency said, "Whoever visits my tomb, to him my 
intercession is due on the day of the resurrection ; " or, 
according to another account, "Whoever visits my tomb, 
his advocate and witness I shall be on the day of the 
resurrection." He also said, "Whoever visits my tomb 
after my death, it shall be all the same to him as if he 
had visited me in my lifetime." ' ^ (Rawzat.) 

^ The attentive reader will probably have found the apparent parallels between 
the lives of Christ and Mohammed, which this chapter has brought before his 
eyes, far too close and numerous to be considered accidental. It seems really 
difficult to avoid arriving at the conviction that, where there appears a sameness 
or rivalry between both these extraordinary characters of histoiy, and seeing 
that the antecedent cannot imitate the subsequent : the later biography can 
only be a designed, though more or less disguised, copy of the earlier. Such a 
conclusion must appear all the more justified, by the traces we have discovered 
of Mohanmied expressly referring to Christian precedents, as the cause and 
model for his own institutions, see e,g, p. 332. Now if this fact is duly pondered, 
that Mohammed is represented as having dared, directly or indirectly, to usurp 
to himself the known position of Jesus Christ, the God -man Saviour, the avowed 
Mediator between God and man : then he appears in the full light of an Anti- 
christ. It can also no longer surprise us, but must appear quite natural, if we 
find that Islam, the system he initiated, ruthlessly destroyed every vestige of 
Christianity in Arabia, and that, in the course of its foreign conquests, it speedily 
invaded Palestine, the land of its birth ; Asia Minor, the field of St. Paurs 
labours ; Egypt, the early seat of Christian anchorites and learned divines ; 
North Afiica, where St. Augustin had long been a burning and a shining 
light ; and even Constantinople, the capital of the first Christian monarch, and 
the locality of the earliest Councils of the Church. As Mohammed tried to 
usurp the place of Christ, in a religious sense, so the Mohammedan worid has 
laboured, during successive centuries, to displace Christendom, as a dominant 
Factor of History. 



Remark : If the place assigned to these sketches suggests 
their strong mythical colouring by Tradition, this is 
not meant to affirm that they may not comprise much 
which is really historical. Free scope is left to the 
reader's own tact and taste to discriminate between the 
historical and the mythical./' All the sketches and their 
headings are translated from the popular Biography, 
Rawzat'Ul-Akbab (i,e, the Flower-garden of Friends), 
which is an elaborate collection of the records and tradi- 
tions concerning the Life of Mohammed, for the edification 
and enjoyment of the Mussulman believers. The reader 
will bear in mind, that, as in the preceding Chapter, so 
also in this, he reads the statements of Moslem writers./ 

I. — ^Physical Qualities and Moral Virtues of the Lord 

OF THE World. 

(i.) MohammecFs Bodily or Physical Qualities, 

Respecting that prince's stature, appearance, and limbs, 
the biographers and traditionists communicate that his body, 
like the bodies of his successors, was of a middle size, whose 
perfect limbs and members were indications of the complete 
moderation of his dispositions. Although his blessed stature 
was of middle height, yet, whenever he was walking with 
tall people, he appeared taller than they ; and whenever he 
sat in an assembly, he was the greatest of those present. 
That blessed prince's head was large, and yet was he not 
big-headed. His head-hair was black, yet it was not very 
frizzled or very dangling, but just right ; and his musk- 
scented curls were hanging down sometimes to the middle 


or end of his ear, and sometimes to his shoulders. At times 
/ also his hair was parted into four parts and then left to 
itself. His blessed forehead was open. His eyebrows ap- 
peared to be joined to each other, but were not really so. 
There were two veins between his eyebrows, which filled and 
became visible when he was angry. His bright eyes were 
the essence of lustre and beauty. Their black part was 
exceedingly black and their white part exceedingly white ; 
and there appeared red veins in the white and in the black 
of his blessed eyes. He was almond-eyed. His power of 
sight was such that he could see as well in the dark as in the 
(light His blessed cheeks were not higher than his cheek- 
bones. His blessed nose was not longer than is usual, and a 
light encircled it ; but if any one looked at it without reflec- 
• tion, he might regard his nasal bone as exceedingly long, 
though in reality it was not so. His blessed mouth was open, 
but exceedingly graceful ; and his good teeth were white and 
shining, with thin, sharp ends. The space between his teeth 
was open, so that when he spoke, it appeared as if light was 
flowing forth from between them. His blessed face was 
radiant and round, shining like the moon when it is a fort- 
night old. His complexion was not excessively white, but 
inclined a little to redness ; but his body was so super- 
latively white and luminous that it looked as if it had been 
newly (Jast of silver. His blessed beard was thick, and his 
neck high and exceedingly clear, as if it were of silver, or a 
gazelle's neck. The space between his blessed shoulders was 
grand ; his hateless bosom broad, his abdomen and chest were 
uniform and even ; and from his chest, full of rest, down to 
his navel there was drawn a thin line of hair, while the other 
parts of the chest and stomach were hairless, although there 
was hair on his blessed arms and shoulders and the upper 
part of his chest. The ends of the bones of his limbs were 
large. His blessed body was firm, and not flabby. His 
wrists were long, his hands open and softer than silk. His 
thighs were not without fineness ; and his fingers and toes 
were long and strong. On his heels there was not much 
flesh. The sole of his feet was bent up and not equal with 
the ground. The back of his foot was even and soft. 
There was on him nothing broken or cleft, so that no water 


could stand upon him. In short, all the limbs and members 
of that Excellency were regular and perfect ; and those who 
described that prince said, that they had never seen his equal 
either before or after him. Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet 
never sat opposite the sun or a light, without outshining 
them by his own light.^ 

The seal of prophetship was between his two shoulder- 
blades, or, according to another account, upon the left 
shoulder-blade. It consisted of a lump of flesh, about one 
handful in quantit}^ around which there appeared moles of 
the size of peas. According to another account, the words 
'Mohammed the Apostle of God,' were written upon it* 
The perspiration from that seal was superlatively fragrant. 
Uns Ibn Malik narrates that when the Prophet of God had 
passed through one of the streets of Medina, the people 
knew it, from the scent of musk he left behind. 

(2.) Mokammeds Mental Qualities. 

As Mohammed the chosen was commanded in the Koran 
to follow the other prophets, he united in himself all their 
several virtues by which they had each been distinguished,' 
namely, the gratitude of Noah, the meekness of Abraham, 
the sincerity of Moses, the trustworthiness of Ishmael, the 
patience of Jacob and Job, the penitence of David, the 
humility of Solomon, and the abstinence of Jesus. When 
Aisha the faithful was once asked what had been the Pro- 
phet's practice, she replied, * The Koran ; that is, he carried 
out those commands and prohibitions, those good qualities 
and manners which are known from the Koran.' The good 

^ 'W^o is not here reminded of passages like Ps. xlv. 2, and Cant. v. 10? 

' Even admitting the existence of some such physical peculiarity, there 
plsunly was no connection between it and the proofe of his prophetship, except 
the genuineness of its superscription be granted, which, however, the Moslems 
themselves allow to rest upon ' weak ' tradition. This last-mentioned tradition 
only proves the activity of the Mohammedan imagination to discover or invent 
tokens in support of their Prophet's claims. 

' This sentence furnishes a key for the explanation of much of the marvellous 
which enters into the constitution of the Prophet's mythical character. Once 
admitting that he was a real prophet, nay, the last and best of the prophets, he 
had also to resemble or surpass them in word and deed. This necessity must 
have been felt both by Mohammed himself and his adherents. Thus the door 
became widely open for the play of fancy and the flow of fiction. 


manners of that prince were such, that he never grieved 
any one of his friends and servants. Uns Ibn Malik says, 
* I served that prince for ten years, both at home and on 
journeys, and he never said to me, " Why didst thou do this ? 
or why didst thou not do that ? " that is to say, whenever I 
was at fault in my service, he never slapped my face, saying, 
" Why didst thou do this ? or why didst thou not do that ? " ' 
Aisha the faithful declared, * No one had better manners 
than the Prophet of God : to any one calling him by his 
name, he would answer, " Here am I." He always accom- 
modated himself to his friends : when they spoke of the 
the world, he did the same ; and if they mentioned the next 
world, he joined them in that ; and if they laughed at what 
had been done in the days of ignorance, he would likewise 
smile/ Once when Aisha the faithful was asked how the 
Prophet had lived in his family, she replied, ' Like other 
men : he would help in sweeping the house, he would sew 
his clothes, mend his sandals, give water to the camels, 
milk the sheep, assist the servants in their work, take his 
meals together with them, and himself fetch the necessary 
things from the market' 

Hasan Ibn Ali narrates : * When I asked my father how 
the Prophet spent his time in his own house, he answered, 
" He divided his time into three parts : one he devoted to 
the service of God, the other to inquiring after the members 
of his household, and the third to his own private wants ; 
and sometimes he also employed a portion of the latter part 
by improving the state of the people, and instructing the 
leading men amongst them." ' 

Hosein Ibn Ali narrates : ' When I asked my father how 
the Prophet lived in public, he answered, "He kept his 
tongue from what is unprofitable, conciliated and pleased his 
companions, and did not offend them. He treated the 
honourable men of the people with distinction, and gave to 
the people their due. He never neglected good manners, 
duly saluted his companions, and inquired after their state. 
He approved of what was good, and condemned what was 
bad. Those nearest to him were the best of the people ; 
and the most honoured those who were most benevolent to 
the Mussulmans."' In reply to my question after his 


Excellency's conduct in assemblies, my father said, ^He 
never sat down or rose in an assembly, without mentioning 
the name of God ; and in going to an assembly, he always 
sat down in any place which he found vacant, and enjoined 
also upon his friends to do the same. He gave to every one 
present what was due to him, and treated all with respect and 
honour. When any one had an interview and conversation 
with him, he had patience till it was over, without occupying 
himself with his own concerns. Whoever asked help of him 
was sure to be relieved, or, at least comforted with kind words. 
He showed such kindness to the people, as if he was the father 
of them all. In the administration of justice he was no 
respecter of persons : his council-chamber was a place of 
knowledge, modesty, patience, and faithfulness. No one was 
allowed to raise his voice high in his council ; and if any of 
those present was guilty of a fault, he would not expose but 
conceal it. These councils were all virtue and piety, where 
the great were honoured, the small had mercy shown them, 
and the absent and needy were protected.' 

It is recorded that the abstinence of that prince was such 
that if the entire world had been offered unto him, he would 
not have looked at it; and when he departed from this 
world, his armour had been pawned to a Jew ; and for three 
successive days his stomach did not taste bread. It is likewise 
recorded that, for two days in succession, he could not satisfy 
himself with barley-bread. It might happen in the Prophet's 
family that no fire was lit for a whole month, but that they 
lived upon dates and water. So also it could happen that his 
Excellency laid himself down at night hungry, when on the 
following day he was going to fast ; and yet, if he had asked 
for it, God would have given him more than could enter 
any one's imagination. ^ It is recorded that Gabriel once 
came to that apostle and said, * Verily, the Most High sends 
thee greeting, and lets thee know that if thou desirest it, I 
am to convert these mountains of Mecca into gold and silver, 

^ In this whole account of the Prophet's abstinence and poverty, it must not 
be forgotten that, as the climax and sum-total of all the previous prof^iets, 
Mohammed had necessarily to be represented as participating in the privations 
of previous messengers of God, all the more so, as this was not quite a matter of 
course in the husband of a wealthy merchant lady or the ruling chief of a 


for thy sake ; and that they should accompany thee wherever 
thou mayest go/ When that prince heard these words from 
Gabriel, he lowered his head and reflected for a while. Then 
he raised his blessed head, and said, * O Gabriel, this world is 
the house of those who have no house (viz. in heaven) ; the 
wealth of those who have no wealth (viz. of a spiritual, eternal 
kind) : the foolish only make it their portion. ' ^ 

That Excellency's humility was so great that, when he was 
sitting in an assembly, he would not extend his blessed 
knees beyon3 the knees of those who sat by him ; that he 
greeted those he met and was first in shaking hands ; and 
that he never stretched out his legs before his companions, 
or made the place narrow for any one. He showed regard 
and honour to those coming to the assemblies ; and some- 
times would let them sit upon his own cushion. He would 
mention his companions by their patronymics and call them 
by the names they liked best. He never interrupted another 
in speaking ; and if any one in need came to him, whilst he 
was at prayer, he W9uld shorten his prayers, help the 
person, and afterwards complete his prayers. Ibn Malik 
narrates that once, when that Excellency was accosted by a 
woman in one of the streets of Medina, he said, * In what- 
ever street of Medina thou likest, thou mayest sit down, and 
I also will sit down and attend to thy affair.' At another 
time, a little slave-girl of Medina took that Excellency's 
hand and put it wherever she liked. On account of his 
exceeding great humility and unceremoniousness, he would 
sit down, lie, and sleep on the dry earth, would accept an 
invitation from a slave, even to dry barley-bread. 

His kindness^ liberality^ and generosity^ were such that he 
never sent any beggar empty away from his door. Once a 
Bedouin begged something from that Excellency, and he 
gave him so many sheep that they filled the space between 
two mountains ; and when the said Bedouin returned to his 
people, he addressed them thus, * O my friends, turn ye 

^ Observe the tendency in this story of outshining the self-denying abstinence 
of Christ. Whilst He only declines an offer of Satan, and rejects the wealth of 
the world, already in the hands of others, Mohammed declines an offer of the 
Almighty, made to him through the angel Gabriel, and refuses mountains of gold 
and silver, which he could have had without dispossessing others of what they 
claimed as their own. 


Mussulmans ; for Mohammed gives such gifts as will put an 
end to poverty and fear.' It is related that, on the day of 
Honein, he gave away so much wealth to the people that 
they were astounded, and that it became the cause of 
several leading men from amongst the Koreish embracing 
Islam ; for they said to themselves, * He gives so many 
presents that a person can no longer dread poverty, but must 
feel confident that God will never let him want, but provide 
for his sustenance.*^ It is creditably narrated that once some 
one came to his Excellency to ask for something, and that 
he gave this reply, ' At the present moment nothing remains 
in my hand : but buy whatever thou desirest and put it to 
my account ; and as soon as anything comes to my hand I will 
defray the debt' On another occasion, when 100,000 dirhems 
were brought to that Excellency, he had them all forthwith 
poured out on a mat and divided amongst the people, so that, 
on rising up, not a single dirhem remained in his hand. 

The meekness of that prince was such that he endured 
all the persecution from relatives and strangers without a 
thought of revenge, but rather blessing them for it * Abd 
er Rahman said, * The Apostle of God was the meekest and 
most patient of the people, and could better suppress his 
anger than any of them.' Uns Ibn Malik narrates that when 
he was once sitting in the mosque with a number of his 
companions, and had wrapped himself in a mantle of Nejran, 
there suddenly came a Bedouin, seized that cloak, and so 
pulled at it that that prince's blessed shoulder touched the 
Bedouin's breast, and the edge of the cloak left a mark on 
that Excellency's blessed bosom. His Excellency looked at 
the Bedouin, and said, *What wilt thou?' The Bedouin 
answered, 'Command that some part of the wealth thou 
possessest may be given to me.' His Excellency then ordered 
that something should be given him. Men of research have 
remarked that the persecutions did not affect that Excellency, 
because his mind and eye were looking towards God and 
regarding His favour. 

' Thus one of the main causes is pointed out of the rapid and wide spread of 
early Mohammedanism. Here the motto was not ' Forsake all, and follow me,' 
but ' Follow me, and you shall share in the riches of the world.' 

' The eulogist is here strangely oblivious of a very different conduct with 
which the First Book of this work has acquainted us, see e.g, p. 98. 


That Excellency counted it incumbent on himself to 
fulfil engagements^ and he never broke a promise. It is related 
that once, before his mission, he sold something to some one, 
and that this person, not having the whole price with him, 
said to his Excellency, ' Stop here, till I go and fetch the 
remainder of what I have to pay.' Then that person went 
away, but forgot all about his promise, till after three days, 
when it came back to his mind, and he at once took what 
he was owing and still found his Excellency in his former 
place, only saying to him, * Young man, thou hast put me 
to inconvenience : for on account of thy promise I have 
been waiting here ever since.* 

In courage and bravery no one could equal that prince. 
Uns Ibn Malik affirmed, * The Apostle of God is the best of 
men, the bravest of men, and the most generous of men.' 
Ali Ibn Abu Talib said, ' In the day of battle we put our 
trust in that Excellency, and he was nearer the enemy than 
all of us.* Omran Ibn Hasin states, * Each time when, in 
battle, we came upon hostile troops, the first who went 
amongst the enemies and laid hands on them, was that prince.' 
In the battle of Honein, as is reported, that Excellency went 
alone and single-handed against 4000 enemies and charged 
them. It is also established that, one night, the report 
reached Medina that a well-armed body of enemies were 
approaching the town with the intent of plundering it, so 
that the people became much frightened and distressed ; but 
that Excellency girded on his sword, mounted a horse with- 
out saddle, and went out before all the rest of the people ; 
and, after having ascertained the causelessness of the alarm, 
he returned, saying to his friends who went out after him, 
* Fear not ; for that report is unfounded.' 

Of that Excellency's bashfulness and modesty the recorder 
records, *The Apostle of God was more bashful than a 
virgin in her veil.' Owing to his great modesty, a change 
would come over his face, when he saw anything loathsome 
in a person, though without remarking upon it to that person. 

In the enumeration of the Prophet's qualities it is declared 
that his heart was kind to creatures, his bosom joyous, and 
yet always weeping from the fear of God ; that he was high 
in sadness and great in hope, remembering favours always, 


and wrongs only a short while ; he was of a kindly disposi- 
tion and noble acts, keeping secrets hid, and yet the confidant 
of heaven ; he was amicable, meek, affectionate, and tender, 
a lover of hospitality, benevolent, wise, assiduous in the 
cause of God, a fulfiller of promises, a diligent servant of 
God, and one seeking after Divine approval. ^ 

II. — Habits of the Prince of Princes. 
(i.) His Habits in regard to Dress. 

Be it known that his Excellency's mode of dressing was 
not rigid and fashionable, but that he only wore a shirt, 
drawers, a kerchief, a jacket, a marked and plain cloth, a 
tunic, a fur, leather socks, and a pair of easy sandals. His 
cloth was generally of cotton material, and his noble com- 
panions adopted the same material. Sometimes they also 
wore wool, or linen. That Excellency valued and liked the 
striped cloth of Herat above any other. Of all the articles 
of clothing that prince loved the shirt best. Of colours 
he generally preferred the white, saying, *Wear ye white 
clothes : they are the most blessed and pure ; and wrap also 
your dead in white winding-sheets.' He forbade the men to 
wear purely red or purely yellow clothes. But he himself 
wore red-spotted, green-spotted, and black-spotted clothes, 
and approved and admired the green. 

He desired that every one, in putting on a new article of 
dress, should recite this prayer, * Praise be to God who has 
clothed me with this dress, and has provided it for me, with- 
out my efforts and strength ; ' and he affirmed that, by using 
this prayer, every one shall have all his past and future sins 
forgiven. On Fridays he mostly wore a new dress. In 
putting on a new dress, he began on the right side; and 
in putting it off, on the left side ; and when he had taken 
a new dress into use, he gave the old one to some poor man. 

Round his blessed head he wound a white cloth in the 

^ The candid student of Mohammed's historical character can hardly fail to 
be immediately struck with the gross exaggeration in these fulsome eulogies. 
They suggest the idea that the eulogists laboured under the apprehension that, 
if they did not expressly ascribe certain virtues to their hero, there might be 
reason to suspect him of the correlative vices, e,g, in lauding his basbfulness 
and continence. 


form of a turban, of which he sometimes let the end dangle 
down between his blessed shoulders. He wore the turban 
either over a white cap, or without it ; and at times contented 
himself with the white cap only. Occasionally he also wore 
a black turban, e,g.y as some say, on the day of the conquest 
of Mecca. The biographers indeed do not state the exact 
length of his turban-cloth, but a number of Hanifa Imams 
affirm that, for every day, it was seven ells, and for Fridays 
and feast-days, twelve ells long. .When he anointed his 
blessed head, he covered it with a towel, lest any of the 
unguent should soil his other clothes. 

Uns Ibn Malik narrates that that prince often only wore 
a shirt and a cloth over it. The shirt-sleeves reached to 
his wrists or to the top of his fingers, and were rather wide. 
The shirts were either with or without buttons. 

That prince's mantle was four ells long, or, according to 
another account, two ells ; or two ells and a handbreadth ; 
or, according to later traditionists, six ells, with a width 
of three ells and a handbreadth. On certain occasions, such 
as feasts, or at the reception of ambassadors, he wore most 
costly robes; and once a grandee presented him with a 
cloak for which he had paid 30 camels. Once a silk robe, 
bordered with bells, was sent him for a present ; but when 
that prince came to prayers in it, Gabriel intimated to him 
that it was unlawful, whereupon that prince quickly took it 
off, and cast it aside with disdain. 

He wore a seal on the little finger of his right hand ; but 
it is also recorded that he wore it on the little finger of his 
left hand. Either is lawful ; but according to the Hanifa 
Imams, it is better- to wear it ^n the left ; and according to 
the Shafi Imams it is more correct to wear it on the right 
hand. He wore the seal with its fiat part inside the hand ; 
and sometimes went out with a thread tied to it, to help him 
in remembering some important matter. After the Prophet, 
that seal was taken possession of by Abu Bekr ; and after 
him by Omar ; and after him by Othman ; from whose 
hand, after being worn for six years, it dropped into a well 
whence it could never be recovered. It is said, that this 
circumstance turned away people's hearts from Othman, and 
opened the door of sedition. 

CH. II. SEC II. 1, 2.] HIS SANDALS.— HO W HE A TE. 385 

That prince also wore sandalsy made of tanned ox-hide 
and provided with two leather straps ; but sometimes he 
walked barefoot The author of the Rawzat ul Ahbab 
states in his work that he possessed an exact copy on paper 
of his apostolic Excellency's sandals, with the places of 
his five toes severally marked. The renowned Khoja Abu 
Nasr, that cream of traditionists, that model of men of re- 
search, and proof of law, piety, and religion, had written 
upon it, in his own noble handwriting, that it represented the 
exact size of the sandals of the Apostle of God, according to 
an uninterrupted chain of traditional testimony, and that the 
following are amongst the tried blessings of the copy of those 
exalted sandals : ' If any one always carries it with him, he 
will become loved, and appreciated amongst men, and will 
certainly visit the Prophet, or see him in a dream, which is 
of the same virtue as if he had seen him actually ; and if 
a soldier wears that copy, he will never be routed ; and if 
a caravan wears it, it will never be plundered ; and if a 
merchant wears it, he will meet with fortune and success ; 
and whosoever wears it, he will never be drowned ; and 
whosoever puts himself under the protection of one who 
wears it, he will surely be accepted and remain exempt 
from trouble and distress, and only find pleasure.*^ 

(2.) His Habits as regards Eating and Drinking, 

The Prophet observed no ceremony in eating, but partook 
of any good food that had been prepared ; and sometimes he 
would get up and fetch himself what was to be eaten or 
drunk. Before eating he said, ' In the name of God,* and 
requested his friends to do the same ; and if they happened 
to forget it, before a meal, they were to say at its conclusion, 
* In the name of God, for the first and for the last' He ate 
with the three fingers of his right hand. He always took 
what lay just before him, except when there were fresh and 
dried dates, or a certain soup, in which case he would take 
from any part of the dish that which he liked. Sometimes 
he made use of his four fingers in eating. But he never ate 
with only two fingers, saying that Satan was eating thus. 

^ A drawing of those sandals, with Abu Nasr's writing upon it, is given in 
the Rawzat-ul-Ahbab. 



He never ate proudly, leaning on anything, or sitting down 
square, but resting upon his knees, saying, ' I am one of 
God's servants, and eat as servants eat and sit as servants sit' 
Sometimes, however, he would sit on his left leg, posting up 
the right ; and if he was very hungry, he would sit down 
altogether and post up both legs. He liked best not to eat 
alone, but with a goodly number at the table, saying, * The 
worst of men is he who eats alone.' When he ate in com- 
pany with other people, no one ever took anything which 
lay just in front of that Excellency. 

He generally ate at a table, but at times also on the 
ground. After a meal he would thank God for it It is 
said that whoever, on eating, recites the words, ' Praise be 
to Him who has fed us with this food, and provided us with 
it, without our own efforts and strength,' he will have his 
sins forgiven. When he ate with other people, as their guest, 
he prayed for them. He used to wash his pure hands, both 
before and after meals, and then stroked his blessed face 
and arms, saying, 'The blessing of a meal consists in the 
washing of the hands before and after it' He forbade 
eating and drinking with the left hand, saying, ' Satan eats 
and drinks with the left hand.^ After he had finished eating, 
he licked his blessed fingers : first the middle one, then 
the prayer-finger, and last the thumb. He never wiped his 
fingers before having licked them. He also commanded his 
friends to lick their fingers and to scrape the basin, saying, 

* You do not know in which particular part of the food the 
blessing is contained ; besides, the basin which ye scrape 
after eating will ask pardon of God for you.' 

He used to converse during the meal, and repeatedly 
offered food to the guests, saying, *Eatl' He never ate 
from a table with legs, nor drank from a cup with a broken 
rim. Very fiat bread, bread with air-dried meat, lizards, the 
milt, kidneys, onions, garlic, and leek he did not eat, and said, 

* Let every one remain far from me who eats these ill-smelling 
vegetables.' If the tradition derived from Aisha the faithful 
is correct, that at a later period the Prophet ate onions, it 
must have been either as a medicine, or to show that it is 
lawful to eat them. That Excellency never combined fish or 
sour things with milk ; or grilled meat with boiled meat ; or 

CH. II. SEC II. 2.] IVI/A T HE A TE. 387 

dried meat with fresh meat ; or meat with milk or milk with 
meat ; or two binding and two relaxing dishes ; or two heavy 
and two light ones. Nor did he eat very hot food, but let it 
stand for a moment, till the greatest heat had passed. He 
never rejected any lawful food, but ate of it, if he had an 
appetite, and if he had not, he did not taste it Once, when 
they brought lizards to his table, and he did not taste them, 
his friends said, ' O Apostle of God, thou didst not eat of 
these : is it because they are not lawful ? ' He answered, * I 
do not declare them unlawful, but as they are not found in 
our own country.M do not relish them.' On another occasion, 
when they again served lizards to him, he said, 'Once, in 
ancient times, these were a people, but were transformed 
into lizards.' 

That prince ate exceedingly little He said, * When you 
have eaten, spend the strength of the food in prayer and 
praise, and do not sleep directly after a meal, lest your 
hearts should be oppressed* He used to eat barley-bread, 
made of unsifted barley-flour, retaining all the bran. He 
ate the meat of sheep, camels, wild asses, hares, bustards, 
and fish, and sometimes also dried meat. Meat was the 
food he liked best, and he used to say, ' Meat strengthens 
the power of hearing,' yet was he not very greedy for it, 
nor ate too much of it He habitually preferred the meat 
of the fore-leg and shoulder, but also praised the meat of 
the back. He also ate fried sheep-liver. He cut the meat 
with his teeth, not with a knife, and used to say, * To cut 
the meat with a knife is the work of the Persians : ye had 
better cut it with the teeth, for then it is more digestible 
and wholesome.' The Ulemas say that this prohibition of 
the use of the knife refers only to such meat as does not 
require being cut with a knife ; or that its import is, ' Do 
not form the habit of cutting the meat with a knife.' For 
it is an established fact that his Excellency himself cut up 
roast shoulder or baked loin with a knife. 

What that prince ate most frequently were dates, so that 
if he ate two meals a day, one of them was sure to be dates. 
He also liked Helwa, honey and fresh butter; and ate 
dates mixed with milk. When he ate fresh or dried dates, 
he took the stones out of his blessed mouth, and laying 


them on the nail of his prayer and middle fingers, threw 
them away. Sometimes also he collected the stones in his 
left hand ; and it is narrated that once when he was eating 
fresh dates, and had gathered the stones in his left hand, he 
showed them to a sheep, which at once came and ate them 
out of his left hand, whilst that prince continued eating 
fresh dates with his right hand. 

The Prophet also liked pumpkins, saying, ' The pumpkins 
are from the tree of my brother Jonas.' It is also narrated 
on the authority of Aisha that he said, * When you set up 
a stone jar, it is proper to put many pumpkins into it, for 
this is useful for a sad heart.' It is narrated that when 
once Othman brought a jelly to that prince he pronounced 
it to be excellent, and inquired how it was made. One of 
his favourite dishes was made of cheese and melted butter. 
Sometimes also he ate bread with olive-oil. On the ex- 
pedition to Tabuk they brought him dry cheese, which he 
cut with a knife, and ate. He also ate fresh dates with 
cucumbers or melons. According to some books, that 
prince liked melons and fresh grapes better than any other 
green fruit In eating grapes, he put the berries into his 
blessed mouth, squeezed them with his teeth, and then threw 
out the husks. It is reported that he ate the cucumbers 
with salt There is a tradition that when a first-fruit was 
brought him, he would give it to a little child to eat, if one 
happened to be present 

That prince loved milk exceedingly, and to any one 
giving him milk to drink he would say, * God bless us with 
it, and grant us more of it' He also said, ' I know nothing 
that takes the place of food and drink like milk, and is 
equally useful.' Sometimes when he drank milk, he would 
press it between his lips, and say, ' It has something buttery.' 
When that prince drank water, he would do so in three 
draughts, saying before each, * In the name of God,' and 
after the last, ' Praise be to God.* So long as the water-cup 
was at his mouth, he stopped breathing. Every day he 
drank a glass of honey-sherbet Sometimes he drank toast- 
water, prepared with roasted barley or wheat; and, as the 
water of Medina was a little bitter, he put in dates to sweeten 
it Generally he drank sitting, but sometimes standing. 

CH. 11. SEC II. 2, 3.] TRA VELLING HABITS. 389 

When he had company who had to be served with water 
or sherbet, he gave them first, himself drinking after them, 
and it is established that he said, * He who gives drink to 
the people, drinks after them.* But sometimes also he 
himself drank first, and then gave the cup to the person 
sitting on his right hand. On one occasion, after having 
drunk of a cup, filled with milk and water, he handed it to 
an Arab, sitting on his right side, when Omar called out, 
' O Apostle of God, hand it to Abu Bekr,' who sat on his 
left. But he replied, ' The right-hand man is the right-hand 
man.' On another occasion a youth was sitting on his right 
hand, the youngest of the company, whilst the elders and 
magnates were sitting on his left. After having drunk him- 
self, he asked the youth's permission to hand the cup first 
to the elders on his left. But on that youth refusing consent, 
he let him have the cup first He loved cold sweet water 
best Such water was brought for him from a place two 
days' journey from Medina. That Excellency also said, 
* When night sets in, say, " In the name of God," and cover 
the vessels in which you keep your eatables and drinkables, 
if it should only be with a chip of wood.' ^ 

(3.) His noble Travelling Habits, 

His day for starting on a journey was Thursday ; and 
sometimes he also chose Monday, or Sunday, or Wednesday. 
When he had risen up to start, he would say a short prayer, 
and after having mounted, he would repeat three times, 
• God is most great' During the journey he used to say a 
Magnificat, whilst going up an ascent, and a Doxology, whilst 
going down a descent That prince said, * If you travel in a 
year of plenty, do not let your beasts remain hungry ; and 
if you travel in a year of scarcity, travel quickly, that you 
may reach your destination before your beasts become lean 
and weak ; and if you wish during the journey to dismount 
at night for sleep and rest, do so in a place off the road, for 
the places on the road itself are dangerous.' He forbade 

^ The limitation shows that the object of the advice was not so much to 
keep any foreign matter from falling into the vessel, as rather to avert from it the 
evil influences of the powers of night and darkness. 


going alone on a journey, saying, ' If people knew what it 
is to travel alone on the roads at night, no one would enter 
any road alone at night* ^ The women he wholly prohibited 
from travelling, except under the protection of a man or near 
relative. He also declared that the good angels do not 
accompany those who have a d(^ with them, or a bell, 
which, he said, belongs to the devil's music. On warlike 
expeditions and journeys he would sometimes leave his 
companions to bring on the weak and others, lagging 
behind, whom he might even take on his own beast and 
pray with them. 

He began and concluded a journey by uttering pious 
ejaculations. As he was coming back, his friends would go 
out to meet him, taking their children and wives with them. 
When returning from a journey, he never entered the city at 
night and also forbade his friends from doing so. He would 
have a camel or a bullock slain, to regale those who came 
to welcome him back. On his return, he first entered the 
mosque and said two genuflexions of prayers. To travellers 
he would say, ' Start at night ; for to those who do so the 
road is shortened.' He also advised, ' It is proper that no 
less than three companions should set out together, so that 
they may appoint one of their number for a commander.* 
If any one came to bid him farewell before starting on a 
journey, he would say, *I commend to God thy religion 
and the result of thy labours ; ' or sometimes also, ' May 
God increase thy piety, pardon tliy sins, and prosper thee 
wherever thou turnest ! ' 

(4.) His HcAits in the Intercourse with his pure Wives. 

Be it known that his apostolic Excellency was the best 
amongst the people, as regards the beauty of intercourse and 
kindness of companionship with his wives. That prince 
was exceedingly demonstrative of affection towards his 
wives ; and when they came to solicit a command from him, 
and there was no obstacle in the way, he granted their 

^ This hint also has reference to the dangers threatening from the invisible 
world of spirits and spectres, and not to the ordinary dangers of a night-journey. 


request liberally. It is firmly established that sometimes, 
when Aisha the faithful drank water from her cup, that 
Excellency would take the cup out of her hand, and drink 
exactly from that place from which she had been drinking, 
and when she was eating meat from a bone, he would take 
the bone out of her hand and would put his blessed mouth 
exactly on the spot where Aisha had put hers, in order to 
eat the meat. When it was with Aisha as it is with women, 
that prince would lay his blessed head upon her bosom, or 
lean over her and read the Koran to her. Amongst other 
things, the Prophet once raced with Aisha the faithful, and 
in the first race she outstripped him, but in the second, after 
she had become corpulent, he passed her, and then said to 
her, 'This is for that,' i.e. this triumph makes up for my 
former defeat. At another time they pulled each other about 
till they came outside the door of Aisha's chamber. 

Aisha also narrates : * When once there had been words 
between that prince and myself, he said to me, '*0 Aisha, 
whom wishest thou me to bring as umpire to judge between 
us ? wishest thou for Abu Obeid Ibn Jarrah ? " I answered, 
** No, he is not of a tender nature, and leans towards thee." 
Then he asked, "Wilt thou be satisfied with Omar?" I 
replied: "No, I am not, for I am afraid of Omar." His 
Excellency rejoined, " Even Satan is afraid of Omar ; " and 
then asked again, " Wouldest thou accept Abu Bekr ? " On 
my answering in the affirmative, he sent for my father, Abu 
Bekr, and said to him, " O Abu Bekr, judge thou between 
me and this one, and decide our affair." Then, on his 
Excellency opening his mouth to state his case, I called out, 
" O Apostle of God, be just ! " As soon as my father heard 
this word, he raised his hand and gave me such a slap in the 
face that blood streamed down from both my nostrils, and 
he said, " Thou shalt have no mother : who will be just, if 
the Prophet is not ? " His Excellency rejoined, " O Abu 
Bekr, we did not wish for more from thee than to judge 
between us." Then that prince rose up, and with his own 
blessed hand washed the blood off my face and clothes.' 

It is recorded that when Aisha became angry, that 
prince would lay his blessed hand upon her shoulder, and 
say, • May God forgive her sins, subdue the wrath of her 


heart, and free her from excitement!* Sometimes it 
happened that when he was in the midst of the entire 
company of his pure wives, he would stretch out his blessed 
hand after one of them and make some fun and jest 

Every day, after finishing the afternoon prayers, he made 
the entire round of the private apartments of his wives, to 
inquire how they were ; and when it had become evening, 
he went to spend the night with her whose turn it was. As 
regards sustenance and portions and all things within his 
power, he observed a careful equality ; and he used to say, 
* O God, this is my portion in that which I possess : do thou 
not blame me in that which I do not possess,' that is, do 
thou not blame me {sc. for my want of continence) in the 
matter of love and conjugal intercourse. 
[N,B, — Then follows a passage in the text which is calcu- 
lated to offend feelings of propriety, though of interest 
as characterising the Arabian prophet The Mussulmans 
indeed read it with devout admiration ; but we omit it 
from its place and put it as a footnote at the bottom of 
the page, so that it may be easily passed over by any 
reader who prefers leaving it unread.^] 

(5.) His Habits in the Intercourse and Conversation with his 

Friends and Companions. 

Amongst his friends and companions the Prophet sat 
down and rose up humbly. It often happened that he 

^ Passage omitted from the text: ' Sometimes it happened that his Excellency 
would have the intercourse at the beginning of the night, then take a bath, and 
go to sleep ; sometimes, that he would only take an ablution after the intercourse, 
then sleep, and take the bath at the close of the night. It frequently happened 
that in one night or one day that prince made the round with all his nine wives, 
contenting himself with only one bath ; or sometimes, in visiting them all, take 
a bath after every intercourse. When they asked him, ** O Apostle of God, why 
dost thou not content thyself with only one bath?" he answered, ''Because this 
is purer, cleaner, and better." It is firmly established that in the matter of coha- 
bitation that Excellency had the power of thirty strong men given him. There- 
fore it was lawful for that prince to take as many wives as he pleased, be they 
nine or more.* 

Could anything more strikingly illustrate the wide divergence in the ethical 
character of Islam and Christianity than the fact that Moslem writers unblush- 
ingly mention such things as proofs of their Prophet's divinely conferred pre- 
eminence, whilst Christian authors dare not even historically reproduce their 
words without an apology and warning to the reading public ? 


assumed a vaulted posture, by stiffening his knees and 
embracing his feet with his blessed hands. Sometimes he 
sat down leaning against something, or he lay on his blessed 
back ; and in this latter position put one foot upon the other. 

He spoke considerately and slowly, so that it would have 
been possible for any one so minded to count his words and 
sounds. But mostly he chose to be silent, and only spoke 
when necessary. Avoiding redundancy, prolixity, weari- 
someness and confusion, he spoke to his friends concise, 
useful words, — all ivisdom and prudence. Sometimes he 
would repeat the same words thrice, so that those present 
might well remember and understand them. Whilst speak- 
ing, he used to gesticulate, and sometimes put the palm of 
his right hand upon the thick part of his left thumb ; and 
when he wondered at a thing, he used to turn the palms of 
his blessed hands towards it ; but when he was angry, he 
turned away. He could be exceedingly angry; and as a 
sign of his anger his blessed countenance would change and 
he would finger his beard. When that Excellency spoke in 
an assembly, those present would keep silence, and lean 
forwards with their heads. What his companions admired, 
he also admired ; and when they laughed, he either was 
silent or smiled. He would laugh so that his teeth could be 
seen. That prince's weeping also was most moderate : his 
tears flowed ; and from his bosom, void of rancour, a sound 
was heard like the seething of a pot. His weeping was either 
on account of a dead person, or from tender affection for his 
people, or from the fear of God. 

He sometimes swore, in important matters. His most 
frequent oath was, * By Him in whose hands my soul is,' or, 
*By Allah.' When he arose from an assembly, he would 
say, by way of atonement for the assembly, * Praise be to 
God, and for Thy honour I testify that there is no God but 
Thou : I ask pardon of Thee, and repent towards Thee.' 
From whatever tribe men came to follow him, he would speak 
to them in their own language. He would take counsel with 
his friends about things ; and Aisha the faithful declared, * I 
have not seen any one amongst the people who so readily 
asked advice as that Excellency.' Some Persian words 
became current from that Excellency's blessed language. 


In the Prophet^s assemblies poems also were recited, 
sometimes as many as a hundred verses. He himself did not 
compose poetry, except sometimes in a metre to which he 
was accustomed. Once, when in reciting a poem, he changed 
some expressions, and Abu Bekr corrected him, he said, * I 
am not a poet' In those assemblies they also told stories 
and kept wakes. Sometimes he told stories to his com- 
panions and his wives about what had happened in ancient 

That prince made also fun and jests with his friends. 
Abd Allah Ibn Harith relates: 'I never saw a man who 
made more fun and jests than the Apostle of God ; but his 
jests were always just and true.' When once his companions 
said to him, ' O Apostle of God, thou tellest us jokes and 
jests, which does not become thy position,' he replied, * I say 
nothing but what is true ; ' and Aisha the faithful declared, 
* The Prophet made many jests, and said that God does not 
punish just jokes made in fun.' Khawat Ibn Jabir narrates 
as follows : ^ Being once on a journey with the Apostle of 
God, we alighted at a halting-place. After a while I went 
out of my tent, but, seeing a number of beautiful ladies 
standing there, and talking with each other, I went back 
to my tent, dressed myself, and then went towards those 
ladies, and sat down by them. All at once the Apostle 
of God came forth from his tent and, seeing me, said, ' O 
Abu Abd Allah, why sittest thou by them ? ' I, fearing the 
Prophet, answered, * O Apostle of God, I have an intoxicated 
bad camel, and am come to these that they may twist a rope 
for me to tie it with.' The Prophet passed on a little, but 
came back again saying, ' O Abu Abd Allah, what did that 
intoxicated camel do ? ' After we had left that halting-place, 
the Prophet, whenever he saw me, would, after saluting, 
ask me again, ' What did that intoxicated camel do ? ' So 
when we had returned to Medina, I absented myself from 
the mosque, fearing that his Excellency might put me to 
shame by asking me that question there. Then I waited 
my opportunity to meet the Prophet alone in the mosque ; 
and as I went there and said my prayer, that prince came 
out of his private chamber and performed a short prayer 
of two genuflexions, and then sat down near me. I 

CH. 11. SEC. 11. 5.] HE ENJO YS yOKES. 395 

lengthened my prayers^ hoping that Excellency, having 
finished before me, would return to his chamber, without 
saying that word to me again. But on his observing this, 
that Excellency said, ' O Abu Abd Allah, make thy prayer 
as long as thou wilt, but I shall not go away till thou hast 
finished.' I thought with myself I now must find an excuse 
to appease that Excellency. So I finished and saluted him ; 
and when he returned my salutation, and asked again, ^ What 
did that intoxicated camel do?' I answered, 'O Apostle 
of God, by that God who has made thee a cause of pros- 
perity, that camel has given up its habit of intoxication since 
I have become a Mussulman.' Upon this that Excellency 
said three times, ' God has had mercy on thee ; ' and thence- 
forth ceased asking me that question. 

That Excellency used to laugh when they made jokes in 
their assemblies. It is recorded that, one day, Dhahak Ibn 
Sofyan, who was exceedingly plain, made a contract with the 
Prophet ; and, as at that time the verse enjoining the veiling 
of women had not yet been sent down (from heaven), Aisha 
was sitting by his Excellency's side. Dhahak said, 'O 
Apostle of God, I have two ladies, both of whom are more 
beautiful than this fair one, i.e, Aisha : I will divorce one 
of them that thy Excellency may marry her.' Aisha, on 
hearing this word, said at once, 'Who is more beautiful, 
the lady or thyself?' Dhahak replied, *0f course I am 
the more beautiful of the two.' His Excellency laughed 
heartily at this question of Aisha's. 

There was one of the assistants, named Naamiyan, who 
was much addicted to jokes and to drinking, and therefore 
was frequently brought before the Prophet to be beaten with 
his blessed sandals for his intoxication. But as he did not 
mend, one of the Prophet's companions said to him, ' May 
God curse thee 1 ' Hearing this, that prince said, ' Do not say 
so : for he takes God and His Apostle for his friend.' This 
happened during the Khaibar expedition. Then as often as 
caravans brought beautiful things to Medina, this Naamiyan 
would buy them on credit, and take them to the Prophet, 
saying, ' O Apostle of God, I have brought thee this for a 
present' On payment being demanded of him, he took the 
creditor to the Prophet, saying, * O Apostle of God, give the 


price of that beautiful thing to this man.' When the Pro- 
phet asked, * Didst thou not bring it to me as a present ? ' 
Naamiyan would reply, * O Apostle of God, the price of 
that present was not within my power ; but I wished that 
thou shouldest have it and no one else : so pay for it now 
and the object is accomplished/ Then that Excellency 
laughed and paid the value of the present 

(6.) His Habits in using Ornaments and Ointments, 

Amongst all the habits of the Prophet there was also this, 
that he combed his hair and beard, but not every day, like 
the rich ; and that he anointed his blessed head and beard. 
His moustache he clipped, and commanded also his com- 
panions to do the same. Every Friday, before going to 
mosque, he attended to his moustache and cut his nails. He 
made use of his right hand for making ablutions, for eating, 
combing his hair and beard, for cleaning his teeth, snuffing 
up water and the like ; but his left for removing what is un- 
pleasant and for cleaning impurities. When he had to take 
anything from any one or to give something, he did so with 
his right hand. Every night he applied three spoons-full of 
coUyrium to his eyes, or sometimes three to his right and 
two to his left eye. Whenever he went on a journey, he took 
with him a looking-glass, a comb, an ointment-bottle, a box 
of aromatic substances, a pair of scissors, and an oil-bottle ; 
and when he was in the house, he took the said things with 
him to the room of whichever wife he spent the night with, 
so that they were at hand, in case he liked to make use of 
any of them. He prohibited the rounding of the face, the 
plucking out of the hairs from the face, or the white hairs 
from the beard or the head. 

According to some sound traditions, that prince coloured 
his blessed hairs with collyrium, or, according to another 
account, with collyrium and indigo-leaves, or, according to 
still another account, with waras and saffron. Some accounts 
state that the Prophet was not so grey as to need dyeing, 
and that, according to a sound tradition, the g^ey hairs in his 
beard and head did not amount to twenty. In reconciliation 
of these traditions we suggest that that prince sometimes 



applied coUyrium to his blessed hair in order to cure head- 
ache, but that some people, who saw the colour, thought it 
was for dyeing the hair ; or that he used so much aromatic 
ointment that sometimes the colour of his hair was changed 
thereby, so that it looked like dye. But a number of Imams 
regard the traditions concerning his using dyes for his hair 
as the stronger ones. 

That prince made use of a depilatory unguent, and his 
pure wives also applied it to him. But there is also an 
account that he did not apply depilatory unguents, but used 
the scissors. All the traditionists and biographers agree 
that that prince never entered a public bath ; ^ and that he 
only once bathed in the place in Medina which is still re- 
nowned as the Prophet's bath, a structure having afterwards 
been erected over the place where he had bathed, so as to 
secure the blessing and luck resulting therefrom. But some 
Hanafi Ulemas state in their works that the Prophet did 
enter public baths. 

(7.) His Habits in regard to Auguries, 

One of all the habits of that Excellency was that of 
drawing auguries from fine names or beautiful words, saying, 

* Auguring is a good thing.' But he condemned bad augur- 
ing. When they asked him, ' O Apostle of God, what is an 
augury?' he answered, *A good word which one of you 
hears.' He rejoiced to hear such good words as * correct,' 

* sound,' etc., when he was going forth in a matter of import- 
ance or necessity. He liked good names, and used to say, 

* The names most loved by God are, Abd Allah (= Servant 
of God), Abd ur Rahman (= Servant of the Merciful); and 
the name most disliked by God is, Shah-i-Shahin ' ( = king of 
kings). He used to change bad names into good ones, e.g, 
Berre (properly, a wound) into Zeinab (properly, a certain 
beautiful, fragrant tree). In case he wished to send an agent 

^ Another striking instance of his scrupulous and somewhat suspicious care to 
prevent any one from seeing his body. Even after his death a ' voice ' had to 
direct his friends not to wash him like any other dead body, but over his clothes 
in which he died. Is this perhaps connected with what Gibbon says in his 
Latin footnote ? 


to a district, he would ask what his name was : if his name 
was good and pleasant, he was glad ; but if it was the reverse, 
sig^s of displeasure arose in his blessed countenance. He 
said, ' If any of you sees something bad, let him say this 
prayer, " O God, no one brings good except Thou ; and no 
one keeps off evil besides Thee ; and there is no power and 
strength except in God." ' 

(8.) His Habits as regards the Akika Offerings. 

That prince ordained the Akika offering, saying, ' When a 
boy is born to you, offer two sheep ; and if a girl is bom to 
you, then offer one sheep ; and it is proper that the sacrifice 
should be slain on the seventh day ; and that the new-bom 
child should likewise receive its name on that day.' When 
the commanders of the faithful, Hasan and Hosein, were 
born, he offered for each of them one sheep, or, according to 
another account, two sheep; and when those infants were 
bom, they were taken to that Excellency that he should open 
their mouths with his blessed hand, and cause them to taste 
a little date, and invoke a blessing upon them. ^ 

(9.) His Habits in asking Permission and in Saluting. 

Of all the habits of that prince one was, that when he 
went to any one's house, he did not place himself opposite 
the door, but stood either on the right or on the left hand 
side of it, asking permission to enter in these words, * Peace 
be upon you ! Peace be upon you ! ' He also directed his 
friends, saying, * If ye go to any one's house, first give the 
peace ; and do not admit any one into your house, who, in 
coming, does not first give you the peace.* He also said, 
* Greeting is before asking : if any one begins by asking any- 
thing of you, without first giving you the peace, then do not 
answer him.' It is reported that once some one came to that 
prince's house asking, ' Shall I enter ? ' But he sent some one 
out to him, saying, 'Teach that person the way of asking 
permission, and let him first say, " Peace be upon you ! " and 
afterwards, " May I come in ? " ' And not till this order had 
been complied with did that Excellency give the permission 


to enter. He likewise said, * If any one sends you a messenger 
to invite you, and ye go with that messenger, he is your 
permission, and ye need not ask permission a second time, on 
arriving at the house of the host' It is also established that 
he declared, ' When God had created Adam, He said to him, 
'' Go to that company of angels, sitting there, and see in what 
way they will welcome thee : and the mode of their greeting 
shall be yours and your children's." Then Adam went to 
them, saying, " Peace be upon you ! " They replied, " Peace 
be on thee and the mercy of God ! " ' 

That Excellency also said, * Peace be upon you!' or, 
* Peace be upon thee ! ' but did not at first like to say, ' Upon 
thee be peace!' He also said, *Ye cannot enter Paradise, 
except ye believe ; and ye cannot believe, except ye make 
friendship with each other. Mark therefore the means I 
indicate to you for securing mutual friendship, namely, the 
open declaration of peace both to the known and to the 
unknown.' He also said, 'Give peace to the little and to 
the great ; to the few and to the many ; to the standing and 
to the sitting 1 ' It is also recorded that that prince once 
entered into a company of boys, and another time into a 
company of women, and on both occasions he saluted by 
giving the peace. He also gave the peace when he met a 
mixed company consisting of Mussulmans and polytheists.^ 
Most times it was impossible to anticipate that Excellency 
in saluting ; but if any one saluted him first, he would return 
the salutation in the same or in a still better way. He 
returned the salutation anon, without any delay, except for 
some special reason. He saluted in an audible voice, and did 
not content himself with a mere sign with his finger. In 
returning a salutation, he said, ' And upon thee be peace ! ' 
When he went to a house at night, he saluted in a manner 
that those who were awake could hear him, but that those 
asleep were not awakened. He also enjoined not to give 
the salutation of peace to Jews and Christians. 

^ From this we are left to infer that he would not have given the salutation of 
peace to a company of polytheists only. With them he was not at peace, but at 
war. To this day the pious Mussulmans do not salute Christians and other 
non-Moslems with the usual Selam (= peace) which they employ amongst them- 
selves. A few lines further on the reader will find that Mohammed expressly 
forbade his followers doing so. 


(lO.) His Habits as to Sneezing and Yawning, 

It was one of the Prophet's habits that when he made 
' Atsa,' that is, when he sneezed, he made a moderate noise, 
covering his blessed face with his robe-sleeve and putting 
his blessed hand before his nostrils. He used to say, ' God 
loves sneezing, but detests yawning: let every one who sneezes 
say, " Praise be to God ! " and let him who hears him rejoin, 
" God have mercy on him ! " ' Once two persons sneezed in 
that Excellency's presence, and one of them who said, * Praise 
be to God ! ' heard from his Excellency the reply, * God have 
mercy on thee!' but the other, who had omitted to say, 
* Praise be to God 1 ' did not hear any reply from that prince. 
The Prophet also said, * To any one sneezing, reply up to 
three times, " God have mercy on thee 1 " and never think it 
a mere cold, even if it be more than three times.' 

(i I.) His Habits as to Walking and Riding, 

The walking of that prince was a perfect motion, that is, 
he was not exceedingly slow, dragging his legs, like the 
proud and affected ; nor did he show excessive haste and 
anxiety, like the light-minded and foolish. That prince's 
walk appeared so measured and grave as if he was descend- 
ing from a height. Sometimes he walked as if his blessed 
feet did not touch the earth, or as if the ground turned from 
under his feet. When walking with his friends, they some- 
times walked in front, he following behind. At one time he 
walked in sandals, at another time he dispensed with them 
and walked barefooted. On some war expedition that 
prince knocked his blessed toe against a stone so that 
blood flowed from it. 

At home and on journeys that prince would ride with and 
without a saddle, on horses, camels, mules, and donkeys. He 
was mostly mounted alone, but occasionally he had some one 
mounted behind him as his Redif(= reserve), or even before 
him. Sometimes he had one of his pure wives mounted 
behind him. Most generally he rode on horses and camels. 

CH. II. SEC. II. 12.] HO W HE SLEPT. 401 

(12.) His Habits as to Waking and Sleeping, 

That prince and his noble companions did not manifest 
too much concern about their habitations and dwellings^ but 
contented themselves with structures sufficient to keep out 
heat and cold, sheep and cattle, and the gaze of the eyes of 
men. When night set in, that prince took an ablution, put 
off the clothes he had worn by day, and put op his night- 
robes. Then he blew on the palms of his blessed hands, and, 
after repeating a verse from the Koran, rubbed his limbs 
with them. He lay on his right side, putting the palm of 
his right hand under his right cheek, and saying, * O God, in 
Thy name I die and live,' or, according to another account, 
*In Thy name, O Lord, I lie down and rise again.' He 
sometimes lay on his night-clothes, sometimes on a carpet, 
sometimes on a mat, sometimes on sacking, and even on 
the dry earth. When he slept, he had under his head a 
leather cushion, filled with date-palm fibres. 

To that prince dreams were shown in his sleep which he 
narrated and interpreted to his friends. Sometimes also 
his friends told him their dreams, and requested him to 
interpret them. That prince also said, * When one of you 
has a dream which appears to him bad, then let him spit 
three times to his left side, and ask protection from God 
against the evil of that dream and Satan ; and let him turn 
himself to lie on the other side, and not tell his dreams 
to any one, so that the evil it portended may not come to 
pass. But if he sees a good dream, let him tell it to a 
friend or to a man of understanding.' When that prince 
rose from sleep, he used to say, 'Praise be to God, who 
has made us alive after we were dead : to Him we move and 
wake.* In no condition did he omit the mention of God. 

(13.) His Habits in administering Medicines to the Sick. 

Amongst all his other habits, that "prince also was wont 
to administer medicines to the sick. Intermittent fever he 
medicinally treated with cold water. It is narrated that 
when intermittent fever seized that Excellency, he caused a 
skin of water to be brought and poured over his blessed head 



for a bath ; and he used to say, * If intermittent fever seizes 
any of you, then sprinkle him with water for three nights at 
early dawn.' He also said, * Fever comes from the heat of 
hell, but it is cooled with water/ The Ulemas remark that 
the use of this remedy was peculiar to the people of the 
Hejaz ; because most of their intermittent fevers were the 
effect of the heat of the sun ; and the fever lasted only a 
day. He ordered the treatment with cold water, by letting 
the patient go into it and drink it. 

When that prince happened to suffer from headache^ he 
used to apply collyrium to his blessed head, saying, 'Verily 
collyrium is good for headache, by the permission of God.' 
When any one complained of headache to that Excellency, 
he would say, * Apply collyrium to thy head.' The Ulemas 
affirm that this remedy suits the kind of headache which 
does not arise from matter, but is caused by the heat of the 
sun ; and most of their headaches and fevers were of the 
latter description. 

In the medical treatment of eye-ache he recommended 
quiet and rest: and when Ali suffered from pain in his 
eyes, he forbade him to eat fresh dates ; and as often as one 
of * the mothers of the believers ' ^ suffered from pain in her 
eyes, he did not approach her till she was well again. 

The swollen throat of infants, in which blood appeared 
from their throat, he cured with the Indian Kostus, and 
forbade the practice of midwives, who tried to cure it by 
pressing the children's throat to make them bleed. On one 
occasion, when that Excellency went to Aisha's room, he 
saw there a boy bleeding from his nostrils, because they 
had been pressing his throat in order to cure him of the 
swollen throat He asked, * What is this ? ' They replied, 
* On account of his swollen throat, or his pain in the head.' 
His Excellency answered, * Woe unto you ; do not kill your 
children. Every woman whose child suffers from a swollen 
throat or from pain in the head is to dissolve the Indian 
Kostus in water, and drop it into the child's nose.' They did 
as that prince had bidden them, and the child recovered. 

The stomach-ache arising from the superabundance of 
matter, that Excellency cured by aperient medicines. It is 

^ A designation of the Prophet's married wives. 


proved that once some one came to him, saying, * O Apostle 
of God, what dost thou recommend for my brother's stomach- 
ache?' His Excellency replied, 'Let him drink honey- 
sherbet' The person did so two or three times, but after each 
time came back, saying that it had produced no effect. On 
the third or fourth occasion his Excellency said to the person, 
' God has spoken true, but thy brother's stomach has acted 
falsely.' The Ulemas observe that the meaning of * acting 
falsely' is here, that on account of the abundance of bad 
matter, the honey-sherbet did not effect a cure. But that 
person gave his brother one more draught of honey-sherbet 
and it produced the desired effect. The Ulemas say that the 
reason why his Excellency told that person to give his 
brother another dose, was to show that a dose of medicine 
must have respect to the nature of the complaint : if the 
dose is too small for the complaint, it does not operate ; and 
if it is too large, it proves weakening. When the last dose 
was given to that person's brother, it was equal to the 
complaint, and caused the cure. 

Dropsy was treated by that prince with milk and camel's 
urine; and a dry constitution with opening medicine. As 
opening medicine he chose senna : and he used to say, * If 
there had been any remedy against death, that remedy 
would have 'been senna.' 

The pleurisy he treated with red ^Kostus and olive-oil ; 
and for the itch and louse-disease he ordered the wearing of a 
silk shirt. For wounds he ordered complete restraint and for 
heartache Medina dates. The pustules and eruptions of the 
body he cured with Indian calamus aromaticus ; and the 
sweat of women with the tail of the Arab sheep, by dividing 
a tail into three parts and causing one of them to be drunk 
fasting, on three successive mornings. 

That prince cupped frequently, and said, * One of the best 
things with which cures are effected is cupping : in the night 
of the ascension the angels told me to recommend to my 
people the use of cupping.' As a remedy for the poison 
which he had eaten at Khaibar, he twice had himself cupped 
between his shoulders, and also on his blessed head. He pro- 
duced vomiting as a remedy for the stomach ; and he used to 
say, * Do not force the sick to take food or drink against their 


will : for God is giving them food and drink/ The Ulemas 
explain this latter expression to ipean, that the nature of the 
sick has to cook and eject the noxious substances, and to gain 
strength thereby. That prince also recommended abstinence 
to the sick, and beverage prepared with unsifted barley- 
flour and honey, resembling milk in substance and appearance. 
He also said, ' Cheer up the sick with pleasant words, and free 
their minds from grief and sadness.' He forbade the use of 
unlawful things as remedies, saying, ' God will not cure you by 
what He has made unlawful unto you.' When once some 
one had asked that prince for permission to make wine^ but 
had been refused, he rejoined, ' But, O Apostle of God, I 
want to make the wine as a medicine.' To this rejoinder 
his Excellency replied, ' It is not a receipt, but a deceit' 

He forbade intercourse with those who had an infectious 
disease^ such as lepers. Abu Horeira narrates that his 
Excellency said, * Flee from a leper as ye flee from a lion ; ' 
and again, * Speak with a leper in such a manner that there 
be the distance of one or two javelins between you.' In the 
later traditions it is creditably affirmed that that prince 
opposed infection, saying, ' There is no infection : one man's 
illness does not reach another man.' We explain this diflfer- 
ence thus : He who is of a strong faith suflers no harm from 
contact with infectious disease, because the power of faith 
repels the power of infection ; but he who is of a weak faith 
must avoid contact: on these accounts that prince was 
charged by God with both these lines of conduct, i.e, he both 
came in contact with lepers, and also ordained to keep aloof 
from them, so that the strong in faith might follow him in 
the way of trust, and the weak in faith in the path of self- 
preservation. The traditions concerning plague and pesti- 
lence are also of this nature. 

That prince has authorised the use of charms against the 
evil-eye. It is recorded that once whilst Sehl Ibn Hanif was 
bathing. Amir Ibn Rabia, seeing him naked, was so struck 
with the beauty of his body, that he exclaimed, * By Allah ! 
I have never seen so beautiful a body, neither among men, 
nor among the veiled girls.' As Amir was saying this, Sehl 
dropped down unconscious. When this report was brought 
to that prince, he became angry with Amir, saying, * Why 


dost thou not rather offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to 
God in seeing another's beautiful body, instead of killing 
him ? ' He ordered Amir forthwith to take a full ablution 
and to pour the water of it over Sehl ; and lo, that same hour 
Sehl's consciousness returned. It is likewise recorded that 
when that Excellency observed in the face of a slave-girl in 
Om Salma's room the appearance of a spirit, he said, ' Make 
incantations for that slave-girl, for in her face are the marks 
of the appearance of a spirit' It is also reported that when, 
on one occasion, that Excellency performed his prayers in a 
place and was stung by a scorpion, he, after having finished 
his prayers, said, ' God's curse be upon the scorpions for not 
leaving alone God's prophet and others,' Le, for stinging them. 
Then he applied a poultice of salt and bread, and repeated 
some verses from the Koran till the pain ceased. It is estab- 
lished by sound traditions that that prince made incantation 
with the first Sura, the verse of the Throne, and a number 
of other Koranic verses, and that he used sundry other en- 
chanting formulas, on which we cannot enlarge in this book. 
It is to be observed that a number of sound .traditionists 
have declared that there is no connection between the cures 
performed by that prince and those performed by other 
doctors ; for his were absolute cures, really effecting restora- 
tion and health, inasmuch as he acted by Divine revelation 
and inspiration ; but the cures of others are mostly based on 
conjecture, opinion, and trial. Whoever is not benefited by 
the prophetic remedy, must know for certain that the cause 
of this is his want of faith ; and whoever applies it in sincere 
dependence and pure faith, will surely be benefited by it. 
Just as the noble Koran is a remedy for the hearts and 
minds, but whosoever does not receive it with gladness and 
sincerity, to him it only causes an aggravation of his spiri- 
tual maladies. It is admitted that any medicine benefits 
the patient only on the condition of his receiving it with faith, 
so that nature may meet and assist it in expelling the dis- 
temper. Thus a number of distinguished men have used 
honey for all diseases, because in the glorious Koran it is 
written concerning the virtue of honey, *In it there is 
healing for men ; ' and by the blessing of their faith those 
diseases were removed. 


III. — ^The Religious Services of that Prince. 

Be it known that the Ulemas differ as to what kind of 
service the Prophet performed before he was commissioned 
with his prophetic office. Some say it was meditation, 
others, it was commemoration (viz. of God's perfections). So 
they also differ as to the Law he previously practised : 
whether it was that of Jesus, or that of Moses ; or whether he 
practised the religion of Abraham, or of Noah, or of Adam ; 
or whether he practised the religion of all the previous pro- 
phets together. But after having been commissioned as a 
prophet, he, according to one view, chose from every Law 
what was most difficult and painful ; and according to 
another view, based on the Koran, he practised the religion 
of Abraham ; but according to a still more preferable view, 
he practised his own Law. In the service of God the efforts 
and power of that Excellency attained perfection ; and in- 
asmuch as the best service, next to faith, is prayer, prayer 
also was established on purification. It is therefore most 
becoming here to begin with the ablution^ as a prefatory 
and introductory step to prayer. 

It is established that when the Prophet wanted to enter 
into a place for certain purposes, he took off the ring from 
his blessed finger, and then stepped in, with his left foot first, 
saying, * O God, I take refuge with thee from all impurity.' 
When he left that place, he did so with his right foot first, 
saying, * Thy pardon ! ' 

Mostly he took an ablution before every performance of 
prayer, sometimes only one ablution before several perform- 
ances of prayer ; and before the ablution he made use of the 
wooden tooth-brush. On this matter he insisted most 
strongly both by word and deed. He also would rinse his 
mouth and sniff up water ; and he never omitted this in his 
ablution, using either one, two, or three handfuls of water. 
The sniffing up of water he performed with his right hand, 
the blowing of his nose with his left. In taking the ablu- 
tion, he would wash his limbs twice or thrice; and would 
rub his head once or oftener, finishing up with smoothing 
his turban. The inside of his ear he would rub with his 


prayer-finger, and the outside with his thumb. Respecting 
his washing of the neck there exists no trustworthy tradition. 
He would clean his beard, and also his fingers, taking off 
the ring, if he wore any. At the beginning of the ablution 
he would say, * In the name of God ; ' and at the end, * I 
testify that there is no God, but Allah alone, who has no com- 
panion ; and I testify that Mohammed is His servant and 
His apostle. Make me penitent, pure, and Thy faithful 
servant I ask Thy forgiveness, and repent towards Thee ; ' 
or sometimes, * Forgive me my sins, relieve me in my straits, 
and bless me in my substance.' He would never dry his 
limbs after the ablution, even if a towel was at hand for the 
purpose. He forbade the wasting of water at ablutions and 
baths. In washing he poured the water with his right hand 
upon the left, washing both hands. . . . Then he rinsed his 
mouth, sniffed up water, and washed his hands again. Then 
he poured water over his head, and washed the remainder 
of his blessed body, after which he moved to another place 
and washed his feet. He decided on wiping his leather 
socks once every day when at home ; and once every 
three days when on a journey. Where there was no water 
the practice of Teyemmum was lawful, in accordance with 
which he first struck his flat hands upon the earth, and 
then rubbed his face and hands with them ; or he struck 
his flat hands twice upon the earth, and then rubbed his 
arms up to the elbows. 

He also paid the utmost attention to the observance of 
the Kibla^ to the decent covering of the body, and to the 
other requisites of legal prayer. 

At the time oi public prayers he would come to the 
mosque and act as Imam for his companions. In lengthening 
or shortening the service, he would have regard to the state 
of the congregation. In entering the mosque, he always 
stepped in with his right foot first, saying, * I take refuge with 
the great God, His presence and power, from Satan the 
stoned.' When he stood erect in prayer, he raised his blessed 
hands to a level with his shoulders and with his ears, spread- 
ing out his fingers and saying, * God is the greatest.* After 
this opening exaltation of God, he would place his right hand 
upon the left, and then say the opening prayer. The Bismillah 


he sometimes said aloud, sometimes in silence. After repeat- 
ing the first chapter of the Koran, he said, * Amen,* which 
the congregation repeated after him. In two places of the 
prayers he would leave room for silence. 

He opposed and forbade the protracting of the services ; 
and when he was once told that an Imam had read out the 
long second Sura in the evening service, he became exceed- 
ingly angry, and said, * Verily some of you cause the con- 
gregation to loathe the services : every one who acts as Imam 
must make the service short ; for in the assembly there are 
many sickly, weak, and needy ones.' 

When he read from the Koran, he did so with distinct- 
ness, modulation, and expression, stopping at the end of every 
verse, and prolonging his voice. When he made the pro- 
strations, he did not raise his hand, but first put his knees 
upon the ground, then his hands, and after that his forehead 
and nose. His arms he held far away from his chest, and put 
them on the ground, level with his shoulders, and his fingers 
he kept joined together. In sitting up for the confession of 
faith, he laid down his left foot and sat upon it ; and planting 
his right foot, he put his right hand upon his right thigh, and 
his left hand upon his left thigh. But in the last of these 
sittings for confession, he put his left foot under the right, and 
sat on the ground. 

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas that during 
prayers the Prophet was looking from the comers of his 
eyes to the right and to the left When he had finished the 
prayers following the confession, he said, * Peace be upon 
you, and the mercy of God,' turning first to his right side, so 
that they who sat there could see his blessed cheek; and 
then to the left, saluting in the same way. And after the 
peace {i^, at the close), he said three times, * I ask pardon 
of the great God, besides whom there is no other God, the 
living, the eternal One ; and I repent towards Him.' 

Be it known that that Excellency read daily a certain 
portion from the Koran^ besides the services, elucidating and 
explaining what he was reading. He read the Koran at all 
times, standing or sitting, after an ablution or without one ; 
and nothing whatever prevented his reading, except cohabita- 
tion. He never finished the Koran in less than three days 


and three nights.^ When he heard the Koran read out by 
others, tears flowed from his blessed eyes. On journeys his 
custom was to shorten the services. 

That prince observed Friday^ on which day he performed 
a great many services, cleaned his clothes, and recommended 
the Friday-bath. When the people were assembled for 
prayers, on Friday, that prince went to mosque alone, with- 
out a chamberlain or servant ; and on arriving, he first greeted 
those present ; then he ascended the pulpit, and saluted again 
before sitting down. As soon as Bilal had finished his call 
to prayers, he rose up and delivered an address in which he 
praised God ; confessed the Faith ; exhorted and commanded 
the believers to fear and obey God, to loathe and despise the 
world, and to desire eternity ; read a verse from the Koran, 
and prayed for the male and female believers. When he 
had finished the address, he leaned upon a bow or a staff, 
never upon a sword or a spear. But afterwards, when the 
pulpit was properly fitted up, this leaning upon a bow or a 
staff, was not continued. In his address he would also com- 
mand the people to be near the Imam, and to keep silence 
during the address. If, after the Friday service, he returned 
to his house, he said four more genuflexions of prayers ; if 
he prayed in the mosque, never more than two. He used to 
say, * There is one short space of time on Friday : if any 
one knew that time and prayed in it, God would grant him 
all he asks for. That hour is not confined to the lifetime 
of the prophet, but recurs until the day of the resurrection.' 
The Ulemas entertain eleven different views as to which is 
that hour for acceptable prayer, of which the following two 
are the most probable : first, the time from the Imam's 
entering the desk to the conclusion of the service ; secondly, 
the time between the afternoon prayers and sunset. 

The festival service he performed outside Medina, in a 
place for prayer, except once, when the rain prevented their 
going outside the town, and the service had to be held in the 
mosque. On the day of the feast he put on his best garments, 

^ This statement seems to presuppose that the Koran existed as a collected 
whole in the Prophet's lifetime, which, as is well known, was not the case. True, 
the original term for reading is also applicable to a recital from memory, but it is 
very questionable whether the whole Koran, as we have it now, was so impressed 
upon the tablet of his memory that he might read it from that. 


sometimes one with red or with green stripes. On the fes- 
tival of breaking the fast, he, before going to the outside place 
of prayer, broke the fast by eating some dates, but always an 
uneven number ; and besides these dates he ate nothing till 
his return from the house of prayer. On the feast of sacrifices 
he patiently abstained from breaking the fast till he returned 
from the place of prayer, after having slain the sacrifices. 
On the occasion of the feast he took a whole ablution, and 
went out to the place of prayer on foot, having a short spear 
carried before him. On the way he loudly recited praises ; 
and when they arrived at the prayer-place, that short spear was 
stuck in the ground as a mark for his Excellency whither to 
turn in prayer ; for in those days the prayer-place was in the 
open field, and not yet surrounded by walls. After the service 
was over, he stood before the people, and gave them an ad- 
dress, which he began with praise to God, and then exhorted 
and commanded the people to give alms ; and also gave notice 
of any war-expedition which he might have in contemplation. 
The women of Medina also used to be present in the place of 
prayer; and his Excellency went to them, exhorting them 
with great vehemence, and saying, *Give alms!'^ It is also 
established that after the prayer of the festival he sacrificed 
two rams, which were to have horns, black fore-legs and 
hind-legs, and black rings round the eyes ; and before he 
slaughtered them he turned their faces towards the Kibla and 
recited a prayer. He also commanded the people, saying, 
* Take the fattest and best of the sheep for sacrifices, those 
free from defects, whose ears are not cut off or pierced 
through, those not very lean or sick.* He likewise ordained 
that from amongst the sheep one, a year old, and from 
amongst others one, two years old, should be proper for 
sacrifice ; and that it should be lawful for seven persons to- 
gether to sacrifice one bullock. In returning to Medina from 
the place of prayer, he always went by a different way from 
that by which he came. The Ulemas state that the reason of 
this was, that many places might witness his good works, and 
that the hypocrites might be cowed by seeing the splendour 
of the true Mussulmans ; and that the people on both roads 
might salute him ; and that the earth of both roads might 
be benefited by his blessed footsteps. 

^ No wonder, considering their use : see p. 414. 


That Excellency also offered up prayer for rain. Some- 
times he first ascended the pulpit and delivered an address, 
and sometimes, without doing so, he recited the prayer for 
rain in the place where he was sitting. It is also established 
that during that prayer he held up the back-side of his hands 
towards heaven. When a storm was blowing, and clouds 
Arere seen, the visage of that Excellency showed signs of dis- 
tress ; and he would go inside and not come out again as 
long as this lasted ; but as soon as rain began to come down, 
that state passed off, and he cheered up. Aisha the faithful 
narrates that on her asking the Prophet for an explanation of 
this, he replied, * O Aisha, lest what happened to the people 
of Ad should happen again ; for when they saw clouds of 
punishment in the sky, they said, " These clouds come to 
bring us rain," whereas that was a storm and clouds bringing 
them a grievous punishment* His Excellency also said, 
* The wind is from the Spirit of God (in Arabic, the riah is 
from the ruah) : it brings gracious rain to His friends, and 
sore punishment to His enemies.' When once some one was 
cursing the storm in that prince's presence, he said, ' Do not 
curse the storm, for it is a commissioned officer, and, verily, 
whoever curses what is undeserving of curse, on him will that 
curse return.' Ibn Abbas narrates, that there never was a 
storm or thundering without that prince kneeling down to 

During an eclipse that prince used to say two genu- 
flexions of the eclipse-service. Ibn Abbas relates that he 
was present once when the Prophet recited that prayer, and 
that on that occasion he prolonged the standing up to an 
unusual extent, about as long as it would take to read the 
second Sura, and that as soon as the prayer was over, the sun 
reappeared. The Prophet also said, * Truly, sun and moon 
are signs of God ; but although their eclipse does not portend 
any one's life or death, yet, if you see any, remember God.' 
His friends said to him, * O Apostle of God, we saw that whilst 
thou wast saying the prayer, thou didst grasp at something, 
and then let it go again.' His Excellency replied, * Verily, 
I have seen Paradise, and I wanted to seize one of the branches 
of its vines ; if I had taken it, you could have been eating 
therefrom till eternity sets in. I have also seen hell ; but I 


have never witnessed anything to equal its terrible and awful 
aspect; and most of the inhabitants of hell were women.' 
When his companions asked, * O Apostle of God,