Click to View


in person were equally unfortunate, for he missed his plunder and retired crestfallen. "Judge now for thyself," our Author says, "whether Mahomet could have been a prophet, as thou sayest. And what concern have prophets with plunder and pillage? Why did he not leave raids and forays to brigands and highwaymen? Tell me wherein the difference lies between thy Master and Bābek Khurramy, whose insurrection hath caused such grief to our lord the Commander of the Faithful, and disaster to mankind at large?1 I know well that thou canst not answer this. And so it continued all through thy Master's life, even until he died. If a caravan was weak, he attacked it, plundering and slaughtering; but, if strong, he fell back and fled. There were nine-and-twenty campaigns in which thy Master engaged in person, besides minor raids and night attacks, and nine pitched battles. Other expeditions were led by his Companions."

by Mahomet's
(pp. 47-48).
"Still stranger and more flagrant was the commission given by thy Master to assassinate certain persons obnoxious to him. Thus Ibn Rawāha was despatched against Oseir ibn Zārim the Jew, whom he slew by guile; and Ibn Omeir was sent to make away with

1  Bābek Khurramy (the festive or jovial) raised the standard of rebellion in Persia about the year 202 A.H. In 212 he carried his conquests into Mesopotamia, and in 214 (just about the time our Apology was written, or shortly before) he annihilated an entire imperial army. He continued the rebellion, with great excesses and cruelty, for twenty years ; and it was not till 222 A.H. that he was overthrown and killed. In the course of his insurrection he is said to have slain 250,000 men and six generals. See Weil's "Geschichte der Chalifen," iii. 301; and Sale's "Koran," Prel. Discourse, vol. i. p. 213. The terror of his name at the era of the Apology makes the illustration particularly apt.


Abu Afek, also a Jew. This last was an aged man, decrepit and helpless, whom Ibn Omeir perfidiously stabbed to death while asleep at night upon his bed, because he had spoken despitefully of thy Master. Tell me, now, I pray thee, whether thou hast anywhere heard or read of so unjustifiable an act. Hath any revelation ever sanctioned it; and what kind of ordinance is this, to slay a man simply for speaking of blame? Had this aged man done anything worthy at all of death, much less of being assassinated unawares? If he spake the truth, should he have been slain for the same? And if he lied, still even for that, one is not to be put to death, but rather chastised that he may in time to come refrain therefrom. My friend, thou well knowest (the Lord be gracious unto thee!) how that it is unlawful to disturb a bird resting in its little nest by night; how much more to slay a man, sleeping securely in his bed, and that for only speaking words of blame! Is this aught but murder? I find not that such an act is justified either by the law of God, of reason, or of nature. Nay, by my life! it is but the old work of Satan towards Adam and his race ever since he wrought his fall. And how consisteth all this with the saying of thine (the Lord guide thee aright, my friend!) that thy Master 'was sent a Blessing and a Mercy to all mankind.'"1

1  For these assassinations, see "Life of Mahomet," pp. 249 and 362.

Click to View