BIOGRAPHIES OF MOHAMMED
judgment and philosophy, requisite for closing hand to hand with Moslem
But now we can boldly take our stand with the best of our opponents. We have
free access to their most authentic sources, Ibn Ishac, Wâckidi, Hishamí,
Tabari. And we can, without fear, confront them with an array of hostile
weapons drawn from their own armouries.
How then, it may be asked, are we bringing these new advantages to bear upon
their Prophet's life and doctrine? The answer is one of shame and humiliation.
Besides a few tracts, generally of a questionable composition, the only
vernacular treatises likely to affect the Mohammedan mind, are the admirable
works of the Missionary Pfander, which we have in a former Number passed under
examination: but even these have little reference to the historical deductions
of modern research, and deal more with the deep principles of reason and of
The first treatise at the head of
this Article, professes to be a direct step towards the object we have in
view. It is a Life of Mohammed intended by the Bombay Tract Society
for translation into "the vernacular tongues." The preface, after
dwelling on the inapplicability of European biographies to the
"Asiatic public," thus states the object of the treatise: "It
was, therefore, thought advisable to prepare another Life of Mohammed,
with special reference to the state of mind and circumstances of the people
of this country. This is now presented." We looked to see advantage
taken in this Biography of the investigations regarding the rise of Islam
which have been prosecuted with such success in France, Germany, Austria, as
well as here in India. But our expectation was speedily disappointed by the
following statement: "Many works have been consulted, "but the
following, and especially the first three, are those which "have been
most copiously used, viz:
Bush's Life of Mohammed.
Washington Irving's Life of Mohammed.
Religious Tract Society's Life of Mohammed. London.
Sale's Coran and Preliminary Treatises.