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and Jewish chieftains tendered their submission,

Sura IX.

Mahomet returned, and promulgated an indignant diatribe against the malingerers, who, by their absence upon false pretences, had incurred the Divine displeasure. Those who frankly confessed their fault were more leniently dealt with; and the "Weepers," that is the indigent believers, who bewailed their inability to equip themselves for the march, are mentioned with special commendation.

The displeasure of Mahomet was about the same time kindled against a party, who had built a mosque in the suburbs, with some disloyal purpose. He not only caused the building to be dismantled,

Sura IX.

but stigmatized its foundations as "built on the brink of a crumbling bank to be swept away with the builder into the fire of hell." The disaffected faction, however, had now but little countenance at Medina, and Abdallah ibn Obey dying shortly after, it disappeared entirely from the scene.

In the course of the year; Tâif having tendered submission, there was no longer opposition anywhere in the Peninsula. Therefore, when the month of pilgrimage came round, Mahomet deputed Ali to recite, before the' multitude assembled at Medina, the "Release,"

Sura IX.

according to which, after the term of four months, the Prophet was discharged from the obligations otherwise devolving upon him, and commanded to wage war against all unbelievers failing to submit themselves to Islâm. None but Moslems were ever after to approach the holy Temple, nor (so it was declared) should any unbeliever enter paradise.*

* This last clause (as well as the prohibition against making the circuit of the Káaba, naked) does not appear in Sura IX., though it is implied in some other passages, as Suras III. 84; XLVIII. 13. It was, I need hardly add, in direct contravention of Mahomet's earlier teaching.


In the latter period of the life of Mahomet little notice is taken either of Jews or Christians. He had not received from them the countenance he claimed; and, indeed, his object now attained, their support was no longer needed. When not indifferent, his attitude was unfriendly towards the Christians; and towards the Jews, embittered. A Christian embassy from Najrân, headed by their bishop, visited Medina, and entered into argument with the Prophet. As the discussion waxed warm, Mahomet defied his opponents to bring the matter to the test of an oath: —"Come, let us call over the names of our sons and your sons, of our wives and your wives, of ourselves and yourselves; then let us curse one the other, and lay the curse of God upon those that lie.

Sura III.

" This strange challenge is embodied in the Coran. At the last, Mahomet was directed to fight against the recusant "people who possessed the Scriptures," that is, both Jews and Christians, until they agreed to "pay tribute with their hand, and were humbled." Both are cursed for their

Sura IX.

"lying vanities," the Jews for calling Ezra, and the Christians for calling their Messiah, the Son of God; and the priests and monks, who on former occasions had been spoken kindly of, are now bitterly condemned:—"These devour the wealth of the people in vanity, and obstruct the ways of the Lord; . . . their gold and silver shall be


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