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1 According to the strict Mahometan doctrine every syllable of the Coran is of a directly divine origin. The wild rhapsodical Suras first composed by Mahomet (as the xci, c, cii, ciii) do not at all bear marks of such an assumption, and were not probably intended to be clothed in the dress of a message from the Most High, which characterizes the rest or the Coran. But when Mahomet's die was cast (the turning point in his career) of assuming that great name as the Speaker of his revelations, then these earlier Suras also came to be regarded as emanating directly from the Deity. Hence it arises that Mahometans rigidly include every word of the Coran, at whatever stage delivered, in the category of Cal'allahu, or "Thus saith the Lord." And it is one of their arguments against our Scriptures, that they are not entirely cast In the same mould ; - not exclusively oracles from the mouth, and spoken in the person, of God.

2 In the latter part of his career, the Prophet had many Arabic amanuenses; some or them occasional, as Ali and Othman; others official as Zeid ibn Thabit, who learned Hebrew expressly to conduct such business at Medina, as Mahomet had, in that language. In the Katib al Wackidi's collection of despatches, the writers of the original documents are mentioned, and they amount to fourteen. Some say there were four-and-twenty of his followers whom Mahomet used more or less as scribes; others, as many as forty-two. Weil's Mohammed, p. 350. In his early Meccan life, he could not have had these facilities; but even then his wife Khadija, Waraca, Ali, or Abu Bacr, who could all read, might have recorded his revelations. At Medina, Obey ibn Kab is mentioned as one who used to record the inspired recitations of Mahomet. Katib al Wackidi p. 277. Another, Abdallah Ibn Sad, was excepted from the Meccan amnesty, because he had falsified the revelation dictated to him by the Prophet. Weil's Mohammed, p.348.

It is also evident that the revelations were recorded, because they are called frequently throughout the Coran itself, Kitab, i.e. the "Writing", "Scriptures."

3 Weil holds the opinion that Mahomet either destroyed or gave away these parts of his revelations (Mohammed, p.349, note 549); and that great portions have thus been lost (p. 351). He farther holds, that the Prophet did not intend that the abrogated passages should continue to be inserted in the Coran. Einleitung, p.46. But this, (except possibly in a few isolated cases) cannot be admitted; for Mahomet lost no opportunity of impressing on his people that every passage of his revelation, whether superseded or not, was a direct message from God, to be reverentially preserved and repeated. The cancelled passages are so frequent, and so inwrought into the substance and context of the Coran, that we cannot doubt that it was the practice of Mahomet and of his followers during his life-time to repeat the whole, including the abrogated passages, as at present. Had he excluded them in his recitation, we may he sure that his followers also would have done so. It is to be remembered that Mahomet, who always, when present, led the public devotions, repeated a portion of the Coran at each celebration of public worship.

4 The later revelations are much more uniform than the earlier, and their connection less broken and fragmentary. This may have resulted in part from the greater care taken of them as supposed in the text, though no doubt in part also from the style of composition being more regular and less rhapsodical.

There is a tradition that Abdallah Ibn Masud wrote down a verse from Mahomet's mouth, and next morning found it erased from the paper; which the prophet explained by saying, that it had been recalled to heaven. Maracci ii. 42 ; Weil's Mohammed, p. 382. The presumption from this is that tine leaves remained with Mahomet. In later traditions, the incident is told with the miraculous addition that the erasure occurred simultaneously. In the copies of a number of Mahomet's followers. Geschichte der Chalifan, 1. 168. This, of course, is a fabrication; and we must believe that (if there be any truth in the tradition at all) the erasure occurred in the original whilst in Mahomet's own keeping.

If the originals were retained by Mahomet, they must needs have been in the custody of one of his wives; since at Medina the prophet had no special house of his own, but dwelt by turns in the abode of each of his wives. As Omar committed his exemplar to the keeping of his daughter Haphsa, one of the widows of Mahomet, may it not have been in imitation of the prophet's own practice? Tine statement made by Sale (Prelim. Disc. p.77,) that the fragmentary revelations were cast promiscuously into a chest, does not seem to be bourne out by any good authority.

5 Thus among a heap or warrior martyrs, he who had been the most versed in the Coran was honoured with the first burial The person who in any company could most faithfully repeat the Coran was or right entitled to he the Imam, or conductor of the public prayers (a post closely connected with that or government.) and to pecuniary rewards. Thus, after the usual distribution of the spoils taken on the field of Cadesia, A. H.14i, the residue was divided among those who knew most of the Coran. Caussin de Perc. Hist des Arabes iii. p. 486.

6 The Katib al Wackidi mentions four or five such persons. Several others are specified who were very nearly able to repeat the whole, before Mahomet's death. pp.172, 270.

In speaking according to Mahometan idiom of "the entire revelation," I mean of course that which was preserved and current in Mahomet's later days, exclusive of what may possibly have been lost, destroyed, or become obsolete.

7 Thus, the secretary or Wackidi mentions a few of the companions who could repeat the whole Coran in a given time, which would seem to imply some usual connection of the parts; but the original tradition may have referred to the portions only which were commonly used by Mahomet in public worship, and these may have followed, both in copying and repetition from memory, some understood order; or more likely the tradition refers to a later period when the order had been fixed by Omar's compilation, and by a common error has been referred to an earlier date. There was no fixed order observed (as in the regular course of "Lessons" in Christian churches) in the portions of the Coran recited at tine public prayers. The selection of a passage was dependent on the will and choice of the Imam. Thus Abu Hureira one day took credit to himself for remembering which Sura the Prophet had read the day before. Katib al Wackidi, p.173 ½. On urgent occasions (as on that of Omar's assassination), a short Sura used to be read. It is only in private recitals that the whole, or large portions of the Coran, are said to have been recited consecutively.

The common idea of the Mahometans that the Coran was fixed by Mahomet as we have it, originates in the traditions that Gabriel had an annual recitation of the whole Coran with their Prophet, as well as in the desire to augment the authority of their present edition.

8 But there is reason to believe that the chief of the Suras, including all the passages in most common use, were so fixed and known by some name or distinctive mark. Some of them are spoken of, in early and well authenticated traditions as referred to by Mahomet himself. Thus he recalled his followers from Medina, at the discomfiture of Honein, by shouting to them as "the men of the Sura Bacr ", ("the cow.")

Several persons are stated in the traditions to have learnt by heart a certain number of Suras in Mahomet's life-time. Thus Abdallah ibn Masud learned seventy Suras from the Prophet's own mouth, Kitab al Wackidi p. l69 1/2; and Mahomet on his death bed repeated seventy Suras, "among which were the seven long ones." Id. p. 124 ½ . These appear to be good traditions, and signify a recognized division of at least a part of the revelation into Suras, if not a usual order in repeating the Suras themselves.

Weil has a learned note (Mohammed, p.361) on the meaning of the word as used by Mahomet. It was probably at first employed to designate any portion of his revelation, or a string of verses; but it soon afterwards, even during Mahomet's life-time, acquired its present technical meaning.

9 Where whole Suras were revealed at once, this would naturally be the case; but short passages in driblets, and often single verses, were given forth at a time, as occasion required. With regard to these, it is asserted in some traditions that Mahomet used to direct his amanuensis to enter them in such and such a Sure, or rather "In the Sura which treated of such and such a subject," Mishcat i p. 526; see also the Persian Commentary. This, if an authentic tradition (and it is probably founded on fact), would indicate that Mahomet wished the Coran to be arranged according to its matter, and not chronologically.

The traditions cited above as to the number of Suras which some of the Companions could repeat, and which Mahomet himself repeated on his death bed, imply the existence of such Suras in a complete sad finished form.

10 Anecdotes are told of some, who in reciting tho Coran used, especially when tired, to pass over passages from the similar termination of the verses; and of others, who having been guilty of the omission, could spontaneously correct themselves. Such homoioteluta are of very frequent recurrence, from the rhythm of the verses being formed by the repetition of common place phrases at their close, such as the attributes of God, &c. The anecdotes certainly suppose a settled order or the parts repeated; and though the period referred to is subsequent to Mahomet's death, yet the habit of such connected repetition was most probably formed during his life-time, and before the collection Into one volume.

11 De Sacy and Caussin de Perceval concur in fixing the date of the introduction of Arabic writing into Mecca at A.D. 560. Mém. de l'Acad. vol.1. p. 306; C. de Perc. 1. p. 294. The chief authority is contained in a tradition given by Ibn Khallican, that the Arabic system was invented by Moramir at Anbar whence it spread to Hira. It was thence, shortly after its invention, introduced into Mecca by Harb, father of Abu Sofian the great opponent of Mahomet. Ibn Khallican, by Slane, vol. ii. p.254 [480]. Other traditions give a later date; but M. C. de Perceval reconciles the discrepancy by referring them rather to the subsequent arrival of some zealous and successful teacher than to the first introduction of the art. Vol.1 p. 295.

I would observe that either the above traditions are erroneous, or that some sort of writing other than Arabic must have been known long before the date specified, i.e. A.D. 560. Abd al Muttalib is described as writing from Mecca to his maternal relatives at Medina for help, In his younger days i.e. about A.D. 520. And still farther back, in the middle of the fifth century, Cussei addressed a written demand of a similar tenor to his brother in Arabia Petraea Katib al Wackidi l~; Tabari 18 & ½; Tabari 18 & 28.

The Himyar or Musnad writing is said by Ibn Khallican to have been confined to Yemen; but the verses quoted by C. de Perceval (vol.1. p. 295) would seem to imply that it bad at the period been known and used by the Meccans, and was in fact supplanted by the Arabic. The Syriac and Hebrew were also known, and probably extensively used in Medina and the northern parts of Arabia from a remote period.

In fine, whatever the system employed may have been, it is evident that writing of some sort was known and practised at Mecca long before A.D. 560. At all events, tine frequent notices of written papers leave no room to doubt that Arabic writing was well known, and not uncommonly practised, there in Mahomet's early clays. I cannot think with Weil, that any great "want of writing materials" could have been felt, even "by the poorer Moslems in the early days or Islam," Mohammed, p. 350. Reeds and palm-leaves would never be wanting.

12 Thus the Katib al Wasckidi p. 101 ½, relates ;- "Now the people of Mecca were able to write, but those in Medina were unaccustomed to the art. Wherefore, when the captives could not pay any ransom, the Prophet made over to each of them ten of the lads of Medina and when these lads became expert in writing, they stood for the ransom of the captives."

13 Thus, to cite one of a score or instances "Abu Abbas used to write Arabic before the rise of Islam, while as yet writing was rare among the Arabs." Katib a1 Wackidi, p. 269.

14 A curious illustration of this is given it the case of the despatch and embassy to the Himyarites; - the Prophet's ambassador, Harith ibn Abi Rabia, among other things was told to direct them to "translate," (perhaps "explain") the Coran, when they recited it in a foreign tongue or dialect. Katib al Wackidi p.55.

Abdallah ibn Abbas is mentioned as a good "translator" (perhaps "explainer") of the Coran. Ib. p. 174

15 I have before alluded to the evidence conveyed by the name "Katib." Other passages involve the existence of copies in common use. The Coran, none shall touch the same, excepting such as are clean." Sura lvi, 80. This is an early Meccan Sura, and the passage was referred to by the sister of Omar when at his conversion he desired to take her copy of Sura xx. into his hands. Such passages are not only evidence of the extreme care, if not awe, with which all transcripts of the Coran were treated, but they themselves served as an important safeguard against corruption. The account of this transaction may be referred to below, in the 5th Chapter of this work.

16 Those revelations, however must be excepted which related to individuals. Such passages as praised or exculpated specified persons, would be most carefully treasured up by the persons to whom they referred and by their families, however little interest they might possess for any one else; - e.g. the verses in Sura xxiv. regarding Ayesha; and Sura ix. 120, respecting Kab ibn Malik and others, who were pardoned for not accompanying the Tabuk expedition.

17 See instances of such references made to Mahomet by Omar, Abdallah ibn Masud, and Obey ibn Kab, at pp. 521 & 522, vol i of the Mishcat, Eng. Translation.

18 The exact date of the battle of Yemama is uncertain. Wackidi makes it to fall in Rabi I. A.H. 12, or one year after Mahomet's death, and abu Mashar follows him. Tabari mentions the 11th year of the Hegira, and others give the end of that year. The latter opinion is the likeliest, as Khalid set out for Irak after the battle, and in the beginning of A.H. 12. Weil would mince it in Shaban of A.H. 11, or only about five months after Mahomet's death, which apparently leaves too little time for the intervening transactions. Weil's Gesch. der Chalifan i. p.27; Katib al Wackidi. p.195.

19 Vide Mishcat, vol. I p.524, Eng. Translation; Bk. VIIL ch. iii. pt. 3.

20 properly signifies branches of the date-tree, on which there are no leaves; it appears, however; here to mean date leaves. signifies thin white stones. The commentary on this passage adds traditions to the effect that Zeid gathered the Coran also from "fragments of parchment or paper" and "pieces of "leather"; and "the shoulder and rib bones of camels and goats," Miscat, as above.

Leather was frequently used for writing. Many of Mahomet's treaties and letters are mentioned as recorded on It. Sometimes red leather is specified. Kitib al Wackidi p.59. There is a curious tradition regrading a man who used a leather letter received. from Mahomet, for the purpose of mending his bucket, and whose family were thence called the Bani Racki - "children of the mender," or "cobbler;" Ibid, p.54.

21 This consistent account Is derived from the traditions in the Mishcat. The authorities in the Katib al Wackidi vary. Aba Bacr is said to have been "the first who collected the Coma Into one book," p.216. "He died before he had collected the Coran" (probably it is meant "finished the collection")p. 219.

Again, in regard to Omar it is said :- "Omar was the first to collect the Coran into one volume." This must refer to Abn Bacr's collection, here ascribed to Omar, because made at his suggestion, p.234 ½. Again, at page 237, we read, that "he died before he had collected the Coran." This may probably be a loose mode of intimating that his was not the final collection.


23Zeid, it will be remembered, was a native of Medina.

24 It is one or the maxims of the Moslem world, supported perhaps by the revelation itself (see Sura xi. 2), that the Coran is incorruptible, and preserved from error and variety of reading, by the miraculous interposition of God himself. In order, therefore, to escape the scandal and inconsistencies of the transaction here detailed, it Is held that the Coran, as to its external dress, was revealed in seven dialects of the Arabic tongue. See traditions at p.520, vol.1. of the Mishcat; and Weil's Mohammed p. 349, note 551. It is not improbable that Muhamet himself may hare originated or countenanced some ides or this kind, to avoid the embarrassment of differing versions of the same passages or revelation. See also Weil's Einleitung, p.48.

25Mishcat, vol. I. p.525. Wackidi, however, mentions that twelve persons were employed by Othman in this work, among whom were Obey ibn Kab and Zeid. The three Coreish noticed in the text were probably umpires from among the twelve. Kitab al Wackidi, p. 278 ½.

26The Moslems would have us believe that some of the self-same copies, penned by Othman or by his order, are still in existence. M. Quatremére has collected a number of facts hearing on this head. Journal Asiatique. Juillet pp. 41, et seq. The very copy which the Caliph held in his hand when he was murdered is said to have been preserved in the village of Antarus. Others hold that leaves or it were treasured up in the grand mosque of Cordova; and Edrisi describes in detail the ceremonies with which they were treated: they were finally transferred to Fez or Telemsan. Ibn Batuta, when in the fourteenth century he visited Basra, declares that this Coran was then in its mosque, and that the marks of the Caliph's blood were still visible at the words (Sura ii. v.138), "God shall avenge thee against them." Lee's translation, p.35. [The Katib al Wackidi, p.193, states that the unfortunate Caliph's 'blood ran down to these words. Other of 0thman's originals are said to be preserved in Egypt, Morocco, and Damascus; as well as at Mecca and Medina. The Medina copy, it is said, has a note at the end, relating that it was compiled by the injunctions of Othman; and the compilers' names are also given: Cnf Gayangos Spain, vol.1. pp.222-224, and 497, 498; and Weil's Einleit, p.51. In Quatremére's conclusion that though the preservation of such copies is not impossible, yet the accounts on the subject are of doubtful authority, I am disposed to concur. It appears very unlikely that any of Othman's copies can have escaped the innumerable changes of dynasty and party to which every part or the Moslem world has been subjected. Any very ancient copy would come, however unfounded the claim, to be called that of Othman.

27 There are, however, instances of variation in the letters themselves, and these are not confined to difference in the dots, as for (Sura vii. 58, anti xxv. 49), for (iv. 83). They extend sometimes to the form or the letters also, as for (lxxi. 23), for (xxii. 37.)

This almost incredible purity of text, in a book so widely scattered over the world, and continually copied by people of different tongues and lands, is without doubt owing mainly to Othman's recension, and the official enforcement of his one edition. To countenance a various reading was an offence against the State, and punished as such. An instance may be found in Weil's History of the Caliphs, vol. ii p.676. Yet the various readings for which the learned Abul Hasan was persecuted, appear to have been very innocent and harmless to the government. We need not wonder that, when such means were resorted to, a perfect uniformity of text has been maintained. To compare (as the Moslems are fond of doing) their pure text, with the various readings of our Scriptures, is to compare things between the history and essential points of which there is no analogy.

28 Weil, indeed, impugns Othman's honesty, by saying that he committed the task not to the most learned men, but to those most devoted to himself; Chalif. i. p.167. But he seems been mistaken; for Wackidi, as we have seen, holds that Othman selected twelve men for the work, among whom was Obey ibn Kab as well as Zeid, the two best authorities living. Abdallah ibn Masud, it is true, was vexed at Zeid being entrusted wills the revision, and casts suspicions upon him, but this, as will be shown In the next note, was simple jealousy. Zeid was selected for the first compilation by Abu Bacr and Omar, and Othman cannot be blamed for fixing upon the same person to revise it. The traditions regarding Zeid assign to him a high and unexceptionable character; vide Katib al Wackidi, p. l72 ½, 173. He is spoken of as, the first man In Medina for his judgment, decision, reading of the Coran, and legal knowledge, during the caliphates of Omar, Othman, Ali, and until he died in Muavia's reign?'

The only tradition which Imputes to Othman any change is one in the Mishcat (i. p. 526), where the Caliph, being asked why he had joined Suras viii. and ix. without interposing the usual formula, "In the name of God, &c.~" Is said to have answered that "the Prophet, when dictating a passage, used to direct the scribe to write it in the Sura relating to such and such a subject; that Mahomet died before explaining the position of Sura ix. which was the last revealed; and that, as it resembled in subject Sura viii. he (Othman) had joined them together without the intervening formula." Here certainly is no charge of corruption, or even of changing the position of any portion or the Coran, but simply a direction as to the form and heading with which one of the chapters should be entered. There is also a tradition from Dzahaby given by Weil (Chalif i p. 168, note), which apparently implies that, previous to Othman's collection, the Coran, though arranged into Suras, was not brought together into one volume or series. "The Coran," it says, "was composed of books,- -but Othman left it one book."

This would correspond with the principle regarding the two editions laid down in the commentary on the Mishcat; - "The difference between the collection of Abu Bacr and that of Othman, is that the object of the former was to gather up everything, so that no portion should be lost; the object of the latter, to prevent any discrepancy In the copies." The former object might have been attained without arranging the Suras into a volume. Still, I incline to think that Abu Bacr did so arrange them.

29 Weil supposes that Othman threatened the severest punishments against those who did not burn all the old manuscripts. Gesch der Chalifen, i. p. 169, note. But we find in reality no trace of any such severity, or indeed of any inquisitorial proceedings at all. The new edition, and the destruction of former copies (though subsequently forming a convenient accusation against 0thman,) do not appear to have excited at the time any surprise or opposition.

The opposition and imprisonment of Abdallah Ibn Masud originated in his discontent and jealousy. That his Coran was burnt for its supposed errors (Chalif. 1. p.169.) is not supported by any good tradition; it was probably burnt with all the others on the new edition being promulgated. The following is all that Wackidi has upon it. A tradition runs thus:-" Abdallah ibn Masud addressed us when the command was received regarding (the compilation or recension of) the Coran; and referring to the verse in the Coran reprobating robbery (of the booty, Sura iii. 162,) he added, "And they have made secret robbery in the Coran; and certainly in were to recite the Coran according to the reading of any other person whatever whom I might chance to select, it would be better In my opinion than the reading of Zeid. For, by the Lord! I received seventy Suras from the mouth of the Prophet himself, at a time when Zeid was but a curly-headed urchin playing with the children. Verily, If I knew any one more learned than myself in the book of the Lord, I would travel to him, were it never so far.' Katib at Wackidi, p.169. These are the words evidently of a piqued and discontented man. had there been any foundation for his calumny, we should undoubtedly have heard of it from other quarters.

30 So far from objecting to Othman's revision, Ali multiplied copies of his version. Quatremére, in the paper cited in a former note, among other MSS. supposed to have been written by Ali, mentions one which was preserved at Mesched Ali up to the fourteenth century, and which bore his signature. Some leaves of the Coran, said to have been copied by him, are now in the Lahore Tosha-Khana; others in the same repository are ascribed to the pen of his son, Husein. Without leaning upon such uncertain evidence, it is abundantly sufficient for our argument that copies of Othman's Coran were notoriously used and multiplied by Ali's partisans, and have been so uninterruptedly to the present day.

There is a curious tradition Wackidi to the following effect : - "Ali delayed long to do homage to Abu Bacr; who happening to meet him asked, 'Art thou displeased with my being elected chief ? ' - ' Nay,' replied Ali, 'but I have sworn with an oath that I shall not put on my mantle, except for prayers, until I have collected the Coran.' And it is thought that he wrote it (chronologically) according to its revelation." But it is at the same time admitted that nobody ever knew anything of such a collection; the traditionists add : - "had that book reached us, verily there had been knowledge for theein." Katib al Wackidi, p. to 168 1/2. A similar tradition appears to be referred to by Weil (Chalif. i. p.169, note). But the idea is preposterous and is simply an invention to exculpate Ali from the charge of having done homage to Abu Bacr tardily. Had he really compiled a Coran of his own, we should have had multitudes of traditions about it. Besides, the notion, as already observed, is incompatible with his subsequent reception of Othman's version. Ali was moreover deeply versed in the Coran, and his memory (if tradition be true) would amply have sufficed to detect, if not to restore, any passage that had been tampered with. Ali said of himself, "there is not a verse in the Coran, of which I do not know the matter, the parties to whom it refers, and the place and time of its revelation, whether by night or by day, whether in the plains or upon the mountains." Katib al Wackidi, 168 1/2.

31 Vide Coran Sura vi. a. 21. nearly the same words, is repeated in eleven other places. The considerations above detailed seem sufficient to rebut the supposition advanced by Dr. Weil (Mohammed, p.350,) that Abu Bacr might have colluded with Zeld, or some other of the Prophet's scribes, and made them produce at pleasure scraps which Mahomet never gave forth as portions of the Coran. The ONLY passage brought forward, as favouring this view, is that regarding the mortality of Mahomet, quoted (or as Weil holds, fabricated) by Abu Bacr immediately after his death. The people were at the time frantic with grief; and refused to believe that their Prophet and their Ruler, whom a few hours before they had seen in the mosque apparently convalescent, and upon whom they hung fbr temporal guidance and for spiritual direction, was really dead. They persuaded themselves that he was only in a swoon, and would soon again return to consciousness, as from some heavenly journey. It was thus that when Abu Baer sounded in their ears Mahomet's own words, in which (with reference to his perilous position in a field of battle) he had announced his mortality, they were bewildered, and "it was as if they had not known that this verse had been revealed, until Abu Bacr recited it; and the people took it up from him, and forthwith it was in all their mouths." Another relates - "By the Lord! It was so that when I heard Abu Bacr repeating this, I was horror-struck, my limbs shook, I fell to the earth, and I knew of a certainty that Mahomet was indeed dead." Katib al Wickidi, p. 155 ½; Hishami, p.462. The whole circumstances appear natural and readily explainable by the highly excited feelings and wild grief of Omar and those who were with him. The traditions are throughout consistent with the Coran. Mahomet always contemplated death as awaiting him, and spoke of it as such. The tradition of his having declared that the choice of both worlds, (i.e. the option of death and transfer to paradise, or of continuance in this world,) was offered him is a fiction, or a highly-coloured exaggeration. Whatever expectations of a miraculous interference and resuscitation Mahomet's sudden decease may have excited, they were certainly warranted neither by the Coran nor by any speech of Mahomet. I entirely dissent from Weil, that there is any suspicion whatever of the verse repeated by Abu Bacr having been fabricated for the occasion. To me such suspicion appears to be gratuitous incredulity. Cnf Weil's Mohammed, pp. 333, 350; his Einleitung p.43; and his Gesch. der Chalifen, vol. i. pp. 4 & 15.

32 The battle of Yemama, as before mentioned, occurred within a year after Mahomet's death. Abu Bacr's caliphate lasted little more than two years and two months. The compilation was certainly in progress, if not completed, between the former date and Abu Bacr's death.

33 Though the convenient doctrine of abrogation is acknowledged in the Coran, yet the Mussulmans endeavour an far as possible to explain away such contradictions. Still they are obliged to confess that the Coran contains no fewer than 225 verses canceled by later ones.

34 I have already referred to the Mahometan theory of the seven dialects, as possibly founded in part on some explanation given by Mahomet to account for two or more varying versions of the same text, both given forth by himself as Divine. The idea, however, was probably not fully developed or worked into a systematic form till after his death, when it was required to account for the various readings.

Variety of readings in the originals might arise from two causes. First. - Passages actually distinct and revealed at different times might be so similar as to appear really the same with insignificant variations; and it is possible they might thus come to be confounded togethe; the differences being regarded as various readings. This, however, is opposed to the tautological character of the present Coran, which renders it likely that such passages were always inserted as separate and distinct revelations, without any attempt at collation or combination with other passage which they might closely resemble.

Second. - Different transcripts of one and the same passage might have variations of reading. It is possible that such transcripts might be each coined in extenso in Zcid's compilation as separate passages, and that hence may arise some part of the repetitions of the Coran. But from the care with which the times and occasions of the several revelations are said to have been noted and remembered, it seems more likely that such passages were unseated but once. How, then, were the various readings in the different transcripts of the same passage treated? Some, leaning on the dogma of the " seven dialects," suppose that they were all exhibited in Zeid's first collection. But this is very improbable. Zeid evidently made one version out of the whole. The various readings would thus remain with the possessors of the original transcripts.

We have then the following sources from which various readings may have crept into the subsequent copies of Abu Bacr's version. I. The variations in the private transcripts just referred to might have been gradually transferred to such copies. II. Differences, in the mode of repetition from memory, and peculiarities of dialect, might have been similarly transferred; or III. The manuscripts not being checked, as was afterwards done by 0thman's standard copy, would naturally soon begin to differ.

Variations, once introduced into what was regarded as the Word of God, acquired an authority, which could only he superseded by a general revision such as Othman's, and by the authoritative decision of the Successor and Representative of the Prophet of the Lord.

35 Katib al Wackidi, p.169.

36 Ibid., p. 169 ½.

37 Sura II v.100.

38 The following are, I believe, the only instances of withdrawal or omission referred to in the traditions : - First. - Upon the slaughter of the seventy Moslems at Bir Mauna, Mahomet pretended to have received a message from them through the Deity, which is given by different traditionists (with slight variations) as follows:-

Convey to our people this intelligence regarding us, that we have met our Lord, and that He is well pleased with us, and we are well pleased with Him." Katib al Wackidi, pp. 108 1/2; and 280 1/2; Tabari, p.415. After this had been repeated by all the believers for some time as a verse or the Coran, it was canceled and withdrawn. No adequate reason is recognizable for this cancelment. That supposed Weil, viz., that the message is from the slain Moslems and not like the rest of the Coran, from God himself; is hardly sufficient, because in other places also the formula of the divine message has to be supplied. Here the insertion of some such expression as - " SAY, thus saith thy Lord,-thy companions say unto me, convey to our people," &C, would reduce the passage to the Mahometan rule of coming from the mouth of God himself.

Second - Omar is said thus to have addressed his subjects at Medina: - "Take heed, ye people, that ye abandon not the verse which command stoning for adultery; and if any one say, we do not find two punishments (it one for adultery and another for fornication) in the book of the Lord, I reply that verily [have seen the Prophet of the Lord executing the punishment of stoning for adultery, and we have put in force the same after him. And, by the Lord I if it were not that men would say" Omar hath introduced something new into the Coran," I would have inserted the same in the Coran, for truly I have read the verse -

"The married man and the married woman when they commit adultery stone them both without doubt." Katib al Wackidi, p.2454; Weil's Mohammed, p. 351. That this command should have been omitted, after being once entered in the Coran, appear's strangely unaccountable when we remember its great importance as a civil rule, and the prominent part it occupied in the controversy with the Jews, who were accused of hiding the similar command alleged to be in the Old Testament. There must, however be some foundation for Omar's speech, because stoning is still by Mahometan law the punishment for adultery, and the only authority for the practice is the withdrawn verse.

Third. - A tradition is quoted by Maracci (ii. p.42), to the effect that a verse about a valley of gold has been omitted from Sura x. at v. 26, but the authority seems doubtful.

Fourth. - I have already noticed the tale by Abdallah ibn Masud, of his discovering that a verse had disappeared during the night from his leaves, it having bean canceled from heaven. Vide. above, p. iv.

There Is a fifth passage regarding the goddesses of Mecca, which Mahomet is said to have repented at the suggestion of Satan as a verse of the Coran, and which is held to have been expunged under divine direction by Mahomet himself. Katib al Wackidi, p.59; Tabari, p.140; Note by Dr. Sprenger; p. 128; Asiatic Journal, No. xii. See also below in Chapter v. But according to Moslem ideas,.these words never formed an actual portion of the Revelation.

The Mahometans divide the abrogated passages into three classes: I. Where the writing is canceled and removed, but the purport or command remains, as in the first and second instances given above. II. Where the command is canceled, but the writing or passage itself remains, as in the abrogated verses regarding Jerusalem being the Kibalh, &C III. Where the writing and purport are both canceled, as in the third and fourth instances, quoted in this note. See Maracci, ii. p.42.

39 The possibility of unintentional omissions from the Coran before its fragments were collected unto one volume, is admitted in the very reason urged by Omar for its collection ; - he feared, if there was farther slaughter among those who had it by heart, that much might be lost from the Coran. Mishcat, I. 525. There is also a tradition from Zeid himself that the last verse of Sura ix. (or, as others say, a section of Sura xxiii.) was found with Khuzeima, after all the rest of the Coran had been collected. The tradition, however, is suspicious. It seems impossible that any portion of either of those Suras should have been so Imperfectly preserved, seeing that both are Medina ones, and the former, (Sura ix.) the very last revealed. Possibly the recovered verse had been revealed so lately, that sufficient time had not elapsed for copies to get abroad.

40" Der Koran eben so sicher für Mohammeds Wort, als den Moslimen für das Gottes gilt." Weil, though dissenting from this opinion, allows "that no important alterations, additions, or omissions have been made:" -" so glauben wir auch nicht an bedeutende Veränderungen, Zusätze odor Auslassungen." Mohammed, p.352; But Cnf: Pref p. xv.

So Dr. Sprenger: "Though the Coran may not be free from interpolations, yet there seems to be no reason for doubting its authenticity." Life of Mohammed, p.63.

Even on this ground, the Coran would still form the grand basis of Mahomet's biography.

41 Katib al Wackidi, p.70 1/2. This tradition is repeated by the Katib al Wackidi from different authorities, many times, and in the same words. It would appear to have become proverbial.

42 Hishami p. 295.

43Katib al Wackidi p.279.

44 Sprenger gives the names or tire companions of the Prophet who survived the latest. He mentions the last six, who died between the years A.H. 86 and 100. Among these is the famous traditionist, Anas ibn Malik. Mohammed, p.67, note 3.

But those who lived to that advanced period must either have been very young when they knew Mahomet, or have by this time become decrepit and superannuated. In the former case, their evidence as the contemporaries of the Prophet is of little value; in the latter, their prime as narrators must have passed away. Hence, for practical purposes, we would limit generally the age of the Companions to the first half or three-quarters of the seventh century. Thus, supposing a Companion to have reached his sixty-fifth year in A.D. 675, he would have been only twenty-two years of age at the Prophet's death, and but twelve years of age at the time of the flight. A possible margin of ten or twelve additional years may be left for cases of greet age end unusual strength of memory.

45 He committed to Abu Bacr ibn Muhammad the task of compiling all the traditions he could meet with. This traditionist died A.H. 120, aged 84. Sprenger's Mohammed, p. 67.

46 From certain early traditions it may he concluded that it was not cutomary before the time of the Caliph Omar II (A.H. 100), to reduce to writing the current traditions. "Omar II, son of Abd al Aziz; wrote to Abu Bacr ibn Muhammad thus; - 'Look out (at Medina), for whatever traditions there are of Mahomet, or or the by-gone Sunnat, or for any traditions of Amarah daughter of Abd al Rahman, and commit them to writing, for verily I fear the obliteration of knowledge (tradition) and the departure (death) of the people possessing it." Katib al Wackidi, p. 178.

Again - "Salih ibn Keisan related as follows : - Zohri (died A.H.124) and I joined each other and sought after knowledge (traditions); and we spake one to another saying-' Let us write down the Sunnat ' - (traditions regarding Mahomet;) so we recorded the traditions which came down from the Prophet. Then said Zohri - 'Let us now record that also which doth emanate from the Companions of the Prophet, for it too is Sunnat.' I replied, 'it is not Sunnat:' and I recorded none of it. So he wrote (the latter,) but I did not; and thus he obtained his object, but I lost the opportunity of obtaining this knowledge." Ibid. p.178 ½.

And again, the secretary of Wackidi relates the following speech by Zohri : - "I used to be greatly averse to writing down knowledge (traditions) until these rulers (the Caliphs & c.) forced me to do so. Then I saw it (to be right) that none of the Moslems should be hindered from it" ( i.e. from readily acquiring traditional knowledge in a recorded form.) -

This important tradition seems to he decisive against the previous practice, at any rate as a general one, of recording traditions. The other authorities I have met with on the point are very weak. They are as follows: -

Miarwan (when Governor of Medina, in Muavia's reign) secreted scribes behind a curtain; then he called Zeid ibn Thabit, (one of Mahomet's Companions, and the collector of the Coran,) and began to question him, the men meanwhile writing he, answers down. But Zeid turning round saw them writing and called out, "Treachery, Marwan! My words are those of my own opinion only" (ie. not authoritative tradition.) Ibid. p. 173.

Again:-Abdallah ibn Amr asked permission of Mahomet, to take down in writing what he heard from him, and Mahomet gave him permission. So he wrote it down, and he used to call that book Al Sudica ("The True.") Mujahid (born A..H. 1l, died A.H. 100) says he saw a book Abdallah had, and he asked him regarding it, and he replied, "This is Al Sadica; therein is what I heard from the Prophet; there is not in it between him and me any one" (i.e. its contents are derived immediately from him.) Ibid. p. 175 ½.

Again : - "Omar (the successor of Abu Bacr) intended to write down the Sunnat, and prayed to the Lord regarding it for a month: when at last he was ready to commence the work, he desisted, saying -' I remember a people who recorded a writing similar thereunto, and then followed after it, leaving the Book of the Lord" Ibid. p.235 ½.

Dr. Sprenger has carefully collected several traditions, both for and against the opinion that Mahomet's sayings were recorded during his life-time. At p. 67 of his Life of Mohammed, notes 1 and 2, will be found a few traditions in which the above-mentioned Abdallah, and one or two others, are said to have written down such memoranda. On the other hand, at p. 64, note I, are transcribed three or four traditions to the effect that Mahomet forbad his followers to record any of his sayings, and stopped them when they had begun to do so, "lest they should fall into the confusion of the Jews and the Christians." Both sets of traditions seem to be equally balanced, and for reasons given in the text I would reject both as untrustworthy. See also some traditions in Dr. Sprenger's note on Zohri; Asiatic Journal for 1851, p. 396.

The phrase "such a one informed me" - the technical link in the traditional chain-does not necessarily imply that the traditional matter was conveyed orally and not in a recorded form. With the later traditionists it certainly came to be applied likewise to relation already preserved in writing by the party on whose authority they are delivered. This is very clearly shown by Dr. Sprenger, in his notice of Tabari; Asiatic Journal, No. ccxii, p. 1090. Tabari constantly introduces traditions, with this formula, from Ibn Ishaq and Wackidi; and on turning to these authors, we find the same matter word for word, as quoted by Tabari. The fair conclusion is that it may be the same with some of the authorities earlier than ibn Ishac; and we shall see reason below for believing that it was so in the case of Orwa and Zohri.

After the above was in type, I have been favoured by Dr Sprenger with his Second Notice on A. von Kremer's Wackidi, in the Cal. As. Journal for 1856. The subject of the earliest biographers of Mahomet, and their authorities, is there discussed with his usual learning and research. He establishes it as at least highly probable that Orwa (born A.H. 23, died 94) wrote a biography of the Prophet; " but unfortunately the prejudice that it was not proper to have any other book than the Coran induced him to efface all his traditions." No farther light is thrown on the reconciling of events, or traditions, contemporaneously with Mahomet, or shortly alter his death; and that is the point on which the argument in the text turns.

47 The following tradition seems to illustrate this position: - Othman (when Caliph) commanded, saying; - "It is not permitted to any one to relate a tradition as from the Prophet. which he hath not already heard in the time of Abu Bacr or Omar. And verily nothing hinders me from repeating traditions of the Prophet's sayings, (although I be one of those endowed with the most retentive memory amongst all his Companions,) but that I have heard him say, Whoever shall repeat of me that which I have not said, his resting-place shall be in Hell." Katib al Wackidi, p. 168 ½.

This tradition, if well founded, gives pretty clear intimation that even before Othman's murder, fabricated traditions were propagated by his opponents to shake his authority, and that the unfortunate Caliph endeavoured to check the practice by forbidding the repetition of any fresh recitals which had not already been made known in the caliphates of his two predecessors.

48 The first of the Ommeyad line.

49 Weil's Gesch. Der Chalifen, vol.ii. p. 7.

50 When the Abbassides reached the throne, they cast aside the Alyite platform from which they had made the fortunate ascent. They were then obliged in self defence to crush with an iron hand every rising or the Alyites who found to their cost that, after an their wiles and machinations, they had at last become the unconscious tools for raising to power a party with whom they had in reality as little fellow-feeling as with the Ommeyads. They deserved their fate.

51 Gesch. Chalifen, vol. ii., p. 258.

52 Ibid. p. 265.

53 Gesch. Chalifen, vol. ii. p.267.

54 The names of the authors of the six collections, with those of the other popular traditional compilations, are noted by Dr. Sprenger (Life of Mohammed, p.68, note 2,) together with the date of each author's death. Dr. Sprenger has, however, omitted the earliest collection of all, viz. that of Imam Malik Al Muatta-born A.H. 95, died A.H. 179. This work was lithographed at Delhi in 1849. It is held in very great esteem, and although not generally included among the standard six, it is yet believed by many to be the source whence a great portion of their materials are derived. "It is, as it were, the origin and mother of the two Sahih," i.e, of the collections of Bokhari and of Muslim.

55 Sprenger's Mohammed, p. 68, note 3.

56 Gesch. Chalifen, vol. ii. p. 290; Ibn Khallican, by Slane, vol. ii. p. 595.

57 Gesch. Chalifen, vol ii. p.291; Ibn Khallican, vol. i. p.589. The latter authority makes the number selected 4,800; but the selected number is still spoken of as doubtful. "I wrote down," says Abu Daud, "five hundred thousand traditions respecting the Prophet, from which I selected those, to the number of four thousand eight hundred, which are contained in this book (the Sunan). I have mentioned herein the authentic, those which seem to be authentic and those which are nearly so."

58 Abu Abdallah Muhammad, surnamed from his country, Al Bokhari, was born A.H. 194; but, with rare precocity, he had in his eighteenth year already commenced the labour of his life in collecting and sifting traditions. We may therefore conclude that the full influence of the Caliph Mamun was brought to bear upon his works. Ibn Khallican says of him ; - "Animated with the desire of collecting traditions, he went to see most or the traditionists in all the great cities; he wrote down in Khorasan, in the cities of Irak, in the Hijaz:, In Syria, and in Egypt, the information he thus acquired." Ibn Khallican, vol.ii p. 595.

59 This may be illustrated by the practice of Bokhari and Muslim. Out of 40,000 men, who are said to have been instrumental in handing down Tradition, they acknowledged the authority of only 2,000 by receiving their traditions. A later writer states that, of these 40,000 persons, only 226 should be excepted as undeserving of credit. This may throw light upon one cause at least of the vast store of fabulous narratives in the works of the more modern biographers, viz., that they were less careful about their authorities. See Sprenger's Mohammed, p. 65, note 1.

60 Ibn: Khallican, vol. ii. p. 596.

61 A tradition is always given in the direct form of speech in which it is supposed to have been originally uttered. Thus: - " A informed me, saying that B had spoken to the effect that C had told him, saying D mentioned that he heard E relate that he had listened to F, who said; - I heard G enquiring of Ayesha 'What food did the Prophet of the Lord like?'> and she replied, Verily, he loved sweetmeats and honey, and greatly relished a pumpkin."

The technical links in these narrations are generally I have heard from such a one, or such a one informed me; and "quoth he," "quoth she."

62 Even the omission, or disguising the names, or any authorities in a traditional chain, destroyed the credit of a traditionist. It was called - tadlis. See Sprenger's Second Notice of Wackidi; As. Journal, 1856.

63 No Mahometan is of course expected to believe implicitly in two contradictory traditions. All properly attested traditions are recorded; but many or them are acknowledged weak or doubtful; and when they contradict one another, the choice is left to the student. The historians of Mahomet and of early Islam, when they relate contradictory or varying narratives, sometimes add an expression of their own opinion as to which is preferable. They also sometimes mark doubtful stories by the addition; - "But the Lord (only) knows whether this be false or true."

64 This subject has been well discussed In the Treatise on Politics by Lewes, vol. 1. pp. 187-188.

65 This is well expressed by Dr. Weil:-"Ich durfte daher nicht bloss die Quelle übertragen oder je nach Gütdunken excerpiren, sondern musste ihren Angaben vorher einer strengen Kritik unterwerfen; denn wenn man überhaupt gegen alle orientalischen Schriftsteller misstrauisch seyn muss, so hat man hier doppelten Grand dazu, weil sie nicht nur von ihrer Leidenschaft und ihrer Phantasie, sondern auch von ihrer religiösen Schwärmerei geleitet waren. Schon im zweiten Jahrhundert, als die ersten Biographen Mohammeds aufraten, die ihre Erzählungen noch auf Aussage seiner Zeitgenossen Zurückzuführen wagen, war sein ganzes Leben, nicht nur von seiner Geburt, sondern schon von seiner Zeugung an, bis zu seinem Tode, von einem Gewebe von Märchen und Legenden umsponnen, das auch das nürchternste europäische Auge niche immer ganz zu durchschauen und ahzulösen vermag, ohne Gefahr zu laufen, aus allzu grosser Aengstlichkeit auch wirkliche historische Facta als fromme Dichtung anzusehen." Weils Mohammed, pp. xiv, xv.

66 Sprenger's Mohammed, p. 68.

67 Abu Bacr, for instance, was within two years or Mahomet's age; but then he survived him only two-and a-half years. Most of the elderly Companions either died a natural death, or were killed in action before Tradition came into vogue. Thus Katibal Wackidi writes; - "The reason why many of the chief men or the Companions have left few traditions, is that they died before there was any necessity of referring to them." He adds - "The chiefest among the Companions, Abu Bacr, Othman Talha, &c., gave forth fewer traditions than others. There did not issue from them, anything like the number of traditions that did from the younger Companions." p. 176.

68 Adapted from Alford. Greek Test. Proleg.. p. 56. His remarks are strikingly illustrative of Mahometan tradition. "As usual in traditional matter, on our advance to later writers, we find more and more particular accounts given; the year of John's life, the reigning Emperor, &C, under which the Gospel was written." But Christian traditionalists were mere tyros in the art of discovering such "particular accounts," in comparison with the Mahometans, at the talisman of whose pen distance vanishes, and even centuries deliver up the minutest details which they had engulphed.

69 M. A. P. Caussin do Perceval who, with incredible labour and proportionate success, has sought out and arranged these facts into an uniform history, thus justly expresses his estimate Of the Arab genealogical traditions: -

J'ai dit quo toutes les généalogies Arabes n'étaient point certaines; on en trouve en effet un grand nombre d'évidenimment incompletes. Mais il en est aussi beaucoup d'authentiques, et qui remontent, sans lacune probable. jusqu'à environ six siècles avant Mahomet. C'est un phénoméne vraiment singulier chez: un people inculte et en général étranger a l'art de l'écriture, comme l'étaient les Arabes, quo cette fidélité à garder le souvenir des ancétres. Elle prennit sa source dans un sentiment de fierté, dans 1'estime faisaient de leur noblesse. Les noms des a ïeux, gravés dans la memoire des enfants, étaient les archives des familles. A ces noms se rattachaient nécessairement quelques notions sur in vie des intividus, sur les événements dans lesquels ils avaient figure; et c'est ainsi que les traditions so perpétuaient d'âge en âge. Essai Sur L'Histoire des Arabes, vol 1. pref. p. 9.

70 Thus Abu Sofian, himself the leader in the last stage of the opposition against Mahomet, became a zealous Moslem, and fought under the banners of his own son in the first Syrian campaign.

"Le vieil Abu-Sofyan, qui autrefois avait souvent combattu contra Mahomet, devenu alors un des plus zélés sectateurs de l'Islamisme, avait voulu servir sous son fils, et l'aider les conseils de son experience' Caus. de Perc. L'Histoire des Arabes, vol. lii. p.429.

71 In after days, traditionists were even bribed to fabricate stories regarding the ancestors or persons, who desired tins honour of having their families thus ennobled by the supposed intimacy or favour of the Prophet. See the notice of Shovahbil who was thus accused, in Sprenger's Second Notice of Wackidi, As. Soc. Jour. 1856.

72 The following example will illustrate this position : - Ayesha's party having been delayed on an expeditions, the verse permitting Tayammum or substitution or sand for lustration with water, was in consequence revealed in the Coran. The honor conferred by this indirect connection with a divine revelation is thus eulogized by Useid : - "This is not the least of the divine favours poured out upon you, ye house of Abu Bacr,!" Katib al Wackidi, p. 111 1/2. To have been the Companion of Mahomet during the season of inspiration, at the supposed reception of a heavenly visitor, or at the performance of any wonderful work, conferred more or less distinction of a similar nature.

73 We have many examples of the glory and honour lavished upon those who mad suffered persecution at Mecca for Islam. Thus when Omar was Cailiph, Khobab ibn al Aratt showed him the scars of the stripes he had received from the unbelieving Meccans twenty or thirty years before. Omar seated him upon his masnad, saying that there was but one man who was more worthy of this favour than Khobab, namely, Balal (who had also been sorely persecuted by the unbelievers.) But Khobab replied, - "Why is he more worthy than I am? He had his friends among the idolators whom the Lord raised up to help him. But I had none to help me. And I well remember one day they took me and kindled a fire for me, and threw me therein upon my back; and a man stamped with his foot upon my chest, my back being towards the ground. And when they uncovered my back, lo! it was blistered and white." Katib al Wackidi, p. 210 ½.

The same principle led the Moslems to magnify the hardships which Mahomet himself endured. It appears to lie at the bottom of Ayesha's strange exaggerations of the Prophet's poverty and frequent starvation, which she carries so far as to say that she had not even oil to burn in her chamber while Mahomet lay dying there! The subsequent affluence and luxuries of the conquering nation, also, led them by reaction to contrast with fond regret their present state with their former simplicity and want, and even to weep at the remembrance.

Thus of the same Khobaba, it is recorded : - He had a winding - sheet ready for himself of fine Coptic cloth; and he compared it with the wretched pall of Hamza (killed at Ohod); and he contrasted his own poverty when he possessed not a dinar; with his present condition : - "and now I have in my chest by me in the house 40,000 owekeas (of gold or silver.) Verily, I fear that the sweets of the present world have hastened upon us. Our companions (who died in the first days of Islam) hare received their reward in Paradise; but truly I dread lest my reward consist in these benefits I have obtained after their departure." Katib a1 Wackidi, p.211.

74 See Ibid. p. 118; and Hishami, p. 450.

75 See Sprenger's Mohammed, pp.158, 162, &c.; and his notice in No. cxii. of the Asiatic Journal, p.123. "There is a great deal of sectarian spirit mired up in the disputes 'who were the first believers?' The Sunnies say Abu Bacr, and the Shiahs say Ali. "Tabari also starts another candidate, Zeid ibn Haritha (p.111). One of the traditions, to strengthen the case against Abu Bacr, says that fifty persons were believers before him! Ibid. Well then may Dr. Sprenger style them "childish disputes on the seniority of their saints in the Islam.' Mohammed, p. 158. Yet he himself builds too much upon them.

76 Vide Katib at Wackidi p.33; See also Sprenger's Mohammed, p.112, note 5.

77 How absurd soever the idea may seem, it is taken literally from the biographers or Mahomet, and relates to the expedition against the unfortunate Bani Coreitza. Katib al Wackidi, p.114. Mahomet countenanced, if he did not originate the notion.

78 Vide Katib at Wackidi, p.114. and p.100 1/2. Similar statements are made regarding the battle or Honein. Ibid. p. 130 1/2. At p.198, the angelic host is represented in the uniform of Zobeir, one of Mahomet's Companions, namely, with yellow turbans, on piebaid hones. Hishami (p. 227,) and Tabari (p.290,) give their dress at the battles of Badr and Kheibar. The Meccans on their return vanquished from Badr, are introduced as describing the warrior angels against whom they had to contend. Hishami, p. 238; Tabari, p.501; Caus. de Perc. vol. iii pp. 66 & 73. Various traditionists assert that the heads of the unbelievers dropped off before the Moslem swords come near them, because the invisible scimitars of the angels did the work with greater rapidity and effect than the grosser steel of Medina. Hishami, p. 227; Tabari, p. 289. Gabriel fought by Abu Bacr, Michael by Ali, and Israfil looked on. Katib al Wackidi, p. 212 1/2. Gabriel, after the battle of Badr was concluded, asked leave of Mahomet, without which he could not retire! ibid. p.102 1/2. Mahomet had a conversation with Gabriel; and the particulars are related by Haritha, who actually say the angel. ibid. p.276. These are only samples of what recurs in almost every page of tradition, and they are quoted to bear out what might otherwise have appeared over-statement in the text.

The following may be viewed as the type of a large class of miraculous stories. Othman, when attacked in the last fatal struggle by the conspirators, made no resistance, and being asked the cause replied that "Mahomet had made with him a covenant, and he patiently abided thereby." The Moslems (concluding, no doubt, that it was impossible their Prophet should not have foreseen so important an event as the assassination of his beloved son-in-law) referred this saying to a supposed prophecy by Mahomet, when he said to Othman "that the Lord would clothe him with a garment which he was not to divest himself of at the call or the disaffected." Ibid. p. 191. The garment was the caliphate, which the conspirators would summon him to abdicate. Ayesha too was not at a loss for a scene to give a farther meaning to the mysterious words. "When Mahomet," she said, "lay on his death. bed, he summoned Othman, and desired me to depart out of the chamber; and Othman sat down by the dying Prophet; and as he spake with him, I beheld and lo, the colour of Othman changed." Without doubt, say the credulous believers, it was Mahomet foretelling to his son-in-law the violent death that awaited him. Ibid. p. 191 ½ Such suppositions and explanations were in the course or time repented as facts.

79 The following tradition is illustrative or this. The corpse of Saad lay in an empty room. Mahomet entered alone, picking his steps carefully, as if he walked in the midst of men seated closely on the ground. On being asked the cause of so strange a proceeding, he replied, -"True, there were no men in the room, but it was so filled with angels, all seated on the ground, that I founti nowhere to sit, until one of the angels spread out his wing for me on the ground, and I sat down thereon." Ibid. p. 264 1/2. It is almost impossible to say what in this is Mahomet's own, and what has been concocted for him.

80 All these and scores of like incidents adorn the pages of the "honest" Secretary of Wackidi, as well as of every other biographer and traditionist. Sprenger has over-praised the discrimination and sense of the Secretary. Mohammed, p. 72.

81 See Sprenger, pp. 123-137, where these principles are admitted. That learned writer, at the same time, gives a clue to the real facts of line case. We must never forget," he well writes, "that when his religion was victorious, he was surrounded by the most enthusiastic admirers, whose craving faith could be satiated only by the most extravagant stories. Their heated imagination would invent them by itself; he only needed to give the key, and to nod assent, to augment the number of his miracles to the infinite." His theory however appears to attribute too much to Mahomet in the construction of the legend.

It is curious, as illustrating the barrenness of the Mahametan canon of criticism, to observe that this wild legend is according to its rules risks one of the best established in tradition, not only in the main features, but in all its marvellous details. Sprenger, who is too much guided by the canon, writes here from the Mahometan stand-point. "Though the accounts which we find in Arabic and Persian authors are not free from later additions, the numerous records of Mahomet's own words give us the assurance that the narrative, in its main features, emanated from himself. There is no event in his life, on which we have more numerous and genuine traditions than on his nightly journey." p. 126.

82 As specimens, the Arabic scholar may consult the Katib al Wackidi, pp. 29, 30, 30 ½ ,31 , 35 1/2, 79 1/2, and the whole chapter, Description of Mahomet in the Old Testament and Gospel p. 69 1/2. The key to the assertions of Mahomet alluded to in the text, lies simply in these two facts; 1st. that the Jews did look for a Prophet to come, which expectation Mahomet affected to appropriate to himself; 2nd. that they held this Prophet would be of the seed of David, which assertion Mahomet believed, or pretended to believe, was founded in mere envy and grudge against himself.

83 Such are the tales regarding Zeid, (Hishami, pp. 55-59; and Katib al Wackidi, p.30 1/2) who, it is said, spent his life in searching "for the religion or Abraham," till at last a monk, meeting him at Balca, sent him back to Mecca to await the Prophet about to arise there! Sentences of the Coran, and prayers in the exact expressions of Mahomet, are put into the lips of Zeid by the traditionists. The discreditable nature of these narratives is palpable from their very style and contents. Vide Sprenger's Mohammed p.43, note 4. Still I am far from denying that Zeid's enquiries and doctrines may have constituted one of the causes which prompted Mahomet to enquiry and religious thought. But whatever grounds may exist for regarding Zeid as a philosophical or a religious enquire; one would only have smiled at the clumsiness of the structure erected by the traditionists on so slender a base, had it not been that Dr. Sprenger appears himself to recognise it, and even builds thereon in part his own theory that Mahomet "did nothing more than gather the floating elements which had been imported or originated by others;" and, instead of carrying Arabia along with him, was himself carried away "by the irresistible force of the spirit of the time" Vide Life of Mohammed pp. 39-49.

Arabia was no doubt prepared for a religious change. Judaism and Christianity had sown the seeds of divine knowledge every here and there, and many enqiniring minds may have groped the way to truth, and paved the road for Mahomet's investigations and convictions. But to none of these is Islam directly attributable. Its peculiarities are all the Prophet's own. Mahomet alone is responsible for its faults, as well as entitled to all the credit (whatever it may be) of its sole founder. It is the workmanship of his wonderful mind, and bears in every part the impress of his individuality. Such passages as the following are in this view strangely mistaken : -"The Islam it not the work of Mahomet; if is not the doctrine of the Impostor." Sprenger's Mohammed, p.175. Yet the learned writer charges him with its faults: "There is however no doubt that the impostor has defiled it by his immorality and perverseness of mind, and that most of the objectionable doctrines are his." Ibid. This is hardly the even-handed justice we might have expected from the philosophical principles of Sprenger.

Since the above note was in type, I am glad to find that some of its views receive confirmation from a learned and judicious writer, T. Noeldeke, in his treatise De origine et compositione Qorani. Gottingae, 1856, p.15.

84 See a Treatise by the Author, entitled "The testimony, borne by the Coran to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures." Agra; 1856. The subject will be farther alluded to in the concluding chapter of this volume.

85An instance of this very numerous class of stories will be found in the Katib al Wackidi p.70. A Copt, reading his uncle's Bible, is struck by finding two leaves closely glued together. On opening them, he discovers the most copious details regarding Mahomet, as a Prophet immediately about to appear. His uncle was displeased at his curiosity and beat him, saying the Prophet had not yet arisen. Cnf Sprenger's Mohammed, p. 140.

The following is an example of the puerile tales of later days growing out of the same spirit: - "A narrator relates that there was, in the kingdom of Syria, a Jew, who while busied on the Sabbath perusing the Old Testament, perceived on one of the leaves the name of the blessed Prophet in four places; and out of spite he cast that leaf into the fire. On the following day, he found the same name written in eight places: again he burnt the pages. On the third, he found it written in twelve places. The man marvelled exceedingly. He said within himself; 'the more I cut this name from the Scripture, the more do I find it written therein. I shall soon have the whole Bible filled with the name.' At last he resolved to proceed to Medina to see tine Prophet." The story goes on to say that he reached there after Mahomet's death, embraced his garments, "and expired in the arms of his love." See Calcutta Review, vol. xvii. p.408, in an article on the Mauhid Sharif ; or "Nativity" of Mahomet, p. 46, published at Cawnpore and at Agra, 1267-8; Hegira.

86The Arabic student will find this well illustrated by the treatment which the "hypocrites" or "disaffected" are represented as receiving even during Mahomet's life-time. On the expedition to Tabuk, Mahomet prayed for rain, which accordingly descended. A perverse doubter; however, said, "It was but a chance cloud that happened to pass." Shortly after, the Prophet's camel strayed; again the doubter said, "Doth not Mahomet deem himself a Prophet? He protesseth to bring intelligence to you from the heavens, yet is he unable to tell where his own camel IS!" "Ye servants of the Lord!" exclaimed his comrade, "there is a plague in this place, and I knew it not. Get out from my tent, enemy or the Lord! Wretch, remain not in my presence!" Mahomet had or course, in due time, supernatural intimation conveyed to him not only of the doubter's speech, but of the spot where the camel was; and the doubter afterwards repented, and was confirmed in the faith. Hishami, p.391.

Omar's sword was readily unsheathed to punish such sceptical temerity, and Mahomet himself frequently visited it in the early part of his Medina career with assassination, and on the conquest of Mecca by open execution.

87Dr. Sprenger has some valuable remarks on this subject. In his notice of Tabari; Asiatic Journal, No. ccxii. p.19, et seq. The story of the lapse is honestly told by Wackidi and Tabari, and (as we find by a quotation in the latter) by Ibn Ishac; but it is entirely and tacitly omitted by Ibn Hisham, although his book professes to embrace that or Ibn Ishac. Vide Katib al Wackidi, p 29; Tabari, p.10; and Sprenger's Mohammed, p.184.

The author of the Mawahib Alladoniya, in an interesting passage in elucidation of the authenticity of the story, traces the objections and doubts to fear of heresy and injury to Islam; thus; -

"It is said that this story is or a heretical character and has no foundation. But it is not so; it is really well founded." And again, -

- "Again (another author) rejects it on the ground that if it had really happened, many or those who had believed would have become apostates, which was not the case."

88 The common Moslem belief is that it is allowable to tell a falsehood on four occasions: 1st, to save one's life; 2nd, to effect a peace or reconciliation; 3rd, to persuade a woman; 4th, on the occasion of a journey or expedition.

The first is borne out by Mahomet's express sanction. Ammar ibn Yasir was sorely persecuted by the pagans of Mecca, and denied the faith for his deliverance. The Prophet approved of his conduct:- "If they do this again, then repeat the same recantation to them again." Katib al Wackidi; p. 227 ½.. Another tradition preserved in the family of Yasir, is as follows:- "The idolators seized Ammar, and they let him not go until he had abused Mahomet and spoken well of their gods. He then repaired to the Prophet, who asked of him what had happened." - "Evil, oh Prophet of the Lord! I was not let go until I had abused thee, and spoken well of their gods." - "But how," replied Mahomet, "dost thou find thine own heart?" - "Secure and steadfast in the faith." - "Then," said Mahomet, "if they repeat the same, do thou' too repeat the same." Ibid. Mahomet also said that Ammar's lie was better than Abu Jahl's truth.

The second is directly sanctioned by the following tradition:- "That person is not a liar who makes peace between two people, and speaks good words to do away their quarrel, although they should be lies. Mishcat, vol ii. p.427.

As to the third, we have a melancholy instance that Mahomet did not think it wrong to make false promises to his wives, in the matter of Mary his Egyptian maid. And regarding the fourth, it was his constant habit in projecting expeditions (excepting only that to Tabuk) to conceal his intentions, and to give out that he was about to proceed in another direction from the true one. Hishami, p.392; Katib al Wackidi, p.133 ½..

89 Thus Omar declined to give certain information, saying, "If it were not that I feared lest I should add to the facts in relating them, or take there-from, verily I would tell you." Katib al Wackidi, p. 236 ½.. Similar traditions conditions are given regarding Othman. Ibid. p. l68 ½ , 189 ½.. See one of these quoted above at p 28, note.

Abdallah ibn Masud was so afraid in repeating Mahomet's words, that he always guarded his relation by the conditional clause, "he spake something like this, or near unto it;" but one day, a. he repeated a tradition, the unconditional formula of repetition, -

"thus spoke the Prophet of the Lord" escaped his lip., and he became oppressed with anguish, so that the sweat dropped from his forehead. Then he said, "if the Lord so will, the Prophet may have snid more than that, or less, or near unto it." Ibid. p. 209. This is no doubt greatly exaggerated.

"Saad ibn Abi Wacekkas was asked a question and he kept silence, saying I fear that it I tell you one thing, ye will go and add thereto, as from me, a hundred." Ibid. p. 206 1/2. Thus also one enquired of Abdallah ibn Zobeir, "Why do we not hear thee telling anecdotes regarding the Prophet, as such and such persons tell?" He replied, "It is very true that I kept close by the Prophet from the time I first believed, (and therefore am intimately acquainted with his words); but I heard him say, 'Whosoever shall repeat a lie concerning me, his resting place shell be in hell-fire" Ibid. p. 199. So in explaining why several of the principal Companions have left no traditions, Wackidi writes, "From some there are no remains of tradition regarding the Prophet, although they were more in his company, sitting and hearing him, than others who have left us many traditions, and this we attribute to their fear" (of giving forth erroneous traditions,) &c. Ibid. p.176 ½.

90 It is possible that farther investigation may bring to light facts on which principle of classification of the early traditionists, as trustworthy or otherwise, may be based. Thus Dr. Sprenger writes; - "As it is of great importance to know the character of the witnesses, I intend to embrace the first opportunity which I may have to publish the notes which I have collected on the inventors or miracles and of legends regarding Mohammed." Second Notice of Waqidy, p.19. But after all there is not much prospect of material advantage from such enquiries, since the worst description of bias that - namely, which tends to glorify Mahomet -- pervades the whole of Mohametan tradition.

91 Vide Katib al Wackidi pp.83 ½ -85. Even the exact number of his white hairs is given by different authorities variously, as 17, 18, 20, or 30. Some say that when he oiled his head they appeared; others that the process of oiling concealed them. As to the color used, the accounts also differ. One says he employed henna and Katam which gave a reddish tinge, but that he liked yellow best. One traditionist approves of a jet black dye, while others say the Prophet forbade this. The following traditions on the subject are curious - Mahomet said, "Those who dye their hair black like the crops of pigeons, shall never smell the smell of Paradise." "In the day of judgment, the Lord will not look upon him who dyes his hair black."

A grey-headed man one day approached the Prophet with his hair dyed black. Mahomet not recognizing him, asked who he was. The man gave his name. "Nay," replied the Prophet, "but thou art the Devil!" The only supposition (apart from wanton and gratuitous fabrication,) which one can imagine to account for these contrary traditions, is that they were invented by grey-headed men to countenance and sanction the several modes of dyeing practised by themselves!

92 See the interesting paper by M. Belin in the Journal Asiatique, regarding the seal of Mahomet upon his letter to the Egyptian governor, Macoucas, the supposed original of which was discovered by M. Barthelemy in a Coptic Monastery. It seems desirable that the genuineness of this singularly discovered document should be farther discussed by the scholars of Europe.

93 All these traditions will be found in Katib al Wackidi pp. 91 ½-92 ½..

94 Vide Sprenger's Life of Mahommed, p.78, note 3.

95 This will be farther noticed below, p. lxxxviii.

96 Sura, v.12.

97 In the attack upon the Bani Ghatfan, we learn from Wackidi that whilst Mahomet was resting under a tree, the enemy's leader came stealthily up and snatching his sword, exclaimed -"Who is there to defend thee against me this day?" "The Lord;" replied the Prophet, Thereupon Gabriel struck the man upon his chest, and the sword falling from his hand, Mahomet in his turn seized it and retorted the question on his adversary, who immediately became a convert; "and with reference to this," it is added, "was Sura v.12 revealed" Katib al Wackidi, p.104 ½. Vide also Weil's Mohammed, p.121, where the story is related; but in a subsequent passage that author (on account of the numerous attempts at assassination and marvellous escapes his biographers tell or Mahomet,) not without reason regrets the respect with which he had treated it; p.257, note 39.

The tale is a second time clumsily repeated by the biographers almost in the same terms, on the occasion of his expedition to Dzat al Rica; and here Hishami adds, - "With special reference to this event, Sura v.12 was revealed, but others attribute the passage to the attempt of Amr ibn Jahsh, one of the Bani Nadhir," who it is pretended tried to roll down a stone upon the Prophet from the roof of a house. Hishami, p. 283; Katib al Wackidi p.110 ½ ; compare also Sale's note on the verse.

Thus we have three or four different incidents to which the passage is applied, some of which are evidently fabricated to suit the passage itself

98 The metaphor was probably suggested (as we shall see below) by the name for small-pox signifying also "small stones." The name is probably connected with the hard and gravelly feeling of the pustules See Hishami, p.19.

99 As illustrative of similarly fabricated stories in the early history of our Church, the legend of St. Paul's battle with the wild beasts (Niceph. H.E. ii. 25) may ho referred to as growing out of I Cor. xv. 31. See Stanley on the Corinthians in loco.

100 Sprenger's Mohammed, p.63.

101 Instances have been given above; p. xii. note 2.

102 The following are the chief references in the Katib al Wackidi to the originals of such treaties its extant in his time: -

1. Hisham ibn Mohammed relates that a man of the Tai tribe told him that Walid ibn Jabir sent an embassy to Mahomet, who wrote to them a letter then extant and in the possession of his tribe at Jabalein. Katib al Wackidi, p. 54.

2. Wackidi gives a copy of the treaty Mahomet entered into with the chief of Damat al Jandal, the original of which an old man of the people of Duma showed him. Ibid. p. 56 ½.

3. Wackidi took the copy or a letter (apparently original) addressed by Mahomet to the people of Adzruh (a Jewish settlement on the Aelanitic gulph) and gives the words of it. Ibid. p. 57.

4. Mahomet gave to Rufad Ibn Amr ibn Jadan al Fulj, a written treaty, which that family now possesses." Ibid. p. 59 ½.

5. Zoheir, who came from Mahrah to Mahomet, got from him a written treaty "which is with the family to this day." Ibid. p. 69.

Wackidi read the original document in which Arcam, one of the Companions, devoted his house (famous in the Prophet's Meccan history) to sacred purposes, Ibid. p.226.

Besides these, there are a great number of treaties and letters to the various chiefs and tribes in Arabia, introduced in extenso, into the biographical writings; and, although it is not expressly so stated, it is extremely probable that these were in many eases copied from the originals; or from transcripts of them, which though perhaps removed several steps from the original, are still likely to have been geninine. Counterfeits there may be amongst them, but the wonder is that, considering their value, fabricated documents of this nature are not more numerous. The reason of their limited number appears to have been the difficulty of counterfeiting such written relics in the early age of Islam with any chance of success.

103 Thus the secretary of Wackidi details such a narrative with the preface - "My informant, Muhammad lbn Yahya relates, that he found it in the writings of his father;" and again "Amr the Odzirite says, he found it written in the papers of his father." The story that follows relates to a deputation from the Bani Odzara. Katib al Wackidi, pp. 64 ½ & 12.

104 Burkhardt's testimony shows that the faculty still remains. "Throughout every part of the Arabian desert, poetry is equally esteemed. Many persons are found who make verses of true measure, although they cannot either read or write; yet as they employ on such occasions chosen terms only, and as the purity of their vernacular language is such as to preclude any grammatical errors, these verses, after passing from mouth to mouth, may at last be committed to paper, and will most commonly be found regular and correct. I presume that the greater part of the regular poetry of the Arabs, which has descended to us, is derived from similar compositions" Burkhardt's Notes on the Bedouins, vol i. p. 251; see also p. 373.

105 As an example I may refer to the poetry which Abu Talib, Mahomet's uncle, is said to have recited when the Coreish took decisive measures against the Prophet, and sought to warn the pilgrims of other tribes not to give heed to him. Abu Talib, in plaintive verse, expresses his fears lest the whole of the Arabs should join the Coreish against him. Hishami, p. 75. There is in these verses something perhaps too plainly anticipative of the future national struggle; still the language from Abu Talib's standpoint is possible. At the close there is a couplet with a reference to "the clouds giving rain before him," i.e. Mahomet: and it is added in explanation by the biographer that when the Prophet in after days miraculously procured rain in answer to his prayer at Medina, he called to mind this prediction by his uncle. Thus, the doubt is cast upon the whole piece of its being an after-composition. At the same time it is not impossible that the suspicious words may have been used metaphorically by Abu Talib in laudation of his nephew, or that the couplet containing them may hare been interpolated.

I will instance another glaring anachronism which shows with what caution poetry of this class must be received. When Mahomet with his followers performed the pilgrimage to Mecca under the treaty of Hodeibia, the leader of his camel, as he encircled the Kabba, shouted verses of hostile defiance against the Coreish, who had retired by compact to the over-hanging rocks and thence viewed the Prophet and his people. Among these verses was the couplet, "We shall slay you on the score of the interpretation of it (the Coran), as we slew you on the score of its revelation (i.e. for rejecting it);

Now this evidently belongs to a period long subsequent, when Islam was broken up into parties, and men fought against each other for their several "interpretations" of the Coran, and looked back to the struggle with the idolators of Mecca as to a bygone era. Yet the verses are ascribed both by Wackidi and Hishami to the Hodeibia armistice, i.e. a period anterior even to the conquest of Mecca. Katib al Wackidi p.124 and 282 ½ ; Hishami, p.347. Ibn Hisham, however, seeing probably the clumsiness of the tradition, adds that it is a mistake, the poetry being referable to another person.

As a farther example, the Arabic scholar may peruse the rhetorical contest before Mahomet held between his own followers and the embassy of the Bani Tamim. Hishami, p. 416-419. The anticipations of universal conquest are there too prematurely developed in the orations of the Mahometan party. Thus the threat is used by Thabit ibn Keis that the Moslems "would fight against all the world till they were converted" (p.416). This was language appropriate only to the time when the Arabs had begun to fight and conquer beyond Arabia. The speeches and poems may have been composed afterwards as suitable to the occasion, and, like the orations of classical history, attributed to the speakers of the original scene.

106 Kab survived Mahomet, and wrote an elegy on his death. Katib al Wackidi, p.166 ½. Hassan ibn Thabit was an inhabitant of Medina; he was converted during the Prophet's life-time, and survived him about half a century. A good instance of the incidental manner in which his verses corroborate tradition, is that of his elegy on Mutun, in whose praise he notices that he received the Prophet under his protection when he returned to Mecca from Nakhla and Taif, dispirited and friendless. Hishami, p.139. A quotation will be given from the elegy in chap. vi.

A curious anecdote occurs of the mode in which Hassan's poetry is said to have originated an erroneous tradition. In his piece upon Mahomet's expedition to Al Ghaba (or Dzul Carada) against a party of marauders, he speaks or the horsemen of Al Makdad, as if he had been the chief or this expedition. In reality, however Sand ibn Zeid was chief, having been put in the command by Mahomet. On hearing the poetry recited, the latter repaired in great wrath to Hassan, and required amends for the misrepresentation. The poet quietly replied, that his name did not suit the rhythm, and therefore he had chosen Mikdad's. Nevertheless; says Wackidi, the verses gave currency to the tradition in favour of the latter. Katib al Wackidi, p. 115 ½.

107 Vide Ibn Khallican, ii. 583.

108 See an interesting note in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, by Dr. Sprenger, on this subject, No. V. of 1851, p.395; see also his Second Notice of Waqidy p.15.

The authority regarding Orwa has been already quoted in a note at p. xxxiv.

Of Zobri Sprenger writes, In his Second Notice ;-" Haji Khalifa and otbers say that Zohri left a work on the biography of Mohammad; and Sohayly several times quotes it. There is no doubt that he collected an immense number of notes on the subject, and Ibn lshaq refers to them in almost every chapter; but I doubt whether lie left them arranged and in the shape of a book on his death, and think that like the Commentary on the Qoran ascribed to Ibn Abbas, they were collected and arranged by a later hand."

In the Second Notice Sprenger traces another stereotyping hand in Shorahbil ibn Saad, who died A.H. 123, and was a celebrated authority for the "Campaigns and Life of the Prophet."

Sprenger adds - "To suppose that a written record (beyond memoranda) has reached the authors" of the 2nd century "would be an assertion which cannot be proved. The similarity of the earliest accounts can be sufficiently accounted for by assuming that they all come from the same place, and from the same school, and that some eminent persons took the lead in that school," p.5.Still it is highly probable that there were regular compilations, of the nature referred to, as early at least as the time of Orwa.

109 See the note, and Second Notice (p.20) just referred to. Musa died A.H. 141; Abu Mashar, A.H. 175.

110 Sprenger's Mohammed, p.70.

111 The biographical works are called Siyar or Sirat, - while the general collections are termed ,- Hadith.

112 Thus after recounting a number of separate series, of rehearsers' names, each of which runs up to the time of Mahomet, the traditionist will go on to a uniform narrative framed from the whole, with such preface as the following: - "The traditions from these sources are intermixed and (used together in the following account,"

113 Ibn Khallican gives several dates from A.H. 150 to 154; but mentions A.H. 151 as the likeliest Slane, vol.ii. p.678.

114 Vide Weil's Gesch. Chalifen. vol.ii. p.81. Ibn Cuteiba says, that Ibn Ishic came to Abu Jafar (Mansur) to Hira, and wrote for him "the Book of the Campaigns." Ibn Kahllican relates that "he put his Maghazi in writing for the Caliph's use at Hira; and thus the learned men of Kufa had the advantage of hearing him read and explain it himself." Slane, vol. ii, p. 678.

115 The unfavourable testimonies have been carefully collected, (and as it appears to me unduly magnified) by Dr. Sprenger, (p.69,) who brings the following charges against Iba Ishac:-

1. "He was not critical." The only proof, however, is the complaint of an author of the eighth century of the Hegira that he did not always mention the name of the Companions to whom the traditions are traced. But this does not necessarily imply a want of critical care, and is sometimes forced upon the author by the narrative style proper to the biographer.

2. He invented new traditions. In evidence there are adduced, first, a round-about testimony from ibn Cutciba, as follows: - "I heard Abu Hitam say on the authority of Asmay, that Motamir said - 'Take no tradition from Ibn Ishac, he is a great liar;' second, a statement that Malik ibn Annas had an unfavourable opinion of him. But Dr. Sprenger does not mention that this unfavourable opinion was expressly ascribed to jealousy, Ibn Ishac having boasted that he was "a doctor fit to cure the infirmities of Malik's traditions;" on which Malik, enraged, called him a Dajjal (anti-christ), and said he would drive him out of the city. Ibn Khallican, vol. ii, p.678. Not much credit is therefore attachable to the opinion of Malik.

3. He forged his authorities. This serious charge is supported by absolutely no proof whatever. It rests solely on the following gossiping story cited by Ibn Cuteiba and Ibn Khallican, vol ii. p.678. "He gave one (or some) of his traditions on the authority of Fatima wife of Hisham, who, when informed of the circumstance, denied Ibn Ishac's statement, saying, Did he then go and visit my wife? There is really not a title of evidence beyond this.

4. On the above accounts he was not relied on by early authors. The testimonies quoted from Ibn Khallican in the text appear to me fully to disprove this statement. Three authors are mentioned by Sprenger as not relying on him-Bokhari, Muslim, and Wackidi. As regards the latter, Dr. Sprenger seems to be mistaken, as Wackidi does quote him, and not simply on genealogical subjects. As to Bokhari, Sprenger should have quoted the full authority to which he refers, which is as follows: -"Though Al Bokhari did not quote him (in his Sahih), he nevertheless held him for a trustworthy traditionist." Ibn Khallican, vol ii. p. 678. Again, - "And Al Bokhari himself cites him in his history." Ibid. p. 677. This is exactly the mode in which we should have expected a Collector of original traditions to treat a biographical writer. With reference to Muslim, the passage on which Sprenger relies in Ibn Khallican runs thus:- "And if Muslim ibn al Hajjaj cited only one of his traditions, it was on account of the attack which Malik ibn Anas had directed against him," alluding to the absurd story related above. Ibid. It must be remembered that the labours of Bokhari, Muslim, &C lay in another direction from those of our author, who was an historical compiler; they again were recorders of original traditions, and would naturally seek for them at first hand, and not from biographical compilations. And we see that Bokhari did quote him, when he came to write a history.

Now these are positively all the proofs or presumptions brought by Dr. Sprenger in support of his charges. They appear to me quite inadequate; and are, at any rate, far more than counterbalanced by the almost universal reception the statements of Ibn Ishac have met with in the Moslem world, since his own time to the present. Had he "invented new traditions," or "forged authorities," this would not have been the case.

Sprenger calls him "the father of Mohammedan mythology," and states that the Mahometans discerned in his writings an attempt to "shape the biography of their Prophet according to the notions of the Christians." I question the justice of these remarks, seeing that the doctrine and system of Ibn Ishac are generally of the same type exactly as those of other traditionists and biographers, held by Sprenger himself to be independent of our author.

The conclusion of Sprenger is as follows:- "His object is to edify and amuse his readers, and to this object he sacrifices not only truth, but in some instances even common sense" (p.69). Common sense is no very usual attribute of any of the traditionists or biographers, and Ibn Ishac seems to have had just about as much of it as the rest. But any sacrifice of truth I do not believe to have been deliberately made by him, any more than by the honest Wackidi and by other biographers, who all indulge almost equally in the preservation of lying legends.

116 Or Treatise on the Military Expeditions of Mahomet.

117 Ibn Khallican, by Slane vol. ii. pp. 677-678.

118 According to others, 218 A.H.

119 "Even of this work copies are rare." Sprenger, p. 71. The fact is that the literary public among Mahometans do not affect the early and original sources of their Prophet's life, and hardly ever use them. They prefer the modern biographies with their marvellous tales.

120Ibn Khallican, by Slane, vol. ii . p. 128.

121 See above p. lxiii, note.

122 Dr. Sprenger writes of Ibn Hashim : - ' Unfortunately the additions of Ibn Hashim are even less critical than the text of Ibn Ishac." He adds that he was a pupil of Bakay, of whom he states on the authority of Samaany, "that he made awful blunders, gave free scope to his imagination, and that his accounts cannot be considered conclusive unless they are confirmed by others." Lift of Mohammed, p. 70. The latter qualification is, I fear, applicable without exception to fill the traditional biographers. But, as stated in the text, wherever Ibn Hisham quotes Ibn Ishac, he appears to do so within literal correctness.

123 Vide Sprenger's Mohammad, p. 70, note 2.

124 The abridgement consists chiefly In the omission of the authorities, i.e. of the series of witnesses leading up to the Companion who first gave forth the tradition.

125 Ibn Cuteba. Ibn Khallican also gives this date as the true one, but mentions no other authorities, A.H. 206 and 209. Slane, vol iii. p. 65.

126 Sprenger's Mohammad, p. 70, note 5. "He left at his death 600 boxes of books, each of which was a load for two men. The boxes made 120 camel loads."

127 The titles of several other works by Wackidi are quoted by Dr. Sprenger. Id. p. 71, note 1.

128 Ibn Khallican, by Slane, vol iii p. 63.

129 The enthusiastic and unwearied Sprenger, to whom we owe all the late discoveries of MSS. bearing on the biography of Mahomet, thus describes the volume: - "I have met with a work of the veritable Waqidy; I do not mean Iba Sad, the secretary of Waqidy, who died in 230, but Muhammad Ibn Omar ibn Waqid who was born in 130 and dieti in 207 A.H. Yes, my eyes have seen it, and my fingers have touched it, and what is more I secured it for tho Bibliotheca Indica.

The work is the Maghazi . It has 392 pp. of 19 lines. The copy was written about A.H. 525, or sooner. It belongs to II von Kremer, dragoman of the Austrian Consulate of Alexandria. He bought it at Damascus.

"The wars of Mohammad appear to be treated in it at three times as great a length as tlney are in any other known work. He gives always his authorities, and among them it would appear in some instances written ones, as for instance, Abu Mahsar" (Abu Mashar ? ). Proceedings of the Asiatic Society, No. 4, of 1854, p.407.

The work is now being published In the Bibliotheca Indica of the Asiatic Society. I have not heen able yet to take advantage of it, but as the present volume extends only to the hegira, after which the Maghazi of Wackidi opens, the want of it has not been seriously felt.

130 In Slane's work the date is given as A.H. 203 (A.D. 818), but this is shown by Dr. Sprenger to be a mistake (p. 71, note 2).

131 Slane, vol. iii pp. 66, 67.

132 I learn from Dr. Sprenger that a M.S. of the Secretary's Tabacat (the only other believed to be extant,) is deposited in the Library of Gotha.

133He not only does this in some places through a double chain of authorities, but in the margin he transcribes the frequent notes of his immediate master, Abu Muhammad Drumiati, written in the margin of the original M.S.. from which he copied, and which recorded how far he had reached in his daily readings in the year A.H. 647 (A.D. 1249.) Each of these notes again contains the string of authorities up to the Secretary. The frequent memoranda of laborious collation with the original, give much confidence as to the care with which this copy was transcribed, and it is in effect remarkably accurate. It contains 300 leaves or 600 pages. It is numbered by the leaves; and in quoting it, I have kept to the same plan, thus the 4th page is quoted as p.4, the 5th as p.3, &c.

134 Only two words are illegible in this title, which runs in the original as follows: -

Sprenger was at first of opinion, as stated in his "Life of Muhammad," p. 71, that this work of the Secretary was the one quoted by old writers as that of Wackidi himself. Bitt since the discovery of the original Maghazi of Wackidi he has rightly altered his opinion. In the Asiatic Society's proceedings for 1854, No. 4, p. 407, he thus writes: - "I plead guilty to an error, and abjure a heresy into which I have fallen in my Life of Mohammed, p. 71, note 3. If Ibn Coteiba and other old authors quote Waqidy, they mean the veritable Muhammad ibn Omar, and not his Secretary, as there stated."

135 Some of the traditions given by the Secretary of Wackidi are evidently such an no extreme Alyite would have admitted into his book. Take for example the conversation between Ali and Abbas, in which the former, when urged by the latter to repair to the dying Prophet and enquire who was to be caliph, declined, "fearing lest Mahomet should name another; and then his chance of the caliphate would be gone for ever." Katib al Wackidi p. 150 ½. Such an idea would not have been tolerated by an extreme Shie-ite.

136 The aspersions contained in the Kanz al Jawihir, and the suspicions of his veracity quoted above from Ibn Khallican, are completely refuted by Dr. Sprenger (p. 71, note 4). The carefully collected traditions of Al Wackidi and his Secretary must not be confounded with the Conquests in Syria, the work of an unknown author of later date, but which bears the name of Wackidi, and is described with more praise than it deserves by Gibbon in a note (x.) to the fifty-first chapter of his history, and forms the basis of Ockley's treatise.

Lieut. Lees has ably discussed the authorship of this work, but without arriving at any conclusion very satisfactory to himself. He fixes the probable date of compilation towards the middle of the third century of the Hegira Bibliotheca Indica. No. 59; "The Conquest of Syria, commonly ascribed to Al Wackidi", edited with notes by Win. N. Less, 42nd Regt. B.N.I

137 Slane, vol. ii. pp. 597-8.

138 Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chap. ii, note 1.

139 Even at so late a period as the publication of his Life of Mahomet, (i.e. 1851) Dr. Sprenger writes of this author: -

"At present, however, the portion of his annals, which contains the history of the origin of the Islam, is available only in the Persian translation, which cannot be fully relied upon" (p.72).

140 It closes with the chapter on the siege; but the volume terminating naturally, is unbroken and complete, with exception of the ten pages noticed by Dr. Sprenger, of which the hiatus occurs in the early part of the volume.

The portion intervening between the siege and the death of Mahomet evidently constitutes a second volume of the same manuscript.

141 Notice of the 4th vol of Tabari, Asiatic Journal, No. ccxii, p. 108.

142 One of these miscellaneous sources is remarkable. Abd al Malik, who was caliph from A.H. 66 to A.H. 96, was addicted to traditional studies, and being curious to ascertain several points or Mahomet's biography, consulted Orwah ibn al Zobeir (note p. xxxiv;) for information. We have extracts from letters written by Orwah in reply to the Caliph's question., and in particular one long and detailed account of the battle of Badr (pp. 247-253). Orwah's letters are also quoted, but briefly by Ibn Hisham, e.g. p. 330. He was born A.H. 23, and was therefore acquainted with several of the Companions of Mahomet, on whose authority he relates traditions. He was also, as before stated, the master of Zohri.

143 This especially displays itself in the insertion of many unfounded stories of an evidently ultra-Alyite origin. Thus in the account of Ohod, Othman (afterwards Caliph, and of the Ommeyad family) is made to run away with a company of others from the field of battle, and not stop till he had ascended a hill close to Medina. There he is said to have remained concealed for three day.', and then to have returned to Mahomet, who accosted him thus -"Ah, Othman, you went away and remained along time there! " (p.380). This is evidently an anti-Ommeyad fiction, with the object of lowering the character of Othman, to which there is no allusion in the Katib al Wackidi or Ibn Hisham. All the combatants of Ohod went forth the next day towards Hamra al Asad in a bravado pursuit after their Conquerors, who had retired immediately after the battle. It is not possible that Othman could have been then in his pretended hiding place.

144 Life of Muhammad, p.73. This remark, of course, will not apply to those portions of Inter works which contain statements quoted verbatim from early authors. Thus the Isabah, or Biographical Dictionary of the Companions, by Ibn Hijr, who died as late as 852 H., gives many extracts of this nature from such early biographical writers as Ibn Ocba, Abu Mashar, Ibn Kalbi, &C; and these may be of the highest use.

It is much to be regretted that the printing of this work, nearly one fourth of which is finished, by the Asiatic Society, has been suspended by orders from the Court of Directors.

145 In illustration, it is sufficient to refer to the "Legends" contained in the Life of Mohammed by Dr. Sprenger, and to the extravagant and absurd stories in modern authors, some specimens or which will be found in an article in the Calcutta Review on "Biographies of Muhammad for India" No. xxxiv. Art. 6.

146 When this chapter was in type, and after the greater part of it had finally left the author's hands, he received from Dr. Sprenger an interesting note, "on the origin and progress of writing down historical facts among the Musalmans" for the As. Socty's Journal. This note is chiefly composed of extracts from a work of the Khatib Baghdadi (d. 465 A.H.) called Tackeyud ul Ilm. The numerous authorities quoted regarding the practice of writing traditions in the earliest days of Islam are of the same character as those noticed above (p. xxxv.); and I see no reason to alter my opinion of their untrustworthiness. The note, however, throws considerable light on the origin of the custom in later years.

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