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THE BIOGRAPHY OF MAHOMET, AND RISE OF ISLAM.
CHAPTER SECOND.

From the youth of Mahomet to his Fortieth Year.

THE next event in the life of the youthful Mahomet is connected with events of a wider and a more stirring interest.

The Sacrilegious war between 580 and 590 A.D.

Between the years 580 and 590 ,A.D. the vale of Mecca and the surrounding country were disturbed by one of those bloody feuds so frequently excited and 510 A.D. by the fiery pride, and prolonged by the revengeful temper of the nation.

A fair held annually at Ocatz

In Dhul Caada, the sacred month preceding the customary days of Pilgrimage, an annual fair was held at Ocatz, where, within an easy three days' journey of Mecca, the shady palm and cool fountain offered a grateful resting place to the merchant and the traveller after their toilsome journey1.

1Ocatz lay between Taif and Nakhla. There were two other fairs, but of less note, held near Mecca; one at Mujanna in the vicinity of Marr al Tzahran, the other at Dzul Majaj behind Arafat. M. C. de Perceval,, vol. 1. p. 296.


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Chivalrous and poetical contests

Goods were bartered, vain-glorious contests (those characteristic exhibitions of Bedouin chivalry) were held, and verses recited by the bards of the various tribes. The successful poems produced at this national gathering were treated with distinguished honour. They were transcribed in illuminated characters, and styled Mudhahabat or Golden; or they were attached to the Kaaba and honored with the title Moallacat. The SABAA MOALLACAT, or "Seven suspended Poems;" still survive from a period anterior even to Mahomet, a wondrous specimen of artless eloquence. The beauty of the language, and wild richness of the imagery, are acknowledged even by the European reader; but the subject of the poet was limited, and the beaten track was seldom deviated from. The charms of his mistress, the envied spot marked by the still fresh traces of her encampment, the solitude of her deserted haunts, bin own generosity and prowess, the unrivalled glory of his tribe, the noble qualities of his camel ;-these were the themes which, with little variation of treatment, and without any imaginative contrivance of general plot or design; occupied the Arab muse -and some of them only added fuel to the besetting vices of the people, vainglory, envy, vindictiveness, and pride.

Origin of the Sacrilegious War

At the fair of Ocatz, a rivalrous spirit had been, about this period, engendered between the Coreish and the Bani Hawazin, a numerous tribe of kindred descent, which dwelt (and still dwells) in the


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country between Mecca and Taif2. An arrogant poet, vaunting the superiority of his tribe, had been struck by an indignant Hawazinite; a maid of Hawazin descent rudely treated by some Coreishite youths; an importunate creditor insolently repulsed3. On each occasion the sword was unsheathed, blood began to flow, and the conflict would have become general unless the leaders had interfered to calm the excited people. Such was the origin of the FIJAR, or Sacrilegious War, so called because it occurred within the sacred term, and was eventually carried into the sacred territory.

Precautions by which peace was for a time preserved

These incidents suggested the expediency of requiring all who frequented the fair to surrender, while it lasted, their arms, and to deposit them with Abdlallah ibn Jodan, a Coreishite chief4. By this

2They sprang through Cays Aylan, from Modhar and Maadd, the ancestors of the Coreish. See Introduction, chap. iii. p. cxcv.

3The circumstances form a curious illustration of Arab manners. The Hawazin creditor seated himself in a Conspicuous place with a monkey by his side, and said, - "who will give me another such ape, and I will give him in exchange my claim on such a one," - naming his creditor with his full pedigree from Kinana, an ancestor of the Coreish. This he kept continually vociferating to the intense annoyance of the Kinana tribe, one of whom drew his sword and cut off the monkey's head. In an instant the Hawazin and Kinina tribes were embroiled in bitter strife. The poet mentioned in the text, and also the murderer Birradh who, as shown below, actually kindled the war, belonged to the Bani Kinana. The war therefore embraced a wider range than the Coreishite family, who formed a portion only of the Kinana tribe.

4He was descended from Taym, an uncle of Cassai. See chap. iv. of Introduction. VOL. II.


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precaution peace was preserved for several years, when a wanton murder supplied a more serious cause of offence.

Hostilities precipitated by a murder

Noman V. Prince of Hira, despatched to the fair of Ocatz a caravan richly laden with perfumes and musk. It proceeded under the escort of Orwa, a warrior of the Bani Hawazin. Birradh a friend of the Coreish, jealous at being supplanted in the convoy of the merchandise, watched his opportunity, and falling upon Orwa as he encamped by a fountain near Fadac5, slew him, and fled with the booty to conceal himself in Kheibar; On his way thither he met a Coreishite whom he charged to proceed with expedition to the fair then being held at Ocatz, and communicate the intelligence to Harb (who was his confederate or halif) and the other Coreishite chiefs6. The message was conveyed, and Abdallah ibn Jodaan, thus privately informed of the murder, immediately restored to all their arms, and feigning urgent business at Mecca at once departed with his whole tribe7. But the news of the murder began rapidly to spread at Ocatz, and as the

5The spot was called Awara, in the valley of Tayman, north of Medina.

6The Coreshite messenger was a poet called Bishr.

7Harb is said to have urged Abdallah to give up only the Coreishite, and to withhold the Hawazin arms; so that they might fall upon the latter unprepared. Abdallah rejected the proposal as perfidious. But it looks very like an Abasside tradition to vilify the Omeyads. Ilarb was the son of Omeya and father of Abu Sofian.


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sun went down it readied the ears of Abu Bera, Chief of the Hawazin; who, forthwith perceiving the cause of the precipitate departure of the Coreish, rallied his people around him and proceeded in hot pursuit. The Coreish had already entered the sacred limits, and the Bani Hawazin contented themselves with challenging their enemy to a rencounter at the same period of the following year. The challenge was accepted, and both parties prepared for the struggle. Several battles were fought with various success, and hostilities, more or less formal, were prolonged for four years, when Otba son of Rabia (the nephew of Harb,) proposed a truce.

A truce after four years fighting

The dead were numbered up, and as twenty had been killed of the fighting. Hawazin more than of the Coreish, the latter consented to pay the price of their blood, and for this purpose delivered hostages8.

The whole of the Coreish engaged in this struggle

In some of these engagements, the whole of the Coreish and their allies were engaged. Each tribe was commanded by a Chief of its own; and Abdallah ibn Jodaan guided the general movements. The descendants of Abd Shams and Nowfal were headed by Harb, the son of Omeya, and took a distinguished part in the warfare. The children of Hashim were present also, under the command of Zobeir, the eldest surviving son of Abd al Muttalib; but they occupied no prominent position.

8One of the hostages was Abu Sofian, the famous antagonist in after days of Mahomet.


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Part taken by Mahomet in the war

In one of the battles Mahomet attended upon his uncles; but, though now near twenty years of age, he had not acquired the love of arms. According to some authorities, his efforts were confined to gathering up the arrows discharged by the enemy and handing them to his uncles. Others assign to him a somewhat more active share; but the sentence in which this is preserved does not betray much enthusiasm in the warfare; -- "I remember," said the prophet, "being present with my uncles in the Sacrilegious War; I discharged arrows at the enemy, and I do not regret it9." Physical courage, indeed,

9Vide Katib al Wackidi, pp. 23 1/2 and 24, where will also be found an account of the origin and progress of the war, with the names of the leaden of the several tribes. The statement in Hishami (p.88) is briefer. M. C. de Perceval enters with rent detail into the history of the war, devoting to it twenty-two pages. Vol l. p. 296, et. seq. He makes the engagement in which Mahomet was present to be the first, that namely in which the Coreish retreated on receiving tidings of Orwa's murder. But there does not appear to have been any fighting on this occasion; and the Katib al Wackidi distinctly ascribes Mahomet's presence to an engagement in the following year. The Secretary mentions only one battle, in which the Coreish at first gave way, but were subsequently victorious. The engagement is spoken of (p.24) as occurring in the month of Shawwai, which precedes the sacred months; but this is said, probably, in order to shelter the youthful Mahomet from the sacrilegious charge of fighting within the sacred term. M. C. de Perceval, drawing upon the poetical remains in the Kitab al Aghani, details a succession of battles; he also makes Mahomet to have been but fourteen years of age on the occasion, and adds' that had he been older he would have acted a more important part than picking up his uncle's arrows.


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and martial daring, are virtues which did not distinguish the prophet at any period of his career.

Probable influence upon Mahomet of attending the fair at Ocatz

The struggles for pre-eminence and the contests of eloquence, at the annual fair, possessed for the young Mahomet a more engrossing interest than the combat of arms. At these spectacles, while his patriotism was aroused, and desire after personal distinction stimulated by the surrounding atmosphere of rivalry, he had a rare opportunity for cultivating his fertile genius, and learning from the greatest masters and most perfect models, the art of poetry and the power of rhetoric. But another and a nobler lesson was taught in the concourse at Ocatz. The Christianity, as well as the chivalry of Arabia, had there her representatives; and, if we may believe tradition, Mahomet while a boy heard Coss, the bishop of Najran, preach a purer creed than that of Mecca, in accents, pregnant with deep reason and fervid faith, which agitated and aroused his soul. And many at that fair, besides the venerable Coss, though

But the testimony of the Katib al Wackidi, Hishami and Tabari, (p.77) is plainly and unanimously in favour of the age of twenty years: and the first distinctly states that he took an active part in the archery.

Among the chieftains in command of tribes, it is interesting to trace Khuweilid the father of Khadija; Khattab the father of Omar; Othman ibn al Huweirith, and Zeib ibn Amr, two of the four "Enquirers" who will be noticed below; Al As ibn Wail; Omeya ibn Khalaf; and other well known names.


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perhaps influenced by a less catholic spirit, and more by prejudice and superstition, yet professed to believe in the same Revelation from above, if they did not actually preach the same good tidings.

Possible germ here of his great Catholic system

There, too, were Jews, serious and earnest men, surpassing the Christians in number, and equally with them appealing to an inspired Book. The scene thus annually witnessed by Mahomet as he advanced into mature years, had, (we cannot doubt,) a deep influence upon him. May there not have been here the germ of his great catholic design ;----of that Faith around which the tribes of all Arabia were to rally? At the fair, one religion dashed against another in apparently hopeless opposition; and yet amid the discord he might discern some common elements, - a book, - a name, to which all would reverently bow. With the Jews he was more familiar than the Christians, for as I child he bad seen them at Medina, had heard of their synagogue or place of worship, and had learned to respect them as men that feared God. They glanced bitterly at the Christians, and even when Coss addressed them in language which approved itself to the heart of Mahomet as truth, they scorned his words, and railed at the meek and lowly Jesus of whom he spoke. Not less disdainfully did the Christians regard the Jews. And both Jews and Christians spurned the Arab tribes as heathens exposed to the wrath of an offended Deity. Yet if the enquirer sought, by questioning the parties around him, to fathom the causes of this opposition,


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he would find that, notwithstanding the mutual enmity of the Jews and Christians, there was a Revelation equally acknowledged by both to be divine; that both denounced idolatry as a damnable sin, and both professed to worship One only God; and (what would startle Mahomet and stir his inmost soul,) that both repeated with profound veneration a common Name, - the name of Abraham, the builder of the Meccan Temple, and author of the faith and rites observed there by every Arab tribe. What, if there were truth in all these systems ;-divine TRUTH, dimly glimmering through human prejudice, malevolence, and superstition? Would not that be a glorious mission, to act like same part as this Christian bishop on a wider and yet more catholic stage, and, by removing the miserable partitions which hide and sever each nation and sect from its neighbour, to make way for the natural illumination of truth and love emanating from the Great Father of all! Visions and speculations such as these were no doubt raised in the mind of Mahomet by association with the Jews and Christians frequenting this great fair. Certainly the Prophet, late in life, referred with satisfaction to the memory of Coss the son of Siada, as having preached there the Hanefite, or Catholic, Faith10.

10See p. lxvii. of the Introduction, chap. lii.; also M.C. de Perceval, vol. 1. p.159; and Sprenger, p. 85.

It is right to add that the only authentic tradition I have met with on the subject, does not prove that Mahomet ever was an auditor of


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The Hilf al Fudhul or league amongst the Coreish for protecting the oppressed

A confederacy formed at Mecca, for the suppression of violence and injustice, aroused an enthusiasm in the mind of Mahomet which the martial exploits of the Sacrilegious War failed to kindle. It was called the "Oath of Fudhul," and occurred immediately after the restoration of peace11. The offices of State, and with them the powers of government, had (as shown in the Introduction) become divided among the various Coreishite families. There was no one now to exercise an authority such as had been enjoyed by Cossai and Hashim, or even by Abd al Muttalib. When any of the separate tribes neglected to punish in its members acts of oppression and wrong, no chief at Mecca was strong enough to stand up as the champion of the injured. Right was not enforced: wrong remained unpunished. Some

Coss. It occurs at p. 61 of Katib al Wackidi in the account of a deputation to the prophet at Medina, from the Bani Bakr ibn Wail. One of them addressed Mahomet, "Didst thou know Coss, the son of Saida?" The Prophet replied ; - He was not one of you; he was a man of the tribe of Iyad, who professed the true faith in the days of ignorance, and he visited Ocatz during the concourse of the people there, and addressed then: in words which have been preserved from his lips."

11The Katib at Wackidi states that it occurred the month after the conclusion of the war, while Mahomet was yet but twenty yean of age, (p.24.)


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glaring instances of this nature12 suggested to the principal Coreishite families the expediency of binding themselves by an oath to secure justice to the helpless. The honor of originating this move- ment is ascribed to Zobeir, the oldest surviving son of Abd al Muttalib. The descendants of Hashim, and the families sprung from Zohra and Taym13, assembled in the house of Abdallah son of Jodaan, who prepared for them a feast; and they swore by the avenging Deity, that they would take the part of the oppressed, and see his claim fulfilled, so long as a drop of water remained in the ocean, or that they would satisfy it from their own resources14." The league was useful, both as a preventive against unjust aggression, and on some occasions as a means of enforcing restitution. "I would not," Mahomet used in after years to say, exchange for the choicest camel in all Arabia the remembrance of being present at the Oath which we took in the house of Abdallah, when the Bani

12M. C. de Perceval gives two instances. The first, in which a stranger, even though under the protection of the Chief Abdallah ibn Jodaan, had his camels slaughtered and devoured before his eyes. The second relates to a man who having no patron or protector at Mecca, and being denied the price of goods he had sold, repaired to an eminence on the side of the hill Abu Cobeis, near where the Coreish used to assemble, enjoying the Cool evening breeze, and loudly called for justice. Vol. i. p. 330.

13Zohra the brother, and Taym the uncle of Cossai.

14The expression in the last clause is not very clear. The words are:- VOL. II.


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Hashim, Bani Zohra, and Bani Taym, swore that they would stand by the oppressed15."

Mahomet's occupation as a shepherd

The youth of Mahomet passed away without any other incidents of interest. At one period he was employed, like other lads, in tending the sheep and goats of the Meccans upon the neighbouring hills and valleys. He used when at Medina, to refer to this employment, and to say that it comported with his prophetic office, even as it did with that of Moses and David. On one occasion, as some people passed by with the fruit of the wild shrub Arak, the prophet said to his companions, -' Pick me out the blackest of these berries, for they are sweet;-even such was I wont to gather when I fed the flocks of Mecca at Ajyad. Verily there hath no prophet been raised up, who performed not the ~work 6f a Shepherd." The hire received for this duty would contribute towards the support of his needy uncle Abu Talib, and the occupation itself was congenial with his thoughtful and meditative

15Katib al Wackidi; p.24. It is remarkable that only these three tribes are included in the league. To the Bani Zohra belonged Mahomet's mother; and his friend Abu Bakr to the Bani Taym. That the league was only a partial one is evident from its name; fudhul "what is unnecessary or supererogatory." By this appellation it seems to have been called by the rest of the Coreish, who did not join it. For other, but less likely, derivations, see M. C. de Perceval, vol. i. p.333; and Weil, p.38. The former gives an 'instance in which the league was after the death of Mahomet appealed to by Hosein son of Ali, against Moavia or his nephew.


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character16. While he watched the flocks through the hours of darkness, his attention would be riveted by the evidences of natural religion spread around: the twinkling stars and bright constellations gliding

16See Katib al Wackidi p. 28; Tabari, p. 68; Sprenger, p. 83; Weil, p, 83; Mischat ul Masabh, (Eng. trans.) vol. ii. pp. 51 and 520. In the last named work, the hire received by Mahomet is specified. In one tradition given by Wackidi, Mahomet speaks thus. - . Some make the word Al Cararit here to be the name of a place; but it is more probable that Mahomet by it meant that he fed the flocks for Kirats, or small coins. Weil.

Sprenger says that this occupation, being regarded as humiliating for a man, proves Mahomet's :unfitness for the common duties or life," (p.81). The duty, doubtless, was never regarded in Arabia as a very manly one; and, as Burkhardt shows, is now committed by the Bedouins to their unmarried girls. Yet in Mahomet's time, at least, it was evidently nothing unusual or humiliating for the boys of respectable citizens to be thus employed. We read of another Coreishite lad being engaged with Mahomet in tending the flocks. Tabari p.68. Omar used to be sent out by his father to feed his sheep and goats, and to bring in forage for his camels. Katib al Wackidi, p.231. So Abu Bakr, even after his elevation to the Caliphate, is said to have been in the habit not only of milking the goats of the people of the quarter of Medina where he lived (at Sunh), but of taking them occasionally out to pasture This may be an exaggeration, intended to magnify the simplicity of his life (as a lesson and example to future luxurious Caliphs); still the very existence of the tradition proves that the task was as little regarded in a dishonorable light at Medina as at Mecca. Probably, it was less disliked by the people of the towns than by those of the desert.

The place Ajyad is I suppose the rising ground to the south of Mecca, now called Jabal Jyad, on the declivity of which the quarter Haret Jyad is now built. Burkhardt, p. 115; Ali Bey, vol. ii p. 119.


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Probable effect of the shepherd life upon his mind

silently along the deep blue sky, would be charged to him with a special message; the loneliness of the desert would arm with a deeper conviction that speech which day everywhere utters unto day; while the still small voice, which by the attentive listener is never unheard, would swell into grander and more imperious tones when the tempest swept with its forked lightning and far rolling thunder along the vast solitudes of the Meccan mountains. Thus was cherished a deep and earnest faith in the Deity as an ever-present, all-directing Agent ;-----a faith which in after-days the prophet was wont to inforce from the stores of his well-furnished observation, by eloquent and heart-stirring appeals to, the sublime operations of Nature, and the beneficent adaptations of Providence.

Reserved and temperate youth of Mahomet

All the authorities agree in ascribing to the youth of Mahomet a correctness of deportment and purity of manners, rare among the people of Mecca. His modesty is said to have been miraculously preserved: -"I was engaged one night" (so runs a tradition from the Prophet) "feeding the flocks in, company with a lad of the Coreish. And I said to him, if thou wilt look after my flock, I will go into Mecca and divert myself there, as youths are wont by night to divert themselves17." But no sooner

17 The story is told by Tabara, p. 63.


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had he reached the precincts of the city, than a marriage feast engaged his attention, and he fell asleep. On another night, entering the town with the same intentions, he was arrested by heavenly strains of music, and, sitting down, he slept till morning. Thus he again escaped temptation;----- And after this; added Mahomet, "I no more sought after vice; even until I had attained unto the prophetic office." Making every allowance for the fond reverence which paved an easy way for the currency of such stories, it is quite in keeping with the character of Mahomet that he should have shrunk from the coarse and licentious practices of his youthful friends. Endowed with a refined mind and a delicate taste, reserved and meditative, he lived much within himself and the ponderings of his heart supplied occupation for the leisure hours spent by men of a lower stamp in rude sports and riotous living. The fair character and honourable bearing of the unobtrusive youth won, if not the approbation, at least the respect, of his fellow citizens; and he received the title, by common con- sent, of AL AMIN, "the Faithful18."

Abu Talib suggests to Mahomet a mercantile expedition, aetat 25

Thus respected and honored, Mahomet lived a quiet and retired life in the bosom of the family of Abu Talib, who was prevented by his limited expedition, means from occupying a prominent position in

18Hashami, p.88.


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the society of Mecca. At last Abu Talib, finding his family increase faster than the ability to provide for them, bethought him of setting his nephew, now of a mature age, to earn a livelihood for himself. Mahomet was never covetous of wealth, or at any period of his career energetic in the pursuit of riches for their own sake. If left to himself, he would probably have preferred the quiet and repose of his present life, to the bustle and cares of a mercantile journey. He would not spontaneously have contemplated such an expedition. But when the proposal was made his generous soul at once felt the necessity of doing all that was possible to relieve his uncle, and he cheerfully responded to the call. The story is as follows.

Mahomet accompanies the Syrian caravan In charge of Khadija's venture, reaches Rostra, and barters to advantage

When his nephew was now five-and-twenty years of age Abu Talib addressed him in these words:- "I am as thou knowest, a man of small substance; and truly the times deal hardly with me. Now here is a caravan of thine own tribe about to start for Syria, and Khadija daughter of Khuweilid needeth men of our tribe to sent forth with her merchandise. If thou wert to offer thyself, she would readily accept thy services. Mahomet replied : "Be it so, as thou hast said." Then Abu Talib went to Khadija, and enquired whether she wished to hire his nephew, but he added ; "We hear that thou hast engaged such an one for two camels, and we should not be content that my nephew's hire were less than four." The matron


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answered :----- "Hadst thou askedst this thing for one of a distant or unfriendly tribe, I would have granted it; how much rather now that thou askest it for a near relative and friend!" So the matter was settled, and Mahomet prepared for the journey. When the caravan was about to set out, his uncle commended him to the men of the company. Meisara, a servant of Khadija, likewise traveled along with Mahomet in charge of her property.

The caravan took the usual route to Syria, the same which Mahomet had traversed with his uncle thirteen years before. In due time they reached Bostra, a city on the road to Damascus, and about sixty miles to the east of the Jordan. The transactions of that busy mart, where the practised merchants of Syria sought to overreach the simple Arabs, were ill suited to the tastes and the habits of Mahomet; yet his natural sagacity and ready shrewdness carried him prosperously through the undertaking. He returned from the barter with the balance of exchange more than usually in his favour19.

19The usual profit was to double the value of the stock; so that in the case of Mahomet, who is said by some to have made twice the usual gain, the principal would be quadrupled But Hishami says only that "he doubled the stock, or nearly so."

There is a tradition that a contention arose between Mahomet and one who wished to take his wares, but who doubting his word, desired him to swear by the two Meccan goddesses Lat and Ozza; which Mahomet refused to do. But this again is mentioned as one of the signs by which the monk knew that he was "the coming prophet," and seems of a piece with the other marvelous tales relating to the occasion. The same story of his refusing


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Impressions regarding Christianity

The reflective mind of Mahomet, who had now reached the mature but still inquisitive period of early manhood, received deep and abiding impressions from all that he saw and heard upon the journey and during his stay at Bostra. Though the story of his interview with Nestorius, (a monk who embraced him as "the coming prophet,") is to be rejected as a puerile fabrication20, yet we may be certain that Mahomet lost no opportunity of enquiring into the practices and tenets of the Syrian Christians or of conversing with the monks and clergy who fell in his way21.

He probably experienced kindness, and perhaps hospitality, from them; for in his Book he ever speaks of them with respect, and sometimes with praise22. But for their doctrines he had no sympathy.

to swear by Lat and Ozza, is related of his first journey to Syria As a child.

20The ancient biographies have less of the marvellous in this journey than in the former; yet there is a sufficiency. Nestor, the monk, saw Mahomet sitting under a tree, below which none ever sat but a prophet: he immediately recognised him as such, and was confirmed by the further prophetical symptom of redness in the eyes. Meisara saw two angels, who regularly shaded him during the heat of the day; and so forth.

21Arabic was spoken by the subjects of the Ghassinide dynasty and there would be little difficulty found by Mahomet in effecting an interchange of ideas with those about him. Poets, merchants, and travellers from Medina used often at this period to be guests at the Ghassanide Court

22Thus Sura, v.91 ----Thou shalt surely find those among them who profess Christianity to be the most inclined to the believers.


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Distorted view presented by the Syrian worship and teaching

The picture of Christianity in the Coran must have been, in some considerable degree, painted from the conceptions now formed. Had he witnessed a purer exhibition of its rites and doctrines, and seen more of its reforming and regenerating influences, we cannot doubt bat that, in the sincerity of his early search after the truth, he would readily have embraced and faithfully adhered to the faith of Jesus. Lamentable, indeed, it is that the ecclesiastics and monks of Syria showed to the earnest enquirer so small a portion of the fair form of Christianity; and that little, how altered and distorted! Instead of the simple majesty of the Gospel, - as a revelation of God reconciling mankind to Himself through his Son,-the sacred dogma of the Trinity was forced upon the traveller with the misguided and offensive zeal of Eutychian and Jacobite partisanship, and the worship of Mary was exhibited in so gross a form as to leave the impression upon the mind of Mahomet that she was held to be a god, if not the third Person and the consort of the Deity23. It was by

23This cometh to pass because there are priests and monk: among them, and became they are not elated with pride.

Sura, v. 125. ----And when GOD shall say:-Oh Jesus son of Mary! Didst thou speak unto mankind, saying,-" Take me and my mother for two gods besides the Lord?"

So far as I can judge from the Coran, Mahomet's knowledge of Christianity was derived from the orthodox party, who styled Mary "Mother of God." he may have heard of the Nestorian heresy, and it is possibly referred to among the "Sects" into which Jews VOL.II. D


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such blasphemous extravagancies that Mahomet was repelled from the true doctrine of Jesus as "the SON or GOD;' and led to regard him only as "Jesus, son of Mary;" the sole title by which he is spoken of in the Coran. We may well mourn that the misnamed Catholicism of the Empire so grievously misled the master mind of the age, and thus eventually the greater part of Asia and Africa.

Mahomet returns and reports in person to Khadija the successful result

But to return. When Mahomet had disposed of the merchandise of his mistress, and, according to her command, purchased for her such things as she had need of; he retraced his steps in company with the caravan to his native valley22. The mildness of

and Christians are said in the Coran to be divided. But, had he ever obtained a closer acquaintance with the Nestorian doctrine, at least in the earlier part of his career, it would (according to the analogy of his practice with respect to other subjects) have been more definitely mentioned In his revelation. The truth however (as will be shown in the concluding chapter) is that Mahomet's acquaintance with Christianity was at the beat singularly am and meagre.

24Though the direct route from Mecca to Bostra would run a great way east of the Mediterranean, it seems possible that either in this, or the former journey, Mahomet may have seen the Mediterranean Sea. Perhaps, on either occasion the Caravan may have visited Gaza (Ghazza) the favourite entrepot of the Meccan merchants. His references in the Coran to ships gliding majestically on the waters like mountains, appear to point to a larger class of vessels than he was likely to see on the Red Sea. The vivid pictures of sea-storms are among the finest sketches in the Coran, and evidently drawn from nature: the waves and tempests may have been witnessed from the Arabian shore, but the "mountain ships" more likely refer to the Mediterranean


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his manners and his kind attention had won the heart of Meisara and, as they drew near to Mecca, the grateful servant persuaded Mahomet to go forward from Marr al Tzahran, and be himself the bearer to his mistress of the glad tidings of successful traffic. Khadija, surrounded by her maids, was sitting upon the upper story of her house25, on the watch for the first glimpse of the caravan, when a camel was seen rapidly to advance from the expected quarter, and as it approached she perceived that Mahomet was the rider. He entered, recounted the prosperous issue of the adventure, and enumerated the various goods width agreeably to her commission he had purchased for her. She was delighted at all

She is charmed with Mahomet

she heard; but there was a charm in the dark and pensive eye, in the noble features, and in the graceful form of her assiduous agent, as he stood before her, which pleased her even more than her good fortune. The comely widow was now forty years of age, she had been twice married, and had borne two sons and a daughter. Yet she cast a fond eye upon that thoughtful youth of five-and-twenty; nor when he departed, could she dismiss him from her thoughts26.

25Her house is still shown in the Zockack al Hajar, a little to the north-east of the Kaaba. It is called Moulad Sitna Fatima; or the birthplace of Fatimi.

26The above account of the journey to Syria is chiefly from the Katib al Wackidi. Tabari has a tradition that Mahomet traded on account of Khadija, in company with another man, to Habasha, a market in the Tehama. The place is erroneously


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Description of Khadija

Khadija was a Coreishite lady, distinguished by birth, as well as by fortune. Her father Khuweilid was the grandson of Asad27, and Asad was the grandson of Cussei. Khuweilid commanded in the Sacrilegious War a considerable section of the Coreish, and so did his nephew Othman, son of Huweirith. Her substance, whether inherited or acquired through her former marriages, was very considerable; and, through hired agents, she had increased it largely by mercantile speculation. To the blessings of affluence, she added the more important endowments of discretion, virtue, and an affectionate heart; and, though now mellowed by a more than middle age, she retained a fair and attractive countenance. The chief men of the Coreish were not insensible to these charms, and many sought her in marriage; but choosing rather to live on in dignified and independent widowhood, she rejected all their offers. The tender emotions excited by the visit of Mahomet soon overpowered her resolution. The servant Meisara continued to sound in her not unwilling ears the praises of his fellow-traveller. At last her love became irresistible, and she resolved in a discreet and cautious named by Weil, Havasha, (p.34). This, however, is not well supported. had there been really any such journey, we should have heard a great deal more about it, considering the mature period of Mahomet's life at which it is said to have occurred.

27Hence her family are styled the Bani Asad.


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She sends to negotiate' a marriage between herself and Mahomet

way to make known her passion to its object. A sister (according to other accounts, a servant) was the agent deputed to sound his views. "What is it, 0 Mahomet;' said this female, adroitly referring to the unusual circumstance of his being unmarried at so mature an age,-" what is it which hindereth thee from marriage?" "I have nothing" replied he, "in my hands wherewithal I might marry." "But if haply that difficulty were removed, and thou wert invited to espouse a beautiful and wealthy lady of noble birth, who would place a position of affluence, wouldest thou not desire to have her?" "And who," said Mahomet, startled at the novel thought, "may that be?" "It is Khadija" "But how can I attain unto her?" "Let that be my care," returned the female. The mind of Mahomet was at once made up: he answered, "I am ready." The female departed and told Khadija.

Mahomet is married to Khadija

No sooner was she apprized of his willingness to marry her, than Khadija despatched a messenger to Mahomet or his uncle, appointing a time when they should meet. Meanwhile, as she dreaded the refusal of her father, she provided for him a feast; and when he had well drunk and was merry, she slaughtered a cow, and casting over her father perfume of saffron or ambergris", dressed him in marriage raiment. While thus under the effects of wine, the old man united his daughter to Mahomet in the presence of his uncle Hamza. But when he recovered his senses, he began to look around him with wonder,


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and to enquire what these symptoms of a nuptial feast, the slaughtered cow, the perfumes, and the marriage garment, should mean. So soon as lie was made aware of all that had happened, - for they told him "The nuptial dress was put upon thee by Mahomet, thy son-in-law;' -- he fell into a violent passion, and declared that he would never consent to give away to that insignificant youth, a daughter courted by all the great men of the Coreish. The party of Mahomet replied indignantly that the alliance had not originated in their wish, but was the act of no other than his own daughter. Weapons were drawn on both sides, and blood might have been shed, when the old man became pacified, and a reconciliation ensued28.

28It is not without much hesitation that I have followed Sprenger and Weil in adopting this version of the marriage. It has a strongly improbable air; but its very improbability gives ground for believing that it has not been fabricated. it is also highly disparaging to the position of Mahomet at a period of his life when it is the object of his followers to show that he was respected and honoured. Its credibility is therefore sustained by the Canon III. C laid down in chap. i. of the Introduction. There was no object in vilifying Khuweilid or the Bani Asad; and, even if it is possible to suppose the story fabricated by Mahomet's enemies before the conquest of Mecca, it would (if resting on no better foundation) have fallen out of currency afterwards. We seem therefore to have no option but to receive it as a fact, which later traditionists have endeavoured to discredit, under the impression that it was a foul spot on their Prophet's character that Khadija, the pattern of wives, should have brought about her marriage with Mahomet by making her father drunk. See Canon 11. L

Wackidi gives the narrative twice in a differing form, and from different traditions, (the variety of source thus giving it a wider


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The union fortunate and happy

Notwithstanding this stormy and inauspicious commencement, the connubial state proved, both to happy. Mahomet and Khadija, one of unusual tranquility and happiness. Upon the former it conferred a faithful and affectionate companion, and, in spite of her age, a not unfruitful wife. Khadija fully appreciated the noble mind and commanding talents, which a reserved and contemplative habit veiled from others, but could not conceal from her. She conducted as before the duties of her establishment, and left him to enjoy his leisure hours undisturbed and free from care. Her house29 was thenceforward

and less doubtful foundation); but he adds that the whole story is a mistake, as Khuweilid, the father of Khadija, had died previously, and even before the sacrilegious war. Katib al Wackidi, p.25. Yet we have seen above that his name is given as one of the Commanders in that war. Tabari quotes the tradition from Wackidi, word for word, together with his refutation, (p.67). Both add that not her father, but her uncle, Amr ibn Asad, betrothed her. Yet other traditions, containing no allusion to his drunkenness, speak of her father as having given her away (Tabari, p 65); and Hishami's account, which is fused from a variety of traditions by Ibn Ishac, while containing no reference to the drunken fray, states clearly that Khuweilid was the party who betrothed her. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that the tradition of Khuweilid's previous death has been invented, to throw discredit on the story of his drunkenness. Wine shops were common in Mecca before Islam; but drunkenness, though occasionally mentioned, does not seem to have been a general or common failing.
Hishami adds to his statement that Mahomet gave his wife a marriage present of twenty young she-camels.

29For its position see above, p. 21, note. Tabari says it was the one currently known in his time by Khadija's name. It was


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his home, and her bosom the safe receptacle of those doubts and longings after spiritual light which now began to agitate his mind.

The children or Mahomet by Khadija

Within the next ten or fifteen years, Khadija, bore to Mahomet two sons and four daughters. The first-born was named Casim; and after him, according to Arab custom, Mahomet received the appellation of AB UL CASIM, or "the father of Casim." This son died at the age of two years. Meanwhile, his eldest daughter Zeinab was born; and after her, at intervals of one or two years, three other daughters, Rockeya, Fatima, and Omm Kolthum. Last of all was born his second son, who is variously named Abd Menaf, Abdallah, Tayib, and Tahir; he, too, died in infancy. Salma, the maid of Safia, Mahomet's aunt, officiated as midwife on these occasions. Khadija sacrificed at the birth of each boy two kids, and one at the birth of every girl. All her children she nursed herself30.

purchased by Moavin, and though made use of as a mosque, was preserved unaltered. A little closet at its door was shown in those days, little more than a yard square, in which Mahomet until to crouch down under a large stone, to protect himself against the missiles of Abu Lahab, and Adi the Thackfite. Tabari, p. 67.

30The Katib al Wackidi states that there was an interval of only one year between each child, (p.25). This, if taken with precision, would make the second son to be born when Mahomet was about thirty-one years of age, that is, about nine or ten years before his assumption of the prophetic office. But the expression is somewhat vague, and tradition says that the second son,


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Mutual love of Mahomet and Khadija

Many years after, Mahomet used to look back to this period of his life with fond remembrance. Indeed so much did he dwell upon the mutual love

(Khadija's last child) was born after the commencement of Islam, that is, after Mahomet had declared himself inspired, and was forty years of age. Katib al Wackidi, p.179. Sprenger does not believe this, and holds that the youngest child was born much earlier; first on account of the advanced age (fifty-three to fifty-five years) which Khadija must have reached when Mahomet assumed the prophetic office; and secondly, because he considers the name of Abd Menaf (servant of the idol Menaf,) to have an idolatrous significance which Mahomet would not have tolerated at the late period referred to. He therefore believes that the Moslems, ashamed of the name, subsequently called the deceased child by other names, as Abdallah, Tayib, or Tahir; and to take away the very suspicion of its ever having been called by an idolatrous name, assert that it was born after the commencement of Islam. Sprenger, p. 83. Sprenger is probably right as to the original name of the boy, and the cause of the substitution of others more palatable to Mahometan ideas. There is more cause for doubt as to the date of its birth. If an interval of about a year and a half elapsed between the birth of each child (the more likely as Khadija herself nursed her children) the last would be born when Mahomet was about thirty-four or thirty-five, and Khadija forty.nine or fifty years of age.

All authorities agree that Casim was the eldest of the family, and Zeinab the next; but the succession of the other children is variously reported. The order followed in the text is that commonly received, and is given by the Katib al Wackidi, (p.25). But the Secretary in another place (p.179) makes Abdallah follow Zeinab, and then Rockeya, Fatima, and Omm Kolthum. Tabari gives another, and Hishami a third, order.

Hishami also specifies two sons besides Casim, viz. Tayib and Tohir; both of whom, - it is added, died before Islam, (p.40). Tabari also speaks of them as two, (p.66). But this, as Sprenger has shown (p.83), is evidently a mistake. The first tradition in vol II.


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of Khadija and himself, that the envious Ayesha declared herself more jealous of this rival whom she had never seen, than of all his other wives who contested with her the affection of the prophet31.

The person of Mahomet described

No description of Mahomet at this period has been attempted by the traditionists. But from the copious accounts of his person in later life, an approximate outline may be traced of his appearance in the prime of manhood. Slightly above the middle size, his figure, though spare, was handsome and commanding, the chest broad and open, the bones and framework large, the joints well knit

Wackidi is capable of both construction ;----

i.e. "afterwards there was born unto him in Islam, Abdallah, called Tayib, and Tahir." The tradition, in this shape, evidently gave rise to the error of supposing that Tahir, one of the surnames of Abdallah, was a separate son. At p.179 Wackidi states the true case in unmistakable language;

i.e. "and Abdallah, the same is Tayib, the same is Tahir, so called because he was born after the rise of lslam:" --- the words being two adjectives signifying "Sweet" and "Pure."

M.C. de Perceval and Dr; Weil have both been misled here. The former (vol i. p.829,) mentions two sons, Tayib and Tihur; the latter enumerates no fewer than six, mistaking Tayib, Tahir, Abd Menaf, Abdallah, Mutayib, and Mutahhir, -- (all appellations of one and the same son) for the names of as many different children. Weil, p.39. "Mutayib" and "Mutahhir" are only different forms of the adjectives Tayib and Tahir.

31Mishcat, vol. ii. p.790.


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together32. His neck was long and finely moulded33. The head, unusually large, gave space for a broad and noble brow. The hair, thick, jet black, and slightly curling, fell down over his ears. The eye- brows were arched and joined34. The countenance thin, but ruddy. His large eyes, intensely black and piercing, received additional lustre from their long dark eye-lashes. The nose was high and slightly aquiline, but fine, and at the end attenuated. The teeth were far apart. A long black bushy beard, reaching to the breast, added manliness and presence. His expression was pensive and contemplative. The face beamed with intelligence, though something of the sensuous also might be there discerned. The skin of his body was clear and soft; the only hair that met the eye was a fine thin line which ran down from the neck toward the navel. His broad back leaned slightly forward as he walked; and his step was hasty, yet sharp and decided, like that of one rapidly descending a declivity35.

32The hollows of his hands and feet were more than usually filled and level: which is a feature the Orientals regard with interest.

33"His neck rose like that of an antelope." Katib al Wackidi p. 81 1/2.

34But some say they were apart and not knit together. Ibid.

35Ibid. p.72, &c. This at Medina degenerated into a stoop. Some say he walked like a man ascending a hill; others as if he was wrenching his foot from a stone All these descriptions imply decision of step.


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His manner and conversation

There was something unsettled in his blood-shot eye, which refused to rest upon its object. When he turned towards you, it was never partially but with the whole body. Taciturn and reserved36, he was yet in company distinguished by a graceful urbanity. His words were pregnant and laconic; but when it pleased him to unbend, his speech was often humourous, and sometimes pungent. At such seasons he entered with zest into the diversion of the moment, and now and then would laugh immoderately37. But in general he listened to the conversation rather than joined in it.

His emotions under control

He was the subject of strong passions, but they were so absolutely under the controul of reason or of discretion, that they rarely appeared upon the surface. When much excited, the vein between his eyebrows would mantle, and violently swell across his ample forehead: yet he was cautious if not cunning, and in action fearful of personal danger.

Treatment or friends and enemies

Mahomet was generous and considerate to his friends and by his well-timed favour and attention

36Mahomet was sorrowful in temperament; continually meditating; he had no rest; he never spoke except from necessity; he used to be long silent; he opened and ended his speech from the comers of his mouth; he expressed himself in pregnant sentences, using neither too few nor too many words" Katib al Wackidi, p.81 1/2.

37When laughing immoderately, he showed his teeth and gums, and was sometimes so convulsed, that he had to hold his sides. Ibid.


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knew how to rivet even the disaffected to his service. He regarded his enemies, so long as they continued their opposition, with a vindictive and unrelenting hatred; yet he was rarely known to pursue a foe after he had tendered a timely submission. His commanding mien inspired the stranger with an undefined and indescribable awe ; but on closer intimacy, apprehension and fear gave place to confidence and love38.

Latent force of will

Behind the quiet and unobtrusive exterior of Mahomet, lay hid a high resolve, a singleness and unity of purpose, a strength and fixedness of will, a sublime determination, destined to achieve the marvellous work of bowing towards himself the heart of all Arabia as the heart of one man. Khadija was the first to perceive these noble and commanding qualities, and with a child-like confidence she surrendered to him her will and her faith.

Rebuilding of the Kaaba A.D. 605. AEtat 35

The first incident which interrupted the even tenor of the married life of Mahomet was the rebuilding of the Kaaba, when he was about five-and- thirty years of age. One of those violent floods which sometimes sweep down the valley of Mina had shattered the holy house; it was filled with

38The personal description and traits of character have been chiefly gathered from the Katib al Wackidi p.79, et. seq.; and Hishami, p.129. Tirmidzi also gives a full account of Mahomet's person;


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ominous rents, and they feared lest it should fall39. The treasures it contained were also insecure, owing to the absence of a roof; and a party of thieves had lately clambered over and robbed some of the precious relics. These were recovered, but it was resolved that a similar danger should for the future be avoided, by raising the walls to a greater height and covering them over. While the Coreish deliberated how this should be done, a Grecian ship was driven by stress of weather upon the shore of the Red Sea, near to Shueiba, the ancient harbour of Mecca. The news of this misfortune reaching Mecca, Walid son of Moghira40, accompanied by a body of the Coreish, proceeded to the wreck, purchased the timber of the broken ship, and engaged her captain, a Greek by name Bacum, skilled in architecture, to assist in the reconstruction of the Kaaba The several tribes of the Coreish were divided into four bodies, and to each was assigned the charge of one side41. With such mysterious

39Such torrents have frequently committed similar ravages. Thus, in 1627, A.D. the flood destroyed three sides of the sacred building. Burkhardt, p. 136. Omar built a mole across the valley a little above the town, to protect the Kaaba from these floods. The remains of the dyke, Burkhardt says, were visible till the fourteenth century. Idem. p. 126.

40He was descended from Makhzum, a cousin of Cossai.

41The independent apportioning of the work shows how divided and isolated were the several branches of the Coreish at this time. One side was assigned to the Bani Abd Menaf (including descendants


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reverence was the Kaaba regarded, that great apprehension was entertained lest the apparent sacrilege of dismantling the holy walls should expose even the pious restorers to divine wrath. At last Walid seized a pickaxe, and invoking the Deity in a deprecatory prayer, detached and threw down a portion of the wall. All then retired and waited till the following morning, when, finding that no mischief had befallen the adventurous chief, they joined in the demolition. They continued to dig till they reached a hard foundation of green stones set close together like teeth, and resisting the stroke of the pickaxe42. From thence they began to build

of Hashim, Abd Shams, Naufal, and Abd al Muttalib,) and the Bani Zohra; a second to the Bani Asad and Abd al Dar; a third to the Bani Taym and Makhzum; and the fourth to the Bani Sahm, Juhm, Adi, and Amr ibn Lowey. There was, in fact, no acknowledged head, as the following incident proves.

42This green bed is tailed the "foundation of Abraham," and the tradition adds that when one struck his pick-axe into the stones the whole of Mecca shook. Hishami, p.42; Tabari, p.76.

It is also stated that an inscription was discovered beneath one of the corner foundations, written in Syriac, which no one could decypher, until a Jew made it out as follows - "I am God, the Lord of Becca (an ancient name of Mecca); I created it on the day on which I created the heavens and the earth, and formed the sun and the moon; and I have surrounded it with seven angels of the true faith; it shalt not pass away until the two hills thereof pass away. Blessed be the inhabitants thereof in water and in milk." Hishami, p.42. He adds, "There is a tradition that, about forty years before the mission of Mahomet, a stone was found in the Kaaba inscribed with these words;- "He that soweth good, shalt rear that which is to be envied; and he that soweth evil, shall rear remorse.


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the wall. Stones of grey granite were selected or hewn from the neighbouring lulls, and carried by the citizens upon their heads to the sacred enclosure43.

Mahomet, with the whole body of the Coreish, assisted in the work44. All proceeded harmoniously until the structure rose four or five feet above the surface. At that stage it became necessary to build

The Black Stone

the Black Stone into the eastern corner, with its surface so exposed as to be readily kissed by the

Ye do evil, and (expect to) obtain good: Ah! that would be to gather graps of thorns." Ibid.

The first of these traditions is very remarkable. It quite Accords with the theory developed in the second and third chapters of the Introduction, that some Abrahamic tribe, acquainted with Syriac, should have been at a remote period associated with the aboriginal Arabs in the building of the Kaaba, and should have left under its walls a Syriac inscription of the tenor referred to. At all events, the very existence of the tradition, whether true or not, shows the popular opinion on the subject, and the popular opinion was founded on probable legend.

43"The common stone of the Meccah mountains is a fine grey granite, quarried principally from a hill near the Bab al Shebayki, which flourished materials for the Kaabah." Burton, vol. iii. p.150.

44A miraculous tale is here added. The people loosened their under garments, and cast them over their heads as a protection against the weight and roughness of the stones. Mahomet did the same; when a voice from heaven was heard warning him not to expose his person. Immediately he covered himself, and "after that day the nakedness of the prophet was never again seen by any human being." Katib al Wackidi p.27. One may conclude of what authority such stories are, when it is added that Hishami tells the same tale, in almost identical words, of Mahomet as a child playing with other boys, (p.88).


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pilgrims upon foot. This mysterious stone, we learn from modern travellers, is semi-circular, and measures about six inches in height, and eight in breadth; it is of a reddish-black colour, and bears marks in its undulating surface, notwithstanding the polish imparted by a myriad kisses, of volcanic origin45.

45Ali Bey has given a plate with a front view and section of the stone. It possesses so peculiar an interest that a sketch has been given of it along with the plan of the Kaaba. The following is his description: - "The Black Stone, Hhajera el Assouad, or Heavenly Stone, is raised forty-two inches above the surface," (i.e. the level of the ground,) "and is bordered all round with a large plate of silver, about a foot broad. The part of the stone that is not covered by the silver at the angle, is almost a semicircle, six inches in height by eight inches six lines in diameter at its base.

"This stone is a fragment of volcanic basalts, which is sprinkled throughout its circumference with small pointed coloured crystals, and varied with red felspath, upon a dark black ground like coal, except one of its protuberances, which is a little reddish. The continual kisses and touchings of the faithful have worn the surface uneven, so that it now has a muscular appearance. It has nearly fifteen muscles, and one deep hollow.

"Upon comparing the borders of the stone that are covered and secured by the silver with the uncovered part, I found the latter had lost nearly twelve lines or its thickness; from whence we may infer, that if the stone was smooth and even in the time of the prophet, (?) it has lost a line during each succeeding age," (i.e. century.) Ali Bey, vol. ii. p.76.

"At the [north] east corner of the Kaaba, near the door, is the famous "Black Stone;" it forms a part of the sharp angle of the building, at four or five feet above the ground. It is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulated surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes said vol. II.


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Contention as to which tribe should deposit it in its place

The virtue of the whole building depending upon this little stone, each family of the Coreish

shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement, and perfectly smoothed: it looks as if the whole bad been broken into many pieces by a violent blow, and then united again. It is very difficult to determine accurately the quality of this stone, which has been worn to its present surface by the millions of touches and kisses it has received. It appears to me like a lava, containing several small extraneous particles, of a whitish and a yellowish substance. Its colour is now a deep reddish brown, approaching to black; it is surrounded on all sides by a border, composed of a substance which I took to be a close cement of pitch and gravel, of a similar, but not quite the same brownish colour. This border serves to support its detached pieces; it is two or three inches in breadth, and rises a little above the surface of the stone. Both the border and the stone itself are encircled by a silver band, broader below than above and on the two sides, with a considerable swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden under it. The lower part of the border is studded with silver nails.

"In the south (east) corner of the Kaaba, or as the Arabs call it, Roken el Yamany, there is another stone, about five feet from the ground; it is one foot and a half in length, and two inches in breadth, placed upright, and of the common Mecca stone. This the people, walking round the Kaaba, touch only with the right hand; they do not kiss it." Burkhardt, pp. 137-188.

The last-mentioned stone, the Rukn Yamani so called from its southern aspect towards Yemen, is frequently mentioned in the annals of Mahomet, but was never regarded with the same reverence as the Black Stone.

The Black Stone was carried off by the sacrilegious Carmats, and retained by them at Hajar, in the east of Arabia, from A.H. 317 to 339, and then restored. Weil's Caliphs, vol. ii. p.612; Burkhardt, p.167. It was struck with a club by an emissary of the Egyptian fanatic Hakim, A.H. 413; after which the chips and dust were carefully restored, and the fractures cemented. Burkhardt, ibid.

Burton, who carefully surveyed the stone, states that the height


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began to advance pretensions to the exclusive honour of placing it in its future receptacle. The contention became hot, and it was feared that fighting and bloodshed would ensue. For four or five days the building was suspended. At last the Coreish again assembled on the spot amicably to decide the difficulty. Then Abu Omeya46, the oldest citizen, arose and said, "0 Coreish, hearken unto me I My advice is that the man who chances first to enter in at this gate of the Bani Sheyba, he shall be chosen to decide the difference amongst you, or himself to place the Stone47." The proposal was from the ground, according to his measurement, is four feet nine inches. Vol. iii. 160.

He adds that he and his party "monopolized the use of it for at least ten minutes. Whilst kissing it and rubbing hands and forehead upon it, I narrowly observed it, and came away per- suaded that it is a big aerolite." Ibid. p. 210.

And again: - "The colour appeared to me black and metallic, and the centre of the stone was sunk about two inches below the metal circle. Round the sides was a reddish-brown cement almost level with the metal, and sloping down to the middle of the stone." Ibid. p. 161, note. "The band," he adds, "is now a massive arch of gold or silver gilt. I found the aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers broad." Ibid. p.162, note.

46Hishami, p.48; Tabari, p.76. He was of the Bani Makhzum, and brother of Walid, father of the famous Khalid.

47The Katib al Wackidi says "to place the stone;" Hishami and Tabari "to decide the dispute between them." The gate is called "that of the Bani Sheyba," by the Secretary (p.27); probably because it was built by Abd al Muttalib (Sheyba al Hamd). Bukhardt, p. 152, quotes Azraki and Colobi to the effect that the Bab al Salam is the modern name of the Bab bani


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confirmed by acclamation, and they awaited the issue. Mahomet, who happened to be absent on the occasion, was immediately observed approaching, and he was the first to enter the gate. They exclaimed,

Mahomet is chosen arbiter. His decision

"Here comes the Faithful arbiter (al Amin); we are content to abide by whatever he may decide!" Calm and self-possessed, Mahomet received the commission, and with his usual sagacity at once resolved upon an expedient which should conciliate all. Taking off his mantle and spreading it upon the ground, he placed the stone thereon, and said, "Now let one from each of your four divisions come forward, and raise a corner of this mantle." Four chiefs approached, and seizing the corners simultaneously lifted the stone. When it had reached the proper height Mahomet48, with

Sheyba There are, however, two places called by that name ;- one a grand entrance in the piazza, the other an isolated archway, about seventy feet on the north-east side of the Kaaba, and a little beyond the Macam Ibrahim. The latter is most probably the gate intended, as the piazza is entirely modern; and it is not unlikely that the ancient limits of the sacred yard were marked by some sort of wall or enclosure, of which this was one of the original gates or entrances. A court-yard measuring seventy or eighty feet from the Kaaba would take in all the objects of sacred interest immediately around it.

For the Bab al Salam see Burkhardt, p.146; Burton, vol. ii. p.174. "The Bab al Salam or Bab Beni Shaybah, resembles in its isolation a triumphal arch, and is built of cut stone." It is no doubt a modern reproduction of the ancient doorway. See also Ali Bey, vol. ii p. 83.

48Wackidi adds a foolish legend, that a man from Najd offered Mahomet a stone to ix the corner-stone with; but that Abbas


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his own hand, guided it to its place. The decision raised the character of. Mahomet for wisdom and judgment; while the singular and apparently providential call would not pass unnoticed by Mahomet himself. Religious awe not unfrequently with him degenerated into superstition; and there was here a mysterious singling out of himself to be a judge among his fellows in a sacred question, which may well have wrought upon a less imaginative and enthusiastic spirit that that of Mahomet, and prompted the idea that he might yet be chosen of God to be the prophet of his people.

The Kaaba finished

After the stone had been thus deposited in its proper place, the Coreish built on without interruption; and when the wall had risen to a considerable height they roofed it in with fifteen rafters resting upon six central pillars. A covering of cloth was, according to ancient custom, thrown over the edifice, and hung down like a curtain on every side49.

interfered, and himself presented Mahomet with a stone for that purpose. The man of Najd was incensed, and Mahomet explained to him that only a Coreishite could have any concern whatever in the building of the house. The Najdite then became furious, and abused the Coreishites for choosing so young and insignificant a fellow as Mahomet for the office. It then turns out that this stranger from Najd was none other than Iblis, the devil himself!

We again find this legend of the devil in the shape of an old man from Najd, appearing at the council of the Coreish assembled many years afterwards to condemn Mahomet to death.

49The custom of veiling the Kaaba is of extremely remote date. The legend that one of the Tobbas of Yemen, on embracing


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The Kaaba thus rebuilt was surrounded by a small enclosure probably of not more than fifty yards in diameter. To the west50 stood the Hall of Council, with its door towards the Kaaba51. On the cast Judaism was the first to do so, in the beginning of the third century, is probably apocryphal. See Introduction, chap. iii. p. clvii. There is however no other tradition of the origin, though the curtain is referred to in traditions of the time of Mahomet.

Burton has an interesting resume of the traditions regarding the covering. Vol iii. p.296 - 300.

Originally, it is supposed, the cloth covered the whole building including the top. Before a roof was made by the Coreish it would constitute the only protection from the weather. And this may have been its first object The roof is now uncovered, the curtain being attached only to the walls.

The curtain was at first furnished by subscription, till Mughira offered to supply it every alternate year. In the time of Mahomet it was of Yemen cloth. Omar renewed it yearly of Egyptian linen. Various materials, as striped Yemen stuff; red brocade, black silk, have seen at different times used; and the covering has been changed as often as six times a year. To supply it came to be regarded a sign of sovereignty.

The covering is now worked at Cairo, and renewed yearly at the season of pilgrimage. It "is a coarse tissue of silk and cotton mixed." A band of two feet, embroidered with texts, is inserted a third from the top. Burton describes the new covering thus: - "It was of a brilliant black, and the Hizam - the zone or golden band running round the upper portion of the building-as well as the Burka (face veil) were of dazzling brightness." The Burka is "the gold embroidered curtain covering the Kaabah door." Vol. iii. p. 295.

50Or north-west.

51Sprenger, p. 24, note 4. Burkhardt also shows that it stood near the present "station" of the Hanefites, which lies on the west side. This and the gate of the Bani Sheyba, were probably the limits of the holy yard, and hence we may assume the enclosure


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was the gateway of the Bani Sheiba, close by the sacred well of Zemzem. At a respectful distance round were built the houses of the Coreish. The great idol Hobal was placed in the centre of the holy house; and outside were ranged various other images52. The door for entering the Kaaba was then, as it is now, near to the Black Stone in the eastern side, and several feet above the ground; a fact attributed by Mahomet to the pride of the Coreish, and a desire to retain in their own hands the power of admission. The building, though now substantial and secure, occupied somewhat less space than its dilapidated and roofless predecessor. The excluded area, called the Hejer

in the days of Mahomet to have been of the dimensions given in the text.

Burton writes :-" Close to the north-west angle of the cloister (piazza of the Kaaba) is the Bab el Nadwah, anciently called Bab el Umrah, and now Bab el Atik, the Old Gate. Near this place, and opening into the Kaabah, stood the town hall, Dar el Nadwah, built by Kusay." He adds that many authorities place this building on the site of the " station" of the Hanefites. Vol. lii. p. 181. Both traditions may be correct. The Town hall, built close to the station of the Hanefites, may have had a gate near the site of the Bab el Nadwah.

52We have no authentic information as to the number of these idols. The popular tradition (Burkhardt, p.164), that there were 860, or one for every day in the year, is not founded upon any careful authority. Lat and Ozza were no doubt pre-eminent When Mahomet came as a conqueror to Mecca all the Idols were destroyed, or rather (as the legend has it) each fell prostrate as he pointed at it. That the image or picture of Jesus and Mary had a place among the other idols seems apocryphal.


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or Hatim, lay to the north-west, and is still without the sacred walls53.

53The sill of the door is now about seven feet above the level of the ground, and a moveable wooden staircase is used for ascending. It ia six feet from die corner or the Black Stone. Burkhardt, p.157; Ali Bey, vol. ii. p.75; Burton, vol. iii p.156.

The pavement surrounding the Kaaba is eight inches lower than the rest or the square. Burkhardt, p.142. Ali Bey affirms that the square itself is several feet lower than the surrounding streets, as you hare to descend by stepe into it. Hence he concluded that the floor of the Kaaba (i.e. the sill of its door), is the original level of the soil and of the building, the earth having been subsequently hollowed out. But this is not consistent with the fact that the door of the Kaaba was, even in Mahomet's time, when there could have been little need for excavation, about as high, probably, as it now is. The following tradition is related from Ayesha on the authority of Wackidi. "The Prophet said:- Verily they have drawn back the foundations of the Kaaba from their original limit; and if it were riot that the inhabitants are fresh from idolatry, I would have restored to the building that which was excluded from the area thereof. But in case the people may again after my time need to renew the structure, come, and I will show thee what was left out. So he showed a space in the Hijr of about seven yards. Then he proceeded:-

"And I would have made in it two doors level with the ground, one towards the east, the other toward the west. Dost thou know why this people raised the door? It was out of haughtiness, that no one might crater thereat but he whom they chose; and any man they desired not to enter they suffered to come up to the door, and then thrust him back, so that he fell." It is added on other authority that the Coreish used to open the Kaaba on Mondays and Thursdays, and take off their shoes out or reverence for the holy place, when they entered; and that those who were thrust back from the door were sometimes killed by the fall. Katib al Wackidi, p.27 1/2. When the Kaaba was reconstructed by Ibn Zobeir, A.H. 64, two doors are said to have been opened level with the ground. Burkhardt, pp. 137-165. But if so, the ancient form and proportions must subsequently have been


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Absence at Mecca of any paramount authority

The circumstances which gave occasion for decision of Mahomet are strikingly illustrative of

reverted to. Ali Bey thought that he perceived marks of a second door opposite, and similar to the present one; Burton also says,- "inside its place can still be traced."

Burton attributes the depression or the square to another cause. It "manifestly arises from the level of the town having been raised, like Rome, by successive layers of ruins; the most populous and substantial quarters (as the Shamiyah to the north) would, we might expect, be the highest, and this is actually the case," iii. 157. Rather, we might expect it because the fall of the valley is from north to south. The theory is hardly tenable.

The space at present called the Hijr or Macam Ismail, lies to the north-west of he Kaaba, about tile distance pointed out by Mahomet as the limit of the old building. It is now marked by a semi-circular parapet of white marble, five feet high, facing the Kaaba; the intervening spot being termed Al Hatim. Burkhardt, p.139. When Ibn Zobeir rebuilt the Kaaba on an enlarged scale, this is believed to have been enclosed; but it was again excluded by Hajaj ibn Yusuf. Burkhardt, p.189. The space is still regarded as equally holy with the Kaaba itself.

Both Othman and Ibn Zobeir enlarged the square by purchasing and removing the adjoining houses of the Coreish, and they enclosed it by a wall. Various similar changes and improvements were made by successive Caliphs till, in the third century of the Hegira, the Quadrangle with its imposing Colonnade, assumed the present dimensions. Burkhardt, p.102, et. seq.

The Kaaba, as it now stands, is an irregular cube, the sides of which vary from forty to fifty feet in length. Burton, vol. iii p.154. The quadrangle corresponds loosely with the direction of its walls. Some say that the name of Kaaba was given after reconstruction of the temple by Ibn Zobeir; but it is so constantly referred to by that name in the most ancient traditions, that the appellation cannot possibly be modern. The Kaaba is more probably the ancient idolatrous name, while Beit-ullah, The house of God, is the more modern title harmonising with Jewish or Abrahamic expression. VOL. II.


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the entire absence of any paramount authority in Mecca, and of the number of persons among whom the power of government was at this time divided. Each main branch of the Coreishite stock was independent of every other;; and the offices of State and Religion created by Cossai were insufficient to secure a universal influence, because distribution among hostile families had neutralized their potency. It was a period in which the commanding abilities of a Cossai might have again dispensed with the prestige of place and birth, and asserted dominion by strength of will and inflexibility of purpose. But no such one appeared, and the divided aristocracy of Mecca moved onward with a feeble and distracted step.

Othman ibn Huweirith attempts, under the influence of the Grecian Emperor, to seize the Government

A curious story is related of an attempt made about this period to gain the rule at Mecca. The aspirant was Othman, son of Huweirith, a first consul of Khadija's father. He was dissatisfied, as the legend goes, with the idolatrous system of Mecca, and travelled to the Court of the Grecian Emperor, where he was honourably entertained, and admitted to Christian baptism. He returned to Mecca, and on the strength of an imperial grant, real or pretended, laid claim to the government of the city. But his claim was rejected, and he fled to Syria, where he found a refuge with the Ghassanide princes. Othman revenged his expulsion by using his influence at the Court of Ghassan, for the


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imprisonment of the Coreishite merchants who chanced to be on the spot. But emissaries from Mecca by the and of rich gifts, counteracted his authority with the Prince, and at last procured his death54.

Commerce flourishes at Mecca

Notwithstanding the absence of a strong government, Mecca continued to flourish under the generally harmonious combination of the several independent phylarchies. Commerce was prosecuted towards Syria and Irac with greater rigour than ever. About the year 606 A.D. we read of a mercantile expedition under Abu Sofian, which for the first time penetrated to the capital of Persia, and reached even the presence of the Chosroes55.

Domestic life of Mahomet

I proceed to notice some particulars of the domestic life of Mahomet.

Marriage of his three eldest daughters

The sister of Khadija was married to Rabi, a descendant of Abd Shams56, and had borne him a son called Abul As. The son had by this time grown up, and was respected in Mecca for his uprightness and mercantile success. Khadija loved her nephew, and looked upon him as her own son. She prevailed upon Mahomet to join him in

54He died by poison. The story is not strongly attested, considering the lateness of the incidents related See Sprenger, p.84; M.C. de Pereval, p.835; Hishdmi p.56.

55M.C. de Perceval, vol. i. p. 242.

56He was not however of the Omeyad line, but descended through Abd al Ozza, a brother of Omeya. M. C. de Perceval, vol. iii. p. 76.


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marriage with their eldest daughter Zeinab, who had but just reached the age of womanhood. The union is proved by its subsequent history to have been one of real affection, though during the troubled rise of Islam it was chequered by a temporary severance, and by several romantic incidents57. Somewhat later the two younger daughters, Ruckeya and Omm Kolthum, were given in marriage to Otba and Oteiba, both sons of Abu Lahab, the uncle of Mahomet58. Fatima, the youngest, was yet a child.

Adopts his nephew Ali

Shortly after the rebuilding of the Kaaba, Mahomet comforted himself for the loss of his son Casim59 by adopting Ali, the little son of his friend and former guardian Abu Talib. The circumstance is thus described.

It chanced that a season of severe scarcity fell upon the Coreish; and Abu Talib, still poor, was put to great shifts for the support of his numerous family. His difficulties were not unperceived by Mahomet, who, prompted by his usual kindness and consideration, repaired to his rich uncle Abbas, and said, "Oh Abbasi thy brother Abu Talib hath a burdensome family, and thou seest what straits all

57Hishami, p.234. These will be related below.

58Hishami as above; Sprenger, p.83; Weil, p. 89.

59Possibly for that of his second son, Abd Menat (or Abdallah), also; for we have seen above that the dates of his birth and death are uncertain, and may have happened earlier than we have supposed.


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men are brought to. Let us go to him, and relieve him somewhat of the care of his children. I will take one son. Do thou take another. And we shall support them." Abbas consenting, they proposed the thing to Abu Talib; and he replied, "Leave me Ackil and Talib; and do ye with the others as it pleaseth you." So Mahomet took Ali, and Abbas took Jafar. Ah, at this time probably not above five or six years of age, remained ever after with Mahomet, and they exhibited towards each other the mutual attachment of parent and child57.

Zeid, son of Haritha, a Christian slave, is also adopted by Mahomet

The heart of Mahomet was inclined to ardent and lasting friendships. About the period of Ali's adoption he received into his close intimacy another person unconnected with him by family ties, but of more equal age. This was Zeid, the son of Haritha. As he is frequently alluded to in the Coming history, and by his constant society must have influenced to

60Some traditions by only Ackil. The subsequent history of Talib is not clear or satisfactory. It is said that he was obliged against his will to fight on the side of the Idolatrous Meccans at Badr, and that he was never heard of after.

61Ali was born about the beginning of the seventh century. M.C. de Perceval fixes the year of his birth in 602 A.D., which would make him fifty-nine or sixty when he died in 661. But tradition says that he died aged sixty-three. That, however, is the pattern age, which (having been Mahomet's) tradition is inclined to give, wherever possible, to its heroes. Supposing sixty-three to have been his real age, and making allowance for the lunar year, lain birth would date in 600 or 601 A.D.


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some extent the course of Mahomet, it is important to trace his previous life. The father of Zeid was of the Bani Odzra, a Codhaite tribe collateral with the Bani Kalb61, and occupying the region south of Syria. His mother belonged to the Bani Man, a division or the great Tai family62. While she was proceeding with the child on a journey to her home, the company was waylaid by a band of Arab marauders. Zeid was carried away captive, and sold into slavery. He afterwards fell into the hands of Hakim, grandson of Khuweilid, who presented him to his aunt Khadija shortly after her marriage with Mahomet. He was then above twenty years of age; and is described as small in stature, and dark in complexion, with a short and depressed nose. He was nevertheless an active and useful servant63; and Mahomet soon conceived a strong affection for him. Khadija to gratify her husband made him a present of the slave.

A party of the Bani Kalb, on a pilgrimage to by Mahomet Mecca, recognized the youth, and communicated the tidings of his welfare to Ins disconsolate father64,

61See Introduction, chap. iii. pp. cxlix. and cci. It was the same tribe which a couple of centuries before had assisted Cossai in his coup d etat.

62See in the same chap. p. ccxxviii.

63Katib al Wackidi p 186 1/2; Sprenger, p.160.

64See the affecting verses his father is said to have recited when wandering in search of him. Katib al Wackidi, p. 186; Weil, p.325.


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who immediately set out to fetch him home. Arrived at Mecca, Haritha offered a large payment for the ransom of his son. Mahomet summoned Zeid and left it in his option to go or to stay. He chose to stay. "I will not leave thee;" he said, "thou art in the place to me of father and of mother." Delighted by his faithfulness, Mahomet took him straightway to the Black stone of the Kaaba, and said, "Bear testimony, all ye that are present! Zeid is my son. I shall be his heir, and he shall be mine." His father, contented with the declaration, returned home rejoicing; and the-freed man was thenceforward called "Zeid ibn Mohammad," Zeid, the son of Mahomet. At Mahomet's desire he married his old attendant, Omm Ayman. Though nearly double his age, she bore him a son called Usama, who was the leader in the expedition to Syria at the time of Mahomet's fatal illness65.

65There is difficulty and discrepancy about the age of Zeid. Some traditions say that he was a mere child when received by Mahomet; but this is incompatible with his having shortly after married Omm Ayman. Sprenger (as it appears to me on insufficient grounds), attributes these traditions to a fear on the part of the Moslem historians that Mahomet might be suspected of gaining Christian knowledge from Zeid; and hence the traditions represented him as too young for that purpose (p.161). Others say he was ten years younger than Mahomet; which is more likely. Katib al Wackidi, p. 186 1/2. But the most probable tradition is that which represents him as fifty-five, when killed at the battle of Muta, A.H. 8, or 629 A.D. This would make him six years younger than Mahomet, or somewhat above twenty, when he came into his possession. The difference of age between


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Christian influence or Zeid, of Othman ibn Huweirith and of Waraca

Christianity prevailed in the tribes from which, both on the father's and the mother's side, Zeid sprang66; and though severed from his home at too early an age for any extensive or thorough knowledge of its doctrines, yet he probably carried with him some impression of the teaching, and some fragments of the facts or legends, of Christianity. These would form subjects of conversation between the youth and his adoptive father, whose mind was now feeling in all directions after religious truth. Among the relatives, too, of Khadija, there were persons who possessed a knowledge of Christianity, and followed perhaps something of its practice. Her cousin Othman has been already noticed as having embraced Christianity at Constantinople

him and Mahomet's nurse was great, for tradition tells us that the Prophet promised him paradise for marrying her. Ibid. p.187.

The likelihood is that lie was of a tender age when carried off by the Arabs, for his mother would not probably have taken cite above the years of a child with her on a visit to her family; a period intervened in which the slave changed owners, and in which his father, after long wandering after him, gave up the search. So that he may well have fallen into Khadija's hands when he was about twenty years old.

Some accounts say that Hakim brought him with a company of slaves from Syria, and that having offered the choice of them to his aunt, she selected Zeid. Others, that he bought him at the fair of Ocatz, expressly for his aunt. But the discrepancy is immaterial.

66Both among the Bani Kalb, whose head-quarters were at Dumat al Jandal, and the Bani Tai, Christianity had made progress.


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and made an unsuccessful attempt to gain the rule at Mecca. Waraca, another cousin is said also to have been a convert to Christianity, to have been acquainted with the religious tenets and sacred Scriptures both of Jews and Christians, and even to have copied or translated some portions of the Gospels in Hebrew or Arabic67.

68Of Waraca Hishami says - p.56. To this Tabari adds the Mahometan conceit that he was looking out for the prophet about to rise among the race of Ishmael; -" He had embraced Christianity, and studied the (inspired) book. until he bad reached (a knowledge of the faith;) and he was one of those who deduced from thence that there was a prophet about to arise for this nation from the children of Ishmael," (p. 11). So also as to his knowledge of the Old and New Testaments,

Ibid. p.91. There is no good authority for believing him to have previously adopted the Jewish religion. Other traditions make him to have copied from the Gospels in Hebrew, or (according to various readings) in Arabic,-

Sprenger satisfactorily shows that the expression here used signifies simply transcription, not translation, p.40, note I.

The traditional tendency would be to magnify Waraca's know- ledge of the Scriptures, in order to give more weight to his testimony in favour of Mahomet, and to bear out the fiction that he had good grounds for expecting a prophet. Waraca seems to have died before Mahomet publicly assumed the prophetic office, and hence we should not trust too much to the accounts of him. Canon I. B, Introduction, chap. i.; see M.C. de Perceval, vol. i p. 322. VOL. II.


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In the following chapter it will be seen that this person had an acknowledged share in satisfying the mind of Mahomet that his mission was divine.

The Four Enquirers

It is a fancy of the traditionists, the origin of which I have already sought to trace69, that shortly before the appearance of Mahomet, several enquirers were not only seeking after the true faith, or as they style it the Religion of Abraham; but, warned by the prophecies and the unguarded admissions of Jews and Christians, were in immediate expectation of the coming prophet. Of such enquirers among the Coreish, it is the fashion of Mahometan biographers to specify four. Two of these are Othman and Waraca, already mentioned.

Obeidalla ibn Jash

The third is Obeidallah (by his mother a grand-son of Abd al Muttalib,) who embraced Islam, emigrated with his brethren in the faith to Abyssinia, and there went over to Christianity66.

Zeid ibn Amr

The fourth is Zeid, the grandson of Nofail, and cousin of Omar70. Of him tradition says that he condemned the idolatrous

69See Canons II. G and H, pp. lxvii. lxvii. of the Introduction,chap. i.

70He emigrated to Abyssinia with those who fled from the persecution at Mecca. After embracing Christianity, he met a party of the Mussalmans, and said to them, - "now we see; ye are but feeling after sight and see not." Hashami, p.56. He died in Abyssinia, and Mahomet sent for his widow, 0mm Habiba, daughter of Abu Sofian, to Medina, and married her.

71Owing to a debasing Arab custom, which allowed the son to marry (if it did not give him the right to inherit) his father's widows, Zeid was at the same time the cousin and the uncle or


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sacrifices of the Kaaba, reprobated the burying alive of infant daughters, and "followed the religion of Abraham." But not content with such assertions, the traditionists add that Zeid possessed distinct knowledge of the prophet whose advent was daily to be looked for, and that he left his salutation to be delivered to him when he should arise. Nay, he described his very appearance, stated that he would be of the family of Abd al Muttalib, and even foretold that he would emigrate to Medina! He died while the Kaaba was rebuilding, and was buried at the foot of Mount Hira72.

Omar. Nofail's widow, Jaida, who had already born to him Khattab (Omar's father), was married by his son Atur, and bore to him Zeid, who was thus the uterine brother of Khattab, and likewise his nephew.

72The Katib al Wackidi, Tabari, and Hishami, have all copious accounts of Zeid. Hishami is the least marvellous; but even he says that after Zeid had travelled through Mesopotamia arid Syria enquiring of the Rabbis and clergy for "the faith of Abraham," he came at last to a monk in Balcaa, who told him the usual story that a Prophet was just about to arise in Arabia; so he hastened back to see him but was killed by the way. He also states that Zeid was persecuted by his uncle Khattab, who stationed him at Mount Hira, and would not allow him to enter Mecca Jest others should be beguiled to follow his heresy (pp.66-59). The Katib al Wackidi has several traditions attributing many purely Mahometan speeches and practices to him (pp. 255, 2554); see some of these quoted by Sprenger (pp. 41-43). He has also the marvellous story (referred to in the text) that Zeid at his death commissioned Amr to give his salutation to the coming Prophet; and that upon Amr fulfilling the commission Mahomet returned the salutation, and added that he "had seen Zeid in Paradise joyfully drawing along his skirts;" (i.e. walking with Joyous step). It is


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Though such anticipations of the Prophet are to be rejected as puerile and unfounded, and though the manifest tendency to invent legends of this description makes it difficult to sever the real from the fictitious in the matter of these four Enquirers,. yet it may be admitted as highly probable that not only

A spirit of enquiry probably abroad

in their case but in that of many others also a spirit of religious enquiry, the disposition to reject idolatry, and a perception of the superiority of Judaism and

pretended that he anticipated the practice, introduced by Mahomet at Medina, of using the Kaaba as his Kebla. His place of burial is given, by the same authority, as Mount Hira.

Tabari's traditions, as usual, improve upon the narrations or his predecessors. The following will illustrate the rapid progress of fiction. Amir ibn Rabia said, I heard Zeid speak as follows: - Verily, I look for a prophet from among the sons of Ishmael, and from among the children of Abd al Muttalib; and I think that I shall not reach to his day, but verily I believe on him, and I attest his veracity, and I bear witness that he is a true prophet. But if thou survivest to see him; then repeat to him a salutation front me. Now shall I describe to thee his appearance, that he may not remain hid from thee? Amir said, "Do so. Then follows Zeid's description of the person of the coming prophet, his rejection by the Meccans, his emigration to Yathreb, and his final victory. Take heed - proceeded the prophetic sage - lest thou be deceived in him, for I have visited every city in search of the Faith of Abraham, and every one of the Jews and Christians and Magians say that this religion is about to follow, and they seek for the same signs as I have given unto thee, and they say there will no 'more be any prophet after him. "So," continued Amir, "when I was converted, I told the prophet the saying of Zeid, and I recited his salutation: and the prophet returned his salutation, and prayed for mercy upon him; and said, I have seen him in Paradise", &C (p. 83.) It is easy to trace here the fabricated elements, with all their spurious detail, which grew up between the times of Wackidi and Tabari.


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Christianity, did exist. With such enquirers Mahomet would no doubt deeply sympathize, and bold converse on the dark and gross idolatry of the Arabs, and the need of a more spiritual faith for their regeneration.

Mahomet seeks after solitary contemplation

Mahomet was approaching his fortieth year. Always pensive, he had of late become even more solitary thoughtful and retiring. Contemplation and reflection now engaged his whole mind. The debasement of his people, his own uncertainty as to the true Religion, the dim and imperfect shadows of Judaism and Christianity exciting doubts without satisfying them, pressed heavily upon his soil; and he frequently retired to seek relief in meditation amongst the solitary valleys and rocks near Mecca. His favourite spot was a cave in the declivities at the foot of Mount Hira73, a lofty conical hill two

73Since called Jebel Nor, or Mountain of Light, because Mahomet is said to have received his first revelation there. Ali Bey gives a drawing of it. "It lies," he says, "quarter or a league to the left" of the road to Arafat, (vol.ii. p.64). Burkhardt says :-" Passing the Sherif's garden house on the road to Arafat, a little further on, we enter a valley, which extends in a direction N.E. by N., and is terminated by the mountain, which is conical.

......In the rocky floor of a small building ruined by the Wahabys, a cleft is shown about the size of a man in length and breadth... A little below this place is a small cavern in the red granite rock which forms the upper stratum of this mountain; it is called Mogharat el Hira" (p. 175). This valley was often tred by Mahomet on his way to and from the cleft and the cavern.

Sprenger says "Mount Hara is three miles from Mecca." According to his authorities," the cave is' four yards long, and its width varies from one to three yards" (p.94, note 4).


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or three miles north of Mecca. Thither he would retire for days at a time; and his faithful wife sometimes accompanied him74. The continued solitude, instead of stilling his anxiety, magnified into

74The traditionists say that Mahomet used to spend the month of Ramadhan yearly in the cave at Hira. Thus Hishami ;- "Mahomet was in the habit of visiting Hira for a month every year. Now that was a religious practice which the Coreish used to perform in the days of their heathenism. And so it was that Mahomet was wont to spend this month at Hira, and he used to feed all the poor that resorted to him. And when the period of his visitation at flirt was fulfilled, he would return and encompass the Kaaba seven times. And that was in the month of Ramzan." (pp. 60-61); so Tabari, pp. 86-90. Others add that Abd al Muttalib commenced the practice, saying "that it was the worship of God which that patriarch used to begin with the new moon of Ramadhan, and continue during the whole of the month." Sprenger, p.94, note 5. Tabari goes still further, -" It was the habit of those Coreishites who aspired to being thought very pious, to spend the month of Rajab at Mount Hira in seclusion and silence. This habit was more particularly observed by the Hashimites. Every family had a separate place on the Mount for this purpose, and some had buildings in which they resided during their seclusion" (As quoted by Dr. Sprenger from the Persian version of Tabari; but I do not find the passage in the original Arabic copy.)

The whole of these traditions are fairly open to doubt. It is highly improbable that the inhabitants of nieces had any such practice as is attributed to them. It is the tendency of the traditionists to foreshadow the customs and precepts of Islam as if some of them had existed prior to Mahomet, and constituted part of "the religion of Abraham" See Canon II H. It is very evident that the idea of a fast was first borrowed from the Jews, after Mahomet had emigrated to Medina. The early Moslems originally kept their fast like that of the Jews, on the 10th of Moharram. Afterwards when Mahomet receded from the Jews he established a fast of his own in the month of Ramadan. See Tabari, p.248; Cnf also p.87 of Geiger's" Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen."


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sterner and more impressive shapes the solemn realities which perplexed and agitated his soul. Close by was the grave of the aged Zeid who, after spending a life-time in the same enquiries, had now passed into the state of certainty ;-and might he himself not reach the same assurance without crossing the gate of death?

Spiritual anxiety and groping after light

All around was bleak and rugged. To the east and south, the vision from the cave of Hira is bounded by lofty mountain ranges, but to the north and west, there is an extensive prospect thus de- scribed by the traveller : "The country before us had a dreary aspect, not a single green spot being visible; barren, black, and grey hills, and white sandy valleys, were the only objects in sight71" There was harmony between these desert scenes of external nature, and the troubled chaotic elements of the spiritual world within. By degrees his impulsive and susceptible mind was wrought up to

The truth seems to be that Mahomet retired frequently (not periodically) to Mount Hira for several days at a time, staying so long as his provisions lasted. Then he would return home, and either remain there for a while, or furnish himself with a fresh supply, and retire again to the cave. Tabari, p.86.

His wife, anxious and surprised at this strange demeanour, may have sometimes accompanied him to watch his movements, and see that no evil befel him.

75Burkhardt's Travels, p.176; Cnf Sura xxxv. v.28. "Dost thou not see that . . . in the mountains there are strata white and red, of various hues, and others are of a deep black; and of men and beasts and cattle there are whose colours are various in like manner," &c.


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the highest pitch of excitement; and he would give vent to his agitation in wild and rhapsodical language, the counterpart of his inward struggles after truth.

Poetical fragments of this period

The following fragments, which have found their way into the Coran, may perhaps belong to this period.

Sura CIII.

By the declining day I swear!
Verily, man is in the way of ruin;
Excepting such as possess Faith,
And do the things which be right,
And stir up one another to truth and steadfastness.

And again:-

SURA C.

I swear by the rushing Horses that pant!
By those that strike fire with their hoofs flashing!
By those that scour the Enemy's land,
And darken it with dust,
And penetrate thereby the host!
Verily, man is to his Lord ungrateful;
And he is himself a witness thereof;
And verily he is keen in the love of this World's good.
Ah! wotteth he not, when that which is in the Graves shall
be scattered abroad,
And that which is in men's hearts shall be brought forth;
Verily, their Lord shall in that day be informed as to them.

And perhaps:-

Sura XCIX.

When the Earth shall tremble with her quaking;
And the Earth shall cast forth her burthens;
And man shall say "What aileth her?"
In that day shall she unfold her tidings,
Because the Lord shall have inspired Her.
In that day shall Mankind advance in ranks, that they may behold their works;


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And whoever shall have wrought good of the weight of a Grain shall behold it;
And whoever shall have wrought evil of the weight of a Grain shall behold it.

Prayer for guidance

Nor was he wanting in prayer for guidance to the great Being who, he felt, alone could give it. The following petitions, though probably adapted subsequently to public worship, contain perhaps the germ of his daily prayer at this early period.

Sura I.

Praise be to God, the Lord of Creation,
The All-merciful, the All-compassionate I
Ruler of the day of Reckoning I
Thee we worship, and Thee we invoke for help.
Lead us in the straight path;-
The path of those upon whom Thou hut been gracious,
Not of those that are the objects of Wrath, or that are in Error72.

How such aspirations developed themselves into the belief that the subject of them, was inspired from heaven, is a dark and painful theme, which I purpose to consider in the following chapter.

76Of the four Suras above quoted, which may be classed as the or Mahomet the clii and c are generally placed by the Mahometan traditionists early, i.e., about the 10th or 12th in the general order of the Suras of the Coran. But the xcix. is placed very late; it is reckoned about 90th, and generally represented to be a Medina Sura, though some are critical enough to dispute this. The reader will hence perceive how entirely dependent we are on internal evidence in fixing the chronological order or the Coran.

Sura i. is said to have been more than once revealed, which (if the expression has any definite meaning at all) may signify that, although one of the earliest pieces, it was afterwards recast to suit the requirements of public worship. vol. II.


The Life of Mahomet, Volume II [Table of Contents]

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