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The relation of Islam to Christianity.

Up to A.H. 3, little allusion to Christianity1

At the close of the fifth chapter, it has been stated that up to about the tenth year of the Mission of Mahomet there is hardly any mention in the Coran of Christianity or the Christian Scriptures.

Subject of the Chapter; relation of Islam to Christianity

In the Suras of the period reviewed in the preceding chapter, that is in the three last years of the Prophet's residence at Mecca, we begin to find detailed notices on the subject. Indeed, the approach then made by Mahomet to our holy Faith never afterwards became closer; nor did his views of it materially alter. It will not, therefore, be inappropriate here to review the entire relation of Islam to Christianity; and, in so doing, I shall not confine the enquiry to the Meccan period, but extend it to the whole of the Prophet's life.

Notices of Christianity few and Scattered

Though the Christians and their Prophet are Notices or frequently referred to in the Coran by name,

1In this chapter I have availed myself largely of the learned and interesting work by Gerock ; Vernsuch einer Darstellung der Christologie des Koran. Hamburg and Gotha, 1839.

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Earliest and fullest account of the Gospel History

extended notices of the narrative or doctrines of the Gospel are few, and scattered ;-so few, indeed, that it will be possible (and I doubt not it will prove interesting,) to enumerate them all.

One other detailed account or Christ's birth

The following, which is the fullest and the earliest, account of the Gospel history, was produced by Mahomet shortly after his journey to Tayif. From its subject the Sura is entitled MARY (Maryam), and opens thus;---

A Commemoration of the mercy of the Lord unto his servant ZACHARIAS ;
When he called upon his Lord with a secret invocation.
He said ;-Oh Lord! as for me, my bones are decrepit, and
my head white with hoar hair.
And I have never prayed unto Thee, Oh Lord! unheard,
Verily, I fear my kinsmen after me; and my Wife is barren.
Wherefore grant unto me from thyself a successor2;

2 - Successor. in the parallel passage in Sara iii. 38, the expression used is or offspring. Gerock would construe the passage as the prayer of Zacharias for an heir generally; and not from his own body, of which from the opening of his prayer it seems he had no expectation. He goes so far as to say that the prayer alludes probably to the marriage of Mary "his ward," or "foster-daughter," (Pflegetochter), whose child Gerock assumes (but seemingly on very insufficient grounds) would be the heir of Zacharias. Christologie, p. 20. 1 very much doubt this explanation, and would take the common sense of "offspring to Zacharias himself." It is true that this involves an apparent contradiction; but the Coran is not remarkable for its consistency, and the Mussulman commentators themselves do not stand on tins difficulty. Abd al Cadir, the Urdu translator of the Coran, holds that Zacharias prayed "in secret," because, at his advanced age, to have prayed openly for offspring would have subjected him to ridicule!

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Who shall be my heir, and an heir. of the Family of Jacob; and make him, Oh Lord! well pleasing.
Oh ZACHARIAS I WE bring thee good tidings or a son, whose name shall be JOHN;
We have not made any to be called thereby before3.
He said ;-Oh Lord I whence shall there be a son unto me, since my Wife is barren, and I truly have reached the imbecility of old age?
He said ; So shall it be. Thus smith thy Lord,--it is easy unto me; for verily I created thee heretofore when thou wast nothing.
He said ;-Lord I make unto me a sign. He said ;- This is thy sign; thou shalt not speak unto any for three nights4, though sound in health.
And he went forth unto his people from the chamber, and he motioned unto them that they should praise God in the morning and evening.
Oh John I Take the Book5 with power; and We gave him Wisdom, as a child,
And compassion from Us, and Purity; and he was virtuous, and dutiful unto his parents; he was not overbearing nor rebellious.
Peace be on him the day he was born, and the day he shall die, and the day he shall be raised to life!
And make mention, in the Book6, of MARY, when she withdrew from her people into an eastern place;
And took a curtain withal, to hide herself from them.
And We sent unto her Our SPIRIT, and he appeared unto her a perfect man.
She said ;-I seek refuge in the Merciful from thee, if thou fearest God!

3Evidently based on Luke i. 61.

4Compare Sura iii. 41. In the Gospel, Luke i. 20, 64, the dumbness continues until after the birth of John.

5That is the Book of the Old testament. The verse is supposed to be spoken by God himself.

6i.e. iii the Coran.

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He said; ---Nay, verily, but I am a messenger of thy Lord, that I may give unto thee a virtuous son7.
She said ;- How shall there be to me a son, and a man hath not touched me, and I am not unchaste.
He said ;-So shall it be. Thus saith thy Lord ;-- It is easy with Me; and We shall make him a sign unto mankind, and a mercy from us, for it is a thing decreed.

7Gerock (p.37), with much special pleading, endeavours to prove Mahomet's doctrine to have been that Gabriel was the father or Jesus by ordinary generation. The only expression which gives the shadow of a colour to this idea is the one in the text, where Gabriel declares himself sent, - "that I may give give thee a virtuous Son. But from the parallel passage (Sura iii. 45) it clearly appears that no stress can be laid upon these words. The following is the account there given: "When the Angels said, Oh MARY! Verily God giveth thee good tidings of the WORD from him, JESUS, the Messiah, the Son of Mary &C. She said: Whence shall there be a son unto me, and no man hath touched me? He said,-Thus doth God create that which he pleaseth; when He hath decreed a thing, He only saith unto it, BE, and it shall be," &c.

Besides, in both passages, after the annunciation by Gabriel, the question of Mary as to how this should be, seeing that "she knew not a 'man" (Luke i. 34), and the reply of Gabriel that it would be by the Almighty power of God, are conclusive against any such meaning as that started by Gerock; and show that Mahomet simply adopted the Gospel story as it was narrated to him, even to verbal coincidence.

It is farther clear from the phrases repeatedly a1nplied in the Coran to Mary, as "she whose virginity we preserved, and into whom WE breathed of Our Spirit," that Mahomet avowed the immaculate and supernatural conception of Jesus. Sura xxi. 91; and lxvi. 13; the former revealed at Mecca, the latter at Medina.

The expression which it is not necessary to translate literally, will satisfy the Arabic scholar, that Gerock's theory is utterly groundless.

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And she conceived him, and withdrew with him (in the womb) unto a distant place.
And the pains of labour came upon her by the trunk of a palm tree;
She said,--Would that I had died before this, and been for- gotten, out of mind8!
And there cried one from below her ;--Grieve not thou! verily thy Lord hath provided beneath thee a fountain:
And shake unto thee the root of the Palm tree; it will drop upon thee ripe dates, ready plucked.
Wherefore eat and drink, and be comforted; and it thou seest any man,
Say,--Verily I have vowed unto the Merciful a fast, and I will not speak to any man this day.
And she came with the child unto her people, carrying him; they said,--Oh Mary! Verily thou hut done a strange thing:
Oh Sister of Aaron! 9 thy father was not an evil man, nor was thy mother unchaste.

8Gerock (p.37), as it appears to me quite gratuitously, turns these words of natural anguish into a proof of his doctrine as to the paternity of Jesus.

9In Sura iii. 33, she is likewise called the daughter of IMRAN: and it is therefore concluded by some that Mahomet confounded Mary (Maryam) with the sister of Moses. The confusion of names is the more suspicious, as it is not favoured by Christian authority of any description,-the traditional names of Mary's parents being Joachim and Anna.

Gerock combats this idea at some length (p.24), showing that Imna is never named in the Coran as the father of Moses, nor Mary (Maryam) as his sister, and that Mahomet is seen elsewhere to be well aware of the interval between Jesus and Moses The latter fact cannot, of course, be doubted. Mahomet could never have imagined that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the sister of Moses and Aaron. But it is still extremely probable that the confusion of this mis-nomenclature originated in the notions of VOL.II.

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And she pointed to the child. They said; How shall we speak with him that is an infant in the cradle?10
He (the child) said;--Verily I am the servant of God; he hath given me the Book, and made me a Prophet;
And made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath commanded me to observe Prayer and Almsgiving while I remain alive;
And made me dutiftil to my mother, and not overbearing nor wretched:-
Peace be on me the day I was born,and the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised alive!
This is JESUS, the Word of truth11, concerning whom they are in doubt.
It is not for God to take unto Him a Son:--Glory be to Him!
When He hath decreed a matter, He only saith unto it, BE, and it shall be12.

One other detailed

There is but one other detailed account of the

Jewish informants, amongst whom the only notorious Mary (Maryam) was the daughter of Imran, and sister of Moses; and they would ordinarily girl, the name of Maryam those accompaniments; that is, they would speak of "Mary the daughter of Imran." Mahomet adopted the phraseology (for his informants were mainly, if not solely, Jews,) probably through inadvertence and without perceiving the anachronism it involved.

10The tradition that Jesus spoke in his cradle is referred to in the Gospel of the lnfancy, chap. I. "Invenimus in libro Josephi Pontificis, qui vixit tempore Christi, Jesum locutum esse, et quidem cum in cunis jaceret, dixisseque matri suae Mariae: Ego, quem peperisti, sum Jesus filius Dei, verbum, quem admodum annunciavit tibi angelus Gabriel, misitque me pater meus ad salutem mundi." See Gerock, p.47.

11"The Word of Truth concerning whom;" or, "A true saying, concerning which, &C. The original, -- is susceptible of both constructions.

12Sura xix. vy. 1-33.

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account of Christ's bither

birth of Jesus in the Coran;13 and that was delivered a few years before the death of Mahomet, on the occasion of an embassy to Medina from the Christian tribe of Najran, the singular particulars of which will be allude to below.

Statements regarding the life of Christ

Of the Life of Christ, the statements are accountably meagre, and mingled with fable. It is remarkable that the passages in which they occur belong solely to the prophet's later years at Medina,

The object of the Mission of Jesus to the Jews was to confirm their Scriptures, to modify and lighten some of the burdens of their Law, and to recall them to the true service of God14. His miracles are thus described:---

13Sura iii 35-54. This passage contains in much detail the birth of Mary, and Gerock has traced in it some approximations to the Apocryphal Gospels.

1. Mary's parents devoted her while in the womb to the Divine service, Sura iii. 35 ;-- compared with Evang. de Nativ. Mariae: -" Voverunt tamen (ejus parentes) si forte Deus donaret eis sobolem, eam se Domini servitio mancipaturos." 2. God supplied her supernaturally with daily food; Cnf Protev. Jacob, ch. 8,-- . So, Hist. Nativ. Mar. et infant. Salv". ;quotidie era, quam do mann angeli accipiebat, &L 8. The relatives of Mary cast arrows (lots) for her charge, Sum lii. 44; compared with Eu. Natiu. Mar. cap. 68; Auger. Jacob. cap. 8-9. Gerock, p.80.

I have rejected below the notion that Mahomet had access to the Apocryphal Gospels. But the coincidences here noticed point to something common between those Gospels and the source whence Mahomet derived his information. The source was, I believe, the common tradition of southern Syria; and the Apocryphal Gospels probably embodied mud: or the same tradition.

14Sura iii. 49.

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On a certain day shall God assemble His messengers, and say; --What reply was made unto you? They shall say ;--We know not, verily Thou art the Knower of secrets.

Then shall God say ;--Oh JESUS! Son of Mary! call to mind My grace upon thee and upon thy MOTHER, when I strengthened thee with the HOLY SPIRIT, that thou shouldest speak with men in the cradle, and in mature life ;-and when I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom, and the Law, and the Gospel ;-and when thou formest of clay like unto the figure of a Bird by my permission, and thou blewest thereupon and it became a Bird by my permission15 ;-and thou didst heal the Blind and the Leper by my permission ;--and when thou didst raise the Dead by my permission;- and when I held back the Children of Israel from thee at the time thou showedst unto them evident signs, and the Unbelievers among them said,--Verily this is nought but manifest sorcery.

And remember when I spake by inspiration to the Apostles,16 saying,-Believe on Me, and on My Apostle. They said,--We believe; bear thou witness that we are Moslems17.

When the Apostles said,-Oh JESUS, Son of MARY! is thy Lord able to cause a Table to descend upon us from I heaven ? He said,--Fear God; if ye be faithful. They said,- We desire that we may eat therefrom, and that our hearts be set at ease, and that we may know that thou verily hast spoken unto us the truth, and that we may be witnesses thereof. Then spake Jesus, Son of MARY,--Oh God, our Lord! send down unto us a Table from heaven, that it may be unto us a Feast day18, unto the first of us and unto the last of us, and a sign from Thee; and nourish us, for Thou art the best of Nourishers. And God said,--Verily

15These miracles are again recapitulated in Sura iii. 43, with this addition; "And I will tell unto you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses," i.e. as a proof of his knowledge of the invisible.

16 used only of the Apostles of Jesus.

17i.e. those who have surrendered themselves unto God.

18 An Eed, or religious festival recurring periodically.

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I will send it down unto you; and whoever after that shall disbelieve amongst you; surely I will torment him with a torment wherewith I shall not torment any other creature.

And when God shall say, Oh Jesus, Son of MARY I didst Thou speak Unto mankind saying,Take me and my mother for two Gods besides the Lord? He shall say, - Glory be to Thee! it is not for me to say that which I know to be not the truth. If I had said that, verily Thou wouldest have known it. Thou knowest that which is in me, but I know not that which is in Thee; verily, Thou art the Knower of secrets. I spake not unto them aught but what Thou commandest me, saying - Worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness unto them whilst I continued amongst them; and, since Thou hast taken me away, Thou hast Thyself been their keeper, and Thou art a Witness over all things. If Thou punish them, verily they are Thy servants, and if Thou have mercy upon them, verily Thou art the GLORIOUS, the WISE!

God will answer,- This is a day on which their truthfulness shall profit the truthful. They shall have Gardens with rivulets flowing through them, and remain therein for ever. God is well- pleased with them, and they well-pleased with him. That shall be a great Felicity19!

Allusion to the Lord's Supper

This passage is remarkable as affording in the supernatural table that descended from heaven, a possible allusion, - the only One ,traceable in the Coran, to the Lord's Supper. The tale is probably founded on some misapprehended tradition regarding "the Table of the Lord."20

19Sura v.118 to end.

20The prolific fancy of the Traditionists and Commentators has created a host of miraculous accompaniments to this table ;Fruit from the trees of Paradise; Bread; Meats; and Fish, which, though broiled, were still alive, and for the convenience of the guests threw off their scales and bones!

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Jesus not crucified, but raised to Heaven

To complete the miserably deficient and garbled outline, it remains only to be added that Jesus escaped the machinations of the Jews, and was taken up alive to heaven. In a passage aimed at his Jewish enemies of Medina, Mahomet thus upbraids their rebellious forefathers: -

And for their Unbelief; and for their having spoken against Mary a grevious calumny; and for their saying,-- Verily we have killed the MESSIAH, Jesus, son of MARY, the Apostle of God. And they killed him not, neither did they crucify him, but he was simulated (in the person of another) unto them. And verily they that are at variance about him, are in doubt concerning him. They have no knowledge regarding him, but follow only a conjecture. And they slew him not, certainly. But God raised him up unto Himself; and God is the GLORIOUS the Wise! And there is none of the People of the Book but shall believe in him before his death, and in the day of Judgment he will be a Witness against them21.

The Meccans object that Jesus was worshiped and why not their Deities also?

In addressing the idolatrous Meccans, Mahomet appealed to the Ministry and Revelations of Jesus, and his rejection by his people, as he was wont to appeal to the history of other Prophets, for an analogy to his own case, and in support of his Mission. His adversaries saw their opportunity and replied that, if

The poor, the lame, and the wretched, were invited to the feast, which lasted forty days. The commentators probably confounded the Lord's Supper with the feeding by Jesus of the multitudes.

21Sura iv. 155-158. "The people of the Book," i.e. Jews as well as Christians. The purport of this last verse is obscure. It probably implies that the death of Christ will take place before the Judgment Day; and that the Jews will then be forced to believe in him.

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Jesus, who appeared in human form, was worshipped by his followers, there could be nothing absurd (as he would insist) in their praying through images; - the representatives of heavenly powers,---- to God. They exclaimed with delight that thus his whole argument fell to the ground;--- Mahomet replies that Jesus was but a Servant And when Jesus, Son of MARY, was proposed as an example, lo, thy people cried aloud,
And they said, What! Are our own Gods the best, or he?
They have proposed this unto thee only as a cause of dispute;
Yea, they are a contentious people!
Verily he was no other than a servant, to whom We Were gracious, and We made him an example unto the Children of Israel:
(And if We pleased We could make from amongst yourselves Angels to succeed you upon earth:)
And verily he shall be for a sign of the last hour. Wherefore doubt not thereof, and follow me; this the right way. And let not Satan obstruct you, for he is your manifest Enemy22.

He denies the divine Sonship Of Jesus; and the Trinity

This was in fact the only position which, at the present advanced period of his Mission, Mahomet could consistently fall back upon; and it was ever after carefully maintained. Some terms of veneration, in use among Christians, are indeed applied to Jesus, as "the WORD of God," and "His SPIRIT which he breathed into Mary23." But the Divine

22Sura xliii. 56-60.

23So Sura iv.169. "His Word,which he placed in Mary, and a Spirit from Him." John was to bear testimony to "the Word from God," Sara iii. 39. At the annunciation, the Virgin is thus addressed;--" Oh Mary I God giveth thee good tidings of The Word from Himseif;--the Messiah, Jesus," &c. Sura iii. 40. "We breathed into her of Our Spirit," lxvi. 13; xxi. 91.

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Sonship was stedfastly denied. The worship or Jesus by the Christians was placed in the same category as the supposed worship of Ezra by the Jews24; and, in one place, the doctrine of the Trinity is expressly reprobated. It is a Medina Sara;---

Ye People of the Book! Commit not extravagancies in your religion; and speak not of God aught but the truth. For verily the Messiah, JESUS, Son of MARY, is an apostle of God, and His Word which he placed in Mary, and a Spirit from Him. Wherefore believe in God, and in the Apostles; and say not, There are THREE. Refrain: it wilt be well for you. Verily the Lord is one God. Glory be to Him! far be it from Him, that there should be to him a Son. To Him belongeth whatsoever is in the Heavens and in the Earth; and He is a sufficient Patron. The Messiah disdaineth not to be a Servant of God: neither the Cherubim that draw nigh unto Him25.

Mahomet's Sources of Christian information imperfect and deceptive

It may well be doubted whether Mahomet ever understood the real doctrines of Christianity. The few passing observations regarding our Faith to be found in the Coran, commence at a period when his system was already, in great part, matured; and they seem founded upon information not only deficient but deceptive. The whole of his historical knowledge26 (for whatever he knew it was his

24Sura ix. 31.

25Sura iv. 160-170.

26The only trace of acquaintance with the period subsequent to the ascension, and the spread of Christianity, is the story of the three Apostles (one of whom is supposed to have been Simon Peter), who went to Antioch, and of one of their converts there who suffered martyrdom. Sura xxxvi 13-28.

The story of the seven Sleepers who slumbered 309 years and then arose to find an idolatrous world Christianized, can hardly

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practice to embody in his Revelation,) is contained in the few extracts already before the reader; and, whether regarded in its own meagre and apocryphal outlines, or compared with the ample details transcribed in the Coran of Jewish history both Scriptural and Traditional, shows that "is sources of Christian information were singularly barren and defective. The Sacrament of Baptism is not even alluded to; and, if there be an allusion to the Eucharist, we have seen it to be utterly disfigured and well nigh lost in fable. The great doctrine of Redemption through the death of Christ was apparently unknown (for if it had been known and rejected, it would no doubt have been combated in the Coran,) and His very Crucifixion denied.

Christianity has little real influence in Islam

We do not find a single ceremony or doctrine of Islam in the smallest degree moulded, or even tinged, in by the peculiar tenets of Christianity --While Judaism, on the contrary, has given its colour to the whole system, and lent to it the shape and type, if not the actual substance, of many ordinances.

Yet theoretically it stood equal if not superior to Judaism

But although Christianity is thus so remote from Islam as to have had practically no influence in the formation of its creed and ritual, yet, in the

be classed under this head, though it shows the interest Mahomet was beginning to take in Christians. It will be found, with abundance of childish romance and fiction, in Sura xviii.

Both Suras belong to the late Meccan period. VOL. II.

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theory of Mahomet's system, it occupies a place equal, if not superior, to that of Judaism. To understand this we must take a brief review of the development of the system itself

Growth of Mahomet's teaching in this respect traced

In his first breathings of pseudo-inspiration, the Prophet professed no distinct relation with any previous religion, excepting perhaps with the purer element in the national worship said to have been derived from Abraham, though grievously overlaid with idolatry and superstition. His Mission was simply to recall the Arabs to the service of the true God, and a belief in the day of Reckoning."

Coran at first held to be concurrent with and only auxiliary to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures

In process of time, he gained, through (as I believe) Jewish informants, some acquaintance with the existing Scriptures of the Jews and Christians, and the systems founded on them. The new Revelation was now announced as concurrent with the previous "Books." The Coran was described mainly as an attestation, in the Arabic tongue, and for the people of Mecca and its neighbourhood, of the preceding Scriptures. It was purely auxiliary in its object, and local in its action. From the attacks of the idolaters, Mahomet sheltered himself behind the character and authority of those Scriptures, admitted in some measure even by the Meccans. When his work was abused as a "Forgery" and an "antiquated Tale;" the most common and the most effective retort was;-" Nay, but it is a confirmation of the preceding Revelation, and a warring in simple

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Arabic to the people of this land." The number, and the solemnity of such asseverations secured the Confidence, or at least neutrality, of the Jews and Christians27.

It gradually acquires a superior and superseding character; as the latest revelation of God's will

But the system of Mahomet could not stop at this point. Was he not an Apostle, equally inspired with his predecessors? Was he not foretold, as the prophet that should arise, by Moses, in the Pentateuch, and in the Gospel by Jesus? if he was, in truth, the last of the Apostles, would not his moulding of the true faith remain permanent to the end of time? These conclusions were fast ripening in the mind of Mahomet; and their effect was to make the Coran rise superior in authority over both the Old and the New Testament.

Not that it was ever held to be superior in kind to either. All three are spoken of as "the Word of God," and the belief in them equally inculcated oil pain bf hell fire28. But the Coran was the

27See Suras xlvi. 8-12, 30; vi. 93-156; xxxvi. 6; xii. 11. There are many other similar passages.

28The New Testament is spoken of in the Coran under the sole title of Injil (Evangelium) Gospel: and it is described as given by God to Jesus. Hence Gerock would conclude that Mahomet did not intend the Gospel in common use among Christians, which was revealed after the ascension of Jesus; but some other Gospel (p.91).

The question, however, is not what might be deduced from a systematic and close construction of the expressions of a man grossly ignorant on the subject, but what was his fairly inferrible meaning. And in this view it is evident from the whole tenor

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latest revelation; and, in so far as it pleased the Almighty to modify his preceding commands, it was paramount.

Two stages. First; the Old Testament and the Gospel permitted to, and enjoined upon, the Jews and Christians respectively

In this latter phase again there are two stages. Mahomet did not at once substitute the Coran in supersession of the previous Scriptures. The Jew was still to follow the Law; he was to believe also in the New Testament and in the mission of Jesus. The Christian, too, was to hold fast by his Gospel. But both Jew and Christian were to admit, as co-ordinate with their own Prophets and Scriptures, the Apostleship of Mahomet and the authority of the Coran. The necessity, indeed, of conforming to their respective Revelations, is urged upon them in the strongest terms. The Jews of Medina are repeatedly summoned "to judge by the Book," that is by the Old Testament; and they are warned against the danger of accepting a part only of God's word, and rejecting a part. The following passages inculcate a similar duty on both Jews and Christians: -

of the Coran, that by "the Gospel" Mahomet meant the sacred Scriptures in common and universal use amongst the Christians of his day. His ignorance may have led him to suppose that those Scriptures were revealed to Jesus: or he may perhaps have intended only that the principles and doctrines of the Gospel were revealed by God to Jesus, and by Him taught to the Apostles who recorded them. However this may be, the clear fact is in no-wise affected, that Mahomet, by the term Gospel, referred to the received Canon of Scripture as then current among Christians.

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SAY, Oh ye people of the Book I ye do not stand upon any sure ground until ye set up both the Law29 and the Gospel, as well as that which bath been sent down unto you from your Lord30.

And how will they (the Jews of; Medina) make thee their judge, since they have already by them the Towrat, wherein is the command of God, and have not obeyed it! They will surely turn their backs after that; and they are not Believers.

Verily We have sent down the Old Testament, wherein are a Direction and a Light. The Prophets that submitted themselves to God judged thereby the Jews: and the Doctors and Priests did likewise, in accordance with that portion of the Book of God, which WE committed to their charge; and they were witnesses thereof. Wherefore fear not men, but fear Me; and sell not the Signs of God for a small price. AND WHOSOEVER DOTS NOT JUDGE BY THAT WHICH GOD HATH REVEALED, VERILY THEY ARE THE UNBELIEVERS31. And WE have written therein for them ;--Verily life for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, tooth for tooth; and for wounding retaliation: and he that remitteth the same as alms, it is an atonement for him. Ann SE wno JUDGETH NOT BY THAT WHICH GOD HATH REVEALED, THEY ARE THE TRANSGRESSORS32.

And WE caused Jesus, the Son of MARY, to follow in their footsteps, attesting the Scripture, viz., the Towrat which preceded him. And We gave him the Gospel wherein is Guidance and Light, attesting the Towrat which precedeth it, a Direction and an Admonition to the pious:--and that the people of the Gospel (Christians,) may judge according to that which God bath revealed therein. AND WHOSOEVER DOTH NOT JUDGE ACCORDING TO THAT WHICH GOD HATH REVEALED, THEY ARE THE WICKED ONES33.

29the Towrat. As used in the Coran, this word sometimes signifies the Pentateuch only, sometimes the entire Scriptures of the Old Testament held by the Jews According to the context of this and the following passages, the latter meaning is intended.

30i.e. the Coran. Sura v.68.




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And We have revealed to thee the Book34. in truth, attesting the Scripture which precedeth it, and a custodian (or witness) thereof. Wherefore judge between them in accordance with what God bath revealed, and follow not their vain desires away from that which hath been given unto thee.

To every one have We given a Law and a Way. And if God had pleased, He had made you all one People. But (He hath done otherwise) that He might try you in that which He hath severally given unto you. Wherefore press forward in good works. Unto God shall ye all return, and He will tell you that concerning which ye disagree.

Judge therefore between them according to that which God hath revealed, and follow not their desires, and beware of them lest they tempt thee aside from a part of that which God bath revealed unto thee35.

Thus the former revelations were to be believed in collectively as the Word of God by all the faithful of whatever sect; and the Old and New Testaments were further to be each directly used and implicitly observed by the Jews and Christians respectively as their guide and director, and by Mahomet himself in judging their internal disputes. In contested and doubtful points, the Coran was to be admitted by all mankind as a conclusive oracle.

The grand Catholic Faith; - the faith of Abraham

In conformity with this expansive system, we find that, at a period long anterior to the Hegira, Mahomet propounded in the Coran the doctrine that a grand Catholic faith pervaded all ages and revelations ;36 ---a faith which, in its purest form, had

34i.e. the Coran.

35Sura v. 50-57.

36See Sura xvi. 120-123. Connected with this Catholic faith is the doctrine that a prophet has been sent to every people. Sura xxviii. 60; xxii. 36, 57.

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been held by the patriarch Abraham. This primitive religion, varied at each dispensation by accidental rites, comprised, as its essential features, belief in the One true God, rejection of all idolatry or worship of Mediators as sharers in the power and glory of the Deity, and the implicit surrender of the will to God. Such surrender is termed "Islam;" and hence Abraham is called "the first of Moslems." To this original Islam it was now the mission of Mahomet to recall the whole of Mankind.

Perverted in the course of ages

Each successive Revelation had been abused by its votaries, who bad quickly turned aside from the pure elements forming the ground work of the dispensation. They had magnified or misinterpreted rites intended to he only ancillary and external. By perverting doctrines, they had turned the gift of Revelation into a curse. They had fallen into a thousand sects, "each rejoicing in its own opinions," and fencing itself round with intolerance and intense hatred.

Mahomet the final Restorer

Amidst the contending factions, truth might possibly be discovered by the earnest enquire; but it would be by difficult and uncertain steps. The Jew denounced the Christian, and the Christian the Jew. Some worshipped not only Jesus but his mother also; others held both to be mere creatures From this labyrinth of confusion and error it pleased the Almighty once again to deliver mankind. Mahomet was the Apostle of this grand and final

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Mission, and his judgment was to be heard unquestioned amid the clash of opposing authorities. Thus in a Meccan Sura;-

He hath ordained unto you the Faith which He commanded unto Noah; and which We have revealed unto thee, and which WE commanded unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus; saying, Set up the Faith and fall not into dissension.

And they fell not into dissension until after the knowledge (of Divine Revelation) had come unto them,36 out of enmity among themselves; and if the Word from thy Lord had not gone forth (respiting them) unto a fixed time, the matter had been decided between them. And verily they that have inherited the Book after them are in a perplexing doubt regarding the same.

Wherefore call them thereto (i.e. unto the Catholic Faith) and be stedfast as thou hast been commanded, and follow not their desires; and say,-I believe in all the Scriptures which God hath revealed; and I am commanded to do justice between you. God is our Lord and your Lord. To us will be reckoned our works, and to you your works37. There is no ground of difference38 between us and you39.

Salvation not confined to Islam

In this intermediate stage, Salvation was not confined to Islam, but would be obtained by every

36This is a favourite idea repeated frequently in the Coran, as in Sura ii.254. The commentators are inclined to explain it of Islam, viz., that Jews and Christians did not fall away till Mahomet came, when they denied the prophet they had been expecting. But the idea seems to point rather to the misuse or former Revelations which, instead of leading men to the true faith broke them up into opposing sects.

37That is,-" your good works will not be rain and rejected as those of the Idolators, but will be reckoned towards Salvation. equally with those of my own followers."

38"Ground of contention," "quarrel" "dispute."

39Sura xlii. 12-15.

Page 297 righteous man whatever his religion, provided he abjured idolatry.

Second stage The Coran tacitly, but entirely, supersedes previous revelation; which towards the close of his career, is hardly alluded to

In the last period of development, the Coran rides triumphant over both the Law and the Gospel, and casts them unheeded into the shade. This, however, arose not from any express declaration, but from the necessary progress of the system. The popular impression which would attributing to Mahomet either the formal cancelment of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, or any imputation against their perfect genuineness and authority, is entirely mistaken. No expressions regarding them ever escaped the lips of Mahomet, but those of the most implicit reverence and highest eulogy40.

It was the opposition of the Jews, and the cold suspicion of the Christians, as well as the martial supremacy of Islam over the Hejaz, that imperceptibly, but inevitably, led to the exclusive imposition of the authority of Mahomet and the Coran. The change which dispensed with previous Revelations was made in silence. In the concluding,

40See a treatise by the Author entitled, The Testimony borne by the Coran to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, in which every text having any reference whatever to those Scriptures, has been quoted. It is clearly proved by this collection, that the strongest and most unequivocal testimony is borne by the Coran to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as current in the time of Mahomet; that the evidence extends equally to their genuineness and authority; and that there is not a hint anywhere to be found of their cancelment or interpolation. VOL.II.

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as in the early days of his mission, Mahomet hardly ever refers to the former Scriptures. His scheme was complete, and rested now on other pillars. The steps by which he had ascended to his final elevation were left far behind and forgotten.

In its final development Islam rapidly diverges from the Bible

Islam, indeed, had in the later years of the prophet, been rapidly diverging from all sympathy with the Bible. An appeal to previous Revelation would now have proved embarrassing: and it seems probable that silence on the subject was in some degree intentional. whatever effect the doctrines of Christianity, if properly understood, might have had on the mind of Mahomet, when yet enquiring and moulding for itself a creed, it is evident that long before the final settlement of Islam at the last Pilgrimage to Mecca, his system had become hardened into a form of which it was impossible that any new influences could produce material alteration. Argument was not now tolerated. Mahomet was the Prophet of God. "is word was Law. Every opposing doctrine must vanish before the Divine command.

Hostile declarations against Jews and Christians

The exclusive and growingly intolerant position of Islam is sufficiently manifested by the ban issued against the Jews and Christians, as unfit for the sacred rites and holy precincts of the Meccan temple; and by the Divine command to war against them until, in confession of the superiority of Islam, they should consent to the payment of a tribute.

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Treaties with Christian tribes

It may be interesting to illustrate the practical treatment of Christianity by Mahomet after his acquisition of political power, by the treaties entered into with Christian tribes. The following passage from one of the early biographers relates to the important Christian settlement of Najran. The Prophet of the Lord wrote to the Bishop of the Bani Harith, and the Bishops of Najran, and their Priests, and all that followed them, and their Monks;-saying, that they should continue in (the possession and practice of) everything small and great, as it then stood, in their churches, their prayers, and their monasteries. The pledge of God and of His prophet was given that no Bishop should be removed from his bishoprick, nor any Monk from his monastery, nor any Priest from his priesthood; that their authority and rights should not be altered, nor any thing whatever which was customary amongst them; so long as they conducted themselves peaceably and uprightly. They shall not be burdened with oppression, neither shall they oppress."41

41Katib at Wakidi p.51 1/2. At p.56 1/2 there is another treaty with the Christians of Najran given in greater detail, and probably subsequent to the above. It is to the following effect: that Mahomet had commanded them to render tribute of all their fruits, yellow, white, and black (ripe' and unripe?), and captives; but that he had generously commuted this for 2000 suits of clothes of the value of an owekea (ounce of silver) each; 1000 to be given annually in the month of Rajab, and 1000 in the month of Safar. Whatever exceeded or fell short of the value of an owckea.

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Embassy from the Christians of Najran

The narrative of the embassy of this people to Medina is in itself curious, and has a double interest from being referred to in the Coran. It is, keeping close to the words of tradition, as follows42 ---- A deputation of fourteen chief men from Najran repaired to Mahomet. Among them was Ackil or

was to come into account; as likewise all armour, hones, camels and other goods taken from them by the Moslems. They were to entertain Mahomet's messengers (collectors) twenty days or less, but not to detain them beyond a month.

When there was war in Yemen they were to lend Mahomet thirty suits of armour, thirty horses, and thirty camels; and any that were lost in the war were to be made good by Mahomet's people.

On the part of Mahomet, the guarantee of the Prophet of the Lord was given for their lives, religion, lands, and property,----of the absent as well as of the present,-and for their churches and places of prayer. No Bishop to be removed from his bishoprick, nor any monk from his monastery; nor any minister, front his ministry . Everything, little and great, to remain as it then was. No claim of blood prior to Islam to be allowed. Claims of right to be decided justly. Whoever took interest was free from Mahomet's' guarantee.

Now for all that is written in this paper, there is the protection of God and his Prophet, for ever until the Lord send forth his command (i.e. until the day of judgment); if ye shall uprightly and conduct your affairs properly, ye shall not be burdened with injury." Abu Sofian, and five others, witnesses.

42The statement is given from the Katib at Wackidi. Hishami, p. 200, has surrounded his version of it with numerous puerile additions in favour of Islam ;-such as that their Bishops had with them books inherited from their predecessors and bearing the seal of each successive bishop, in which a notice of Mahomet was found; imaginary conversations between Mahomet and the Christian party to the discomfiture of the latter, &c.

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Abd al Masih, of the Bani Kinda, their chief; Abdal Harith their bishop; and his brother Kurz their guide. On reaching Medina, they entered the Mosque, and prayed turning towards the east; and they were clothed in fine raiment lined with silk. Then the prophet called them: but when they came, he turned away and would not speak with them. And Othman told them it was because of their dress. So they departed that day.

Mahomet challenges them to curse one the other

In the morning they came again, but this time Mahomet clothed in their monastic dress, and saluted Mahomet. He returned their salutation, and invited them to Islam, but they refused; and words and disputation increased between them. Then Mahomet recited to them passages from the Coran, and said:-"If ye deny that which I say unto you, Come let us curse each other." They went away to consider the matter. And on the morrow Abd al Masih, with two of the chief men, came to Mahomet and said;-" We have determined that we shall not curse with thee; wherefore command regarding us 'whatsoever thou wilt, we will give it; and we will enter into treaty with thee." So he made a treaty with them43; and they returned to their cities. But in the evening Ackil with a companion went back to Mahomet44

43The particulars of the treaty are similar to those in the previous note.

44Katib al Wackidi p. 60. The subsequent history or the Najran Christians is there traced. They continued in possession

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professing allegiance to Islam; so they were received and entertained in the house of Abu Ayub. The incident is thus alluded to in the Coran

The affair described in the Coran

Verily, the analogy of Jesus is, with God, like unto the analogy of Adam. He created him out of the dust; then' He said unto him BE, and he was. This is the truth from thy Lord: wherefore be not thou amongst the doubters.

And whosoever shall dispute with thee therein, after that the true knowledge hath come unto thee; say-Come let us call out (the names45) of our sons and your sons, of our wives and your wives,

of their lands and rights under the treaty, during the rest of Mahomet's life and the whole of Aba Bakr's Caliphate. Then they were accused of taking usury, and Omar expelled them from the land, and wrote as follows: -

"The despatch of OMAR, the Commander of the Faithful, to the people of Najran. Whoever of them emigrates is under the guarantee of God. No Moslem shall injure them ;-to fulfil that which Mahomet and Aba Bakr wrote unto them.

Now to whomsoever of the chiefs of Syria and Irac they may repair, let such chiefs allot them lands, and whatever they cultivate therefrom shall be theirs; it is an exchange for their own lands. None shall injure or maltreat them; Moslems shall assist them against oppressors. Their tribute is remitted for two years. They will not be troubled except for evil deeds."

Some of them alighted in Irac, and settled in Najrania, near to Cafa.

That the offence of usury is alleged in justification of this measure, appears to me to disprove the common tradition that a command was said to have been given by Mahomet on his dead:- bed for the Peninsula to be swept clear of all other religions but Islam.

45Sale has it - Let us call together. But if the text is rightly referred to the occasion of the Najran embassy, it can only mean to "call over and curse the names;" because the wives and sons of the embassy were not at hand to summon.

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of ourselves and yourselves; then let us curse one the other, and lay the curse of God upon those that lie!

Verily this is a true exposition. There is no God but the Lord, and verily God is mighty and wise. And if they turn back, verily God is acquainted with the evil doers.

SAY -Oh ye people of the Book! Come unto a just judgement between us and you, That we shall not worship aught but God, and that we shalt not associate any with Him, nor shall we take any of us the other for Lords besides God. And if they turn back, then bear witness, saying ;-Verily, we are the true believers46.

Proof of the earnestness of Mahomet

It was surely a strange, manner of settling the question which the Arabian Prophet here proposed, and we have no reason to be ashamed of the Christian embassy for declining it. Still we cannot but see in the passage the earnestness of Mahomet's belief, and his conviction that a spiritual illumination had been vouchsafed to him, bringing with it knowledge and certainty where to the Christian, as he conceived, all was speculation and conjecture.

Embassy of the Bani Taghlib Another Christian embassy was received from the Bani Taghlib. "It was formed of sixteen men, some moslems and some Christians. The latter wore crosses of gold. And the prophet made terms with the Christians, stipulating that they should themselves continue in the profession of their religion, but should not baptize their children in the Christian faith1."

46Sura iii 57-63.

47Katib al Wackidi, p. 61 1/2. The account of the embassy of the Bard Hanifa is more decidedly unfavourable to Christianity, but its details appear of doubtful authority. Moseilama, the false

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Christianity existed on sufferance

These narratives clearly show that the terms upon which, at the last, Mahomet permitted Christianity to exist were those of sufferance merely; Christianity, indeed, was less obnoxious to him than Judaism, because he did not experience from it such persevering and active hostility. The Clergy and Monks are in the Coran on this account spoken of in expressions of comparative praise.1 But, after all, his grand object was entirely to supercede Christianity as well as

prophet, was among the number, and there are some unlikely anticipations of his sacrilegious claims.

As the embassy were departing, "Mahomet gave them a vessel in which were the leavings of the water with which he had performed his lustrations; and he said,- When you reach your country, break down your Church, and sprinkle its site with this water, and make in its place a Mosque. And they did so, end the vessel remained with Al Ackas. And the Muedzzin called to prayers. And the Monk of the church heard him, and he exclaimed,- It is the word of truth and the call of truth! and he fled. And that was the last or the time (of Christianity), (p.62).

The story appears improbable, because nowhere else is Mahomet represented as exhibiting such antagonism to Christians and their Churches, when they submitted themselves to him.

48See Sura lvii. 27. "And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to succeed them, and We put into the hearts of those that followed him Compassion and Mercy; and the monastic state-they framed it for themselves (Ws did not command it unto them) simply out of a desire to please God," &C.

So Sura v. 77 "And thou wilt find the most inclined amongst them to the believers, to be those who profess Christianity ;-This because there are amongst them Clergy and Monks, and they are not proud; and when they hear that which hath been revealed unto the Prophet, thou shalt see their eyes flow with tears, because of what they recognise therein of the truth," &c.

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Judaism, and the professors of both were subjected equally to a humiliating tribute.


The stealthy progress by which' this end was. reached has now, I trust, been made clear. The prophet at the first confirmed the Scriptures without qualification or reserve. He next asserted for his own revelation a parallel authority, and by. degrees a superseding or dispensing power. And, finally, though he never imputed error to the Scripture itse1f or (while ceasing to appeal with his former frequency to its evidence) failed to speak of it with veneration, he rejected all the dogmas peculiar to Christianity, and demanded their rejection by his Christian followers, on the simple ground of his own inspiration. Assuming, perhaps, that the former Scriptures could not be at variance with the mind of God as now revealed to himself he cared not to verify his conclusions by a reference to "the Book". A latent consciousness of the weakness of his position probably rendered him unwilling honestly to face the difficulty. His course was guided here, as it was guided at so many other points, by an inexplicable combination of earnest conviction and uneasy questioning, if not of actual though unperceived self-deception. He was sure as to the object; and the means, he persuaded himself, could not be wrong. VOL II.

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Knowledge of Christianity, whence derived?

It may be useful, in conclusion, to enquire briefly from what probable sources Mahomet obtained his meagre and deceptive information of Christianity.

Mahomet misinformed of the teaching of the Church regarding the Crucifixion of Jesus

One of the most remarkable traits in the teaching of the Coran is, that Jesus was not crucified; but one resembling, and mistaken by the Jews, for Jesuis. This fact is alleged, as we have seen,48 not in contradiction to the Christians, but, in opposition to the Jews, who gloried in the assertion that Jesus had been put to death by their nation. Hence it would almost seem that Mahomet believed his teaching on this head to be accordant with that of the Christian Church; and that he really was ignorant of the grand, doctrine of the Christian faith, -Redemption through the death of Christ.

Connection of his teaching with Gnosticism

The singular correspondence between the allusions to the crucifixion in the Coran, and the wild speculations of the early heretics, has led to the conjecture that Mahomet acquired his notions of Christianity from a Gnostic teacher. But Gnosticism had disappeared from Egypt before the sixth century, and there is no reason for supposing that it had at any time gained a footing in Arabia. Besides, there is not the slightest affinity between the supernaturalism of the Gnostics and Docetae, and the sober rationalism of the Coran. According to the former, the Deity must be removed far from

48See the quotation from Sara iv. 155-158; above p.256.

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the gross contact of evil matter. The AEon Christ, which alighted upon Jesus at His baptism, must ascend to its native regions before the crucifixion. With Mahomet, on the contrary, Jesus Christ was a mere man, - wonderfully born indeed, -but still an ordinary man, a servant simply of the Almighty as others had been before him50. Yet, although there is no ground for believing that Gnostic doctrines were inculcated on Mahomet, it is possible that Some of the strange fancies of those heretics, preserved in Syrian tradition, may have come to the ears of his informants (the chief of whom, even on Christian topics, seem to have been Jews, unable probably to distinguish heretical fable from Christian

Denial of the Crucifixion-a compromise between Jews and Christians

doctrine,) and have been by them adopted as a likely and convenient mode of explaining away the facts which formed the great barrier between Jews and Christians. The Israelite would have less antipathy to the Catholic faith of Islam and the recognition of the mission of Jesus, if allowed to believe that Christians as well as Jews, had been in error; that his people had not, in fact, put Jesus, the promised Messiah, to a shameful death; but that, like Enoch and Elijah, he had been received up into heaven. "Christ crucified" was still, as in the days of Paul,

50The subject has been well discussed by Gerock, who show. the utter incongruity of Islam with Gnosticism, Christologie, p.11. Der postive besonnene character des Islam ist den Gnostischen speckulationen ganzlich zuwider," (p.12).

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"the stumbling' block of the Jews." But here the stumbling block could be at once removed: and with out any offence to his national pride, the Jew might confess his belief in this emasculated Christianity. It was a compromise that would readily and strongly approve itself to a Jewish mind already unsettled by the prophetic claims of Mahomet.

Apocryphal Gospels not accessible to Mahomet

By others it has been attempted to trace the Christian stories of the Coran to certain apocryphal Gospels supposed to have been within the reach of Mahomet. But, though some few of the details coincide with these spurious writings, the great body of the facts, in no wise correspond51. Whereas, had there been a ready access to such books, we cannot doubt that Mahomet would, as in the case of Jewish history and legend, have borrowed largely from them.

Opinion of Gerock that his knowledge was derived from Christian, tradition in Arabia, unsatisfactory .

Gerock, after weighing every consideration, concludes that Mahomet acquired his knowledge from no written source, but from Christian tradition current among the people of Arabia : -Am gerathensten mochte es daher wohl seyn, die Berichte

51See Gerock, p. 8. The "Gospel of Barnabas" is of course excepted, because it is the modern work of a Christian Apostate. to Islam. "Aber es ist gewiss, dass diess Evangelium das Werk eines Betrugers ist, der erst lange nach Mohammed, vielleicht in Italien selbst, lebte, und sich bemuhte, den Erzahlungen des Koran und der Mohammedaniechen Schrifsteller durch tine angeblich Christliche Unterlage mehr Ansehen und Glaubwurdigkeit, zu verschaffen." Ibid. p. 9.

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des Coran liber den stifler der Christlichen Religion aus der Tradition zu erklaren. Es scheint namlich, das Mohammed seine Berichte uber Christus und einige andere, unbedeutende Erzahlungen aus der Christengeschichte weder aus schriftlichen quellen, als kanonischen oder apokryphischen evangelien, noch aus bestimmten mundlichen mittheilungen, sondern vornemlich aus einer in seinem Vaterlands umbergetragenen Volkstradition schopfte52.

As the sole source of information the indigenous tradition of Arabia appears to me wholly insufficient to account for the knowledge of Mahomet upon the subject. "There is not the slightest ground for believing that either at Mecca or Medina there existed elements of Christian tradition from which could have been framed a narrative agreeing, as that of the Coran does in many points, and even in several of its expressions, with the Gospels genuine and apocryphal, while in others it follows or outstrips the popular legend.

Syrian tradition the likeliest source of Mahomet's knowledge derived chiefly through a Jewish, partly through a Christian, channel

But Tradition, quite sufficient for this end, survived in the southern confines of Syria, and no doubt reached Mahomet through both a Jewish and a Christian medium. The general outline of the Christian story in the Coran, having a few salient points in accordance with the Gospel and the rest filled up with wild marvels, is just such as

52Christologie, p.13.

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we might expect an enquiring Jew to learn from the traditions amongst the lower classes in Judea. Something might be learned too from the Christian slaves of Mecca; but they had generally been carried off from their homes in boyhood, and would remember little more than a few Scripture stories, with perhaps some fragments of the creed. Either the Jew or the Christian may also have heard the opening of the Gospel of Luke, and communicated to Mahomet the outline of the births of John and Jesus, which he transferred to the Coran. It is also possible that some one may have repeated to Mahomet from memory, or read to him from a manuscript, the verses of the Gospel containing these details ;-but this is mere conjecture53.

Supported by other considerations

Mahomet's confused notions of the blessed Trinity and of the Holy Ghost, seen' most naturally to have been received through a Jewish informant, himself imperfectly acquainted with the subject.

The Trinity of the Coran; and the Virgins Mary

It is not very apparent, from the few indistinct notices in the Coran, what Mahomet believed the Christian doctrine of the Trinity io be. In a passage above quoted, Christians are reprobated for "taking Jesus and his Mother for two Gods besides

53It is doubtful whether any Arabic translation of the Scriptures, or any part of them, was ever within Mahomet's reach, not-withstanding the traditions regarding Waraca. See chapter II. p.51 if there was each a translation it must have been most imperfect and fragmentary.

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the Lord54." It is hence concluded that the Trinity of the Coran was composed of the Father, Mary, and Jesus. Such may have been the case, but it is not certain. Zealous Protestants sometimes use language resembling that verse, without actually imputing to their adversaries any error in their views of the Trinity. The reverence and service of Mary had long been carried to the pitch nearly of Divine worship, and the "orthodox" party had hotly persecuted those who would not accord to her the title of the "Mother of God55." Mahomet might possibly censure the Christians for this as "taking Jesus and his mother for two Gods," without adverting to the Trinity.

The Holy Ghost unknown to Mahomet as a person in the Trinity

On the other hand, the assertion that Mahomet believed Mary to be held by the Christians as Divine, is supported by his apparent ignorance of the Holy Ghost as a person in the Trinity. The only passage in which the Trinity is specifically mentioned,56 makes no allusion to the divinity of the Spirit; nor are the expressions "the Spirit"; and "the Holy Spirit," though occurring in numerous texts throughout the Coran, ever used as if in the

54Sura v.125.

55Worship had been paid even to images of the Virgin and of Jesus from the forth century. In the sixth century Gregory vainly endeavoured to prohibit the worship, while he encouraged the use of such images. See Waddington'a History of the Church, vol.1. p.295.

56Sura iv. 169.

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erroneous system of Christianity they signified a divine person. Those terms, as has been already shown,57 commonly meant Gabriel, the messenger of God's revelations to Mahomet. It is probable that a confusion of Gabriel with the Holy Spirit may have arisen, in the prophet's mind, from the former having been the medium or the Annunciation, while Christians at the same time held that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost58. The phrase is also repeatedly used in a more general sense as signifying the Spirit of Inspiration60. It was the divine "Spirit" breathed into the clay, which gave life to Adam; and Jesus, who like Adam61, had no earthly father, is also "a Spirit from God" breathed into Mary62. When it is said that God "strengthened Jesus with the Holy Spirit," we may perhaps trace the use of current Christian speech, not inconsistent with Jewish ideas63.

57See chapter iv. p. 138.

58Luke i. 36.

59Sura xvi2; xl 16; xlii.51.

60Sura xv. 29.

61Sura xxi.91; lxvi.13; iv. 169.

62Sura ii. 87-254; v.149; lviii.22.

63Compare Psalm li 12;" Uphold me with thy free Spirit." Gerock, though not alluding to the same expression, comes to a similar conclusion: Das der heilige Geist der Christen dem Mohammed hier dunkel vorsich webte, 1st einlenchtend, besonders wenn wir bedenken, wie derselbe in dem Besuche bei Maria mit Gabriel in eine Person verschmilzt." (p. 79).

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Jewish and Christian prophecies and expectations

The assurance with which Mahomet appeals to Jews and Christians as both possessing in their Scriptures the promise of a prophet to come, whom, if they only put aside their prejudices, they would at once recognize in Mahomet, as they recognized their own sons, is very singular, and must have been supported by ignorant or designing men of both religions. It would seem that Mahomet seized upon two kinds of expectation of the most different, and indeed incompatible, character; and adroitly combined them into a cumulative proof of his own Mission. The Jewish anticipation of a Messiah was fused by Mahomet along with the perfectly distinct and even discordant anticipation by the Christians of the second Advent of Christ, into one irrefragable argument of a coming Prophet, expected both by Jews and Christians, and foretold in all the Scriptures.

Promises of the Paraclete and of the Messiah perverted

That the promise of the Paraclete was capable of perversion, we see in the heresy of Montanus, which made much progress at the close of the second Century. It would seem that a garbled version of the same promise was communicated to Mahomet, and thus employed by him:-

And call to mind when Jesus, son of MARY; said ; - Oh Children of Israel! Verily, I am an Apostle of God unto you, attesting the Towrat revealed before me, and giving good tidings of a prophet that shall come after me, whose name is AHMAD64.

64Sura lxi. 6. This is another form of the root Muhammed, signifying like it, "the Praised." See John xvi. 7, where VOL.II.

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The prophecy of Moses to the Israelites, "God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me;65 may plausibly have been adduced by a perverted Jew in favour of the Arabian Prophet. And other predictions referring to the Messiah were, no doubt, forced into a similar service.

Mahomet the Prophet looked for by both Jews and Christians

That he was the Prophet promised to both Jews and Christians, lay at the root of the Catholic system so strongly inculcated by Mahomet in the middle stage of his course. He persuaded himself that it was so: and the assumption, once admitted, retained possession of his mind.

The Meccans taunt him with being prompted by others

From this brief review we may conclude that, while some information regarding Christianity may have been drawn from ignorant Christian slaves or Christian Arabs, Mahomet gained his chief knowledge of Christianity through tine same Jewish medium, by which, at an earlier period, the more copious details of Jewish history reached him. His Meccan adversaries did not conceal their strong suspicion that tine prompting from which the Scriptural or legendary tales proceeded, was not solely that of a supernatural inspiration. They openly imputed the aid of strangers;---

64may in some imperfect or garbled translation have been rendered by

64Deut. xviii. 15.

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From whence shall there be an Admonition for them; for; verily, there hath come unto them an evident Apostle;

Then they turn from him and say, - One taught by others, a Madman65!

And the unbelievers say; Verily, this is a Fraud which he hath fabricated; and other people have assisted him therin. But they say that which is unjust and false.

They say; They are Fables of the Ancients which he hath had written down; which are dictated unto him Morning and Evening.

Say - He hath revealed it who knoweth that which is hidden in Heaven and in Earth. He is forgiving and merciful66.

And Verily Wit know that they say,- surely a certain man teacheth him. The tongue of him whom they hint at is foreign, but this is in the tongue of simple Arabic67.

Promptings of ignorant Jews transformed into the divine Coran

Whatever the rough material, its passage through the alembic of "simple Arabic" converted it at once into a gem of unearthly water. The recitations of a credulous and' ill - informed Jew, re-appeared as the inspirations of the Almighty, dictated by the noblest of his heavenly messengers.

65Sura xliv. 14.

64Abdool Cadir translates in Oordoo, "which are written out beside him morning and evening;" and thinks it necessary to add the following explanatory note: -"At first the times of prayer were appointed for the morning and evening. The Moslems used at those times to gather about the prophet. Whatever new passages of the Coran had descended they used to write down with the object of remembering them. The unbelievers thus misrepresent them." What a strange and gratuitous misinterpretation!

66Sura xxv. 5-6.

67Sura xvi. 10.

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The wild legend and the garbled Scripture story of yesterday, come forth to-morrow as a portion of the divine and eternal Coran.

Mahomet sincere in this belief

And, however strange it may appear, the heavenly origin of his revelations, obtained though they were from such fallible and imperfect sources, appears to have been believed by Mahomet himself. It would be against the analogy of his entire life, to suppose a continuing sense of fraud,---- a consciousness that the whole was a fabrication of his own mind, an imposition upon his followers, an impious assumption of the name of the Almighty. Occasional doubts and misgivings, especially when he first submitted to Jewish prompting, there may have been; but a process similar to that by which he first assured himself of his own inspiration, would quickly put them to flight.

But his ignorance became culpable when voluntary

The absence of spiritual light and of opportunities for obtaining it which excused this marvellous self- deception in the early prophetical life of Mahomet, cannot bd pleaded for his later years. Ignorance was no longer then involuntary. The means of reaching a truer knowledge lay plentifully within his reach. But they were not heeded; or rather they were deliberately rejected, because a position had been already taken up from which there could be no receding without discredit or inconsistency. The living inspiration of God vouchsafed to himself was surely better and more safe than the recorded

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Revelations of former prophets; it was at any rate incomparably more authoritative than the uncertain doctrines deduced front them by their erring adherents. Thus did ignorance become wilful. Light was at hand; but Mahomet preferred darkness. He chose to walk "in the glimmerings of his own fire, and in the sparks which he had kindled"

If it please God to give the Author time and opportunity for pursuing the subject, frequent, and often melancholy, illustration will be afforded by the career of the Prophet at Medina of that unconscious self deception which can alone explain the mysterious foundation of a Faith strong but often descending to subterfuge, never wavering yet always inconsistent.

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IT is hardly necessary hero to repeat that any attempt to reduce the Suras to a chronological order, must, to a great extent, be conjectural and imperfect. The statements of tradition on the subject are meagre and deceptive. The chronological lists given by Mahometan writers are based upon those statements and cannot be trusted.

The following classification is the result of a careful and repeated perusal; and is grounded upon a minute examination of the style and contents of the several Suras preceding the Hegira. It can of course be regarded at the best as only an approximation to the truth even as regards them. Of the twenty-one Medina Suras, the Author has not yet had leisure to enquire carefully into the sequence.

To show the gradual lengthening of the Suras, a column is added giving the number of pages and lines of each, according to Flügel's quarto edition. The page contains twenty-two lines.

Chronological List of Suras

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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

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