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Religious Institutions, and Miscellaneous Events during the First and Second Years of Hegira. A.D. 623.

The five daily prayers.

THE observance of prayer at five stated times in the day, though these times are nowhere enumerated in the Coran, was probably practised by Mahomet and his followers before they left Mecca. At all events, it was now an essential part, and the most noticeable perhaps and characteristic feature, of Islam. These services were ordinarily performed by Mahomet and some others in the Mosque, but might optionally be performed anywhere. The prayers were invariably led by Mahomet himself when present; in his absence, by the chief person in the assembly, or by any one else charged by the Prophet with the duty1.

1See vol.ii. 267; and Sura, xx. v.129, there quoted. The only other passages which refer specifically to the times of prayer is Sura xvii. 79, which describes only three periods, viz., daybreak, midday, and nightfall: it is a late Meccan Sura. The traditional story is that the command for observing five prayers, with tho particulars of the ritual, was given to Mahomet in his journey to Heaven. See vol. ii. 219. So with the command for lustration. But there is always a tendency to ante-date the introduction of the observance of Islam.

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Lustration preliminary to prayer

At what period lustration was introduced as a necessary preliminary to prayer, is not certain. This ceremony also may have been adopted at Mecca2; but, however that may be, it was evidently borrowed from the Jews, with whose Law and Tradition the ordinances established by Mahomet respecting the causes and degrees of legal impurity, and the cor- responding ablutions, very closely correspond3.

A formal service

The Believer's life was thus a dafly round of religious observances, which, practised by all at first, and maintained perhaps by some, with zeal and spiritual aspiration, soon declined, for the mass, into barren forms. At earliest dawn the Moslem begins the day with lustration, preliminary to the prescribed genuflexions and formularies of prayer; at midday he is called aside from his business for the same duty: in the afternoon, and again when the sun has set, the ceremonies are repeated; and the day is closed in darkness by the same rites with which it opened. Saints and sinners joined (and still join equally) in the stereotyped form; the most heinous crime, just committed or in immediate contemplation, in no respect interferes with the performance of these prayers; and the neglect to observe them is an abnegation

2Sale,, Prelim. Disc. Section iv. 123; Sura iv. 41, v. 7. 'There are a few uncertain traces of the practice of lustration, under certain circumstances, by the Arabs, before the era of Islam; if admitted, I should refer them also to Jewish influence, as described, vol.1. ccxvi.

3See Sale, Prelim. Disc. 128; where a more favourable account is given of tue prayers. I do not wish to affirm, that with the

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of the faith, an insult to the majesty of Islam, which demands the interposition of the temporal arm.

The Friday, or public and general service

The daily prayers were not necessarily congregational. They might be offered up by the worshippers singly or in companies, in the Mosque or at home. But at mid-day of Friday there was appointed a public service in the Mosque, at which the Believers generally, unless detained by sufficient cause, were expected to attend. The usual prayers were on that occasion followed by an address or sermon pronounced by Mahomet.

The sermon

This weekly oration was skilfully adapted to the circumstances and feelings of the audience. It allowed full scope to the eloquence of the Prophet, and by its frequent recurrence helped to confirm his influence and rivet the claims of Islam.

Motive for the selection of Friday

No religious antagonism is to be supposed in the selection of Friday for the public service. Because when he fixed upon it, Mahomet was still on friendly terms with the Jews, and inclined to adopt their institutions. In the Christian Sunday he had a precedent for change, and he may have desired in a similar

more devout Moslems, the ceremonial is not often a channel for spiritual worship. I speak of the general effect, as gathered from the impression of tradition on my mind, and (as regards modern Mahometans) from personal observation.

I may observe that the ritual is said originally to have consisted of two "Rakaats," or series of genuflexions and formularies; but a month after his arrival at Medina, Mahomet increased them to four, excepting in case of a journey. Tabari, 223.

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manner to distinguish the sacred day of Islam from the Jewish Sabbath4. He may likewise have hoped thus to secure the attendance of the Jews at his public service, which was composed, like theirs, of prayer, reading of the scripture, and a sermon. As a Jew (according to the doctrine of Mahomet at this time) might follow all the precepts of Moses, and yet be a good Mussulman, it is by no means improbable that some Jews may at the first have attended both the Mosque and the Synagogue. We have instances of Rabbins being expelled with ignominy from the Mosque5; and the Synagogue was visited by Mahomet himself, and by his followers6.

Jerusalem the first Kibla

Jerusalem was the first Kibla of Mahomet; that is to say, after the fashion of the Jews, he and his followers prayed with their faces turned always towards the Temple of Solomon7. When there was

4 It must be remarked, that strictly speaking, there is not any proper analogy between the Jewish Sabbath and the Mussulman Friday. In the latter there is no hallowing of the day as one of rest, or even consecration of it, as among Christians, to religious worship. After the public service, the people were encouraged to return to their business.

5Hishami, 188; see also Weil's Life of Mohammed, 90.

6 On one occasion Mahomet visited the Synagogue of the Jews, and exhorted them to embrace Islam. They asked him of what faith he was? "The faith of Abraham." "But Abraham," replied they, "was a Jew." Mahomet denied this (meaning that Abraham was anterior to the rise of Judaism); and said, "Bring hither the Towrat (Old Testament), that it may judge between us." Whereupon Sura, iii. 23, was revealed. HIshami, 192. See also Abu Bakr's visit to the Synagogue. Ibid. 194.

7 1 Kings viii.; 2 Chronicles, vi.; Psalm, v.7; Daniel, vi. 10; Jonah, ii. 4.

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no longer any hope of gaining over the Jews, or fusing Judaism and Islam into one religion, the ceremony lost its value. It opened a vulnerable point: --- "This Prophet of yours," said the Jews tauntingly, knew not where to, find his Kibla, till we pointed it out to him8. It was now the object of Mahomet to transfer the homage of his people from Jerusalem, and to concentrate it upon Mecca. His system would receive a fresh accession of strength and local influence if he thus magnified the Kaaba by making it the Kibla of his people.

The Kibla changed to Mecca

Tradition admits unanimously that Mahomet greatly desired the change. How it was effected is thus told by Wackidi, with the usual supernatural colouring9.

Rajab, A.H. II, Nov. A.D. 623

It was the middle of Rajab, sixteen or seventeen months after his arrival in Medina, that Mahomet, longing for the Kibla to be transferred to the Kaaba, thus addressed his guardian angel:-"O Gabriel I would that the Lord might change the direction of my face at prayer away from the Kibla of the Jews!" I am but a servant," replied Gabriel. "Address thy prayer to God." So Mahomet made his petition to the Lord. It came to pass, on a certain day, that as

8 Tabari, 243.

9 K. Wackidi 46 1/2; Tabari, 241. Traditions vary, some giving the sixteenth, others the seventeenth month after the flight or Mahomet. Two months before the battle of Badr is the best attested date, i.e. Rajab. It was a Monday, some Traditions say. All important events in Mahomet's life are assigned to that day. See vol. i.15.

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he prayed in the Assembly towards the Temple of Jerusalem, and was raising his face upwards, unexpectedly the following message was revealed to him -- Verily We have seen thee turning about thy face towards the Heavens10; wherefore We shall cause thee to turn toward a Kibla that shall please thee. Turn now thy face toward the Holy Temple of Mecca. Wheresoever ye are, when ye pray, turn toward it. He had already performed two prostrations in the direction of Jerusalem, when, suddenly giving forth this order, he turned towards the south, and all the congregation turned round also. Thenceforward Jerusalem was abandoned, and the Kaaba became the Kibla of Islam11. The Jews, knowing full well the motives which led to this alteration, were mortified, and still further estranged. Mahomet had cut, as it were, the last link binding him ostensibly to

10 i.e. looking about in various directions, desiring another Kibla.
About three miles to the N.W. of the town, close to the Wady el Akik, lies the Mosque called El Kiblatin, "the two directions of prayer." Some give this title to the Masjid at Kobn.

The incident is one which has elicited a great mass of discrepant tradition. Many different spots are mentioned as the theatre or the occurrence, and many different companies claim the honour of being its witnesses. Tradition delights to tell how, as the rumour spread abroad, one and another was startled by the strange intelligence. Some say it happened in the morning, others in the evening. The most probable account gives the great Mosque as the scene, and the time that of the mid-day prayer. Wackidi has a tradition that it happened at the house of Omm Bishr (of the B. Salma), with whom he had gone to dine: others say, in the Mosque of Coba. See Burton, ii. 820.

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their creed. They charged him with fickleness, and with worshipping towards an idolatrous Temple. These charges he endeavoured to meet in the Coran; but it was the victory at Badr, one or two months after, and the subsequent hostilities against the Jews, which furnished the only effective means for silencing their objections12.

12 I will transcribe the passage in which he seek. to refute the charge, as highly illustrative of our subject. The preceding context relates to the Jews: -

"The Fools from amongst the people will say, - What hath turned them from their Kiblah, towards which they used to pray? SAY, - Unto God belongeth the East and the West: he guideth whom he chooseth into the right way.

"Thus have WE made you an intermediate People, that ye should be Witnesses for mankind; and the Prophet shall be Witness for you. We appointed the Kiblah, towards which thou usedst to pray, only that We might know him who followeth the Apostle from him that turneth back on his heels, although it be a stumbling block, excepting unto those whom God hath directed. And God will not render your faith without effect; for God Is gracious and merciful to mankind." [Here follows the verse quoted in the text; after which the passage proceeds:-] "Truly those who have received the Scriptures* know that this is the truth from their Lord; and God is not regardless of what they are doing.

"And verily, if thou wert to show unto those who have received the Scriptures every kind of sign, they would not follow thy Kiblah; and thou shalt not follow their Kiblah. Neither doth one part of them follow the Kiblah of the other part+. And if

* The Jews ; though a clause in the following verse (noticed in the next note) refers also to Christians.

+ That is, each religion has it. own (appointed) Kibla; he refers, apparently, to Christians turning towards the east, and Jews towards Jerusalem: whence Mahomet would argue a propriety in his having a peculiar and distinctive Kibla for Islam.

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The rite of circumcision is hardly to be mentioned as an institution of Islam. It was current among

thou wert to follow their desire., after the knowledge that math reached thee, then verily thou wert amongst the Transgressors.

"They to whom We have given the Scriptures know this*, even as they know their own children; but verily, a party amongst them hideth the truth designedly.

"The truth is from thy Lord: wherefore be not thou among the Doubters.

"And every (people) hath a direction to which it turneth (in prayer). Wherefore press forward in good works: wheresoever ye may be, God will bring you back together: surely God's power is over all things.

"Now, therefore, from whatsoever place thou comest forth, turn thy face toward the Holy Temple; for it is the truth from thy Lord, and God is not regardless of that which ye are doing.

"From what place soever thou comest forth, turn thy face towards the holy Temple; anti wherever ye be, turn your faces towards it; that men may have no cause of dispute against you, excepting them that transgress. Fear them not; but fear ME, that I may fulfil my grace upon you, and that ye may be rightly directed." Sura, ii. 148-152.

Shortly after occurs the following passage (addressed probably also to the Jews) in justification of the pilgrim ceremony at Safa and Merwa, alleged to be, or to have been, the sites where two idols stood:-

"Verily Safa and Merwa are of the monuments of God. Whosoever, therefore, performeth the greater pilgrimage, of the holy house, or the lesser, it shall be no crime in him if he perform the circuit of them both. And whoever worketh that which is good of a willing heart, verily God is grateful and knowing." Sura, ii. 160.

The defence of the Meccan rites, which I have quoted at length in the Supplement to the sixth Chapter (vol. ii. 268), probably belongs to this period. It is in a late Meccan Sura, and the late Meccan Suras are full of passages added at Medina. Ibid. p.260, note.

* i.e. the rightness or the things; others read, "this Apostle," i.e., they recognize Mahomet.

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the Arabs as an Abrahamic ceremony13, and continued (without any command in the Coran) to be practised among the followers of Mahomet.

Mahomet at first observes the Feast of the Atonement, 2nd Jumad, A.H. II, Sept. A.D. 622.

Two or three months after his arrival in Medina, Mahomet observed the Jews, on the tenth day of the their seventh month, keeping the great Fast of the Atonement14; and he readily adopted it for his own people. Prior to this, fasting does not appear to have been a prescribed ordinance of Islam15. It was established at a period when the great

13 See vol. 1. Introduction, p. ccxxix. The practice is held incumbent on Mahometans as a part of the Sunnat (vol.1. p.31); but it is curious that we have no authentic account of Mahomet's own circumcision.

13 or the "Fast of the Tenth." Leviticus, xxiii. 27. Geiger identifies it with the Fast of the Atonement, and of course rejects the absurd origin assigned by a popular tradition. "Die Veranlassung des Fasttags Aschura, der offenbar, gleich der zehnte des siebenten Monates (3 M. 28,27), den Versöhnuntag bedeutet, ist allerdings höchst ungenau." p.88.

The tradition referred to is that, on Mahomet asking the Jews the origin of the Fast, he was informed that it was in memory of the delivery of Moses out of the hands of Pharoah, and the drowning of the tyrant in the Red Sea : - " We have a greater right in Moses than they," said Mahomet; so he fasted with the Jews, and commanded his people to fast also. And when the Fast of Ramadan was imposed, he did not command the Fast of Ashor (i.e. or the Tenth) to be observed, nor did he forbid it, i.e. he left it optional to keep it up as well as the other. Tabari, 248.

14 We have no certain intimation as to Mahomet's own practice at Mecca in this respect. The probability is (notwithstanding the traditions to the contrary, vol. ii. 56, and Weil, 91) that fasting was not observed at all till Mahomet came to Medina: had it been, the traditions regarding the adoption of the Jewish Fast would have been entirely of a different cast.

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object of Mahomet was to symbolize with the Jews in all their rules and ceremonies.

The Fast of Ramadan Substituted

But when it became his endeavour to cast off Judaism and its customs, this fast was superseded by another.

Shaban, A.H. II, Dec. A.D. 623.

Eighteen months after his arrival in Medina, Mahomet promulgated, as a Divine command, that the following month, or Ramadan, was to be henceforth observed as an Annual Fast. Although the new ordinance was professedly similar in principle to that of the Jews16, the mode of its observance was entirely different. At first the Moslems (following the Jews, who fasted for four-and-twenty hours, from sunset to sunset) thought themselves bound to abstain night and day from all enjoyments throughout the month. But Mahomet checked this ascetic spirit. His followers were to fast rigorously by day, but from sunset till dawn they might eat and drink and indulge in any pleasures otherwise lawful17.

16 "Like as it was ordained for them that preceded you." Sura, ii. 184.

17 This is provided in v.188, Sura, ii., which, with the entire passage, containing the institution, penalties, and exemptions, is given below

"O ye that believe! A Fast is ordained for you, as it was ordained for those before you, that haply ye may observe Piety;-

"For the computed number of days. The sick amongst you, and the traveller, (shall fast) an equal number of other days; but he that is able to keep it (and neglecteth) shall make atonement by feeding a poor man. And whoever worketh that which is good, of a willing heart, it shall be well for him. And if ye fast it will be well for you, if ye comprehend: -

"In the month of Ramadan; -- wherein the Coran was sent

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Its unequal pressure and rigour

It was winter when this fast was ordained, and Mahomet probably then contemplated its being always kept at the same season, when the prohibition to eat or drink during the day did not involve any extreme hardship17. In the course of time, however, by the introduction of the lunar year, the month of Ramadan gradually shifted backward to the summer season; and then the prohibition to

down; a direction unto mankind, and plain rules of guidance, and a discerner (between good and evil).

"Wherefore let him that is present in this month fast during the same; but he that is sick, or on a journey, shall fast an equal number of other days.

"God willeth that which is easy for your he willeth not for you that which is difficult; and that ye may fulfil the number of days, and magnify God, for that he hath directed you, and may give thanks.

"It is lawful unto you, during the nights of the Fast, to consort with your wives. They are a garment unto you, and ye are a garment unto them. God knoweth that ye are defrauding yourselves, wherefore he hath turned unto you, and forgiven you. Now, therefore, sleep with them, and earnestly desire that which God hath ordained for you; and eat and drink until ye can distinguish a white thread from a black thread, by the daybreak. Then keep the fast again until night, and consort not with them (during the day); but be in attendance in the places of worship. These are the limits prescribed by God; wherefore draw not near unto them. Thus God declareth his signs unto mankind, that they may observe Piety." Sura, ii. 184-l88.

17 It will be remembered that the Jewish intercalary year was probably in use at this time, which would have prevented any change of season for a very long series of years. When Mahomet introduced the lunar year, he may, or ought to have perceived the effect it would have on the Fast, - making it at some seasons a grievous burden to his followers, not "easy," as in v.186 he declares God's wish that it should be.

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taste water from morning till evening became a burden heavy to bear. The strictness of the fast, as thus instituted by Mahomet, has nevertheless been maintained unrelaxed; and to this day, in the parched plains of India, during the month of Ramadan, however burning the sun and scorching the wind, the follower of Mahomet may not suffer a drop of water, during the long summer day, to pass his lips; be looks forward with indescribable longing for the sunset, when, without compromising his faith, he may slake his thirst and refresh with food his drooping frame. The trial, though thus unequally severe in different climes and at different terms of the lunar cycle, is no doubt a wholesome exercise of faith and self-denial. But in so far as the fast was intended to be a restraint upon licentiousness, its limitation to the daytime. necessarily deprives it of all salutary influence.

"Eid al Fitr", or Festival of "breaking of the Fast", Shawwal A.H. II, Feb. A.D. 624

At the conclusion of the fast, a festival was appointed, called the EED AL FITR, or "breaking of the fast." A day or two before the expiration of Ramadhan, Mahomet assembled the people, and instructed them in the ceremonies to be then observed. On the first day of the following month they were early in the morning to bring together their offering's for the poor; each one - young or old, bond or free, male or female - a measure of dates, of barley, or of raisins, or a smaller measure18.

18 Tradition takes care to note that this was before the imposition of regular almsgiving, or Zakat, which will be noticed hereafter.

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of wheat. "See," said he, "that ye make the poor independent this day, so that they need not to go about and beg." Having presented their alms, all went forth with the Prophet to his Musalla, or place of prayer, outside the city on the Meccan road19. A short spear or iron-shod staff, brought by Zobeir from Abyssinia, was carried before him, and planted on the spot. Taking his stand there, the Prophet recited the usual prayers, and then addressed the assembled multitude. The service over, all returned to their homes, and Mahomet distributed at the Mosque the accumulated alms amongst the poor20.

Edd al Zoha combined in the first year with the Fast of the Atonement

Another great Festival was established by Mahomet - the EED AL ZOHA, or "day of sacrifice." The slaying of victims formed the concluding scene in the pilgrimage to Mecca, and in that ceremony went: the Festival was eventually merged.

Dzul Hijj, A.D. I, Mar. A.D. 623

But in the first year of the Prophet's residence at Medina the season of pilgrimage passed unnoticed. In its stead, as mentioned above, Mahomet kept the great Day of Atonement with its sacrifice of victims, in conformity with the practice of the Jews;

19 Speaking of "Mahomet's mosque in the Munakha" (or open space on the west, - between the city and its western suburb), Burton writes: "Others believed it to be founded upon the Musalla el Nabi, a place where the Prophet recited the first Festival prayers after his arrival at El Medinah, and used frequently to pray, and to address those of his followers who lived far from the Haram." ii. 192.

20K Wackidi, 48; Tabari, 244.

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and had he continued on a friendly footing with them, he would probably have maintained this rite.

shifted in the second year to correspond with the Meccan Pilgrimage

In the following year, however, it was in keeping with his altered relations to abandon altogether the Jewish ritual of sacrifice, and to substitute for it another somewhat similar in character, but grounded on the ceremonies at Mecca21.

April. 624 A.D.

Accordingly, on the tenth day of Dzul Hijj, while the tribes of Arabia, after making the circuit of Arafat, were engaged in the closing solemnities of the Pilgrimage, Mahomet went forth with his followers to the place of prayer. After a service resembling that on the breaking of the Fast, two fatted sucking kids, with budding horns, were placed before the Prophet. Seizing a knife, he sacrificed one with his own hand, saying : "O Lord! I sacrifice this for my whole people, all those that bear testimony to thy Unity, and to my Mission." Then he called for the other, and slaying it likewise, said "O Lord! this is for Mahomet, and for the family of Mahomet." Of the latter kid both he and his family partook, and what was over he gave to the poor 22. The double sacrifice seems in its main

21 Vol I. Introduction, ccvi.

22K. Wackidi, 48; Tabari, 244, 328. In the latter place, another tradition says that he sacrificed one goat; but the statement that he sacrificed two is the best accredited, besides being accordant with the Jewish practice. See Lev. xvi., where Aaron ordered a sacrifice "for himself and for his house," besides "the goat of the sin offering that is for the people."

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features to have been founded on the practice of the Jewish priest at the Fast of the Atonement, when he sacrificed "first for his own sins, and then for the peoples."23 This ceremony was repeated by Mahomet every year of his residence at Medina; and it was kept up there after his decease24.

The Adzan, of Call to Prayer

The summons to prayer was at first the simple cry, "To public prayer!"25 After the Kibla was changed Mahomet bethought himself of a more formal call. Some suggested the Jewish trumpet, others the Christian bell; but neither was grateful to the Prophet's ear26. The ADZAN, or call to prayer, was then established. Tradition claims for it a supernatural origin, thus :-- While the matter

23Heb. vii.27.

24 Wackidi says that Mahomet used to sacrifice the kids in the vicinity of Al Zocack, near the house of Muavia, and that the same practice was kept up after him by the Leaders of Medina. The short lance, needed at the two Eeds by the Prophet, was in the keeping of the Mueddzin, at Medina, in the second Century. K. Wackidi, 48.

There is a passage in Sura ii. (v.179) which provides for the sending of victims to Mecca by those unable to perform the pilgrimage themselves; but this I take to be a much later passage - probably not earlier than A.H. VI., when Mahomet was hindered at Hodeibia from approaching Mecca.

25 Common Prayer. K Wackidi; 47 ½.

26Adzan. Hishami, p.180.

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was under discussion, Abdallah, a Khazrajite, dreamed that he met a man clad in green raiment carrying a bell27. Abdallah sought to buy it, saying that it would do well for bringing together the assembly of the faithful. "I will show thee;" replied the stranger, "a better way than that; let a crier call aloud, GREAT IS THE LORD! GREAT IS THE LORD! I bear witness that there is no God but the Lord: I bear witness that Mahomet is the Prophet of God. Come unto Prayer: Come unto Happiness. God is Great: God is Great! There is no God but the Lord!" Awaking from sleep, Abdallah proceeded to Mahomet, and told him his dream. The Prophet perceived that it was a vision from on high, and forthwith commanded Bilal, his negro servant, to carry out the Divine behest. Ascending the top of a lofty house beside the Mosque28 while it was yet dark, Bilal watched for the break of day; and on the first glimmer of light, with his far-sounding voice, he startled all around from their slumbers, adding to the divinely

27 Hishami recites the story as if Abdalluh had actually met the man. Some traditions add, that after Abdallah had told his dream to Mahomet, Omar came up and repeated a dream he too had had to the same effect; at which Mahomet marvelled, and praised the Lord for this double assurance.

28 A woman of the Bani Najjar, to whom the house belonged, used to relate this in after days. Hishami, 180. Burton states (but without mentioning the authority) that Bilal used to stand "upon a part of the roof on one of the walls of the Mosque." ii. 100. For Bilal, see above, vol. ii. pp.197, 129.

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appointed call, -- " Prayer is better than Sleep! Prayer is better than Sleep!" Every day, at the five appointed times, the well-known cry summoned the people to their devotions. And the successors of Bilal, from a myriad minarets, to this day follow his example.

Call used for convening a general assembly

The old cry, "To public prayer," was still maintained whenever an assembly was summoned for general the announcement of important intelligence, as that of a victory; or for the proclamation of a general order, as the going forth to war. The people hurried to the Mosque at the call, but it had no longer any connection with their devotions29.

The Pulpit

On the spot where Mahomet used to stand in the Mosque at public prayers, the branch of a date-tree was planted as a post for him to hold by. When the Kibla was changed, the post was taken up from the northern end of the Mosque and fixed near the southern wall. In process of time Mahomet, now beyond the prime of life, began to feel fatigue at standing throughout the long Friday service. So he consulted with his followers; and one said, "Shall I make for thee a Pulpit such as I have seen them make in Syria?" The suggestion pleased Mahomet, both for the relief to himself and the advantage of being better seen and heard at public worship. Accordingly one or two tamarisk-trees were felled at Al Ghaba, and fashioned into a Pulpit, having a place

29 K. Wackidi, 47 ½.

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to sit on, and three steps leading up to it30. It was placed near the southern wall, on the spot which it continued to occupy, and which the Pulpit, or Mimbar, occupies at the present day.

Manner of the daily service

Mahomet ascended the pulpit for the first time on a Friday. As he mounted, turning towards the Kaaba, he uttered a loud Takbir, "Great is the Lord!" and the whole assembly from behind burst forth into the same exclamation. Then he bowed himself in prayer31, still standing in the pulpit with his face averted from the people; after which he descended, walking backwards, and at the foot of the pulpit prostrated himself32 towards the Kaaba. This he did twice, and having ended the prayers, he turned to the congregation, and told them he and of the had done this that they might know and imitate his manner of prayer33.

and of the Friday service

The fashion of the Friday

30 A tradition states that it was made by the only carpenter then in Medina, - perhaps the only skillful one is meant. Another tradition (K. Wackidi, 48) says that Abbas, Mahomet's uncle, offered the services of his servant Kilab, who was an excellent carpenter, and that Mahomet sent this man into the hills for the wood, &c. But Abbas did not come to Medina till about two years from Mahomet's death; and, although the date of the making of the Pulpit is nowhere (that I can find) given, it was evidently much earlier than that.

The wood of which the Pulpit was constructed is variously stated as It was either Tamarisk, Lote (wild plum), or some sort or Yew.

31 Literally performed a Rakaat.

32 Sijda.

33 K. Wackidi, 49.

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Service is thus described34. As the Prophet mounted the steps of the pulpit he greeted the assembly with the Salutation of Peace. Then he sat down, and Bilal sounded forth the call to prayer. After the prescribed prostrations and reciting, of the Coran, he delivered two discourses, twice sitting down; and he would point with his fingers, enforcing his instructions: the people raised their faces towards him, listening attentively with their ears, and fixing their eyes upon him: when he ended, they joined in a universal Amen. As he discoursed he leant upon a staff35. His dress on these occasions was a mantle36 of striped Yemen stuff, six cubits in length, thrown over his shoulders; the lower garment37 was a girdle of fine cloth from Oman, but of smaller dimensions than the other. These robes were worn only on Friday, and on the two great Festivals; at the conclusion of each service, they were folded up and put carefully away.

The Pulpit was invested with extraordinary sanctity

The Pulpit was invested by Mahomet with great sanctity. All oaths regarding disputed rights were to be taken close to it38. Any one who should swear falsely by it, "even if the subject of the oath

34K. Wackidi, 48 ½.

35 It was made of the a mountain tree used for bows.



38 Perhaps we may trace here an imitation of the Jewish practice of swearing by the Temple.

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were as insignificant as a tooth-pick," was hopelessly condemned to Hell. The blessedness of the spot was shadowed forth by the saying of the Prophet that the space between his house and the Pulpit was "as one of the gardens of Paradise." Credulous tradition asserts that it is literally so; and the fond conceit has been perpetuated by a wretched endeavour to adorn the place with the painted figures of shrubs and flowers. It is a space," says Burton, "of about eighty feet in length, tawdrily decorated, so as to resemble a garden. The carpets are flowered, and the pediments of the columns are cased with bright green tiles, and adorned to the height of a man with gaudy and unnatural vegetation in arabesque39."

The morning post

When Mahomet left the post by which he had so long prayed, he expressed his regret at parting with it in affectionate terms, and commanded it to be buried under the Pulpit. Traditionists have coloured this incident with the romantic addition that the post moaned loudly at its desertion, and

39 Burton, ii. 68; Burckhardt, 387. Mahomet also said that his Pulpit was " over one of the Fountains of Paradise." Mahomet, no doubt, never intended any such saying literally. He extolled the virtues of the place because of its spiritual advantages; --- as a church might be called "the gate of Heaven." The sanctity of the Pulpit was so great, that at times other than the public assembly, worshippers used to come, and catching the knob of the Pulpit, pray, holding it with their hands. K. Wackidi, 49.

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would not cease until the Prophet placed his hand upon it, and soothed its grief.40

Death of Kolthum, and of Asad ibn Zorara

During the first year of his residence at Medina, Mahomet lost two of his chief adherents among the men of Medina. Kolthum, with whom he lodged on his arrival at Coba, died shortly after that visit. And the Mosque was hardly completed, when Asad, son of Zorara, was seized with a virulent sore throat41. Asad was one of the earliest converts of Medina. He belonged to the famous Six who first met Mahomet, three or four years before, at Mina42. He was elected the "Leader" of the Bani Najjar, when they pledged their faith to the Prophet at the "second Acaba,"43 and had ever since taken a prominent part in spreading the faith. Musab, the teacher sent from Mecca to instruct the inquirers at Medina, lodged with him, and together they had openly established Mussulman prayers in

40 Numerous traditions are given to that effect by the Secretary of Wackidi. The people were terrified at the noise, for the groaning: of the post were "like those of a she-camel ten months gone with young." On Mahomet stroking it with his hand, it ceased. It was then either buried under the Pulpit, or put away among the rafters of the roof. When the Mosque was taken down, Obey ibn Kab carried it to his house, where it was eaten up by white ants.

One tradition says that Mahomet embraced the post and then it stopped moaning; on which the Prophet said, that "had he not done so, it would not hare ceased to moan till the Day of Judgment."

41 It is called (a thorn) and .

42 Vol. ii. 209.

43 Ibid. 237.

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the city. His house was hard by the Mosque, where, it will be remembered, he welcomed Mahomet on his arrival, and took charge of his favourite camel. The Prophet was deeply grieved at his illness; but most of all, he was troubled by the insinuations of the Jews and the disaffected citizens, who said, "If this man be a prophet, can he not ward off sickness even from his friend?" -- "And yet;" said Mahomet, "I have no power from my Lord over even mine own life, or over that of any of my followers. The Lord destroy the Jews that speak thus!" He visited him frequently, and twice caused his neck to be cauterized all round. But the remedies were of no avail; he sank rapidly and died. Mahomet headed the funeral procession to the spot which had been selected for a burial-ground. It was a large enclosure, studded with thorny shrubs, without the city, on its eastern side44. Asad was the first of the illustrious band of early heroes who were buried in the cemetery of Backi, and whose tombs are still visited by the pilgrim.

Barrenness of the Moslem women after Mahomet's arrival

For many months after the arrival of Mahomet, it so happened that no children were born to the

44 It was called Backi al Gharcad, the latter word signifying the thorny tree which grew upon it.

The Refugees, wishing to claim the honour and glory of the first person buried there being of their own party, assign it to Othman ibn Matzun. But he did not die till the end of the second year of the Hegira.

see K. Wackidi, 297 ½; Hishami, 180; Tabari 220; Burton, ii. 300.

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Moslem women; and the rumour began to spread abroad that their barrenness was occasioned by Jewish sorcery. More than a year of the Hegira had elapsed when the first infant was born to the Refugees, --- the wife of Zobeir presenting him with a son; and shortly after, the same good fortune happened to Bishr, one of the Medina citizens. These births, dispelling their apprehensions, caused great joy among the believers45.

One of the two last Suras possibly then revealed

It may possibly have been, as charms to counteract these supposed enchantments, that Mahomet composed one or other of the two short Suras now standing at the close of the Coran; though a later occasion, which will be hereafter mentioned, is assigned to them by tradition.

Instances of Mahomet's superstition

The Prophet was in many respects very superstitious. So afraid was he of darkness, that on entering a room at night, he would not sit down till a lamp had been lighted for him46. When cupped, he had the operation performed an odd number of times,

45 Tabari; 224. Abdallah is said to have been born in Shawwal, A.H. II. (February, 624), no less than twenty months after the hegira; and Noman, son of Bishr, four or five months later. Another tradition says that Bishr's son was born fourteen months after Mahomet's arrival. There may possibly have been some earlier births of infants who did not survive.

45 K. Wackidi 741. It is there added that he had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with that figure upon it. This may, however, have been symbolical of his extreme aversion to the doctrine of the crucifixion.

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believing that the virtue was greater than with an even number. He also fancied that cupping on any Tuesday which fell on the 17th of the month was peculiarly efficacious, and proved a remedy for all the disorders of the coming year47. If the heavens were overcast with heavy clouds, he would change colour and betray a mysterious apprehension till they cleared away. He was also superstitiously anxious about the effect of the winds48. Such traditions, which, from their number and agreement, must be more or less founded on fact, illustrate the weakness, nervous sensibility, and apprehension of unseen and supernatural influences for good and for evil, which affected the mind of Mahomet.

47 K. Wackidi, 86.

48 Mischat al Masabih, vol.i. 336. "Ayesha said: 'When the wind blew, the Prophet would say, - "O Lord! verily I supplicate thee for good from this wind, and good from its nature, and good for that thing for which it is sent; and I seek protection with thee from the bad effects of this wind, and its baneful influence, and the harm which it was sent to do." And when clouds appeared, he used to change colour; and he would come out, go in, walk forwards and backwards; and when it rained, and passed away without doing harm, his alarm would cease.' This state of the Prophet's mind was well known to Ayesha; and she asked him the reason of it. He said, - 'O Ayesha! peradventure these clouds and winds might be like those which are mentioned in the history of the tribe of Ad.* For when they saw a cloud over-shadowing the heavens, they said, - This is a cloud bringing rain for us; but it was not so, but a punishment to them, in calling for it impatiently; and there was in it a destroying wind."'

* See above, vol. I. p. cxxxviii.

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

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