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

Arrival at Medina.- Building of the Mosque.

-From June 622 A.D. to January 628 A.D..

I. Rabi A.H. I June 622 A.D.

AT the close of the Sixth Chapter, we left Mahomet and Abu Bakr, on the second day after

Flight of Mahomet and Abu Bakr to Medina

their escape from the cave, already beyond the reach of pursuit, and rapidly wending their way towards Medina.

They meet Talha by the way

They had by this time joined the common road to Syria which runs near the shore of the Red Sea. On the morning of the third day a small caravan was observed in the distance. The apprehensions of the fugitives were soon allayed, for Abu Bakr recognized at the bead of the caravan his cousin Talha, who was returning from a mercantile trip to Syria. Warm was the greeting, and loud the congratulations. Talha opened his stores, and, producing two changes of fine white Syrian raiment, bestowed them on his kinsman and tho Prophet. The present was welcome to the soiled and weary travellers; yet more welcome was the assurance that


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Talha had left the Moslems at Medina in eager expectation of their Prophet. So Mahomet and Abu Bakr proceeded on their journey with lighter hearts and quickened pace; while the merchant continued his way to Mecca. There Talha disposed of his venture; and, so little were the Meccans even now disposed to molest the believers, that after quietly adjusting his affairs, he set out unopposed some little time afterwards for Medina, with the families of Mahomet and Abu Bakr1.

Progress towards Medina:

After proceeding some way farther on the caravan route, Mahomet and his companions struck off to the right, by a way called the road of Madlaj Bakr1. The valleys which they crossed, the defiles they ascended, the spots on which the fugitive Prophet performed his devotions, have all been preserved in tradition by the pious zeal of his followers. At Arj, within two days' journey of Medina, one of the camels, worn out by the rapid travelling, became unable to proceed. A chief of the Aslam tribe, residing there, supplied a fresh camel in its stead, and also furnished a guide.

They approach the city

At length, on the morning of Monday, eight days after quitting Mecca, the litttle party reached Al Ackick, a valley which traverses the mountains,

1K. Wackidi, 212-220 .

2Tabari, 193. They took this road after passing Thaniat al Marrah. It lay between the Amc and Rooha roads.---- Sprenger, 210. The names of the stages are preserved, but few of the places are now identifiable.


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four or five miles to the S.W. of Medina 3. The heat was intense; for the summer sun, now approaching the meridian, beat fiercely on the bare ridges and stony defiles, the desolation of which was hardly relieved by an occasional clump of the wild acacia 4. Climbing the opposite ascent, they reached the crest of the mountain. Here a scene opened on them which contrasted strangely with the frowning peaks and the dark naked rocks, in the midst of which for hours they had been toiling. It was Medina, surrounded by verdant gardens and groves of the graceful palm. What thoughts crowded on

3The Wadi at Ackick has a north-westerly direction, and discharges its waters into Al Ghaba, the basin in which collects the drainage of the Medina plain. Burckhardt, 402; Burton, ii. 24. Our travellers appear to have proceeded along the valley eastward, for some space, till they reached Aljathjatha. K. Wackidi, 44 1/2.

4The approach to Medina is described by Burton, ii. pp. 18-27. The mountains are composed of "inhospitable rocks, pinnacle-shaped, of granite below, and in the upper parts, fine limestone;" but about the Wadi al Ackick the surface is "black scoriaceous basalt." Burckhardt says that "all the rocky places" about Medina;" as well as the lower ridge of the northern mountainous chain, are covered by a layer of volcanic rock; it is of a bluish black colour, very porous, yet heavy and hard, not glazed, like Schlacken, and contains frequently small white substances in its pores of the size of a pin's head, which I never found crystallized. The plain has a completely black colour from this rock, and the pieces with which it is overspread. I met with no lava, although the nature of the ground seemed strongly to indicate tile neighbourhood of a volcano." Burckhardt adds the account of a volcanic eruption, A.D. 654, the stream of lava from which passed not far from Medina, on the east; but he attributes the volcanic substances about the town and the valley Ackick to some earlier eruption: vol. iii. 358-860. Also, Burton, ii. 80.


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the mind of the Prophet and his faithful friend as

MEDINA and its environs

they gazed on the prospect below them! Wide- spread is the view from the heights on which they stood, and well fitted to stir the heart of any traveller 5. The vast plain of Najd stretches away towards the south as far as the eye can reach, while on the eastern horizon it is bounded by a low line of dark hills. To the north the prospect is arrested, at the distance of three or four miles, by the granite masses of Ohod, a spur of the great central chain. A well-defined watercourse, flowing from the south-east under the nearest side of the city, is lost among the north-eastern hills, the cliffs of which touch the city on this quarter. To the right, Jebel Ayr, a ridge nearly corresponding in distance and height with Ohod, projects into the plain and bounds it on the south-west. Closely pressing on the southern suburb, and in bright contrast to the wild rocks and rugged peaks around and behind our travellers, are the orchards of palm trees for which Medina has in all ages been famous. One sheet of gardens extends uninterruptedly to Coba, a suburb about two miles to the south, the loveliest and most verdant spot in all the plain 6. Around the city in every direction, date-trees and green fields

5It is well described by Burton, ii 28; see also p.168; and Burkhardt, iii. 122.

6I believe Kuba to be about three wiles S.S.E. of El Medina; but El Idrisi, Ibn Haukal, and Ibn Jubayr, all agree in saying two miles." Burton, ii, 209.


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meet the eye, interspersed here and there with the substantial houses and fortified hamlets of the Jewish tribes, and the suburban residences of the Aws and Khazraj 7. The tender reminiscence of childhood, when he visited this place in company with his mother, was perhaps the first thought to cross the mind of Mahomet. But more pressing considerations were at hand. How would he be received? Were his adherents powerful enough to secure for him a unanimous welcome? Or would either of the contending factions, which had often stained with blood that peaceful plain, be roused against him? Before putting the friendship of the city to actual test, it would be prudent to retire to one of the suburbs, and Coba lay invitingly before them.

Mahomet makes for Coba

"Lead us," said Mahomet, addressing the guide, "to the Bani Amr ibn Awf at Coba, and draw not nigh unto Medna 8." So leaving the Medina path to the left, they descended into the plain and made for Coba.

The people of Medina watch for the coming of Mahomet

For several days the city had been in expectation of its illustrious visitor. Tidings had been received of Mahomet's disappearance from Mecca; but no one knew of his three days' withdrawal to the cave. He ought before now to have arrived, even supposing delay in consequence of a devious route. Every morning a large company of the converts of Medina, and the refugees from Mecca, had for some days gone

7C.de Perceval, ii. 645.

8 K. Wackidi, 44 .


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forth a mile or two on the Meccan road, and posted themselves on the harrat or first rocky ridge to the west of the city. There they watched till the fierce rays of the ascending sun drove them from the unsheltered spot to their homes. On this day they had gone out as usual, and, after a fruitless watch, had retired to the city, when a Jew, catching a glimpse of the three travellers wending- their way - to Coba, shouted from the top of his house, "Ho! ye Bani Cayla 9 ! He has come! He whom ye have been looking for has come at last!" Every one now hurried forth to Coba. A shout of joy arose from the Bani Amr ibn Awf (the Awsite tribe which inhabited Coba)10 when they found that Mahomet had come amongst them. The wearied travellers, amidst the greeting of old friends and the smiles of strange faces, alighted and sat down under the shadow of a He arrives tree11. It was Monday, the 28th of June, A.D. 622.

9C. de. Perceval, ii, 647. Bani Cayla means the Aws and Khazraj. Cayla was the mother of the two patriarchs of those branches.

10This quarter was called Aliya, or Upper Medina, from its more elevated position. Upper Medina included "Coba and Khatma, and some other tribes, with the Jewish settlements of the Coreitza and Nadhir." K. Wackidi, 101-282 .

11When Mahomet arrived he was on Abu Bakr's camel. Few persons present knew which was the Prophet, till the sun's rays fell upon him, and then Abu Bakr rose to place him in the shade. Out of this has grown the tradition that the people of Medina recognized the Prophet from his body casting no shadow.

Aba Bakr was known to some of the citizens, as he used to pass through Medina on his mercantile trips to Syria. K.Wackidi, 45.


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A.H. I 28th June 622 A.D.

The journey had been accomplished in eight days. The ordinary time is eleven 12.

is joyfully received

The joyful news was speedily spread over the city. The very children in the streets cried out in delight,-" Here is the Prophet! He is come! He is come!" The converts from all quarters flocked to Mahomet and made their obeisance to him. He received them courteously, and said,-" Ye People! shew your joy by giving to your neighbours the salutation of peace: send portions to the poor: bind closely the ties of relationship: offer up prayer whilst others sleep. Thus shall ye enter Paradise in peace 13."

It was shortly arranged that Mahomet should for the present lodge at Coba with Kolthum, an hospitable chief, who had already received many of the emigrants on their first arrival in Medina. A great part of every day was also spent in the house of Sad the son of Khaithama, one of the Awsite "Leaders." There Mahomet received such persons as wished to see him, and conferred with his friends on the state of feeling in Medina 14.

12It can be travelled by swift dromedaries in five days. Burton, ii. 329-331: C. de. Perceval, iii. 17; Burckhardt, 316. See above, vol. IL 146.

13 K. Wackidi, 45.

14Ibid. and 299 1/2; Hashami 172. The bachelor refugees were accommodated in great numbers in Sad's house, so that it went by the name of the "bachelors' hostelry": . He was himself a bachelor. - Reff. as above, and K. Wackidi 229 1/2; Tabari, 260. For the Leaders, see vol. ii. 288.


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Abu Bakr lodges at Sunh

Abu Bakr was entertained by another Awsite chief, Kharija ibn Zeid, in the adjoining suburb, Al Sunh. He shewed his gratitude by marrying the daughter of Kharija, and permanently took up his residence with the family 15.

Ali joins Mahomet

A day or two after Mahomet's arrival, Ali, who, as we have seen, remained only three days at Mecca subsequently to the disappearance of Mahomet, and must therefore have set out shortly after him, reached Medina, and was accommodated by Kolthum in the same house with the Prophet 16.

who remains four days at Coba, and founds a Mosque

It was soon determined in the council of Mahomet that he might with safety enter Medina. The welcome he had received was warm, and to all appearance unanimous and sincere. The elements of disaffection might be slumbering among the yet unconverted citizens, Jews, and idolaters; but they were unnoticed amid the universal expression of joy and the first impulse of generous hospitality. Mahomet, therefore, stopped only four days at Coba,---

15 That is to say, his wife remained there, and he need to visit her there when it was her turn to enjoy his society; for he had other wives. Kharija belonged to the Bani Harith ibn Khazraj. He was joined in brotherhood (the practice will be explained below) to Abu Bakr. K. Wackidi, 212. Others say that Abu Bakr first alighted at the house, of Khobeib or Hobeib ibn al Asaf.

16 K. Wackidi, 182; Hishami, 172; Tabari (p. 200) gives also another version, according to which Ali stayed a day or two in the house of an unmarried female, into whose house a man used at midnight to bring pieces of, demolished idols.


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from Monday till Friday16. During this period, he laid the foundations of a Mosque at Coba, which at a later period was honoured in the Coran with the name of the "Mosque of Godly fear"17.

Departures for Medina

On the morning of Friday, Mahomet mounted his favourite camel, Al Caswa, taking Abu Bakr behind him18, and, surrounded by a crowd of followers, proceeded towards the city. He halted at a place of prayer in the vale of the Bani Salim, a Khazraj tribe; and there performed his first Friday service, with about a hundred Moslems19. On this occasion he added a sermon, or harangue, composed chiefly

16Some accounts extend Mahomet's residence at Coba to a fortnight. The discrepancy arises from a diversity in the traditional date of departure from Mecca; some giving the second, others the twelfth, of the first Rabi, as the day of arrival at Coba Those who adopt the former date are obliged to add ten days to the stay at Coba, in order to adjust their chronology, and hit the right day of Mahomet's entry into Medina. The discrepancy in so late an event, and one so public, is not creditable to tradition. It shows what elements of uncertainty, supposition, and calculation, are mingled as fact with what is really good tradition.

17Sura, ix. 110. Mahomet enlarged it after the Kibla was changed, and advanced its foundations and walls "to their present position." He himself, with his followers, aided in carrying the materials. He used to visit it every Saturday, and attached to the saying of prayers therein the merit of the (omra) lesser pilgrimage. K. Wackidi, 47.

18Ibid. 45.

19 Ibid. 45 1/2; Hishami l72; Tabari, 215; Burton, ii. 132 and 322. "The Masjid el Jumah---of Friday, or El Anikah - of the Sandheaps, is in the valley near Kuba, where Mohammed prayed arid preached on the first Friday after his flight from Mecca."


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of religious exhortation and eulogy on the new faith19. Friday was thenceforward set apart for the weekly celebration of public worship.

Entry into the city

When the service was finished Mahomet resumed his advance towards Medina. He had sent a message to the Bani Najjar, his relatives, through Salma the mother of Abd al Mottalib20, to escort him into the city. But there was no need of special invitation. The tribes and families of Medina came streaming forth, and vied one with another in shewing honour to their visitor. It was a triumphal procession. Around the camels of Mahomet and his immediate followers, rode the chief men of the city, clad in their best raiment and in glittering armour. The cavalcade pursued its way through the gardens and palm groves of the southern suburbs; and as it now threaded the streets of the city, the heart of Mahomet was gladdened by the incessant call from one and another of the citizens who flocked around; - "Alight here, O Prophet! We have abundance with us; and we have the means of defence, and weapons, and room. Abide with us." So urgent was the appeal that sometimes they seized hold of Al Caswa's halter. Mahomet answered them all courteously and kindly ; - "The decision," he said, rests with the camel; make way

19Tabari, 216, gives the sermon professedly word for word; but it is evidently a fabrication.

20 Vol. I. Introduction, chap. IV. pp. cli. and cliii.


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therefore for her; let her go free." It was a stroke of policy. His residence would be hallowed in the eyes of the people as selected supernaturally; while any heart-burnings of the jealous tribes, which otherwise might arise from the quarter of one being preferred before the quarter of another, would thus receive a decisive check21.

His camel halts in an open yard

Onwards moved Al Caswa, with slackened rein; and, leaving the larger portion of the city to the left, entered the eastern quarter, inhabited by the Bani Najjar. There, finding a large and open court-yard, with a few date-trees, she halted and sat down22.

Mahomet occupies Abu Ayub's house;

The house of Abu Ayub was close at hand. Mahomet and Abu Bakr, alighting, inquired who was the owner of it. Abu Ayub stepped forward and invited them to enter. Mahomet became his guest, and occupied the lower story of his house for seven months, until the Mosque and his own apartments were ready. Abu Ayub offered to give tip the higher story of his house, in which his family lived; but Mahomet preferred the lower, as being more accessible for his visitors23.

21K. Wackidi 45 1/2; Hishami, 172.

22An usual, to invest the incident with a supernatural air, it is added that Mahomet, having left the rein quite loose, Al Caswa got up again, and went a little way forward, when she perceived her error, returned straightway to the selfsame spot, knelt down, and placing her head and neck on the ground, refused to stir. Hishami, 173.

23K. Wackidi, 45-45 1/2. Abu Ayub (or Khalid ibn Zeid) used to tell a story that he and his wife accidentally broke a water-


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and is treated with great hospitality

When Mahomet had alighted, Abu Ayub lost no time in carrying into his house the saddle and other property of the travellers; while Asad ibn Zorara, a neighbour, seized Al Caswa's halter and conducted her to his court-yard, where he kept her for the Prophet. Dishes of choice viands, bread and meat, butter and milk, presently arrived from various houses; and this hospitality was kept up daily so long as the Prophet resided with Abu Ayub24.

Purchases the yard.

The first concern of Mahomet was to secure the plot of land in which Al Caswa halted. It was a neglected spot: on one side was a scanty grove of date-trees; the other, covered here and there with thorny shrubs, had been used partly as a, burial- ground and partly as a yard for tying camels up. It belonged to two orphan boys under the guardianship of Asad, who had constructed a place of worship there before the arrival of Mahomet, and had already held service within its roofless walls. The Prophet called the two lads before him, and desired to purchase this piece of ground from them that he might build a Mosque upon it. They replied;- Nay, but we will make a free gift of it to thee." Mahomet would not accept the donation. So the

pot, in the upper story; and, having wiped up the water as best they could with their clothes, hurried down to Mahomet's apartment in great alarm lest any of it should have dropped on him. Hishami, 174. He was killed at Constantinople, A.H. lv. (isaba.)

24 K. Wackidi, 45.


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price was fixed at ten dinars, which Abu Bakr, at the command of Mahomet, paid over to the orphans25.

Prepares to build a Mosque and houses for his wives

Arrangements for the construction of a great Mosque, with two houses adjoining,- one for his wife Sauda, the other for his intended bride, the precocious maiden Ayesha,- were forthwith set on foot. The date-trees and thorny bushes were cut down. The graves were dug up and the bones else- where deposited. The uneven ground was carefully levelled and the rubbish cleared away. A spring, oozing out in the vicinity, rendered the site damp; it was blocked up, and at length disappeared. Bricks were prepared, and materials collected26.

Is joined by his family from Mecca

Having taken up his residence in Abu Ayub's house, Mahomet bethought him of his family; and despatched his freedman Zeid with a slave named Abu Rafi 27, on two camels, with a purse of 500

25K. Wackidi 46, 207; Tabari 219. The orphans were called Sahal and Soheil. They belonged to the Malik branch of the Najjar; Mahomet's relationship was with the Adi branch. Asad was one of the Leaders. See vol.ii. 287, note. He is said to have held regular Friday services on this spot before Mahomet's arrival; but in receiving such traditions we must always beware of their anticipative tendency.

26The court, in the time of Ibn Jubair, contained fifteen date- trees; they are now reduced to a dozen, which are contained in a railed-in and watered space, called "Fatima's Garden." It also contains the remains of a venerable lote-tree. The "Prophet's well" is hard by. Burton, ii. 105.

27He was a servant of Abbas, who gave him to Mahomet, who is said to have freed him on his bringing tidings of the conversion of Abbas. He was also called Aslam. K. Wackidi, 46.


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dirhems, to fetch them from Mecca. They met there with no difficulty or opposition, and returned with Sauda, the Prophet's wife, and his two daughters Omm Kolthum and Fatima, the former of whom had been married into the family of Abu Lahab, but, being separated, had for some time been living in her father's house. Zeinab, the eldest daughter, remained at Mecca with her husband, Ab ul Aas. Rockeya, the second, had already emigrated to Medina with her husband Othman. Zeid brought with him his own wife, Omm Ayman (Baraka) and their son Osama28.

and Abu Bakr's family

Accompanying the party were Ayesha and her Omm Ruman, with other members of the family of Abu Bakr, who had perhaps supplied the purse of money to Zeid. They were conducted by Abu Bakr's son Abdallah and (as we have seen above) by Talha29.

Sauda, Mahomet's wife.

The family or Abu Bakr, including Ayesha, was

28Osama was only from eighteen to twenty years old at Mahomet's death, and could not therefore have been above eight or ten now.

29Above p.2. The authorities are K. Wackidi, 46, 220 1/2; Tabari, 223. Talha (at what period I do not know) married Omm Kolthum, daughter of Abu Bakr, with whom he always seems to have been on terms of close intimacy.

Tabari relates that Abdallah ibn Oreikat, the guide (vol.ii. 249), brought back to Mecca news of Abu Bakr having reached Medina, on which his family set out to join him. Zeid probably went back to Mecca with this guide.


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accommodated in a neighbouring house30. Sauda probably lived with Mahomet in the house of Abu Ayub. Of this lady's character we know little, save that, having emigrated with her former husband to Abyssinia, she was more than ordinarily devoted to the cause of Islam." From the time of their marriage shortly after the death of Khadija, she continued to be for three or four years the only wife of Mahomet.

Damp and unwholesome climate of Median

The climate of Medina contrasts strongly with that of Mecca. In summer, the days are intensely hot (a more endurable and less sultry heat, however, than at Mecca); but the nights are cool and often chilly. The cold in winter31 is, for the latitude, severe, especially after rain, which falls heavily in occasional but not long-continued showers. Even in summer, these are not infrequent. Heavy rain always deluges the adjacent country. The drainage in some quarters is sluggish, and after a storm the water forms a wide- spread lake in the open space between the city and the southern suburb. The humid exhalations from this and other stagnant pools, and perhaps the luxuriant

30That of Harith ibn Noman. The marriage of Ayesha, however, took place in her father's new home at Al Sunh. Abu Bakr had a house near the Mosque for his previous wife and family. Burton tells us : - " Some say that Abu Bakr had no abode near the Mosque, but it is generally agreed upon that he had many houses, one in El Bakia, another in the higher parts of El Medina (Aliya or Al Sunh?); and among them a hut on the spot between the present gates, called Salam and Rahmah," i.e. of the Mosque. (ii. 135.)

31i.e. from October till April. Burton, ii. 172; Burckhardt, 398.

The cold in winter, and stormy weather, is very severe; ice


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vegetation in the neighbourhood, render the stranger obnoxious to attacks of intermittent fever, which is often followed by swelling and tumours in the legs and stomach, and sometimes proves fatal. The climate is altogether unfavourable to health.

The refugees suffer from the Medina fever

Accustomed to the dry air and parched soil of Mecca, the refugees were severely tried by the dampness of the Medina summer, and the rigour of its winter. Mahomet himself escaped, but the most of his followers were prostrated by fever. Abu Bakr and his whole household suffered greatly. Some time after, Ayesha related to Mahomet how they all wandered in their speech from the intensity of the fever, and how they longed to return to their Meccan home; on which Mahomet, looking upwards, prayed, - "O Lord! make Medina dear unto us,

and snow are known in the adjoining hills; which is not unnatural, if; as Burton says, the city be 6,000 feet above the sea: but this estimation is perhaps exaggerated. The height, however, must be great, as the rise of the mountains is rapid and continuous on the western side, and the descent insignificant on the eastern, from the crest to the city. Burckhardt, 322. The city is much exposed to storms. " Chilly and violent winds from the eastern deserts are much dreaded; and though Ohod screens the town on the N. and N.E., a gap in the mountains to the N.W. fills the air at times with rain and comfortless blasts. The rains begin in October, and last with considerable intervals through the winter; the clouds, gathered by the hill tops and the trees near the town, discharge themselves with violence; and at the equinoxes, thunderstorms are common. At such times the Barr el Munakhah, or the open space between the town and the suburbs, is a sheet of water, and the land about the S. and S.E. wail of the faubourg, a lake." Burton ii. 172.


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even as Mecca, or even dearer. Bless its produce, and banish far from it the pestilence32!"

"Brotherhood" between the refugees and citizens of Medina

To raise the spirits of his followers thus depressed by sickness, to draw them into closer union with the Medina converts, and counteract their pining after home, Mahomet established a new and peculiar fraternity between the refugees and the citizens. "Become brethren every two and two of you," he said; and he set the example by taking Ali, or as others say, Othman, for his brother33. Accordingly each of the refugees selected one of the citizens as his brother. The bond was of the closest description, and involved not only a peculiar devotion to each other's interests in the persons thus associated, but in case of death it superseded the claims of blood, the "brother" becoming exclusive heir to all the property of the deceased. From forty-five to fifty refugees were thus united to as many citizens of Medina34.

32Hishami, 206. This pestilence was so universal that at one time Mahomet is said to have been almost the only one at prayers able to stand up; but he said, " the prayer of one who sits is worth only half the prayer of him that stands ;" so they all made violent efforts to stand up.Ibid.

33 It is difficult to say which of these accounts is correct; but I should think the tradition in favour of Othman less likely to have been fabricated and perpetuated, if not true, than that in favour of Ali. In K. Wackidi, 191 1/2, the tradition in favour of Othman is given in a distinct and positive form.

34K. Wackidi, 46; Hishami 179. But another tradition is given from Wackidi, that 50 refugees and 150 citizens were thus united; which would imply either that some refugees had each more


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This peculiar custom lasted for about a year and a half, when Mahomet finding it, after the victory of Badr, to be no longer necessary for the encouragement of his followers, and probably attended with some inconvenience and unpopularity, abolished the bond, and suffered inheritance to take its usual course.

Building of the Mosque

During the first half-year of Mahomet's residence at Medina, his own attention and that of his followers was mainly occupied by the construction of the Mosque,.and of houses for themselves. In the erection of their house of prayer all united with an eager enthusiasm. Their zeal was stimulated by Mahomet, who himself took an active share in the work, and joined in the song which the labourers chanted as they bore along their burdens:-

"O Lord! there is no happiness but that of futurity. O Lord! compassionate the men of Medina and the Refugees35!"

The site is the same as that now occupied by the

than one citizen for his brother (which does not appear to have been the case), or that some of the citizens were united in brotherhood among themselves. This was done among the refugees in a few cases in which they paired off among themselves, as in that of Mahomet, and of Hamza, who was joined to Zeid Mahomet's freedman); and of Abu Bakr, who was joined to Omar; but the ordinary practice was that stated in the text. Hishami gives the names of a considerable number of the pairs.

35K. Wackidi, 46; Hishami, 178. See also above, vol. ii. 186, where it is stated that Mahomet inverted the words, thus spoiling the rhyme. He affected to have no ear for distinguishing poetry. The rhythm of the Coran was therefore held to be a proof of its divine origin.


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great Mosque of Medina; but its construction and dimensions were less ambitious. It was built four- square, each side being one hundred cubits, or somewhat less, in length. The foundations, to three cubits above the ground, were built of atone; the rest of the wall was of brick. The roof was supported by trunks of palm-trees, and covered over with branches and rafters of the same material. The Kibla, or' quarter whither the faithful directed their faces while they prayed, was due north. At prayer, Mahomet stood near the northern wall, looking towards Jerusalem; his back was thus turned upon the congregation, who stood in rows behind him, facing in the same direction. When he preached he turned round towards them. To the south, opposite the Kibla, was a gate for general entrance36. Another opened on the, west, called Bab Atika, or Bab Rahmah, the Gate of Mercy, a name it still retains. A third gate, on the eastern side, was reserved for the use of Mahomet. South of this gate, and forming part of the eastern wall of the Mosque, were the apartments destined for the Prophet's wives. The house of Ayesha was at the extreme S.E. corner, the road into the Mosque passing behind it. That of Sauda was next; and and

and apartments for the Prophet's wives

beyond it were the apartments of Rockeya and her husband Othman, and of the two other daughters

36This was probably removed when the Kibla was turned towards the south. It corresponded with the Bab Balam, afterwards opened out to the north.


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of Mahomet37. In later years, as Mahomet added rapidly to the number of his wives, he provided for each a room, or house, on the same side of the Mosque. From these he had private entrances into the Mosque, used only by himself. The eastern gate still bears in its name-Bab al Nisa, "the Women's porch" - the memory of these arrangements38. To the north the ground was open. On that side a place was appropriated for the poorer followers of Mahomet who had no home of their own. They slept in the

37
K. Wackidi, 46 1/2. Wackidi mentions elsewhere that when Mahomet laid out the round about the Mosque, he allotted to Othman the plot on which his house was built, and on which it was standing in Wackidi's time. He adds that the opening in the house "at this day" is opposite the door in the Prophet's house, from whence the latter used to issue when he visited Othman. Ibid. 189. The position of Ayesha's room, or the Hujra, may be seen in the plan of the Mosque, p.60 of Burton's second vol. It is there represented as a square of 50 or 56 feet; but the original proportions have been altogether altered by the taking in of adjoining apartments. See also pp.71 and 89. The note at the latter page states that the room of Ali and Fatima adjoined that of Mahomet and Ayesha, and that there was a window between, which was never shut, - a palpable Aly-ite fabrication.

38 Burton says that women enter indifferently at any gate of the Mosque. He traces this name therefore to the proximity of the gate to Fatima's tomb; but it evidently originated in this side of the Mosque being inhabited by the women of Mahomet's family, and their entrance being here.


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Mosque, and had a sheltered bench or pavement (soffah) outside39. Mahomet used to send them portions from his table; and others followed his example. But in a few years victory and plunder caused poverty and distress to disappear, and "the men of the bench" lived only in memory. To be near the Prophet, his chief Companions by degrees erected houses for themselves in the vicinity of the Mosque; some of these adjoined upon its court, and had doors opening directly on it40.

The Mosque, how used

It is to the north of the Mosque, as thus existing in the time of Mahomet, that subsequent additions have been mainly made. The present magnificent buildings occupy probably three or four times the area of the primitive temple. Mahomet was asked why be did not build a permanent roof to his house of prayer. "The thatch," he replied, "is as the thatching of Moses, rafters and small pieces of wood; man's estate is more fleeting even than this." But though rude in material, and comparatively insignificant in extent, the mosque of Maliomet is glorious

39Hence they were called "Ahl Soffa," men of the bench or pavement. Thirty of them are spoken of as ill clad and hungry, but the hunger is exaggerated. Cannon,II. B. vol. i. p. lx.; K. Wackidi, 49.

40Thus Mahomet in his last illness directed his followers to shut all their doors opening into the Mosque, excepting only Abu Bakr. See also the quotation from Burton (ii. 185) above, at p.15. Many of these houses were probably cleared away on the enlargement of the Mosque.


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in the history of Islam41. Here the Prophet and his Companions spent the greater portion of their time: here the daily service, with its oft-recurring prayers, was first publicly established: here the great congregation assembled every week, and trembled often while they listened to the orations of the Prophet and the messages from Heaven. Here he planned his victories. From this spot he sent forth envoys to kings and emperors with the summons to embrace Islam. Here he received the embassies of contrite and believing tribes; and from hence issued commands which carried consternation amongst the rebellious to the very ends of the Peninsula. Hard by, in the room of Ayesha, he yielded up the ghost; and there he lies buried.

House of Sauda and Ayesh finished

The Mosque, and the adjoining houses, were finished within seven months from Mahomet's arrival. About the middle of winter, he left the house of Abu Ayub, and installed Sauda in her new residence. Shortly afterwards, he celebrated his nuptials with Ayesha, who, though she had been three years affianced, was but a girl of ten years42.

41 I say comparatively small, for a building 150 feet square must, in the then simple state of Arab society, have been viewed as a spacious edifice. It was amply sufficient for all the purposes of Mahomet, religious and political, as well for a house of prayer as for a place of council and assembly, and a hall of audience.

42Tabari; 221. Some place the marriage in the seventh, others in the eighth month after his arrival in Medina Ayesha was betrothed at seven years of age, others say at six; so that she could not be now more than ten years of age-a precocious bride! See vol.ii. 208.


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Marriage with Ayesha

He consummated the marriage in her father's house at Al Sunh; and then brought her to the apartments adjoining those of her "sister" Sauda.

Change thus wrought in Mahomet's domestic life

Thus at the age of fifty-three or fifty-four, a new phase commenced in the life of Mahomet. Hitherto, limiting himself to a single wife, he had shunned the indulgences, with the cares and discord, of polygamy. The unity of his family was now broken, and never again restored. Thenceforward his love was to be claimed, his attention shared, by a plurality of wives, and his days spent between their houses. For Mahomet had no separate apartments of his own.

Ayesha's influence over him

For some time we may suppose that the girl of ten or eleven years of age would require at the hands of Mahomet rather the paternal solicitude of a father, than the reciprocal devotion of a husband. He conformed to the infantine ideas of his bride, and at times even joined in her childish games43. But Ayesha was premature in the development of her charms, as well in mind as in person. Very early she displayed a ready wit, with an arch and playful vivacity of manner. She enthralled the heart of Mahomet; and, though afterwards exposed to the frequent competition of fresh rivals, succeeded in maintaining an undisputed supremacy to the end of his life.

43Weil, 88.


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Polygamy creates an irreconcilable divergence from Christianity

By uniting himself to a second wife, Mahomet made a serious movement away from Christianity, by the tenets and practice of which he must have been aware that polygamy was forbidden. Christianity, however, had little influence over him; and the step was not repugnant to Judaism, the authority of which he still recognized, and which, in the example of many well-known kings and prophets, afforded powerful support to his procedure. But whatever the bearing of this second marriage, it was planned by Mahomet in a cool and unimpassioned moment three years before, at Mecca. And it may be doubted whether the propriety of interfering with the licence of Arabian practice, and enforcing between the sexes the stringent restraints of Christianity, was at any time even debated in his mind.


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

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