THE RELIGION OF THE CRESCENT.
they now conclude, "Muhammad is the Apostle of GOD."
Islam, we have seen, has as its strength the great truths which it inculcates. These
have preserved it for ages. But we are certain that it will be proved, more clearly and
fully than has yet been the case, that it has in it great sources of weakness which must
ultimately result in its utter overthrow, though its final collapse may take ages1
before it is accomplished. It is our duty in the present lecture to indicate very briefly
a few at least of the elements of weakness in Islam which prevent it from being, as it
professes to be, "a guide2 and a mercy" to men, and render it a false
and antichristian creed.
§ 2. The first point in which the weakness and unsatisfactoriness of the doctrines of
Islam force themselves upon our attention is in the conception which an orthodox
Muhammadan is led to form of the Nature and Attributes of GOD. It is the glory of Islam
that it teaches that GOD alone should be worshipped, that it preaches Monotheism, and
recognises God as Personal, Omniscient and Almighty, the Creator and the Preserver, the
Master and the Judge of all creation. But of a GOD of infinite Holiness and of infinite
Love, Muhammad had no idea whatever. Among the
THE WEAKNESS OF ISLAM.||
ninety-nine Titles or Names of GOD repeated by Muslims when they tell their beads, the
name of Father does not occur. Not only so, but the very application of this term
to GOD in any sense seems to the Muhammadan mind to be the most utter blasphemy. "He
is our Master," a pious Muslim would say, "and we are His1 slaves.
Far be it from Him—may He be praised and exalted—that He should have any
children!" Muhammad's conception2 of GOD was an altogether Deistic one,
and it is perhaps for this very reason that English Deists have felt so much sympathy with
him. He taught his followers to regard GOD as absolutely separated from His creatures, so
much so indeed that no inference can be drawn as to GOD's actions from considering what
our ideas of holiness and justice3 require. In the whole Qur'an and in
and in Persian and Urdu the words
respectively, literally meaning slaves, bondmen, are constantly used to
mean simply men, mankind. The Old and New Testaments also apply the
( עבד, δουλος )
to God's servants; but the distinction between Christianity and Islam in this matter is that Islam denies the sonship of Man and the Divine Fatherhood, while Christianity teaches that man stands in both relations to God, and not only in that of a slave.
2 Hauri, "Der Islam," pp. 44 sqq.; Osborn,"Islam under the Khalifs of Baghdad," Pref. p. vii, and chapter i. pp. 4, 5.
3 Al Shahristani says, e.g., "Nor is His justice to be compared with the justice of men, because a man may be
suspected of acting unjustly by invading the possession of another; but no injustice can be conceived of God, who can find nothing belonging to any other besides Himself."
(Quoted by Ockley.)