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Ihram, which constitutes the dress of a pilgrim. Into the wall of the Ka'abah was built, at some distance from the ground, the famous Hajaru'l Aswad or Black Stone,—which the pilgrims kissed1 in token of deep reverence if not of actual worship,2 just as they still continue to do at present. So many tales are related among Arabian traditions regarding the origin and history of this Black Stone, that it is impossible to detail them all here, or to decide what the truth of the matter is. But in pre-Islamic times, as at the present day, it was popularly believed that this stone came down from Paradise, that it was originally of a pure white3 colour, but the sins of mankind or the touch of one ceremonially impure rendered it black.

Our space will not allow us to dwell here upon the general habits of the Arabs in and before the time of Muhammad. Their love of and proficiency in poetry, their lawlessness and courage and love of liberty, their revengefulness and hospitality are well known. Polygamy and slavery were in vogue among them, and were4 sanctioned in the Qur'an

1 Sayyid Ahmad, &c.
2 A very good account of the religion of the pre-Islamic Arabs is given in Dr. Koelle's "Mohammed and Mohammedanism," pp. 17, sqq.
3 At Tirmidhi.
4 E.g., Surah iv. 3, 28, 29; Surah xxxiii. 48-53[49-53]; Surah ii. 220-238; &c. See also Mishkat, Kitabu'n Nikah.

for all time. But Muhammad seems to have added nothing to the horrors of these evil practices, nay rather to have improved his people to some degree by fixing limits—though very wide ones—to the number of wives and concubines permitted to his followers, and by encouraging rather than hindering the manumission1 or kindly treatment of slaves. Against the cruel practice of female infanticide2 he uttered strong and effectual denunciations. War3 he sanctioned, especially when undertaken for the propagation of the Creed of Islam.

§ 6.—Muhammad was not the first to be impressed with the evils of idolatry as then practised

The Ka'abah.

at Mecca, nor was he the earliest to attempt to introduce a very radical reform in this respect. Arabian writers tell us that, shortly before his time, a small number of earnest and pious citizens of Mecca had ventured to oppose the corrupt religion of their nation. The chief of these were Waraqah bin Naufil, 'Ubaidu'llah bin Jahsh, 'Uthman binu'l Huwairith and Zaid bin 'Amr. These four men met together in private on a great

1 E.g., Surah xxiv. 33. V. Mishkat, Kitabu'l 'Itq.
2 Surah lxxxi. 8, 9; xvi. 60[58], sqq.; xvii. 33[31]. But the Katibu'l Waqidi, p. 255, tells us that Zaid the Hanif used to discourage this practice, and offer himself to support female children if spared.
3 Mishkat, Kitabu'l Jihad: Qur'an, Surah iv. 76, 88[76-91]; viii. 40, 62, 66[39,60,65]; xlvii. 4, 5 (reading
قَاتِلُوا ); &c. &c

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