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71 ABRAHAM'S ASCENT TO HEAVEN

and groaning, at times happy and rejoicing; of which in the Mishk‚t we have this account: —

When he opened, we went up to the lower heaven. Lo! a man seated, on his right hand were dark figures, and on his left dark figures. When he looked to his right, he laughed; when to the left, he wept. And he said, Welcome to the righteous Prophet, and to the excellent Son. I then asked Gabriel, Who is this? It is Adam, he said, and these dark figures on his right, and on his left, are the spirits of his sons. The people on his right hand are the inhabitants of Paradise; and the dark figures on his left are those of the Fire; when he looks to his right, he smiles; and when he looks to the left, he weeps.

The same tale we find in the ancient "Testament of Abraham," as follows: —

So Michael turned the chariot, and took Abraham towards the east through the first gate of heaven. There Abraham saw two roads; one strait and difficult, the other wide and easy. He beheld also two gates, one wide like its road, and another narrow like the other road. Outside the two gates they beheld a Man sitting on a golden throne, his aspect terrible like unto the Lord. They saw a multitude of souls driven by the angels through the wide gate, but few souls led by the angels through the narrow one. And when the great Man seated on the golden throne saw but few passing through the narrow gate, and so many through the wide gate, forthwith he grasped the hair of his head and his beard on either side, and cast himself weeping and groaning from his throne upon the ground. But when he saw many souls entering in by the narrow gate, he arose from the ground, and with joy and rejoicing seated himself again upon the throne.

Then Abraham asked the Captain of the Host:— My Lord Commander! Who is that great Man adorned with so much grandeur, who sometimes weeps in great distress, and sometimes rejoices and is glad? Then the Spirit (Michael) answered:— This is Adam, the first created man, adorned with so

THE SOURCES OF ISLAM 72

much glory; and here he beholds the world and the multitudes who derive their existence from himself. When he beholds many souls passing the narrow gate, then rising up he seats himself upon his throne in joy and gladness, because the narrow gate is for the righteous and leadeth unto life eternal. Those passing through it are on the way to Paradise, and hence the first created Adam rejoiceth, because he seeth souls that are saved. But when he beholds many passing through the wide gate, then he seizes the hair of his head, beats and casts himself to the ground crying bitterly. For the wide gate leadeth the wicked to everlasting destruction.

It were easy to shew that many other passages in the Qur'an are in close accord with the tales of ignorant Christians, or of heretical writers, anterior to the Prophet; but the examples given above may amply suffice . Before closing the chapter, however, it seems proper to ask whether Muhammad, having borrowed so much from fictitious works, has taken anything at all from the Gospel, or Apostolic writings. In answer to this serious question; we reply that throughout the Qur'an only one verse is quoted from the Gospel; and by a well-known Traditionist possibly one verse from St. Paul.

First. In Surah vii. 38 it is written:- They that charge our signs with falsehood and proudly reject them, the gates of heaven shall not be opened to them, nor shall they enter Paradise until a camel pass through the eye of a needle:— compared with this in three of the Gospels:— "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." 1

Second. Abu Hureira tells in the Mishk‚t of the Prophet having stated that God Almighty had said as


1 Matthew xix. 24; Mark x. 25; Luke xviii. 25.
           

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