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CHAPTER III.

HOW IT WORKS.

THE law of apostasy as outlined in our last chapter is not a dead letter. It is known to all Moslems from their youth up, if not in its detail of legal penalties, yet in its power of producing an attitude bitterly hostile toward converts to Christianity. What else could such a law produce except a fanatic attitude toward all who are not Moslems? The more Mohammedan a country or a community, the more does it despise the Christian. Those who have wandered in Arabia in the tracks of C. M. Doughty recognize the picture he gives of the Arab's attitude toward the Nasrany. "'Allah curse the Yahud and Nasara.' Some of the camelmen said, 'Thou wast safe in thine own country, thou mightest have continued there; but since thou art come into the land of the Moslemin, God has delivered thee into our hands to die - so perish all the Nasara! and be burned in hell with your father, Sheytan.' "1

Apostates from Islam run grave risks in Arabia. Even to this day in the coast towns, where the Moslem law is not allowed to operate, this desire to kill a convert remains, and it must be guarded against.

"'I shall certainly shoot my brother with this revolver if I ever see him going to the Christians' Sunday afternoon service!' So declared recently the brother of one of the converts baptized in Basrah in 1920. 'Oh, please stay away from the church service, so that your brother will not carry out his threat,' the convert's mother pleaded with him. 'You say your new religion is a religion of love,' she continued; 'you will not show love if you give your brother a chance to kill you. For her sake he stayed away some Sundays until his brother went to India. His mother finally became convinced that he was in very truth determined to remain a Christian, and her visits to him have become less frequent. Recently she said, 'It would be a feast-

1 Wanderings in Arabia, by C. M. Doughty (London: Duckworth), vol. ii, p.279.


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day for me if you would only say, "Secretly, I'm a Moslem."' He replied, 'It would be a feast-day for me if I could only hear you say, "I'm a Christian, but secretly."' 'There's no doubt of it,' she declared, 'you are indeed a Christian.' Callers come to the hospital just to look at this convert, and to see how his change of religion has changed his appearance. Two Arabs from the interior came once while he was taking a noon-day nap. 'Where is he? Where is he?' they asked. A patient uncovered our friend's face. 'Here he is,' he said. 'But he still looks like a man!' they exclaimed. 'What did you expect to find?' they were asked, but they hastened away without answering. Children point him out to each other as they pass the hospital and see him on one of the benches, and they all curse him with expert tongues."1

It is a long call from the East Coast of Arabia to the University of Michigan in the United States, but the sword of Damocles that threatens and intimidates every convert hangs there, too, as by a thread. A few years ago I met an Indian Moslem student at the University, who was eager for baptism, and had a thorough knowledge of the New Testament; but, said he, "I am afraid to confess Christ publicly because of my father in the Punjab. The arm of Islam," he continued, "is long and cruel, and I do not know what might happen to me if my father heard that I had denied his faith and trampled on my long heritage as a Moslem."

From every mission field there are abundant illustrations of how this law of the apostate works to intimidate, and leads to persecution where it does not actually end in the death of the convert. Dr. R. S. McClanahan says: "Although I cannot give many instances of those who have really suffered because of this law, yet I know of one young man who became a Christian in the Delta some years ago, who, after being baptized at Alexandria and becoming an official in the postal department, has been having all kinds of difficulty placed in his way because of his being unable to prove this change which he has made. The Christians who have known him since childhood are intimidated and afraid to testify that he changed his name from Abd el Majid to Abd el Masih; and the Moslems in his village

1 Neglected Arabia. Quarterly Report for 1922.


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in the Delta of course will never testify to the change. The government officials, hiding behind some formality, are trying to prevent him from holding his regular standing by raising the question as to whether Abd el Masih is the identical Abd el Majid whose name appeared in certain credentials which he -received for successful work during the war."

Another missionary in Egypt states, regarding a visit made some years ago to a village near Denshawi in the Menoufieh province: "I visited this village to meet with a tailor there who was reading the Scriptures, and was asking for help in solving difficulties which had arisen during his reading. It was impossible to have a private talk with him, and the visit issued in a very interesting discussion in the presence of a crowd of over thirty persons, shut up in the little tailor shop in the centre of the village; the tailor himself, at my suggestion, - being the spokesman. Shortly after my visit the notorious Denshawi troubles took place, and during the confusion and disorder which ensued, and whilst the officials were engrossed in the trial, the Omdeh of the village gave the tailor a cup of coffee. He died almost immediately afterwards, and was quietly buried and forgotten. As I was leaving after the discussion at which the Omdeh had been present, he said in my hearing 'No one in this village has ever become a Christian, and I will see to it that no one ever does.' It seems to me that there can be only one inference to be drawn from this incident. This man was not a convert, but simply an enquirer. If this was done with an enquirer, what would be done when time and opportunity afforded a chance to enforce Islamic law against a convert?"

Both these incidents are comparatively recent; and the spirit of Islam has not changed, although there has been much shouting for liberty, freedom and independence. The pastors - of the evangelical churches are themselves intimidated by threats when they baptize Moslem converts in Egypt.

"At the winter meeting of the Assiout Presbytery, February 1922," writes W. T. Pairman, "the pastor of Sanabo presented a request from a man called Mohammed P for baptism for himself and his little daughter. The pastor said that in his opinion this man was a true believer. He had been attending


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church for some four years and had asked for baptism several times, but had always been put off. Presbytery appointed a committee of two, the pastor and myself, to examine this man, and advise what action should be taken. Although he was an unlettered man, I found that he was well grounded in the doctrines of Christianity, and in no uncertain tones could speak of a real spiritual experience. The pastor gave him a very good character, and said he had no doubts concerning him. We reported to Presbytery that in our opinion this was an undoubted convert, and advised his baptism. At the close of that session he and his little daughter were baptized. The man was a widower, and the daughter was placed in the orphanage at Assiout by her father and the pastor. Presbytery then dismissed, and the man went away. He wrote to his relatives at Sanabo, informing them of what he had done, and telling them it was of no use for them to say anything; he had made up his mind, had acted, and it was irrevocable. If they wished to see him, they could visit him at Mallawi. They went to Mallawi, but he had gone and no one knew where. They immediately went to the pastor and threatened to beat him to death if he did not disclose the man's whereabouts. The pastor said he could not do so; then the relatives of the convert insisted on his going with them to the orphanage and asking for the girl. He first denied any knowledge of her whereabouts, but finally went with them, and the girl was handed over. They then said, 'Since you knew where the girl was you must know where the man is.' And although they threatened to kill him if he did not tell, he insisted that he did not know, and said that he had no further responsibility as the man was of full age, and not a child. But he was so alarmed that he left the town and the church, taking his wife and family with him. Finally the convert was found by the authorities and arrested at Deirout; but when he was confronted by the relatives and the Kadi, he stood firm and refused to recant. What has happened since then, I do not know. The pastor on my advice returned to his church and is still there."

The following instances of persecution are found in the reports of the Egypt General Mission (1903-1922): "A father saw his son reading the Bible, and taking it from him consigned it to


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the flames, and attempted to fatally injure the boy by throwing him over the balusters. Later the lad received a second copy of the Word of God; and a tract which for weeks he carried hidden in his pocket. When the father finally chanced to see it, he gave the boy a cruelly severe beating, and continued his ill-treatment until his son was forced to leave home." Of another convert we read that he was beaten daily with a native whip, and only those who have seen them know what they are like. Since he remained obdurate, burning pieces of wood were brought and placed red hot on his body to force him to recant, but it was all of no avail. He said, "Kill me, and I will go straight to be with Jesus." Some of his companions suffered in a similar way. In one case the father decided to kill his son, so he poured paraffin oil all over him, and was just going to light it when an uncle came in and pleaded for the life of the son. The father listened to the appeal, and banished his son from his house and home for ever.

In 1912 a storm of persecution arose against A. T.. His clothes were taken away, his Bible burnt. His father attempted to poison him. His uncle shot him, the bullet entering his leg. His father told him to make his choice between his fortune (some £2,000) and his faith, and with the chief men of the village actually entered his private apartments in the house (his harem, or wife's rooms), a terrible insult in Islam, to search for incriminating papers. Twice attempts were made to poison him; twice they attempted by bribes and threats to make his wife unfaithful to him. The whole story of this man is one of loneliness, poverty and contempt, cheerfully borne for Christ.

In 1923 a young man in one of the villages of the Delta accepted Christ and secured work as a cook. "At home his Testament was burned, and his brothers made it very unpleasant for him; but that was as nothing compared to the storm which broke over him when, after due preparation, he decided to go forward and openly confess Christ in baptism. Relatives from far and near gathered at his home, threatening and cursing him: a cousin, who had been in jail, said that even if he hid in a fortress of brass he would get him out and kill him. Under the threats and hatred the young man's courage failed,


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and he promised not to be baptized then. Three times he has now come to the point of being baptized, and through fear has withdrawn each time. His brothers, who have often heard the Gospel, are dead against him-his own mother, who really loves him, would rather see him dead than baptized."1

If this is the condition of affairs in Egypt to-day we cannot expect greater liberty in Turkey. Our correspondents write of converts who were imprisoned and after their imprisonment utterly disappeared. This was the fate of twenty men and women from the Cesarea district some few years ago. "The attitude at present instead of being more tolerant is more strict and merciless. The Nationalist Government is composed for the most part of men who are not religious at all. They are using Islam as a means to accomplish the ends being pursued by the Pan-Islamic movement. In the territories under the Greek and Allied occupation there has been an unusual freedom during the last three years, but in Anatolia this period has already closed, and it will probably be closed in Constantinople very soon, and the law against apostasy will be rigidly enforced. How long this state of things may continue, no one can say. It may not last very long. Many believe the attempt will be made to punish with death any Moslem who should become a Christian."

President C. P. Gates, of Robert College, writes : "I have known instances of converts who suffered because of the fanaticism of their co-religionists. For example, while I was in Mardin, a Moslem became a Christian and was sent to Mecca. He was there kept in confinement, but one evening he stepped out of doors and was shot. In Smyrna a Moslem became a Christian, and two years later was stabbed. One of my former students became a Christian and was tracked down as he was about to take a steamer to leave the country, and sent back under guard expecting a sentence of death. He, however, managed to escape, and is still alive. It is a well-known fact

1 Miss M. Cay, of Shubra Zanga, Egypt, also calls attention to the fact that, although the law regarding apostates cannot be legally enforced in Egypt, the people in the country villages are chiefly afraid of their own relatives and neighbours, who apply the law indirectly; for, as a matter of fact, "they generally accuse the convert falsely of something that has no apparent connection with religion, in the hope of getting him severely punished under the criminal code."


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that converts to Christianity from Islam are liable to be killed, not by judicial condemnation and execution, but by secret assassination or by mob violence."

The Rev. S. Ralph Harlow, in his Student Witnesses for Christ, tells the story of Shemseddin, who was a convert at the college near Smyrna, and who suffered grave persecution. "In the life of our campus Shemseddin's influence was wonderful. His conversion marked a turning-point in the spiritual life of the college, and Greek and Armenian boys who bore the name of Christian, but to whom Christianity had been of little real value as an influence in their lives, now stopped to inquire as to the hidden power of their own faith.

"Shemseddin was the first student in the college to sign the Student Volunteer declaration. For two years he continued thus to bear witness to Christ as Lord. His daily words and acts were indeed a Gospel written in flesh and blood.

"And now (1921) from across the water comes this word: that outside the walls of Smyrna his body has been found, stabbed in many places. Just how he died, who killed him, those in Smyrna have never been able to determine. But one thing we do know, that only his earthly body was struck by the knives of the murderers, and that his spirit, clad in the armour of God, went to meet his Captain face to face."

Under British rule in Nigeria no death sentence can be passed on any convert from Islam, but some years ago this was not the case. "In Kano," says Dr. Walter R. Miller, "about twenty years before our advent a Mullah who had been to Mecca heard the Gospel while passing through Egypt; and, although only feebly understanding it, had apparently been impressed by the grandeur of the personality of Christ. He returned to Kano and preached what he knew. He was then tortured and died, refusing to give up what he believed. Nearly thirty years later, as a direct sequence of this, many of his disciples who had fled came under the sound of the Gospel. To make a long story short, a little Christian village was started here, a community of over one hundred and thirty souls lived under Christian law and teaching, and many were baptized. Sleeping sickness has, during the last four years, nearly annihilated this little community. I cannot say that there is


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any change of attitude on the part of Moslems here. I believe, nay I have proof, that were the British power removed, every Christian would be executed at once. It is an anomaly that the British government prevents a Christian inheriting from his Moslem father, even though the latter and his son have continued to live in most friendly relations."

We are told that conditions in Persia have changed radically in the last twenty years. The constitution has resulted in more liberty of thought and action. The police department now handles many matters which the Mullahs formerly attended to, and safeguards converts from mob violence and the fanaticism of individual ecclesiastics. The fact that converts are under the wing of foreign missionaries often makes the multitude fear to touch them, as they suppose such apostates receive some sort of political protection from them.

A few years ago conditions were different. All of the early converts faced persecution, and some were put to death.

From this land comes the story of Mirza Paulos, a Mohammedan priest, who was converted to Christianity. After his conversion he was subjected by the Moslem ecclesiastics to all sorts of indignities and punishments. "At last, finding that not chains nor torture could move him, he was cast into the streets almost naked and told to be gone, and on pain of death never to go near the missionaries again. Paulos went straight to the man who had baptized him and said, bruised and torn as he was, 'Sahib, I have thought that I was one of Christ's sheep but, now that He has counted me worthy to thus suffer for Him, I know I am.' Bearing the marks of the Lord Jesus on his body, despoiled of all his worldly goods for the sake of his faith, despised as an outcast by his race, Paulos tried in different ways to earn his daily bread. His children began to sell fruit on the streets, but, being recognized, their fruit was considered polluted by the touch of a Christian's child. Finally, with wife and children, Paulos forsook the city which had always been his home, in which he had been respected and honoured; and, after some months, arrived in Teheran, where for five years he lived - sometimes in distress and need, sometimes in persecution, always in poverty: but neyer once thinking of return to the faith which would reward him with


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position and comparative wealth. He seldom referred to what he endured, but said: 'I do not like to speak of these things as suffering. Compared with the sufferings of my Lord they are nothing. I cease not to praise and thank Him that He has made known His salvation to me.' "1

From North Africa word comes that although persecution according to the law of apostasy does not exist openly, all those who turn from Islam to Christ suffer from their relatives such nagging or bullying or coaxing that one often sees "a look of dumb agony over the severance of family ties."

One correspondent goes on to say: "We feel that the danger that they run here is of a worse order. All around them is the risk of brain drugs and spells and hypnotism, and we have come to the conclusion that a large proportion of the seeming backsliding of converts may be traced to these combined influences; for I cannot but think that the spells (i.e. definite Satanic influences invoked and brought to bear) have their part in the havoc wrought. As regards the physical side of the attempts; we think, from comparing notes on symptoms with a missionary from India, that datura is largely used for drugging. Whatever the drug may be, it is well known in their domestic intrigues, and can be administered unnoticed in food or drink. It seems to excite the emotions and paralyses the will power. According to the description that we have had from one poor soul after another, a great darkness comes down over their spirits, and lasts for several months before it wears away, and they feel meantime that they cannot come near us or have anything to do with us."We have just now a girl convert in one of our stations who walked faithfully with Christ for years, but fell last spring under the power of a sorcerer woman who was, we believe, sent by the girl's elder brother to live in the house on purpose to turn her from us; and suddenly she would have nothing to do with us. 'She knows all my thoughts to the bottom of my heart, and I have to do as she tells me' - that was her explanation for refusing all intercourse. In answer to prayer the woman was got out of the house, but the cloud on the girl's spirit is only now beginning to lift. Another story comes to mind

1 S. M. Jordan, in The Indian Witness, Nov. 8th, 1906.


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that may seem to some incredible, but it was told me by the missionary concerned, who fought and died in the ranks of the North Africa Mission with a passion for souls that few have shared. One of the converts in her solitary station was a young fellow of good family. All went well with him for a time, then suddenly he left off coming to the Mission House, and all touch was lost except round by heaven. The winter came, and the workers were clearing out the fireplace when they caught sight of this man's name on a bit of paper. They smoothed it out and deciphered it. It proved to be a charm written to prevent his setting foot in the house or having anything to do with the missionaries. They prayed in the Name of Jesus that the evil spell might be broken, and burned the paper. Within an hour the convert was back in that room, bowed in broken-hearted confession to God of his backsliding. Later on he told the missionary that he knew he had been drugged, and that he had shrunk with a shrinking that amounted to hatred from the thought of going near them."

These remarkable experiences are paralleled by similar experiences in East Arabia, where drugs and sorcery are often used to influence those who are turning away from Islam.

Dr. F. Harper writes that in such cases the chief mischief in Egypt is done by a drug called manzoul, which contains mostly Indian hemp (Canabis Indica). Datura has an astringent action, and is used for the same purpose-to increase sexual passion.

Dr. Henry H. Jessup, in giving an account of fifty-three years spent as a missionary in Syria, states that he baptized no fewer than thirty Moslems, and had knowledge of between forty and fifty converts; but the great majority had to flee the country for fear of persecution."

A Moslem convert, Naamet Ullah, who was converted in 1895, came to Beirut in the spring. He was arrested, thrown into the army, and wrote me a letter from the military barracks. He was taken with his regiment to Hauran, where he deserted, reappeared in Beirut, thence to Tripoli, where he took ship to Egypt, and disappeared from view."1

"In June, 1900, two men with their wives, converts from

1 Fifiy-three Years in Syria, by Henry H. Jessup, vol. ii, p.635.


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Islam, passed through here, en route for Egypt. They were brought to accept Christ through their godly Protestant neighbours in an interior city, and, after long probation, were received as brethren. We obtained passage for them on a steamer bound for Alexandria, and they went to their new home in Egypt, where they engaged at once in self-supporting work and gave great satisfaction by their sincerity and steadfastness. The old mother of one of the women insisted on coming with them to Beirut and after they sailed returned to Damascus. In order to relieve the minds of the brethren who sent them on to us, and who feared they might be prevented from sailing, I wrote a letter to one of them as follows: 'The goods you forwarded to us came safely, and we shipped them to Egypt by the Khedivial steamer, June 30th, to our business agent. The large bale, which was found too old for shipment, we returned to the Damascus agent to be forwarded to you. We have hopes of great profit from the portion sent to Egypt.'"

The reason for writing in this commercial style was that an Arabic letter giving the literal facts might have been read by the postal police, and might have brought some of the parties concerned into trouble.1

Mrs. V. H. Starr of Peshawar tells of a Moslem convert, a lad of eighteen, who laid down his life for Christ. He belonged to the wild Afghan tribe of the Afridis, and came to the hospital for treatment. He remained as a servant, and soon asked to become a Christian. His father and brother came down on business in 1914. They were glad to see their boy again, and to find him earning regular wages. As they appeared friendly, no alarm was felt. Soon after the father asked permission to have his boy visit him. He was given a day off; and, dressed in his best, and with a happy smile, departed. Evening came and he did not return. No trace of the lad was found. Afterwards the truth came to light. He had been enticed from the hospital, and reproached with the disgrace brought on the family because he had turned Christian. There was but one alternative, either the new faith must be given up, or his life. Details are unknown, but the fact is certain that this Afridi lad was stoned to death by his own father, because for him

1 Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 691-692.


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there was no alternative. Perhaps for this little Stephen of the twentieth century the heavens also opened and he saw the glory of God and Jesus.1

Even in Java, where the number of converts from Islam connected with the various Dutch missions is nearly thirty thousand, the spirit of persecution still exists; and many a convert finds that a man's foes are those of his own household. In Het Zendings Blad of the Reformed Church (October 1923) we find a translation of a pathetic letter written by a Javanese girl to her companions, from which we translate these paragraphs: "You know that my brother, Joseph, has been driven away from home, and that your poor sister is all alone. I must tell you what happened to me on Thursday, May 31st, at two o'clock. My father called me, and began to talk as usual against the Christian religion. Our conversation will not interest you; but when I began to cry, my father and also my mother began to beat me. They dragged me to a room in the rear of our house, and the more I cried the more angry they became. Father struck me with his sandals on my head and on my back, while both my father and my mother seized me fast when I tried to escape. Then my mother took away my bracelets because I pronounced the name of Christ.

"What do you suppose my father said to me? He turned to my mother, and exclaimed, 'Let us kill her; one daughter more or less does not matter.' Again I tried to escape, but I was locked in a small room. When my father said, 'Let us kill her,' it was no mere expression of his lips-he intended to do so, beating my head against the hard walls and trying to choke me. Then I began to pray, and mother said, 'Look! Look! She is praying again.' Then my father struck me on my face with his sandals; and they left me. I remembered the story of Paul in the dungeon-how, after his beating, he sang praise to God; and I was filled with a great longing to sing. So I sang softly, so that no one might hear me, 'We praise Thee, Thee alone!

"At six o'clock I heard my mother approach, and I said to her, 'Let me out!' At seven o'clock father came, but it was only to torture me with all kinds of questions-difficult

1 Mrs. V. H. Starr, in The Moslem World, vol. xi, p. 80.


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questions-which I could not answer. After describing other punishments which she received, and the pain she felt in her body, the letter goes on to say, 'After I had been crying for an hour, mother opened the door, and told me to come and eat; while my father threatened to beat me if I attempted to escape. Mother asked me if I would now cease to confess my faith in the Christian teaching, but I did not dare to promise because my deepest desire is to remain a Christian. They have taken away my Bibles and my books, and I envy Joseph, my brother, because he has only been driven away from home.'" This took place in Central Java, in connection with one of the Christian day schools for Moslem children.

One of the outstanding converts in Egypt was Makhail Mansur. Some thirty years ago he completed his twelve years course in the Azhar University, and although scarcely twenty years of age, had already attained the rank of a Sheikh. A brilliant student, he was master of the Arabic language and literature, but had never been in contact with Christianity. One day he chanced upon a single verse of Scripture quoted in an attack on Christianity, that gripped him irresistibly - "And this is eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Learning that these words were quoted from the Gospel by John, he was eager to obtain a copy of the book. With a Bible hidden under his flowing robes he went home and began to read. In telling of this incident afterwards, he said that he never stopped reading all the night. The words of the book burned like fire in his soul. He wrestled with doubts and fears and worked his way through theological problems. Like Saul of Tarsus he saw all his past life and all his prospects in ruins if he became a Christian. But the decision was made, and then he sought baptism. Fearing to confess his faith in his native town, and because of delay and misunderstanding, he eventually went to a Roman Catholic church in another town, and was there baptized. For some years he remained with that church, teaching in their schools. He was taken to Rome and introduced to Pope Leo XIII. But this journey, instead of impressing him with the greatness of Rome, showed him her weakness. He returned to the


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Evangelical church after coming back to Egypt, and remained a faithful member of that church as long as he lived. At first he was employed as a teacher, but he soon began to exercise his marvellous power of oratory, and for many years held meetings for religious discussion. These meetings increased in size, until no mission building was large enough to hold the crowds, almost wholly composed of Moslems and many of them students from the Azhar. For eighteen years he continued these meetings in Cairo twice a week. The timidity of the early days completely left him. His Christian friends sometimes feared for his safety, but he himself seemed not to know what fear was. He persisted in regarding all as his friends. Occasionally he received a threatening letter. And once he held up such a letter in his meeting before a dense crowd, and opening his coat, said, "If anyone wishes to shoot, I am ready, but I shall continue, by the grace of God, to preach Christ's Gospel." He was a man of striking personality, a quick sense of humour and a rare friendliness of manner. He died in 1918. How many were definitely won through his ministry it is not easy to say, but one of them was his own brother, who shares a measure of his gifts and is at present continuing his ministry. Both brothers are an illustration of the fact that boldness to confess Christ is the part of wisdom even when dealing with fanatic Moslems in such a city as Cairo.

Aden and its hinterland have so long been under British rule (since 1837) that one would expect the law against apostates had lost its power, but the spirit of Islam dies hard. "Sheikh Salem, a convert, did undoubtedly suffer from this law," writes Dr. J. C. Young. "when he was up in Dhala with Captain Warneford, as his Arabic secretary, the Arabs there held a meeting in the mosque. It was openly declared that he ought to be put to death, and he was warned that his life was in danger; so he returned to Aden, where he was safe, except from the sudden stab of some frenzied fanatic, of which I am glad to say there were none in Aden at the time. Although, only a few weeks ago a large stone was thrown at a youth who was sitting on the seashore speaking to the Rev. C. J. Rasmussen and two of the Danish ladies. This lad, years ago when only a boy of twelve, had been attracted by Sheikh


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Salem's message in our hospital; and on his return to Aden after the war he told the Danish missionary lady who was dressing his foot that he had heard the story of the Gospel years before and had never lost the impression made upon him by the message."

In Palestine before the war, conditions were such that Bishop Ridley, who visited the Mission in 1908, said "Baptism of Moslems is not unknown in Palestine, though the converts are relatively few. In some cases they have been sent to Egypt for safety. The baptism of a convert under the Turk is a signal for imprisonment, and probably his martyrdom will follow. Despite treaties, freedom of conscience is not tolerated... Not long since a sheikh entered a mission school, dragged out one of the pupils and beat her almost to death. Among those who found Christ in the Jaffa Hospital was an Afghan, but he was shot at afterwards by a Moslem, whom he declined to prosecute, and he was brought back to the hospital, where he was baptized at his own request before he died."'1

Although the number of converts in India has been considerable the difficulties they meet, even there, are great. What Sir G. K. Scott-Moncrieff wrote in his valuable book, Eastern Missions from a Soldier's Standpoint, in 1907, is still largely true in some parts of India. "Of course the law of the land gives, as far as it can do so, religious liberty, and no one can be punished in a court of justice on the plea of conversion to another faith. But let a man once pass the line which divides respect for the religion of the ruling race from acceptance of its teaching, and he will then find all the power of bigotry and persecution directed against him in every possible way. I know of two cases where Christian sub-ordinates in the Public Works, both converts from Islam, were the victims of cleverly concocted conspiracies, got up by their former co-religionists, with evidence so skillfully 'cooked' as to be on the face of it incontrovertible, and yet to one who knew the men incredible. Both conspiracies were successful in achieving the ruin of the victims. I have known the case of a young chief, about to be baptized, who was kidnaped,

1 History of the Church Missionary Society, by Eugene Stock (London, 1916), Vol. iv, p 127.


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stripped and beaten, after bribes had been found useless; and a young Mohammedan friend of mine, who was as fully persuaded of the truth of the Gospel as ever a man could be, implored me to take him to England, there to be baptized, for he said that life in his country would be an impossibility."1

Along the northern border of India Moslem fanaticism is more intense. "At Mardan," wrote Dr. Marie K. T. Hoist, "a mullah's daughter came to the hospital to seek advice about her eyes. While in the hospital she was at first very much opposed to the teaching, then slowly became interested, and one Sunday afternoon, when Bartimeus was the subject of the lesson in the ward, she finally decided for Christ. How marvellously God took possession of that young girl, gave her strength to leave all and confess Jesus in baptism, and how later, when threatened with death in her own home across the border, she confessed Christ without flinching, refusing to repeat the Kalima, and finally through a Mohammedan woman was helped to escape, might fill an interesting chapter in a future book. 'Was it very hard?' the missionary asked, on her return from furlough. 'Yes, at first. I was so lonely. Then flashed through my mind the text you gave me before you left: Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.'"

The story of Abdul Karim, an Afghan who found Christ in the C.M.S. Hospital at Quetta, and afterwards joined Dr. T. L. Pennell at Bannu, is radiant with the glory of the martyrs. An apostate from Islam, but an Apostle of Christ!

"In the summer of 1907 Abdul Karim was taken with an intense desire to enter Afghanistan, and preach the Gospel there. He crossed over the frontier at Chaman, and was seized by some Afghan soldiers. These finally brought him before the Governor of Kandahar. He was offered rewards and honours if he would recant and accept Mohammedanism, and, when he refused, he was cast into prison loaded with eighty pounds of chains. He was examined by H.M. the Amir and the Amir's brother, Nasirullah; but remained firm in his confession of Christianity.

"Finally, he was marched off to Kabul under very painful

1 Ibid., vol. iv, pp.154-155.


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conditions. As far as could be gathered from reports that filtered down to India, he had to walk loaded with chains and with a bit and bridle in his mouth from Kandahar to Kabul, while any Mohammedan who met him on the way was to smite him on the cheek and pull a hair from his beard. After reaching Kabul, it was reported that he died in prison there; but another report, which purported to be that of an eye-witness, and seemed worthy of credence, related that he had been set at liberty in Kabul, and had set out alone for India.

"On the way the people in a village where he was resting found out who he was - probably one of them had heard him preaching in India - and they carried him off to their mosque to force him to repeat the Mohammedan Kalimah, 'There is no God but God, and Mohammed is the Prophet of God.' This is the accepted formula of accepting Islam, and if a convert can be persuaded to say this publicly, it is regarded as his recantation.

"Abdul Karim refused. A sword was then produced, and his right arm cut off, and he was again ordered to repeat it, but again refused. The left arm was then severed in the same way, and, on his refusing the third time his throat was cut. There is no doubt that, whatever the details of his martyrdom may be, Abdul Karim witnessed faithfully up to the last for his Saviour Christ, and died because he would not deny Him."1

The catalogue of tortures endured because of faith in God, given in the eleventh chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, could be paralleled in the lives of those who have suffered for Christ because they were apostates from Islam. Every one who makes the choice faces the possibilities of loneliness, disinheritance, persecution and even death. We are reminded of the story told in the life of Cardinal Lavigerie. One reads how when he founded the White Fathers, that wonderful missionary society which has had so glorious a part in the work for the conversion of Africa, young men from all over Europe came to Algiers to beg for admission. They had heard the call to Africa, with its burning climate, its deserts and its mysteries, its cruel negroes and its fanatical mussulmans, and, as soldats

1 Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier, by T. L. Pennell (London,1909), pp.293-294. This whole story must be compared with that given in chapter II regarding the treatment of the earliest apostates in Islam. The Afghans were doubtless familiar with such Traditions.


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d'elite, were ready to start for the post of danger. On the papers of one young priest when he presented them, the Archbishop, in place of the usual formula, wrote: Visum pro martyno, "Passed for martyrdom." "Read, do you accept that? " he said, returning them. " I came for that," replied the priest simply.


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"Mohammed did not merely preach toleration; he embodied it into a law. To all conquered nations he offered liberty of worship. A nominal - tribute was the only compensation they were required to pay for the observance and enjoyment of their faith. Once the tax or tribute was agreed - upon, every interference with their religion or the liberty of conscience -was regarded as a direct contravention of the laws of Islam. Could so much -be said of other creeds? Proselytism by the sword was wholly contrary to the instincts of Mohammed."

SEYID AMEER ALI, in The Spirit of Islam, p.175.

"Das Mittel dessen sich Muhammed bediente um die Herzen zu gewinnen und seiner Lehre Eingang zu verschaffen war in letzter Instanz die aussere Gewalt. Fur ihn war die Ausbreitung des Glaubens wesentlich identisch mit den Kampf gegen die Unglšubigen. Muhammed war Prophet und Despot in emer Person."

OTTO PAUTZ, Mohammeds Lehre der Offenbarung, p.283.


The Law of Apostasy

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