1902 Encyclopedia > Mohammedanism (Islam) > Mohammed

Mohammedanism
(Part 2)




MOHAMMED. THE FIRST FOUR CALIPHS.

Mohammed


Mohammed or Mahomet, the founder of Islam, first appears in the full light of history with his Flight to Medina (The Hijra), A.D. 622: and this date, not that of his birth, has been fittingly chosen as the epoch of the Moslem Era. The best-attested tradition places his first appearance as a prophet in Mecca some twelve years earlier (circa 610). He was then forty years old: the forty must be taken as a round number, but as such is doubtless trustworthy. Thus the birth of Mohammed falls about 570 A.D.: it is said to have fallen in the year when Abraha, the Abyssinian viceroy of Yemen, made the expedition against Mecca, mentioned in the Koran, when the Arabs first saw the elephant and first suffered from smallpox.

The time of Mohammed’s birth and youth nothing seemed less likely than that the Arabs should presently make their triumphal entrance into the history of the world as victors over the Greeks and Persians. Nowhere in the Peninsula was there an independent state of any considerable power and importance. At the beginning of the 6th century indeed the princess of Kinda had attempted to form a national kingdom, uniting in particular the tribes of central Arabia; but this kingdom was nothing more than an epic prelude to the true history of the Arabs, which begins with Islam. After the fall of the Kindite dynasty, the old anarchy reigned again among the nomads of the Nejd and the Hijaz,; in all other quarters Greek or Persian influence predominated, extending from the frontier deep into the interior by the aid of two vassal states-the kingdom of the Ghassanids in the Hauran under Greek suzerainty, and that of the Lakhmids in Hira and Anbar under the Persian empire. The antagonism between Byzantium and Ctesiphon was reflected in the feuds of these Arab lordships; but indeed the rivalry of Greek and Persian exercised its influence even on the distant South of the Peninsula. Urged by the Greeks, the Abyssinians had overthrown the Christian-hating realm of the Himyarites, the sunken remnant of the ancient might of the Sabaeans (A.D. 526), the Persians had helped a native prince again to expel the Christians (circa 570), and since then the Persians had retained a footing in the land. Toward the close of the 6th century, their direct and indirect influence in Arabia greatly surpassed that of the Greeks; and since the Kindites had fallen before the kings of Hira, it extended right through the Nejd into Yemen.

In the Hijaz and western Nejd, the district from which Islam and the Arab empire took their beginning, Greeks and Persians, Ghassanids and Lahmids, had not much influence; the nomad tribes, and the few urban common-wealths that existed there, lived free from foreign interference, after the manner of their fathers. Mohammed’s city was Mecca, where the Banu Kinana had formed a settlement round the Ka’ba, the sanctuary of a number of confederate tribes (Ahabish) belonging to that district. The feast annually observed in the days before the full moon of the month Dhu’l-Hijja at Mecca and at "Arafa and Kozah in the vicinity, presented strong attractions for all inhabitants of the Hijaz, and grew into a great fair, at which the Meccans sold to the Bedouins the goods they imported from Syria. Feast and fair gave the city the prosperity which it shared with other cities which, like Mecca, had the advantage of lying near the meeting-place of the two great natural roads to Yemen- that from the north-west along the red Sea coast, and that from the north-east following the lineof the mountains that traverse the Nejd.

By their trading journeys the Koraish had acquired a knowledge of the world, especially of the Graeco-Syrian world: the relative superiority of their culture raised them not only above the Bedouins, but above the agricultural population of such a city as Medina; the art of reading and writing was pretty widely diffused among them. the Koraish within the city were the Banu Ka’n ibn Loay, those in the surrounding country Banu ‘Amir ibn Loay; the townsmen proper were again subdivided into Motayya bun and Ahlaf- the latter were the new citizens, who were distinguished from the old settlers by the same name in other Arabian towns, as in Taif and Hira. The community was a mere confederation of neighboring septs, each occupying its own quarters; there was no magistracy, the town as such had no authority. All political action centered in the several septs and their heads; if they held together against outsiders, this was due to interest and a sense of honor, a voluntary union strengthened by the presence of public opinion. In the time of Mohammed, the most numerous and wealthy sept was that of the Banu Makhzum; but that of the Banu ‘Abdshams was the most distinguished. The Banu Omayya were the most powerful house of ‘Abdshams; their head, Abu Sofyan ibn Harb, exercised a decisive influence in the concerns of the whole community. Mohammed himself was of the Banu Hashim; it is affirmed that these had formerly enjoyed and claimed of right the position actually enjoyed by the Banu Omayya, but this assertion seems to have had its origin in the claims to the Caliphate which the Hashimites (the above of ‘Ali and the "Abbasids) subsequently set up against the Omayyads.

Mohammed’s father, ‘Abdallah b. ‘Abdalmottalib, did not live to see the son’s birth, and his mother Amina died while he was still a child. Mohammed was than cared for first by his oldest paternal uncle, Abu Talib b. ‘Abdamottalid. He was kindly treated, but shared the hardships of a numerous and very poor family; he herded sheep and gathered wild berries in the desert. This is all that we know of his youth (sur. Xciii. 6), all else is legend, containing at most an occasional fragment of truth.

It was, we are told, in his twenty-fifth year that Mohammed, on the recommendation of his uncle, entered the house and business of a wealthy widow named Khadija. For her he made commercial journeys, thus learning to know part of Palestine and Syria, and perhaps receiving impressions which fructified in his soul. By and by he married the widow, who was much his senior; he was a shrewd man, with prepossessing countenance, fair of skin, and black-haired. The marriage was happy, and blessed with several children. The two sons, however, died young; from the elder the father received the surname Abu ‘l-Kasim. The most famous of the daughters was Fatima, who married her father’s cousin, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.

During his married life with Khadija, Mohammed came in contact with a religious movement which had laid hold on some thoughtful minds in medina, Mecca, and Taif. In Mecca, as elsewhere, Arabian heathenism was a traditional form of worship, chiefly concentrated in great feasts at the holy places; it was clung to because it had come down from the fathers. The gods were many; their importance was not due to the attributes ascribed to them, but to their connection with special circles in which they were worshipped. They were the patrons of septs and tribes, and symbolized, so to speak, the holy unity which united the present and past members of these. Above them all stood Allah, the highest and universal God. By him the holiest oaths were sworn; in his name (Bismika Allahumma) treaties and covenants were sealed; the lower gods were not fit to be invoked in such cases, as they belonged to one party instead of standing over both. The enemy was reminded of Allah to deter him from inhuman outrage; enemy of Allah (‘aduw Allah,) was the name of opprobrium for a villain. But, since Allah ruled ove4r all and imposed duties on all, it was not thought that one could enter into special relations with him. In worship he had the last place, those gods being preferred who represented the interests of a specific circle, and fulfilled the private desires of their worshippers. Neither the fear of Allah, however, nor reverence for the gods had much influence. The chief practical consequence of the great feats was the observance of a truce in the holy months, and this in course of time had become mainly an affair of pure practical convenience. In general, the disposition of the heathen Arabs, if it is at all truly reflected in their poetry, was profane in an unusual degree. Wine, the chase, gaming, and love on the one side; vengeance, feuds, robbery, and glory on the other, occupy all the thoughts of the old poets. Their motives to noble deeds are honor and family feeling; they hardly name the gods, much less feel any need of them. the man sets all his trust on himself; he rides alone through the desert, his sword helps him in danger, no God stands by him, he commends his soul to no saint. His reckless egoism may expand to noble self-sacrifice for the family and the tribe; but in this heroism religious impulses have no part, there is nothing mystical in these hard, clear, and yet so passionate natures. The only vein of what can in any sense be called religious feeling appears when the volcano has burned itself out and the storm of life is over; then, it may be, a wail is heard over the vanity of all the restless activity that is now spent. It is very possible that religion meant more to the sedentary Arabs than to the nomads, to whom almost all the ancient poetry belongs; but the difference cannot have been great. The ancient inhabitants of Mecca practiced piety essentially as a trade, just as they do now; their trade depended on the feast, and its fair on the inviolability of the Haram and on the truce of the holy months.

The religion of the Arabs before Mohammed was decrepit and effete. Many anecdotes and verses prove that indifference and scoffing neglect of the gods was nothing uncommon. The need for substitute for the lost religion was not very widely felt. But there were individuals who were not content with a negation, and sought a better religion. Such were Omayya b. Abi’l-Salt in Taif, Zaid b. ‘Amr in Mecca, Abu Kais b. Abi Anas, and Abu ‘Amir in Medina. They were called Haniffs, probably meaning "penotents", men who strive to free themselves from sin. They did not constitute a regular sect, and had in fact no fixed and organized views. They had, no doubt intercourse with one another, but were not a close society; they thought more of their own souls than of propaganda; only in Medina they seem to have been more numerous. They rejected polytheism and acknowledged Allah, but not so much on intellectual grounds as on grounds of conscience. Faith in the one God was with them identical with pious resignation (Islam) to his will; their monotheism was most closely allied to the sense of responsibility and of a coming judgment; it stood opposed to the worldly ideas of the idolaters, and was an impulse to upright and sin-avoiding walk. They were not theorists, but ascetics. It was the primitive ideas of Law and Gospel ("the religion of Abraham") that lived again in them. they felt on the whole less attracted towards the developed forms of the religion of revelation; they rather sought after some new form; few of them attached themselves to existing religious communities .

Mohhamed, it would appear, came into connection with these Hanifs through a cousin of his wife, Waraka b. Naufal, who was one of them. their doctrines found a fruitful soil in his heart; he was seized with a profound sense of dependence on the ominepresent and omnipotent Lord, and of responsibility towards him. Following the example of old Zaid b. ‘Amr, he now frequently withdrew for considerable periods to the solitude of the bare and desolate Mount Hira, and meditated there with prayer and asctic exercises. For years, perhaps, he went on in these purely individual exercises, without anything to distinguish him essentially from the others who held similar views. But in him the Hanifite ideas lodged themselves in a natural temperament which had a sickly tendency to excitement and vision, and so produced a fermentation that ended in an explosion. Thus he became a prophet; he felt himself constrained to leave the silent circle of ascetics and make a propaganda for the truth. In this resolve he was unquestionably influenced by what he knew of the example of the Biblical prophets, perhaps also by the circumstance that a longing after a new founder of religion was diffused among the Hanifs, and found support in some dim acquaintance with the Messianic hopes of the Jews.

That Mohammed did not independently produce his own ideas is indisputable; nor is it to be doubted that he derived them from the Hanifs. But what was the ultimate source of these first motions towards Islam. In general they areascribed to a Jewish source. Jews were very numerous in Hijaz and Yemen, and had perfectly free intercourse with the Arabs, to whom they undoubtedly imparted a quantity of Biblical and religious material. Mohammed in particular was indebted to the Jews for almost all the stories and a great part of the laws of the Koran (laws of marriage, purity, etc.), and the theological language of Islam is full of Jewish words. But the original and productive forces of Islam did not spring from Judaism, least of all the ideas of the Judgment and of the inexorable demands set before the creature by his Creator, which are so dominant in the older Suras. A distinction must be drawn between the primitive impulses and the material added later; Mohammed did not get his leaven from the Jews, they only supplied him afterwards with meal. Neither in truth can Christianity be viewed as the proper source of Islam – Christianity, that is, in any of its great historical developments. The Arabs knew Greek, Syrian, and Abyssinian-Himyaritic churches; manifold influences from these doubtless reached Islam, but in none of them did the idea of Judgment still stand as the central point of religion; the living sense of divine reality ruling over the life was half extinguished by the developments of theology. But in Syro-Babylonian desert, off the line of the church’s main advance, primitive forms of Christianity, perhaps also of Essenism, still survived, which the course of church history had left untouched. To these belong on the one hand the Sabians ("Baptists," from ),on the other the numerous anchorets of these regions. The connection of Islam with the Sabians appears from the fact that in Mecca and Taif its adherent were simply known as Sabians. From them, however, were derived, it would seem, for the most part only externals, though the importance of these must on no account he undervalued. The deepest influence exercised on the Hanifs, and through them on the Prophet, appears to have come from the anhorite ascetics. How popular they were with the Arabs, appears from the Bedouin poetry; what power they exercised over the minds even of the heathen, is proved by various episodes in the history of Ghassan and Hira; how well the Arabs knew the difference between them and the shaven clergy, is seen in the instructions of Abubekr to the commanders in the Syrian campaigns. It was not their doctrine that proved impressive, but the genuine earnestness of their consecrated life, spent in preparation for the life to come, for the day of judgment, and forming the sharpest contrast to the profanity of heathenism. Ascesis and meditation were the chiefpoints wit the Hanifs also, and they are sometimes called by the same name with the Christian monks. It can hardly be wrong to conclude that these nameless witnesses of the Gospel, unmentioned in church history, scattered the seed from which sprang the germ of Islam.

The tradition gives a telling story of the way in which Mohammed at length came to proclaim openly what had long been living and working within him; in other words, how he became a prophet. Once, in the month of Ramadan, while he repeated his pious exercises and mediations on Mount Hira, the angel Gabriel came to him by night as he slept, held a silken scroll before him and compelled him though he could not read, to recite what stood written on it. This was the first descent of a passage of the heavenly book, the source of revelation from which Moses and Jesus and all prohets had drawn; and so Mohammed was called to be a prophet. The words with which Gabriel had summoned him to read, remained graven on his heart. They were the beginning of sur. Xcvi.

"Read! In the name of thy Lord, who created, created man from a drop. Read! For thy Lord is the Most High who hath taught by the pen, hath taught to man what he knew not. Nay truly man walketh in delusion, when he deems that he suffices for himself; to thy Lord they must all return."

What is here recorded is the commencement, not of Mohammed’s knowledge, but of his prophesying. That the latter was due to a vision experienced by him on a night of the month Ramadan (sur. Xcvii. 1 ii, 181) is certain, and it is at least very possible that the form of the vision was governed by the traditional conception of revelation and prophecy which Mohammed had learned to accept. It is, of course, uncertain whether the words in which the angel called the Prophet are really contained in sur xcvi. Certainly this sura is very early, and its contents are, indeed, the best expression of the original ideas of Islam. Man lives on content with himself, but he must one day return to his Creator and Lord, and give account to him. This is in a sense the material principle of the oldest faith of Islam; the formal principle is the very prominent doctrine of revelation in writing copied from the heavenly book.

When the angel left him – so the tradition runs on-Mohammed came to Khadija and recounted the occurrence to her in much distress; he thought that he was possessed. She however comforted him, and confirmed him in the belief that he had received a revelation and was called as a messenger of God. yet his doubts returned, when there ensued a break in the revelation, and they reached a distressing height. He was often on the point of seeking death by casting himself down from Mount Hira. It is usually assumed that this state of anguish lasted from two to three years. Then the angel is said to have suddenly appeared a second time; he came to Khadija in great excitement and aid: "Wrap me up! wrap me up!" This, it must be explained, was done when he fell into one of his swoons; and on this occasion, as often thereafter, the revelation came during an attack. Then was sent down sura lxxiv. beginning with the address – "O thou enveloped one!" Henceforth there was no interruption and no doubt; the revelations followed without break, and the Prophet was assured of his vocation.

That Mohammed did pass through many doubts and much distress before he reached this assurance, may well be believed (sur. Xciii. 3); but the systematic development of the doctrine of the fatra, or interval of from two to three years between the first and second revelation, belongs to a later stage of tradition. It appears that it was de vised to dispose of the controversy whether Mohammed lived as a prophet in Mecca for ten or for twelve years; perhaps, too, it was desired to solve another difficulty- viz., whether sur. Xcvi. Or sur. Lxxiv. Was the beginning of the revelation-in a sense that should do some justice to the rival claims of each. The tradition may also have been influenced by the circumstance that Mohammed, in the first three years of his mission, did not appear as a public preacher, but only sought recruits for his own cause and the cause of Allah in private circles. First, he gained the inmates of his own house, - his wife, Khadija, his freedman Zaid b. Haritha, his cousin ‘Ali (of whose nurture he had relieved Abu Talib, a poor man with many children), and finally his dearest friend Abubekr b. Abi Kohafa. The last named won for him several other adherents: ‘Othman b. ‘Affan, Zobair b. al-‘Awwam, ‘Abd-Rahman b. ‘Auf, Sa’d b. Abi Wakkas, Talna b. ‘Obaid Allah, all names of note in the subsequent history of Islam. Soon there was a little community formed, whose members united in common exercises of prayer.

To the Hanifs, especially to the family of Zaid b. ‘Amr, their relation was friendly; they had the name of Moslem in common, and there was hardly any difference of principle to separate them. the personality of the prophet had given an altogether new impulse to a movement already in existence; that was all. to found a new religion was in no sense Mohammed’s intention; what he sought was to secure among his people the recognition of the old and the true. He preached it to the Arabs as Moses had before him preached to the Jews, and Jesus to Christians; it was all one and the same religion as written in the heavenly book. The differences between the several religions of the book were not perceived by him till a much later period.

It is not difficult to understand by Mohammed should in the first instance have turned to those who were most readily accessible to him; but the nature of his mission did not suffer him to rest content with this; it compelled him to make public proclamation of the truth. One of his dependent, Arkam b. Abi Arkam, offered for this purpose his house, which stood close by the sanctuary, and thus the Moslems obtained a convenient meeting-place within the town, instead of, as hitherto, being compelled to resort to ravines and solitary places. Here Mohammed preached, and here too it was that he received some converts to Islam. But he did not obtain any great results among the Meccans. What he had to say was already in substance familiar to them; all that was the enthusiasm with which he proclaimed old truth. But this enthusiasm failed to make any impression on them; they set him aside as a visionary, or as a poet, or simply as one possessed. In their eyes it was a fatal flaw that his supporters were drawn from the slave-class and the lower orders, and the ranks of the young; it would have been quite another matter if one of the rulers or elders had believed in him. This circumstance was a source of annoyance to the prophet himself; in sur. Lxxx. We find him rebuked byGod for having repulsed in an unkind way a blind beggar who had interrupted him as he was endeavoring to win over a man of influence – an endeavor which proved of no avail.

This indifference of the Meccans embittered the messenger of God, and led him to give to his preaching a polemical character which it had not hitherto possessed. In the oldest suras we have monotheism in its positive and practical form. God is the all-powerful Lord and all-knowing Judge of man; he demands loyal self-surrender and unconditional obedience; the service he requires is a serious life, characterized in particularly by prayer, almsgiving, and temperance. That the worship of other gods beside Allah is excluded by these views, goes without saying; still it is noteworthy that the sharp negations of monotheism acquired prominence only by degrees. It was in his indignation against the cold mockery with which he was met that Mohammed first assumed an attitude of hostility towards the worship of polytheism, while at the same time he gave much greater prominence to his own mission, just because it was not acknowledged. He now began to threaten the infidels with the judgment of God for their contempt of His message and His messenger; he related to them the terrible punishments that in other cases had fallen on those who refused to hear the voice of their prophet, applying the old legends to the circumstances of the present with such directness that it was superfluous expressly to add the morals. This could not fail to irritate the Meccans, especially as after all the new religion gained ground. What Mohammed attacked as ungodly and abominable were their holy things; they were jealous for their gods and their fathers. Their attachment to the traditional worship was the greater that the prosperity of their town rested upon it; for they had not yet learned that the Ka’ba was no institution of heathenism. They found, how ever, no other way to remove the public scandal than to approach Abu Talib, the Prophet’s uncle and the head of his family, asking him to impose silence on the offender, or else to withdraw from him his protection. Abu Talib was not personally convinced of Mohammed’s mission, but he did not choose to impose conditions on the enjoyment of his protection. At length, however, when the Meccans adopted a threatening tone and said that he must either restrain his nephew from his injurious attacks, or openly take side for Mohammed and against, he sent for his nephew told him how things stood, and urged him not to involve them both in ruin. Mohammed was deeply moved; he thought his uncle wished to get rid of him’ yet he could not and would withdraw from the divinely-imposed necessity which impelled him to preach his convictions. "Though they gave me the sun in my right hand," he said, "and the moon in my left, to bring me back from my undertaking, yet will I not pause till the Lord carry my cause to victory, or till I die for it." With this he burst into tears, and turned to go away. But Abu Talib called him back and said: "Go in peace, son of my brother, and say what thou wilt, for, by God, I will on no condition abandon thee."

The protection of his uncle did not relieve Mohammed from all manner of petty insults which he had to endure from his enemies from day to day; but no one ventured to do him serious harm, for the family feud which this would necessarily have produced was not to be lightly incurred. Less fortunate than the Prophet, however, were such of his followers as occupied dependent positions, and had no family support; especially the converted bondmen and bondwomen, who found to consideration, and were often treated with actual cruelty. For some of these Abubekr purchased freedom. These seem to have been no martyrs, but the situation of many Moslems became so intolerable that they fled to Abyssinia. The Abyssinian Christians were quite looked upon as their religious kinsmen.

A breach with one’s people is for the Arab a breach with God and the world; he feels it like a living death. Mohammed, who remained in Mecca, naturally made every effort to heal the breach with his townsmen, and, as naturally, the latter met him half-way. He even went so far as to take the edge from his monotheism. Once, when the heads of the Koriash were assembled at the Ka’ba, Mohammed, we are told, came to them and began to recite before them sur, liii. When he came to the passage, "What think ye of al-Lat and al’Ozza, and of Manat the third with them?" the devil put words in his mouth which he had long wished to have by revelation from God- viz "There are the sublime Cranes, whose intercession may be hoped for," The auditors were surprised and delighted by this recognition of their goddesses, and when Mohammed closed the sura with the words, "So prostrate yourselves before Allah and do service to him," they all with one accord complied. They been professed their satisfaction with his admissions, and declared themselves ready to recognized him. But the messenger of God went home disquieted. In the evening Gabriel came to him, and Mohammed repeated to him the sura; whereupon the angel said: "What has thou done? Thou hast spoken in the ears of the people words that I never gave to thee." Mohammed now fell into deep distress, fearing to be cast out from the sight of God. but the Lord took him back to His grace and raised him up again. He erased the diabolical verse and revealed the true reading, so that the words now ran- "What think ye of al-Lat and al-‘Ozza, and of Manat the third with tem? The male (offspring) for you and the female for God? That were an unjust division!" When the new version reached the ears of the Meccans they compared it with the old, and saw that the Prophet had broken the peace again. So their enmity broke out again with fresh violence.

It is generally and justly suspected that this compromise did not rest on a momentary inspiration of Satan, but was the result of negotiations and protracted consideration. Nor was the breach so instantaneous as is represented; the peace leasted more than one day. There is no doubt as to the fact itself. Every religion must make compromises to gain the masses. But for Mohammed the moment for this had not yet arrived; later on he used the method of compromise with great effect.

The news of the peace between Mohammed and the Meccans had recalled the fugitive Moslems from Abyssinia; on their return the actual state of affairs proved very different indeed from what they had been led to expect, and it was not long before a second emigration took place. By degrees as many as a hundred and one Moslems, mostly of the younger men, in little groups, had again migrated to Abyssinia, where they once more met with a friendly reception. Among them were Ja’far, the bnrother of "Ali, and the Prophet’s daughter Rokayya, along with her husband ‘Othman b. ‘Affan.

Mohammed’s position was veryconsiderably altered for the worse, both subjectively and in other respects, by his precipitate withdrawal from the compromise almost as soon as it had been made. He himself indeed, although long and salutarily humbled by the remembrance of his fall (sur. Xvii 75 sqq), never abandoned faith in his vocation; his followers also did not permit themselves to be led away. But the Meccans, from the way in which he had at first given out a verse as God’s word and afterwards withdrawn it as a suggestion of Satan, did not hesitate to draw the inference that the whole of his boasted revelation was nothing but a manifest imposture. To their cold and unfeeling logic the Prophet had nothing to oppose save passionate assurances.

Fortunately for the Moslems, precisely at this juncture, when matters were assuming so gloomy an aspect for their little company, tow conversions took place, which were well fitted to revive their courage. Mohammed’s uncle, Hamza b. ‘Abdalmottalib, felt his family pride wounded by the injurious treatment which the former had received from Aby Jahl, head of the great and wealthy of the Banu Makhzum, and in order to become publicly his champion, he adopted Islam. Of much more importance still was the conversion in the same year (the sixth of the Call) of ‘Omar b. al-Khattab. ‘Omar was then only twenty-six years of age, and neither rich nor noble; but his imposing figure and his unbending strength of will gave him a personal influence, which immediately made itself felt in a very marked manner in favor of Islam. Until now its religious gatherings had taken place privately, especially in the house of Arkam; but ‘Omar offered his prayers at the Ka’ba as publicly as possible, and his example was followed by the other Moslems. Their religious exercises were no longer gone about in secret, but ostentatiously and before the eyes of all.

So far as can be gathered, it was at this time that the opposition between Mohammed and his townsmen reached its highest pitch. The feeling that he had somewhat committed himself embittered him; he was determined to atone for his previous concessions to polytheism by uncompromising polemic against it. A personal element, which had lurked from the first in the war of principles, became by degrees increasingly dominant. The idols were less displeasing to Allah than the idolaters; his own worship was a matter of less concern to him than the recognition of his messenger. With ever-increasing distinctness the prophetic utterance came to be mere words of threatening and rebuke against the Meccans; it was impossible not to recognize in Noah and Moses or Abraham the prophet himself. The coming judgment upon Mecca, and the hour of it, were either in plain words or veiled allusion the continual theme of the "admonisher;" but the oftener and the more urgently it was repeated, the less was the impression it produced. The Meccans did not, on the whole, suffer themselves to be much disturbed by the prospect of the terrible overthrow which was portrayed before them in vivid colors. They ere even profane enough to express a desire to see the long-threatened catastrophe arrive at last, and their audacity went so far as to complain of the revelations with which Mohammed sought to stir their feelings as being tedious. They did not in the least believe that the Biblical narratives, which he related with special pride, were known to him by revelation; on the contrary, they pretended to know perfectly well the human source from which he had derived them (sur. Xvi. 105; xxv. 5; xliv.13). It is very interesting to find Mohammed in presence of their unbelief referring to the recognition and approval with which he met among the children of Israel (sur. Vi. 114; x 94; xiii. 36 sqq.; xvii 108, xxviii. 52 sq. xxxiv 6), and particularly to find him appealing to the testimony of a certain Jew, whom he does not name (sur. Xlvi 9 sqq). Manifestly he had relations with Jews at this period, and was under their influence; and from them, of course, it was that the material of his Old Testament and Haggadistic narratives was derived. At the same time it is clear that he himself must have believed these to have come directly to him in a second revelation from above, otherwise he would hardly have taken his stand in the presence of his opponents upon the testimony of the Jews. Such a self-deception seems indeed hardly credible to us, but it is impossible to impute to the Arab prophet too complete an absence of the critical faculty.





The Koraish at last lost all patience. Their heads entered into a solemn compact to break off all intercourse with the Hashimids, as they declined to separate themselves from Mohammed. The Hashimids submitted to the interdict for the sake of their relative, although for the most part they were not believers on him. Along with the Banu-‘l-Mottalib they withdrew into the separate quarter of their chief, into the so-called Shi’b Abi Talib; one only of their number, Abu Lahab, separated himself from them, and made common cause with the Meccans. Allbuying and selling with the excommunicated persons being forbidden, these found themselves reduced occasionally to outward distress, as well as excluded from all fellowship. This treatment, although apparently never carried out with absolute strictness, did not fail of its effect. The Prophets’s more remotely attached adherents fell away from him, and his efforts for the spread of Islam were crippled. All he could do was to encourage those who remained faithful, and to set himself to seek the conversion of his relations.

This state of matters, after continuing for from two to three years, at last became intolerable to the Meccans themselves, who had a variety of relations with the excommunicated family. In the tenth year of the Call (A.D. 619-620) five of the leading citizens paid a visit to the Shi’b Abi Talib and induced the Banu Hashim and al Mottalib to come out of their retirement and again appear among their fellowe-citizens. The rest of the Koraish were taken by surprise, and did not venture, by setting themselves against the fait accompli, to run the risk of what might have become a dangerous breach. The story goes that a lucky accident released them from the solemn oath under which they had laid themselves with reference to the banu Hashim – the mice had destroyed the document, hung up in the Ka’ba, on which it was recorded.

Mohammed was now free once more; but he no longer though of carrying on his polemic against the Meccans or of seeking to influence them at all. In his relations to them three stadia can be distinguished, although it is easier to determine their character than their chronology. In the first instance, his endeavor was to propitiate them and win them over to his side; when other methods failed, heeven went so far as to make complimentary mention of their goddesses in one of his revelations, and thus to set up a compromise with heathenism. When this compromise failed, he forth with commenced an embittered assault upon the idolaters, which ended in the outlawry of himself and of his family. And now, the ban having been removed, he gave the Meccans up, abandoning them to their hardness of heart. It had become clear to him that in his native town Islam was to make no progress, and that his position was untenable. His feeling of separation was increased all the more with the death of his faithful Khadia about this time, followed soon afterwards by that of Abu Talib, his noble protector. He accordingly came to the determination to take his chance in the neighboring Taif, and set out thither alone. On his arrival he asked the heads of the town whether they would be willing to receive him and protect the free proclamation of hid doctrines. He was answered in the negative; the mob drove him out of the town, and pursued him until he found refuge in a vineyard, the property of two noble Meccans. In the deepest despondency he again took the homeward road. Tradition has it that he found comfort in the fact that at least the Jinns listened to him as by the way he chanted the Koran in the sacred grove of Nakhla. In the present circumstances it was now impossible for him to return into the town, after having openly announced his intention of breaking with it and joining another community. He did not venture to do so until, after lengthened negotiations, he had assured himself of the protection of a leading citizen, Mot’im b. ‘Adi. Notwithstanding all that had happened, he resolved, tow months after the death of Khadija, to enter upon a second marriage with Sauda bint Zam’a, the widow of an Abyssinian emigrant.

Chance soon afterwards brought to pass what fore-though (on his hourney to Taif) had failed to accomplish. After having given up the Meccans, Mohammed was wont to seek interviews with the Arabs who came to Mecca, Majanna, Dhu’l-Majaz, and ‘Okaz, for the purpose of taking part in the feats and fairs, and to preach to them. On one such occasion, in the third year before the Flight (A.D. 619-620), he fell in with a small company of citizens of Medina, who t his delight did not ridicule him, as was usually the case, but showed both aptness to understand and willingness to receive his doctrines. For this they had been previously prepared, alike by their daily intercourse with the numerous Jews who lives in confederation with them in their town and neighborhood, and by the connections which they had with the Nabataens and Christian Arabs of the north. Hanifitism was remarkably widely diffused among them, and at the same time there w4ere movements of expectation of a new religion, perhaps even of an Arabian Messiah, who should found it. Medina was the proper soil for Mohammed’s activity. It is singular that he owed such a discovery to accident. He entered into closer relations with the pilgrims who had come from thence, and asked them to try to find out whether there was any likelihood of his being received in their town. They promised to do so, and to let him hear from them in the following year.

At the pilgrim feast of next year, accordingly, twelve citizens of Medina had a meeting with Mohammed, and gave him their pledge to have to god but Allah, to with hold their hands from what was not their own, to flee fornication, not to kill new-born infants, to shun slander, and to obey God’s messenger as far as was fairly to be asked. This is the so-called First Homage on the ‘Akabsa. The twelve men now returned, as propagandists of Islam, to their homes with the injunction to let their master hear of the success of their efforts at the same place on the following year. One of the Meccan Moslems, Mos’ab b. ‘Omair, was sent along with or after them, in order to teach the people of Medina to read the Koran, and instruct them in the doctrines and practices of Islam.

Islam spread very quickly on the new soil. It is easy to understand now his joy strengthened the Prophet’s spirit to try a higher flight. As a symptom of his exalted frame we might well regard his famous night-journey to Jerusalem (sur. Xvii.1; vi-2), if we could be sure that it belonged to this period. The prophecy also of the final triumph of the Romans over the Persians (contained in sur.xxx 1 sqq.) might very well pass for an expression of his own assurance of victory, as at that time he still had a feeling of solidarity with the Christians. But the prophecy (the only one contained in the Koran) belongs, it would appear, to a much earlier date.

At the Meccan festival of the last year before the Flight (in March 622) there presented themselves among the pilgrims from Medina seventy-three men and tow women who had been converted to Islam. In the night after the day of the sacrifice they again had an interview with the Prophet on the "Akaba, Al-‘Abbas, his uncle, who after Abu Talib’s death had become head of the Banu Hashim, was also present. This is the so-called Second Homage on the ‘Akaba, at which Mohammed’s emigration to Medina was definitely settled. Al’Abbas solemnly transferred his nephew from under his own protection to that of the men from Medina, after these had promised a faithful discharge of the duties this involved. They swore to the Prophet to guard him against all that they guarded their wives and children from. He, on the other hand, promised thence-forward to consider himself wholly as one of themselves, and to adhere to their society. According to the tradition this remarkable scene was brought to a close by a sudden noise.

The Meccans soon got wind of the affair, notwithstanding the secrecy with which it had been gone about, but Ibn Obay, the leader of the Medina pilgrim caravans, whom they questioned next morning, was able with good conscience to declare that he knew nothing at al about it, as, being still a heathen, he had not been taken into the confidence of his Moslem comrades, and he had not observed their absence over night. the Meccans did not gain certainty as to what had occurred, until the men of Medina had left. They set out after them, but by this they gained nothing. They next tried, it is said, violently to prevent their own Moslems from migrating. After a considerable pause, they renewed the persecution of the adherents of the Prophet, compelling some to apostasy, and shutting up others prison. But the measures they adopted were in no case effective, and at best served only to precipitate the crisis. A few days after the homage on the ‘Akaba, Mohammed issued to his followers the formal command to emigrate. In the first month of the firs year of the Flight (April 622) the emigration began; within two months some 150 persons had reached Medina. Apart from slaves, only a few were kept behind in Mecca.

Mohammed himself remained to the last in Mecca, in the company of Abubekr and ‘Ali. His reason for doing so is as obscure as the cause of his sudden flight. The explanation offered of the latter is a plan laid by the Meccans for his assassination, in consequence of which he secretly withdrew along with Abubekr. For two or three days the two friends hid themselves in a cave of Mount Thaur, south from Mecca, till the pursuit should have passed over (sur. Ix. 40). They then took the northward road and arrived safely in Medina on the 12th of Rabi of the first year of the Flight. Meanwhile, ‘Ali remained three days longer in Mecca, for the purpose, it is alleged, of restoring to its owners all the property which had been entrusted for safe keeping to the Prophet. The Koraish left him entirely unmolested, and threw no obstacle in the way when at last he also took his departure.
With the Flight to Medina a new period in the life of the Prophet begins; seldom does so great a revolution occur in the circumstances of any man. Had he remained in Mecca he would in the best event have died for his doctrine, and its triumph would not have come until after his death. The Flight brought it about that he, the founder of a new religion, lived also to see its complete victory, - that in his case was united all that in Christendom is separated by the enormous interval between Christ and Constantine. He knew how to utilize Islam as the means of founding the Arabian commonwealth; hence the rapidity of its success. That this was of no advantage for the religion is easily understood. It soon lost the ideality of its beginnings, for almost from the first it became mixed up with the dross of practical considerations. In reaching its goal so soon its capability of development was checked for all time to come, in every essential feature it received from Mohammed the shape which it has ever since retained. It ought not, however, to be overlooked that the want of ideality and spiritual fruitfulness was partly due to its Arabian origin.

Mohammed in the first instance took up his quarters in the outlying village of Koba, where several of his most zealous adherents had their homes, and had already built a mosque. It was not until after some days had passed, and he had made himself sure of the best reception, that he removed to the city itself, which at that time bore the name of Yathrib. All were anxious to have him; in order that none might feel themselves slighted, he left the decision to the camel (al-Kaswa) on which he rode. It knelt down in an open space in the quarter of the Banu Najjar, which he accordingly selected as the site of the mosque and of his own house. at first he took quarters for seven months in the house of Abu Ayyub; within this interval the mosque was finished, which was to serve at once as the place of religious gatherings and as the common hall. Close to it was the Prophet’s private dwelling, consisting of the huts of his wives, in one or other of which he lived. At that time he had only one wife, the Sauda already mentioned; but soon he married, in addition, the youthful ‘Aisha, the daughter of his friend Abubekr, who acquired great influence over him. Some of the leading emigrants built houses in the same neighborhood, while the rest continued to be quartered with the people of Medina.

Medina is situated on a westward spur of the Arabian tableland, on the Wadi Kanat. It is an oasis amongst barren rocks, mostly of volcanic origin. The inhabitants supported themselves by their date palms and by the field and garden fruits that grew under their shadow; they had their homes partly in the town itself and partly in the suburbs and outlying villages. At one time the oasis had belonged to the Jews, as the similar oases to the north still did-Wadi ‘l-Kora, Khaibar, Fadak, Taima. But some centuries before Mohammed’s time, Arabs of Yemen, the Banu Kaila, had immigrated and partially driven the Jews away. Many Jews, however, still continued to live there, partly scattered among the Arab tribes and under their protection, partly also in independent communities such as the Kainoka, the Nadir, and the Koraiza. For them it was a great advantage that the Arabs were not agreed among themselves. The Banu Kaila were divided into two branches, the Aus and the Khazraj, who were constantly at daggers drawn. The mutual hate which burned within them, from time to time manifested itself in murder and assassination, if by any chance one of the Aus had wandered into a Khazrajite quarter, or vice versa. Shortly before the arrival of Mohammed, the battle of Bo’ath had taken place within the liberties of Medina, in which the Aus, with the help of their Jewish allies, had vanquished the Khazraj and broken their preponderance. The Khazraj were the more numerous and powerful, and seem to have been on the point of making their leading man, Ibn Obay, the king of Medina; by the battle of Bo’ath the balance of parties – and anarchy – was preserved in the interests of a thirds, who came in at the right moment to settle these feeble and exhausting feuds and restore order.

The circumstances were singularly fitted to change the religious influence which Mohammed brought along with him into another of a political character , and from being a prophet to make him the founder of a commonwealth. The Arabs had hitherto been accustomed to lay before their Kahins, or priestly seers, at the sanctuaries, for decision in God’s name, all sorts of disputes and hard questions which ordinary means were inadequate to decide. The religious prestige which Mohammed enjoyed led directly to his being frequently called in as adviser and judge. In Medina quarrels and complications were abundant, and an authority to stand over both parties was much needed. Mohammed met this need in the manner which was most acceptable to the Arabs; the authority he exercised did not rest upon force, but upon such a voluntary recognition of the judgment of God as no one had any need to be ashamed of. In principle, it was the same kind of judicial and public influence as had been possessed by the old Kahins, but its strength was much greater. This arose not only from the peculiarly favorable circumstances, but above all from Mohammed’sown personality. It is impossible to understand the history until one has mastered the fact of his immense spiritual ascendancy over the Arabs. – The expedient of giving oneself out for the messenger of God, and one’s speech as the speech of God, is of no avail to one who finds no credence; and credence such as Mohammed received is not given for any lengthy of time either to an impostor or a dupe. Even the respect in which he was held as a prophet would have helped him little if his decisions had been foolish and perverse. But they were in accordance with truth and sound understanding; he saw into things and was able to solve their riddle; he was no mere enthusiast, but a thoroughly practical nature as well.

It was not long before he was able to demand as of right that which, in the first instance, had been a voluntary tribute. "Every dispute which ye have one with another ye shall bring before God and Mohammed;" so runs the text in the original constitution for Medina set up in the first year after the Flight, and in the Koran a rebuke is given to those who continue to seek the administration of justice at the hands of the false gods, i.e of their preists and seers. With incredible rapidity the Prophet as a veritable "hakim biamr Allah" had come to be the most powerful man in all Medina.

Mohammed thus laid the foundations of his position in a manner precisely similar to that which Moses (Exod. xviii.) is said to have followed; and just as the Torah grew out of the decisions of Moses, so did the Sunna out of those of Mohammed. It was perhaps in judicial and regulative activity, which he continued quietly to carry on to the very end of his life, that his vocation chiefly lay. At all events his work in this direction was extremely beneficial, if only because he was the creator of law and justice where previously there had been nothing but violence, self-help, or at best voluntary arrangement. But the contents of his legislation also (if it can be called by such a name) marked a distinct advance upon what had been the previous use and wont in Arabia. In particular, he made it his special care to set a fence round the rights of property, and to protect and raise the place of woman in marriage. Blood revenge he retained indeed, but completely altered its character by reserving to himself the right of permitting it; in other words, the right of capital sentence. It need not be said that in many ways he availed himself of that which already existed, whether in the form of Arab usage or of Jewish law; he followed the latter, in particular, in his laws relating to marriage.

The new situation of affairs inevitably brought it about the religion was made a mere servant in the work of forming a commonwealth. Never has this service been better performed; never has it been utilized with greater adroitness as a means towards this end. In Mecca, Islam had originally been nothing more than the individual conviction of Mohammed; it was only after severe struggles that he went so far as to preach it, and even his preaching had no other aim than to create individual conviction in others. What he said was of the simplest decription.- that people ought to believe in God and in judgment to come, that men ought to live their lives seriously and not waste them in follies, that one ought not to be high-minded or covetous, and so on. A community arose, it is true, even in Mecca, and was confirmed by the persecutions. There also religious meetings were held and social prayers. But everything was still in a very fluid and rudimentary stage; religion retained its inward character. It was not until the first to years after the Flight that it gradually lost this, and became, if not exclusively, yet to a very large extent, a mere drill system for the community. No god but the one God (la ilah illa ‘llah) was the entire sum of their dogmatic, and less importance was attached to belief in it than to profession of it. It was the watchword and battle cry. The prayers took the form of military exercises; they were imitated with the greatest precision by the congregation, after the example of the Imam. The mosque was, in fact, the great exercising ground of Islam; it was there that the Moslems acquired the esprit de corps and rigid discipline which distinguished their armies.

Next to the monotheistic confession (yauhid) and to prayer (salat) came almsgiving (zakat, sadaka) as a third important means by which Mohammed awakened and brought into action among his followers the feeling of fellowship. The alms by and by grew to be a sort of tithe, which afterwards became the basis of the Moslem fiscal system, and so at the same time the material foundation of the Moslem state. Religion received so practical a development that of alms nothing but the name remained, and the convenient fiction that the taxes had to be paid to God.

Just in proportion to the closeness of the union into which Islam brought its followers did its exclusiveness towards them that were without increase. If in Mecca Mohammed in his relations to the other monotheistic religions had observed the principle, "he that is not against me is for me," is medina his rule was "he that is not for me is against me." As circumstances were, he had to adjust matters chiefly with the Jews. Without any intention on their part, they had helped to prepare the ground for him in Medina; he had great hopes from them, and at first treated them on no different footing from that of the Arab families which recognized him. But as his relations with the Aus and Khazraj consolidated, those which he had with the Jews became less close. The conjunction of religious with political authority, the development of civil polity out of religion, of the kingship from the prophetic function, was precisely what they objected to. On the other hand, while the old polity of Medina, broken up and disorganized as it was, had no difficulty in tolerating foreign elements within its limits, the new political system created by Islam changed the situation, and rendered it necessary that these should be either assimilated or expelled.

Mohammed’s hiostility to the Jews found expression, in the first instance, theoretically more than practically, and especially in the care with which he now differentiated certain important religious usages which he had taken over from Judaism, so that they became distinguishing marks between Islam and Mosaism. Thus, for example, he altered the direction of prayer (Kibla), which formerly used to be towards Jerusalem, so that it now was towards Mecca; and for the fast on the 10th of Tisri (‘Ashura) he substituted that of the month of Ramadan. In appointing Friday as the principal day of public worship, he may also possibly have had some polemical reference to the Jewish Sabbath. Of these alteration the greatest in positive importance is the transference of the Kibla to Mecca. It symbolizes the completion of the Arabizing process which went on step by step with the change Islam underwent from being an individual to being a political religion. In substituting the Meccan Ka’ba for the sanctuary at Jerusalem, Mohammed did not merely bid farewell to Judaism and assert his independence of it; what he chiefly did was to make a concession to heathenism, and bring about a nationalization of Islam, for the purpose of welding together the Arab tribes (Babail) into one community. Of similar significance was the institution of the feast of sacrifice (‘id al-doha) on the day of the Meccan festival. The Moslems were to observe the alter as much as possible, even if they could not be actually present on the spot.

Thus we have the five chief precepts of Islam – (1) Confession of the unity of God; (2) stated prayer; (3) almsgiving; (4) the fast of Ramadan; (5) observance of the festival of Mecca. Capable of having deeper meanings attached to them, but meritorious also, even in a merely external observance, they were an excellent instrumentality for producing that esprit de corps, that obedience to Allah and his messenger, which constituted the strength of the Moslem system. Up till that time blood-relationship had been the foundation of all political and social relations in Arabia; upon such a foundation it was impossible to raise any enduring edifice, for blood dissociates as much as it unites. But now, religion entered upon the scene as a much more energetic agent in building the social structure; it ruthlessly broke up the old associations, in order to cement the thus disintegrated elements into a new and much more stable system. The very hearts of men were changed; the sanctity of the old relationships faded away in the presence of Allah; brother would have slain brother, had Mohammed willed it. The best Moslem was he who was the most remorseless in separating from the old and attaching himself to the new; Mohammed gave preference to active natures, even if they occasionally kicked over the traces; contemplative piety received from him only the praise of words. Over the anarchical rule of a multitude of families the sole sovereignty of God came forth triumphant; its subjects were united by the firmest of all bonds. Every Moslem was every Moslem’s brother, and, as matter of course, took his part as against every non-Moslem. Outside of Islam there was neither law nor safety; allah alone was powerful, and he protected those only who acknowledged his sole sovereignty.

The Emigrants (Mohajira), who along with the Prophet had fled from Mecca, were the kernel and the cement of the community. It was made all the easier for them to give effect to the fundamental principle, that citizenship in Medina depended not on family but on faith, because the natives themselves (Ansar, "the Defenders"), consisting of Aus and Khazraj, neutralized one another by their mutual enmity. Mohammed seems at fiurst to have cherished the design not only of entirely disowning relationship with non-Moslem, but also of obliterating as much as possible, within Islam, the distinctions of blood, by means of the common faith. He established between emigrants and individual citizens of Medina relationships of brotherhood, which also involved heirship. But he soon abandoned this line, and expressly recognized the validity and sacredness, within Islam, of the old rights of family and inheritance (sur. Viii. 76). Thus he refrained from carrying out to its full logical consequence the theoretical principle of equalization, but on practical grounds permitted the old order of society to continue. At a subsequent period, he even conceded to relationship and the ties of blood far larger rights than were compatible with Islam, and thus himself laid the foundations of the violent quarrel which rent the community, more particularly in the time of the Omayyads. Similarly it might be said that communism was originally involved in the principles of Islam; but it is characteristic that from the first the alms were less employed for the equalization of society, than for strengthening the hands of the ruling power. It frequently happens that a religious revolution finds expression also in the region of social polity; but it is remarkable to observe how Islam utilized the religious leaven from the first for a positive organization of society, and neutralized the destructive tendency which that leaven is wont to show in political affairs. It did not indeed succeed in totally destroying the radical tendency, as the history of the caliphate shows. But, on the whole, the equality before God which Islam teaches interfered hardly at all with the subordination of men to their human leaders; both were demanded by religion, both were taken sincerely, and each a was found, in practice, reconcilable with the other.

That this new and drastic principle, thrown into the chaos of existing relations, must have exercised a mighty power both of attraction and repulsion is obvious. More than one naïve expressions bears witness to the astonishment with which the Arabs regarded the strange spirit which animated the community of the Moslems – the firmness with which they held together, the absolute and willing obedience which they gave to their leaders, the recklessness with which they disregarded everything that before Islam, or outside of it, was looked upon as holy. Some natures felt themselves attracted by these peculiarities, especially if on other grounds they felt little difficulty in severing themselves from their old connections; but, on the whole, feelings of antipathy prevailed. Even in Medina itself this antipathy was widespread. The so-called hypocrites (monafikun) were either only half-attached to the Prophet or in their inmost hearts unfavorably disposed; they were kept from overt action partly by the absence of a decided opinion, partly by the terrorism which the convinced Moslems exercised. The reproach of hypocrisy brought against them means chiefly that they did not manifest a full acceptance of the new political relations. They could not reconcile themselves to the position of having neve4r a word to say in their own town, and of being compelled to obey the Prophet from Mecca and those who had come with him. For a time the danger was imminent that all Medina (the Emigrants of course excepted) might be infected wit hypocrisy, if one may call it hypocrisy when for a moment nature and blood asserted themselves against religious discipline and burst its bonds. The younger portion of the community, however, was on the whole enthusiastic for Mohammed; the hypocrites were for the most part older men, especially heads of families, who found it difficult to put up with the loss of political influence which they were suffering. As chief of their number Ibn Obay is always named, the foremost man of Medina, whom the Khazraj had thought of crowning as king, before matters were so fundamentally changed by Islam. Mohammed’s attitude towards him and the hypocrites in general was that of connicance, - thoroughly appropriate here, where political rather than religious affairs were involved, and the question was one less of principle than of power.

The founding of the state upon the feeling of fellowship generated by religion, was without question the Prophet’s greatest achievement: the community of Medina was the tool, its heroic faith the force, by means of which Islam attained the results which figure so largely in the history of the world. Moslem tradition, however, foes not stop to inquire what it was that constituted the inward strength of Islam, but goes on at once to relate what were its outward manifestations. Its information on the subject of the period of Mohammed’s sojourn in Medina is given under the title of "the campaigns (maghazi) of the apostle of God." With a few of the smaller tribes in the neighborhood of Medina (Johaina, Mozaina, Ghifar, Aslam), and with the Khoza’a, Mohammed maintained relations of peace and amity; benevolent neutrality gradually grew into alliance, and finally union with the commonwealth of Medina. But towards all the rest of Arabia his very principles placed him in an attitude of war. Ever since Islam from being a religion had become a kingdom, he was compelled to vindicate, by means of war against unbelievers, its claims to supremacy; the conflict of principles had to settled by the sword, the sole sovereignty of Allah demonstrated by force to the rebels who showed unwillingness to accept it. More literally than Christ could Mohammed say of himself that he was come not to bring peace but a sword. Islam was a standing declaration of war against idolaters.

The nearest object against which to direct the holy war (jihad) was presented by the Meccans. Against them first did Mohammed bring into operation the new principle, that it is faith and not blood that separates and unites. According to Arab notions it was a kind of high treason on his part to leave his native town in order to join a foreign society; on the part of the people of Medina it was an act of hostility to Mecca to receive him among them. The Meccans would have been fully justified on their side in taking arms against the Moslems, but they refrained, being too much at their ease, and shrinking besides from fracticidal war. It was the Moslems who took the initiative; aggressiveness was in their blood. Mohammed began with utilizing the favorable position of Medina, on a mountain spur near the great highway form Yemen to Syria, to intercept the Meccan caravans. Originally he sent forth only the Emigrants to take part in the expeditions, as the people of Medina had pledged themselves to defend him only in the event of his being attacked; soon, however, they also joined him. What first induced them to do so was the prospect of booty; afterwards it was impossible to separate themselves, so great was the fusion of elements which had been quietly going on within the crucible of Islam.

The first plunder was taken in the month Rajab, A.H. 2 (Autumn 623), in which circumstance was at once seen the advantage arising from the change of conscience brought about by the new religion; for in Rajab feuds and plundering raids were held to be unlawful. Relying upon the sacredness of this month a caravan of Koraish was returning from Taif laden with leather, wine, and raisins. But this did not prevent Mohammed from sending out a band of Emigrants to surprise the caravan at Nakha, between Taif and Mecca; his orders to this effect were given in a document which was not to be unsealed until two days after the departure of the expedition. The plan was carried out, and the surprise was all the more successful, because the robbers gave themselves the outward semblance of pilgrims; one Meccan was killed in the struggle. But the perfidy with which in this instance Mohammed’s advanced religious views enabled him to utilized for his own advantage to pious custom of the heathen roused in Medina itself such a storm of disapproval, that he found himself compelled to disavow his own tools. In Mohammedan tradition, the contents of the unambiguous document in which he ordered the surprise are usually falsified.

The Koraish still remained quiet; another outrage had yet to come. In Ramadan A.H. 2 (December 623), the return of their great Syrian caravan was expected, and Mohammed resolved to lie in wait for it at Bedr, a favorite watering-place and camping-ground, northward from Medina. For this purpose he set out thither in person along with 308 men; but the leader of the caravan, the Omayyad Abu Sofyan, got word of the plan and sent a messenger to Mecca with a request for speedy help. Concern about their money and goods at last drove the Koraish to arms; a very short interval found them, 900 strong, on the road toBedr/ by the way they received intelligence that the caravan had made a circuit to the west of Bedr, and was already in safety. Nevertheless they resolved, at the instance of the Makhzumit Abu Jahl, for the skae of their honor, to continue their march. When the Moslems first got touch of them at Bedr, they took them for the caravan; their surprise on discovering the truth may be imagined. But, kept firm by courage of their leader, they resolved to face the superior numbers of the enemy. On the morning of Friday, the 17th of Ramadan, the encounter took place. a number of duels were fought in the front, which were mostly decided in favor of the Moslems. The Meccans at last gave up the fight, strictly speaking for no other cause than that the did not see any reason for carrying it on. They were reluctant to shed the blood of their kinsmen; they were awestruck in presence of the gloomy determination of their adversaries, who did know what they were fighting for, and were absolutely reckless of consequences. After a number of the noblest and oldest of the Koraish, including at last Abu Jahl, had fallen, those who remained took to flight. The number of the dead is said to have been as great as that of the prisoners. Two of the latter, whom he personally hated, Mohammed caused to be put to death- ‘Okba b. Abi Mo’ait and al-Nadr b. al-Harith. When the last named had perceived from the Prophet malignant glance, the danger in which he stood, he implored an old friend of his among the Moslems for his intercession. This request being refused, asl-Nadr said: "Had the Koraish taken thee prisoner, thou hadst not been put to death as long as I had lived;" to which the apologetic reply was: "I do not doubt it, but I am differently placed from thee, for Islam has made an end of the old relations." To the remaining prisoners life was spared on payment by their kinsmen of a heavy ransom; but Mohammed is said to have afterwards reproached himself for having allowed considerations of earthly gain to keep him back from sending them all to hell as they deserved.

The battle of Bedr is not only the most celebrated of battles in the memory of Moslems; it was really also of great historical importance. It helped immensely to strengthen Mohammed’s position. Thenceforward open opposition to him in Medina was impossible; families which had hitherto withdrawn themselves from his influence were so thoroughly coed by some atrocious murders carried out in obedience to his orders, that they went over to Islam. He was now in a position to proceed to break up the autonomy of the Jews. In the first instance, he addressed himself to the weak Banu Kainoka, demanding their acceptance of Islam; on their refusal, he took the earliest opportunity that offered itself to declare war against them. After a short siege they were compelled to surrender; and they might congratulate themselves that their old ally, Ibn Obay, was able to concuss the Prophet into sparing their lives, and contenting himself with their banishment from Medina. Soon afterward other blows were struck, in the shape of assassinations, by means of which Mohammed put out of the way several of the Jews whom be hated most, such as Ka’b b. al-Ashraf and Ibn Sonaina. The state of fear to which the rest were reduced may readily be imagined; they came to the Prophet and begged him to be propitious. If in other days their dislike had found somewhat public expression in all sorts of witticisms and scornful sayings, they were now at least modest and quiet, and kept their hatred to themselves.





The Meccans also were very deeply impressed by the defeat inflicted on them by the Moslems. They saw clearly that the blow must be avenged, and they took comprehensive measures for their campaign. After a year’s delay, their preparations being now complete, and their allies (Ahabish) assembled, they set out under the command of Abu Sofyanm, and without any check reached Medina, where they pitched their camp to the north-east of the city, in the green corn-fields by Mount Ohod. In Medina the elders were for awaiting the attack on the town and defending themselves within it, but the young men hurried the Prophet into the determination to meet the enemy without the gates; this resolution once come to he persevered in, even after those who had urged him to it had changed their minds. On the morning of Saturday, the 7th of Shawwal, A.H. 3 (Jan. Feb. 625), the armies met. At first the battle seemed to be going once more in favor of the Moslens; one after another the standard-bearers and champions of the enemy fell, the whole host wavered, and even the camp was gained. But here their lust for plunder did them an evil turn. Mohammed had covered his left flank against the Meccan horsemen by a number of bowmen, whom he had ordered on no account to leave their post. But as soon as they saw that the enemy’s camp was taken, they threw off all discipline, and determined to have their share of what was going. It thus became possible for the Meccan cavalry to fall upon the Moslem rear, and snatch back the victory that had already been won. In the confusion which now ensued Mohammed himself was wounded in the face, and for some time lay for dead on the ground. Among the slain was found his uncle, Hamza b. ‘Abdalmottalib, "the lion of God;" his liver was cut out and carried to Abu Sofyan’s wife, Hind bint ‘Otba, whosefather had been killed by Hamza at Bedr. But the Meccans did not know how to follow up their triumph. Instead of at once attacking Medina – where, to be sure, a second struggle with Ibn Obay, who with his following had not taken part in the battle at Ohod, would have been necessary-they contented themselves with the honor of their victory, and took the road home, after having summoned the Moslems to a repetition in the following year of the duel at Bedr. Mohammed even pursued them for a short distance on the following day (as far as to hamra al-Asad), of course only for the sake of appearances, that the Arabs might not suppose him to have been daunded by his defeat.

Nothing came of the proposed meeting at Bedr, the Meccans failing to put in an appearance. The principal event of A.H. 4 was the expulsion of the BanuNadir, the most distinguished and powerful Jewish family in Medina (Summer 625). Mohammed, under some pretext, suddenly broke with them and ordered their departure within ten days, on pain of death. Relying upon the support of Ibn Obay, they resolved to resist, and sustained a siege within their walls; but the ally they had counted on proved a broken reed, and they were soon compelled to surrender. They were permitted to withdraw, taking along with them all their movable property except their arms. With music and roll of drum, the women in gala dress, they marched through the streets of Medina, on their way to Kaibar, where they had property. Their land the Prophet appropriated to himself (sur. Lix. 7); the income derived from it could be employed to meet the numerous claims that were made upon him. He seems also to have handed over some of it to the Emigrants, who until then had acquired no property in land in Medina.
Meanwhile, the Banu nadir were not idle in Kaibar, but left no stone unturned to annihilate their mortal enemy. They succeeded in bringing about an alliance of the Koraish and the great Bedoiun tribes of Soliam and Ghatatan, for the suppression of Islam. In the month Dhu ‘l-ka’da A.H. 5 (march 627), the three armies set out, 10,000 strong, under the command of Abu Sofyan. Mohammed received word of this through the Khoza’a, who secretly played into his hands, and on this occasion he resolved, not as formerly to offer battle on the open field, but no make preparation for a siege. For the most part the houses of the town were built so close to one another as to make a continuous wall; at the north-west corner only was there a wide open space, through which an enemy could easily effect an entrance. Here Mohammed, with the advice and direction of the Persian freedman Salman, drew a ditch, behind which he entrenched himself with the Moslems, the hill of Sal protecting their rear. This fosse, which has become famous, and has even given its name to the entire campaign (the War of the Fosse), fully served its purpose. The enemy with their calavry perseveringly directed their attack on this spot, but were constantly repelled by the vigilant and courageous defence of the fosse. They at last gave up all hope of reaching their end in this way, unless a simultaneous attack were to succeeded in another quarter. To assist them in this, they endeavored to stir up the Koraiza, the last autonomous family of Jews still remaining in Medina, having their settlements in the south-east of the town. The Nadirite Hoyay b. Akhtab, the most zealous promoter of the alliance against Mohammed, undertook charge of the negotiations, and succeeded at last in persuading their prince, Ka’b b. Aasad, to break his pact of neutrality with the Moslem. But nothing came of it. The Jews doubted the perseverance of the Koraish and their allies – they had their fears lest, if the struggle proved a protracted one, the besiegers might withdraw and leave them to their fate. They accordingly demanded hostages in security against such an event, being otherwise determined not to break up all hope of reconciliation with Mohammed by entering the contest. This attitude, in turn, aroused suspicion on the part of the besiegers, whom it was not difficult to convince that the Jews were demanding hostages of them for the purpose of handing them over to Mohammed, and so making their peace with him. All this crippled their activities still more than did the failure of their own attacks upon the fosse. The season also was against them; the weather was windy, the nights extremely cold, and, worst of all, the fields yielded nothing. From this cause the chief sufferers were the Bedouins, who had brought to forage for their camels and horses. Mohammed, who appears to have been kept well informed of their mood, judged it expedient to open negotiations with them. These were soon broken off indeed, but the mere fact that the Ghatatan had ever entered upon them was enough to create mutual suspicion amongst the allies. One stormy night the Meccans suddenly raised the siege, after it had lasted fourteen days, and returned home; they were followed by the Ghatatan anf Soliam. It was with no small joy that the Moslems on the following morning discovered the departure of the enemy; it would have been impossible for them to have held out much longer, exhausted as they were, not less by cold and hunger,m than by the fatigues of constantly mounting guard. As soon as Mohammed had given them permission to leave the camp beside the hill of Sal’, they dispersed with the greatest alacrity to their homes.
Mohammed, however, did not allow the them much time to recruit. Hardly had they reached their abodes when he again called them to arms against the treacherous Koraiza. The unlucky Jews had been given over to the sword by the withdrawal of the allies; a siege of fourteen days compelled them to surrender unconditionally. The men were driven in chains to the house of Osama b. Zaid, whence on the following morning Mohammed caused them to be brought one by one to the market-place of Medina, and there executed. This continued till late in the evening. They were six or seven hundred in number, and among them was the Madirite Hoyay b. Akhtab, the author of the War of the Fosse, who had left the Meccans to join his fortunes with those of the Koraiza. By accepting Islam these men could have saved their lives, but they preferred death. No more magnificent martyrdom is know to history. The women and children were sold into slavery; one young woman only, Banana, suffered the penalty of death for having broken the head of a Moslem with a millstone during the siege. With joyous heart and smiling face she went to meet her death, never forgotten by ‘Aisha, with whom she was when her name was called. The Prophet selected for himself the fair Raihana, and married her, after having caused her to become a convert to Islam.

The War of the Fosse was the last attack made by the Koraish upon Medina; Mohammed now began to take the offensive towards Mecca. This be at first set about with extreme diplomacy, utilizing the festival, and the truce of God subsisting at the time of the festival, for the purpose of paying a visit to his native town. Although unsuccessful in winning to his side the neighboring tribes of Bedouins, it was nevertheless with a considerable following (1500 men) that in Dhu-l-ka’da .A.H. 6 (March 628), he set out on his journey. In a dream he had the key of the Ka’ba delivered to him; on the strength of this his followers believed firmly in the success of the expedition. But the Koriash were determined that the pretext of pilgrimage should not avail their adversary; they summoned their allies and formed a camp to the north of their town for the purpose of preventing the entrance of the Moslems. Mohammed was forced to halt at Hodaibiya on the borders of the sacred territory, and it was in vain that by fair speeches he sought to obtain permission to make the circuit of the Ka’ba. He felt himself too weak to force his way, and accordingly preferred to treat. While the envoys were passing to and fro, there suddenly arose an alarm in the Moslem camp; they apprehended a sudden act of treachery on the part of the Meccans. It was on this occasion that the famous Homage under the Tree took place, when Mohammed pledged his followers by striking hands that they would stand by him and go to death for his sake. Some of the Koraish agents witnessed the scene, and were immensely impressed by it; such an enthusiastic obedience as Mohammed received, such an ascendancy over the minds of men as he exercised, they had never before conceived to be possible, and on their return they urged their people in the strongest way not to permit matters to come to extremities. The Koraish accordingly judged it best to offer a bargain with Mohammed, the terms being that for this year he was to withdraw, so that the Arabs might not say that he had forced an entrance, but that on the following year he was to return and be permitted to remain three days within the sacred territory for the purpose of sacrifice. After some discussion Mohammed accepted this proposal, although zealous Moslems detected a discreditable shortcoming in matters of faith, is so far as it involved turning back within sight of the Ka’ba without being allowed to accomplish the sacred circuirt. When the agreement was to be committed to writing, Mohammed dictated the words: "In the name of Allah, the merciful Rahman", but the Meccan plinepotentiary, Sohail b. ‘Amr, declared that, he knew nothing about Rahman, and insisted upoin the customary formula – "In the name, Allahomma!" The Moslems murmured, but Mohammed yielded. He then went on to dictate: " This is the treaty of peace between the apostle of God." … Sohail anew protested; to acknowledge Mohammed as the apostle of God, would be to declare himself his follower; the designation ought to be simply Mohammed b. "Abdallah. The Moslems murmured louder than before, and refused to consent to the change. The heads of the two tribes of Medina, Osaid b. Hodair and Sa’D B. ‘Obada, held the hand of the scribe and declared that "Mohammed the apostle of God" must be written, or the sword must decide. The Meccan representatives whispered to one another words of amazement at the spirit displayed by these men. But Mohammed made a sign to the zealots to hold their peace, and again gave way (sur. Xvii 110). The writing which now took shape ran as follows: -

"In thy name O God! This is the treaty of peace concluded by Mohammed b. ‘Abdallah and Sohail b. ‘Amr. They have agreed to allow their arms to rest for ten years. During this time each party shall be secure, and neither shall injure the other; no secret damage shall be inflicted, but uprightness and honor prevail betwixt us. Whosoever wishes to enter into treaty and covenant with Mohammed can do so, and whosoever wishes to enter into treaty and covenant with the Koriash can do so. But if a Koraishite comes without permission of his guardian (Wali) to Mohammed, he shall be delivered up; if, on the other hand, one of Mohammed’s people comes to the Koraish he shall not be delivered up. This year Mohammed with his companions must withdraw from us, but next year he may come amongst us and remain for three days, yet without other weapons than those of a traveler, the swords remaining in their sheaths."

The first result of the treaty was that the Khoza’a declared for alliance with Mohammed; while, on the other hand, the Nekr b. Kinana joined themselves to the Koraish.

To compensate his followers for the apparent resultlessness of this expedition, Mohammed immediately after their return led them mout against the rich Jews of Khaibar (northwards fro9m Medina), whither the Banu Nadir had migrated, and from which place they had unceasingly stirred up opposition against the Prophet. Hitherto he had contented himself with putting out of the way, by means of assassination, some of their leading men who seemed to him to be particularly dangerous, such as Abu Rafi’ and Yosair b. Razim, but now he resorted to wholesale measures. In Moharram, A.H. 7 ( May 628), he made his appearance before Khaibar with a powerful army; in the plunder only those who had taken part in the expedition of Hodaibiya were to share, but many others besides accompanied them. The Jews, although aware of the hostility of Mohammed’s intentions, were nevertheless taken completely by surprise when one morning they saw him and his troops encamp before their strongholds. One of their leaders had given them the excellent advice not to shut themselves up by families in their quarters, but to construct a common camp in the fields, otherwise they were likely to share the fate of their coreligionists in Medina. But they replied that their strongholds were of a different sort, perched on impregnable summits, and they remained shut up within them. They had neither discipline nor order, courage nor devotion. As they were wanting in community of feeling, so also were they lacking in leaders. Their best man, Salam b. Mishkam, lay on a sick-bed; his place was by no means supplied by Kinana b. b Abi’l-Hokaik. When they suddenly became aware that they had been completely abandoned by their Arab allies, the Ghatafan, their heart utterly failed them. when besieged in any of their citadels, they hardly ever waited To be stormed, but after one or two sorties evacuated it and withdrew to another, where the same story was repeated. Thus citadel after citadel fell into the hands of the Moslems; treachery, which had something to do with the surrender, was well-nigh superfluous. From Al-Natat the Jews were driven to Al-Shikk,, and at last nothing was left to them but Al-Katiba (with Al-Watih, and Solalim). There they remained shut up and filled with fear, without even risking,as formely, single combats and skirmishes before their citadels. After some time they asked for peace, and obtained it on the footing that they retained their lives, wives and children, and one garment each, but gave up all their property, the penalty of concealing anything being death. Kinana b. b. Abi-‘l-Hokaik was cruelly tortured, and at last put to death because he had buried the renowned jewels of his family; thus at the same time his handsome wife Satiya bint Hoyay was left free for Mohammed.

His marriage with "the daughter of the king" wound up the prosperous campaign. Safiya felt no repulsion towards the man who had caused the death of her father Hoyay, and of her husband Kinana; she gracefully accommodated herself to the situation. More worthy was the demeanour of another Hewess, Zainab, who made the attempt to poison the executioner of her people, and atoned for this offence by her death. The attempt was unsuccessful, but Mohammed believed that even in his last illnesses he could trace the effects of the poison.

Simultaneously with Kaibar, Fadak, also fell into his hands, and shortly afterwards Wadi ‘l-Kora, where also there were settlements of Jews. The plunder was very considerable. So far as it consisted of movables, it was gathered together into a heap, and put up to auction; the proceeds were then divided. Mohammed insisted very strictly that no one should be permitted to plunder for his own hand. The property inland, palm plantations, vegetables gardens, were allowed for the time being to remain at a rent in the hands of the Jews; half of the produce had to be paid to the new owners. The lion’s share of the spoil fell to the lot of God, i.e. of the Prophet – a fifth of the movables, of the real estate a larger proportion. He consequently had at his command considerable material resources, and he well knew how to employ them, not only for the enrichment of his family, but also for gaining over to his side such individuals as were more accessible to payment than to principles.

The peace of Hodaibiya, with the subsequent conquest of Kaibar, closes the first period of Mohammed’s life at Medina, strictly speaking, indeed, it merely confirmed the status which in point of fact the War of the Fosse had already given him. If at first it seemed as if Mohammed had shamefully given way, it soon became apparent, nevertheless, that the advantage lay with him. "No victory of Islam," Abubekr was wont to say, "has more importance than thetreaty of Hodaibiya; men are always for hurrying things on, but God lets them ripen." "Previously there had subsisted a wall of partition between the Moslems and the rest of men; they never spoke to each other; wherever they met, they began to fight. Subsewuently hostility died down; security and mutual confidence took it place. every man of even moderate intelligence who heard of Islam joined it; in the twenty-two months during which the truce subsisted, the number of conversions was greater than throughout the whole of the previous period; the faith diffused itself in all directions among the Arabs."

As a religion did not attract the Arabs; they had no inclination to pray, read the Koran, and give alms. Of this they had given sufficient evidence by their perennial feuds with Mohammed, and by the murder of divers of his missionaries who were sent to teach them the faith. We can hardly believe that a new spirit now suddenly possessed them. their change of attitude was merely due to the imposing effect of the rising might of Islam. They began to respect the Moslems, who, in spit of their small numbers, could defy a whole world, because they were of one mind, and did not ask what the world thought. They saw that, in the great conflict between Mecca and Medina, in which as actors or as spectators they had all participated, the victory inclined more and more to the side of Medina, that force could accomplish nothing against faith. The prestige of Mecca was shaken by the War of the Fosse, and was not restored by the treaty of Hodaibiya, in which the Koraish waved Mohammed off with the open hand, and at the same time permitted him to return next year. Islam had "stretched out its neck" – had consolidated itself into indestructible existence – it now fought for victory. There was, moreover, another argument in favor of the new religion, to which the Arabs were very sensible – the rich booty, to wit, which the Moslems acquired by their continual forays. There is no question that the material success of Islam was the chief force that attracted new adherents.

The treaty of Hodaibiya gave a breathing space to the two combatants, and of this the prophet reaped the whole advantage. The truce, which lasted for almost two years, brought to the Meccan an almost unbroken series of humiliations and losses. Contrary to all expectation, the provision made in their favor, by which Mohammed bound himself to send back such of their sons as deserted to him before their majority, turned to their hurt, so that they had to ask Mohammed to have it changed. Still more serious for them was the desertion of three eminent men, Khalid b. al-Walid, ‘Amr b. al-As, and ‘Othman b. Talha, wjom the Prophet received with open arms. Next year they looked on with shame and concealed indignation when the Prophet, availing himself of his stipulated right, entered the city with 2000 men, and performed the sacred ceremonies (‘Omrat al-Kada, March 629). Still they were afraid to break with him again, and did not even venture to rid themselves of his spies, the Khoza’a, who lived in their midst. "When they put one foot forward they draw the other back; they are convinced that Mohammed will win" - such was the impression the Koraish made on the Bedouins, who have a very keen instinct in matters of this sort. They had lost confidence in themselves; they knew that the fight was not fought out, but they dared not seek to bring it to a decision.

Against their will be decision came. The Banu Bekr fellupon Mohammed’s friends, the Khoza’a, and were supported by some of their Koraishite allies. The Khozaites complained to the Prophet, who eagerly seized the pretext for war. In vain did the Meccans send Abu Sofyan to Medina to renew the truce; they could not move the Prophet from his purpose. In Ramadan, A.H. 8 (January 630), he moved against Mecca an army of 10,000 men. With the Emigrants and the Defenders were mustered the Aslam, Ghifar, Mozaina, Johaina, and Ashja; the Solaim and the Khoza’a joined them on the way. The Bedouins were drawn by the hope of booty; the Fazarite ‘Oyaina was sorely vexed that he had left his Ghatafan at home, not knowing what was in view, for Mohammed at first kept the aim of his expedition a secret. Some of the Meccan nobles must, however, have known it; Makhrama b. Naufal, for example, and the Prophet’s uncle, ‘Abbas, did not await the capture of their city, but deserted to the enemy while he was still distant. Abu Sofyan, in particular must have been in the secret; in appears that at Medina he received the promise that the holy city should be spared if it yielded pacifically, and that he pledged himself to do his best to play into the hands of the Prophet. But before the populace it was necessary to keep up the appearance of a sudden surprise, an inevitable submission to an unforeseen display of force. The same comedy was repeated afterwards at Taif; the headmen treated with the Prophet without consulting the Thakafites, and then contrived that the result of their policy should appear to be forced by the course of events. The Moslems were on the border of the holy land before the Meccans suspected their approach; then suddenly one night 10,000 fires were seen rising to heaven to the northwest of the holy city. In well-feigned surprise Abu Sofyan hastened to the hostile camp; he returned with the news that the Moslems were at the gates, that an improvised resistance could effect nothing against their force; the only wise course was a surrender-Mohammed had promised security to those who remained in their houses or threw away their weapons. The terrified Meccans had hardly any other course open to them than to follow this advice. And now the Moslems entered the city from several sides at once, meeting only at one point with an easily quelled resistance. Mohammed insisted that there should be no violence; he pledged the captains to avoid all bloodshed. Ten persons only were put to the ban, and of these one half were subsequently pardoned. He took all pains to preserve the sanctity of Mecca unimpaired, confirmed the rights and privileges therewith connected, and made it plain that the old cultus should not be less flourishing under Islam. The ceremonies were retained, save only that he abolished all idols, both the domestic gods found in every house and the images in and round the Ka’ba. But every sanctuary outside of Mecca was destroyed, except such as had a part in the celebration of the Feast, and so stood in connection with the Ka’ba itself. Thus the Meccan worship gained a new and unique importance. Mohammed’s reform did for Mecca what Josiah’s did for Jerusalem.

The last step towards that identification of the Ka’ba with Islam, which made it the religious center of the Moslem world, was not taken till the following year, when the famous Renunciation (Bara’a) of sur ix. forbade the heathen to share in the Feast, which was henceforth to be a strictly Moslem ordinance, and at the same time abrogathed the peace of the holy months. A year later (Fhu’l Hijja, A.H. 10, March 632) he himself celebrated Feast for the first time in the orthodox fashion, introducing certain modifications on the traditional practice and reducing certain varieties of use to uniform rule. In all this he professed to re-establish the true ancient use, purged of heretical deviations from the example of Abraham. At the same time he remodeled the Calendar, forbidding the occasional interpolation of a month as an arbitrary and human invention, and establishing the true lunar year of twelve lunations.

We return to the capture of Mecca. The submission of the Koraish was followed by that of their nomad brethen and llies. But the neighboring Hawazin, to whom belonged also the Thakafite inhabitants of Taif, assembled for battle with the Moslems. They camped in Autas between Taif and Mecca. Mohammed advanced against them, and battle was joined in the valley of Honain. The Moslems were broken by the first charge of the foe; for a moment the Prophet himself was in danger, till the Khazraj rallied round him, checked the onset of the Hawazin, and at length turned them to flight. A vast booty rewarded the victors; for the Hawazin had brought all their herds and non-combatants with them and placed them in the rear, that they might feel what they were fighting for. Mohammed caused the prey to be conveyed to the glen of Ji’rana, outside the north-west border of the Haram, a little way off the great valley that descends from Taif, he himself pressed on to Taif itself. Here, however, he failed in his object; in a dream he saw a cock peck a hole in a bowl of cream that was set before him, so that the contents ran out. After fourteen days he gave up the siege and marched to Ji’rana to deal with the booty. He had deferred this task in the hope that the Hawazin would be tempted to embrace Islam in order to recover their families and cattle. But as they still sent no ambassadors, he had to yield to the pressure of the Bedouins and divide the spoil. When it was too late, the messengers of the Hawazin appeared to announce their conversion; they had now to give up their herds, and content themselves that their wives and children were restored to them, through the mediation of the Prophet with their new masters. The Bedouins received compensation for what they gave up; the Emigrants and Defenders gave up their captives freely. Altogether the men of Medina fared worst in the distribution of booty, though they had borne the brunt of the conflict; those who fared best were the nobles of Mecca, who had no share in the fight, but whom Mohammed desired to conciliate by gifts (sur ix. 60).

The fall of Mecca reacted powerfully on the future development of Islam. Again the saying came true: victa victores cepit; the victory of the Moslems over the Koraish shaped itself into a domination of the Koraish over the Moslemns. For this the Prophet himself was to blame. In making Mecca the Jerusalem of Islam, he was ostensibly moved by religious motives; but in reality Mohammed’s religion had nothing to do with the heathenish usages at the Ka’ba and the Great Feast. To represent Abraham as the founder of the ritual was merely a pious fraud. What Mohammed actually sought, was to recommend Islam to Arabic prejudices by incorporating this fragment of heathenism, and at the same time he was influenced by his local patriotism. Henceforth these local feelings became quite the mainspring of is conduct; his attitude to the Koraish was determined entirely by the spirit of lcannishness. Hence the extraordinary value he set on the conciliation of their chiefs; one gains the impression that he cared more for this than for the conversion of all the rest of the world. He left to them all that they already had; he gave them in addition whatever they asked, if only they would be his good friends. Abu Sofyan was a great man already, but Mohammed hastened to raise his power by giving him rule over a broad tract southward from Mecca. He used every means to make their conversion easy to the Koraish, and convince them that they were losing little and gaining much. They had the sense to understand this and act accordingly; they were soon the best of Moslems, and that for the best practical reasons.

The men of Medina, as was natural, felt themselves slighted in a special degree by this petting of the Koraish. They had done all an sacrificed all for the Prophet; were others now to reap the fruit of their labors. Had they by years of struggle made Mohammed Lord of Mecca, only that they might surrender in favor of Mecca the place they had hitherto held? Did he indeed esteem kinship so much more than tried service to the Faith? The Defenders had good ground for discontent, but Mohammed appeased them easily enough. he reminded them of their fellowship together in the great days of the past, of all that he had done for them, and they for him; he promised that their town should still be his residence, and so the political capital of Islam (Madinat al-Islam). Then all the men wept till their beards were wet, and said: "O apostle of God, we are content with our share and lot.

The Defenders murmured at the preference shown to the Koraish, because they desired preference for themselves. But already there were movements of an opposition from principle which deemed it a falling away from Islam to give any heed to kinship instead of to faith. It is related that the beginnings of the Kharijites (Dissenters) go back to the distribution of booty in W. Ji’rana. Certain it is that a worldly, bias, which had indeed been introduced into Islam long before, then first became visible to every eye. Certain it is that Mohammed then sowed the seeds of the deep dissensions that rent his following after his death – of the struggle between religious democracy, such as Islam demanded, and the national aristocracy, which alone was really fit to hold rule in Arabia. It was Mohammed who placed the helm in the hands of the Koraish and opened the way to sovereignty for Abu Sofyan and his house, the Omayyads. If the Kharijite Dhu ‘l-khowaisira spoke out against the Prophet himself at Ji’rana, the feeling that moved him was quite sound.

The last years of the Prophet were like the ingathering of a harvest laboriously reaped. The conquest of Mecca, so great was the impression it produced, was called "the Conquest," as if it contained in itself all others. From every side, in the next two years, the sheikhs streamed to Medina to open negotiations for the acceptance of Islam by their tribes; if they did not come spontaneously , Mohammed sent to them. a change of heart of the part of the Arabs had no more share in these than in former conversions. It cost them no struggle to cast away their idols; the images and the sanctuaries fell quietly enough. Heathenism was a dead thing; superstitions could be transplanted into Islam. The unique sovereignty of Allah was clearly evidence in the fact that no might could withstand his. It is safe to affirm that the accessions to Islam were due to political more than religious impulses, and meant adherence to the state of Medina rather than to monotheism. The power to which that city had grown, acted as a force of attraction upon the Arabs; and their subjection was not the mere effect of fear, but expressed also that sense of the necessity for peace and order, which had led to founding of states in the two previous centuries. Thus it becomes intelligible that from every side, by a sort of natural necessity, the masses of Arabian society were drawn towards the center of attraction at Medina, and that the Prophet received the homage of distant tribes which he could not have influenced directly. The Christian tribes were not behind the rest, they were Arabs first and Christians after. Only the Christian of Najran remained true to their faith; so did the Jews in all parts, and the Magians in the province of Bahrains. The last named, as idolaters, ought not in strictness to have been tolerated in the Moslem state; but practical considerations broke through theory, and the men of system had to accept the inconsistency with the best grace they could.

The signs of submission were – (1) the performance of the five daily prayers, or at least the proclamation of the times of prayer by the Meudhdhin; (2) the payment of the alms-tax; (3) the acceptance of the Moslem Law, which was introduced by qualities delegates from Medina. Otherwise things remained as they were; Mohammed was careful not to meddle with tribal affairs, and strengthened the existing aristocracies wherever he could do so. The change of faith was effected by treaty; the populace was not consulted, and the whole negotiations were directed by the Elders and Chiefs. For, in fact, purely political interests were involved.

A single case, about which our information is exceptionally full, will suffice in illustration. The Hawazin had joined Mohammed after the battle of Honain, and now preached the duty of holy warfare against their kinsmen, the Thakafites of Taif, who were still heathens. They made raids on the cattle pastured without the city, and made captives of those who ventured abroad. The Thakafites were exposed, alone and helpless, to the advances of Islam; they dared not stir a foot beyond their walls. The heads of the city found the situation untenable, and resolved to do homage to the Prophet for the sake of peace. Ten ambassadors proceeded to Medina, and negotiations began as to the conditions of the conversion of the Thakif. The envoys desired that fornication, usury, and wine-drinking should be permitted to them; this Mohammed refused (sur. Xvii. 234; ii. 278; v. 92); and they consented to yield the point when it was explained that, indispensable as these three practices might seem, the other Moslems had learned to give them up. there was more difficulty about the Rabba or Goddess of Taif (al Lat). The ambassador begged that, as a concession to the foolish multitude, they might retain her for three years. When they found Mohammed resolute, they came down successively to two years, one year, and a month. Even this was refused; Mohammed’s sole concession was that they should not be obliged to destroy their goddess with their own hands. The deputation returned, and had nearly reached Taif, when ‘Abdyalil counseled the others to make as if they had broken off the negotiation, and not to confess the conclusion of the pact till the Thakif showed no stomach for battle with Mohammed. With faces covered, like men who have no good news, they rode into the town, and first paid the customary visit to the temple of the Rabba. Then they told their tribesmen the conditions of treaty, declared them intolerable, and reviled Mohammed as a hard and arrogant man. "And so," they concluded, "prepare for war, lay in provisions for two years; Mohammed will surely not maintain the siege longer; dig a fosse to protect your stronghold, and lose no time." The Thakafites at first agreed to this; but in a few days they lost courage, and bade the negotiators return and accept the conditions. These then confessed the truth, and added that Mohammed’s emissaries would presently appear to destroy the Rabba. The destruction took place accordingly, to the terror of the women and children, but without a single man raising his hand.

The pilgrimage undertaken by Mohammed in the year 10 (March 632) was like a very triumph. All Arabia, apart from the vassals of Persia and Greece, lay at his feet. The greatest success of his life had been effected by sheer moral force without a stroke of the sword. But Arabia no longer suifficed him; hehad wider aims. In his last years he began to extend they holy war against the Greeks. Even on his return from Hodaibiya, he began to direct envoys to several foreign potentates, with letters demanding their adhesion to Islam. One of these envoys was seized and behealed in the Belka (the ancient Moab). Hence sprang the first campaign against the Greeks, i.e. the Arabs who were subject to the Greek empire. The army directed against them was, however, entirely defeated at Mu’ta (Autumn 629); Khalid succeeded with difficulty in rallying and leading back the broken remnant of the host. Next summer the Mabataeans who visited the market of Medina spread a rumor that the Emperor Heraclius was collecting a vast force to attack the Moslems; and Mohammed set forth to meet him at the head of 30,000 men, but got no farther than Tabuk, on the southern borders of ancient Edom, when the rumor was found to be false. The expedition, however, was not altogether fruitless, as it led to the submission of several small Jewish and Christian communities in the north of the Peninsula. Mohammed equipped a new expedition against the Greeks on his return from his "farewell pilgrimage," and it was just ready to start when he died, on Monday, 8th June 632.

In forming an estimate of one who has exercised so unexampled an influence on the history of the world, we shall do well to bear in mind the hint of Gibbon, that" some reverence is surely due to the fame of heroes and the religion of nations." The grounds on which Mohammed may be condemned are partly found in his private life. Although on the whole, even after he had become ruler of all Arabia, he maintained the original poverty and simplicity of his establishment, never set store by money and estate, eating and drinking and soft clothing, strictly continued to fast and watch and pray after his first fashion, and that, too, plainly out of a heartfelt need and without any ostentation, he nevertheless in one point at least used his supreme authority as prophet to make provision for the flesh. He claimed to be personally exempt from those restrictions in regard to the female sex which lay upon all other Moslems, and, as is well known, he made very extensive application of this fundamental principle. This fact is quite rightly urged against him as a reproach; even pious Moslems have been scandalized by it. At the same time, it is unnecessary to judge him on this account more harshly than we do Charlemagne, the most Christian king of the Franks; in any case we must not apply the standards of the present day to the circumstances of old Arabia. Of much weightier and indeed of crushing character is the accusation, that he did not really believe himself to be a prophet, but merely of set purpose played the part of one. For the years of his activity indeed this charge is not now any longer maintained; it is universally granted that at that period his enthusiasm was genuine and real. But in Medina, we are told, he used his prophetic character simply as a pretext for the establishment of his power. It seems to the present writer that into this opinion there enter modern notion as to the separation between religion and the civil magistracy, which ought to be carefully kept out of sight. By any other instrumentality than that of a prophet it would hardly have been possible to found the state of Medina; religion was the soul of the community. The founding of a religion and the forming of a state were not connected in so merely external a way as is usually supposed; on the contrary, the one was the natural and necessary consequence of the other. This must certainly be conceded, that, if we are to make any distinctions at all, Islam was far less rich in religious meaning than in social forces. The Koran is Mohammed’s weakest performance; the weight of his historical importance lies in his work at Medina and not in that at Mecca. And it is a fact that the politician in him outgrew the prophet more and more, and that in many cases where he assigned spiritual motives he merely did so to give a fair appearance to acts that emanated from secular regards. In this respect it appears to us particularly objectionable that he gave out as revelation of God and placed in the Koran all sorts of regulations and orders of the day, which proceeded simply from his own deliberations or even in part were suggested to him by advisers from outside. At the same time the element of self-deception is not excluded even here; he took for a message sent down from heaven everything which in his cataleptic fits passed through his mind, however close might be its agreement with his own previously cherished thoughts. It was pardonable that he went on with the idea after he had once grasped it, that he blew upon the coals when the flame threatened to die out. It is less easy to free him from the reproach of perfidy and cruel vindictiveness. The surprise of Nakhla in the month Rajab (ordered by him, though he afterwards repudiated it), the numerous assassinations which he instigated, the execution of the 600 Jews at the close of the War of the Fosse, burden the Prophet heavily, and sufficiently explain the widespread antipathy in which he is held. Yet even in this respect it is well not to forget the instance, already cited, of Charlemagne. It is precisely the man of vast aims who finds it most difficult to keep the beaten path.


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