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MOHAMMED


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MOHAMMED


howling and the whirling dervishes, or that they con- stitute ii process for arriving at union with God. This union does not consist, as with the saints of Christianity, in a higher knowledge and love of God, attainetl in silence and repose. In the ortlers which affect ecstasy, the khouan, on the contrary, is satis- fied with the preposterous notion of using violent means to produce physiiiloiricnl clTccts which bring on intoxication to the puiiii of unninsciovisness.

Riss, Marabouts €t Khowtn . \l /i. t ., 1 ^■^ h : I.E C'hatelier, Les con/rfricf muMilmanes (Paris. 1^^7 ; \'t IOnt and Coppolani, Les confrfries religiewses mtiguhimrits (AlRitrs. 1S97); Pummebol, Chri ccux qui gutUent (Paris, 1902); Petit, Les confrlries musvl- manea, an excellent summary (Paris, 1902).

Aug. Poulain.

Mohammed and Mohammedanism.^ I. The FocNDEK. — Mohammed, "the Praised One", the prophet of Islam and the founder of Mohammedan- ism, was born at Mecca (20 August ?) A. D. 570. Ara- bia W!is then torn by warring factions. The tribe of Fihr. or Qurai.-ih, to which ^lohammcd belonged, had established itself in the .south of Hijas (Hedjaz), near Mecca, which w.is, even then, the principal religious and commercial centre of Arabia. The power of the tribe was continually increasing; they had become the masters and the acknowledged guardians of the sacred Kaaha, within the town of Mecca — then visited in an- nual pilgrimage by the heathen Arabs with their offer- ings and tributes — and had thereby gained such preeminence that it was comparativeh- easy for Mo- hammed to inaugurate his religious reform and his pohtical campaign, which ended with the conquest of all Arabia and tlie fusion of the numerous Arab tribes into one nation, with one reUgion, one code, and one sanctuary. (See Arabia, Christianity in Arabia.) Mohammed's father was Abdallah, of the family of Hashim, wlio diefl soon after his son's birth. At the age of six the boy lost his mother and was thereafter taken care of by his uncle Abu-Talib. He spent his early hfe as a shepherd and an attendant of caravans, and at the age of twenty-five married a rich widow, Khadeejah, fifteen years his senior. She bore him six children, all of whom died very young except Fatima, his beloved daughter.

On his commercial journeys to Syria and Palestine he became acquainted with Jews and Christians, and acquired an imperfect knowledge of their religion and traditions. He was a man of retiring disposition, ad- dicted to prayer and fasting, and was subject to epi- leptic fits. In his fortieth year (a. d. 610), he claimed to have received a call from the Angel Gabriel, and thus began his active career as the prophet of Allah and the apostle of Arabia. His first converts were about forty in all, including his wife, his daughter, his father- in-law Abu Hakr, his adopted son Ali Omar, and his slave Zayd. By his preaching and his attack on heathenism, Mohammed provoked persecution which drove him from Mecca to ]Medina in 622, the year of the Hejira (Flight) and the beginning of the Moham- medan Era. At Medina he was recognized as the prophet of God, and his followers increased. He took the field against his enemies, conquered several Ara- bian, Jewish, and Christian tribes, entered Mecca in triumph in 630, demolished tlic idols of the Kaaba, be- came master of .\rabia, and finally united all the tribes imder one emblem and one religion. In 6.32 he made his last pilgrimage to Mecca at the head of forty thou- sand followers, and soon after his return died of a vio- lent fever in the sixty-third year of his age, the elev- enth of the Hejira, and the year 633 of the Christian era.

The sources of Mohammed's biography are numer- ous, but on the whole untrustworthy, being crowded with fictitious details, legends, and stories. None of his biographies was compiled during his lifetime, and the earliest were written a century and a half after his death. The Koran is perhaps the only reliable source


for the leading events in his career. His earliest and chief biographers are Ibn Ishaq (a. h. 151 = a. d. 768), Wakidi (207=822), Ibn Hisham (213=828), Ibn Sa'd (230=845), Tirmidhi (279=892), Tabari (310= 929), the "Lives of the Companions of Mohammed", the numerous Koranic commentators [especially Ta- bari, quoted above, Zamakhshari (.538=1144), and liaidawi (691 = 1292)], the "Musnad", or collection of traditions of Ahmad ibn Hanbal (241=855), the col- lections of Bokhari (2.56=870), the "Isabah", or "Dictionary of Persons who knew Mohammed", by Ibn Hajar, etc. All these ((illecfions and biographies arc based on the so-called Haditlis, or "traditions", the historical value of which is more than doubtful. These traditions, in fact, represent a gradual, and more or less artificial, legendary development, rather than supplementary historical information. According to them, Mohammed was simple in his habits, but most careful of his personal appearance. He loved perfumes and hated strong drink. Of a highly nerv- ous temperament, he shrank from bodily pain. Though gifted with great powers of imagination, he was taciturn. He was afTectionate and magnanimous, pious and austere in the practice of his religion, brave, zealous, and above reproach in his personal and family conduct. Palgrave, however, wisely remarks that "the ideals of Arab virtue were first conceived and then attributed to him". Nevertheless, with every allowance for exaggeration, Mohammed is shown by his life and deeds to have been a man of dauntless courage, great generalship, strong patriotism, merci- ful by nature, and quick to forgive. And yet he was ruthless in his dealings with the Jews, when once he had ceased to hope for their submission. He ap- proved of assassination, when it furthered his cause; however barbarous or treacherous the means, the end justified it in his eyes; and in more than one case he not only approved, but also instigated the crime.

Concerning his moral character and sincerity con- tradictory opinions have been expressed by scholars in the last three centuries. Many of these opinions are biased either by an extreme hatred of Islam and its founder or by an exaggerated admiration, coupled with a hatred of Christianity. Luther looked upon him as "a devil and first-born child of Satan". Ma- racci held that Mohammed and Mohammedanism were not very dissimilar to Luther and Protestantism. Spanheim and D'Herbelot characterize him as a "wicked impostor", and a "dastardly liar", while Prideaux stamps him as a wilful deceiver. Such in- discriminate abuse is unsupported by facts. Modern scholars, such as Sprenger, Noldeke, Weil, Muir, Ko- elle, Grimme, Margoliouth, give us a more correct and unbiased estimate of Mohammed's life and character, and substantially agree as to his motives, prophetic call, personal qualifications, and sincerity. The va- rious estimates of several recent critics have been ably collected and summarized bv Zwemer, in his "Islam, A Challenge to Faith" (New York, 1907). According to Sir William Muir, Alarcus Dods, and some others, Mohammed was at first sincere, but later, carried away by success, he practised deception wher- ever it would gain his end. Koelle "finds the key to the first period of Mohammed's life in Khadija, his first wife", after whose death he became a prey to his evil passions. Sprenger attributes the alleged revela- tions to epileptic fits, or to "a paroxysm of cataleptic insanity". Zwemer himself goes on to criticize the hfe of Mohammed by the standards, first, of the Old and New Testaments, both of which Mohammed acknowl- edged as Divine revelation; second, by the pagan morality of his Arabian compatriots; lastly, by the new law of which he pretended to be the "divinely ap- pointed medium and custodian". According to this author, the prophet was false even to the ethical tra- ditions of the idolatrous brigands among whom he lived, and grossly violated the easy sexual morality of