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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/480

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MOHAMMED


426


MOHAMMED


Dahomev, :?50,000; Ivory Coast, 800,000; Liberia, 600,000;" Sierra Leone, 333,000; French (Juinea, 1,.500.(X')0; Frenrh, British, and Italian .^oinaliland, British Kast Afrioan Protectorate, Vpanda. ToKolaiiil, Gambia and Senepal, about 2,0()(),tKH); Zanzibar, German Ivist Africa, Portupuese East Africa, Rho- desia, Congo Free State, and French Congo, about 4,000,000; South Africa and adjacent islands, about 23.i,000.— Approximate total, (lO.OOO.OOO.

Europe. — Turkey in Etiropc, 2.1()0,()0(); Greece, Ser\-ia. Rumania, and Bulgaria, about l,;j(i<t,0OO.

Total, abciiit S,. '.0(1.000.

America and .\ustralia, about 70,000.

About T.OOO.OOO li. e., four-fifths) of the Persian Mohammedans and about ."i.dOO.OOO of the Indian Mohammedans arc Shiahs; the rest of the Mohamme- dan world — about 221,000,000 — are almost all Sun- nites.

B. Tenets. — The princip.al tenets of Mohamme- danism are laid down in the Koran (q. v.). As aids in interpreting the religious system of the Koran we have: first, the so-called "Tniditions", which are supposed to contain supjjlemcntary teachings and doctrine of Mohammed, a very considerable part of which, however, is decidedly spurious; second, the consensus of the doctors of Islam represented by the most celebrated imams, the founders of the various Islamic sects, the Koranic commentators and the masters of Mohammedan jurisprudence; third, the analogj", or deduction, from recognized principles admitted in the Koran and in the Traditions. Mo- hammed's religion, known among its adherents as Islam, contains practically nothing original; it is a confused combination of n.ative Arabian heathenism, Judaism, Christianity, Sabiism (Mandceanism), Ha- nifisra, and Zoroastrianism.

The system ma3' be divided into two parts: dogma, or theory; and morals, or practice. The whole fabric is built on five fundamental points, one be- longing to faith, or theory, and the other four to morals, or practice. All IVIohammedan dogma is supposed to be expressed in the one formula: "There is no God but the true God; and Mohammed is His prophet." But this one confession implies for Mo- hammedans six distinct articles: (a) belief in the unity of God; (b) in His angels; (c) in His Scripture; (d) in His prophets; (e) in the Resurrection and Day of Judgment ; and (f ) in God's absolute and irre- vocable decree and predetermination both of good and of evil. The four points relating to morals, or practice, are: (a) prayer, ablutions, and purifications; (b) alms; (c) fasting; and (d) pilgrimage to Mecca.

(1) Dogma. — The doctrines of Islam concerning God — His unity and Divine attributes — are essen- tially those of the Bible; but to the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Divine Sonship of Christ Moham- med had the strongest antipathy. As Ncildeke re- marks, Mohammed's acfjuaintance with those two dogmas was superficial; even the clauses of the Creed that referred to them were not properly known to him, and thus he felt that it was quite impossible to bring them into harmony with the simple .Semitic Monotheism; prob.ably, too, it was this consideration alone that hindered him from embracing Christianity (Sketches from Eastern History, 62). The number of prophets sent by God is s;iid to have been about 124,000, and of apostles, 31,'5. Of the former, 22 are mentioned by name in the Koran — such as Adam, Noe, Abraham, Moses, Jesus. According to the Sunni, the Prophets and Apostles were sinless and superior to the angels, and they had the power of performing miracles. Mohammedan angelology and demonology are almost wholly based on later Jewish and early Christian traditions. The angels are believed to be free from all sin; they neither eat nor drink; there is no distinction of sex among them. They are, as a rule, invisible, save to animals,


although, at times, they appear in human form. The principal angels are: dabriel, the guardian and com- municator of (Jod's revelation to man; Michael, the guardian of men; Azrail, the angel of death, whose duty is to receive men's souls when they die; and Isnifil, the angel of the Resurrection. In addition to these there arc the Seraphim, who surround the throne of God, constantly chanting His praises; the Secretaries, who record the actions of men; the Ob- servers, who spy on every word and deed of mankind; the Travellers, whose duty it is to traverse the whole earth in order to know whether, and when, men utter the name of God; the Angels of the Seven Planets; the .Angels who have charge of hell; and a countless multitude of heavenly beings who fill all space. The chief devil is Iblls, who, like his numerous companions, w;is once the nearest to God, but was cast out for refusing to pay homage to Adam at the command of God. These devils are harmful both to the souls and to the bodies of men, although their evil influence is constantly checked by Divine interference. Besides angels and devils, there are also jinns, or genii, creatures of fire, able to eat, drink, propagate, and die; some good, others bad, but all capable of future salvation and damnation.

God rewards good and punishes evil deeds. He is merciful and is easily propitiated by repentance. The punishment of the impenitent wicked will be fearful, and the reward of the faithful great. All men will have to rise from the dead and submit to the universal judgment. The Day of Resurrection and of Judgment will be preceded and accompanied by seventeen fearful, or greater, signs in heaven and on earth, and eight lesser ones, some of which are iden- tical with those mentioned in the New Testament. The Resurrection will be general and extend to all creatures — angels, jinns, men, and brutes. The torments of hell and the pleasures of Paradise, but e.specially the latter, arc jiroverbially crass and sen- sual. Hell is divided into seven regions: Jahannam, reserved for faithless Mohammedans; Laza, for the Jews; Al-Hutama, for the Christians; Al-Sair, for the Sabians; Al-Saqar, for the Magians; Al-Jahtm, for idolaters; Al-Hawiyat, for hypocrites. As to the torments of hell, it is believed that the damned will dwell amid pestilential winds and in scalding water, and in the shadow of a black smoke. Draughts of boiling water will be forced down their throats. They will be dragged by the scalp, flung into the fire, wrapped in garments of flame, and beaten with iron maces. When their skins are well burned, other skins will be given them for their greater torture. WTiile the damnation of all infidels will be hopele.ss and eternal, the Moslems, who, though holding the true religion, have been guilty of heinous sins, will be delivered from hell after expiating their crimes.

The joys and glories of Paradise are as fantastic and sensual as the lascivious Arabian mind could possibly imagine. "As plenty of water is one of the greatest additions to the delights of the Bedouin Arab, the Koran often speaks of the rivers of Para- dise as a principal ornament thereof; some of these streams flow with water, some with milk, some with wine and others with honey, besides many other lesser springs and fountains, whose pebbles are rubies and emeralds, while their earth consists of camphor, their beds of musk, and their sides of saffron. But all th&se glories will be eclipsed by the resplendent and ravishing girls, or houris, of Paradise, the en- joyment of whose company vrill be the principal felicity of the faithful. These maidens are created not of clay, as in the case of mortal women, but of pure mask, and free from all natural impurities, defects, and inconveniences. They will be beautiful and modest and secluded from public view in pavil- ions of hollow pearls. The pleasures of Paradise will