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MAHOMET

some of the rival faction embraced Islam. A trusty follower of Mahomet, Mus'ab b.'Umair, who resembled Mahomet in personal appearance, was sent to Yathrib to assist in the work. The correspondence between this person and the Prophet would, if we possessed it, be of the greatest value for the study of Islamic antiquity. We first hear at this time of the conditions of Islam, i.e. a series of undertakings into which the convert entered: namely, to abstain from adultery, theft, infanticide and lying, and to obey Mahomet in licitis et honestis. The wholesale conversion of Yathrib was determined by that of two chieftains, Usaid b. Ḥuraith and Sa'd b. Mu'adh, both Ausites. The example of these was quickly followed, and iconoclasm became rife in the place. At the next Meccan feast deputation of seventy Yathribites brought Mahomet a formal invitation, which he accepted, after imposing certain conditions. The interviews between Mahomet and the Yathribites are known as the 'Aqabah (probably with reference to a text of the Koran). The attitude of the Jews towards the project appears to have been favourable.

Among the conditions imposed by Mahomet on his new adherents appears to have been the protection and harbouring of the older proselytes, whom Mahomet most wisely determined to send before him to Yathrib,The Refugees. where, in the event of the Yathribite loyalty wavering, they could be counted on with certainty. The welcome given these refugees (muhājirūn), as they were from this time known in contradistinction to the helpers (anṣār) or allies from Yathrib, is said to have been of the warmest; a Helper with two wives would hand one over to a wifeless Refugee. A yet more important condition which preceded the Flight was readiness to fight men of all colours in defence of the faith.

Although the transactions with the people of Yathrib had been carried on with profound secrecy, the nature of Mahomet's contract with his new adherents was somewhat divulged to the Meccan magnates, and the danger of allowing an implacable enemy to establish himself on the high-road of their north-bound caravans flashed upon them. The rule which forbade bloodshed in the sacred city had at last to be suspended; but elaborate precautions were to be taken whereby every tribe (except Mahomet's own clan) should have their share in the guilt, which would thus be spread over the whole community fairly. When the committee appointed to perpetrate the crime reached Mahomet's house, they found that it was too late; Mahomet had already departed, leaving Ali in his bed.

The actual Flight from Mecca to Yathrib has naturally been a favourite subject for romance, and indeed appears to have been executed with the greatest cunning. Accompanied by Abū Bekr only, Mahomet took refuge in a cave of Mt Thaur, in the opposite direction to that which he intended to take finally, and there remained for three days; provision had been made of every requisite, food, powerful camels, a trusty and competent guide. The date at which he reached Kuba, on the outskirts of Yathrib, where there was already some sort of Moslem oratory, is given as 8 Rabia I., of the year A.H. 1; the fact that he arrived there on the Jewish Day of Atonement gives us the date September 20, 622. The Meccans, who had employed professional trackers to hunt down the fugitives, proceeded to confiscate the houses and goods of Mahomet and of his followers who had fled.

The safe arrival of Mahomet at his destination marks the turning-point in his career, which now became one of almost unbroken success;Mahomet as Despot of Yathrib. his intellectual superiority over both friends and enemies enabling him to profit by defeat little less than by victory. His policy appears to have been to bind his followers to himself and them to each other by every possible tie; he instituted brotherhoods between the Refugees and Helpers, which were to count as relationships for legal purposes, and having himself no sons, he contracted numerous marriages partly with the same end in view; e.g. with the infant daughter of Abū Bekr, Ayesha ('A'ishah), whose ability he appears to have discerned; and the unamiable Ḥafṣa, daughter of Omar. Of his own daughters three were given to faithful allies, the one by whom his line is supposed to have been continued to our time, Fāṭima, was reserved for his cousin Ali. Owing to his efforts the alliance between the Refugees and Helpers resisted numerous attempts on the part of enemies to break it up, and only towards the end of the Prophet's life, when he appeared to favour Meccans unduly, do we hear of any bitterness between the two communities.

The population of Yathrib, or, as it may now be called, Medina, soon divided into three groups: Mahomet's united followers;The Medina Community. the Jews; and a party known as the “Hypocrites,” i.e. professing Moslems, who were lukewarm, or disaffected, among whom the most prominent is 'Abdallah b. Ubayy, a Khazrajite chieftain, who is said to have himself aspired to be despot of Yathrib, and who till nearly the end of Mahomet's career figures somewhat as a leader of the opposition; of his importance there is no question, but the reason for it and the mode whereby he made it felt are often obscure. It would seem that the pagans remaining in Yathrib speedily adopted Islam after the Prophet's arrival, whence we hear little of serious opposition on their part. Coming in the capacity of prophet of the Israelitish God, Mahomet at first seems to have courted alliance with the Jews, and to have been ready to adopt their system with very slight modifications—similar to those which, according to his opinion, Jesus had come to introduce. The Jews met these advances by submitting him to examination in the intricacies of the Torah, and, finding him very poorly equipped, proceeded to denounce him as an imposter; one of his examiners is said to have even translated the Torah into Arabic with a view of convicting him of ignorance and imposture. They are further charged with exercising their magical arts on the Prophet and his followers, and to have succeeded thereby in producing barrenness among the Moslem women. Their conduct must not of course be judged by the statement of their enemies; it is however clear that Mahomet soon found that there was no possibility of compromising with them on religious questions, or of obtaining their loyal support; meanwhile he discovered that they were incapable of united and persistent action, and useless as warriors except against each other. He therefore resolved on their extermination. His ruthlessness in their case compared with his patience and forbearance in the case of the “Hypocrites” was consistent with his principle (always faithfully observed) that no inquiry was permissible into the motives of conversion, and with his division of mankind into the two antagonistic factions Believers and Unbelievers. The latter principle, as will be seen, was somewhat modified before the end of his life.

Mahomet's failure to effect a compromise with the Jews caused a reaction in his mind towards paganism, and after about a year's residence at Medina the direction of prayer,Development of Islam. which had till then been towards Jerusalem, was turned southward to the pagan temple at Mecca. With this change we may perhaps couple the adoption of the name Allah for the Diety; in the Moslem formula “in the Name of Allah the Raḥmān the Merciful,” the translation attached to the word Raḥmān, and the prefixing to it of the name Allah furnish clear evidence of theological transition, though the stages are not recorded; we know, however, that the Meccans approved of the name Allah, but objected to the name Raḥmān. Prayer (ṣalāt), said to have been prescribed on the occasion of the Prophet's ascent into heaven after a miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, began to assume a stereotyped form in the place of assembly built by Mahomet immediately after his arrival; the attitudes of prayer in use among many communities (e.g. the Jewish standing, the prostration of some Christian sects) were combined. In general it was Mahomet's principle, while taking over a practice from some other sect, to modify it so as to render the Moslem method absolutely distinct; thus when a summons to prayer became requisite, a new mode (by the voice of a crier called muaddhin or muezzin) was preferred to the Christian hammer; a new sacred day was adopted, in lieu of the Jewish Saturday and the Christian Sunday, in the weekday on which he had safely reached Kuba, Friday; but the sanctity was reduced to the actual time occupied by public worship. On the subject of food he was satisfied with the regulations of the Council of