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MAHOMMEDAN RELIGION

and stirred by an acquaintance (somewhat imperfect) with Judaism and Christianity. The later revelations seem to be influenced by the now dominant position of the Prophet and a desire after the capture of Mecca to incorporate such heathen religious ceremonies as are national. God is one and universal from the beginning. His unity is emphasized as against the mistaken conception of the Christian Trinity. At first his might is taught by the name Rabb (Lord) which is generally used with an attribute as “the highest Lord,” “Lord of the worlds,” “Lord of men,” “Lord of heaven and earth,” “Lord of the East and West,” or “our Lord.” Then he is identified with the god Allah (see above) and the first part of the later Moslem creed is announced—la ilaha illa-llaha, “there is no god but Allah.” But every act of creation is a proof not only of God’s power but also of his beneficence (xiv. 37), and so he becomes known as ar-Raḥmān, “the Compassionate.” The attributes of God may all be arranged in the three classes of his power, unity and goodness. They are expressed by the ninety-nine “beautiful names” applied to him in the Koran (see E. H. Palmer, The Quran in “Sacred Books of the East,” vol. vi., Introd. pp. 67-68, Oxford, 1880). In the Medina period of Mahomet’s life the nature of God is not so clear, and the description of it varies according to the moods of the Prophet.

Beside God are two other uncreated beings: (1) the original of the Koran, the “mother of the Book” (xliii. 3) on a “preserved tablet” (lauḥ maḥfūẓ) (lxxxv. 22), in accordance with which God acts, and (2) the throne (kursī) (ii. 256). Spirits. When the heavens are created, God sits on his throne in the seventh heaven; around him are angels, pure, sexless beings, some of whom bear the throne, while some are engaged in praising him continually. They are also his messengers and are sent to fight with the believers against the heathen. Some are the guardian angels of men, others are the watchmen of hell. Mediate beings between God and man are the “word” (amr) and from it the “spirit” (rūḥ) or “holy spirit” (rūḥ ul-qudus). Another manifestation of God to the believers only is the “glory” (sakīna).

God created the world in six days according to the plan of the Book. Each new life was created by God’s breathing into it a soul. The duality of soul and body is maintained. In each man is a good and a bad impulse. The bad Cosmology. impulse which was latent in Adam was roused to action by Satan (Iblīs). Adam by his fall lost the grace of God, which was restored to him solely by the gracious choice of God. Between men and angels in their nature are the genii (jinn) male and female, inhabitants of desert places, created from smokeless fire. They had been accustomed to spy round heaven, but in Mahomet’s time could learn no more of its secrets. Some of them were converted by the Prophet’s teaching. Lowest of creation in his estate is Satan (Shaitān), who was an angel but was expelled from heaven because he refused to worship Adam at his Lord’s command. God has revealed himself to man by (1) writing (kitāb), and (2) prophets. As he had given to the Jews the Law (Taurāt) and to the Christians the Gospel (Injīl) so he revealed to Mahomet the Koran (Qur‘ān, known also by other names, e.g. al-Furqān, at-Tafṣīl, &c.), each single revelation being called an aya. With his revelation God has also sent an apostle or prophet to each people. Several of these are mentioned in the Koran, Moses the prophet of the Jews, Jesus (Īsā) that of the Christians. Mahomet is not only the apostle of the Moslems but the “seal of the prophets,” i.e. the final member of the class. His mission at first was to warn men of imminent judgment. Later he became more of a teacher. At first he seems to have relied for the salvation of men on his natural faculties, but later announced the doctrine of God’s election. The ethics of the Koran are based on belief (imān) and Ethics. good works, the latter alone occurring in the early Meccan suras. Fear of the judgment of God was a motive of action; this is followed by repentance and turning to God. A complete surrender to God’s will (islām) is the necessary condition of religious life and is expressed in the phrase so common in everyday speech among the Moslems—inshallah, “if God will.” God has full power to overlook evil deeds if he will. Unbelievers can acquire no merit, however moral their actions. A short account of the chief ethical requirements of the Koran is given in xvii. 23-40:—

“Put not God with other gods, or thou wilt sit despised and forsaken. Thy Lord has decreed that ye shall not serve other than Him; and kindness to one’s parents, whether one or both of them reach old age with thee, and say not to them, ‘Fie,’ and do not grumble at them, but speak to them a generous speech. And lower to them the wing of humility out of compassion, and say, ‘O Lord! have compassion on them as they brought me up when I was little!’ Your Lord knows best what is in your souls if ye be righteous, and, verily, He is forgiving unto those who come back penitent.

“And give thy kinsman his due and the poor and the son of the road; and waste not wastefully, for the wasteful were ever the devil’s brothers, and the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.

“But if thou dost turn away from them to seek after mercy from thy Lord, which thou hopest for, then speak to them an easy speech.

“Make not thy hand fettered to thy neck, nor yet spread it out quite open, lest thou shouldest have to sit down blamed and straightened in means. Verily, thy Lord spreads out provision to whomsoever He will or He doles it out. Verily, He is ever well aware of and sees His servants.

“And slay not your children for fear of poverty; we will provide for them; beware! for to slay them is ever a great sin.

“And draw not near to fornication; verily, it is ever an abomination, and evil is the way thereof.

“And slay not the soul that God has forbidden you, except for just cause; for he who is slain unjustly we have given his next of kin authority; yet let him not exceed in slaying; verily, he is ever helped.

“And draw not near to the wealth of the orphan, save to improve it, until he reaches the age of puberty, and fulfil your compacts; verily, a compact is ever enquired of.

“And give full measure when ye measure out, and weigh with a right balance; that is better and a fairer determination.

“And do not pursue that of which thou hast no knowledge; verily, the hearing, the sight and the heart, all of these shall be enquired of.

“And walk not on the earth proudly; verily, thou canst not cleave the earth, and thou shalt not reach the mountains in height.

“All this is ever evil in the sight of your Lord and abhorred.”

(E. H. Palmer’s translation.) 

The eschatology of the Koran is especially prominent in its earlier parts. The resurrection, last judgment, paradise and hell are all described. At death the body again becomes earth, while the soul sinks into a state of sleep or Eschatology. unconsciousness. At a time decreed, known as “the hour” (as-Sa‘a), “the day of resurrection” (yaum ul-qiyyāma), “day of judgment” (yaum-ud-dīn), &c., an angel will call or will sound a trumpet, the earth will be broken up, and the soul will rejoin the body. God will appear on his throne with angels. The great book will be opened, and a list of his deeds will be given to every man, to the good in his right hand, to the evil in his left (sura 69). A balance will be used to weigh the deeds. The jinn will testify against the idolaters. The righteous will then obtain eternal peace and joy in the garden (al-janna) and the wicked will be cast into the fiery ditch (Jahannam), where pains of body and of soul are united.

2. The Tradition.—The revelation of God is twofold—in a writing and by a prophet. The former was contained in the Koran, the latter was known from the actions of Mahomet in the different circumstances of life. The manner of life of the Prophet (sunna) was contained in the tradition (al-ḥadith). The information required was at first naturally obtained by word of mouth from the companions and helpers of Mahomet. These in turn bequeathed their information to their younger companions, who quoted traditions and gave decisions in their names.

For long these traditions circulated orally, the authority of each depending on the person who first gave it and the reliability of the chain (isnād) of men who had passed it on from him. At first this tradition was regarded as explanatory of, or at the most supplementary to, the teaching of the Koran. Early Moslem teachers pointed to the Jews as having two law-books—the Taurāt and the Mishna—while Islam had only one—the Koran. But opinion changed, the value of tradition as an independent revelation came to be more highly esteemed until at last it was seriously discussed whether a tradition might not abrogate a passage of the Koran with which it was at variance. The writing of traditions was at first strongly discouraged, and for more than a century the stories of the Prophet’s conduct passed from mouth to mouth. Had all the narrators been pious men, this might have been tolerable, but this was not the case. The Omayyad dynasty was not a pious one. Men who were not religious but wished to appear so invented