Open main menu

Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/168

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
156
EARLY CHRISTIANITY

usurpation of the title of a prophet of God was doubtlessly a plot which had been maturely formed, and his expectations of its ultimate success were entirely grounded on the political state of the age. He had watched with no eye of unconcern the two great rival empires tearing each other to pieces, and he had ventured from the first to promise his followers the plunder of the treasures of Khosroës and of Cæsar.[1] He saw how readily the Arabs of the north embraced the new faith of the Christians, and he doubted not that a new religion, formed agreeable to their character, and seconded by the pretence of a divine mission, would be equally successful among the Arabs of the interior. His first attempts, which were made on his own family and relations, were enforced by dint of persuasion and deception. When, however, he began to make public his pretensions, he met with greater opposition than perhaps he had expected; the Koreish were bigotted to their old idola-

    Turchia, says that Muhammed was a soldier in the army of Heraclius, and that he had deserted, and afterwards, with the assistance of Sergius, had raised a rebellion in Arabia. It would be curious to know what was his authority. If such had been the case, Muhammed would not fail to conceal it, and in the state in which Arabia was, few or none would be likely to know whether in Syria he had acted the part of a soldier or a merchant. See Maracci, p. 36.

  1. Afterwards, in expressing their discontent, some of his followers complained — "promittebat nobis Mohammed fore, ut Kesræ et Cæsaris thesauros devoraremus." Abulfed. Vit. Moham. p. 76.