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erected a fortress, even at Thermopyla, where the religio loci would rather have called for a Spartan rampart of three hundred men, if only they had been forthcoming. He had kept the Sclavonians out of Constantinople by one long wall, and the Russians out of the Crimea by another; he had fortified Amida and Edessa against the fire-worshippers; had built St. Catherine's half-monastery and halffortress in the wilderness of Mount Sinai; and had even taken precautions against the savages of Æthiopia but he had trusted to the six hundred miles of desert which Nature had interposed between him and a set of robber tribes, intent only on molesting one another. What hostile force could pass such an obstacle?

But we can see now, and Mohammed himself perhaps saw, that the ground was in many respects prepared for a great social and religious revolution. 'It detracts nothing from the fame of a great man to show, so far as we can, how his success was possible."1 It is only another proof, if proof were wanting, that genius is little else than insight joined to sustained effort; the eye sees what it brings with it the power of seeing; and the great man differs from his contemporaries chiefly in this, that he can read the dark riddle of his time with an eye a few degrees less

1 M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire, Mahomet et le Koran,' p. 51.



obscured than those around him. He is the greatest product of his age, but he is still its product, and he is only the father of the age that is to succeed in so far as he owns his parentage. He marches indeed in front of his age; but his influence will be permanent or fleeting precisely so far as he discerns the direction in which it would advance at a slower pace without him. When he tries to go beyond this, and to force the world out of its groove, to adopt hobbies of his own, then begins the region of the remote, the selfish, the personal; in this the great man fails; and hence the commonplaces on the failure of greatness, and the greatness of failure, with which we are all familiar. Perish my name,' said Danton, 'but let the cause triumph;' 2 and personal failure of this kind is to the great man no failure at all-it is only another word for success. The truth is that greatness, so far as it is the truest greatness, rarely fails altogether of its object; and that failure is great, only when the end proposed is good, and the human means, though inadequate to its attainment, are yet a real advance towards it.

It must be remembered therefore as regards what

1 Cf. Guizot's 'Lectures on History,' Vol. III. Lect. XX. ; and Mill's Review of them in Dissertations and Discussions,' II. 249, 250.

2 A similar saying is attributed to Cavour: 'Perish my name and memory, so that Italy be made a nation!'

seems the sudden birth of the Arabian nation, fully armed, like Athena from the head of Zeus, that the annual resort to Mecca for purposes of trade, poetry, and religion, had pointed to the Holy City as to a possible metropolis; and to the Kuraish, the hereditary guardians of the Kaaba, as the potential rulers of a future people; while as regards the new religion, there was the groundwork of Monotheism underlying all the abuses and corruption of Magianism and Sabæanism. There was also a class of people, called Hanyfs, who prided themselves on preserving the original creed of Abraham, and even his sacred books; while Ibn Ishak,' the earliest known historian

See Sirat-er-raçoul. Weil's Translation, I. 107-108. Ibn Ishak died A.H. 151. His work has been preserved for us in the Sirat-erraçoul of Ibn-Hisham, who died in the year of the Hijrah 213. The fullest and most trustworthy historian, in the judgment of Muir and Sprenger, whose writings have come down to us, is the Katib al Wakidi, or secretary of the historian Wakidi: died 207 A.H. The MS. was discovered by Sprenger at Cawnpore. Among other discoveries of Sprenger may be mentioned a portion of the biography of Mohammed by Tabari, who died A.H. 310, and a complete biographical dictionary, termed Içaba, of the Companions of Mohammed, compiled by IbnHidjr, in the fifth century, from writers, whose names he gives, of earlier and incontestable authority. It contains the biographies of some 8,000 people. And it may be hoped that the Government of India, which numbers among its subjects more than fifty million Musalmans, may recognise, if they have not already done so, the imperial importance of publishing the three remaining folios of the work. Sprenger brought out one volume, but an order of the Court of Directors suspended the publication of the rest. See Sprenger, Preface, p. 12, where it may be observed how modestly he passes over his own great discoveries, and does not even allude to the slight shown it by the



of Islam, records a meeting of four or five among the Kuraish at which it was resolved to open a crusade against idolatry, and to seek for the original and only true faith; and they straightway abandoned their homes and spread over the world in quest of this Holy Grail.1

Mohammedanism therefore is no real exception to the principle I provisionally laid down in my first Lecture as to the origin of the Historical Religions of the world, though, at first sight, it may appear to be So. To Mohammed's own mind it is quite true that the theological element was the predominant and inspiring one, but Mohammed's mind itself was the outcome, at least as much as it was the cause, of the great revolution which goes by his name. There was

a general social and religious upheaving at the head of which the Prophet placed himself, and which partly carried him on with it, partly he himself carried it on: the train was already laid, and the spark from heaven was all that was needed to set the Arab world ablaze. In this sense it is perhaps true, as Renan has remarked and the Koran itself declares, that Mohammedanism

Directors. Learned and critical Mohammedans, it would seem, do not think so highly of Wakidi and his secretary as Muir and Sprenger do : they prefer Ibn-Hisham.-See Muir, I. 77-105, and B. St. Hilaire, p. 19-25. Syed Ahmed's 'Life of Mohammed,' Preface, p. 14, 18, etc. Syed Ameer Ali, Preface, p. 7.

1 Sprenger, p. 81.

Abayd, and Zeid.

These four 'enquirers' were Waraka, Othman,

was preached before the time of Mohammed; but there were Mohammedans before Mohammed, only in the sense in which there were Zoroastrians before Zoroaster, Lutherans before Luther, and Christians before Christ. Renan has himself remarked elsewhere, though he seems to have forgotten it in dealing with Mohammedanism, that the glory of a religion belongs to its founder, and not to his predecessors or to his successors.1 It is easy, he says himself, to try to awake faith, and it is easy to be possessed by it when once it has been awakened; but it is not easy to inspire it. It is the grandest gift, a very gift of God.

1 It seems to me, though I would speak with the utmost diffidence in venturing to dissent from the greatest European authority on the subject, that Sprenger errs in the same direction as Renan, when he says in his volume, published at Allahabad (p. 171), that Abu Bakr did more for the success of Islam than the Prophet himself; and again (p. 174), after enumerating all those who, merely from their vague Monotheism, he calls the predecessors of Mohammed, he says that even after Mohammed was acknowledged as the messenger of God, Omar had more influence on the development of the Islam than Mohammed himself. 'The Islam is not the work of Mohammed; it is not the doctrine of the impostor. it is the offspring of the spirit of the time, and the voice of the Arabic nation. . . . There is, however, no doubt that the impostor has defiled it by his immorality and perverseness of mind.' It is fair to say that this tone seems somewhat moderated, or even altered, in the author's subsequent and greater work. Cf., however, Vol. I. 209, and II. 83-88. One is inclined to ask, if Islam was merely the spirit of the time, who proved himself best able to read that spirit? Was it Abu Bakr and Omar, or was it Mohammed that produced the Koran? And is it their personality, or his, which has stamped itself with ineffaceable clearness for all time upon the Eastern world?

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