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MOSEILAMA THE LIAR.

151

silence to speech, and who never said a thing he did

not really mean.

Moseilama, the most formidable of the rival prophets whom Mohammed's success stirred up, thinking that Mohammed's game was a merely selfish one, and that two might play at it, sent to Mohammed to offer to go shares with him in the good things of the world, which united they might easily divide. The letter was of Spartan brevity: 'Moseilama the apostle of God to Mohammed the apostle of God.-Now let the earth be half mine and half thine.' Mohammed's reply was hardly less laconic: Mohammed the apostle of God to Moseilama the liar.-The earth is God's, He giveth it to such of His servants as He pleaseth, and they who fear Him shall prosper.'

Again mark his conduct under failure or rebuff. He had lost, within three days of each other, Abu Taleb his one protector, and his venerable wife Khadijah, that toothless old woman, as Ayishah long afterwards in the bloom of her beauty called her; the wife who, as Mohammed indignantly replied, when he was poor had enriched him, when he was called a liar had alone believed in him, when he was opposed by all the world had alone remained true to him.'1 What was he to do? Silence and

1 Sprenger characteristically remarks (I. 151) that Mohammed's faithfulness to Khadijah to her dying day was due probably not to his

the desert seemed the one chance of safety, but what did he do? Followed only by Zeid, his faithful freedman, he went to Tayif, the town after Mecca most wholly given to idolatry; and, like Elijah in Samaria, he boldly challenged the protection and obedience of the inhabitants. They stoned him out of the city. He returned to Mecca defeated, but not disheartened; cast down, but not destroyed; quietly saying to himself, 'If thou, O Lord, art not angry, I am safe; I seek refuge in the light of thy countenance alone.'1

After the tide had turned in his favour, and the battle of Bedr had, as it seemed, put the seal to his military success, he was signally defeated and wounded almost to the death at Mount Ohud. People began to desert him; but a Sura, Mohammed's 'order of the day,' appeared: Mohammed is no more than a prophet. killed, needs ye go back?

What if he had been
He that turneth back

inclination, but to his dependence on her. Why, then, the interval before Mohammed married again? And why, long afterwards, his noble burst of gratitude to her memory when Ayishah contrasted her own youth and beauty with Khadijah's age and infirmities, and asked, Am not I much better than she?' 'No, by Allah,' replied Mohammed; 'no, by Allah; when I was poor she enriched me,' &c. Was Mohammed dependent upon the dead? For cynical remarks of a similar kind see, amongst many other instances, Sprenger, II. 19, 23, 86.

1 See the story in full in Muir, Vol. II. p. 198–203.

DEATH OF THE PROPHET.

153

injureth not God in the least, but himself.' The spell of his untaught eloquence recalled them to themselves, and we are assured that his defeat at Ohud advanced his cause as much as did his victory at Bedr.

Here is a story which illustrates the nature of the revenge which the Prophet lived to take. He was one day sleeping under a tree, alone, and at a distance from his camp, when he awoke and beheld Durthur, his deadly foe, standing over him with a drawn sword. 'Oh Mohammed,' cried he, 'who is there now to save thee?' 'God,' said the Prophet. Struck with awe, Durthur dropped his sword; Mohammed seized it, and exclaimed in his turn, 'Oh Durthur, who is there now to save thee?' 'No one,' replied Durthur. 'Then learn from me to be merciful;' and with these words. he gave him back his sword, and made him his firmest friend.

Ayishah, his favourite wife, one day asked of him, 'O Prophet of God, do none enter Paradise but through God's mercy?' 'None, none, none,' replied he. But will not even you enter by your own merits?' Mohammed put his hand upon his head and thrice replied, 'Neither shall I enter Paradise unless God cover me with His mercy.' 2 There was

1 Sura III. 138.

2 Mishkat-ul-Masibeh, I. Book IV. 280.

no 'false certitude of the Divine intentions,' the besetting temptation of spiritual ambition; no facile dogmatising upon what he had only to hint to be believed his own preeminent position in the unseen world. It would have been safe to do so: ès àpavès τὸν μῦθον ἀνενείκας οὐκ ἔχει ἔλεγχον:l and how few could have resisted a like temptation!

And at the last grand scene of all, when the Prophet had met his death, as he had always told his doubting followers he must, and Omar, the Simon Peter of Islam, in the agony of his grief drew his scymitar and wildly rushing in among the weeping Musalmans swore that he would strike off the head of any one who dared to say that the Prophet was dead-the Prophet could not be dead-it was by a gentle reminder of what the Prophet himself had always taught, that the venerable Abu Bakr, the earliest of the Prophet's friends, and his successor in the Khalifate, calmed his excitement: 'Is it then Mohammed, or the God of Mohammed, that we have learned to worship?'

1 Hdt. II. 23.

TRUE CHARACTER OF MOHAMMED.

155.

LECTURE III.

FEBRUARY 28, 1874.

MOHAMMEDANISM.

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God.... Now therefore go and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.-THE HEBREW BIBLE.

Allahu Akbar-God is most great-there is no God but God,. and Mohammed is His messenger.-THE CREED OF ISLAM.

IN the concluding part of my last Lecture I discussed at length the question of the character of Mohammed, and we arrived, I think, at the conclusion that, on the one hand, he had grave moral faults which may be accounted for, but not excused, by the circumstances of the time, by the exigencies of his situation, and by the weaknesses of human nature. And on the other, we saw reason to believe that he was not only passionately impressed with the reality of his divine mission in early life, but that the common view of a great moral declension to be traced in his latter years. is not borne out by the evidence, and that to the end.

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