not vigorous. In all his pleasures, dangers, and fatigues, he makes the horse and camel of his deserts associates rather than servants, and these animals appear to have obtained an actual superiority in Arabia. from being elevated into the companions of their masters. The horse of Arabia is equally remarkable for speed, temper, and power of endurance; and it is remarkable that the best breeds of this animal in Europe, Asia, and Africa, have been derived from an Arabian stock. The camel and dromedary of the desert are regarded by the Arab as scarcely inferior to his horse. This patient and powerful animal supplies him with milk for his sustenance, transports his property and family from one quarter of the desert to another, and when occasion requires, enables him to pursue or fly from his enemy with almost incredible speed.

The ancient religion of the Arabs was the Sabean form of idolatry which consisted in the worship of the sun, moon, and planets; but long before the coming of Mohammed, they were distracted by a great variety of creeds; some adhered to the faith of their ancestors, others embraced Judaism, and several tribes became Christians. Unfortunately Christianity, when introduced into the peninsula, had been deeply sullied by man's devices; the different Christian tribes were imbued with a fierce sectarian spirit, and hated each other more bitterly than Jews or pagans. The vivid imaginations of the Arabs led them to investigate questions beyond the powers of man's understanding; and the consequence was so abundant a supply of new doctrines, that one of the early fathers described Arabia as the land most fruitful in heresies.

The principal Arabian cities of ancient times were in Yemen; but their fame was destined to be eclipsed by the glories of Mecca and Medina, both in the Hejaz, the two great sanctuaries of the national religion.. Mecca was a place of considerable trade from the earliest stages, being situated at the intersection of two important routes, that between Syria and Arabia Felix, and that between Abyssinia or upper Egypt and southeastern Asia. Commerce flourished under the sanctuary of religion. The temple of Mecca was regarded as the national metropolis of the Arabic faith, before Judaism and Christianity appeared in the peninsula ; its custody raised the Koreishites to a rank above the other tribes, and the failure of the attempt made to storm it by the Ethiopians in the very year that Mohammed was born, may be considered the great check that impeded, or rather prevented, the further extension of Christianity in the country. Mecca is built in a winding valley at the foot of three barren mountains; the soil is a rock, and the waters brackish. The pastures are remote from the city, and good fruits can not be procured at a nearer place than the gardens of Tayef, which are about seventy miles distant.

The Arabs believe that Mecca was founded by Adam, and the temple erected by Abraham. Its early prosperity they ascribe to Ishmael, who fixed his residence there, because, as their traditions assert, the brackish well Zemzem was that to which Hagar was directed by the angel. It must have been a very ancient city, if, as commentators sup pose, it was the Mesha which Moses mentions as inhabited by the posterity of Joktan.*

* Genesis x. and xxxi.

Medina, called Yatreb before the appearance of Mohammed, enjoys more natural advantages than Mecca ; but it is not so conveniently situated for traffic. Its citizens appear to have been always jealous of the supremacy claimed by the Meccans, and this probably induced them to espouse the cause of Mohammed when he was banished by their rivals.

Literature was zealously cultivated by the ancient Arabs; they were enthusiastically attached to eloquence and poetry, for both of which, their rich harmonious language affords peculiar facilities. A meeting of the tribes was held annually, at which the poets recited their compositions, and those which were judged the best, were preserved in the public treasury. The most celebrated of these were seven poems called Moallakat, which were written on Egyptian silk in letters of gold, and suspended in the Kaaba, or temple of Mecca. Science was not similarly valued ; their history was merely genealogical tables : their astronomy such a rude knowledge of the stars as served to mark the variation of the seasons; and the mechanical arts were almost wholly neglected. They used to say that God had given them four peculiarities : turbans instead of diadems; tents instead of houses; swords instead of fortresses; and poems instead of written laws.

Section III.-The Preaching of Mohammed. MOHAMMED, the great legislator of the Arabians, and the founder of a religion which has long prevailed over the fairest portions of the globe, was born at Mecca. His father, Abdallah, was an idolater; but his mother, Emina, was a Jewess, who had been converted to Christianity, and from her early instructions he probably derived the religious impressions for which he was distinguished even in boyhood. Both his parents died while he was yet a child, but their place was supplied by his uncles, Abd-al-Motalleb, and Abu-Taleb, the latter of whom became a tender parent to the orphan. At the age of thirteen he accompanied Abu-Taleb on a mercantile journey into Syria, and soon after made his first campaign against some neighboring tribes of predatory


From this time Mohammed appears to have engaged actively in trade. He displayed so much talent, that a rich widow, named Kadijah, appointed him her chief pastor; and after some years, was so pleased with his zeal and industry, that she gave him her hand in marriage, and made him master of her splendid fortune. After his marriage, Mohammed ranked among the first citizens of Mecca, and it must be added that he was not corrupted by good fortune. The earliest use he made of prosperity was to relieve his kind guardian and uncle AbuTaleb, who had fallen into distress; he placed Abu-Taleb above want, and undertook the education of a portion of his family.

Little is known of Mohammed's history during the next fifteen years, but there is every reason to believe that this interval was spent in maturing his plans for the great revolution he contemplated. Every year he retired for a month to a cave in Mount Hira, near Mecca, where he spent his time in meditation and prayer. His travels as a merchant had made him acquainted with the principal forms of religion that then prevailed in the east. In Syria he met Christians of various sects Jews, Magians, and Sabæans ; Arabia presented to him countless va rieties of idolatry ; exiles from the Persian and Byzantine empires informed him of the dangerous doctrines preached by the Mani and Mazdak. A singular dream led him to believe that he was chosen by the Deity to reconcile all these jarring creeds, and to unite mankind in the worship of the one true God. In the solitude of his cave he dreamed that the angel Gabriel appeared to him, and hailed him as a prophet. On his return he announced his mission to Kadijah, who at once recognised his claims. Her example was followed by Ali, the son of Abu-Taleb, by Abu-Beker, Othman, and a few friends accustomed to regard the recluse of Hira with reverence.

These converts were called Mussulmans, that is, persons resigned to the divine will; their faith was confirmed by revelations which Mohammed pretended to receive from Gabriel, and which, as he did not then know how to read and write, or at least but imperfectly, he communicated orally to his disciples. These revelations were preserved by them in a volume, which they called the Koran, or book that ought to be read. The progress of the new religion was slow; many of Mohammed's friends rejected his prophetic claims with something like horror, and three years elapsed before he ventured to announce his mission publicly. Having invited his friends and relatives to a splendid banquet, he declared to them that God had chosen him to preach the doctrine of the divine unity; Ali, with the generous enthusiasm of youth, warmly offered to support the prophet's claims, but many of the other guests doubted or laughed them to scorn.

Undismayed by the imperfect result of his first essay, Mohammed began to preach to the people of Mecca in the market-place. Converts were made slowly; and the guardians of the city opposed doctrines that threatened to subvert the influence they derived from the worship of the Kaaba. Several of the Mussulmans, most remarkable for their zeal, were forced by persecution to abandon their homes, and seek refuge in Abyssinia ; but the spirit of Mohammed quailed not; he refused to quit Mecca, and when asked to suspend his preaching for a season, he replied, “ Were my enemies to place the sun on my right hand, and the moon on my left, they would not reduce me to silence.”

At one of the great annual fairs held in Mecca, Mohammed preached his mission to the merchants assembled from all parts of Arabia. Among his auditors were some citizens of Yatreb, or, as it was afterward called, Medina, whom peculiar circumstances rendered attentive to his claims. The Yatrebites had just conquered a Jewish tribe; they heard their captives boast of their speedy liberation on the coming of the Messiah, and supposing that the new prophet might be the expected deliverer, they resolved to conciliate his favor. Mohammed profited by their delusion ; and this appears to have been his first direct step in imposture, though in the tangled web of human motives, it is hard to say where enthusiasm ends and fraud begins.

Inspired by his success with the Yatrebites, and some other tribes in the interior of Arabia, Mohammed, who had hitherto preached patience and submission under persecution, directed his disciples to defend themselves when attacked, declaring that all who died in defence of his person or his creed, would assuredly inherit Paradise.

At the same time he averred that he had been taken up into heaven by Gabriel, and admitted to a personal interview with the Omnipotent. The Meccan chiefs, enraged at his hardihood, took measures for his destruction, and he could only save his life by a speedy retreat to Yatreb. This event, called Hejira (the fight), occurred about the fifty-third year of the prophet's age (A. D. 622), and is the era used by all Mahommedan nations.

Mohammed was received in triumph at Yatreb; he changed its name to Medinet al nábi (the city of the prophet), or Medina (the city), which it still retains. Converts flocked to Medina, and were formed into warlike bands, which infested all the roads to Mecca, and took severo vengeance for the insult offered to their master. The plunder was shared equally among the soldiers ; enthusiasm generally insured success; and warriors from all parts of the peninsula were attracted by the hopes of wealth and glory. In one of the frequent encounters between the Meccans and Mussulmans, near the well Bedr, Mohammed was on the point of being defeated, when he stooped down, took up a handful of dust and flung it toward the enemy, exclaiming : “May their faces be confounded !" this simple action revived the courage of his followers; they gained a decisive victory, which he failed not to ascribe to a miraculous interposition.

After this success Mohammed made a great change in the character of his religion ; hitherto he had preached patience and toleration ; he now began to inculcate the doctrine of propagating the true faith by the sword, and of executing divine vengeance on idolaters and unbelievers “ In the shade of the crossing cimeters,” he declared, “ Paradise is prefigured,” and this sublime orientalism was long the favorite war-cry of his followers. The Jews became special objects of his hitred; he seems to have hoped that they would acknowledge him as their Messiah, but they were too well acquainted with their sacred Scriptures to believe that the liberator of Israel should be descended from the bond

A severe defeat at Ohod increased rather than abated the pride and fanaticism of Mohammed; he ascribed it to the fault or his companions in having granted quarter to their enemies on a former occasion, and thenceforward the war assumed a most murderous and sanguinary character. The Meccans suffered much more severely than their adversaries ; depending for their prosperity, and almost for their existence, on commerce, they saw their trade almost annihilated, their caravans plundered, and their flocks swept away. They made one great effort to remove their enemy, and besieged Mohammed in Medina, but were soon forced to retire with great loss. “ Hitherto they have sought us,” exclaimed the prophet, “it is now our turn to go in search of them."

After this defeat, the Meccans seem to have lost all courage ; Mohammed rapidly became the most powerful prince in Arabia, his followers received his words as the inspired oracles of God, nor were they undeceived by the gross licentiousness in which the pretended prophet indulged. At length, he marched against Mecca, but found the defiles which lead to the city too strongly garrisoned to allow of an attack with any prospect of success. Under these circumstances, he concluded a


truce, much against the will of his followers, by which a peaceful au mission into the city was secured to him in the ensuing year. Feeling that his power was now established, Mohammed sent ambassadors, inviting the most powerful kings of the earth, especially the emperors of Persia and Constantinople, to become his disciples. Khosrú Parvíz, who then ruled in Irán, was indignant at receiving a letter, in which

a poor lizard-eater," as the Arab was then called by his haughty Leighbors, dared to place his name before that of “the king of kings." He tore the paper to pieces, and dismissed the ambassador with insult; when this was told to Mohammed, he exclaimed, “ Thus God hath torn his kingdom.” The Byzantine emperor, Heraclius, treated the message with respect, though he declined acceding to the invitation. During the

year that preceded the pilgrimage to Mecca, Mohammed subdued several of the surrounding tribes that had hitherto spurned his power; but the seeds of mortal disease were sown in his constitution by a dose of poison, which a Jewess administered as a test of his prophetic pretensions.

At length the day arrived which was to consummate the triumph of Islamism; Mohammed made his public entry into Mecca with unparalleled magnificence; he did homage to the national faith by worshipping in the Kaaba ; and such was the effect produced by his presence, that many of his former enemies, and among others, the chief guardian of the idolatrous sanctuary, proclaimed themselves his disciples. Soon after this success he began his first foreign war. The ambassador he sent to the Byzantine governor of Bosrah, having been murdered at Muta, a little town south of the Dead sea, an army was sent under the command of Zeid, the freedman of the prophet, to avenge the insult. The Mussulman general, and the two officers that succeeded, were slain ; but the command devolving upon Khaled, the son of Walid, he obtained a decisive victory, and returned to Medina laden with booty. This success induced Mohammed to break his truce with the Meccans ; disregarding their remonstrances and offers of submission, he marched against the city; an entrance was forced by the fiery Khaled, and the prophet with difficulty prevented his followers from involving his fellowcitizens in one promiscuous massacre.

The Kaaba became the property of the conqueror; all traces of idolatry were removed from this national sanctuary; the only emblem of former superstition permitted to remain, was the celebrated Black Stone, an aërolite which the Arabs had venerated from an unknown age, the reverence for which was too deeply graven in their hearts to be easily eradicated. This success led to the subjugation of most of the northern Arabian tribes; ambassadors flocked to congratulate the prophet from every side ; the lieutenant Khosrú, at the western side of the Euphrates, became a Mussulman; the governor of the provinces that the Najáshi of Abyssinia held in Arabia, followed the example; and Mohammed might be regarded as the undisputed sovereign of the peninsula. His two great objects seemed thus to be effected ; Arabia was liberated from the yoke of foreign powers, and the Arabs began to regard themselves as one nation. A second expedition against the southern provinces of the Byzantine, or, as it was still called, the Roman empire, was crowned with success; and so rapid had been the progress of Islamism, that when

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