1 John iv. 1-3: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Christian Spectator Vol 1 excerpt; I Am not a Mohammedan i.e. Muslim, Because; Author unknown
I Am not a Mohammedan,—1. Because I cannot allow to the prophet of Arabia the character which he assumed, and which his followers ascribe to him :—in oilier words. I cannot admit that Mohammed was the most illustrious of all the messengers sent from heaven to our world. I should thus exalt him above all the prophets and apostles; above the Son of God himself. This I should also do, not only without reason, but in opposition to most weighty evidence.
Mohammed performed no supernatural operations, foretold no future events. The world is entirely destitute of evidence, that he ever did the least thing beyond the natural powers of man. For a long season, he made no pretensions of this kind. At length, to silence the demands of his opposers, and allay the apprehensions of his friends, he professed to have effected certain marvelous absurdities by supernatural assistance. But these things, beside being strangely inconsistent and self contradictory, want the proofs essential to establish a miracle. They were not performed in the face of day, nor under the eye of spectators,—consequently were never, like the miracles recorded in scripture, exposed to examination by the senses. These wonderful works, gained no general credit, even among those who lived at the time when tbey were said to be wrought; the story of them, was believed only by a few among the ignorant multitude; little dependence was placed on them by the prophet or his followers. If Mobammed was the most distinguished of all the messengers seut from God to men, how happened he to be destitute of this most important test of his divine mission?
I remark again, that the personal character of Mohammed, affords convincing evidence, that his high pretensions were unfounded. The prophets and apostles, who have spoken to men in the name of God, have uniformly been men of holy lives. For the Most High, to employ persons of any other description in this manner, would be inconsistent with all our ideas of his character. How then can we suppose that a man given up to debauchery, a man contemptible for the profligacy of his life, should be selected by Jehovah, as his most distinguished ambassador to our world? Such a man was Mohammed. This fact is abundantly supported by history, and is alone sufficient to destroy all belief that he was a true prophet; it clearly stamps him as an impostor. Mohammed’s retiring from public view for a season, and pretending in his seclusion to commence a reformation, and to receive certain secret communications from the invisible world, instead of diminishing, greatly increases our distrust in his assumed character. Such a course was admirably suited to promote the corrupt designs of a wicked and artful impostor.
I am not a Mohammedan—2. Because I cannot allow to the Koran, that respect, which belongs to the word of God. The difference between these books is vastly too great to admit the supposition, that both came from the same author. Their different style shews at once, that they are derived from different sources. The contrast between the Bible of Christians, and that of Mohammedans in this respect, is eloquently given by Mr. Gibbon, a man certainly not void of taste, nor prejudiced in favor of the sacred oracles. Of the Koran he says—”The harmony and copiousness of style, will not, in a version, reach the European infidel; he will peruse, with impatience, the endless incoherent rhapsody of fable, precept and declamation, which seldom excites a sentiment or idea, which sometimes crawls in the dust, and is sometimes lost in the clouds. The divine attributes exalt the fancy of an Arabian missionary; but his loftiest strains must yield to the sublime simplicity of the book of Job, composed in a remote age, in the same country, and in the same language.”
With regard to the most important religious doctrines, the Koran is still more diverse from holy writ. In the sacred scriptures we are clearly taught the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are assured that it is only by his obedience unto death, that any of our race can be pardoned and received into favor with God. In the Koran, Christ is declared to be only a man like ourselves. So far, is he said to be, from dying on account of human guilt, that even the fact, that he died at all, is denied. According to this book, the sufferings of the Saviour were only in appearance, and men, instead of needing a vicarious atonement for their sins, may, by a trifling restraint from open vice, become interested in the divine favor, and entitled to the happiness of heaven. Nor is the heaven promised, less different from the heaven of the scriptures, than the means of obtaining h. While the Christian expects a heaven, where he will be free from sin, where he will be entirely divested of every sensual appetite, and be happy only in the enjoyment of God, the Mussulman is taught to look for a paradise, great part of whose happiness will consist in carnal indulgence. Thus diverse, thus directly opposite, are the doctrines of the word of God, and those of the Koran of Mohammed.
Nor do these volumes bear a nearer resemblance, when we contemplate the morality which they inculcate. The former enjoins upon men, the restraint and the correction of their disorderly passions and propensities; requires them to be holy as their Father who is in heaven is holy; lays the foundation of morality in the heart, and inculcates love and benevolence towards all mankind. Wherever the precepts of the gospel have been obeyed, friendship and peace have prevailed, and the human character has been refined and exalted. Precisely the reverse of this, is true of the Koran. It is, in every respect, such as might be expected from its author. It requires no mortification of corrupt affections, no subduing of wicked passions, no guarding of the heart from sin. On the other hand, it encourages the indulgence of envy, pride, ambition, and sensual desire. Instead of breathing peace on earth and good will to men, it speaks misery and extermination; it literally declares war upon the human race.— Hence, in a moral view, the Koran has ever carried with it pestilence and death. Wherever its principles have been reduced to practice, man has been rendered the foe of man, and has sought the mischief and the ruin’ of his fellow;—in a word, the doctrines of this book, are, in a high degree, adapted to debauch and to brutalize the human character. Other points of difference between the sacred scriptures and the Koran, might be mentioned; bat enough has been said to shew, that if one of these books is what it purports to be, the other must be a forgery. Hence, before I can be a Mohammedan, I must regard the word of God as a fable; but then my Mohammedan creed would be imperfect, since Mussulmans [Muslims] profess to acknowledge the divinity of the holy scriptures.
Thus, whether I consider the personal character of Mohammed, or the want of prophecy and of miracles in his support; when I reflect on the style, in which his instructions are delivered; on the doctrines which he taught; the morality which he inculcated, or the manner, in which his religion was spread,—when I contemplate these things together or apart, I find abundant reason, why I cannot lay my hand on the Koran and cry,— “Ala, there is but one God, and Mohammed is his prophet.”Extract from A Missionary’s Letter to a Muslim friend
Attitude of the Quran to Christ.
Testing the Quran thus, it is found to be characterized by a certain veiled hostility and studied depreciation of him. While it admits his perfect sinlessness and prophetic character, it bitterly denies his divinity, and all implied in his being the Son of God. I will quote a passage at random, a sample of countless others.
Sura XLIIL, Surat al Zukhraf, Ornaments of Gold, v. 59: “Jesus is no other than a servant, whom we favored with the gift of prophecy; and we appointed him for an example unto the children of Israel.” V. 63: “And when Jesus came with evident miracles, he said, Now I am come unto you with wisdom, and to explain unto you part of those things concerning which ye disagree.”
It is not strange that, while Muslims say much of their love and honor for the Lord Jesus, he is to the Shiahs only one of one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets, all considered sinless, Adam and Noah being among the number. The Sunnis recognize a hundred and forty-four thousand. Neither is it wonderful that so few of them take the trouble to familiarize themselves with the life and teachings of one who, as they suppose, was only a prophet for the Jews.
In the light of the great discrepancies and flat contradictions existing between the Bible and the Quran, I beg you to examine with the greatest care the foundations of Islam, remembering that your salvation depends upon arriving at the truth. Are you prepared to venture all on the word of one man, or even one angel, when that word plainly supersedes and abrogates the well-established revelations which preceded it? The former systems of religion are like a strong castle founded on a rock, and standing “four square to every wind that blows”; but Islam, resting on the authority of one witness, rather resembles a pyramid poised on its apex.
Let us look at the words of Jesus, for to them he appealed to authenticate his divine character and mission. Leaving out those spoken by him, as we believe, through the prophets before his birth, and the apostles after his ascension, we will confine our attention to the utterances of his brief ministry of three and a half years.
The wisdom of the whole world has produced nothing like them; they unlock the mysteries of time and eternity, bring ” life and immortality to light,” and satisfy alike the loftiest demands of the intellect and the deepest cravings of the heart. How inimitable his parables! how perfect his precepts, wonderful in condensation and scope! What stores of comfort and instruction in every word, whether uttered in formal teaching or in the familiar intercourse of daily life!
But when we turn to the Quran we are reminded of the saying, “What is true is not new, and what is new is not true.” The great doctrines of the unity and holiness of the Creator, his wisdom, justice, and mercy, sin and judgment, the resurrection of righteous and wicked men, heaven and hell, had long before been so fully set forth in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures that no additional revelation was needed. Had the knowledge of sacred books been diffused as it should have been, the Arabs could never have made the mistake of supposing these cardinal truths to be revealed for the first time. We must confess this to have been the fault of the Christian Church, which, having left the simplicity of the faith for image and relic worship, and received for doctrines the vain traditions of men, had forgotten to preach a pure Gospel, and neglected the last command of her Lord to teach all nations his words and works. She paid the penalty of disobedience in being powerless to prevent the rise of the new persecuting religion which was destined to prove her mortal enemy.
“What was new was not true”: the change of base from Isaac to Ishmael, from the Jew to the Arab, from Jerusalem to Mecca, from Jesus Christ to Muhammad, from salvation by grace to salvation by works, cannot be accepted. The new views of God, the new terms of salvation, the new regime of force, the mechanical character of the new obedience, are all inferior to the light, life, and liberty of Christianity. How, then, can we believe they emanate from the same source? He who has known the liberty of a son in the Father’s house cannot but hesitate when called to assume the station of a slave bowing beneath the inscrutable will of a far-off and unapproachable Master.
We have already adverted to the gifts of prophecy and miracle abounding in the Lord Jesus, but in Muhammad conspicuous by their absence; but we must not lay undue stress on these as primary credentials of a true prophet.
The Old Testament, in the example of Balaam, and the New in that of Caiaphas, show us that, anomalous as it may appear to us, God can use wicked men to utter true prophecies. Of miracles, we see no reason to doubt that they were wrought by Judas as well as his fellow-apostles when Christ sent them out “with power and authority over the devils, and to cure disease.”
Matthew vii. 21-23, our Saviour says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
2 Thessalonians ii. 9: “Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.”
Those whose trust is based only On the evidence of prophecy and miracles, or what appears to be such, may build on a sandy foundation, and in the decisive day of trial find themselves overwhelmed by fearful and remediless disaster. God, in his mercy, has provided us with a criterion by which to judge the pretensions of those who profess to be his representatives.
Test of True Prophets.
Matthew vii. 15-18: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” The supreme test taught and met by Christ himself is personal holiness of character. He spoke of himself as coming, not to destroy, but to fulfil the law of God. If we accept his own word, he as divine was the author of the moral law, yet we never find him taking up a position of superiority to its requirements. On the contrary, we recognize in him the only human being who has ever completely kept the commandments in letter and spirit. Perfect in love to God and love to man, he ” brought in an everlasting righteousness ” sufficient to satisfy all demands of justice, and, as imputed to those who trust in him, able to save even ” unto the uttermost.”
Sinlessness of Christ.
He set a faultless example to his followers, offering to God a perfect obedience to his will, and to man a wondrous devotion, even laying down his life for the guilty race with which he identified himself. We have the testimony of his disciples to his sinless perfection, men associated with him for three and a half years on the familiar terms of close intimacy. Much of this time was spent in touring: on the road, or in the crowded conditions of Oriental village hospitality, so trying to ordinary friendship. They saw him weary, hungry, exposed to strong provocations. They saw him when the popular tide ran strong in his favor, and again when it ebbed, and most of his followers left him, in danger, betrayal, and death. Looking back on all, they deliberately tell us his life sustained his professed character, and he was indeed a sinless man. Not only their word, but the record of his words and actions as we have it, bears them out in their assertion. Tried by the most exacting standard of modern morality, he is without fault. His friends had every opportunity to judge him by the highest criterion, not the ability to utter beautiful poetry, which even depraved men often possess, but the power to lead a holy life.
Morality of Muhammad.
What a contrast to Muhammad, who, setting up a far inferior code of morals, giving indulgence to the weaknesses of the flesh, and proclaiming liberty to its lusts, could not himself observe the law he promulgated as from God! On the ground of his prophetic office he claimed to be superior to its requirements and exempt from its penalties, and it is notorious that he freely acted on this principle.
Readers of the Quran are familiar with the Suras, which specially excuse him from observing the marriage and divorce laws of Islam, though they appear to most persons sufficiently elastic to satisfy any one. To cite but one instance. Sura XXXIIL, Surat ul Ahzab, the Confederates, v. 49-57: ” O Prophet, we have allowed thee thy wives unto whom thou hast given their dower, and also the slaves which thy right hand possesseth, of the booty which God hath granted thee; and the daughters of thy uncles, and the daughters of thy aunts, both on thy father’s side, and on thy mother’s side, who have fled with thee from Makkah, and any other believing woman if she give herself to the Prophet, in case the Prophet desireth to take her to wife. This is a peculiar privilege granted to thee above the rest of the true believers. We know what we have ordained them concerning their wives and the slaves which their right hands possess; lest it should be deemed a crime in thee to make use of the privilege granted thee; for God is gracious and merciful. Thou mayest postpone the turn of such of thy wives as thou shalt please; and thou mayest take unto thee her whom thou shalt please: and her whom thou shalt desire of those whom thou shalt have before rejected; and it shall be no crime in thee. This will be more easy, that they may be entirely content and may not be grieved, but may be well pleased with what thou shalt give every one of them. God knoweth whatever is in your hearts: and God is knowing and gracious. It shall not be lawful for thee to take other women to wife hereafter, nor to exchange any of thy wives for them, though their beauty please thee, except the slaves whom thy right hand shall possess; and God observeth all things. O true believers, enter not the houses of the Prophet, unless it be permitted you to eat meat with him, without waiting his convenient time; but when ye are invited, then enter. And when ye shall have eaten, disperse yourselves, and stay not to enter into familiar discourse; for this incommodeth the Prophet. He is ashamed to bid you depart, but God is not ashamed of the truth. And when ye ask of the Prophet’s wives what ye may have occasion for, ask it of them from behind a curtain. This will be more pure for your hearts and their hearts. Neither is it fit for you to give any uneasiness to the Apostle of God, or to marry his wives after him forever, for this would be a grievous thing in the sight of God. Whether ye divulge a thing, or conceal it, verily God knoweth all things. It shall be no crime in them, as to their fathers, or their sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or the slaves which their right hands possess, if they speak to them unveiled: and fear ye God, for God is witness of all things. Verily God and his angels bless the Prophet; O true believers, do ye also bless him and salute him with a respectful salutation. As to those who offend God and his Apostle, God shall curse them in this world and in the next, and he hath prepared for them a shameful punishment.”
V. 60-61: “Verily if the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is an infirmity and they who raise disturbances in Medina, do not desist, we will surely stir thee up against them to chastise them; henceforth they shall not be suffered to dwell near thee therein except for a little time and being accursed: wherever they are found, they shall be taken and killed with a general slaughter.”
It is not from unfriendly or neutral historians, but from his own apologists and eulogists, we learn how fully the Prophet availed himself of his exceptional matrimonial privileges. “It is said, in his youth he lived a virtuous life. At the age of twenty-five he married Khadijah, a widow forty years old: and for five and twenty years was a faithful husband to her alone. Shortly after her death he married again, but it was not till he had reached the mature age of fifty-four that he became a polygamist, taking Ayesha, a child of seven or eight years, daughter of Abu Bekr, as rival of Sawda. In his fifty-sixth year he married Hafra, daughter of Umar; and the following year, in two successive months, Zeinab bint Khozeima and Omm Salma; a few months after, Zeinab, wife of Zeid, his adopted son. In the same year he married a seventh wife and also a concubine. And at last, when he was full three score years of age, no fewer than three new wives, besides Mary the Coptic slave, were within the space of seven months added to his already well-filled harem.”* The injunction touching his obnoxious neighbors, the Jews of Medina, we learn from Muslim historians, was carried out by assassination and banishment of his opponents, whole tribes being expatriated or exterminated.
Force as a Means of Propagandism.
While Islam has not been a religion propagated solely by the sword, it is a well-established matter of history that a large part of its success has been by force of arms. As we have seen, the Quran permits and commands believers to put the enemies of Islam to death. It is written in the Hyat ul Kuloob of the birth of Muhammad: “On that night under the name of the Prophet, in every Torat, Inj eel, or Zabour in the world, a drop of blood appeared, signifying that he would be a prophet armed with the sword.”
We find it impossible to associate such ideas with the personality of the Lord Jesus. In him what meekness, obedience, reverence for the Father, purity, zeal, hatred of sin, combined with infinite love for the sinner and matchless self-sacrifice! In Muhammad what growing pride, ambition, love of power, self-glorification! His apologists are never weary of reminding us how far he rose above his contemporaries, the idolatrous Arabs who surrounded him. Do they not admit the weakness of their cause by thus measuring him from that which was confessedly a very low standard instead of by that perfect ideal of manhood which had been given to the world almost six hundred years before? If he were a true prophet, we have a right to expect higher moral and spiritual attainments than we find in his predecessors. If he were not a true prophet sent of God, what was he? We read the earlier Suras, and admire the lofty thoughts and exalted descriptions of God, imperfect though they seem when placed beside our inspired Scriptures. Turn then to the later Suras, and mark how the commanding personality and central figure has become that of the Prophet himself. He dominates everywhere; we are not suffered for a moment to forget him. The Almighty, relegated to the background, has become an infinitely great and powerful shadow of Muhammad, constantly ministering to the Prophet’s glory, and promptly complying with his desires. A tradition says that Ayesha once said to him: “How kind your God is to you! Verily he always does whatever you wish!” The archangel Gabriel speeds from heaven—for what? To reveal some wondrous depth of divine wisdom, some sweet secret of eternal love, some new incitement to holiness, benevolence, purity? No, verily, but to say to the Prophet, if his wives are not content with his treatment and provision for them, he is permitted to divorce them and God will give better ones in their places. Or he comes to adminish visitors not to indulge in loud conversation before Muhammad’s door, to enter unbidden, or prolong their stay. He comes to vindicate the reputation of one wife, to reinstate her in the affections of her suspicious husband, and to rebuke the jealousies and contentions of the rest of the harem. One cannot help thinking if a prophet, and the greatest of prophets, could not manage his polygamous household without such frequent intervention and aid from above, what can ordinary men do under like circumstances? One fact stands out clearly: Muhammad is evidently the principal figure in his own estimation, and everything, angelic visits included, is made to subserve his glorification.
We understand from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments that God accepted and commissioned the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world, the only Mediator between man and his Maker. In him he found a perfect righteousness, which by faith could be imputed and imparted to the sinner, a perfect example of the obedience man owes to God, a perfect sacrifice to take away the guilt of sin and bear its punishment. God gave to Jesus the promised sign of acceptance by raising him from the dead on the third day, and causing him to ascend to heaven in the sight of his disciples. He was afterward seen in vision sitting at the right hand of the Father, waiting, as had been predicted of him, till his enemies should be made his footstool. When and why did God reject this Holy One whom he himself had chosen, and with whom he was well pleased—with whom he had covenanted with an oath, sworn by himself, that all kingdoms and tribes should serve him, and of his kingdom there should be no end? If the Lord was faithful, as we know he was, even unto death, why should God remove him from his office and introduce another scheme of salvation for mankind? Was not the divine law of perfect love to God and love to man, which Jesus taught and practised, the highest and best rule of life of which we can conceive? Is it not sufficient to transform earth to heaven and sinners to saints? What need had man of Muhammad? What need of Islam?
As you know, Islam is the paramount faith; the adherents of other religions only exist on sufferance, theoretically with no rights, in a semi-servile state, dependent on the mercy of the dominant race. No Muslim is allowed to change his belief, on pain of death, nor is he permitted to hear of or investigate the truth of any other religion.
Christianity in Great Britain.
About the same time that the conquering sword introduced Islam into your country, the Gospel entered the British Isles with no weapon save the “sword of the Spirit,” the Word of God. It came with persuasive love and power to a people far below the grade of the civilization of your ancient land, a race little removed from the level of savages, wild and idolatrous. You have asked, Where are the modern miracles of Christianity? Surely the mental, moral, and spiritual change wrought by the Bible on the Anglo-Saxon race, and the manifest blessings they have enjoyed since they accepted Christ, may answer your question.
It is true that Christian countries contain much of crime and evil, because no nation, as such, has yet become thoroughly Christian. The kingdoms of this world are still ruled by Satan; they are not yet the kingdoms of God and of his Christ. No church even in its entirety is a perfect exemplification of the character and teachings of its Divine Founder. The tares flourish among the wheat, which itself is not yet fully matured and ready for the garner. No individual Christian even has attained to the perfection which is set before him. The sins of so-called Christendom are black enough, but they constitute no part of our religion; indeed, they are flagrant transgressions of it, and as such always strongly for, bidden. But polygamy, slavery, divorce, religious war, disregard of the rights of non-Muslims, are vital and essential points of Islam, practised by its founder and commander in its sacred book.
Nor do we fear any examination of the two religions as to their power of renovating and purifying the heart, of sustaining in the trials and exigencies of life, and of conquering in the dread hour of death. You have tried Islam many years, but, after all, confess it has brought no real peace to your soul. You have said, did you not fear to rush unbidden into the presence of a justly offended God, you would gladly throw aside life as a burden too heavy to be borne. But the Christian’s inheritance is peace, left to us by the last words of our Saviour—John xvi. 33: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The Christian endures the ills of life without a murmur, sustained by a secret joy; in his cross is a hidden sweetness, since its heavier weight is sustained by an invisible companion and lightened by an enduring hope. He knows his trials are ordained by infinite wisdom and love, to secure his final perfection and harmonious relation to God; he anticipates endless holiness and happiness in the society and under the rule of his adored Redeemer. 1 Peter i. 8, 9: “Whom not having seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
Volumes of evidence might be adduced to show the holy lives and triumphant deaths of Christians. My own eyes have repeatedly seen how
“Jesus can make a dying bed
Seem soft as downy pillows are.”
Nay, more, the departing believer often experiences such rapturous joy, such foretastes of eternal bliss, that death is no more death, but truly “swallowed up in victory.” The wondering eyewitnesses of such a scene can only exclaim, ” Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” And why should not he rejoice who can say, ” The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms?” “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.” “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
In the New Testament the Christian is never spoken of as dying, for the brief sojourn of our Lord within the realm of death has robbed the enemy of his terrors. Christ is risen! his body rests in no earthly grave: “He is ascended on high, leading captivity captive.”
But the body of Muhammad has long lain at Medina, and the pilgrimages made to his tomb and to those of his successors tell us that your hopes rest on dead saviours, who could not rescue themselves from death and the grave.
You know better than I what hope or comfort your religion offers in the last hour to the trembling spirit, bowed under a load of guilt and apprehension, and what are its consolations for the survivors. I have seen the deep gloom cast by the mention of death on your people, the unreasoning terror they manifest on its occurrence in their homes, and have heard the wild cries of anguish when the blow has fallen, and they seem to “mourn as those without hope.” That event must indeed be invested with dark forebodings to those who dare not say of the dead that their immediate salvation is assured. I have heard them comfort themselves with the assurance that whoever recites the Muslim Creed in death, the Kalima Shahidat, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God,” will find his sins fall from him as the leaves of a tree in autumn. But, alas! if the analogy were true, when the tree buds again, its leaf and fruit will be unchanged. He who has no guarantee of a radical change of nature must needs fear that, as he has sinned here, he will continue to do so in another world. Where sin remains, must remain alienation from God, punishment and sorrow.
The traditions which we may take as representing the popular belief are far from reassuring. In the Hyat ul Kuloob is written that Salman, the freedman of the Prophet of God, before his death, went to a cemetery to interrogate the dead. “One in his grave began to speak, saying, ‘ Lo, I hear thy words, and will quickly answer. Ask what thou wilt.’ Salman rejoined, ‘ O thou that speakest after death and its sorrows, art thou of Paradise, or of hell?’ The dead replied, ‘I am of the number on whom God has bestowed favor and in his mercy introduced to Paradise.’ Salman said, ‘Thou servant of God, describe to me what thou hast experienced.’ He answered, ‘Verily, cutting the body to pieces many times with shears is easier than the agonies of death. Know thou the Most High had bestowed divine favors on me in this world, and I had well discharged my duties. I read the Quran, and was very dutiful to my father and mother. I avoided what was forbidden, and feared to be unjust and oppressive to servants. Night and day I took pains and strove to find out and do what was lawful, through fear of standing before God to be questioned. The angel of death now approached and gradually drew my soul from my body. Every pull he made was equal in agony to all the pains under heaven. This continued till he reached my heart, when he signed to me with a dart, which, if he had laid upon the mountains, would have melted them, and forcibly drew my soul from my nostrils.'” He then tells of his burial, of the dreadful ordeal of examination by the two angels Munkir and Nakeer, who question him of his faith and practice. Of the latter angel he says, “He then laid me down in the grave, and said, Lie like a bridegroom. At my head he opened a door to Paradise, and at my feet a door to hell, and said, See what you will enjoy and what you are saved from. He then closed the opening to hell and expanded the gate of Paradise, from which its delightful perfume was wafted to me. He then enlarged my grave as far as the eye could see, and left me.”
Of one feature of Islam I am, perhaps, better fitted to judge than you, with your limited circle of female acquaintance: that is, the effect it produces on the character and condition of woman. As a rule, where the provisions of the law are strictly carried out, only your wife, mother, sister, and daughter can speak with you freely and with unveiled faces. You are not permitted to see the countenances of even cousins and relatives by marriage; all conversation or association with them is watched and guarded with suspicious espionage. You have not concealed from me your very unfavorable estimate of your countrywomen, even while you acknowledged them capable of better things. But you have never lived in a Christian land, and you must pardon me for saying your ideal of womanhood cannot be so high as if you had seen it developed under the influence of light, liberty, and equal legal and moral rights. Remembering how often we are shocked beyond expression by the unintentional coarseness and unconscious vulgarity, the low standard of thought and morals betrayed by your best, most amiable, cultured, religious ladies in even a short, ceremonious call; remembering howling mobs of ragged village women, wild with curiosity, steeped in ignorance, shameless of speech and manner, and contrasting them with the same classes in Christian lands, we are forced to ask, Whence this difference? Forgive me if these criticisms seem harsh, though these women speak of themselves more severely than I should venture to do. “We are beasts, we are donkeys, what do we know? what can we do?” Their husbands seem generally to regard them as a necessary evil, something to be ashamed of, and kept in the background as much as possible. Seeing this, our sisters, many of them so beautiful, talented, attractive, gifted by nature with every requisite of a graceful and virtuous womanhood, we are filled with indignation at their imprisoned and degraded condition, treated as if unworthy of honor or confidence, perpetuating their own ignorance and superstition not only in their daughters, but in their sons. But such is the condition of woman, and even worse in non Christian lands. Jesus alone has brought her into a life of light, liberty, and usefulness. We have learned to love and pity many of these women, and have entered into the shadow where they dwell under a habitual consciousness of inferiority and contempt. We have seen their bitter tears and vain struggles on the entrance of a rival in their homes, we have heard their complaints of their prophet and their attempts to console themselves with the thought that the Christian woman, if happier here, is doomed to the flames of hell, while their sorrows will earn for them the joys of Paradise. We know the insecurity of their position, liable to divorce at the pleasure of their masters, thus taught to separate their interests from those of the husband, according to the proverb, “Bring a wife, bring an enemy.” How often jealousy, deceit, intrigue, and the worst passions of the human heart poison and destroy the happiness which God intended to spring from the family institution! It is not always thus: there are homes where the wife is loved and respected, the husband honored and obeyed, where there is no fear of rivalry or desertion, no strife between the children of different mothers. But such rare examples exist in spite of your religion, and only testify that home happiness is inseparable from permanence and sacredness in the marriage relation. A family fully governed by Christian principle must needs be pure and peaceful; one ruled by the precepts and permissions of the Quran must be like that of Muhammad himself, vexed with jealousy, dissension, suspicion, discontent, and scandal; without any convenient Gabriel to lend a hand in its management. No race can expect to seclude, suppress, and keep in ignorance half of its number without paying a fearful penalty. If a young Muslim is educated, enlightened, where can he find a home companion to understand, to sympathize with him, to prove herself a true helpmeet? Blindfolded, you stretch your hand into the darkness to grasp that of an unknown wife, with whom, as a rule, you have never exchanged a word, or even seen her face; of whose tastes, qualities, and temper you are perfectly ignorant, and who may cause you untold misery. The saddest part is that the harem, the curtain, the veil, the ignorance of women, are essential if society is not to become worse. No greater misfortune could befall Muslim women in their present state than to be put in possession of the privileges enjoyed by their Christian sisters. What causes this difference between the two? Why can one woman be trusted to make no improper use of her freedom, while, as the whole fabric of Muslim society seems to testify, the other cannot? I remember a Muslim gentleman, truly attached to his beautiful wife, an educated woman, by the standard of this land, and a true companion to him. He said once: “I would gladly see my wife free as the Christian ladies are. The veil and the harem curtain are no pleasure to me, I can trust her; but the state of society is such, it would, not be safe, I should be killed for her sake.”
But let us come to that which fundamentally distinguishes true Christianity from all other religions. We say, true Christianity, because much that goes by that name is counterfeit, a baptized heathenism, often possessing much in common with Islam and idolatry. The unique doctrine of the Bible is that of the new birth. By this we understand that a lost and ruined sinner, totally unable to help himself, may be made over, have another chance, begin again. Nay, more, that by God’s free grace, he may attain a higher condition than if Adam had not sinned, becoming “an heir of God,” ” a partaker of the divine nature,” dead to sin for evermore, alive to righteousness. Jesus brought us this blessed hope, and, by the gift of his indwelling Spirit, makes this new life a matter of personal consciousness to myriads of men, women and children, who know and can witness that they have received and enjoy it.
Under the influence of Christ, the drunkard becomes abstinent, the libertine chaste, the murderer loving, the thief honest, the liar truthful. As the Muslim says of the good he cannot attain, “Satan will not let me,” the Christian says of the evil from which he is withheld, “Jesus will not let me.”
Does the Quran offer us any substitute for this doctrine, or does it even recognize its necessity? Search its contents from beginning to end, and you will see guilty man practically left to be his own savior.
Christianity Judaism Developed.
Till Christ appeared, this transcendent mercy of God to the sinner was conserved, lying dormant, as it were, concealed within the ceremonial law and the rigid observances of Judaism, as the germ within the seed, the bird in the egg. His magic touch evoked the light and beauty of Christianity, the flower and crown, the full development of what was first entrusted to the guardian care of Israel, then thrown open to all the world. The types and shadows then vanished; the ceremonial law was no longer needed. Men learned “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”—Rom. xiv. 17. They understood “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of man but of God. “Hebrews ix. 8-12:” the first tabernacle was as yet standing, which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience: which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them till the time of reformation. But Christ being come, a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!”
The ceremonial law, we must not forget, was given only to the Jews, and none were bound to regard or observe it, or could do so acceptably, except born Jews by birth and proselytes. We are taught it was given to meet a temporary want: to show man his need of a Saviour; and to prefigure an atoning sacrifice yet to be offered.
Salvation by Faith Taught from the Beginning.
Yet, from the beginning, God left not unrevealed to man the true way of salvation, nor allowed him to suppose it could be attained by his own efforts. These were aptly typified by the frail, withering fig leaves with which Adam and Eve labored to hide their nakedness after the fall. A pitying God clothed them with the warm and durable skins of innocent animals, whose blood flowed before the gift could be made. Have you never wondered that of all animals, man alone is compelled to use artificial coverings? Is there here no hint of a spiritual truth, that he has no merit of his own, and must receive his robe of righteousness, imputed and imparted from God as a free and undeserved gift, if he would not suffer eternal shame?
Salvation by faith: not the intellectual assent to dogma, but the loving and obedient trust of the soul, tried and found to control the life, linking the frail finite creature with the Holy and Infinite Most High by a living bond—this is the very warp and woof of Old and New Testaments. Four times their pages repeat, “The just shall live by faith.”
The Christian is a son, twice born, once of the flesh, again of the Spirit. He has his place in the house, not as a hireling, but by birth. Long ago, for those who could see, this was enacted in parable when Ishmael and his mother were sent portionless away from the tents of Abraham, as told in the twenty-first chapter of Genesis, and explained Gal. iv. 22-26, 29-31: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman by promise.”
The one question our race is ever laboring to answer is, “How shall man be just with God?” Turning to Islam with this query, we are referred first to dead works of the flesh, already thoroughly tried and found inadequate to meet the case. As well return the radiant flower to the discarded husk which protected its germination, or compress the soaring, singing bird in the narrow confines of its outgrown shell! Failing the obedience required, man is to trust to a vague hope of the mercy of God, earned by repentance, not necessarily a forsaking of sin, but a sense of regret, evinced by tears and other outward demonstrations. But, alas! who knows when he has repented enough? If God is merciful, he is also just; the sentence has never been repealed, “The soul that sinneth, he shall die.” This means the eternal cutting off the sinner from the source of true life, and finds its ready illustration in the dry and lifeless branches we use for fuel.
True and False Religions.
To my mind, all religions fall into two classes. In the first, God saves his ruined creatures by free grace, by the merits and death of his incarnate Son, “imputed to us and received by faith alone.” A heart renewed and transformed by so great love ascribes the glory to him alone. In the other, man is glorified as his own savior, his own righteousness, or that of other mere creatures, laying God under obligation to save and grant him eternal felicity. Salvation is not a gift, or only partly so; it becomes a debt owed by the Creator to the possessors of accumulated merit, which, they fondly believe, outweighs their actual transgressions. These views, held under a great variety of outward forms, are characterized by a low estimate of sin. They ignore the hereditary taint and corruption of our nature, wherein lie boundless possibilites of disobedience to God and disorder to his creation. They overlook the fact that not only does the law require us to refrain from its violation, it expects of us perfect obedience to its commands, and conformity to its spirit. To the helpless penitent, trusting the authenticated Saviour provided by divine love and wisdom, full forgiveness is granted; of him who prefers to be saved by his own righteousness, or that of unauthorized mediators, or by his own sufferings in purgatorial flames, the debt will be exacted to the very last farthing. We shall not be measured by the low standard of not having been as bad as we could, but by the higher one of the law’s demand for absolute moral perfection. He who failed of being what his Maker meant him to be will be rejected, and his good qualities and deeds may be likened to the two or three grains of silver found in a counterfeit coin, which do not persuade any one to accept it as genuine.
The only man who has ever fully met all the requirements of the divine law of perfection is the Lord Jesus Christ; only as identified with him can we hope for safety.
You have sometimes expressed the hope that both our religions may finally prove to be true— yours for you, mine for me; that all men, if only sincere and obedient to their respective faiths, may, by diverse roads, meet at the same goal. One or two doubtful passages in the Quran may seem to encourage this idea, in the case of Jews and Christians, but the Bible does not countenance it for a moment. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”—John xiv. 6. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”—Acts iv. 12. These are but two of many unequivocal utterances which have made Christianity the most fervently hated religion in the world. It must be all or nothing: it “brooks no rival on the throne.” As you know, Islam occupies exactly the same position, but carries it to the extent of declaring herself divinely commissioned to destroy those who reject her claims. Instead of the “foolishness of preaching,” or rather perhaps to reinforce it, she uses the logic of the sword. This is no empty threat, or unapplied theory. In large tracts of the fairest portions of Europe, Asia, and Africa it has been enforced in tears and blood and fire; the shrieks of the captive and clanking chain of the prisoner have echoed back its war cry, and emphasized its intolerance of all faith but its own. No, my friend, our religions are enemies to the death, and must so remain to the end: no uncertain one; for Christianity, though by her nature and laws debarred from contending with an arm of flesh, has her own peculiar weapons with which she must finally conquer. Your kindness of heart would fain hope a better fate for those whom you esteem and love, and who obstinately reject your religion. But that faith itself offers them nothing but eternal hell-fire.
I beg you to be assured this letter is written with none but the kindest feelings to your country and its people: a race possessing many fine qualities, and ability to be a blessing to the world, a country dear to me as my own, the home of my deliberate choice. Nor is there any thought of boasting, or fancied superiority. When the Anglo-Saxon recalls his savage and debased heathen ancestry, he has no cause for pride, only for deep humility and thankfulness. And should he not be among the foremost to communicate the blessings he has received to every nation, at any cost, even to the sacrifice of life itself?
The heart is the citadel of our life, the controller of the springs of thought and action. The head may assent to overpowering evidence, but the heart only yields to personal experience. You are not invited to a religion, an intellectual persuasion, a human society, but to a personal relation with a personal and ever-present Friend, found of all who seek him with the whole heart.
The whole world is well lost to him who has discovered the love of God in Christ, the priceless pearl, the hidden treasure, our joy, our life, our crown, and our eternal portion. May you seek and be found of him, and find in him the Good Shepherd of the wandering sheep!
End of excerpt from letter
Mohammedans have earned for themselves throughout the world the title of ” fanatics,” as a consequence of their wild words and actions in connection with the Faith, once delivered to them by Mohammed. The feeling amongst Moslems has been and is, that they are the chosen of Allah, that they are the appointed instruments of God to bring all men, even by the power of the sword, to the knowledge of the only true faith. Consequently woe be to the individuals, communities, or nations, that will not listen to the call to accept Islamism with all its forms and ceremonies!
It is true that at the present time the power of Mohammedanism, is a conquering religion, or the desire to conquer still remains, and the old feeling of intolerance and fanaticism is probably everywhere almost as strong as ever it was.
In my researches into the history of Mohammedanism I have met with many instances of fanaticism, some of which I would now mention, as they will help us to understand what Islamism really is in the intensity of its wild faith and zeal. Fanaticism in war may well come first. Mohammed, though in the early days of his career a man of peace, and an advocate of mild measures in the propagation of truth, eventually developed into a man of war, and a stern and enthusiastic propagator of Allah’s religion by the sword.
The later books of the Koran teem with passages which counsel strong measures to be taken with infidels. It is written: “Fight against those who believe not in God until they pay tribute by right of subjection, and are reduced low.” And again: “When ye meet the infidels, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great slaughter among them.” And then it is added: “As for those who fight or fall in defence of God’s true religion, He will not suffer their deeds to die. Verily, God loveth those who fight for His religion.” “Paradise,” it was declared, “is under the shadow of swords.” “The sword,” it was asserted, “is a surer argument than books.”
Fanaticism in war showed itself not merely in the determination to overcome an enemy, but in the ardent wish, if Allah willed it, to die on the field of battle, as thus to be “martyred “in the cause of God was believed to be the most certain way of obtaining the highest joys of eternal life in the world beyond the grave.
Listen, for example, to the words of an Arabian youth, whom a fond mother and sister vainly sought to persuade from adopting the profession of arms. His parting speech to those who loved him was: “Hold me not back, nor grieve that I leave you! It is not the delicacies of Syria or the fading delights of this world that have prompted me to devote my life in the cause of religion. But I seek the favour of God and His Apostle: and I have heard from one of the companions of the Prophet that the spirits of the martyrs will be lodged in the crops of green birds, who shall taste the fruits and drink of the rivers of Paradise. Farewell! We shall meet again among the groves and fountains which God has provided for His elect.”
I have read of another case of a warrior who on the field of battle fought with reckless fury, raving, as he slashed right and left with his sword, about the joys of Paradise promised to all true believers who fell in the wars of the Faith. “Methinks!” he cried aloud, so as to be heard above the din of arms, “Methinks I see the black-eyed girls looking upon me; one of whom, should she appear in this world, all mankind would die for love of. And I see in the hand of another a handkerchief of green silk, and a cap of precious stones, and she beckons me and calls out: ‘Come hither quickly, for I love thee !'” Scarcely had the fanatic thus spoken when a javelin pierced his heart and despatched him to his vaunted elysium. And these two instances are but types of countless thousands in Islam whose fanaticism has exceeded all bounds in the race for martyrdom in a jihad, or holy war.
Besides the joy of fighting for the Faith, and the incentive of the pleasures of Paradise for the valiant, the fanaticism of Mohammedans has been deepened and strengthened by the doctrine of predestination, as taught by the Prophet, or at any rate as believed by the Faithful. The ‘Koran says in one place: “The fate of every man have we bound about his neck;” and in another, “No soul. can die unless by the permission of God, according to what is written in the book containing the determination of things.”
Mohammed inserted these passages after the temporary defeat of his followers at Ohod, to inspire them with fresh courage. He represented to the Faithful that the time of every man’s death is decreed and determined by Allah, and that those who had fallen in the battle could not have avoided their fate had they stopped at home, so there was no reason to grieve unduly, or to be discouraged and disheartened.
Thus did the Prophet instil into the minds of his soldiers a belief in Fate, and under this persuasion did Moslems engage in battle without anxiety or fear, believing that what would be must be, that no one could die before his time, and that no human sagacity or foresight could evade the hand of death if the moment had been preordained. We can see how such a doctrine of predestination spurred the Faithful on to deeds of recklessness, and made the early soldiers of the Crescent men to be dreaded beyond the ordinary run of adversaries, for they were fanatics.
One of the most remarkable of these warrior-fanatics was Kaled, who was employed by Abu Bekr and Omar in the wars in Syria. He was a man who added superstition to his belief in fate, for he was wont to declare that a special providence watched over him, and that as long as he wore a certain cap which had been blessed by Mohammed he was invulnerable to all the darts of the enemies of Islam. And truly it seemed as if he bore a charmed life, for though in every battle he rushed into the thickest of the fight, and was ever surrounded by dangers, he always marvellously escaped, and in a good old age died in his bed.
The exploits of this fanatic in the siege of Damascus are almost beyond belief. He rushed madly at every antagonist, generally singling out the strongest and the bravest, and he was always conqueror. On one occasion, after a desperate struggle with a bold Christian General, which left him exhausted, a fresh adversary spurred his charger to attack him. A companion in arms, the gallant Derar, seeing the exhaustion of Kaled, called out to him: “O Kaled, repose yourself for a moment, and permit me to supply your place,” but the reply he got was: “Not so, good Derar; if I needs must rest, it will be in Paradise. He that labours to-day will rest to-morrow.” At the word he sprang upon his foe, and hurled him lifeless to the ground. Kaled by such deeds earned for himself the title of “The Sword of God.”
Fanaticism has shown itself very markedly in the department of teaching, and especially in the teaching of the truths of the Koran. The verbal inspiration of the Scriptures has ever been part of the orthodox creed of Islamism. Some of the Faithful at various times have questioned the doctrine, and have even striven to show that the Koran contains passages that contradict each other, and therefore cannot be infallible: but such liberal views are far from common.
In every age Moslems, as a whole, have been most dogmatic in their teaching, and perfectly fanatical in their enforcement upon others of what they have conceived to be truth. Take for example the time of the Abbasides of Bagdad. The author of “Islam under the Caliphs of Bagdad,” says, “Every one who either in act or word questioned a single syllable of the Koran was regarded as an infidel, and was in peril of being torn in pieces by the devout.”
One of the most fanatical acts on record is associated with the name of Omar—I refer to the destruction of the Alexandrian Library. I know that the story has been gravely questioned of late years. Gibbon and others have made light of it, but still the tale was believed for centuries, and it has not yet been proved false, and it is certainly just such a deed as a fanatical Moslem prince like Omar might have committed.
“The Alexandrian Library was formed by Ptolemy Soter, and placed in a building called the Bruchion. It was augmented in successive reigns to 400,000 volumes, and an additional 300,000 volumes were placed in a temple called the Serapeon. The Bruchion, with the books it contained, was burned in the war of Caesar, but the Serapeon was preserved. Cleopatra, it is said, added to it the library of Pergamus, given to her by Marc Antony, consisting of 200,000 volumes. It sustained repeated injuries during various subsequent revolutions, but was always restored to its ancient splendour, and numerous additions made to it. Such was its state at the capture of Alexandria by the Moslems.” The famous library was, in fact, the finest in the world.
The story goes that Amr, the Conqueror of Egypt, and the leader of the Moslem armies, had his attention drawn to the Library by the learned Greek known as John the Grammarian, to whom Amr had granted many favours. John asked that the books might be given to himself, as the Moslems would probably have no use for them. The General was inclined to gratify the wish of the Grammarian, but his rigid integrity refused to alienate anything without the permission of the Commander of the Faithful, to whom he at once wrote. The answer which Omar is generally believed to have sent was inspired by the ignorance and zeal of a fanatic. It ran: “If these writings of the Greeks agree with the blessed Koran, the Book of Allah, they are useless, and therefore need not be preserved; if they disagree, then they are pernicious, and ought to be destroyed.”
Washington Irving, commenting on this extraordinary message, says: “Amr, as a man of genius and intelligence, may have grieved at the order of the Caliph, while as a loyal subject and faithful soldier, he felt bound to obey it.” Consequently the command went forth to seize and to destroy, and the valuable manuscripts and books were distributed as fuel among the five thousand baths of the city of Alexandria, and, it is said, so numerous were they, that it took six months to consume them. Thus perished by a deed of Moslem fanaticism much of the learning, the arts, and the genius of antiquity.
Fanaticism in Moslem lands is not confined to men, but is as strong or stronger amongst women. Notwithstanding the disabilities and hardships under which women labour in Islam, they cleave with blind enthusiasm to the teaching of the Prophet of God, hugging to their breasts the Book which has made their degradation an article of faith and binding throughout the ages.
And little children too are veritable fanatics. Lane, in his “Modern Egyptians,” tells us that from their earliest days Moslem boys and girls are taught to hate “infidels” with a perfect hatred. It must be remembered that in the eyes of Mohammedans all are infidels who are not of the true Faith—that is, Islam. Let me quote a prayer that is now in use amongst the children of Moslems. Lane translates it thus: “O God, destroy the infidels and polytheists, thine enemies, the enemies of Islam! O God, make their offspring orphans, defile their abodes, cause their feet to slip, and give them and their families, and their children, and their possessions and their race, and their wealth, and their land, as booty to the Moslems.” What an awful prayer to put into the mouths of boys and girls! Little wonder that the rising generation, like all preceding generations in Islam, regards the world with eyes of anger and hate!
A little incident that happened in my own experience may not be unworthy of notice. I was travelling at the time in Palestine, and was drawing near the ancient city of Hebron, once so famous in Jewish history, but now in the possession of Moslems. The day was hot, and I had ridden far, and was suffering from thirst. Suddenly I espied by the wayside a maiden, perchance of seven years of age, tripping gaily along with a waterpot poised on her head in Eastern fashion. I hailed her and made signs for a drink of water. That she understood me perfectly was clear, but to my surprise she was not prepared to grant my request. Now, usually in the East, if the traveller can get nothing else, he can get a drink of water from the people he sees, for it is considered churlish indeed to refuse such a necessary of life.
However, the heart of the little maiden at Hebron was closed against all not of her own Faith. And so insulted and enraged was she that I should have even presumed to ask anything from her, that she put her hands up to her head, and in a tempest of indignation dashed the unoffending waterpot to the ground. Then pointing to the spilt water, she declared, with oaths and curses, so my Dragoman told me, that she hoped that thus would my blood ere many days be spilt and sink into the ground. For the time being the maiden was a little fury, and I was convinced that the fanaticism of the people of Islam was, even amongst the juvenile members of society, something to be carefully watched by travellers, or dangerous results might follow. The inhabitants of Hebron or, as it is now called, El-Khalid, are notorious for their fanaticism, and by their conduct they belie both the ancient and the modern name of their city, which names, being interpreted, mean, “the Friend.”
The truth is fanaticism is an uncertain instrument to use: it is a two-edged tool which it is dangerous to handle. The leaders of Mohammedanism in all generations have found that they have not always been able to control the fierce spirit they have called up, and they have been taught by a terrible experience the truth of that saying: “They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.”
I wonder sometimes whether Mohammedans will ever learn that their best interests lie in realizing the great truth of the Brotherhood of Humanity. There can be no peace, no prosperity, and no real happiness in Islam, until the feelings of cruel religious fanaticism nurtured by the Koran have been replaced by feelings of brotherly sympathy and love for all nations and peoples.