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member-nor could she hold her forehead to the ground and yet wear monstrous hats cruelly adorned with the plumage of beautiful birds. This scheme involves the abolition of all the horrible pews which to-day make our temples seem like the playhouses of a selfindulgent race. We come to the house of God dressed as for a concert and we demand that the word of God be made pleasant to us-else we strike-refuse to hire pews-take our money and cushions to some more easy church.

But that is another story!



T may appear alarming to many good Christians that the propaganda of other religions is assuming greater dimensions than has ever been anticipated. Some blame the Religious Parliament of 1893 for this reawakening of pagan religions, and the increased interest which they find in both Europe and America; but it seems to me that there is no cause for alarm, for the mission of other religions in Christian countries will in the long run only serve to arouse the Christian churches from their slumber and stimulate the religious life of the country. Competition is good, not only in business, but also in science and religion, as we have seen in Japan where Buddhism was apparently dead and was revived to renewed vigor only through the Christian missions, a fact which is interesting, not only to Buddhists but also to Christians. Christianity can only gain if new religions make attempts at proselytizing in Christian countries; partly because the church life will be thereby vitalized, and partly because a knowledge of other religions can only broaden and deepen our own faith.

Among all religions that of Islam is perhaps the least appreciated and the most misunderstood, while in truth it is, both in origin and in type, more akin to both Judaism and Christianity than any other religion in the world. Muhammad has been called the "lying prophet," and is even to-day branded as an imposter in many histories of great religions, and yet if we become better acquainted with his life, spiritual growth and aspirations, we can not but admire him and acknowledge that in his age he had indeed a divine mission for his people.

We have before us a booklet entitled The Sayings of Muhammad, edited by Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy in behalf of the Pan-Islamic Society and published by Archibald Constable & Co., of London, which is intended to serve the purpose of making

us better acquainted with the life of the prophet. We frequently speak of Mohammedanism, but every true Moslem and faithful follower of the prophet Muhammad will object to the term. Mohammedanism is a Christian way of designating the religion of the great prophet of Arabia, which properly speaking should be called Islam, and Islam means an absolute submission to God's will, and incorporates all the ideals of religious life, which closely considered does not differ in any essential point from the ideal of Christianity. The canonical book of Islam is called "the book," Al Kur'an; but the sayings and acts of the prophet called "the Sunnah" exercise no less an influence upon the life of the faithful. There is no unanimity among the Moslems about the utterances of their great leader, for there exist no fewer than 1,465 collections of them, among which the "Six Correct" collections are recognized by the Sunnis, and "The Four Books" by the Shiahs.

The author of The sayings of Muhammad says in the foreword: "A Muslim may question the genuineness of an individual saying: but once its authenticity is proved it is as binding upon him as the injunctions and prohibitions in the Kur'an. What a powerful influence the example of the Prophet exercises over the hearts and imaginations of his followers may well be realized from the fact that to-day the approved mode of parting the hair and of wearing the beard, and the popularity of the turban and flowing robes in the East, are all due to the conscious or unconscious imitation of that great Leader of Fashion who flourished in Arabia at the beginning of the seventh century." The collection which he offers to the English speaking public is intended to be "An index to the mind of Muhammad":

"Perhaps one will miss in this collection the hyperbolical teachings of other masters, but the ethical sweetness, beauty, strong common sense, practicality, and modernity of thought of some of the utterances will not fail to appeal to the higher minds and also strike the attention of lower natures."

A brief sketch of Muhammad's life from the pen of Abdula reads as follows:

"The father of Muhammad died before his son's birth, and the boy having at six years of age lost his mother also, was brought up by his uncle, Abū Tālib, who, though not a believer in his mission, remained through life the Prophet's best friend. Until manhood, Muhammad was in poor circumstances, tending flocks of sheep and assisting his uncle in his business as a merchant. At the age of twenty-five, Muhammad, through the offices of Abu Talib, obtained

employment as a camel driver with a rich widow named Khadijah, and took charge of a caravan conveying merchandise to Syria. Pleased with his successful management, and attracted by his personal beauty, Khadijah, though by fifteen years his senior, sent her sister to offer the young man her hand in marriage. Matters were promptly arranged, and Muhammad became a man of wealth and position. No great success, however, attended his own business. enterprises. Religion and commerce sometimes require a good deal of reconciling, and Muhammad was not then an adept in the art of making the best of both worlds. Naturally reserved, and with a mind disposed to a poetic and dreamy mysticism, his mundane affairs were somewhat neglected. His religion assumed an increasingly earnest tone; he spent a large part of his time in lonely meditation. in the desert and among the hills, and many an unseen conflict left its trace upon his soul.

"Not until he was forty years old did Muhammad receive his first "divine revelation," in the solitude of the mountains near Mecca. Translated into modern language, this means that he then first became convinced that he had a mission to fulfil, viz., to arouse men from their sins, their indifference, their superstition, to thunder into their ears a message from on high, and awaken them to living faith in one indivisible, all-powerful, and all-merciful God. Prolonged fasting, days of ecstatic contemplation, and vigils of the night in the silent valleys and gloomy mountain caves had made him a visionary, with a firm faith that God had inspired him to be His messenger to mankind. This revelation, generally believed to be referred to in the short 96th surah of the Kur'an, he communicated to none but his immediate relatives and a faithful friend, Abu Bakr. Painful doubts as to the reality of the vision oppressed him, but were dispelled by the sympathy of his friends. Haunted for a long time by these doubts of the divinity of his mission, his depression became so great that he was more than once on the point of committing suicide. Many of his friends called him a fool, a liar, a mad poet; and the city of Mecca for several years illustrated the proverb that a prophet hath no honor in his own country by a decisive rejection of his claims. When conviction, however, had once taken possession of his mind, it was unshakable. When his uncle begged him to cease his attempts to convert the Meccans, and so put an end to constant trouble, Muhammad said: "Though they gave me the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left to bring me back from my undertaking, yet will I not pause till the Lord carry His cause to victory, or till I die for it." Turning away, he burst into tears.

and Abu Talib replied: "Go in peace, son of my brother, and say what thou wilt, for by God I will on no condition abandon thee."

"The little body of believers grew slowly. In four years Muhammad had about forty proselytes, mostly of the lower ranks, and he then felt himself justified in coming forward as a public preacher and denouncing the superstitions of the Meccans. To establish a new religion was no part of his intention; he desired simply to recall them to the purer and truer faith of their ancestor, Abraham. Zealous for the worship of the Ka'bah, and dreading lest the profitable pilgrimages to their city should fall into decay, the people of Mecca showed the bitterest hostility to Muhammad, opposing and ridiculing him at every turn. So violent was their hatred that Abu Talib thought it prudent to shelter him for a time in a place of security in the country. About this time his wife died, then his uncle, and changes of fortune reduced him again to poverty. He went to another part of the country, but found himself in danger, and barely escaped with his life. But a turning-point in his career was at hand. In a party of pilgrims from the rival city of Yathrib, afterwards called Medinah, Muhammad made several converts. On their visit the following year, their numbers were so greatly increased that Muhammad entered into an alliance with them, and on a certain night, when a plot had been made to assassinate him he left the city of his birth and took refuge in the friendly city. The Muslim era or Hegira (Hijrah) dates from this event.

"Muhammad was now among friends; his converts increased rapidly in number and the once despised Teacher was recognized as the ruler of a city and of two powerful tribes. Missionaries were sent to all parts of Arabia, and even to neighboring countries, including Egypt and Persia; and a year later the Prophet celebrated the pilgrimage in peace in the holy city of his enemies. The final conquest was followed by the submission of the tribes and the acknowledgment of Muhammad's spiritual and temporal supremacy over the Arabian peninsula. The vanquished marveled at the magnanimity of the victor. Only three or four persons, and those criminals, were put to death, and a general amnesty was then proclaimed. His strenuous labors, his intense excitement, the grief for the loss of his little boy Ibrahim, and the excruciating pain sometimes felt from the poison administered to him by a Jewess at Khaibar, further combined to weaken his frame. He became aware that his end was approaching; he addressed his followers in the mosque as often as he was able, exhorting them to righteousness and piety and peace among themselves. Each man, he declared, must work out his own

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