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A Critical Exposition of the Popular ‘Jihad’—Part 6


By Moulavi Chirágh Ali

The Rev. Marcus Dods writes regarding the character of Mohammad:--

     "The knot of the matter lies not in his polygamy, nor even in his occasional licentiousness, but in the fact that he defended his conduct, when he created scandal, by professed revelations which are now embodied as parts of the Koran. When his wives murmured, and with justice, at his irregularities, he silenced them by a revelation giving him conjugal allowances which he had himself proscribed as unlawful. When he designed to contract an alliance with a woman forbidden to him by his own law, an inspired permission was forthcoming, encouraging him to the transgression."[143]

Both of these alleged instances given above are mere fabrications. There was no revelation giving Mohammad conjugal allowances which he had himself proscribed as unlawful, nor any permission was brought forward to sanction an alliance forbidden to him by his own law. This subject has been fully discussed by me in my work "Mohammad, the True Prophet," and the reader is referred to that work.[144] A few verses on the marital subject of Mohammad are greatly misunderstood by European writers on the subject, and Dr. Dods shares the generally wrong idea when he says:--

     "He rather used his office as a title to license from which ordinary men were restrained. Restricting his disciples to four wives, he retained to himself the liberty of taking as many as he pleased." (Page 23)

This is altogether a gross misrepresentation of the real state of things. Mohammad never retained to himself the liberty of taking as many wives as he pleased. On the contrary, Sura XXXIII, 52, expressly forbade him all women except those he had already with him, giving him no option to marry in the case of the demise of some or all of them. This will show that he rather used his office as a restraint against himself of what was lawful for the people in general to enjoy. The only so-called privilege above the rest of the believers (Sura XXXIII, 49) was not "to retain to himself the liberty of taking as many wives as he pleased," but to retain the wives whom he had already married and whose number exceeded the limit of four under Sura IV, 3. Other believers having more wives than four as in the case of Kays, Ghailán, and Naofal, were requested to separate themselves from the number exceeding the limit prescribed for the first time. This was before polygamy was declared to have been virtually abolished, _i.e._, between the publication of _vv._ 3 and 128 of Sura IV. There was neither any breach of morality, nor anything licentious in his retaining the marriages lawfully contracted by him before the promulgation of Sara IV, 3. Even this privilege (Sura XXXIII, 49) was counterbalanced by _Ibid_, 52, which runs thus:--

     "Women are not allowed thee hereafter, nor to change them for other women, though their beauty charm thee, except those already possessed by thee."

Mr. Stanley Lane Poole suffers under the same misrepresentation as other European writers [145] do when he says that:--

     "The Prophet allowed his followers only four wives, he took more than a dozen himself."

He writes:--

     "When, however, all has been said, when it has been shown that Mohammad was not the rapacious voluptuary some have taken him for, and that his violation of his own marriage-law may be due to motives reasonable and just from his point of view rather than to common sensuality."

     "Did Mohammad believe he was speaking the words of God equally when he declared that permission was given him to take unto him more wives, as when he proclaimed, 'There is no god but God?'"[146]

 Mohammad did not violate his own marriage-law, and never pretended that permission was given to him to take more wives than what was allowed for other people. All his marriages (which are wrongly considered to have been about a dozen) were contracted by him before he published the law unjustly said to have been violated by him. He retained these wives after the law was promulgated, and their number exceeded four, but he was interdicted to marry any other women in the place of these in case of their demise or divorce. Other believers were advised after the promulgation of the law to reduce the number of their wives exceeding four, but were at liberty to replace their wives within the limit assigned in the case of their demise or divorce. Mohammad's case had no breach of morality or sensual license in it. It was very wise of Mohammad to retain all the wives he had married before Sura IV, 3, came into force, for the reason that the wives thus repudiated by him might have married some of the unbelievers, even some of his enemies, which would have been derogatory to the Prophet in the eyes of his contemporaries and a laughing-stock for his enemies.

[Footnote 138: "We may readily admit that at the first Mahomet did believe, or persuaded himself to believe, that his revelations were dictated by a divine agency. In the Meccan period of his life there certainly can be traced no personal ends or unworthy motives to belie this conclusion. The Prophet was there, what he professed to be, 'a simple Preacher and a Warner;' he was the despised and rejected teacher of a gainsaying people; and he had apparently no ulterior object but their reformation. Mahomet may have mistaken the right means to effect this end, but there is no sufficient reason for doubting that he used those means in good faith and with an honest purpose.

"But the scene altogether changes at Medîna. There the acquisition of temporal power, aggrandisement, and self-glorification mingled with the grand object of the Prophet's previous life, and they were sought after and attained by precisely the same instrumentality. Messages from Heaven were freely brought forward to justify his political conduct, equally with his religious precepts. Battles were fought, wholesale executions inflicted, and territories annexed, under pretext of the Almighty's sanction. Nay, even baser actions were not only excused, but encouraged by the pretended divine approval or command. A special license was produced, allowing Mahomet a double number of wives; the discreditable affair of Mary the Coptic slave was justified in a separate Sura; and the passion for the wife of his own adopted son and bosom friend was the subject of an inspired message in which the Prophet's scruples were rebuked by God; a divorce permitted, and marriage with the object of his unhallowed desires enjoined."--Muir's Life of Mahomet, Vol. IV, pp. 317-8.]

[Footnote 139: "But the darker shades of character as well as the brighter must be depicted by a faithful historian. Magnanimity or moderation are nowhere discernible as features in the conduct of Mahomet towards such of his enemies as failed to tender a timely allegiance. Over the bodies of the Coreish who fell at Badr he exulted with savage satisfaction; and sever all prisoners, accused of no crime but that of scepticism and political opposition, were deliberately executed at his command. The prince of Kheibar, after being subjected to inhuman torture for the purpose of discovering the treasures of his tribe, was, with his cousin, put to death on the pretext of having treacherously concealed them; and his wife was led away captive to the tent of the conqueror. Sentence of exile was enforced by Mahomet with rigorous severity on two whole Jewish tribes at Medîna; and of a third like his neighbours, the women and children were sold into distant captivity, while the men amounting to several hundreds were butchered in cold blood before his eyes.

"In his youth Mahomet earned among his fellows the honourable title of 'the Faithful.' But in later years, however much sincerity and good faith may have guided his conduct in respect of his friends, craft and deception were certainly not wanting towards his foes. The perfidious attack at Nakhla, where the first blood in the internecine war with the Coreish was shed, although at first disavowed by Mahomet, for its scandalous breach of the sacred usages of Arabia, was eventually justified by a pretended revelation. Abu Basîr, the freebooter, was countenanced by the Prophet in a manner scarcely consistent with the letter, and certainly opposed to the spirit, of the truce of Hodeibia. The surprise which secured the easy conquest of Mecca was designed with craftiness, if not with duplicity. The pretext on which the Bani Nadhîr were besieged and expatriated (namely, that Gabriel had revealed their design against the prophet's life), was feeble and unworthy of an honest cause. When Medîna was beleaguered by the confederate army, Mahomet sought the services of Nueim, a traitor, and employed him to sow distrust among the enemy by false and treacherous reports; 'for,' said he, 'what else is war but a game at deception?' In his prophetical career, political and personal ends were frequently compassed by the flagrant pretence of _Divine_ revelations, which a candid examination would have shewn him to be nothing more than the counterpart of his own wishes. The Jewish and Christian systems, at first adopted honestly as the basis of his own religion, had no sooner served the purpose of establishing a firm authority, than they were ignored, if not disowned. And what is perhaps worst of all, the dastardly assassination of political and religious opponents countenanced and frequently directed as they were in all their cruel and perfidious details by Mahomet himself leaves a dark and indelible blot upon his character."--Muir's Life of Mahomet, Vol. IV, pp. 307-9.

"The reader will observe that simultaneously with the anxious desire to extinguish idolatry, and to promote religion and virtue in the world, there was nurtured by the Prophet in his own heart a licentious self-indulgence; till in the end, assuming to be the favourite of Heaven, he justified himself by 'revelations' from God in the most flagrant breaches of morality. He will remark that while Mahomet cherished a kind and tender disposition, 'weeping with them that wept,' and binding to his person the hearts of his followers by the ready and self-denying offices of love and friendship, he could yet take pleasure in cruel and perfidious assassination, could gloat over the massacre of an entire tribe, and savagely consign the innocent babe to the fires of hell."--Muir's Life of Mahomet, Vol. IV, pp. 322-3.]

[Footnote 140: "In domestic life the conduct of Mahomet with one grave exception was exemplary. As a husband his fondness and devotion was entire, bordering, however, at times upon jealousy. As a father he was loving and tender. In his youth he is said to have lived a virtuous life. At the age of twenty-five he married a widow forty years old; and for five and twenty years he was a faithful husband to her alone. Yet it is remarkable that during this period was composed most of those passages of the Coran in which the black-eyed Houris, reserved for believers in Paradise, are depicted in such glowing colours. Shortly after the death of Khadija the Prophet married again; but it was not till the mature age of fifty-four that he made the dangerous trial of polygamy, by taking Ayesha, yet a child, as the rival of Sauda. Once the natural limits of restraint were over passed, Mahomet fell an easy prey to his strong passion for the sex. In his fifty-sixth year he married Haphsa; and the following year, in two succeeding months, Zeinab bint Khozeima and Omm Salma. But his desires were not to be satisfied by the range of a harem already greater than was permitted to any of his followers; rather as age advanced, they were stimulated to seek for new and varied indulgence. A few months after his nuptials with Zeinab and Omm Salma, the charms of a second Zeinab were by accident discovered too fully before the Prophet's admiring gaze. She was the wife of Zeid, his adopted son and bosom friend; but he was unable to smother the flame she kindled in his breast; and, by _divine_ command, she was taken to his bed. 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."--Muir's Life of Mahomet, Vol. IV, pp. 309-10.]

[Footnote 141: "_Vide_ Muhammad and Muhammadanism, by Mr. R. Bosworth Smith, M.A., an Assistant Master of Harrow School."]

[Footnote 142: Notes on Muhammadanism, by the Rev. T.P. Hughes, Missionary to the Afghans, Peshawar; Second Edition, page 4, London, 1877.]

[Footnote 143: Mohammed, Buddha and Christ, by Marcus Dods, D.D., pp. 24 & 25.]

[Footnote 144: _Vide_ pp. 48-61. This work is being printed at Education Society's Press, Byculla, Bombay. It appears that Dr. Dods, in the first instance, had in view Sura XXXIII, 51. This is by no means giving Mohammad conjugal allowances which he himself had proscribed as unlawful. As a preliminary measure to abolish polygamy and to accustom the people to monogamy, Mohammad, when reducing the unlimited polygamy practised in Arabia, had put a strong condition to treat their wives, when more than one, equitably in every sense of the word,--_i.e._, in the matter of social comfort, love and household establishment (Sura IV, 3). When the measure had given a monogamous tendency to the Arab society, it was declared that it was impossible practically to treat equitably in all respects the contemporary wives (Sura IV, 128), and those who had already contracted contemporaneous marriage before the measure referred to above was introduced were absolved from the condition laid down in Sura IV, 3, but were advised, regarding their then existing wives, not to yield wholly to disinclination. Similarly Mohammad was also relieved from that condition in Sura XXXIII, 51, without "giving him any conjugal allowance which he had himself pronounced unlawful." The second instance is of Zeinab's case I suppose. Zeinab was in no way, when divorced by Zeid, "a woman forbidden to him by his own laws."]

[Footnote 145: "The Apostle becomes a creature so exalted that even the easy drapery of Mohammadan morality becomes a garment too tight-fitting for him. 'A peculiar privilege is granted to him above the rest of the believers.' He may multiply his wives without stint; he may and he does marry within the prohibited degrees."--_Islam under the Arabs_, by R.D. Osborn, London 1876, p. 91]

[Footnote 146: Studies in a Mosque, by S.L. Poole, pp. 77 and 80, London, 1880.]

[Sidenote: Finality of the social reforms of Mohammad.]

[Sidenote: Positive precepts.]

[Sidenote: Ceremonial law.]

[Sidenote: Concrete morals of the Koran.]

[Sidenote: Want of adaptability of the Koran to surrounding circumstances.]

37. It has been said with much stress regarding the teachings of Mohammad: (1) That although under the degraded condition of Arabia, they were a gift of great value, and succeeded in banishing those fierce vices which naturally accompany ignorance and barbarism, but an imperfect code of ethics has been made a permanent standard of good and evil, and a final and irrevocable law, which is an insuperable barrier to the regeneration and progress of a nation. It has been also urged that his reforms were good and useful for his own time and place, but that by making them final he has prevented further progress and consecrated half measures. What were restrictions to his Arabs would have been license to other men.[147] (2) That Islam deals with positive precepts rather than with principles,[148] and the danger of a precise system of positive precepts regulating the minute detail, the ceremonial worship, and the moral and social relations of life, is, that it should retain too tight a grip upon men when the circumstances which justified it have changed and vanished away, and therefore the imposition of a system good for barbarians upon people already possessing higher sort of civilization and the principles of a purer faith is not a blessing but a curse. Nay more, even the system which was good for people when they were in a barbarous state may become positively mischievous to those same people when they begin to emerge from their barbarism under its influence into a higher condition.[149] (3) That the exact ritual and formal observations of Islam have carried with them their own Nemesis, and thus we find that in the worship of the faithful formalism and indifferences, pedantic scrupulosity and positive disbelief flourish side by side. The minutest change of posture in prayer, the displacement of a simple genuflexion, would call for much heavier censure than outward profligacy or absolute neglect.[150] (4) That morality is viewed not in the abstract, but in the concrete. That the Koran deals much more with sin and virtue in fragmentary details than as a whole. It deals with acts more than principles, with outward practice more than inward motives, with precepts and commands more than exhortation. It does not hold up before man the hatefulness and ugliness of _all_ sin _as a whole_.[151] (5) "That Islam is stationary; swathed in the rigid bands of the Coran, it is powerless, like the Christian dispensation,[152] to adapt itself to the varying circumstances of time and place, and to keep pace with, if not to lead and direct, the progress of society and the elevation of the race. In the body politic the spiritual and secular are hopelessly confounded, and we fail of perceiving any approach to free institutions or any germ whatever of popular government."[153]

[Footnote 147: _Vide_ Islam and its Founder, by J.W.H. Stobart, B.A., page 229, London, 1878; and Mohammed, Buddha and Christ, by Marcus Dods, D.D., pp. 122-23, London, 1878. Major Osborn writes, "But to the polity erected on these rude lines was given the attribute of finality. In order to enforce obedience and eliminate the spirit of opposition, Mohammad asserted that it was, down to the minutest details, the work of a Divine Legislature."--_Islam under the Arabs_, pp. 45 and 46]

[Footnote 148: _Vide_ The Faith of Islam, by the Rev. Edward Sell, page 7, London, 1880.]

[Footnote 149: _Vide_ Christianity and Islam, the Bible, and the Koran, by the Rev. W.R.W. Stephens, pp. 95 and 131, London, 1877.]

[Footnote 150: _Vide_ Islam and its Founder, by J.W.H. Stobart, B.A., page 237; and Stephens' Christianity and Islam, page 121. Major Osborn writes: "From the hour of his birth the Muslim becomes a member of a system in which every act of his life is governed by a minute ritual. He is beset on every side with a circle of inflexible formalities."--_Islam under the Khalifs of Baghdad_, pp. 78-9. He further writes in a footnote, p. 79: "Thus prayer is absolutely useless if any matter, legally considered impure, adheres to the person of the worshipper, even though he be unconscious of its presence. Prayer also is null and void unless the men and women praying are attired in a certain prescribed manner."]

[Footnote 151: _Vide_ Christianity and Islam, by W.R.W. Stephens, pp. 122-23. Major Osborn writes: "The Prophet knew of no religious life where the external rite was not deemed of greater importance than the inner state, and, in consequence, he gave that character to Islam also. Hence there are no moral gradations in the Koran. All precepts proceed from the will of God, and all are enforced with the same threatening emphasis. A failure of performance in the meanest trivialities of civil life involves the same tremendous penalties as apostasy and idolatry."--_Islam under Khalifs_, p. 5 He further says: "In their religious aspect, these traditions are remarkable for that strange confusion of thought which caused the Prophet to place on one level of wickedness serious moral crimes, breaches of sumptuary regulations, and accidental omissions in ceremonial observations. Sin, throughout, is regarded as an external pollution, which can, at once, be rectified by the payment of a fine of some kind." _Ibid_, page 62]

[Footnote 152: "Occasionally our author would seem to write what he certainly does not mean; thus, in the middle of an excellent summary of the causes of Islam's decadence, it is stated,--'Swathed in the rigid bands of the Koran, _Islam is powerless like the Christian dispensation_ to adapt itself to the varying circumstances of time and place.'"--The Saturday Review_, June 23, 1883.]

[Footnote 153: _Vide_ Annals of the Early Caliphate, by Sir W. Muir, K.C.S.I., LL.D., D.C.L., page 456, London, 1883.]

[Sidenote: The preceding objections not applicable to the Koran.]

38. All these objections more or less apply rather to the teachings of the Muhammedan Common Law (canon and civil), called _Fiqh_ or _Sharia_, than to the Koran, the Muhammedan Revealed Law. Our Common Law, which treats both ecclesiastical and the civil law, is by no means considered to be a divine or unchangeable law. This subject has been treated by me in a separate work [154] on the Legal, Political and Social Reforms to which the reader is referred. The space allowed to me in this Introduction, which has already exceeded its proper limit, does not admit a full and lengthy discussion of the objections quoted above, but I will review them here in as few words as possible.

[Footnote 154: Reforms, Political, Social and Legal, under the Moslem Rule, Bombay Education Society's Press, 1883.]

[Sidenote: Finality of the social reforms of Mohammad.]

39. (1) Mohammad had to deal with barbarous nations around him, to be gradually reformed, and besides this the subject of social reforms was a secondary question. Yet it being necessary to transform the character of the people and to reform the moral and social abuses prevailing among them, he gradually introduced his social reforms which proved immense blessings to the Arabs and other nations in the seventh century. Perhaps some temporary but judicious, reasonable and helpful accommodations had to be made to the weakness and immaturity of the people, as halting stages in the march of reforms only to be set aside at their adult strength, or to be abolished when they were to begin to emerge from their barbarism under its influence to a higher civilization. Consequently gradual amelioration of social evils had necessarily to pass several trials during progress of reform. The intermediate stages are not to be taken as final and irrevocable standard of morality and an insuperable barrier to the regeneration of the Arabian nation. Our adversaries stick indiscriminately to these temporary measures or concessions only, and call them half measures and partial reforms made into an unchangeable law which exclude the highest reforms, and form a formidable obstacle to the dawn of a progressive and enlightened civilization. I have in view here the precepts of Mohammad for ameliorating the degraded condition of women for restricting the unlimited polygamy and the facility of divorce, together with servile concubinage and slavery.[155] Mohammad's injunctions and precepts, intermediary and ultimate, temporary and permanent, intended for the removal of these social evils, are interwoven with each other, interspersed in different Suras and not chronologically arranged, in consequence of which it is somewhat difficult for those who have no deep insight into the promiscuous literature of the Koran to find out which precept was only a halting stage, and which the latest. It was only from some oversight on the part of the compilers of the Common Law that, in the first place, the civil precepts of a transitory nature and as a mediate step leading to a higher reform were taken as final; and in the second place, the civil precepts adapted for the dwellers of the Arabian desert were pressed upon the neck of all ages and countries. A social system for barbarism ought not to be imposed on a people already possessing higher forms of civilizations.

[Footnote 155: "The cankerworm of polygamy, divorce, servile concubinage and veil lay at the root. They are bound up in the character of its existence. A reformed Islam which should part with the divine ordinances on which they rest, or attempt in the smallest degree to change them by a rationalistic selection, abetment or variation would be Islam no longer." Annals of the Early Caliphate by Sir W. Muir, page 458.]

[Sidenote: Positive precepts.]

[Sidenote: Ceremonial law.]

40. (2) In fact the Koran deals with positive precepts as well as with principles, but it never teaches a precise system of precepts regulating in minute details the social relations of life and the ceremonial of worship. On the contrary, its aim has been to counteract the tendency to narrowness, formality, and severity which is the consequence of a living under a rigid system of positive precepts. Mohammad had to transform the character of the Arab barbarians who had no religious or moral teacher or a social reformer before his advent. It was therefore necessary to give them a few positive precepts, moulding and regulating their moral and social conduct, to make them 'new creatures' with new notions and new purposes, and to remodel the national life. (3) But lest they should confuse virtue as identical with obedience to the outward requirements of the ceremonial law,--the formal ablutions, the sacrifices in pilgrimages, the prescribed forms of prayers, the fixed amount of alms, and the strict fasts, the voice of the Koran has ever and anon been lifted up to declare that a rigid conformity to practical precepts, whether of conduct or ceremonial, would not extenuate, but rather increase in the eyes of God the guilt of an unprincipled heart and an unholy life.

[Sidenote: Pilgrimage.]

Regarding the pilgrimage [156] or the sacrifices (its chief ceremony), the Koran says:--

     "By no means can their flesh reach unto God, neither their blood, but piety on your part reacheth him. Thus hath he subjected them to you, that ye might magnify God for his guidance: and announce glad tidings to the doers of good."--Sura XXII, 38.

[Sidenote: Quibla.]

Regarding the _Quibla_ in prayers it is said in the Quran:--

     "The west and the east is God's: therefore whichever way ye turn      there is the face of God."--Sura II, 109.

     "All have a quarter of the Heavens to which they turn them; but      wherever ye be, hasten emulously after good."--_Ibid_, 143

     "There is no piety in turning your faces toward the east or west, but he is pious who believeth in God and the last day, and the angels and the scripture, and the prophets; who for the love of God disburseth his wealth to his kindred; and to the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and for ransoming; who observeth the prayer, and payeth alms, and who is of those who are faithful to their engagements when they have engaged in them, and patient under ills and hardships, and in time of trouble, these are they who are just, and these are they who fear the Lord."--_Ibid_, 172

[Sidenote: Amount of alms.]

In the place of a fixed amount of alms the Koran only says to give what ye can spare.

     "They will ask thee also what they shall bestow in alms:

     "Say: What ye can spare."--_Ibid_, 216, 217

[Sidenote: Fasts.]

Instead of imposing a very strict fast, which in the middle of summer is extremely mortifying, the Koran makes its observance optional.

     "And as for those who are able to keep it and yet observe it not, the expiration of this shall be the maintenance of a poor man. And he, who of his own accord performeth a good work, shall derive good from it: and good shall it be for you to fast, if ye knew      it."-_Ibid_, 180.

[Sidenote: No prescribed forms of prayer.]

The Koran does not teach any prescribed forms of worship and other ritualistic prayers. No attitude is fixed, and no outward observance of posture is required. There is no scrupulosity and punctiliousness, neither the change of posture in prayer nor the displacement of a single genuflexion calls any censure on the devotee in the Koran. Simply reading the Koran (Suras LXXIII, 20; XXIX, 44), and bearing God in mind, standing and sitting; reclining (III, 188; IV, 104) or bowing down or prostrating (XXII, 76) is the only form and ritual, if it may be called so, of prayer and worship taught in the Koran.

     "Recite then as much of the Koran as may be easy to you."—Sura LXXIII, 20.

     "Recite the portions of the Book which have been revealed to thee and discharge the duty of prayer; verily prayer restraineth from the filthy and the blameworthy. And assuredly the gravest duty is the remembrance of God; and God knoweth what ye do."--Sura XXIX, 44.

     "And when the Koran is rehearsed, then listen ye to it and keep silence: haply ye may obtain mercy."

     "And think within thine ownself on God, with lowliness and with fear and without loud-spoken words, at even and at morn; and be not of the heedless."--Sura VII, 203, 204.

[Sidenote: Pretentious prayers and ostentatious almsgiving condemned.]

The Koran condemns pretentious prayers and ostentatious almsgiving.

     "Verily the hypocrites would deceive God; but he will deceive them! When they stand up for prayer, they stand carelessly to be seen of men, and they remember God but little"--Sura IV, 141.

     "Woe then to those who pray,"

     "Who in their prayer are careless;"

     "Who make a show of devotion,"

     "But refuse help _to the needy_."--Sura CVII, 4-7.

     "And they fall down on their faces weeping, and it increaseth the humility."--Sura XVII, 110.

     "O ye who believe! make not your alms void by reproaches and injury; like him who spendeth his substance to be seen of men, and believeth not in God and in the latter day. The likeness of such an one is that of a rock with a thin soil upon it, on which a heavy rain falleth, but leaveth it hard. No profit from their works shall they be able to gain; for God guideth not the unbelieving people."--Sura II, 266.

"We have made ready a shameful chastisement for the unbelievers, and for those who bestow their substance in alms to be seen of men, and believe not in God and in the last day. Whoever hath Satan for his companion, an evil companion hath he!"--Sura IV, 42.

[Sidenote: No indispensable hours or places for prayers.]

There are no indispensable hours or places to be observed for prayers. In Suras XI, 116; and IV, 104, the time of prayer is set down in general terms without specifying any fixed hour. There are some more times named in Suras XVII, 81, 82; XX, 130; L, 38, 39; and LII, 48, 49, but they are special cases for Mohammad himself, and "as an excess in the service." _Vide_Sura XVII, 81 On this subject Dr. Marcus Dods observes:--

     "There are two features of the devout character which the Mohammedans have the merit of exhibiting with much greater distinctness than we do. They show not the smallest hesitation or fear in confessing God, and they reduce to practice the great principle that the worship of God is not confined to temples or any special place:--

     "Most honour to the men of prayer,

     Whose mosque is in them everywhere!

     Who amid revel's wildest din,

     In war's severest discipline,

     On rolling deck, in thronged bazaar,

     In stranger land, however far,

     However different in their reach

     Of thought, in manners, dress or speech,--

     Will quietly their carpet spread.

     To Mekkeh turn the humble head,

     And, as if blind to all around,

     And deaf to each distracting sound,

     In ritual language God adore,

     In spirit to his presence soar,

     And in the pauses of the prayer,

     Rest, as if rapt in glory there."

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