The Person and Character of Mahomet.
IT may be expected that before bringing this work to a close, I should gather into one review the chief character traits in the character of Mahomet, which at different stages of his life, and from various points of view, have in the course of the history been presented to the reader, This I will now briefly attempt.
The person of Mahomet, as he appeared in the prime of life, has been portrayed in an early chapter;1 and though advancing age may have somewhat relaxed the outlines of his countenance and affected the vigour of his carriage, yet the general aspect there described remained unaltered to the end. His form, although little above the ordinary height, was stately and commanding. The depth of feeling in his dark black eye, and the winning expression of a face otherwise attractive, gained the confidence and love even of a stranger. His features often unbended into a smile full of grace and condescension. "He was," says an admiring follower, "the handsomest and bravest, the brightest-faced and most generous of men. It was
1 Vol.ii. p.28.
1 Vol.ii. p.28.
as though the sun-light beamed in his countenance." Yet when anger kindled in his piercing glance, the object of his displeasure might well quail before it: his stern frown was the certain augury of death to many a trembling captive.1
In the later years of his life, the formerly erect figure of Maliomet began to stoop. But his step was still firm and quick. His gait has been likened to that of one descending rapidly a hill. When he made haste, it was with difficulty that his followers kept pace with him. He never turned round, even if his mantle caught in a thorny bush, so that his attendants might talk and laugh freely behind him, secure of being unobserved.
Thorough and complete in all his actions, he never took in hand any work without bringing it to a close. The same habit pervaded his manner in social intercourse. If he turned in conversation towards a friend, he turned not partially, but with his full face and his whole body. "In shaking hands, he was not the first to withdraw his own; nor was he the first to break off in converse with a stranger, nor to turn away his ear."
1 Nearly all the illustrations or character in this chapter are
drawn from the Section of his work devoted by the Secretary to
the appearance and habits of the Prophet. I will not therefore
crowd my pages with references. Some of the anecdotes narrated
in that Section may prove of interest to the curious reader, and I
brave therefore placed the most remarkable of them in a Supplement at the close of this chapter.
1 Nearly all the illustrations or character in this chapter are drawn from the Section of his work devoted by the Secretary to the appearance and habits of the Prophet. I will not therefore crowd my pages with references. Some of the anecdotes narrated in that Section may prove of interest to the curious reader, and I brave therefore placed the most remarkable of them in a Supplement at the close of this chapter.
A patriarchal simplicity pervaded his life. custom was to do every thing for himself. If he gave an alms he would place it with his own hand in that of the petitioner. He aided his wives in their household duties; he mended his own clothes; he tied up the goats; he even cobbled his sandals. His ordinary dress consisted of plain white cotton stuff; but on high and festive occasions, he wore garments of fine linen, striped or dyed in red. He never reclined at meals. He ate with his fingers; and when he had finished, he would lick them before he wiped his hands. The indulgences to which he was most addicted were "Women, scents, and food." In the first two of these, Ayesha tells us, he had his heart's desire; but when she adds that he was straitened in the third, we can only attribute the saying to the vivid contrast between the frugal habits prevalent at the rise of Islam, and the luxurious living which rapidly followed in the wake of conquest and prosperity. Mahomet, with his wives, lived in a row of low and homely cottages built of unbaked bricks; the apartments were separated by walls of palm branches rudely daubed with mud; curtains of leather, or of black hair-cloth, supplied the place of doors and windows. His abode was to all easy of access,- "even as the river's bank to him that draweth water therefrom." Yet we have seen that he maintained the state and dignity of real power. No approach was suffered to familiarity of
action or of speech. The Prophet must be addressed in subdued accents and in a reverential style. His word was absolute. His bidding was law.
A remarkable feature was the urbanity and consideration with which Mahomet treated even the most insignificant of his followers. Modesty and kindness, patience, self-denial, and generosity, pervaded his conduct, and rivetted the affections of all around him. He disliked to say No; if unable to reply to a petitioner in the affirmative, he preferred to remain silent. "He was more bashful," says Ayesha, "than a veiled virgin; and if anything displeased him, it was rather from his face, than by his words, that we discovered it; he never smote any one but in the service of the Lord, not even a woman or a servant." He was not known ever to refuse an invitation to the house even of the meanest, nor to decline a proffered present however small. When seated by a friend, "he did not haughtily advance his knees towards him." He possessed the rare faculty of making each individual in a company think that he was the most favoured guest. When he met any one rejoicing. he would seize him eagerly and cordially by the hand. With the bereaved and afflicted he sympathized tenderly. Gentle and unbending towards little children, he would not disdain to accost a group of them at play with the salutation of peace. He shared his food, even in times of scarcity, with others; and was sedulously solicitous for the personal comfort of every one about him. A
kindly and benevolent disposition pervades all these illustrations of his character.
Mahomet was also a faithful friend. He loved Abu Bakr with the romantic affection of a brother; Ali, with the fond partiality of a father. Zeid, the the Christian slave of Khadija, was so strongly attached by the kindness of Mahomet, who adopted him, that he preferred to remain at Mecca rather than return to his home with his own father: "I will not leave thee;' said he, clinging to his patron "for thou hast been a father and a mother to me." The friendship of Mahomet survived the death of Zeid, whose son, Osama, was treated by him with distinguished favour for his father's sake. Othman and Omar were also the objects of a special attachment; and the enthusiasm with which the Prophet, at Hodeibia, entered into "the Pledge or the Tree" and swore that he would defend his beleaguered son-in-law with his last breath, was a signal proof of faithful friendship. Numerous other instances of Mahomet's ardent and unwavering regard might be adduced. And his affections were in no instance misplaced; they were ever reciprocated by a warm and self sacrificing love.
In the exercise at home of a power absolutely dictatorial, Mahomet was just and temperate. Nor was he wanting in moderation towards his enemies, when once they had cheerfully submitted to his claims. The long and obstinate struggle against his pretensions maintained by the inhabitants of his
native city, might have induced a haughty tyrant to mark his indignation in indelible traces of fire and blood. But Mahomet, excepting a few criminals, granted an universal pardon ; and, nobly casting into oblivion the memory of the past, with all its mockings, its affronts, and persecutions, he treated even the foremost of his opponents with a gracious and even friendly consideration. Not less marked was the forbearance shewn to Abdallah and the disaffected party at Medina, who for so many years persistently thwarted his schemes and resisted his authority; nor the clemency with which he received the submissive advances of the most hostile tribes; even in the hour of victory.
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 several 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 Medina; and of a third, likewise 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 amongst 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 Basir, 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 Nadhir were besieged and expatiated (namely, that Gabriel had revealed their design against the Prophet's life,) was feeble aud unworthy of an honest cause. When Medina was beleagured 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.
In domestic life the conduct of Mahomet, with one grave exception, was exemplary. As a husband his fondness and devotion were 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 were 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 overpassed, 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 had 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 threescore 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 bare recital of these facts may justify the saying of Ibn Abba,- "Verily the chiefest among the Moslems (meaning Mahomet) was the foremost of them in his passion for women;"1
a fatal example imitated too readily by his followers, who adopt the Prince of Medina, rather than the Prophet of Mecca, for their pattern.
Thus the social and domestic life of Mahomet, fairly and impartially viewed, is seen to be chequered by light and shade. While there is much to form the subject of nearly unqualified praise, there is likewise much which cannot be spoken of but in terms of severe reprobation.
Proceeding now to consider the religious and prophetical character of Mahomet, the first point which strikes the biographer, is his constant and vivid sense of an all pervading special providence. This conviction moulded his thoughts and designs, from the minutest actions in private and social life to the grand conception that he was destined to be the Reformer of his people and of the whole world. He never entered a company "but he sat down and rose up with the mention of the Lord." When the first fruits of the season were brought to him, he would kiss them, place them upon his eyes and say, - "Lord as thou hast shown us the first, show unto us likewise the last." In trouble and affliction, as well as in joy and prosperity, he ever saw and humbly acknowledged the hand of God. A fixed persuasion that every incident, small and great, was ordered by the divine will, led to the strong expressions of predestination which abound in the Coran. It was the Lord who turned the hearts of mankind: and alike faith in the believer, and unbelief page 312
belief in the infidel, were the result of the Divine fiat. The hour and place of every man's death, as all other events in his life, were established by the same decree; and the timid believer might in vain seek to avert the stroke by shunning the field of battle. But this persuasion was far removed from the belief in a blind and inexorable fate; for Mahomet held the progress of events in the divine hand to be amenable to the influence of prayer. He was not slow to attribute the conversion of a scoffer like Omar, or the removal of an impending misfortune, as when Medina "was delivered from the confederated hosts, to the effect of his own earnest petitions to the Lord. On the other hand Mahomet was not altogether devoid of superstition. He feared to sit down in a dark place until a lamp had been lighted; and his apprehensions were sometimes raised by the wind and clouds. He would fetch prognostications from the manner in which a sword was drawn from its scabbard.1 A special virtue was attributed to being cupped an even number of times, and on a certain day of the week and month. He was also guided by omens drawn from dreams: but these perhaps were regarded by him as intimations of the divine will.
The growth in the mind of Mahomet of the conviction that he was appointed to be a Prophet and a Reformer, was intimately connected with his belief
1 Campaigns of Mahomet, p. 217.
1 Campaigns of Mahomet, p. 217.
in a special providence, embracing as well as the spiritual the material world: and simultaneously with that conviction there arose an implicit confidence that the Almighty would crown his mission with success. The questionings and aspirations of his inner soul were regarded by him as proceeding directly from God; the light which gradually illuminated his mind with a knowledge of the divine unity and perfections, and of the duties and destiny of man,---- light amidst gross darkness,---- must have emanated from the same source; and he who in his own good pleasure had thus begun the work would surely carry it to an end. What was, Mahomet himself but a simple instrument in the hand of the great Worker? It was this belief which strengthened him, alone and unsupported, to brave for many weary years the taunts and persecutions of a whole people. In estimating the signal moral courage thus displayed by him, it must not be overlooked that for what is ordinarily termed physical courage Mahomet was not remarkable. It may be doubted whether he ever engaged personally in active conflict on the battle field: though he accompanied his forces, he never himself led them into action, or exposed his person to unavoidable danger. And there were occasions on which (as when challenged by Abdallah to spare the Bani Cainucaa, alarmed by the altercation at the wells of Moraisi, or pressed by the mob at Jierrana,) he showed symptoms of a
faint heart.1 Yet even if this be admitted, it only brings out in higher relief the singular display of moral daring. Let us for a moment look back to the period when a ban was proclaimed at Mecca against all the citizens, whether professed converts or not, who espoused his cause; when they were shut up in the Sheb or quarter of Abu Talib, and there, for three years without prospect of relief, endured want and hardship. Those must have been stedfast and mighty motives which enabled him, amidst all this opposition and apparent hopelessness of success, to maintain his principles unshaken. No sooner was, he released from confinement, than, despairing of his native city, he went forth to Tayif and summoned its rulers and inhabitants to repentance; he was solitary and unaided, but he had a message, he said, from his Lord. On the third day he was driven out of the town with ignominy, blood trickling from the wounds inflicted on him by the populace. He retired to a little distance, and there poured forth his complaint to God: then he returned to Mecca, there to carry on the same outwardly hopeless cause, with the same high confidence in its ultimate success. We search in vain through the pages of profane history for a parallel to the struggle in which for thirteen years the Prophet of Arabia, in the face of discouragement and threats, rejection
1 Vol. iii. p 136-238. Vol. iv. 146.
1 Vol. iii. p 136-238. Vol. iv. 146.
and persecution, retained his faith unwavering, preached repentance, and denounced God's wrath against his godless fellow citizens. Surrounded by a little band of faithful men and women, he met insults, menace, danger, with a high and patient trust in the future. And when at last the promise of safety came from a distant quarter, he calmly waited until his followers had all departed, and then disappeared from amongst his ungrateful and rebellious people.
Not less marked was the firm front and unchanging faith in eventual victory, which at Medina bore him through seven years of mortal conflict with his native city; and enabled him while his influence and authority were yet very limited and precarious even in the city of his adoption, to speak and to act in the constant and undoubted expectation of entire success.
From the earliest period of his religious convictions, the idea of ONE great Being who guides with almighty power and wisdom the whole creation, while yet remaining infinitely above it, gained a thorough possession of his mind. Polytheism and idolatry, being utterly at variance with this first principle of his belief, were condemned with abhorrence as levelling the Creator with the creature. On one occasion alone did Mahomet ever swerve from this position,- when he admitted that the goddesses of Mecca might be adored as a medium of approach to God. But the inconsistency of the admission was
soon perceived; and Mahomet at once retraced his steps. Never before nor afterwards did the Prophet deviate from the stein denunciation of idolatry.
As he was himself the subject of convictions so deep and powerful, it will readily be conceived that the exhortations of Mahomet were distinguished by a corresponding strength and urgency. Being also a master in eloquence, his language was cast in the purest and most persuasive style of Arabian oratory. His fine poetical genius exhausted the imagery of nature in the illustration of spiritual truths; and a vivid imagination enabled him to bring before his auditory the Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, the joys of believers in Paradise, and the agonies of lost spirits in hell, as close and impending realities. In ordinary address, his speech was slow, distinct, and emphatic; but when he preached, "his eye would redden, his voice rise high and loud, and his whole frame become agitated with passion, even as if he were warning the people of an enemy about to fall on them the next morning or that very night." In this thorough earnestness lay the secret of his success. And if these stirring appeals had been given forth as nothing more than what they really were,- the outgoings of a warm and active conviction, they would have afforded no ground for cavil; or, if you will, let him have represented his appeals as the teaching of a soul guided by natural inspiration, or even enlightened by divine influence, - such a course would still have been nothing more than that trodden
by many a sincere, though it may be erring, philanthropist in other ages and in other lands. But in the development of his system, the claims of Mahomet to inspiration far transcended any one of these assumptions. His inspiration was essentially oracular. His mind and his lips were no more than a passive organ which received and transmitted the heavenly message. His revelations were not the fruit of a subjective process in which a soul, burning with divine life and truth, seeks to impress the stamp of its own convictions on all those around; the process, on the contrary, was one which Mahomet professed to be entirely external to himself, and independent of his own reasoning and will. The words of inspiration, whether purporting to be a portion of the Coran, or a message for general guidance, were produced as a real and objective intimation, conveyed in a distinct form by the Almighty, or through the angel Gabriel, his messenger. Such was the position assumed by Mahomet. How far it was fostered by epileptic and apparently supernatural paroxysms (which do not however come prominently to view at least in the later stages of his career) or by similar physiological phenomena, it is impossible to determine. 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;" ne 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 for effecting 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 Medina. 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 with 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! If we say that such
revelations" were believed by Mahomet sincerely to bear the divine sanction, it can be but in it very modified and peculiar sense. He was not only responsible for that belief, but, in arriving at any such conviction, he must have done violence to his judgment and to the better principles of his nature.
As the necessary result of this moral obliquity, we trace from the period of Mahomet's arrival at Medina a marked and rapid declension in the system he inculcated. Intolerance quickly took the place of freedom; force, of persuasion. The spiritual weapons designed at first for higher objects were no sooner prostituted to the purposes of temporal authority, than temporal authority was employed to impart a fictitious weight and power to those spiritual weapons. The name of the Almighty, impiously borrowed, imparted a terrible strength to the sword of the State; and the sword of the State, in its turn, yielded a willing requital by destroying "the enemies of God," and sacrificing them at the shrine of a false religion. "Slay the unbelievers wheresoever ye find them;" was now the watchword of Islam "Fight in the ways of God until opposition be crushed and the Religion becometh the Lord's alone!" The warm and earnest devotion breathed by the Prophet and his followers at Mecca, soon became at Medina dull and vapid; it degenerated into a fierce fanaticism, or evaporated in a lifeless round of cold and formal ceremonies. The Jewish faith,
whose pure fountains were freely accessible to Mahomet, as well as the less familiar system of Christianity, in spite of former protestations of faith and allegiance, were both cast aside without hesitation and without inquiry; for the course on which he had entered was too profitable and too enticing to permit the exercise of any such nice research or close questioning as (perhaps he unconsciously felt) might have opened his eyes to the truth, and forced him either to retrace his steps, or to unveil himself before his own conscience in the fearful form of an impostor. To what other conclusion can we come than that he was delivered over to the judicial blindness of a sell deceived heart; that, having voluntarily shut his eyes against the light, he was left miserably to grope in the darkness of his own choosing.
And what have been the effects of the system which, established by such instrumentality, Mahomet has left behind him? We may freely concede that it banished for ever many of the darker elements of superstition which had for ages shrouded the Peninsula. Idolatry vanished before the battle-cry of Islam; the doctrine of the unity and infinite perfections of God, and of a special all-pervading Providence, became a living principle in the hearts and lives of the followers of Mahomet, even as it had in his own. An absolute surrender and submission to the divine will (the very name of Islam) was demanded as the first requirement of the religion. Nor are social virtues wanting. Brotherly love is
inculcated within the circle of the faith; orphans are to be protected, and slaves treated with consideration; intoxicating drinks are prohibited, and Mahometanism may boast of a degree of temperance unknown to any other creed.
Yet these benefits have been purchased at a costly price. Setting aside considerations of minor import, three radical evils flow from the faith, in all ages and in every country, and must continue to flow so long as the Coran in the standard of belief. FIRST: Polygamy, Divorce, and Slavery, are maintained and perpetuated ;- striking as they do at the root of public morals, poisoning domestic life, and disorganizing society. SECOND: freedom of judgment in religion is crushed and annihilated. The sword is the inevitable penalty for the denial of Islam. Toleration is unknown. THIRD: a barrier has been interposed against the reception of Christianity. They labour under a miserable delusion who suppose that Mahometanism paves the way for a purer faith. No system could have been devised with more consummate skill for shutting out the nations over which it has sway, from the light of truth. Idolatrous Arabia (judging from the analogy of other nations) might have been aroused to spiritual life, and to the adoption of the faith of Jesus; Mahometan Arabia is, to the human eye, sealed against the benign influences of the Gospel. Many a flourishing land in Africa and in Asia which once rejoiced in the light and liberty of Christianity, is now overspread by
gross darkness and a stubborn barbarism. It is as if their day of grace had come and gone, and there remained to them "no more sacrifice for sins." That a brighter day will yet dawn on these countries we may not doubt; but the history of the past and the condition of the present is not the less true and sad. The sword of Mahomet, and the Coran, are the most fatal enemies of Civilization, Liberty, and Truth, which the world has yet known.
In conclusion, I would warn the reader against seeking to portray in his mind a character in all of Mahomet, its parts consistent with itself as the character of Mahomet. The truth is that the strangest inconsistencies blended together according to the wont of human nature) throughout the life of the Prophet. The student of the history will trace for himself how the pure and lofty aspirations of Mahomet were first tinged, and then gradually debased by a half unconscious self-deception; and how in this process truth merged into falsehood, sincerity into guile, - these opposite principles often co-existing even as active agencies in his conduct. 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. Inconsistencies such as these continually present themselves from the period of Mahomet's arrival at Medina; and it is by the study of these inconsistencies that his character must be rightly comprehended. The key to many difficulties of this description may be found, I believe, in the chapter "on the belief of Mahomet in his own inspiration." when once he had dared to forge the name of the Most High God as the seal and authority of his own words and actions, the germ was laid from which the errors of his after life freely and fatally developed themselves.
I might have extended these remarks (had they not already exceeded the limits intended for them) to an examination of the doctrines and teaching of Mahomet as exhibited in the Coran. That volume, as I have before observed, does not contain any abstract or systematic code. It grew out of the incidents and objects of the day; and the best mode of ascertaining its purport and its bearing, is not to draw into one uniform system its various lessons and dogmas, liable as they were (excepting in one or two fundamental points) from time to time to differ;
but to trace the development of its successive precepts and doctrines in connection with the several stages of the Prophet's life, and the motives from which he may be supposed at the moment to have acted. This with reference to some of its main doctrines and institutions, I have sought in the course of the foregoing pages to do.
MAHOMET and the CORAN, the author of Islam and the instrument by which he achieved its success, are themes worthy the earnest attention of mankind. If I have to any degree succeeded in contributing fresh materials towards the formation of a correct judgment of either, many hours of study, snatched not without difficulty from other engrossing avocations, will have secured an ample recompense.
The Life of Mahomet, Volume IV [Table of Contents]